CONTENTS / BLOG (21), Just World Campaign


• British Police set to step up hacking of home PCs.      

British Police set to step up hacking of home PCs

   The Australian, http://www. australianit. news.com.au/ story/0,24897, 24875392- 15306,00. html?referrer= email , by David Leppard | January 05, 2009
   THE Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain routinely to hack into people's personal computers without a warrant.
   The move, which follows a decision by the European Union's council of ministers in Brussels, has angered civil liberties groups and opposition MPs. They described it as a sinister extension of the surveillance state which drives "a coach and horses" through privacy laws.
   The hacking is known as "remote searching". It allows police or MI5 officers who may be hundreds of miles away to examine covertly the hard drive of someone's PC at his home, office or hotel room.
   Material gathered in this way includes the content of all e-mails, web-browsing habits and instant messaging.
   Under the Brussels edict, police across the EU have been given the green light to expand the implementation of a rarely used power involving warrantless intrusive surveillance of private property. The strategy will allow French, German and other EU forces to ask British officers to hack into someone's UK computer and pass over any material gleaned.
   A remote search can be granted if a senior officer says he "believes" that it is "proportionate" and necessary to prevent or detect serious crime - defined as any offence attracting a jail sentence of more than three years.
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   However, opposition MPs and civil liberties groups say that the broadening of such intrusive surveillance powers should be regulated by a new act of parliament and court warrants.
   They point out that in contrast to the legal safeguards for searching a suspect's home, police undertaking a remote search do not need to apply to a magistrates' court for a warrant.
   Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, the human rights group, said she would challenge the legal basis of the move. "These are very intrusive powers – as intrusive as someone busting down your door and coming into your home," she said.
   "The public will want this to be controlled by new legislation and judicial authorisation. Without those safeguards it's a devastating blow to any notion of personal privacy."
   She said the move had parallels with the warrantless police search of the House of Commons office of Damian Green, the Tory MP: "It's like giving police the power to do a Damian Green every day but to do it without anyone even knowing you were doing it."
   Richard Clayton, a researcher at Cambridge University's computer laboratory, said that remote searches had been possible since 1994, although they were very rare. An amendment to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 made hacking legal if it was authorised and carried out by the state.
   He said the authorities could break into a suspect's home or office and insert a "key-logging" device into an individual's computer. This would collect and, if necessary, transmit details of all the suspect's keystrokes. "It's just like putting a secret camera in someone's living room," he said.
   Police might also send an e-mail to a suspect's computer. The message would include an attachment that contained a virus or "malware". If the attachment was opened, the remote search facility would be covertly activated. Alternatively, police could park outside a suspect's home and hack into his or her hard drive using the wireless network.
   Police say that such methods are necessary to investigate suspects who use cyberspace to carry out crimes. These include paedophiles, internet fraudsters, identity thieves and terrorists.
   The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said such intrusive surveillance was closely regulated under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. A spokesman said police were already carrying out a small number of these operations which were among 194 clandestine searches last year of people's homes, offices and hotel bedrooms.
   "To be a valid authorisation, the officer giving it must believe that when it is given it is necessary to prevent or detect serious crime and (the) action is proportionate to what it seeks to achieve," Acpo said.
   Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, agreed that the development may benefit law enforcement. But he added: "The exercise of such intrusive powers raises serious privacy issues. The government must explain how they would work in practice and what safeguards will be in place to prevent abuse."
   The Home Office said it was working with other EU states to develop details of the proposals.
   The Times # [London]

   [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: CC. ENDS.]
   [LITERATURE: We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
That Shakespeare spake; the faith and morals hold
That Milton held. -- William Wordsworth, National Independence and Liberty, Part 1, 16; London, 1802. ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: Did those civil liberties groups think of the rights of Britons, when they were objecting to sensible immigration controls, and opposing the idea of relocating people with an "eye for an eye" culture?  Thousands of such disaffected people are now settled into the British Isles, and are stretching police resources, and watching them puts freedom itself at risk. ENDS.]
http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#british_police_set
[Jan 05, 2009]

• Australian Jews protest against Israel's action.  [After days of bombing, Israel ground forced moved into Gaza Strip, Palestine.]      

Australian Jews protest against Israel’s action

   Sydney Morning Herald, http://www. smh.com.au/ articles/ 2009/01/05/ 1231003936981. html , by Andrew West and Jonathan Pearlman, January 6, 2009
   AUSTRALIA – MORE than 100 Australian Jews, including two award-winning novelists and a former federal cabinet minister, have signed a statement condemning Israel's siege of Gaza, heightening tensions within the local Jewish community over the violence.
   The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, meanwhile called yesterday for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza but refused to criticise the Israeli offensive.
   Authors Linda Jaivin and Sara Dowse, the environment minister in the Whitlam government, Moss Cass, and the NSW Greens leader, Ian Cohen, are among 120 Australian Jews to accuse the Israeli Government of a "grossly disproportionate military assault on Gaza because it was Israel that violated the fragile truce on November 4, 2008".
   Their statement has provoked a backlash from leaders of Australia's main Jewish groups, who argue that Israel is acting in self-defence.
   The statement was co-ordinated, but not endorsed, by the group Independent Australian Jewish Voices.  [http://www.iajv.org]  It is part of an international outcry from dissident Jewish groups, including J Street in the US and Gush Shalom in Israel.
   The signatories agree that Israel has a right to defend itself but say "the assault on the population of Gaza will only inflame hatred of Jews, and of the state of Israel, while doing nothing to protect the lives of Israelis".
   They argue that "crude home-made rockets" fired by the Hamas-led government in Gaza have caused relatively few Israeli casualties. "By contrast, Israeli bombardment has caused around 400 deaths and 2000 casualties, including a large proportion of women and children."
   Other signatories include the controversial anti-Zionist writer Antony Loewenstein, the literary critic Andrew Riemer, and academics Andrew Benjamin, Gavin Kitching, David Goodman and Michele Grossman.
   "This is a solid minority of leading Jewish figures who are sick and tired of being told what Jews should think about Israel and are appalled by Israel's crimes in Gaza," Mr Loewenstein said.
   But the executive director of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, Colin Rubenstein, accused the signatories of being "indifferent to Israel's suffering" from repeated rocket attacks from Hamas.
   "The comments are grossly ill informed, almost stunning in their ignorance, on the history of the ceasefire and its subsequent breakdown, Hamas's demands, Hamas's constitution, Hamas's willingness to negotiate and other matters," Dr Rubenstein said.
   "They propose that the population of southern Israel must continue to live under constant rocket bombardment, opposing all practical efforts to actually invoke the right to self-defence the signatories say they recognise."
   The head of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Vic Alhadeff, declined to comment directly on the dissenters' statement but also blamed the crisis in Gaza on Hamas, saying it had fired more than 8000 rockets and mortars into Israel since 2001.
   "All the civilian casualties are a tragedy. They stem from the fact that Hamas cynically locates its weapons and fighters in the midst of the Palestinian civilian population," he said.
   In his first comments on the conflict after a 10-day holiday, Mr Rudd appealed for a diplomatic solution that would bring an end to Hamas rocket fire and the Israeli blockade of the territory.
   "All Australians are concerned about the humanitarian implications of this conflict.
   "And it is critical therefore for Israel to meet its humanitarian obligations under international humanitarian law towards the people of Gaza, in ensuring that they have access to basic goods, food and humanitarian assistance and medical supplies," he said. #

http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#australian_jews_protest
[Jan 6, 09]

• Jailed for lying to CCC.  [sentenced at private hearing]     

Jailed for lying to CCC

   The West Australian, www.thewest.com.au , by Kate Tarala, p 4, Tuesday, January 6, 2009
   PERTH – A former prison nurse was sentenced to eight months jail yesterday after giving false testimony to the Corruption and Crime Commission.
   Helen Louise Knight, 47, of Forrestfield, pleaded guilty to five charges of giving false testimony to a CCC hearing into alleged drug taking by prison officers last August.
   At a private CCC hearing she was sentenced to four months on each charge, with the first two to be served cumulatively because of her early guilty plea.
   The investigation by the CCC continues. #

   [ORIGINAL COMMENT: And there are Anglo-Celts around the world believing that "private hearings" by the Common Law court system had been abolished somewhere around the time the Star Chamber court in England was abolished by the Parliament during the reign of Charles I in 1641 .  Well, well !  And non-Anglos too had basked in the belief that "Australians all" were "young and free." ("Advance Australia Fair," national song.) COMMENT ENDS.]
   [FOLLOW-UP COMMENT: The newspaper on the following day, January 7, corrected itself, saying that the sentencing was by a Magistrate in the Perth Magistrates' Court.  A protest letter had been e-mailed to that paper and other news media on January 6.  Error corrected on this webpage 8.36 am on Jan 7, 2009. Error in "Meta" contents and keywords corrected on Mar 25, 2009. ENDS.]
   [ALSO SEE (with no error about "private hearing": http://www. news.com.au/ perthnow/ story/0,, 24875798- 2761,00.html . ENDS.]
http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#jailed_for_lying
[Jan 6, 09]

• [No private CCC sentencing.]     
CORRECTIONS & CLARIFICATIONS

[No private CCC sentencing]

   The West Australian, www.thewest.com.au , p 22, Wednesday, January 7, 2009
   Overpowered: We incorrectly said a woman was given a jail sentence at a private Corruption and Crime Commission hearing (Jailed for lying to CCC, page 4, January 6).  The CCC has no power to convict people or impose penalties.  The penalty was handed down by Chief Magistrate Stephen Heath in the Perth Magistrate's Court.  The error was made during editing.
  • It is the policy of the West Australian to correct significant errors as quickly as possible.  Readers can contact the office of the readers' editor by mall at The Readers' Editor, The West Australian, 50 Hasler Road, Osborne Park WA 6017; by fax (08) 9482 3177; or email reader § wanews com au (the headline, page number and date of publication of the report should be included in your correspondence).  Please include your telephone number.

  • http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#no_private_ccc
    [Jan 07, 09]

    • Martial Law, the Financial Bailout, and War.   

    Martial Law, the Financial Bailout, and War

       Global Research, http://www. globalresearch. ca/index.php? context=va& aid=11681 , by Prof. Peter Dale Scott, January 8, 2009
       Paulson's Financial Bailout
       It is becoming clear that the bailout measures of late 2008 may have consequences at least as grave for an open society as the response to 9/11 in 2001. Many members of Congress felt coerced into voting against their inclinations, and the normal procedures for orderly consideration of a bill were dispensed with.
       The excuse for bypassing normal legislative procedures was the existence of an emergency. But one of the most reprehensible features of the legislation, that it allowed Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to permit bailed-out institutions to use public money for exorbitant salaries and bonuses, was inserted by Paulson after the immediate crisis had passed.
       According to Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vermont) the bailout bill originally called for a cap on executive salaries, but Paulson changed the requirement at the last minute. Welch and other members of Congress were enraged by "news that banks getting taxpayer-funded bailouts are still paying exorbitant salaries, bonuses, and other benefits." 1 In addition, as AP reported in October, "Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. questioned allowing banks that accept bailout bucks to continue paying dividends on their common stock. 'There are far better uses of taxpayer dollars than continuing dividend payments to shareholders,' he said." 2
       Even more reprehensible is the fact that since the bailouts, Paulson and the Treasury Department have refused to provide details of the Troubled Assets Relief Program spending of hundreds of billions of dollars, while the New York Federal Reserve has refused to provide information about its own bail-out (using government-backed loans) that amounts to trillions. This lack of transparency has been challenged by Fox TV in a FOIA suit against the Treasury Department, and a suit by Bloomberg News against the Fed. 3
       The financial bailout legislation of September 2008 was only passed after members of both Congressional houses were warned that failure to act would threaten civil unrest and the imposition of martial law.
       U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., both said U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson brought up a worst-case scenario as he pushed for the Wall Street bailout in September. Paulson, former Goldman Sachs CEO, said that might even require a declaration of martial law, the two noted. 4
       Here are the original remarks by Senator Inhofe:
       Speaking on Tulsa Oklahoma's 1170 KFAQ, when asked who was behind threats of martial law and civil unrest if the bailout bill failed, Senator James Inhofe named Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as the source. "Somebody in D.C. was feeding you guys quite a story prior to the bailout, a story that if we didn't do this we were going to see something on the scale of the depression, there were people talking about martial law being instituted, civil unrest….who was feeding you guys this stuff?," asked host Pat Campbell. "That's Henry Paulson," responded Inhofe, "We had a conference call early on, it was on a Friday I think – a week and half before the vote on Oct. 1. So it would have been the middle … what was it – the 19th of September, we had a conference call. In this conference call – and I guess there's no reason for me not to repeat what he said, but he said – he painted this picture you just described. He said, 'This is serious. This is the most serious thing that we faced.'" 5
       Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA 27th District) reported the same threat on the Congressional floor (Rep. Sherman later downplayed his remarks slightly on the Alex Jones show):
       "The only way they can pass this bill is by creating a panic atmosphere…. Many of us were told that the sky would fall…. A few of us were even told that there would be martial law in America if we voted no. That's what I call fear-mongering, unjustified, proven wrong." 6
       So it is clear that threats of martial law were used to get this reprehensible bailout legislation passed. It also seems clear that Congress was told of a threat of martial law, not itself threatened. It is still entirely appropriate to link such talk to the Army's rapid moves to redefine its role as one of controlling the American people, not just protecting them. In a constitutional polity based on balance of powers, we see the emergence of a radical new military power that is as yet completely unbalanced.
       The Army's New Role in 2001: Not Protecting American Society, but Controlling It
       This new role for the Army is not wholly unprecedented. The U.S. military had been training troops and police in "civil disturbance planning" for the last three decades. The master plan, Department of Defense Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2, or "Operation Garden Plot," was developed in 1968 in response to the major protests and disturbances of the 1960s.
       But on January 19, 2001, on the last day of the Clinton administration, the U.S. Army promulgated a new and permanent Continuity of Operations (COOP) Program. It encapsulated its difference from the preceding, externally-oriented Army Survival, Recovery, and Reconstitution System (ASRRS) as follows:
       a. In 1985, the Chief of Staff of the Army established the Army Survival, Recovery, and Reconstitution System (ASRRS) to ensure the continuity of essential Army missions and functions.
       ASRRS doctrine was focused primarily on a response to the worst case 1980's threat of a massive nuclear laydown on CONUS as a result of a confrontation with the Soviet Union.
       b. The end of the Cold War and the breakup of the former Soviet Union significantly reduced the probability of a major nuclear attack on CONUS but the probability of other threats has increased. Army organizations must be prepared for any contingency with a potential for interruption of normal operations.
       To emphasize that Army continuity of operations planning is now focused on the full all-hazards threat spectrum, the name "ASRRS" has been replaced by the more generic title "Continuity of Operations (COOP) Program." 7
       This document embodied the secret Continuity of Operations (COG) planning conducted secretly by Rumsfeld, Cheney, and others through the 1980s and 1990s. 8 This planning was initially for continuity measures in the event of a nuclear attack, but soon called for suspension of the Constitution, not just "after a nuclear war" but for any "national security emergency." This was defined in Reagan's Executive Order 12656 of November 18, 1988 as "any occurrence, including natural disaster, military attack, technological emergency, or other emergency, that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States." The effect was to impose on domestic civil society the extreme measures once planned for a response to a nuclear attack from abroad. 9
       In like fashion ARR 500-3 Regulation clarified that it was a plan for "the execution of mission-essential functions without unacceptable interruption during a national security or domestic emergency."
       Donald Rumsfeld, who as a private citizen had helped author the COG planning, promptly signed and implemented the revised ARR 500-3. Eight months later, on 9/11, Cheney and Rumsfeld implemented COG, a significant event of which we still know next to nothing. What we do know is that plans began almost immediately – as foreseen by COG planning the 1980s -- to implement warrantless surveillance and detention of large numbers of civilians, and that in January 2002 the Pentagon submitted a proposal for deploying troops on American streets. 10
       Then in April 2002, Defense officials implemented a plan for domestic U.S. military operations by creating a new U.S. Northern Command (CINC-NORTHCOM) for the continental United States. 11 In short, what were being implemented were the most prominent features of the COG planning which Oliver North had worked on in the 1980s.
       Deep Events and Changes of Party in the White House
       Like so many other significant steps since World War Two towards a military-industrial state, the Army's Regulation 500-3 surfaced in the last days of a departing administration (in this case the very last day). It is worth noticing that, ever since the 1950s, dubious events--of the unpublic variety I have called deep events--have marked the last months before a change of party in the White House. These deep events have tended to a) constrain incoming presidents, if the incomer is a Democrat, or alternatively b) to pave the way for the incomer, if he is a Republican.
       Consider, in the first category, the following (when a Republican was succeeded by a Democrat):
       * In December 1960 the CIA secured approval for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, and escalated events in Laos into a crisis for which the Joint Chiefs proposed sending 60,000 troops. These events profoundly affected President Kennedy's posture towards Cuba and Indochina.
       * In 1976 CIA Director George H.W. Bush installed an outside Team B intelligence unit to enlarge drastically estimates of the Soviet threat to the United States, eventually frustrating and reversing presidential candidate Jimmy Carter's campaign pledge to cut the U.S. defense budget. 12
       Equally important were events in the second category (when a Democrat was succeeded by a Republican):
       * In late 1968 Kissinger, while advising the Johnson administration, gave secret information to the Nixon campaign that helped Nixon to obstruct the peace agreement in Vietnam that was about to be negotiated at the peace talks then taking place in Paris. (According to Seymour Hersh,"The Nixon campaign, alerted by Kissinger to the impending success of the peace talks, was able to get a series of messages to the Thieu government" in Saigon making it clear that a Nixon presidency would offer a better deal. This was a major factor in securing the defeat of Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey. 13 Kissinger was not the kind of person to have betrayed his president on his own personal initiative. At the time Nixon's campaign manager, John Mitchell (one of the very few in on the secret), told Hersh that "I thought Henry [Kissinger] was doing it because Nelson [Rockefeller] wanted him to. Nelson asked Henry to help and he did." 14
       * In 1980 the so-called October Surprise, with the help of people inside CIA, helped ensure that the Americans held hostage in Iran would not be returned before the inauguration of Reagan. This was a major factor in securing the defeat of incumbent Jimmy Carter. 15 Once again, the influence of the Rockefellers can be discerned. A CIA officer later reported hearing Joseph V. Reed, an aide to David Rockefeller, comment in 1981 to William Casey, the newly installed CIA Director, about their joint success in disrupting Carter's plans to bring home the hostages. 16
       Both the financial bailout, extorted from Congress and the escalated preparations for martial law can be seen as transitional events of the first category. Whatever the explanations for their timing, they will constrain Obama's freedom to make his own policies. I fear moreover they may have the consequence of easing this country into unforeseen escalations of the Afghan war.
       The Intensive Quiet Preparations for Martial Law
       Let us deal first with the preparations for martial law. On September 30, 2008, the Army Times announced the redeployment of an active Brigade Army Team from Iraq to America, in a new mission that "may become a permanent part of the active Army":
       The 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.
       Now they're training for the same mission – with a twist – at home.
       Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks… . After 1st BCT finishes its dwell-time mission, expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one… .They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control. 17
       This announcement followed by two weeks the talk of civil unrest and martial law that was used to panic the Congress into passing Paulson's bailout legislation. Not only that, the two unprecedented events mirror each other: the bailout debate anticipated civil unrest and martial law, while the announced positioning of an active Brigade Combat Team on U.S. soil anticipated civil unrest (such as might result from the bailout legislation).
       Then on December 17, 2008, US Northern Command chief General Renuart announced that "the US military plans to mobilize thousands of troops to protect Washington against potential terrorist attack during the inauguration of president-elect Barack Obama." 18
       The US Army War College has also raised the possibility of the U.S. Army being used to control civil unrest, according to the Phoenix Business Journal:
       A new report by the U.S. Army War College talks about the possibility of Pentagon resources and troops being used should the economic crisis lead to civil unrest, such as protests against businesses and government or runs on beleaguered banks.
       "Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security," said the War College report.
       The study says economic collapse, terrorism and loss of legal order are among possible domestic shocks that might require military action within the U.S. 19
       It is clear that there has been a sustained move in the direction of martial law preparations, a trend that has been as continuous as it has been unheralded. Senator Leahy was thus right to draw our attention to it back on September 29, 2006, in his objections to the final form of the Fiscal Year 2007 National Defense Authorization Act, which gave the president increased power to call up the National Guard for law enforcement:
       It … should concern us all that the Conference agreement includes language that subverts solid, longstanding posse comitatus statutes that limit the military's involvement in law enforcement, thereby making it easier for the President to declare martial law. There is good reason for the constructive friction in existing law when it comes to martial law declarations. 20
       This quiet agglomeration of military power has not "just growed," like Topsy, through inadvertence. It shows sustained intention, even if no one has made a public case for it.
       How the Bush Administration Protected Predatory Lending and Let the Financial Crisis Grow
       Let us now consider the financial crisis and the panic bailout. No one should think that the crisis was unforeseen. Back in February Eliot Spitzer, in one of his last acts as governor of New York, warned about the impending crisis created by predatory lending, and reveled that the Bush Administration was blocking state efforts to deal with it. His extraordinary warning, in the Washington Post, is worth quoting at some length:
       Several years ago, state attorneys general and others involved in consumer protection began to notice a marked increase in a range of predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders. …
       Even though predatory lending was becoming a national problem, the Bush administration looked the other way and did nothing to protect American homeowners. In fact, the government chose instead to align itself with the banks that were victimizing consumers… . Several state legislatures, including New York's, enacted laws aimed at curbing such practices… .Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye.
       Let me explain: The administration accomplished this feat through an obscure federal {Treasury} agency called the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The OCC has been in existence since the Civil War. Its mission is to ensure the fiscal soundness of national banks. For 140 years, the OCC examined the books of national banks to make sure they were balanced, an important but uncontroversial function. But a few years ago, for the first time in its history, the OCC was used as a tool against consumers.
       In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government's actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.
       But the unanimous opposition of the 50 states did not deter, or even slow, the Bush administration in its goal of protecting the banks. In fact, when my office opened an investigation of possible discrimination in mortgage lending by a number of banks, the OCC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the investigation. 21
       Eliot Spitzer submitted his Op Ed to the Washington Post on February 13. If it had an impact, it was not the one Spitzer had hoped for. On March 10 the New York Times broke the story of Spitzer's encounter with a prostitute. According to a later Times story, "on Feb. 13 {the day Spitzer's Op Ed went up on the Washington Post website} federal agents staked out his hotel in Washington." 22
       It is remarkable that the Mainstream Media found Spitzer's private life to be big news, but not his charges that Paulson's Treasury was prolonging the financial crisis, or the relation of these charges to Spitzer's exposure. As a weblog commented,
       The US news media failed to draw the obvious connection between the bizarre federal law enforcement investigation and leak campaign about the private life of New York Governor Spitzer and Spitzer's all out attack on the Bush administration for its collusion with predatory lenders.
       While the international credit system grinds to a halt because of a superabundance of bad mortgage loans made in the US, the news media failed to cover the details of Spitzer's public charges against the White House.
       Yet when salacious details were leaked about alleged details of Spitzer's private life, they took that information and made it the front page news for days. 23
       After Spitzer's Op Ed was published, according to Greg Palast, the Federal Reserve, "for the first time in its history, loaned a selected coterie of banks one-fifth of a trillion dollars to guarantee these banks' mortgage-backed junk bonds. The deluge of public loot was an eye-popping windfall to the very banking predators who have brought two million families to the brink of foreclosure." 24
       What are we to make of Spitzer's charge that the Bush administration interfered to preempt state laws against predatory lending, and of the fact that the mainstream media did not report that? A petty motive for the OCC's behavior in 2003 might have been to allow the housing bubble to continue through 2003 and 2004, thus facilitating Bush's re-election. But the persistence of Treasury obstruction thereafter, despite the unanimous opposition of all fifty states, and the continuing silence of the media about this disagreement, suggest that some broader policy intention may have been at stake.
       One is struck by the similarities with the Savings and Loan scandal which was allowed to continue through the Reagan 1980s, long after it became apparent that deliberate bankruptcy was being used by unscrupulous profiteers to amass illegal fortunes at what was ultimately public expense. 25
       In the same way, the long drawn-out housing bubble of the current Bush decade, and particularly the derivative bubble that was floated upon it, allowed the Bush administration to help offset the trillion-dollar-plus cost of its Iraq misadventure, 26 by creating spurious securities that sold for hundreds of billions, not just in the United States, but through the rest of the world.
       In the long run, this was not a sustainable source of wealth for America's financial class, which is now suffering like everyone else from the consequent recession. But in the short run, the financial crisis and bailout made it possible for Bush to wage a costly war without experiencing the kind of debilitating inflation that was brought on by America's Vietnam War.
       The trillion dollar meltdown, 27 in other words, can be rationalized as having helped finance the Iraq War. When we turn to the martial law preparations, however, they are being made in anticipation of civil unrest in the future. Why such intense preparation for this?
       The obvious answer of course is memory of the rioting that occurred in San Francisco and elsewhere during the great depression of the 1930s. Indeed that thought may be uppermost among those who recently arranged for the redeployment of a Brigade Combat Team from Iraq to America. But the planning for martial law in America dates back almost three decades, from the days when Reagan appointed Rumsfeld, Cheney and others to plan secretly for what was misleadingly called Continuity [i.e., Change] of Government. Concern about the 2008 recession cannot have been on their minds then, or on those who introduced the Army's "Continuity of Operations (COOP) Program" on January 19, 2001. Instead the "full all-hazards threat spectrum" envisaged in that document was clearly ancillary to the doctrine of "full-spectrum dominance" that had been articulated in the Joint Chiefs of Staff blueprint, Joint Vision 2020, endorsed eight months earlier on May 30, 2000. 28
       The interest of Cheney and Rumsfeld in COG planning, including planning for martial law, also envisaged full spectrum dominance. This is made clear by their simultaneous engagement in the 1990s in the public Project for the New American Century (PNAC). PNAC's goals were stated very explicitly in their document Rebuilding America's Defenses: to increase defense spending so as to establish America's military presence throughout the world as an unchallengeable power. This would entail permanent U.S. forces in central as well as east Asia, even after the disappearance[jam1] of Saddam Hussein. 29
       In short PNAC's program was a blueprint for permanent overseas American empire, a project they recognized would not be easily accepted by an American democracy. Their call frankly acknowledged that it would be difficult to gain support for their projected increase in defense spending to "a minimum level of 3.5 to 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, adding $15 billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually." "The process of transformation," the document admitted, "is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event–like a new Pearl Harbor." 30
       There is of course every reason to hope that the disastrous era of Rumsfeld and Cheney is about to end, with the election of Barack Obama. Obama has made it clear that he will pursue a foreign policy dedicated to diplomacy and multilateralism. In this spirit he has declared his willingness to talk to Iran without preconditions.
       But Obama's stated reason for disengagement from Iraq – "The scale of our deployments in Iraq continues to set back our ability to finish the fight in Afghanistan" 31 – is very ominous. Few serious students of the Afghan scene believe that America can "finish the fight in Afghanistan," any more successfully than could the Russians or British before them. The U.S. position there is visibly deteriorating, while the U.S. strategy of cross-border attacks is having the effect of destabilizing Pakistan as well. The U.S.-backed Karzai regime has so little control over the countryside that Kabul itself is now coming under rocket attack. Experts on the scene agree that any effort to "finish" will be a long-term proposition requiring at a minimum a vastly escalated commitment of U.S. troops. 32
       One cannot predict the future, but one can examine the past. For thirty years I have been writing about the persistence in America of a war mentality that, time after time, trumps reasonable policies of negotiation, and leads us further into armed conflict. This dominant mindset is not restricted to any single agency or cabal, but is rather the likely outcome of on-going tensions between hawks and doves in the internal politics of Washington.
       If a container of rocks and gravel is shaken vigorously, the probability is that the gravel will gravitate towards the bottom, leaving the largest rocks at the top. There is an analogous probability that, in an on-going debate over engaging or withdrawing from a difficult military contest, the forces for engagement will come out on top, regardless of circumstances. Available military power tends to be used, and one of the most remarkable features of history since 1945 is that this tendency has not so far repeated itself with atomic weapons.
       Let me explain this metaphor in more concrete detail. Progressive societies (in this era usually democracies) tend to expand their presence beyond their geographic boundaries. This expanded presence calls for new institutions, usually (like the CIA) free from democratic accountability. This accretion of unaccountable power, in what I have elsewhere called the deep state, disrupts the public state's system of checks and balances which is the underpinning of sane, deliberative policy.
       We might expect of progressive democracies that they would evolve towards more and more rational foreign policies. But because of the dialectic just described, what we see is the exact opposite – evolution towards foolish and sometimes disastrous engagements. When Britain became more democratic in the late 19th Century, it also initiated the Boer War, a war very suited to the private imperial needs of Cecil Rhodes, but irrelevant if not deleterious to the interests of the British people. 33 Hitler's dreams of a Third Reich, entailing a doomed repeat of Napoleon's venture into the heart of Russia, suited the needs of the German industrialists who had financed the Nazis; but from the outset sane heads of the German military staff could foresee the coming disaster.
       For over a half century now, beginning with Vietnam, unaccountable forces have been maneuvering America into unsustainable adventures on the Asian mainland. We now know that Kennedy did not intend ever to commit U.S. combat troops to Vietnam. 34 But the fatal planning to expand the Vietnam War north of the 17th parallel was authorized in the last week of his aborted presidency, probably without his being aware. 35 When elected, Jimmy Carter was determined to reduce the size and frequency of CIA covert operations. 36 Yet his national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, initiated maneuvers in Afghanistan that led to the largest CIA covert operation (and in my view, one of the most deleterious) of all time. 37
       Our archival historians have not yet fully understood either paradox, or the forces behind them. And as the philosopher George Santayana famously observed, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." 38
       The Future: Military Escalation Abroad and at Home?
       Like both Kennedy and Carter, Barack Obama is a complex mix of hopeful and depressing qualities. Among the latter are his unqualified desire to "finish" (i.e., "win") the war in Afghanistan, and his support, along with his party's, for the final version of the Paulson bailout. In my view they go together.
       Like the government negotiated resolution of the savings-and-loan-scandal of the 1980s, the financial bailout undisguisedly taxed the public wealth of the republic to protect and even enrich those who for some time had been undeservedly enriching themselves. Old-line leftists might see nothing unusual about this: it conforms to their analysis of how the capitalist state has always worked.
       But it is only characteristic of the American state since the Reagan revolution of the 1980s. Before that time governmental policies were more likely to be directed towards helping the poor; afterwards the ideology of free-market literalism, even under Clinton, was invoked in numerous ways for the enriching of the rich.
       The result of these government policies has been summarized by Prof. Edward Wolff:
    We have had a fairly sharp increase in wealth inequality dating back to 1975 or 1976. Prior to that, there was a protracted period when wealth inequality fell in this country, going back almost to 1929. So you have this fairly continuous downward trend from 1929, which of course was the peak of the stock market before it crashed, until just about the mid-1970s. Since then, things have really turned around, and the level of wealth inequality today is almost double what it was in the mid-1970s…..
       Up until the early 1970s, the U.S. actually had lower wealth inequality than Great Britain, and even than a country like Sweden. But things have really turned around over the last 25 or 30 years. In fact, a lot of countries have experienced lessening wealth inequality over time. The U.S. is atypical in that inequality has risen so sharply over the last 25 or 30 years. 39
       Past excesses of American wealth, as in the Gilded Age and the 1920s, have been followed by political reforms, such as the income tax, to reduce wealth and income disparity. But as Kevin Phillips has warned, this type of reform must happen again soon, or it may not happen at all:
       As the twenty-first century gets underway, the imbalance of wealth and democracy in the United States is unsustainable… . Either democracy must be renewed, with politics brought back to life, or wealth is likely to cement a new and less democratic regime–plutocracy by some other name. 40
       Judged by this criterion, the Paulson bailout as passed was not just an opportunity missed; it was a radical leap in the wrong direction. It is not reassuring that the bailout was passed with the support of Obama and the Democratic Party. This is rather a sign that plutocracy will not be seriously challenged by either party in their present state.
       Warren Buffett may have been correct in saying that the bailout was necessary. But it is not hard to think of reforms that should have accompanied it:
       1) there should have been transparency, not secrecy
       2) public funds should not have been made available for bonuses or dividends (The richest 10 percent of Americans own 85 percent of all stock). 41
       And as a bailout for the automobile industry is debated, two more reforms seem self-evident:
       3) any reduction in income should not affect workers alone, but all levels of employees equally
       4) as has often been suggested, a limit should be established by law to the maximum ratio of the highest remuneration to the lowest in any industry – perhaps a ratio of twenty to one.
       I am not making these obvious suggestions with any expectation that they will be passed or seriously debated. The plutocratic corruption of both our parties makes such a prospect almost unthinkable.
       What I do want to contemplate is the serious prospect of war. America escaped from the depression of the 1890s with the Spanish-American War. 42 It only escaped the Great Depression of the 1930s with the Second World War. There was even a recession in the late 1940s from which America only escaped with the Korean War. As we face the risk of major depression again, I believe we inevitably face the danger of major war again.
       In the meantime, some aspects of the financial meltdown, although they arose for many reasons and were not the result of some conspiratorial cabal, may be prolonged because of their utility to the war-minded. Consider that, from the perspective of maintaining America's imperial thrust into Afghanistan (and even Pakistan), the financial crisis has had some desired consequences:
       1) The dollar's value against other international currencies, notably the euro, has improved, thus improving America's balance of payments and also offsetting the threat to the dollar's important role as the primary unit of international trade.
       2) Thanks to the determined international marketing of overvalued derivatives based on predatory lending, the resulting financial crisis has been internationalized, with economies elsewhere suffering even greater shocks than the United States. This has relatively improved America's capacity to finance a major war effort overseas (which has always had a major impact on the U.S. balance of payments).
       3) The price of oil has plummeted from $147 a barrel last July to under $40, thus weakening the economies of Russia, China, and especially Saudi Arabia, the country whose international foundations have been supporting Al Qaeda.
       The Afghan situation is grim, but it is not hopeless. Two skilled observers, Barnett R. Rubin and Ahmed Rashid, have proposed a political solution for the entire region that would promise greater security for the entire area than Obama's ill-considered proposal to send 20,000 more U.S. troops. 43 In Rashid's words,
       President-elect Obama and Western leaders have to adopt a comprehensive approach that sees the region [with Afghanistan's neighbors, including Pakistan, India, Russia, China, Iran, and the former Soviet states] as a unit with interlocking development issues to be resolved such as poverty, illiteracy and weak governance. There has to be a more comprehensive but more subtle approach to democratising the region and forcing powerful but negative stakeholders in local power structures - such as the drug mafias - either to change their thinking or be eliminated. 44
       That observers with such recognized status are offering a sensible political solution does not provide me with much optimism. For three decades now Barnett Rubin has been offering sound advice on Iran and Afghanistan to Washington, only to be ignored by those lobbying for covert operations and military solutions. This dialectic is reminiscent of the Vietnam War, where for over a decade reasonable proposals to demilitarize the conflict were similarly ignored.
       I repeat that the future is unpredictable. But I fear that Obama's proposal to send 20,000 additional troops will carry the day, with its predictable consequences of a wider war in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. 45 With this I also fear an increased use of the U.S. Army to control protests by the American people.
       I earnestly hope that my fears are misplaced. Time will tell.
    ____________________
    NOTES
    1. WCAX, Burlington, Vermont - December 22, 2008, http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S=9567271. Cf. CNBC, October 30, 2008, http://www.cnbc.com/id/27423117: "'You can get paid $30 million under this program,' says Michael Kesner, who heads Deloitte Consulting's executive compensation practice. 'There's no limit on what you can get paid.'"
    2 John Dunbar, AP, October 25, 2007, http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/081025/meltdown_evolving_bailout.html .
    3. David Hirst, "Fox joins battle cry for details of US bail-out," BusinessDay, December 24, 2008, http://www. businessday. com.au/ business/fox- joins-battle- cry-for-details- of-us-bailout- 20081223- 74eh.html? page=-1 .
    4 http://phoenix.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2008/12/15/daily34.html.
    5. http://www.blacklistednews.com/news-2367-0-13-13--.html.
    6. Rep. Brad Sherman, in the House, 8:07 EST PM, October 2, 2008, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaG9d_4zij8&NR=1. Rep. Sherman later issued the following clarification: "I have no reason to think that any of the leaders in Congress who were involved in negotiating with the Bush Administration regarding the bailout bill ever mentioned the possibility of martial law -- again, that was just an example of extreme and deliberately hyperbolic comments being passed around by members not directly involved in the negotiations." Cf. Rep. Sherman on Alex Jones show, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bH1mO8qhCs. .
    7 Army Regulation 500-3, Emergency Employment of Army And Other Resources, Army Continuity Of Operations (COOP) Program, http://www.wikileaks.org/leak/us-army-reg-500-3-continuity-2001.pdf, emphasis added. Cf. Tom Burghardt, "Militarizing the 'Homeland' in Response to the Economic and Political Crisis: NORTHCOM's Joint Task Force-Civil Support," GlobalResearch, October 11, 2008, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10534 .
    8 Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2007), 183-87; cf. James Mann, The Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet (New York: Viking, 2004), 138-45.
    9 Scott, The Road to 9/11, 183-87.
    10 Ritt Goldstein , "Foundations are in place for martial law in the US," Sydney Morning Herald, July 27 2002, http://www. smh.com.au/ articles/ 2002/07/27/ 102749741 8339.html .
    11 Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11, 240-41.
    12 Scott, The Road to 9/11, 60-61.
    13 Robert Parry, "Henry Kissinger, Eminence Noire," ConsortiumNews, December 28, 2008, http://www.consortiumnews.com/2008/122808.html: "Kissinger, … – while serving as a peace-talk adviser to the Johnson administration – made obstruction of the peace talks possible by secretly contacting people working for Nixon, according to Seymour Hersh's 1983 book, The Price of Power [p. 21].
    14 Hersh, Price of Power, 18. Cf. Jim Hougan, Spooks: The Haunting of America (New York: William Morrow, 1978), 435: "Kissinger, married to a former Rockefeller aide, owner of a Georgetown mansion whose purchase was enabled only by Rockefeller gifts and loans, was always the protégé of his patron, Nelson R[ockefeller], even when he wasn't directly employed by him."
    15 Scott, The Road to 9/11, 93-118.
    16 Scott, The Road to 9/11, 82-87, 91, 104-05.
    17 "Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1," Army Times, September 30, 2008, http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/09/army_homeland_090708w/. Cf. Michel Chossudovsky, "Pre-election Militarization of the North American Homeland, US Combat Troops in Iraq repatriated to 'help with civil unrest,'"GlobalResearch, September 26, 2008, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10341.
    18 Agence France-Presse, December 17, 2008, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iTBOy3JF8pVAthIthq8C1NrMf4Cg.
    19 http://phoenix.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2008/12/15/daily34.html.
    20 Remarks Of Sen. Patrick Leahy, National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2007 Conference Report, Congressional Record, September 29, 2006, http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200609/092906b.html.
    21 Eliot Spitzer, "Predatory Lenders' Partner in Crime: How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers," Washington Post, February 14, 2008; A25, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/13/AR2008021302783.html?nav=hcmodule . Three months earlier, on November 8, 2007, Governor Spitzer and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo had published a joint letter to Congress, "calling for continued federal action to combat subprime lending practices" (http://www.state.ny.us/governor/press/1108071.html).
    22 David Johnston and Philip Shenon, "U.S. Defends Tough Tactics on Spitzer," New York Times, March 21, 2008.
    23 "Why Eliot Spitzer was assassinated: The predatory lending industry had a partner in the White House," Brasscheck TV, March 2008, http://brasschecktv.com/page/291.html.
    24 Greg Palast, "Eliot's Mess: The $200 billion bail-out for predator banks and Spitzer charges are intimately linked," Air America Radio's Clout, March 14, 2008, http://www.gregpalast.com/elliot-spitzer-gets-nailed/
    25 Without suggesting that the scandal was in any way centrally orchestrated or directed, it can be argued that the scandal was permitted to drag on so long because it was allowing profits from the illegal drug traffic to recapitalize the American economy and strengthen the beleaguered U.S. dollar.
    26 Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes, The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict (New York: W.W. Norton, 2008). Cf. Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, "The three trillion dollar war," The Times (London), February 23, 2008, http://www. timesonline. co.uk/tol/ comment/ columnists/ guest_ contributors/ article341 9840.ece : "On the eve of war, there were discussions of the likely costs. Larry Lindsey, President Bush's economic adviser and head of the National Economic Council, suggested that they might reach $200 billion. But this estimate was dismissed as "baloney" by the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. His deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, suggested that postwar reconstruction could pay for itself through increased oil revenues. Mitch Daniels, the Office of Management and Budget director, and Secretary Rumsfeld estimated the costs in the range of $50 to $60 billion, a portion of which they believed would be financed by other countries. (Adjusting for inflation, in 2007 dollars, they were projecting costs of between $57 and $69 billion.) The tone of the entire administration was cavalier, as if the sums involved were minimal."
    27 Charles R. Morris, The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash (New York: PublicAffairs, 2008).
    28 Joint Vision 2020, http://www.dtic.mil/jointvision/jvpub2.htm; Scott, The Road to 9/11, 20, 24. "Full spectrum dominance" repeated what had been outlined earlier in a predecessor document, Joint Vision 2010 of 2005, but with new emphasis on the statement that "the United States must maintain its overseas presence forces" (Joint Vision 2020, 6). Cf. Joint Vision 2010, 4, www.dtic.mil/jv2010/jvpub.htm: "We will remain largely a force that is based in the continental United States."
    29 Project for the New American Century, Rebuilding America's Defenses, http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf; Scott, The Road to 9/11, 23-24, 191-93.
    30 Rebuilding America's Defenses, 51, 75.
    31 "War in Iraq," BarackObama.com, http://www.barackobama.com/issues/iraq/ .
    32 See e.g. Andrew Bacevich, Newsweek, December 8, 2008, http://www.newsweek.com/id/171254: "In Afghanistan today, the United States and its allies are using the wrong means to pursue the wrong mission. Sending more troops to the region, as incoming president Barack Obama and others have suggested we should, will only turn Operation Enduring Freedom into Operation Enduring Obligation. Afghanistan will be a sinkhole, consuming resources neither the U.S. military nor the U.S. government can afford to waste." Cf. PBS, Frontline, "The War Briefing," October 28, 2008, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warbriefing/view/.
    33 For the role of the Rhodes-promoted Jameson Raid in instigating the Boer War, see Elizabeth Longford, Jameson's Raid: The Prelude to the Boer War (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1982).
    34 Gordon M. Goldstein, Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam (New York: Times Books/Henry Holt, 2008).
    35 John Newman, JFK and Vietnam: Deception, Intrigue, and the Struggle for Power (New York: Warner Books, 1992), 375-77, 434-35, 447; Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War (Ipswich, MA: Mary Ferrell Foundation Press, 2008), 25-26, 28.
    36 Ofira Seliktar, Failing the Crystal Ball Test: The Carter Administration and the Fundamentalist Revolution in Iran (Westport, CN: Praeger, 2000), 52.
    37 Brzezinski later boasted that his "secret operation was an excellent idea. It drew the Russians into the Afghan trap" ("Les Révélations d'un ancien conseiller de Carter," interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, Le Nouvel Observateur, January 15–21, 1998, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/BRZ110A.html; French version: http://www.confidentiel.net/breve.php3?id_breve=1862; quoted at length in Peter Dale Scott, Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), 35). For my negative assessment of what some have described as the CIA's most successful covert operation, see The Road to 9/11, 114-37.
    38 George Santayana, Life of Reason, Reason in Common Sense (New York: Scribner's, 1905), 284.
    39 Edward Wolff, "The Wealth Divide: The Growing Gap in the United States Between the Rich and the Rest," Multinational Monitor, May 2003, http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/America/Wealth_Divide.html. Cf. Edward Wolff, Top Heavy: The Increasing Inequality of Wealth in America and What Can Be Done About It (New York: New Press, 2002).
    40 Kevin Phillips, Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich (New York: Broadway Books, 2002), 422; quoted in Scott, The Road to 9/11, 3.
    41 Wolff, "The Wealth Divide."
    42 For McKinley's mercantilist "large policy" as a response to depression, see Philip Sheldon Foner, The Spanish-Cuban-American War and the Birth of American Imperialism, 1895-1902 (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1972).
    43 Barnett R. Rubin and Ahmed Rashid, "From Great Game to Grand Bargain: Ending Chaos in Afghanistan and Pakistan," Foreign Affairs, November/December 2008, http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20081001faessay87603-p40/barnett-r-rubin-ahmed-rashid/from-great-game-to-grand-bargain.html.
    44 Ahmed Rashid, "Obama's huge South Asia headache," BBC, January 2, 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7788321.stm,
    45 Cf. Zia Sarhadi, "America's 'good war' turns into quicksand," MediaMonitors, January 5, 2009, http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/58114: "Obama's announcement to send 20,000 additional troops to the 'good war' in Afghanistan has been greeted by the Taliban with glee. They regard it as an opportunity to attack a 'bigger army, bigger target and more shiny new weapons to take from the toy soldiers.' American generals have talked in terms of 40,000 to 100,000 additional troops, levels that are simply not available. America's killing of hundreds of Afghan civilians in indiscriminate aerial attacks has been the most effective recruiting tool for the Taliban. Even those Afghans not keen on seeing the Taliban back in power are appalled by the level of brutality inflicted on civilians."
       Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher. His most recent book is The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War, It can be ordered from the Mary Ferrell Foundation Press at http://www. maryferrell. org/wiki/ index.php/ MFF_Store . Scott's website is http://www. peterdale scott.net .
       Peter Dale Scott is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
       Please support Global Research http://www. global research.ca , which relies on the financial support of its readers.

       [RECAPITULATION: The richest 10 percent of Americans own 85 percent of all stock). ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#martial_law_the_financial
    [Jan 8, 09]

    • Editor of "West" falls to superior forces.     

    Editor of “West” falls to superior forces

       Letter sent to The Australian and similar to others, From an Infomed Source, sent on January 16, 2009
       The removal of the Editor of The West Australian is another example of high finance trying to stifle the truth.
       Mr Paul Armstrong and his team have given West Australians the major news, not just soft pap, so they know that our Aussie culture is under attack, that powerful overseas investment firms have engineered a world depression in the midst of wonderful inventions, that we have been lied to about Iraq, that some religious leaders are not very religious, and that our State governments have let our essential services run down badly.
       We will all be poorer for his being removed. #

    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#editor_of_west
    [Jan 16, 09]

    • Blank-cheque bailout terrifies markets and wipes credibility.   

    Blank-cheque bailout terrifies markets and wipes credibility

       The West Australian, www.thewest.com.au , letters § wanews com au , COMMENT, By EDMUND CONWAY, The Telegraph Group (London), p 18, Wednesday, Jan 21, 2009
      [Picture] Crisis: Britain's economy is in steep decline, causing businesses to fold.  
       British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's blank cheque to bail out the country's banks again takes the nation a step closer to the brink.
       On the day of Britain's worst corporate loss – the Royal Bank of Scotland's £28 billion calamity – a massive slide in bank shares and news of another financial bailout, it might seem perverse to focus on a rumour.
       But as the sharemarket closed on Monday and with the British banking system closer to total nationalisation, the rumour was of a scale even more terrifying.
       The word is that a leading agency is about to cut its rating on Britain's sovereign debt. Esoteric as it sounds, it has enormous significance if true because it underlines the growing weight of opinion that Britain is inching towards insolvency.
       Britain is not bankrupt and, despite the sense of fatalism in London and on the high street, such an outcome is nowhere near inevitable.
       Britain is heavily in debt but so are many other countries and the debt can be repaid in coming years at a cost of slower economic growth and higher interest rates.
       Also, countries with floating exchange rates do not go insolvent but adapt by allowing their currencies to depreciate and inflation to rise.
       Until Monday, the pound's fall was part of the cure rather than the disease.
       With metal joinery now cheaper in Walsall than in Warsaw, the weakness of sterling was a sign not of Britain's going broke but of its flexibility in dealing with the crisis. It was euro-zone members such as Spain and Ireland on the same interest rate that faced the real problem.
       But then this did not reckon with the capacity of Mr Brown and his treasurer Alistair Darling to terrify markets. Having promised in October a bailout to save the global financial system, their announcement of a blank cheque for the banks was fatal.
       It seems to confirm investors' worst fears that soon the entire banking system will need to be nationalised
       This is the worst of both worlds for Britons who face a major liability – probably about £250 billion ($535 billion) but it could be as high as £350 billion on top of the £500 billion October deal – and the Government has avoided saying how it will pay.
       Instead, Britons are asked simply to trust that the Government is good for its word. Markets are fast losing that trust.
       There is still some way to go between here and a trip to the International Monetary Fund, but Mr Brown has taken Britain one step closer.  THE TELEGRAPH GROUP, LONDON #

       [RECAPITULATION: The word is that a leading agency is about to cut its rating on Britain's sovereign debt. Esoteric as it sounds, it has enormous significance if true because it underlines the growing weight of opinion that Britain is inching towards insolvency. … Britain is heavily in debt but so are many other countries and the debt can be repaid in coming years at a cost of slower economic growth and higher interest rates. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Students of real economics, as contrasted with the corrupted hodge-podge taught as "economics," know that a country that formerly held about 25 per cent of the world's land could not be in debt unless it was following completely unsuitable funding policies.  Evidence for that observation is that the British Government supposedly bailed out banks, but each month it keeps borrowing credit from those self-same banks by auctioning debt certificates!  The Mad Hatter and the Dormouse could hardly do anything sillier!  Meanwhile more than a million parasite types live in baronial splendour, and as homes are repossessed they grow richer and richer. ENDS.]
       [2nd RECAPITULATION: … a trip to the International Monetary Fund, but Mr Brown has taken Britain one step closer.  ENDS.]
       [2nd COMMENT: All that the International Monetary Fund has to offer is more created credit, offered as a DEBT (although it costs the IMF nothing), at interest!  There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!  Nor in the IMF vaults! ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#blank_cheque_bailout
    [Jan 21, 09]

    • Europe faces up to deep recession.   

    Europe faces up to deep recession

       The West Australian, www.thewest.com.au , letters § wanews com au , p 18, Wednesday, Jan 21, 2009
       BRUSSELS – The European Union says it faces a deep and protracte recession and has slashed growth forecasts while Britain has begun its second massive bank bailout in three months as another wave of gloom hits Europe.
       The European Commission said the economy in the 16 nations that use the euro would shrink 1.9 per cent this year with the entire EU economy contracting 1.8 per cent, much more than forecast.
       It expects 3.5 million EU jobs to disappear in the year as business and household spending shrinks and banks tighten lending.
       The only growth would be from governments and that carried a heavy price with state deficits tipped to be the highest in 15 years as they borrow to combat the economic crisis that began when international banks backed shaky US mortgages.
       The EU executive says credit conditions are dire and nations may need to inject more than the €300 billion ($590 billion) they have put into banks "to avoid a sustained drag on bank lending".
       It said the economy would fare much worse without the plans for members to spend one per cent more of their gross domestic products this year, which should boost growth 0.75 per cent.
      [Picture] Jean-Claude Trichet  
       [Scottish bank worth ¼ of bailout]       
       Britain's second bank bailout offers a guarantee on bad securities for a fee in return for increased lending to businesses and consumers. It also set aside £50 billion ($108 billion) for the Bank of England to buy risky assets from banks.
       Bank stocks plunged and Royal Bank of Scotland shares fell 70 per cent to just 10p when it announced Britain's biggest corporate loss of £28 billion. The Government raised its 58 per cent stake in the bank from the first bailout to about 70 per cent.
       Banking experts said RBS would almost inevitably be nationalised, possibly within days. It has already had £20 billion in taxpayers' money but is worth less than £5 billion. The bank's 12 million customers worldwide were advised their money was safe.
       The EU said the decline would be especially marked in Britain and even more so in Spain with the outlook still exceptionally uncertain. It predicted a moderate recovery in 2010 with EU growth of 0.5 per cent with the first green shoots late this year.
       But European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet was more gloomy, saying any rebound might come even later. He said officials had underestimated economic risks in the past two years and growth would be much lower than recent forecasts.
       The EU warned that "the main issue is whether the recovery will be lasting". #

       [RECAPITULATION: It expects 3.5 million EU jobs to disappear in the year … The only growth would be from governments and that carried a heavy price with state deficits tipped to be the highest in 15 years as they borrow to combat the economic crisis that began when international banks backed shaky US mortgages. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: The projected job losses are astonishing.  But, No, the U.S. shaky mortgages are NOT the cause.  The cause is the banking system reducing its credit creation, as their main shareholders move to clean up the real estate and shares bonanza that then becomes available for their greedy hands.  Created credit pumped up the boom, and reducing credit creation pricks the balloon. ENDS.]
       [2nd RECAPITULATION: … nations may need to inject more than the €300 billion ($590 billion) they have put into banks "to avoid a sustained drag on bank lending".
       [2nd COMMENT: That's just plain wrong.  Nations cannot borrow their way out of debt!  To "stimulate" a sabotaged economy requires the steady paced injection of debt-free money, and upon recovery a paced withdrawal of it. END.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#europe_faces_up
    [Jan 21, 09]

    • Wall Street is morally and financially bankrupt.   

    Wall Street is morally and financially bankrupt

       Crikey.com (Australian political on-line newsletter), from Adam Schwab, Friday, January 30, 2009
       Last year a German survey claimed that investment bankers were as "unpopular as convicted criminals and prostitutes". It is possible however that the world's oldest professionals are being unfairly slighted in the comparison. Yesterday, the New York State Comptroller stated that despite US banks receiving around US$300 billion dollars in taxpayer handouts, its executives still saw fit to doll out an estimated US$18.4 billion in bonuses -- the sixth highest on record.
       The New York Times noted that the quantum bonus payments made was similar to those paid in 2004 -- when the Dow Jones index was around 10,000 (it is now 8,149). President Obama dubbed the bonus payments as being "shameful" and "the height of irresponsibility".
       But it isn't only bonus payments which have infuriated Main Street and the White House.
       Until recently, Citigroup was the world's largest financial institution. Not any more. In the past six months, Citi has received US$45 billion in taxpayer funds, which is more than double Citi's current market capitalisation of US$22 billion. Citi also received a government guarantee on more than US$300 billion of toxic assets stuck on the bank's books. Notwithstanding the bailout, Citi executives only last Monday saw fit to cancel an order for a Dassault Falcon 7X corporate jet, which was ordered back in 2005 was set to cost the stricken bank US$50 million.
       One would have thought that someone at Citi would have cancelled the order last year, around the time that they accepted the taxpayer bailout. Apparently not. Or when the bank announced a fourth quarter loss last year of US$8.3 billion. Nup. Instead, it took a rebuke from President Obama for Citi to finally realize that five corporate jets were probably enough for a morally and (and without government help) financially bankrupt institution.
       But while Citi appears to have the market cornered in incompetence, it appears that pure greed has a new name, and its name is John Thain. Thain was the CEO of Merrill Lynch, which was recently acquired by Bank of America. BoA was not what one would describe as a willing suitor, having only completed the acquisition after being prodded by the Government and tempted with another US$20 billion from taxpayers.
       The second bailout was needed because in its last three months of existence, Merrill managed to lose US$15 billion. Notwithstanding the red ink, Thain requested that Merrill pay him a bonus of US$10 million for completing the BoA sale (Thain reluctantly withdrew the request when it became public last December). Aside from the fact that the transaction only happened because of a taxpayer bailout, Thain didn't exactly need the money -- he received US$83 million in remuneration last year and is believed to have been paid around US$300 million during his time at Goldman Sachs.
       If that wasn't bad enough, Thain has joined Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski in setting new standards of Wall Street greed. You may remember Kozlowski as the CEO who accepted loans of more than US$25 million from Tyco to decorate his New York apartment, most notably, spending US$6,000 on the world's most famous shower curtain. Dennis later spent US$1 million of company funds on his wife's 40th birthday party in Sardinia, before being jailed for larceny.
       While Thain is not believed to have purchased any gold shower curtains, he did see fit to spend US$1,405 on the world's most famous rubbish bin -- a "parchment waste paper basket". In total, Thain spent more than US$1.22 million office decorations (including a US$87,784 rug and a US$25,713 mahogany pedestal) -- that money of course came from Merrill shareholders, or taxpayers.
       But perhaps Citi and Thain are merely creations of Wall Street -- of a system which is designed to take other people's money and give it to bankers and brokers, regardless of the value created (or destroyed) by them. The system of entitlement is so engrained that despite the US financial system requiring taxpayer bailouts to survive, "a poll of 900 financial industry employees released on Wednesday by eFinancialCareers.com, a job search Web site, found that while nearly eight out of 10 got bonuses, 46 percent thought they deserved more." #

       [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Karl Williams of Prosper Australia http://www. prosper. org.au/ . ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#wall_street_is_morally
    [Jan 30, 09]

    RUDD, Kevin   The Global Financial Crisis  

     

    The Global Financial Crisis

       The Monthly magazine (Melbourne, Australia), letters § themonthly com au , Extracts from an Essay by Kevin Rudd (Australian Prime Minister), extracts from pp 22-27 (article is from p 20 to 29), February, 2009
       Neo-liberalism progressively became the economic orthodoxy.  It was reflected in wave after wave of tax cuts.  Governments bragged about their success in reducing measured levels of debt, while refusing to acknowledge the long-term economic cost of non-investment in education, skills and training (which increase productivity), and repudiating an appropriate role for public debt in financing investment in the infrastructure that underpins long-term economic growth.  Neo-liberals have also exhibited a passionate commitment to the total deregulation of the labour market.  Labour is routinely regarded by neo-liberals as no different from any other economic commodity.  In the ideal neo-liberal system, labour-market protections should be restricted to physical safety rather than appropriate remuneration or minimum negotiation standards.  Again, contract law, rather than any wider concept of a social contract, should prevail.  Neo-liberals in government also become notoriously reluctant to identify and respond to instances of market failure.  Climate change is a potent example.  What Sir Nicholas Stern legitimately describes as the greatest market failure in human history is dismissed by neo-liberals as a prescription for wanton interference in market forces.
    ……… ………………………………… .
       The neo-liberal deregulation mantra has been even more evident in the management of financial markets.  In the United States, the pursuit of financial deregulation crossed the Rubicon with the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which had been established in the wake of the Great Depression.  In the heady bubble years of the 1920s, American commercial banks, whose traditional function was simply to take deposits and make loans, plunged into the roaring bull market, trading on their own account, underwriting new stock issues and participating in reckless speculation.  When the stock-market bubble burst in 1929, it took commercial banks with it, causing a devastating chain reaction which affected the entire economy for a decade.  President Roosevelt implemented Glass-Steagall in 1933 to prevent Main Street commercial banks from being exposed to the vagaries of Wall Street in the future.  As Keynes, himself a successful speculator, observed: "When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done."
       After a $300-million lobbying effort by the financial-services industry, Glass-Steagall was effectively repealed in 1999, removing the prohibition on commercial banks owning investment banks.  The door was now open for the creation of huge financial-services conglomerates.  One of the first to take advantage of the new regime was Citigroup, formed from the regular bank Citicorp and Travelers Group, which had previously incorporated the investment bank Salomon Smith Barney. [ … ]
      THE GREAT NEO-LIBERAL EXPERIMENT of the past 30 years has failed … the emperor has no clothes.  Neo-liberalism, and the free-market fundamentalism it has produced, has been revealed as little more than personal greed dressed up as an economic philosophy.  
       The problem was that such combined entities became too systemically important to fail, yet their investment-banking arms were allowed to engage in speculation on a massive scale - so great as to imperil the finances of any government that had to bail them out.  Citigroup was in fact to become the recipient of a taxpayer-funded rescue package worth an estimated $249 billion.  It is ironic and – given the anti-government orthodoxy of neo–liberals – grossly hypocritical that the massive exposure to risk of these private financial conglomerates has resulted in a parallel exposure of the government, given the scale of possible government intervention in the event of bank failure.  During the bubble, however, no account was taken of this, as massive profits were privatised and prospective losses socialised through the operation of implicit banking guarantees.
       At the international level, bank risk is regulated by the Basel Accord.  Yet the Basel II guidelines, published in June 2004, have now been demonstrated to be inadequate because they left the determination of risk to flawed credit-ratings processes and the banks' own "self-regulated" internal assessment models.  Even then, the Basel rules were easily circumvented using innovative financial structures: structured investment vehicles were deliberately employed to shift risk off bank balance sheets.  As Joseph Stiglitz has argued, "many of America's big banks moved out of the 'lending' business and into the 'moving' business, focussing on originating loans, repackaging them and selling them on, with little emphasis on their traditional rule of assessing risk and screening credit worthiness. [ … ]
       Each time a crisis arise, the US Federal Reserve came to the rescue by significantly lowering the federal funds rate, in order to pump liquidity back into the market and avert any further deterioration.  After the 1987 stock-market crash, the Gulf War, the 1994 Mexican crisis, the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, the LTCM debacle of 1998 and the 2000-01 bursting of the internet bubble, the response was always the same.
       Investors increasing came to believe that when things went bad, they would be protected by monetary policy in what came to be known as the "Greenspan put" – low interest rates, high liquidity and the protection of asset prices.  Easy monetary policy … In fact, it added yet more fuel to the fire [ … ]
       (P. 27) Instead of distributing risk throughout the world, the global financial system has intensified it. … But as Stiglitz has caustically observed: "the reason that the invisible hand often seems invisible is that it is not there."  Financial markets have not self-corrected. [ … ]
       In preparing this article, Mr Rudd was assisted, with comments and contributions, by staff, advisors [sic] and others with a common interest in the ideological origins of the current crisis.
      [Front cover picture was of Mr Kevin Rudd.]  

       [RECAPITULATION: … the 1920s, American commercial banks, whose traditional function was simply to take deposits and make loans, … ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Sorry, their function is to MAKE LOANS, which then largely determine the size of what deposits the banking system will receive -- the one leads to the other.  The initial cash from the investors is necessary, and the wise banker keeps a prudential balance of about 10 per cent for cash withdrawals.  That is why the system sometimes has the words "fractional reserve" used in descriptions. COMMENT ENDS.]
       [2nd RECAPITULATION: When the stock-market bubble burst in 1929, it took commercial banks with it, causing a devastating chain reaction which affected the entire economy for a decade.  President Roosevelt implemented Glass-Steagall in 1933 to prevent Main Street commercial banks from being exposed to the vagaries of Wall Street in the future. ENDS.]
       [2nd COMMENT: Full marks to the Rt. Hon. Mr Rudd!  he says the Depression affected the world's economy "for a decade," unlike the chattering classes who normally say things were coming right in 1934.  In reality, the Great Depression lasted more than a decade -- 1929 to 1941, and the final "cure" came only in wartime because the super-rich then unbuttoned their credit-creation "wallets" to save their own hides.  AND Mr Rudd saw that the "vagaries of Wall Street" are part of the problem.  Guess where many investors get the credit with which to buy shares "on margin," that is, "in debt"?  Yes, the banks!  Bankers also help to create land bubbles, wrongly described as "property bubbles" or "real estate bubbles." ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#the_global_financial _crisis
    [Issue of Feb 2009]

    • Fred Harrison on the Betrayal by the Powers that be. 

    Fred Harrison on the Betrayal by the Powers that be

       Click: http://www. youtube.com/ watch?v=ki- Od1MMa78& feature= channel_page Posted on Wednesday, February 4, 2009

    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#fred_harrison_on_the
    [Feb 4, 09]

    • Chinese donation to Libs a secret.  [2007 Queensland Liberal Party; then-PM John Howard] - Sun Media magnate Mr Bruno Zheng Wu, AND miner Mr Clive Palmer, AND gambling owner Dr Stanley Ho.         

    Chinese donation to Libs a secret

       The Weekend Australian, letters§theaustralian com au , by Michael McKenna, p 3, February 7-8, 2009
       AUSTRALIA – THE Liberal Party has failed to disclose a $90,000 campaign donation made after then prime minister John Howard dined with a Chinese billionaire in the lead-up to the 2007 election.
       Chinese media magnate Bruno Zheng Wu, chief executive of Sun Media, handed over the money to the Queensland Liberals, as well as a further $10,000 to federal Opposition Whip Michael Johnson after attending a "Billionaire's" roundtable at Parliament House in June 2007, which was followed by a private dinner with Mr Howard.
       Mr Johnson, a federal Liberal MP for the blue-ribbon Brisbane seat of Ryan, and the former Queensland Liberal state director, Geoffrey Greene, both confirmed to The Weekend Australian that Dr Wu had made the donation later in 2007 to the party's state division.
       "I don't discuss details of donations, but the money was received by the Liberal Party in Queensland and should have been disclosed as required by law," Mr Greene said.
       But the money was not declared in the party's 2007-08 annual disclosure to the Australian Electoral Commission, released publicly earlier this week, and which was prepared and signed off on by LNP state secretary Mary Carroll.
       The apparent omission follows the failure of the LNP to initially disclose a $100,000 personal contribution to the Queensland Liberals by billionaire and mining magnate Clive Palmer in the same 2007-08 return to the AEC.
       LNP director Michael O'-Dwyer yesterday confirmed that the party had been forced to make an amendment to its return earlier this month after the AEC picked up the $100,000 donation through a personal declaration made by Mr Palmer.
       The Queensland arms of the Liberal and National parties merged last July under the LNP banner.
       Mr O'Dwyer yesterday said he could find no record of the $90,000 donation from Dr Wu or his Sun Media group of companies – one of the leading private media groups in China. Mr O'Dwyer said he would next week call in the LNP's auditors to go through the bank accounts.
       "We will conduct an audit and make a report to the AEC," he said. "We have been working closely with the AEC and make any amendments as soon as we need. The declarations are made to the best of our knowledge at the time and we are still trying to sort through some of the records of the former Liberal Party.
       "Since the merger, the records have been kept very accurately."
       Dr Wu's $10,000 donation to Mr Johnson – for organising the Canberra dinner, according to the federal Liberal MP – did not have to be disclosed because it is below the $10,500 cut-off required by the AEC to declare.
       The 2007-08 Liberal declaration does include a separate donation of $15,000 from Dr Wu.
       Dr Wu and his wife, Yang Lan, a journalist and broadcaster – once dubbed China's "Oprah Winfrey" – had attended the dinner with Mr Howard, along with several other Chinese business leaders and Mr Palmer.
       Mr Johnson said Dr Wu and his wife made the donation.
       "The couple are strong supporters of me and the Liberal Party in Australia," Mr Johnson said. "Obviously there were discussions (at the dinner) of what support they could offer the party.
       "I was the bridge and the Queensland division of the party was more than thrilled"
       The donation further confirms the growing financial muscle of Chinese business leaders being flexed in Australia's political parties.
       This week, it was revealed that NSW Labor had returned a $600,000 donation from a Gold Coast company with links to Hong Kong gambling billionaire Stanley Ho.
       But its decision to accept a $400,000 cheque from Dr Ho puts it at odds with federal Labor, which turned down a $500,000 donation from Dr Ho's wife, Angela Leong, in the same financial year. #
       [RECAPITULATION of brave then-PM John Howard during some boat people publicity -- "We will decide who comes to Australia." ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Or, will donations do what would otherwise seem improbable?  Was it love of other cultures, or past donations, which in the past 50 years helped Labor, traditionally opposed to foreign workers being imported to cut wages, to join the Liberals and Nationals in gradually adopting indiscriminate immigration practices? COMMENT ENDS.]
       [CHINESE PROVERB: "The longest journey starts with but a single step."  FABIAN SOCIETY SAYING: "The inevitabililty of gradualness."  CYNICAL SAYING: "Money speaks all languages."  EVEN MORE CYNICAL: "Great men are almost always bad men." Lord John Acton (1834-1902, in Historical Essays and Studies, Appendix, Letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, as quoted in Robin Hyman, 1967 edition, A Dictionary of Famous Quotations, Pan Books, London; p 9). ENDS.]
       [NEWS FLASH: A huge Chinese conglomerate offered this week to build a railway in Western Australia to carry minerals to the coast.  By the weekend the Liberal Premier Colin Barnett announced the government had no intention of taking up the offer.  Time will tell.  More news: Chinese and other overseas interests are offering to buy the shares in bulk mineral mining firms which, surprise, surprise, are finding orders tailing off and prices falling! ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#chinese_donation_to
    [Feb 7-8, 2009]

    • Federal obligations exceed world GDP; Does $65.5 trillion terrify anyone yet?   

    Federal obligations exceed world GDP


    Does $65.5 trillion terrify anyone yet?
       World Net Daily, http://www. worldnetdaily. com/index. php?fa=PAGE. view&pageId= 88851 , By Jerome R. Corsi, MONEYNETDAILY, © 2009 WorldNetDaily, Posted 11:35 pm Eastern, February 13, 2009
       UNITED STATES of AMERICA – As the Obama administration pushes through Congress its $800 billion deficit-spending economic stimulus plan, the American public is largely unaware that the true deficit of the federal government already is measured in trillions of dollars, and in fact its $65.5 trillion in total obligations exceeds the gross domestic product of the world.
       The total U.S. obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits to be paid in the future, effectively have placed the U.S. government in bankruptcy, even before new continuing social welfare obligation embedded in the massive spending plan are taken into account.
       The real 2008 federal budget deficit was $5.1 trillion, not the $455 billion previously reported by the Congressional Budget Office, according to the "2008 Financial Report of the United States Government" as released by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
       The difference between the $455 billion "official" budget deficit numbers and the $5.1 trillion budget deficit cited by "2008 Financial Report of the United States Government" is that the official budget deficit is calculated on a cash basis, where all tax receipts, including Social Security tax receipts, are used to pay government liabilities as they occur.
       But the numbers in the 2008 report are calculated on a GAAP basis ("Generally Accepted Accounting Practices") that include year-for-year changes in the net present value of unfunded liabilities in social insurance programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
       Under cash accounting, the government makes no provision for future Social Security and Medicare benefits in the year in which those benefits accrue.
       "As bad as 2008 was, the $455 billion budget deficit on a cash basis and the $5.1 trillion federal budget deficit on a GAAP accounting basis does not reflect any significant money [from] the financial bailout or Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, which was approved after the close of the fiscal year," economist John Williams, who publishes the Internet website Shadow Government Statistics, told WND.
       Find out what's behind the chaos at the White House, in the No. 1 best-seller "Obama Nation"
       "The Congressional Budget Office estimated the fiscal year 2009 budget deficit as being $1.2 trillion on a cash basis and that was before taking into consideration the full costs of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, before the cost of the Obama nearly $800 billion economic stimulus plan, or the cost of the second $350 billion in TARP funds, as well as all current bailouts being contemplated by the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve," he said.
       "The federal government's deficit is hemorrhaging at a pace which threatens the viability of the financial system," Williams added. "The popularly reported 2009 [deficit] will clearly exceed $2 trillion on a cash basis and that full amount has to be funded by Treasury borrowing.
       "It's not likely this will happen without the Federal Reserve acting as lender of last resort for the Treasury by buying Treasury debt and monetizing the debt," he said.
       "Monetizing the debt" is a term used to signify that the Federal Reserve will be required simply to print cash to meet the Treasury debt obligations, acting in this capacity only because the Treasury cannot sell the huge of amount debt elsewhere.
       The Treasury has been largely dependent upon foreign buyers, principally China and Japan and other major holders of U.S. dollar foreign exchange reserves, including OPEC buyers purchasing U.S. debt through London.
       "The appetite of foreign buyers to purchase continued trillions of U.S. debt has become more questionable as the world has witnessed the rapid deterioration of the U.S. fiscal condition in the current financial crisis," Williams noted.
      [Table (please click)] U.S. Government GAAP Accounting Federal Budget Deficits.
    U.S. Treasury, Financial Reports of the United States, 2002-2008
    Source; John Williams, Shadow Government Statistics, on ShadowStats.com    

       "Truthfully," Williams pointed out, "there is no Social Security 'lock-box.' There are no funds held in reserve today for Social Security and Medicare obligations that are earned each year. It's only a matter of time until the public realizes that the government is truly bankrupt and no taxes are being held in reserve to pay in the future the Social Security and Medicare benefits taxpayers are earning today."
       Calculations from the "2008 Financial Report of the United States Government" also show that the GAAP negative net worth of the federal government has increased to $59.3 trillion while the total federal obligations under GAAP accounting now total $65.5 trillion.
       The $65.5 trillion total federal obligations under GAAP accounting not only now exceed four times the U.S. gross domestic product, or GDP, the $65.5 trillion deficit exceeds total world GDP.
       "In the seven years of GAAP reporting, we have seen an annual average deficit in excess of $4 trillion, which could not be possibly covered by any form of taxation," Williams argued.
       "Shy of the government severely slashing social welfare programs, federal deficits of this magnitude are beyond any hope of containment, government or otherwise," he said.
       "Put simply, there is no way the government can possibly pay for the level of social welfare benefits the federal government has promised unless the government simply prints cash and debases the currency, which the government will increasingly be doing this year," Williams said, explaining in more detail why he feels the government is now in the process of monetizing the federal debt.
       "Social Security and Medicare must be shown as liabilities on the federal balance sheet in the year they accrue according to GAAP accounting," Williams argues. "To do otherwise is irresponsible, nothing more than an attempt to hide the painful truth from the American public. The public has a right to know just how bad off the federal government budget deficit situation really is, especially since the situation is rapidly spinning out of control.
       "The federal government is bankrupt," Williams told WND. "In a post-Enron world, if the federal government were a corporation such as General Motors, the president and senior Treasury officers would be in federal penitentiary." #

       [RECAPITULATION: The $65.5 trillion total federal obligations under GAAP accounting not only now exceed four times the U.S. gross domestic product, or GDP, the $65.5 trillion deficit exceeds total world GDP. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Surely even boneheads of the past could have stopped pretending some years ago when the debt reached ONE YEAR'S gross domestic product.  Think about your own personal and/or family debt situation, if you can't see that was the time to re-think national finances.  Other countries, including Australia, are also following the same "money as debt" pathway.
       In addition, the State of California just announced it was insolvent, and a court has ordered that thousands of prisoners be released, because the prison overcrowding was breaching human rights requirements.  California has not imposed a proper rate of property taxes ever since a CIR referendum put a ceiling on property taxes.  Let us hope Mr Williams or someone else will try to ADD to the Federal real debt liabilities, the REAL proper accounting debt positions of the 50 states and the thousands of county and city governments in the U.S.A.  COMMENT ENDS.]
       [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Bryan Kavanagh, AAPI, Director, Land Values Research Group, http://www.lvrg.org.au , Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#federal_obligations_exceed
    [Feb 13, 09]

    • 2009, March 22: Population: A personal perspective: Prof Barry Walters.

         
       Sustainable Population Australia Inc, WA, speech planned for March 22, 2009

       Forum discussion: The secret driver of climate change.
    For details, click http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/events.htm#population_a_personal_perspective
    [Received ~ Mar 04-05, 2009]

    • 2009, March 23: Climate Change – Warming or Cooling? David Archibald.

         
       Council for the National Interest, WA Committee, www.cniwa.com.au , speech planned for March 23, 2009
       Is the Carbon Reduction Trading Scheme a Con?
    For details, click http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/events.htm#climate_change_warming
    [Received ~ Mar 04-05, 2009]

    • No one is worth this much money.
      [$40m to Telstra man, 7-fold incentive increase to Bonds woman as shares fall 45%. AND -- Bonds jobs go overseas. $20m to Gaza instead of seniors. World over-populated. Drug bins an IQ test.]  

    No one is worth this much money

     
       The West Australian, letters § wanews com au , Letter to The Editor, p 23, Saturday, March 7, 2009
       Once again Ross Gittins has written an incisive column (Overpaid chiefs deserve curb on their excesses, 4/3). He has exposed what is tantamount to the crime of "stealing as a servant". He is right when he says the reason the pay of chief executives of public companies seems to be in a stratosphere all its own, unrelated to market realities, is that it's not at arm's length.
       Remunerations to company executives are decided by company boards with input directly or indirectly from the chief executive. Board members have a vested interest in the obscene amounts paid beyond market realities because they, too, will share in the largesse.
       There are many examples because the practice is widespread. Two that have been given publicity recently are the massive increase given to Sue Morphet of Bonds owner Pacific Brands, and Telstra board's generosity to Sol Trujillo, who has announced he is retiring before completing his five-year contract.
       Ms Morphet's salary increased by 170 per cent and a staggering seven-fold increase in incentive payments at a time when she was presiding over a 45 per cent drop in the share price.
       Mr Trujillo was paid $13.4 million last financial year, up from $11.8 million in 2006-07 and $8.7 million in his first year. With his basic likely to be topped up with bonuses this year, he will depart having earned more than $40 million from Telstra.
       I do not believe that any man or woman can prove that their knowledge, experience and capacity to work long hours at top pace is worth what Mr Trujillo was paid.
       Ross Gittins is rightly sceptical that Kevin Rudd can or is willing to do anything to reduce exorbitant executive remunerations to what they are really worth. What is happening is dishonest and should be subject to criminal law in the same way any employee who is charged with the offence of "stealing as a servant". If executives were charged with such an offence they would have the opportunity of proving in court that they were worth the remuneration and the board members would also be able to prove that they were not complicit in an act of stealing.
       There would, of course, be a loud scream from the top end of town if such power to prosecute was inserted into, say, the Corporations Act of 2001. Brian A Peachey, Woodlands.

    No outrage?


       Are we in an unprecedented era of apathy in Australia? How is it that the letter pages and editorials of newspapers aren't bursting with outraged protestations about what is happening in our workforce?
       It's bad enough that companies are allowed to shut up shop to open a factory overseas, but Australians are losing their jobs while 457 visa workers are being kept on. Whether these people are on a lower rate or not is irrelevant. How can this be happening?
       How would you feel losing your livelihood and possibly even your home because somebody on a working holiday is earning the money that should be yours? Many of these people send most of their money home so it doesn't even help the economy.
       Where can Australians go to get the same deal? Companies state that they can't let them go after the cost of bringing them in. Tough, they should have thought of that years ago when they wouldn't train apprentices. What of the cost to the wider community in general, and of the divisive bad feelings it creates, the effects of which many will have to deal with long after these workers have gone home to be well off?
       It's not about being xenophobic, it's about doing what's right and if the (obviously lacking) morals of these companies will not direct them to the right conclusion, then the law or outright militant action should. R. A. Glenton, White Gum Valley.
    IN SHORT

    WHAT ABOUT US?


       I see that we are to give $20 million to help resettle the Gaza displaced and homeless. Well, what about our own? My wife and I are pensioners who are currently doing it tough with very little immediate relief in sight and probably not enough years left to wait for a recovery.
       What were supposed to be our lovely twilight years are turning into a complete and utter nightmare. Enough, Mr Rudd, is enough. Charity, especially for those who have contributed many, many dollars over the years of their working lives, should mean that it begins at home. J. Wilson-Johnstone, Kalamunda.

    IT IS OUR BUSINESS


       Sue Ford (How dare you, 5/3) ends with: "How or why couples decide to procreate is no one else's business." But in a severely and recklessly overpopulated world it is, because it affects us all. David Prichard, Bluff Point.

    DRUG BINS WILL WORK


       Regardless of Colin Barnett's personal opinion, I think that drug-amnesty bins at rock concerts are an excellent idea. This helps shift the focus from legal responsibility to personal responsibility; and instead of a drug test we have more of an IQ test.
       In other words, you would have to be pretty stupid to spend your hard-earned baby-sitting, check-out chick or fast-food Freddy money on drugs only to dump them in a bin. Hitting teenagers in the hip pocket will wake them up to the imminent realities of adult responsibility.

    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#no_one_is_worth
    [Mar 7, 09]

    • Breaking in on the rent seekers.   

    Breaking in on the rent seekers

       The Age, http:// business. theage.com.au/ business/ breaking-in- on-the-rent- seekers- 20090310- 8u94.html? page=-1 ; Business Day, by Bryan Kavanagh, Land Values Research Group http://www.lvrg.org.au (Melbourne, Australia), March 11, 2009
    "Put to the vote: as many are of the opinion that a public tax upon the land ought to be raised to defray the public charge, say 'yea' …"Philadelphia's first tax law, January 30, 1693
    "… Carried in the affirmative, none dissenting."
       THE above wisdom is timeless, but today's sophisticated rent seeker knows better. Before the property market peaked, he demanded that council rates and land taxes be wound back because prices had been escalating and he'd been "slugged" badly. But as the real estate bubble bursts, he now says property-based revenues need to be wound back, because people holding real estate have been "hurt" enough already, and the last thing they need is property taxes causing more "damage". Property tax relief is necessary both on the upside and the downside, it seems.
       The truth is that the public capture of publicly generated land rent never does harm to society. To the contrary; it may be dawning on politicians and analysts that the real estate bubble was the inevitable result of inadequate land-value capture. They may even consider extending and fortifying council rates and state land taxes in order to prevent damaging real estate bubbles from developing again in the future.
       Unlike the late 17th-century Philadelphians, much of local government doesn't appreciate the ingenuity of the reasoning behind the rating system by which it is mainly funded. Therefore, it often won't defend it against those hostile ratepayers who attack it because they can. (Ratepayers are rarely to be seen knocking on the door of the federal treasurer, protesting against their income taxes!) Meanwhile, state governments reduce state land taxes, acceding to powerful landed interests whose property values must apparently be allowed to achieve nosebleed heights unfettered by land-based revenues.
       The big end of town has been equally adept at capturing the surplus rent created by public infrastructure, even combining with government in unholy alliances against the interests of the public by privatising Australia's highways, airports and public utilities. Governments of all persuasions have allowed cobwebs to settle on the old idea of capturing part of the uplift in land values that public infrastructure projects endow. But times may be changing: recent losses by new tollways in NSW and Victoria attest to people's growing concern about losing the long-standing principle of the freedom of the highways and byways.
       Favoured by a tax system doling out bountiful hand-outs to rent seekers, real estate became the name of the game throughout the first decade of the new millennium. The bubble developed remorselessly over eight years from 1999 as Australians got distracted from the main game by the false signals given by a terminally ill, perverse tax regime. As we caught the contagion, the obscene levels of interest paid under mortgages to banks largely signified the land rent lost to the public purse after it had become privately capitalised into sharply increased land prices. But subsequent inquiries into housing affordability always managed to turn a blind eye to the option of increasing the level of land-value capture in order to contain the rate of land-price escalation. An ill-informed property lobby still seems able to contain public opinion.
       Australian Bureau of Statistics Catalogue No. 5506.0 tells us we collected less than $40 billion from taxes on "property" in 2007. Although publicly generated land rent was $325 billion, we chose to fine labour and capital to the extent of some $285 billion for daring to work, and allowed 86 per cent of Australia's land rent to be privately capitalised into the bubble – thereby establishing the conditions necessary for an extraordinary financial collapse.
       Presumably also on the advice of the same gormless economic high priests who have been advising them, governments now wantonly throw huge sums of public funds into the economic vortex in the forlorn hope of rekindling a fast-foundering economy. The long-established wisdom that public capture of publicly generated land rent represents the best interests of the public remains out of fashion.
       It should soon become clear to the dullest of economists, though, that taxation policy failure has been the catalyst for this financial implosion, and that the road to recovery does not lie in ritually sacrificing further government funds into an abyss. The question instead becomes whether Australians can be re-educated in time to reverse a potentially horrific social meltdown by reasserting an old economic verity.
       Ken Henry's review of the tax system is timely and urgent. We need not only to rid ourselves of those taxes penalising thrift, industry and exchange, but to re-establish the principle of public capture of our land values if we are to turn our parlous situation around quickly.
       Land rent represents community, in so far as it is generated by the community and its assets, not by any individuals. Time will undoubtedly prove, for better or worse, that at this time in our history Australia urgently needed to rediscover age-old community values.
       Bryan Kavanagh is a research associate with the Land Values Research Group.

    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#breaking_in_on
    [Mar 11, 09]

    • Australia's future tax system  [March 17 (Tues.), Public meeting, Perth, Government-organised.]
       The West Australian, www.thewest. com.au , Advertisement, p 31, Wednesday, March 11, 2009  
    THE WEST AUSTRALIAN                                                                 WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2009  •  31

    Australia's future tax system


    Invitation to public meeting
       The Australia's Future Tax System review panel is holding public meetings to hear people's views about what parts of the tax and transfer system are working well and what they would most like to see change.
       You don't need to know a lot about taxes or transfers, family assistance and income support to have your say. Whether you are working, studying, running your own business or a community group, caring for family members, retired or receiving income support, are single, have a partner or children, we want to hear your views.
    A public meeting is being held in your region:
    17 March 2009
    6pm - 8pm
    Perth Convention Exhibition Centre, 21 Mounts Bay Road
       If you can't attend a public meeting, you can have your say by completing an online questionnaire on the Australia's Future Tax System website from 16 March 2009.
    Registrations for the meetings are essential.  To register, to complete an online questionnaire or for more information on the review,
    visit www.taxreview.treasury.gov.au
    or call 1800 614 133.

    An Australian Government Initiative
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#australia_s_future_tax [Mar 11, 09]

    • The Real AIG Conspiracy.   

    The Real AIG Conspiracy

       Global Research (Canada), http://www. globalresearch. ca/index. php?context= va&aid=12784 , by Prof. Michael Hudson, mh § michael-hudson com , Global Research, March 18, 2009
       It may seem odd, but the public outrage against $135 million in AIG bonuses is a godsend to Wall Street, AID [? AIG] scoundrels included. How can the media be so preoccupied with the discovery that there is self-serving greed to be found in the financial sector? Every TV channel and every newspaper in the country, from right to left, have made these bonuses the lead story over the past two days.
       What is wrong with this picture? Is there not something over-inflated about the outrage led most vociferously by Senator Charles Schumer and Rep. Barney Frank, the two leading shills for the bank giveaways over the past year? And does Pres. Obama perhaps find it convenient that finally, at long last, he has been able to criticize something that he believes Wall Street has done wrong? Even the Wall Street Journal has gotten into the act. The government's takeover of AIG, it pointed out, "uses the firm as a conduit to bail out other institutions." So much more greed is involved than just that of AIG employees. The firm owed much more to other players – abroad as well as on Wall Street – than the assets it had. That is what drove it to insolvency. And popular opposition has been rising to how Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain could have banded together to support the bailout that, in retrospect, amounts to trillions and trillions of dollars thrown "down the drain." Not really down the drain at all, of course – but given to financial speculators on the winning "smart" side of AIG's bad financial gambles.
       "The Washington crowd wants to focus on bonuses because it aims public anger on private actors," it accused in a March 17 editorial. But instead of explaining that the shift is away from Wall Street grabbers of a thousand times the amount of bonuses being contested, it blames its usual all-purpose bete noire: Congress. Where the right and left differ is just whom the public should be directing its anger at!
       Here's the problem with all the hoopla over the $135 million in AIG bonuses: This sum is only less than 0.1% – one thousandth – of the $183 BILLION that the U.S. Treasury gave to AIG as a "pass-through" to its counterparties. This sum, over a thousand times the magnitude of the bonuses on which public attention is conveniently being focused by Wall Street promoters, did not stay with AIG. For over six months, the public media and Congressmen have been trying to find out just where this money DID go. Bloomberg brought a lawsuit to find out. Only to be met with a wall of silence.
       Until finally, on Sunday night, March 15, the government finally released the details. They were indeed highly embarrassing. The largest recipient turned out to be just what earlier financial reporters had said was rumored: Mr. Paulson's own firm, Goldman Sachs, headed the list. It was owed $13 billion in counterparty claims. So here's the picture that's emerging. Last September, Treasury Secretary Paulson, from Goldman Sachs, drew up a terse 3-page memo outlining his bailout proposal. The plan specified that whatever he and other Treasury officials did (thus including his subordinates, also from Goldman Sachs), could not be challenged legally or undone, much less prosecuted. This condition enraged Congress, which rejected the bailout in its first incarnation.
       It now looks as if Mr. Paulson had good reason to put in a fatal legal clause blocking any clawback of funds given by the Treasury to AIG's counterparties. This is where public outrage should be focused.
       Instead, the leading Congressional shepherds of the bailout legislation – along with Mr. Obama, who came out in his final, Friday night presidential debate with Sen. McCain strongly in favor of the bailout in Mr. Paulson's awful "short" version – have been posing as conspicuously as possible for the media to cover a deflected target – the AIG executives receiving bonuses, not the company's counterparties.
       There are two questions that one always must ask when a political operation is being launched. First, qui bono? Who benefits? And second, why now? In my experience, timing almost always is the key to figuring out the dynamics at work.
       Regarding qui bono, what does Sen. Schumer, Rep. Frank, Pres. Obama and other Wall Street sponsors gain from this public outcry? For starters, it depicts them as hard taskmasters of the banking and financial sector, not its lobbyists carrying water for one giveaway after another. So the AIG kafuffle has muddied the water about where their political loyalties really lie. It enables them to strike a misleading pose – and hence to pose as "honest brokers" next time they dishonestly give away the next few trillion dollars to their major sponsors and campaign contributors.
       Regarding the timing, I think I have answered that above. Talking about AIG bonuses has effectively distracted attention from the AIG counterparties who received the $183 billion in Treasury giveaways. The "final" sum to be given to its counterparties has been rumored to be $250 billion, do [? so] Sen. Schumer, Rep. Frank and Pres. Obama still have a lot more work to do for Wall Street in the coming year or so.
       To succeed in this work – while mitigating the public outrage already rising against the bad bailouts – they need to strike precisely the pose that they're striking now. It is an exercise in deception.
       The moral should be: The wetter the crocodile tears shed over giving bonuses to AIG individuals (who seem to be largely on the healthy, bona fide insurance side of AIG's business, not its hedge-fund Ponzi-scheme racket), the more they will distract public attention from the $180 billion giveaway, and the better they can position themselves to give away yet more government money (Treasury bonds and Federal Reserve deposits) to their favorite financial charities.
    Michael Hudson is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Michael Hudson
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       [RECAPITULATION: Mr. Paulson's own firm, Goldman Sachs, headed the list. It was owed $13 billion in counterparty claims. … Last September, Treasury Secretary Paulson, from Goldman Sachs, drew up a terse 3-page memo outlining his bailout proposal. The plan specified that whatever he and other Treasury officials did (thus including his subordinates, also from Goldman Sachs), could not be challenged legally or undone, much less prosecuted. This condition enraged Congress, which rejected the bailout in its first incarnation. [ … ]
       The wetter the crocodile tears shed over giving bonuses to AIG individuals (who seem to be largely on the healthy, bona fide insurance side of AIG's business, not its hedge-fund Ponzi-scheme racket), the more they will distract public attention from the $180 billion giveaway, and the better they can position themselves to give away yet more government money … ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: And Australian Federal Parliament has Mr Malcolm Turnbull, a former Goldman Sachs man, as Leader of the Opposition!  At the same time, the "Labor" Prime Minister's wife runs a million-dollar employment agency, doing what the former government department, the Commonwealth Employment Service, used to do by courtesy of the taxpayer footing the bills.  Would they and their close associates know what unemployment and mortgage repossession can do to a family? COMMENT ENDS.]
       [BACKGROUND OF U.S. LAWS THAT FAVOUR FRAUDULENT SCHEMES: "Financial Fraud: Mr. Paulson and the New Yazoo Land Scandal," http://www. globalresearch. ca/index. php?context= va&aid=10316 , by Prof. Michael Hudson, Global Research, September 23, 2008. ENDS.]
       [COMPOUND INTEREST for the past 4000 years: Read "The Mathematical Economics of Compound Rates of Interest: A Four-Thousand Year Overview," http://www. michael-hudson. com/articles/ debt/ Compound Interest1.html , also by Michael Hudson.
       A telling paragraph in Part II reminds us of the late 1980s Savings and Loans "bailouts" in the U.S.A.: By failing to place proper emphasis on the degree to which new savings find their counterpart in new debts, today's academic models have promoted a false sense of security on the part of savers who believe – indeed, insist – that the loans which back their savings not be written off. Since the early 1990s the reluctance to write off the real estate debts, stock market debts, third world debts and other bad debts in which bank deposits, insurance policies and money-market funds have been invested has led to public bailouts to U.S. S&L depositors in the late 1980s, along with IMF bailouts from governments (that is, their taxpayers) to institutional investors. The reluctance to write off bad debts – and the "bad savings" that have lost their backing – is largely responsible not only for keeping debtor countries and debtor sectors on the hook, but also debt-ridden (one might equally well say "savings-ridden") economies insolvent. The most notorious example is Japan, which has remained mired in a deep recession since the early 1990s.
       And read: Little popular momentum to restructure the financial system could arise until a more acceptable alternative could be found than banning interest (Bennett and Brown) or depreciating money's value (Gesell and the subsequent Social Credit movement). [The S.C. idea was not to depreciate money, but rather to make it equivalent to production, issuing more during an upswing, and withdrawing money during a downswing.]
       Also read: If debts rise beyond the economy's ability to pay, then the savings that form their counterpart cannot be made good. Not only must governments default, as Adam Smith noted, but private-sector debtors also must default.
       Heading the list is the economy's most highly indebted sector, real estate. Property owners usually default at the point where the stipulated interest and amortization comes to exceed the rental cash flow. Commerce and industry likewise become insolvent at the point where their earnings and cash flow (and available reserve funds) threaten to be absorbed totally by debt service. ENDS.]
       Michael Hudson is a former Wall Street economist specializing in the balance of payments and real estate at the Chase Manhattan Bank (now JPMorgan Chase & Co.), Arthur Anderson, and later at the Hudson Institute (no relation).
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#the_real_aig
       [ALSO SEE: "AIG bailout billions line pockets of the big banks," The West Australian, by Jennifer Malloy Zonnas, New York, p 38, Tuesday, March 17, 2009. ENDS.] [Mar 18, 09]

    • Two million unemployed: But migrants still queue to reach Benefit Britain.  [1,300,000 on dole; 2,000,000 on breadline]     

    TWO MILLION UNEMPLOYED


    But migrants still queue to reach Benefit Britain
       The International Express (Britain ), {WEBSITE NOT RESPONDING, Jan 06, 2010}, West Australian edition, intexreaders § hotmail com au , Pages One and 7, March 24-30, 2009
       BRITAIN and FRANCE – THE number of unemployed Britons has surged above two million - as yet more migrants gathered at Calais desperate to begin a new life here.
       The jobless total reached 2.03million, its highest since 1997.
       But those without a job could soon be joined by new arrivals, as government attempts to cut the flow of illegal immigrants were thrown into chaos.
       French ministers rejected a plan for a new detention centre in Calais for those caught trying to sneak into Britain.
       The diplomatic row confirmed fears that the recession has not extinguished the dreams held by thousands of immigrants of a prosperous new life in the UK
       Immigration minister Phil Woolas last week claimed that a new "Sangatte" camp was to be set up in Calais in an emergency attempt to clamp down on illegal migration.
      [Pictures] A Portsmouth job centre; AND, Migrants at Calais docks  
    PM's ‘regret’ as 1,800 a day join the unemployed
       It was supposed to hold migrants while arrangements were made to send them back to their home countries.
       But last week his French counterpart rejected the move. France's immigration minister Eric Besson said: "There is no question of recreating Sangatte. It would be a dramatic error for everyone concerned, including the British.
       "It would be a mistake as far as regulating the flow of migrants to the UK is concerned. It would again put us in an inextricable situation."
       His stark rejection of Mr Woolas's plan came as Britain's devastating jobless figures were published. The number of unemployed rose by 165,000 people in the three months to the end of January. This is equivalent to 1,800 jobs lost every day.
       The Office for National Statistics figures were seen last week as official confirmation that Labour isn't working. Gordon Brown was also forced to express "personal regret" for every person thrown out of work.
       The number of people claiming unemployment benefit rose by 138,400 in February compared with the previous month to 1.39million.
       It was the 13th consecutive monthly rise and the largest monthly increase since records began in 1971.
       Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell confessed: "These are bad figures. There is no gloss that anybody is going to try to put on them."
       Tory Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Theresa May accused the government of "sleepwalking into an unemployment crisis".
       She said: "This is a grim milestone that no one wanted to reach."
       A total of 266,000 people became redundant in the three months to the end of January, the worst figure since records began in 1995 and up by 86,000 on the previous quarter. The grim statistics sparked a furious row at Westminster, with further calls for Mr Brown to apologise for his role in the economic crisis.
       Tory leader David Cameron told him: "You've led us to this point without the hint of an apology and the British people will never forget it."
       Forced to defend his record, the Prime Minister said: "Any person who loses their job or fears losing their job - this is a matter of personal regret for me and the government."
       TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said it would "get worse before it gets better".
       John Philpott, chief economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said: "Not only is unemployment back to where it was in 1997 but it looks as though we are heading towards the worst outlook for jobs in the UK's post-war history." #

       [RECAPITULATION: France's immigration minister Eric Besson said: "There is no question of recreating Sangatte. It would be a dramatic error for everyone concerned, including the British. "It would be a mistake as far as regulating the flow of migrants to the UK is concerned. It would again put us in an inextricable situation." ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Yes, unless a "relocation assistance" plan was offered, nay, forced, onto the invaders -- ooops -- immigrants.  But this is unlikely, because Western Europe has such tangled thoughts and emotions now, similar to what it had in the 1930s as Mussolini, Hitler, and the Japanese warmongers broke one treaty after another. COMMENT ENDS.]
       [2nd COMMENT: Is it possible that "records began in 1971" and "records began in 1995"?  Yes, it is.  Britain has been run by and for large-scale landlords since 1066, so it is possible that these essential statistics were not being kept.  Britain does not even have a complete record of its landholders!  See the book "Who owns Britain?" ENDS.]
       [3rd COMMENT: PM Gordon Brown's "regret" is about as useful as Australian PM KRUDD, who offered the garment-workers, being replaced by exploited Asians in Asia, a "case manager."  A CASE MANAGER!  His ignorance of how land, labour, capital, and money work is even greater than Brit PM Brown's -- he at least knew enough to print some millions of pounds sterling, just like President Obama who has printed some U.S. dollars.  I wonder when they will start passing Moratorium Acts? ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#two_million_unemployed
    [Mar 24-30, 2009]

    • Rock probe exposes blunders by Labour.   

    Rock probe exposes blunders by Labour

       The International Express (Britain), West Australian edition, intexreaders § hotmail com au , p 5, March 24-30, 2009
       BRITAIN – NORTHERN Rock went on lending high-risk 125 per cent mortgages for six months after its multi-billion-pound taxpayer bail-out, a scathing report into Treasury blunders has revealed. And Treasury officials were warned five years ago that the bank was riddled with "potential shortcomings", the investigation has found.
       The report from the National Audit Office delivered a damning verdict on the nationalisation by Gordon Brown and Chancellor Alistair Darling. It raised fresh questions about the government's response to the banking crisis, fuelling concerns that ministers have failed to do enough to protect public money.
       Ministers failed to stop £800million of risky loans being handed out despite billions of pounds in public money underwriting the lending, says the report.
       While the report says the take-over was necessary to stop the bank collapsing, it identifies severe deficiencies in the Treasury's scrutiny.
       Senior Tory MP Edward Leigh, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, asked: "Why didn't the Treasury demand an immediate stop to the reckless lending that got the bank into trouble in the first place?" #

       [RECAPITULATION: … lending high-risk 125 per cent mortgages … ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Does this mean they GAVE OUT cash, 25 per cent of the price of the house, after the mortgage was signed?  Surely the British public servants are more awake than that – are they? COMMENT ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#rock_probe_exposes
    [p 5, Mar 24-30, 2009]

    • Sir Fred's £3million cash and grab raid:  Disgraced banker in new pension scandal.  [Royal Bank of Scotland needed taxpayer bailout.  Forced out, but treated as if retired in due course!  New clause added!]     

    Sir Fred's £3million cash and grab raid
    Disgraced banker in new pension scandal

       The International Express (Britain), West Australian edition, intexreaders § hotmail com au , p 5, March 24-30, 2009
       BRITAIN – SHAMED banker Sir Fred Goodwin has pocketed almost £3million in a pension payout - with taxpayers covering his £1.8million tax bill.
       "Fred the Shred" was already under fire for refusing to give up any of his £16.6million pension pot.
       He left the Royal Bank of Scotland last October when it took a £20billion government bailout to stave off collapse. Taxpayers now own 68 per cent of it.
       But City Minister Lord Myners prompted fresh anger when he revealed that RBS had agreed to pay 50-year-old Sir Fred's tax bill if he took a lump sum as part of his pension.
       Sir Fred has now taken £2.7million in a one-off payment, leaving RBS to pick up the £1.8million tax demand. Lord Myners also revealed that RBS inserted a new clause into Sir Fred's contract just two days before he left, allowing him to cash in his pension at 50 rather than 60.
       In evidence to an incredulous Commons Treasury Committee, the Minister also revealed that Sir Fred was credited with 20 years' service despite only working for RBS for 10 years.
       The revelations led to fresh pressure on Lord Myners, whose position looks increasingly precarious.
       Shadow Chancellor George Osborne attacked the way he and the Prime Minister had handled the bank bailout. He said: "This tells you everything you need to know about Labour's handling of the banking crisis. Gordon Brown appointed Lord Myners to look after the taxpayers' interest and to keep an eye on the banks. He has completely failed to do that and it is the taxpayer who is paying the price."
       It also emerged that Sir Fred has since indicated he might give back the £2.7million but only in return for even more pension cash and a promise not to face action from the taxman.

      [Picture] MOTOR SHOW FALLS VICTIM TO THE CREDIT CRUNCH
       THE British Motor Show will be scrapped next year because the credit crunch has savaged demand for new vehicles, the car industry has announced.   It has been cancelled only twice in its 106-year history - during the two world wars.
       The show, normally held every two years, was due to be staged in London's Docklands.  Last year's show, with its glittering exhibits typified in the picture above, attracted almost half a million visitors including Gordon Brown.
       But the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders took the decision on Thursday to axe the showpiece – the country's largest consumer exhibition – saying the economic downturn "had made it impossible for exhibitors to commit to a 2010 event." #


       Sir Fred was also treated by RBS as if he had left voluntarily instead of being forced out and bank chiefs suggested they could cover up the pension deal by disclosing its details over "a couple of years".
       Lord Myners - a multimillionaire ex-banker recruited as one of Mr Brown's "government of all talents" - has already attracted fierce criticism for signing-off Sir Fred's pension deal when RBS was bailed out. Michael Fallen, the Tory deputy chairman of the Commons Treasury Committee, said Lord Myners had either carried out a "very expensive piece back-scratching" with Sir Fred or he had simply failed in his duty to protect the taxpayer.
       Sir Fred's total advance is worth £4.5million. He should have been charged 40 per cent tax on that sum but RBS is paying his tax liability of £1.8million.
       In words that left MPs open-mouthed in shock on Thursday, Lord Myners said: "One has to admire – in a non-approving sense – the dexterity of Sir Fred Goodwin in respect of his own contract."
       Committee chairman John McFall hit back: "You say you admire Sir Fred's dexterity, but at the end of the day it's the taxpayer who's a bloody mug here." #

       [OTHER NEWS on same page: UK debt 'biggest in G20'. The International Monetary Fund warned that British Treasury borrowing was on course to hit £165billion next year.  The country's public debt would grow to 11 per cent of gross domestic product, the highest in the G20.
       6m fear home loss. Almost six million people are worried their lenders will demand the keys back if arrears mount up in the face of job losses and pay freezes.
       And four million worry that their property will fall into negative equity -- they will owe more than it is worth.  Which magazine did the survey. ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#sir_fred_s_£3million
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#motor_show_falls
    [p 5 (2nd), Mar 24-30, 2009]

    • Bank chiefs claim the worst is over, eye more rate cuts.  [NAB and ANZ banks see the end of the Great Recession]          

    Bank chiefs claim the worst is over, eye more rate cuts

       The West Australian, letters § wanews com au , By DANNY JOHN and ERIC JOHNSTON, The Sydney Morning Herald, p 51, Thursday, March 26, 2009
      [Picture] Cameron Clyne: The NAB boss says signs of confidence are emerging.  
       The bosses of the nation's biggest banks have declared Australia has been able to weather the worst of the global financial crisis well, with some predicting interest rates could fall to a low of just 2 per cent by the second half of this year as the Reserve Bank moves to keep the economy pumping.
       Bankers also acknowledged their image had taken a battering as the crisis deepened, with National Australia Bank admitting there was a perception banks had been profiteering from fees or failing to pass on the full extent of interest rate cuts to customers.
       In a wide-ranging speech to the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, NAB chief executive Cameron Clyne said banks had failed to explain the pressures on their own funding costs and how this had affected their ability to price mortgages.
       "Let me be straight – there are issues where many people think the banks can be bastards and the challenge I am setting for the NAB is to lift our game," Mr Clyne said.
       Still, Mr Clyne was more upbeat on the outlook, with signs of confidence emerging in economic indicators.
       With markets finally responding to moves by governments around the world to stabilise the finance system, Mr Clyne said the downturn in the UK and the US appeared to be "relatively close to the bottom".
       In a separate presentation in Hong Kong, ANZ chief executive Mike Smith said the Rudd Government and RBA still had plenty of firepower to direct against the downturn.
       Predicting that more interest rate cuts were in the pipeline after the 400 basis points fall over the past six months, the ANZ boss indicated the cash rate was likely to drop to just 2 per cent from 3.25 per cent by the second half of this year.
       Mr Smith's comments come as the Reserve Bank's board considers whether to make more cuts to official cash rates when it meets on Tuesday. Most economists tip the central bank to cut interest rates by 50 basis points.
       Mr Smith said lower interest rates were feeding through to home loan repayments at a faster pace than the housing debt-stressed US and British economies, with Australian mortgage debt servicing levels expected to halve over the next few months.
       Lower interest rates were also having a beneficial effect on household budgets, with the pressures caused by the combination of high mortgage costs and soaring petrol prices now easing to the extent that the individual savings ratio was set to recover "dramatically" during 2009 and beyond.
       As a result, the amount of disposable income available to be spent on other things was rising after nearly 18 months of having to be set aside to cover higher household bills.
       These were obvious signs of the Government's two stimulus packages totalling $52 billion so far to shore up domestic economic growth – a response to the global crisis which had been "both rapid and substantial", Mr Smith told a Credit Suisse investment conference.
       The commitment was the fourth biggest such financial injection in the world as measured by the percentage of gross domestic product, behind China, the US and India.
       But even with last year's budgeted surplus of $22 billion forecast to turn into a deficit of the same amount, the Government's net debt of 5.2 per cent of GDP by fiscal 2012 would still be extremely low by international standards and well below Japan, the US, the UK and Europe as a whole. SMH #

       [RECAPITULATION: … Cameron Clyne said banks had failed to explain the pressures on their own funding costs and how this had affected their ability to price mortgages. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Don't believe a word of that!  The banking system's advances of credit lead to a closely-related increase of deposits in banks.  The current GREAT RECESSION is largely because the banking systems have REDUCED lending, and there has been a sequential decrease in bank deposits, overall.  That is why there is a Great Recession right now. 
       The credit creation and destruction trick can be tested by anyone who has bought a business or house with a bank loan, or has an overdraft or credit card -- as one pays out the cheques or makes the payments, one knows they have been deposited, in some other bank probably, by looking at one's own bank statement.  Less than 10 per cent of such payments are taken out in cash, and even these, after normal use for business and domestic purposes, are usually put in a bank somewhere, as the cash payments are spent, within a few days.  (Drug and other crime cash does not follow such customs, except through a string of "bunnies.") COMMENT ENDS.]
       [FURTHERMORE: Put yourself in the bankers' shoes.  Why would one of them talk blithely of an interest reduction of "400 basis points," which is FOUR PER CENT, as if that does not mean LESS PROFIT for the bank, and less money from which to pay him an obscene BONUS?  Answer: Credit costs the banks almost zero -- it used to be called "inkpot money," and these days it is "computer blip" credit.  If you don't believe it, look up an economics textbooks and find the definitions of "Money" -- that is, of "M1, M2, and M3".  So, why did the Bank of England in a press release recently talk of "printing" millions of pounds?  Didn't the United States of America do the same?  Yet, at the same time, the UK and USA are borrowing credit from the banks for their "stimulus packages" to stockbrokers, banks, and even pensioners and taxpayers.  Guess who got billions, and who got a few hundred dollars!  And guess what -- some banks previously had been "bailed out" by governments! ENDS.]
       [DOOMSAYER: To dampen your enthusiasm for genuine stimulus from government, on radio news on March 26 Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard was expressing sympathy for the young people who won't be able to get jobs if the global financial problems get WORSE.  And to think that during the 1930s and 40s several Labor MsP including PM John Curtin actually understood credit, banking, etc.! ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#bank_chiefs_claim
    [Mar 26, 09]

    • [Deceptive China-contact Defence Minister must leave Parliament.]
         

    Remove Defence Minister

     
       Letter sent to ten Senators for Western Australia, and the Cowan MHR Simpkins, and various newspapers and magazines; sent by an Informed Source, ~ 10:05 AM on Friday, March 27, 2009
    To WA Senators, and the Cowan MHR.
    Dear delegate of the voters,
       We have a Defence Minister who allegedly made two trips to a Major Aggressive power, namely China, financed by a Chinese person, and left it off the reports that Members of Federal Parliament are obliged to fill in, AND told the news media on March 26 that he and the lady had exchanged only ordinary Christmas and birthday presents. Australia and the Western Coalition has [have] a problem.
       The Minister must be removed not only from the Ministry, but from Parliament. Re-read the history of how the Fascists, Nazis, and Japanese war party got help from around the world from Right and Left powers, even before the Great Depression, empowering them to bring the democratic powers to their knees, killing millions on that path.
       Also ask yourself, has ASIO been alert to these dangers?
       Remove the Minister. Do something serious about this, please.

       [COMMENT: Is this revelation, evidently first brought to light by Defence Department operatives (who are now being "hunted" for "disloyalty"), evidence that the Australian Labor Party STILL has Peking-line Communist sympathisers in its ranks, as well as the Moscow-line ones, and other such.  Thanks to the news media, his actions have been exposed to the electors. COMMENT ENDS.]
       [CORRECTION: The words "Christmas and" were an error in this letter. ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#deceptive_china_contact
    [Mar 27, 09]

    • Nehru's great-grandson arrested over Muslim hate speech.   

    Nehru's great-grandson arrested over Muslim hate speech

       Reuters, http://www. reuters.com/ article/ latestCrisis/ idUSB291258 , 9:55am EDT, Sat Mar 28, 2009
       LUCKNOW, India, March 28 (Reuters) – Police in northern India on Saturday arrested a great-grandson of the country's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, over allegations he made inflammatory comments against Muslims.
       Police fired in the air and baton-charged a crowd of at least 10,000 of Varun Gandhi's supporters shouting pro-Hindu slogans as he was arrested in his constituency in Uttar Pradesh, a crucial state in the April-May general election.
       The arrest of Gandhi, a member of India's powerful Nehru-Gandhi dynasty and election candidate for the Hindu-nationalist opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), could be an embarrassment for the BJP weeks before the polls start.
       A speech in early March by Gandhi has been widely played in the local media in which he allegedly threatens to cut off the hands of those who harm Hindus, and crudely compares a rival Muslim candidate to Osama Bin Laden.
       The 29-year-old Gandhi, who unlike most of his family chose not to join India's ruling Congress party, has said footage of his speech was doctored in a political conspiracy to tarnish his image.
       "I am ready to go to jail. And I have come here to boost the morale of my people," Gandhi told his supporters before his arrest. "I believe in whatever I have said."
       India's election commission has demanded the BJP drop Gandhi as a candidate and said it will monitor his future campaign rallies. The BJP so far has stuck by its candidate.
       Last week Gandhi unsuccessfully petitioned a high court in Uttar Pradesh to quash police reports of the speech he made in his Pilibhit constituency.
       "Varun will remain in judicial custody in Pilibhit jail till Monday when his bail plea will be decided", said Mani Ram Rao, the investigating police officer in the case.
       The BJP has been accused in the past of stoking tensions to pander to its large Hindu vote base. Muslims make up around 13 percent of India's 1.1 billion-plus population.
       Many opinion polls show the BJP-led main opposition alliance trailing the Congress-led ruling coalition. (Editing by Matthias Williams and Myra MacDonald)
       © Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved #

       [RECAPITULATION: … a crowd of at least 10,000 of Varun Gandhi's supporters shouting pro-Hindu slogans … A speech in early March by Gandhi has been widely played in the local media in which he allegedly threatens to cut off the hands of those who harm Hindus … Gandhi … has said footage of his speech was doctored in a political conspiracy to tarnish his image. ENDS.]
       [KORAN, Muslim scripture: (said to be the Angel Gabriel's message from Allah): 
       5:33 (or 5:37):- The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides
       8:12:- … I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve.  Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them. < http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/008.qmt.html#008.012 >
       47:35 (or 47:37):- Be not fainthearted then; and invite not the infidels to peace when ye have the upper hand … DOCTRINE ENDS.]
       [HADITH:  4, 53:386:- … Umar sent the Muslims to the great countries to fight the pagans.  When Al-Hurmuzan embraced Islam, Umar said to him. "I would like to consult you regarding these countries which I intend to invade." […]
       9, 84:57:- … Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him. TRADITION ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: The Muslims attacked and conquered the Indian subcontinent centuries ago, and in some places carried out forced circumcisions and "conversions."  The Europeans came later.  In the 1940s India was divided into the secular state India, and the Muslim secular two-part state Pakistan, which later divided into Pakistan (the west), and Bangladesh (in the east). COMMENT ENDS.]
       [2nd COMMENT: In the light of history, is arresting Mr Gandhi an example of "political correctness," remembering the threats of hands being cut off in Muslim religious training?  Of course, the tape of his speech might have been doctored, but his past history makes one doubt it. ENDS.]
       [ALSO SEE: "Gandhi jailed for Muslim taunts," The West Australian, p 35, April 1, 2009.  (Copied to submit/subchron8.htm .) ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#nehru_s_great_grandson
    [Mar 28, 09]

    • Hockey's peril has a familiar, tainted hue.     

    Hockey’s peril has a familiar, tainted hue

       The Weekend Australian, letters§theaustralian com au , by Lenore Taylor, National Correspondent, p 16, Mar 28-29, 2009
    VIEWERS of the Seven Network's Sunrise show yesterday morning would have heard shadow treasurer Joe Hockey say this, during a discussion about the hapless Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon and his links with the mysterious Helen Liu.
       "I'm concerned about, you know, the pattern of behaviour at the moment. Kevin Rudd received free trips when he was in Opposition, from Chinese interests. Wayne Swan the Treasurer received these trips; Tony Burke the Agriculture Minister. Now we hear about the Defence Minister receiving free trips from China.
       "At the same time, we learn today that the Australian Government is borrowing around $500 million a week from the Chinese Government.
       "What's going on? Why would the Defence Department be investigating the Defence Minister for his links with China?" Hockey asked.
       His new political opponent on the show, now that Rudd has moved on to bigger things, is Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, who immediately took umbrage.
       "I think the concern there is Joe ringing the old bell about the red hordes coming down."
       Hockey denied the charge." No, no mate, not at all. Not at all." But then he kept going: "I think there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. And you know, then we discover that Kevin Rudd had a meeting with the Chinese Propaganda Minister and didn't tell the Australian media. I mean, what's going on?"
       Well, Joe, what seems to be going on is that you are linking a whole range of questions, some of them legitimate, some less so, and all of them a lot more complicated than you make out, to make political mileage out of people's fears about China.
       So let's unpick them to see which ones are real and whether any of them are linked.
       Fitzgibbon made a very, very damaging mistake in not declaring his 2002 and 2005 trips, not as Hockey put it "from China", but paid for by Liu.
       It's absolutely legitimate to ask how he could possibly have forgotten to declare them until late Thursday night when he presumably knew news reports about them would be coming out the next day.
       But now that we know about them, we're no closer to understanding whether there is anything wrong with his association with Liu than we were before.
       Just as we don't really know what happened on any other of the scores of trips declared in the register of pecuniary interests from politicians from both sides of parliament as having been paid for by private companies or individuals, such as the travel Beijing AustChina paid for Rudd and Swan and Burke during their days in Opposition, or the trip to Beijing for Opposition frontbencher Bob Baldwin paid for by Chinese-linked company AFFO or the trips by former Nationals leader Mark Vaile when he was working as an adviser for export company Servcorp.
       And if it is Liu's alleged links with the Chinese Government that makes her largesse suspicious, what about the politicians' trips paid for directly by the Chinese Government and by scores of other governments, which pretty much every politician at some time or other has had cause to declare.
       When his own privately funded travel as a shadow minister was questioned last March, Rudd gave the scantest of answers. But he did say that part of the problem was that shadow ministers had very limited funding to pursue the travel necessary as part of their jobs.
       He promised to look into establishing a travel budget for shadows, to avoid the problem in the future. His office said yesterday that idea was still "under consideration".
       Perhaps the Government should consider requiring MPs and senators to provide more than the barest details about privately funded travel. Perhaps they should be forced to include more detail about where they go and who they speak to, to allow more scrutiny and avoid concerns that their duchessing leads to undue influence by their generous donors.
       But based on what we know there is no evidence to suggest any link between the trips by Rudd, Swan and Burke and the trip by Fitzgibbon. Nor is their evidence that the relationships forged on those trips would sway the decision-making by their beneficiaries now they are in government.
       And there is certainly no evidence to link Liu with the Government's bizarre decision to try to keep Rudd's meeting with the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda chief Li Changchun last weekend under wraps.
       Nor is their any direct link between any of those things and the fact the Chinese Government is probably among many investors in Australian government bonds.
       There are many investors in government bonds. Malcolm Turnbull, for example. He declares in an amendment to his pecuniary interest form lodged in February that he has bought into the Vanguard Australian Government Bond Index Fund.
      [Picture] Damaging revelations: Joel Fitzgibbon  
       So why would Hockey suggest some kind of giant Chinese-connection conspiracy linking all these things, instead of concentrating on finding out why someone in the Defence Signals Directorate saw fit to investigate the Defence Minister and what evidence there might be to back concerns about his relationship with Liu?
       Could the link be that the Rudd Government is facing its most difficult decision to do with our relationship with China, on whether to allow Chinese state-owned company Chinalco to acquire a significant stake in cash-strapped Rio Tinto.
       It's a decision weighing our desire for, and openness to, foreign investment against our concerns about allowing a company inextricably linked with one of our biggest commodity customers taking a significant stake in one of our biggest producers from which they buy. It is seen as critically important by the Chinese.
       If Hockey is suggesting the Prime Minister and the Treasurer's decision-making is somehow tainted by their trips in the past, it is a serious allegation and one he should substantiate. These foreign investment decisions have big ramifications for the national interest and for our relations with our most important geopolitical neighbour.
       So wherever they come down when weighing the arguments, both sides of politics owe it to us to address this issue on its merits, rather than dog whistling to the xenophobics among us.
       It's much too important for that. #

       [RECAPITULATION: … Australian Government is borrowing around $500 million a week from the Chinese Government …   … weighing our desire for, and openness to, foreign investment … ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Just WHO desires foreign investment?  Just when did the Lib-Lab parties find out about "our desire"?  Was it by the same way that the pre-War consensus was that it was in Australia's interests to export scrap-ironm, or was it pig-iron, to Japan, which had attacked and conquered Korea and Manchuria, and was attacking China in the 1930s?  Wasn't that the work of the disloyal ones of Big Business, and their delegates in parliaments?  Did any of the scrap-iron or pig-iron come back to us in the bombing of Darwin and places in Western Australia?
       Returning to our own time: If there had been a solidly-based "mineral boom," how is it that company after company is head over heels in debt ("highly-leveraged" is the term), and the large shareholders are selling out to China and other overseas interests less than two years after the "boom"? COMMENT ENDS.]
       [2nd RECAPITULATION: … both sides of politics owe it to us to address this issue on its merits, rather than dog whistling to the xenophobics among us. ENDS.]
       [2nd COMMENT: To the Politically Correct among us, "patriot" is spelt "x-e-n-o-p-h-o-b-e."  Churchill was thought to have a phobia about the Germans and the Nazis, but he was right -- the German nation followed Hitler and the military-industrial complex into aggression, just as its previous generation had followed the Kaiser.  China has invaded and conquered Tibet, and attempted some such with parts of Indo-China.  The Chinese military even ran tanks over ethnic Han Chinese in Tienamin Square.  Do Anthony Albanese and Lenore Taylor ever meditate on the line: "Loved all nations but his own"? ENDS.]
       [3rd RECAPITULATION: Fitzgibbon made a very, very damaging mistake in not declaring his 2002 and 2005 trips, not as Hockey put it "from China", but paid for by Liu. ENDS.]
       [3rd COMMENT: Not a "mistake."  He and his immediate staff were, presumably, just unable to comprehend what to do now that the secret was out.  That's not a mind suited for a Defence Minister, when sometimes only hours or minutes are available to make crucial decisions and recommendations!  Will he be like George W. Bush when New Orleans was blasted by the cyclone, or like the military on Pearl Harbour and Darwin who refused to move although reports came in of aircraft squadrons approaching? ENDS.]
       [WARNING SIGNS in 2007: Read "Kevin Rudd's Mandarin words impress China APEC delegates," Herald Sun, September 07, 2007, to learn that Kevin Rudd's daughter married an Australian Chinese man, the then Australian PM embraced President Hu, saying that China's growth was good for the world, and that China had spent billions in a rescue of Australia. (Remember, this was under the "Liberal" HOWODD, and it was 2007.) ENDS.]
       [MINING DEBTS: Wasn't Joe Hockey a member of the Howard Government, which allowed the huge mining ventures, loaded with debts in the hundreds of millions, to all proceed, without thinking that the whole "boom" was being pumped up artificially by bank credit? ENDS.]
       [FINAL WORD: No person in the People's Republic of China could pay for someone else's trips unless the Chinese Communist Party had studied the matter and given approval.  There are hundreds of Chinese Communist spies in Australia, and evidently a large number of sympathisers.  The leopard, even if with red spots, does not change its spots! ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#hockey_s_peril_has
    [p 16, Mar 28-29, 2009]

    • Rudd, Howard linked to Liu  [Helen Liu's bank account details allegedly on Australian Defence Minister's computer]    

    Rudd, Howard linked to Liu

       The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia), letters § sundaytimes news ltd com au , By GLENN MILNE and SHARRI MARKSON, p 17, Sunday, March 29, 2009
       THE Chinese-Australian woman at the centre of a top-level espionage inquiry has met both Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and former prime minister John Howard, it has been revealed.
       Mr Rudd is believed to have attended a private dinner in Brisbane in 2004 where he talked at length in Mandarin with Helen Llu.
       Ms Liu Is at the centre of allegations that the nation's top spy organisation, the Defence Signals Directorate, tapped into the laptop of Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon without his knowledge.
       The DSD allegedly discovered Ms Liu's bank account details in Mr Fitzgibbon's computer.
       The minister, who denies any wrongdoing, rents a Canberra flat from Ms Liu, who has been a family Mend for more than 16 years.
       Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security lan Carnell has launched an investigation into claims that the DSD spied on the minister.
       It is alleged that Mr Rudd attended the 2004 dinner with Ms Liu at the invitation of another major ALP donor, Brisbane property developer Maha Sinnathamby, whose personal fortune is estimated at $571 million.
      [Picture] CHINESE WHISPERS: Helen Liu and John Howard.  
       A spokesman for Mr Sinnathamby said he had known Mr Rudd for more than 20 years and had dined privately with him on several occasions, as well as at numerous public functions.
       The spokesman said Mr Sinnathamby could not recall the 2004 dinner.
       He said Mr Sinnathamby knew Mr Rudd personally, but knew Treasurer Wayne Swan much better.
       A spokesman for Mr Rudd refused to deny the claims he had dined with Ms Liu in 2004, saying: "The Prime Minister attends hundreds of functions and meets thousands of people every year."
       An undated photo of Mr Howard with Ms Liu appears to have been taken at a public function.
       Mr Howard is known to have enduring and good relations with the Sydney Chinese business community. He had a number of Chinese residents in his former seat of Bennelong.
       Mr Sinnathamby has contributed more than $70,000 to the ALP over the past decade.
       The Liberal Party has also accepted donations from Chinese-born business figures. These have included Chau Chak Wing, who gave $1 million to the Coalition and almost $500,000 to the ALP in the past financial year.
       Legislation aimed at banning foreign donations was voted down in the Federal Parliament by the Coalition and Independent Senator Steve Fielding last month.
       New South Wales Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said there was a growing Chinese influence in Australian companies.
       "We've got no way of stopping a continuation of these wealthy Chinese bankrolling a string of politicians and exerting their influence," she said.
       Dr Chau, a Hong Kong-based property developer, is understood to have been a confidant of Mr Howard, former NSW premier Bob Carr and Mr Rudd.
       Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce said he was concerned about large donations from China.
       "In the marriage between the Australian people and the wealth of our nation, the Labor Party is having an affair with China and trying to pass it off as they're just good friends," he said.
       Australian Securities and Investment Corporation documents show Ms Lui's [? Liu's] Australian company, Australia China Investments, is half-owned by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, one of four major financial arms of the Chinese Government. She was photographed with former Chinese premier Li Peng in Sydney in 2002.
       It has also been revealed that Defence officials may have alerted the Government to security concerns over Mr Fitzgibbon's relationship with Ms Liu.
    No defence, but minister safe: Glenn Milne Page 79;
    Laurie Oakes: Page 73
    #

       [RECAPITULATION: It is alleged that Mr Rudd attended the 2004 dinner with Ms Liu at the invitation of another major ALP donor, Brisbane property developer Maha Sinnathamby, whose personal fortune is estimated at $571 million. … The Liberal Party has also accepted donations from Chinese-born business figures. These have included Chau Chak Wing, who gave $1 million to the Coalition and almost $500,000 to the ALP in the past financial year. Legislation aimed at banning foreign donations was voted down in the Federal Parliament by the Coalition and Independent Senator Steve Fielding last month. … Australian Securities and Investment Corporation documents show Ms Lui's [? Liu's] Australian company, Australia China Investments, is half-owned by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, one of four major financial arms of the Chinese Government. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Well, we can't blame the "Labor" Party alone for letting wealthy Chinese Government firms and other foreigners in, nor for allowing Sinnathamby in to live like a parasite off rising land prices, can we!  Nor for taking electoral donations from overseas, and refusing to outlaw all this corruption.  Even Family First is not among the innocent!  National Party leader Barnaby Joyce seems to be the only patriot left among front-benchers. COMMENT ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#rudd_howard_linked
    [Mar 29, 09]

    • PM will woo the west     

    PM will woo the west

       The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia), letters § sundaytimes news ltd com au , p 17, Sunday, March 29, 2009
       PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd will bring his Cabinet to Perth next month to woo back the west.
       Labor sources said his visit was the unofficial start of a new campaign to win more seats at the next federal election.
       Sources said Mr Rudd was floored by the fact he won only four out of 15 federal seats at the previous election. WA is seen as vital to Mr Rudd's chances of re-election. #

    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#pm_will_woo
    [Mar 29, 09]

    • Forrest to win green light for sale to China.     

    Forrest to win green light for sale to China

       The West Australian, www.thewest.com.au , letters § wanews com au , By ANDREW PROBYN, POLITICAL EDITOR, EXCLUSIVE, Page One, Mar 31, 09 2009
       Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest is to get the green light to sell a significant portion of his heavily indebted company, Fortescue Metals Group, to a Chinese Government-controlled steelmaker.
       Although Treasurer Wayne Swan is yet to make his decision public, The West Australian understands he will not object to the Hunan Valin Iron and Steel Group spending $645 million to boost its stake in FMG to 17.4 per cent.
       The Foreign Investment Review Board, which last week sought a 30-day extension for its review of the transaction, is believed to have raised no concerns over Valin's proposed investment.
       Mr Swan, who on Friday blocked China Minmetals' takeover of OZ Minerals on national security grounds, has found no reason to use his power of veto to block Valin's injection into FMG.
       The WA company, which is $3 billion in debt, needs to sell the stake to overcome a funding shortfall affecting its efforts to expand.
       The West Australian can reveal that should FMG seek to sell any more of its shares to Valin, it would provoke considerable concern within Government ranks and risk running foul of the Treasurer's national interest test.
       Mr Swan, currently in Japan, is yet to rule on whether Chinese aluminium maker Chinalco will be able to buy a $28 billion stake in Rio Tinto. FIRB has asked for an extra 90 days to consider the bid.
       Meanwhile, the Chinese State-owned Minmetals has begun talks with Australian regulators about revising its $2.6 billion bid for OZ Minerals.
       Mr Swan cited national security concerns in rejecting the original bid because OZ Minerals' best asset, the $1.15 billion copper and gold mine at Prominent Hill, is in the Woomera Prohibited Area in South Australia – a weapons testing range.
       The Rudd Government is so sensitive about Chinese investment in Australia that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd kept secret a meeting he had with China's fifth most powerful official, Li Changchun, at The Lodge this month. Only Chinese media were told of the event.
       Opposition Leader Malcolm Turn-bull has accused Mr Rudd of acting more like a "roving ambassador for the People's Republic of China" than the Prime Minister of Australia in advocating China's interests on his latest overseas trip.
       But Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner said yesterday the OZ Minerals decision was proof the Federal Government was not "supinely just lying down and agreeing to whatever China wants".
       "We've seen Malcolm Turnbull effectively suggest that Kevin Rudd is acting in China's interest, not in Australia's interest," he said. "That's a pretty serious accusation to make."
       Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop said the OZ Minerals decision "smacked of political overredction", was not evidence-based and "did not appear to adhere to the national interest guidelines" for foreign investment. #

       [RECAPITULATION: The WA company, which is $3 billion in debt, needs to sell the stake to overcome a funding shortfall affecting its efforts to expand. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Rephrased, that means that the group around Fortescue Minerals wants to get richer and richer by digging even bigger holes in Australia, to ship even more iron-ore to a Communist dictatorship which persecutes religious people and ethnic minorities, and is still hunting down people who use the internet to examine democracy, or to advocate it for China!  The Australian parties labelled "Labor" and "Liberal" ought to adopt the names "Tweedledum" and "Tweedledumber."  And the Churches seem asleep to the danger.
       Around this time another segment of the authorities is trying to hobble Mr Forrest, alleging that he misled everyone back around 2004 by stating he had agreements to sell iron ore to three Chinese companies.  He denies the allegation. COMMENT ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#forrest_to_win
    [p 1, Mar 31, 09]

    • Secret visits by Chinese raise valid questions.     

    Secret visits by Chinese raise valid questions

       The West Australian, www.thewest.com.au , letters § wanews com au , By GERARD HENDERSON, p 21, Tuesday, Mar 31, 2009
    I t's just over a week since Li Changchun left Australia. The Chinese Communist Party's propaganda chief and the fifth ranking member of China's ruling Politburo, was in Australia for meetings with Kevin Rudd, Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull and a number of media executives – including the ABC's Maurice Newman and Mark Scott, and chairman of the Seven Network and WA Newspapers, Kerry Stokes.
       No problem with any of this. Except for the fact that the extensive visit was effectively secret.
       The Australian public was unaware of Mr Li's visit until it was revealed by journalists, including The West Australian's Federal Political Editor Andrew Probyn.
       Yesterday, John Garnaut reported in the Sydney Morning Herald that China's security and intelligence chief Zhou Yongkang also made a secret visit to Australia in November and had talks with Foreign Minister Stephen Smith in Perth.
       Around the time that Mr Li was departing Australia, Special Minister of State John Faulkner was addressing the Australia's Right To Know conference.  Senator Faulkner spoke of the "growing acceptance that fundamental to democracy is the right of the people to know". Except, apparently, when senior figures in the Chinese Government are on official visits to Australia.
       On Insiders last Sunday, Julia Gillard described the discussion on the China-Australia relationship as "a little bit absurd".
       The Deputy Prime Minister accused the Opposition of "carrying on as if there is some huge conspiracy here – that if you ever met a Chinese person, that if you've discussed an issue in relation to China, that (if) you've ever spoken a word of Mandarin, apparently this is some huge conspiracy against Australia's national interest".
       She had in mind not only the allegation that Mr Rudd has become an advocate for Beijing on the world stage but also the controversy following the revelation Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon had failed to disclose that Chinese-born businesswoman Helen Liu had financed his trips to China in 2002 and 2005.
      [Picture] Chinese whispers: Li Changchun's visit was shrouded in secrecy.
       However, the evidence indicates that even the Rudd Government believes there is something different about China. This is why it failed to disclose the official visits of Mr Li and Mr Zhou. And this is why, last Friday, Treasurer Wayne Swan announced that China Minmetals' proposed takeover of Oz Minerals would not be able to proceed as currently constituted.
       Mr Swan evoked his powers under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act, on the basis it was not in Australia's national interest that a Chinese company should acquire Oz Minerals' Prominent Hill mining operations. The decision turned on the fact Prominent Hill is in the Woomera Prohibited Area in South Australia, where a "weapons-testing range makes a unique and sensitive contribution to Australia's national defence".
       It is difficult to imagine that the Rudd Government would not disclose full details of the visits to Australia by senior members of the Japanese Government. And it is most unlikely the Treasurer would rule out a takeover bid by a British company for Oz Minerals mines, including Prominent Hill.
       In any discussion about the Australia-China relationship, two points are evident. Both nations are important to each other – Australia needs export markets for its raw materials and China needs reliable supplies of high-quality minerals.
       Certainly, China remains a communist dictatorship. But it is much freer today than in Mao Tse Tung's time when Labor's Gough Whitlam and the coalition's Malcolm Fraser were wont to kowtow before the dictatorship in Beijing. The Howard government developed close relations with China but John Howard went out of his way to talk about what he termed the key democracies of the Asia Pacific – namely Australia, Japan and the US.
       Mr Rudd expressed concern for human rights in Tibet during his inaugural visit to China as Prime Minister. However, since the onset of the financial crisis, he has appeared to be an advocate for China.
       Yet it is important to remember China contributed to the global crisis by keeping its currency artificially low in order to facilitate exports and by failing to promote domestic consumption within China. Over the past year or so, Mr Rudd has depicted China as a solution but never as a problem.
       It has been Mr Fitzgibbon's misfortune that his failure to declare previous visits to China has become news at this time. It is interesting to note many journalists and some commentators were prepared to jump to the conclusion his problems came to light as a result of spying by the Defence Department.
       Last Thursday, security commentator Allan Behm went on the AM program to denounce such behaviour. He acknowledged there was no evidence to support this theory. In which case, Mr Behm would have been advised to delay comment until the facts are known.
       It may well be that Mr Fitzgibbon's discontents were ignited by internal divisions within the Labor Party. The professional relationship between Mr Fitzgibbon and Ms Liu is well known within the ALP's NSW branch and the revelation of such facts was not dependent on any leaks from the Defence Department.
       As Professor Clive Williams stated on Meet the Press last Sunday, it is known that China collects intelligence in Australia. This is not illegal. But it would be unwise for Australians to pretend that such activity is not taking place.
       That's why it is important the relationship between the nations should be as open as possible. Australians have the right to know what our politicians are doing in China as well as when China's leaders are in Australia.
       Gerard Henderson is executive director of The Sydney Institute

       [WHO HE MET: Propaganda chief Li met Australia's Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull, Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Maurice Newman and Mark Scott, and chairman of the Seven Network and WA Newspapers Kerry Stokes, and other notables, in secret. ENDS.]
       [1st RECAPITULATION: China's security and intelligence chief Zhou Yongkang also made a secret visit to Australia in November and had talks with Foreign Minister Stephen Smith in Perth. ENDS.]
       [2nd RECAPITULATION: Around the time that Mr Li was departing Australia, Special Minister of State John Faulkner was addressing the Australia's Right To Know conference.  Senator Faulkner spoke of the "growing acceptance that fundamental to democracy is the right of the people to know". ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: The Right To Know conference and similar moves are used by deceptive politicians to soothe the comatose public back to sleep.  While all this secret hobnobbing is occurring, Australia's mineral wealth is being transferred from the international bankers (who created the credit for the huge expenditures) to the Communist Chinese leadership (so that they can transfer the metal ore to their factories without paying a profit to "middlemen," and keep the world's largest standing army well-equipped). COMMENT ENDS.]
       [3rd RECAPITULATION: Yet it is important to remember China contributed to the global crisis by keeping its currency artificially low in order to facilitate exports and by failing to promote domestic consumption within China. Over the past year or so, Mr Rudd has depicted China as a solution but never as a problem. ENDS.]
       [2nd COMMENT: Oh, so "globalisation" was not the cure for every economic malady!  Even the "workers' and peasants' party" plays exploitive games! ENDS.]
       [COMMUNIST STATEMENT: "We will bury you."  CAPITALIST MANTRA in a FILM: "Greed is good." ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#secret_visits_by
    [p 21, Mar 31, 09]

    • Gilt auction flop fear for economy.   

    Gilt auction flop fear for economy

       The International Express (Britain), West Australian edition, intexreaders § hotmail com au , p 42, March 31 to April 6, 2009
       INVESTORS last week delivered a blow to Government stimulus plans after a gilt auction failed for the first time in seven years on fears about the nation's finances.
       They bid for only £1.63billion of £1.75billion of 40-year gilts, a form of Government debt, offered at auction.
       The failure raises questions over investor appetite for gilts in the face of Government plans to sell a record £146billion of debt this year to fund Gordon Brown's rescue plan.
       "This is a warning signal investors are sending the Government," said Neil Mackinnon, chief economist at hedge fund ECU. "Investors are giving the thumbs-down to the gilt market."
       Other analysts said there was now a "state of confusion" in the debt markets. There are concerns the Government and Bank of England are not communicating properly.
       The Bank is looking to buy debt to inject £75billion into the economy. But Governor Mervyn King recently hinted the Bank could scale back plans if it proved too successful, sparking fears it might not inject the full amount.
       The Bank's programme also came under fire from Legal & General chief executive Tim Breedon, who said its plans were flawed: "It addresses the wrong issue and is not good for pension funds."
       Pension funds have to hold Government debt to meet their long-term promises to pensioners. In buying up the debt, the Bank is driving up its price, reducing the yield it pays, and running the risk of increasing pension-fund black holes.
       L&G unveiled pre-tax losses of £1.1billion for the year to December after it increased provisions against corporate bad debts by £650million to £1.2billion and saw investment losses rise sharply. # Mamma Mia!

       [RECAPITULATION: They bid for only £1.63billion of £1.75billion of 40-year gilts, a form of Government debt, offered at auction. ENDS.]
       [GILT: Gilt-edged paper or securities, stocks, etc., being the investments that trustees prefer or are restricted to. (C.O.D. 5th ed.) ENDS.
       [COMMENT: This article seems to be telling us that the Government of the United Kingdom plans to break its own records by going into debt for £146,000 million more this year.  Considering that the Crown has the sole prerogative of minting coins and the Bank of England of producing banknotes, some people wonder why the government borrows money at all.
       Another important point is to ask, just who are the "investors" who, we are told, entered bids for "only" £1,630,000,000 of the gilts.  And, how many of them would be buying them "on margin," that is to say, by going into debt with a bank or suchlike in order to buy them.  Just like the War Loans, the bulk of the debt is probably created by the banking system.
       Then look at the hugeness of the proposed £146,000 million extra debt.  Surely it is time to reduce the colossal waste of, for example, overdone pomp and ceremony, plus the illegal aggression against Iraq.  Britain says it is leaving Iraq, but will probably continue the unwinnable and harmful occupation in Afghanistan, which only succeeds in turning its culture of smouldering dislike and disdain of Westerners into active hatred. COMMENT ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#gilt_auction_flop
    [Mar 31 to April 6, 2009]

    • Persecuting, aggressive China in share deal, secret meetings.
         

    Persecuting, aggressive China in share deal, secret meetings

     
       Letter sent to The West Australian and other newspapers, from an Informed Source, Tuesday, March 31, 2009
       So, mining billionaire Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals is given the right to sell 18 per cent of the company to a Chinese government nominee company. (reported 31/3)
       And the radio news tells us that this infusion of money is needed so that the company can push ahead with its expansion plans.
       Who will benefit from digging even bigger holes in our country and exporting even larger amounts of strategic minerals to a dictatorship with an abysmal human rights record?
       Doesn't anyone remember the Tibet invasion, Tiananmen Square, and the brutal abortions policies? And the persecution of Roman Catholics, Protestants, Falun Gung, etc?
       Because of the way that the security chief and the propaganda chief of the Chinese dictatorship in recent months have had secret meetings with politicians of Left and Right, plus news media bosses of both the public broadcaster and private enterprise, it is obvious why the Common Man and Woman are being left out of such mad anti-social schemes.
       Investors are entitled to ask if the sale of Fortescue Metals shares on the debt system, and if short selling schemes, have had anything to do with this sudden need for funds. And we could ask what sort of mining "boom" was WA having in 2008, with an 85 per cent price increase occuring then, and a 40 per cent price decrease this year. #

       [COMMENT: Although it was trumpeted as a boom, in reality it was a debt and spending orgy carried out to enrich overseas powers. ENDS.
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#persecuting_aggressive_china
    [Mar 31, 09]

    • Bankers Can't Be Trusted; Greenspan Says 'Nationalize'.   

    Bankers Can’t Be Trusted


    Greenspan Says ‘Nationalize’
       Heritage (Australia), BY CHRISTOPHER J. PETHERICK, Vol. 33, No. 126; p 30, List as March 31, 2009
    THE WORDS of former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan echoed around the world after he dropped a bombshell in a recent interview with a financial newspaper.
       Washington, he said, will likely have to fork over billions more in taxpayer money to nationalize banks in order to avoid collapse of the entire system of debt.

       Who would have thought it would come to this? Turn the clocks back to 1913 and the passage of the Federal Reserve Act. Minnesota Rep. Charles August Lindbergh, the father of the famous aviator, argued that the Federal Reserve "establishes the most gigantic trust on Earth … . The people may not know it immediately, but the day of reckoning is only a few years removed. The trusts will soon realise that they have gone too far even for their own good."
       Fast forward nearly 100 years.  Two of the largest financial institutions on Earth, Citibank and Bank of America, teeter on the verge of collapse - victims of their own greed brought about as a result of the easy debt facilitated by the Federal Reserve.  Now, speculation looms large as to whether Washington will be forced to step in and purchase a majority stake with taxpayer money to keep them afloat.
      [Picture] Alan Greenspan  
       News of that impending crisis prompted the former top banker to say in an interview with The Financial Times, "It may be necessary to temporarily nationalize some banks in order to facilitate a swift and orderly restructuring.  I understand that once in a hundred years this is what you do."
       White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs denied the claim, adding, "This administration continues to strongly believe that a privately held banking system is the correct way to go, ensuring they are regulated sufficiently by this government."  That did not stop "conservative" GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S-C.) saying that the administration must do "something that no one ever envisioned a year ago … limited nationalization."
       As the nation's top banker from 1987 to 2006, the free-trading Greenspan was given the moniker "the Maestro" for creating fortunes for his banker cronies.  His loose monetary policies flooded the country with cheap dollars, blowing up the U.S. economy up into a series of high-tech and real-estate bubbles.   All of that came to an end this past summer when the enormity of the world's debt threatened the global economy.
       Now, those same people who once regaled Greenspan as a financial genius see him as responsible for the current economic troubles.  Meanwhile, the craggy old banker finds himself at a loss for words over the crisis.
       In October 2008, a visibly distressed Greenspan admitted before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that his entire belief system is flawed and that he was wrong - well, at least partially wrong - about his "anything goes" fiscal policies.
       For the 20 years that Greenspan headed the country's private central bank, he was a fierce advocate of letting markets and bankers rule themselves.  Before Congress, he fought efforts to regulate financial markets and regularly sang the praises of complicated financial instruments known as derivatives that were supposed to spread risk so thinly that they could not fail investors, who clung to the Utopian vision that housing prices would go up forever.
       But the problem, according to many monetary theorists, was that, while arguing that investors and bankers should police themselves, Greenspan was also intervening to keep rates artificially low so that the money would never stop flowing.  This strict adherence to interventionism kept debt cheap and insulated bankers and investors from the repercussions of their greed.
       So what can America do now?  Lindbergh has more advice to give: "The people must make a declaration of independence to relieve themselves from the monetary power.  This they will be able to do by taking control of Congress.  Wall Streeters could not cheat us if your senators and representatives did not make a humbug of Congress."
       Source: American Free Press, March 2009. #

       [1st RECAPITULATION: For … 20 years … Greenspan headed the country's private central bank … ENDS.]
       [1st COMMENT: Yes, the Federal Reserve Bank is PRIVATE -- it is owned by THE BANKERS, not the U.S. Government.  And the Bank of England is a PRIVATE CORPORATION.  Both of these banks act as if they were government, and as if they have unlimited funds.  And government ministers speak loosely and allow that unfounded belief to hold sway.  Simple reporters write as if the other banks get their money from these central banks, or from "overseas"!  Laughable, if it was not so tragic. ENDS.
       [2nd RECAPITULATION: But the problem, according to many monetary theorists, was that, while arguing that investors and bankers should police themselves, Greenspan was also intervening to keep rates artificially low so that the money would never stop flowing. ENDS.]
       [2nd COMMENT: Yes, and now in 2008-09 to help "cure" the depression / recession that the banks and governments have made, the US Federal Reserve Bank has lowered interest even more, to somewhere between zero and half a per cent.  Ask yourself -- if your business was lending money, would you do it for NO INCOME ?  So, do you think that bank employees and directors will be working night and day to lend money for a decreased income?  The politicians and other members of the chattering classes can't fool ALL the people - can they?
       In Australia, in the week beginning April 5, the Reserve Bank of Australia reduced interest by a quarter of a percent.  Meanwhile, as in the USA and many other countries, jobs are disappearing by the thousands every month.  The "cure" is not working, and cannot work, because the diagnosis is wrong. COMMENT ENDS.]
       [CONTACT: Heritage, PO Box 163, Chidlow, WA, 6556, Australia; Tel./Fax (08) 9574 6042; Four issues a year $30. ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#bankers_can_t_be
    [List as March 31, 2009]

    • Holocaust echoes in a compromised land.  [Nazi and Communist anti-Judaist pogroms; Judaists founded Hollywood.]

    Holocaust echoes in a compromised land

       The West Australian, www.thewest.com.au , letters § wanews com au , TODAY supplement page 6, ARTS section edited by Stephen Bevis, review by Stephen Bevis, Thursday, April 2, 2009
    THEATRE: Rose; By Martin Sherman; Agelink / Perth theatre companies; Subiaco Arts Centre; Review: Stephen Bevis

       American playwright and screenwriter Martin Sherman (The Boy from Oz / Bent / Mrs Henderson Presents) was nominated for an Olivier Award in 2000 for his history of the 20th century told through the picaresque reminisces of an 80-year-old Jewish woman.
       Rose is sitting "shivah" on a spare timber bench, mourning the death of a nine-year-old girl, the latest in a long line of losses experienced by this old woman since her birth in a muddy Ukraine village in 1920.
       In a monologue spanning nearly two hours, she tells of how she survived the Cossacks, the nazis, the British post-war blockade of Palestine, the decadence of Atlantic City and Miami, and eventually the indifference of her own son and grandchildren as they strive for a future and turn away from the lessons of the past.
       In a classic case of the personal reflecting the political, Sherman's creation of Rose, the perpetual outsider, cuts through the magnitude of the Holocaust and other horrors of the age to the marrow of shared human experiences. Her reminiscences are replete with wit, wry observation and banal details that pierce the incomprehensibility of such a gargantuan episode of mass suffering.
       The play turns full circle as Rose, played by Rosemarie Lenzo, muses on how the echoes of her own suffering in the Warsaw ghetto reverberate decades later for Palestinians in the valleys of the West Bank. Somehow, the dreams of the Promised Land have soured in the land of milk and honey, she says.
       The humour (and there's a lot of it) is often earthy and sardonic. Growing up in Stalinist Russia, Rose reflects that having experienced her first period and her first pogrom in the same month, "you can safely assume that your childhood is over". With a hunger for knowledge and learning, "I became pretentious in several languages at once," she says.
       Accustomed to a life of wandering, Rose is a cipher for a restless people who produce restless ideas, she says. Just look at the great Jewish scientists, writers, philosophers and even the founders of Hollywood, the Warners, Goldwyn, Zuckor, Thalberg, Selznick and Mayer.
      [Picture] Unflagging: Rosemarie Lenzo is a consummate storyteller in Rose.  
       Here, Sherman touches on the nature of memory itself. Rose wonders whether her hallucination-like recollections are real or snatched from newsreels or movies. The Eastern European Jewish migrants to California may even have transmuted marauding Cossack horsemen into the cowboys-and-"injuns" of the films from their Californian dream factory.
       The writing is one thing. The performance, though, is everything. Lenzo, in her first stage appearance for several years, is confident and commanding as the wry Rose in this demanding monologue directed with restrained assurance by Gillian Berry.
       Though having the benefit of a smaller, more intimate room, Lenzo is every bit as good (over a longer duration on stage) as Helen Morse was in another recent play about loss, The Year of Magical Thinking.
       A monologue as extended as this one presents an actor with nowhere to hide but Lenzo proves a consummate storyteller in a performance that rarely flags.
       Rose ends on Saturday.

       [1st RECAPITULATION: Growing up in Stalinist Russia, Rose reflects that having experienced her first period and her first pogrom in the same month. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Yes, the Communist regime of Stalin went through an anti-Jewish pogrom period, when old Joe Stalin (a Georgian Jew perhaps) turned on his Jewish fellow-citizens after his persecution of Jewish doctors.  As in many other cases such as the Nazi Holocaust and throughout history, the "law enforcers" and the general population joined in attacks on "the different ones" including groups such as Jews and gypsies (Romany). ENDS.]
       [2nd RECAPITULATION: Just look at the great Jewish scientists, writers, philosophers and even the founders of Hollywood, the Warners, Goldwyn, Zuckor, Thalberg, Selznick and Mayer. ENDS.]
       [2nd COMMENT: Yes, there are great Jewish notables, and they not only founded Hollywood but dominated it and possibly still do.  But, Rightwingers, please spare us from blaming Hollywood for the declining public standards of modesty and morality -- the Gentiles divorce freely, buy immodest clothes, and it isn't just celebrities and politicians who take part in tawdry behaviour, disloyalty to family, company frauds, "expense-account" dishonesty, burglaries, and violence in the drinking-places and streets. ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#holocaust_echoes_in
    [Apr 2, 09]

    • Fake Faith and Epic Crimes.  [BLIAR exposed by John Pilger]                   

    Fake Faith and Epic Crimes

       Information Clearing House (USA), http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22336.htm , By John Pilger, April 02, 2009
       These are extraordinary times. With the United States and Britain on the verge of bankruptcy and committing to an endless colonial war, pressure is building for their crimes to be prosecuted at a tribunal similar to that which tried the Nazis at Nuremberg. This defined rapacious invasion as "the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." International law would be mere farce, said the chief US chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson, "if, in future, we do not apply its principles to ourselves."
       That is now happening. Spain, Germany, Belgium, France and Britain have long had "universal jurisdiction" statutes, which allow their national courts to pursue and prosecute prima facie war criminals. What has changed is an unspoken rule never to use international law against "ourselves," or "our" allies or clients. In 1998, Spain, supported by France, Switzerland and Belgium, indicted the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, client and executioner of the West, and sought his extradition from Britain, where he happened to be at the time. Had he been sent for trial he almost certainly would have implicated at least one British prime minister and two US presidents in crimes against humanity. Home Secretary Jack Straw let him escape back to Chile.
       The Pinochet case was the ignition. On 19 January last, the George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley compared the status of George W. Bush with that of Pinochet. "Outside {the United States} there is not the ambiguity about what to do about a war crime," he said. "So if you try to travel, most people abroad are going to view you not as 'former President George Bush' {but} as a current war criminal." For this reason, Bush's former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who demanded an invasion of Iraq in 2001 and personally approved torture techniques in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay, no longer travels. Rumsfeld has twice been indicted for war crimes in Germany. On 26 January, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, said, "We have clear evidence that Mr. Rumsfeld knew what he was doing but nevertheless he ordered torture."
       The Spanish high court is currently investigating a former Israeli defence minister and six other top Israeli officials for their role in the killing of civilians, mostly children, in Gaza. Henry Kissinger, who was largely responsible for bombing to death 600,000 peasants in Cambodia in 1969-73, is wanted for questioning in France, Chile and Argentina. Yet, on 8 February, as if demonstrating the continuity of American power, President Barack Obama's national security adviser, James Jones, said, "I take my daily orders from Dr. Kissinger."
       Like them, Tony Blair may soon be a fugitive. The International Criminal Court, to which Britain is a signatory, has received a record number of petitions related to Blair's wars. Spain's celebrated Judge Baltasar Garzon, who indicted Pinochet and the leaders of the Argentinian [sic] military junta, has called for George W. Bush, Blair and former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar to be prosecuted for the invasion of Iraq … "one of the most sordid and unjustifiable episodes in recent human history: a devastating attack on the rule of law" that had left the UN "in tatters." He said, "There is enough of an argument in 650,000 deaths for this investigation to start without delay."
       This is not to say Blair is about to be collared and marched to The Hague, where Serbs and Sudanese dictators are far more likely to face a political court set up by the West. However, an international agenda is forming and a process has begun which is as much about legitimacy as the letter of the law, and a reminder from history that the powerful lose wars and empires when legitimacy evaporates. This can happen quickly, as in the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of apartheid South Africa … the latter a spectre for apartheid Israel.
       Today, the unreported "good news" is that a worldwide movement is challenging the once sacrosanct notion that imperial politicians can destroy countless lives in the cause of an ancient piracy, often at remove in distance and culture, and retain their respectability and immunity from justice. In his masterly Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde R.L. Stevenson writes in the character of Jekyll:  "Men have before hired bravos to transact their crimes, while their own person and reputation sat under shelter … I could thus plod in the public eye with a load of genial respectability, and, in a moment, like a schoolboy, strip off these lendings and spring headlong into the sea of liberty.  But for me, in my impenetrable mantle, the safety was complete."
       Blair, too, is safe … but for how long? He and his collaborators face a new determination on the part of tenacious non-government bodies that are amassing "an impressive documentary record as to criminal charges," according to international law authority Richard Falk, who cites the World Tribunal on Iraq, held in Istanbul in 2005, which heard evidence from 54 witnesses and published rigorous indictments against Blair, Bush and others. Currently, the Brussels War Crimes Tribunal and the newly established Blair War Crimes Foundation are building a case for Blair's prosecution under the Nuremberg Principle and the 1949 Geneva Convention. In a separate indictment, former Judge of the New Zealand Supreme Court E.W. Thomas wrote: "My pre-disposition was to believe that Mr. Blair was deluded, but sincere in his belief. After considerable reading and much reflection, however, my final conclusion is that Mr. Blair deliberately and repeatedly misled Cabinet, the British Labour Party and the people in a number of respects. It is not possible to hold that he was simply deluded but sincere: a victim of his own self-deception. His deception was deliberate."
       Protected by the fake sinecure of Middle East Envoy for the Quartet (the US, EU, UN and Russia), Blair operates largely from a small fortress in the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, where he is an apologist for the US in the Middle East and Israel, a difficult task following the bloodbath in Gaza. To assist his mortgages, he recently received an Israeli "peace prize" worth a million dollars. He, too, is careful where he travels; and it is instructive to watch how he now uses the media. Having concentrated his post-Downing Street apologetics on a BBC series of obsequious interviews with David Aaronovitch, Blair has all but slipped from view in Britain, where polls have long revealed a remarkable loathing for a former prime minister … a sentiment now shared by those in the liberal media elite whose previous promotion of his "project" and crimes is an embarrassment and preferably forgotten.
       On 8 February, Andrew Rawnsley, the Observer's former leading Blair fan, declared that "this shameful period will not be so smoothly and simply buried." He demanded, "Did Blair never ask what was going on?" This is an excellent question made relevant with a slight word change: "Did the Andrew Rawnsleys never ask what was going on?" In 2001, Rawnsley alerted his readers to Iraq's "contribution to international terrorism" and Saddam Hussein's "frightening appetite to possess weapons of mass destruction." Both assertions were false and echoed official Anglo-American propaganda. In 2003, when the destruction of Iraq was launched, Rawnsley described it as a "point of principle" for Blair who, he later wrote, was "fated to be right." He lamented, "Yes, too many people died in the war. Too many people always die in war. War is nasty and brutish, but at least this conflict was mercifully short." In the subsequent six years at least a million people have been killed. According to the Red Cross, Iraq is now a country of widows and orphans. Yes, war is nasty and brutish, but never for the Blairs and the Rawnsleys.
       Far from the carping turncoats at home, Blair has lately found a safe media harbour … in Australia, the original murdochracy. His interviewers exude an unction reminiscent of the promoters of the "mystical" Blair in the Guardian of [word missing] than a decade ago, though they also bring to mind Geoffrey Dawson, editor of The Times during the 1930s, who wrote of his infamous grovelling to the Nazis: "I spend my nights taking out anything which will hurt their susceptibilities and dropping in little things which are intended to sooth[e] them."
       With his words as a citation, the finalists for the Geoffrey Dawson Prize for Journalism (Antipodes) are announced. On 8 February, in an interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Geraldine Doogue described Blair as "a man who brought religion into power and is now bringing power to religion." She asked him: "What would the perception be that faith would bring towards a greater stability …{sic}?" A bemused and clearly delighted Blair was allowed to waffle about "values." Doogue said to him that "it was the bifurcation about right and wrong that what I thought the British found really hard" {sic}, to which Blair replied that "in relation to Iraq I tried every other option [to invasion] there was." It was his classic lie, which passed unchallenged.
       However, the clear winner of the Geoffrey Dawson Prize is Ginny Dougary of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Times.  Dougary recently accompanied Blair on what she described as his "James Bondish-ish Gulfstream" where she was privy to his "bionic energy levels." She wrote, "I ask him the childlike question: does he want to save the world?" Blair replied, well, more or less, aw shucks, yes. The murderous assault on Gaza, which was under way during the interview, was mentioned in passing. "That is war, I'm afraid," said Blair, "and war is horrible." No counter came that Gaza was not a war but a massacre by any measure. As for the Palestinians, noted Dougary, it was Blair's task to "prepare them for statehood." The Palestinians will be surprised to hear that. But enough gravitas; her man "has the glow of the newly-in-love: in love with the world and, for the most part, the feeling is reciprocated." The evidence she offered for this absurdity was that "women from both sides of politics have confessed to me to having the hots for him."
       These are extraordinary times. Blair, a perpetrator of the epic crime of the 21st century, shares a "prayer breakfast" with President Obama, the yes-we-can-man now launching more war. "We pray," said Blair, "that in acting we do God's work and follow God's will." To decent people, such pronouncements about Blair's "faith" represent a contortion of morality and intellect that is a profanation on the basic teachings of Christianity. Those who aided and abetted his great crime and now wish the rest of us to forget their part … or, like Alistair Campbell, his "communications director," offer their bloody notoriety for the vicarious pleasure of some … might read the first indictment proposed by the Blair War Crimes Foundation: "Deceit and conspiracy for war, and providing false news to incite passions for war, causing in the order of one million deaths, 4 million refugees, countless maiming and traumas."
       These are indeed extraordinary times. #

       [RECAPITULATION: Bush's former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who demanded an invasion of Iraq in 2001 and personally approved torture techniques in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay, no longer travels. Rumsfeld has twice been indicted for war crimes in Germany. [ … ]
       Spain's celebrated Judge Baltasar Garzon, who indicted Pinochet and the leaders of the Argentinian [sic] military junta, has called for George W. Bush, Blair and former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar to be prosecuted for the invasion of Iraq [ … ]
       … former Judge of the New Zealand Supreme Court E.W. Thomas wrote: … my final conclusion is that Mr. Blair deliberately and repeatedly misled Cabinet, the British Labour Party and the people in a number of respects. … His deception was deliberate." [ … ]
       … Andrew Rawnsley, the Observer's former leading Blair fan, … In 2001, Rawnsley alerted his readers to Iraq's "contribution to international terrorism" and Saddam Hussein's "frightening appetite to possess weapons of mass destruction." [ … ]
       On 8 February, in an interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Geraldine Doogue described Blair as "a man who brought religion into power and is now bringing power to religion." She asked him: "What would the perception be that faith would bring towards a greater stability …{sic}?" [ … ]
       … Blair, a perpetrator of the epic crime of the 21st century, shares a "prayer breakfast" with President Obama, the yes-we-can-man now launching more war. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Yes, the hypocrisy of war criminal BLIAR changing over to Roman Catholicism, and later sharing a "prayer breakfast" with Wall Street's darling, President Barack Hussein Obama, is breathtaking.  The stupidity of Church leaders playing along with this sort of people is alarming.  Australia's war criminal HOWODD did not even get a mention in this article, written by a former Australian! COMMENT ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#fake_faith_and
    [Apr 2, 09]

    • Qi recalls the day the tanks rolled in.   

    Qi recalls the day the tanks rolled in

       The West Australian, www.thewest.com.au , letters § wanews com au , p 31, Tuesday, April 14, 2009
       CHINA – Twenty years after China's military crushed dissent at Tiananmen Square, the details are still fresh in Qi Zhiyong's mind. The acrid smell of teargas. The people run down by tanks. The dizzying pain when a bullet tore through his left leg.
       The student-led protests in the heart of Beijing had gone on for weeks, an extraordinary call for political freedom and an end to Government corruption. Sparked by the death of Hu Yaobang on April 15, they were mostly peaceful, even after martial law was declared. But late on June 3, 1989, the Government lost its patience.
       "I saw people being run over. Blood sprayed everywhere," Mr Qi, then a 33-year-old construction worker, said. "The tanks kept moving, as if the people weren't there. My hair stood on end. I was chilled to the bone."
       Seeing the crackdown and losing his leg transformed Mr Qi from a loyal Communist Party supporter into an activist with a simple goal: Speaking out about the events which the leadership has all but erased from history.
       His efforts cost him his job, his wife and his freedom. But a newfound Christian faith and pure doggedness have kept him going.
       "The young generation, they eat hamburgers and wear famous brands," he said. "But when June 4 is mentioned, they only have a very vague understanding of what happened. Democracy is for all the people, and we need to talk to people and bring the idea to them."
       The Government has never offered a full accounting and has made virtually all public discussion taboo. It says its suppression of "counterrevolutionary" riots preserved social stability and paved the way for economic success.
       "The Communist Party claims to be the saviour of people and the most glorious thing in this world," Mr Qi said. "It says it loves the people and cares about human rights. But it opened fire on people and, 20 years later, it still hasn't admitted it."
       Over the years, Mr Qi, who walks with the help of metal crutches, has given interviews to foreign media and overseas rights groups. He has been detained many times. Security agents follow him and keep watch over the 12.6sqm home he shares with his second wife, their 12-year-old daughter and another family in south-west Beijing.
      [Picture] Crusader: Qi Zhiyong walks on a street in Beijing, where he was shot by Chinese troops 20 years ago.    Picture: Associated Press  
       Mr Qi said he and his family were forced by state security to leave the capital during sensitive periods, such as the Beijing Olympics last year, when the Government wanted to showcase only the country's good side. Last month, his freedom was restricted before the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen protests. Security agents warned: "Behave yourself. Sooner or later, you will be imprisoned this year, even if you are disabled."
       After his leg was amputated, Mr Qi said, he often wore shorts to show off his scars and told his story to anyone who asked.
       He said his state-run company, which laid him off because of his injury, offered him 100,000 yuan ($37,000 in 1989) in exchange for his silence on how he lost his leg.  He refused.
       "I told hem I would tell this story for the rest of my life," Mr Qi said.  "This is not just my own story.  I would be mad if I took that offer.  I have a responsibility to this nation, to this world. #

       [ALSO READ on same page: "Reformer Hu still worries Chinese rulers."  He had been ousted as head of the Communist Party of China in 1987 because he had allowed the student protests to continue in the December of the previous year.  When he died on April 15, 1989, many students used the occasion to call for democratic reforms, and the protests then snowballed.  When the huge peaceful demonstration was crushed on June 4, 1989, hundreds if not thousands of people were killed.  Mr Hu had wanted Tibet to have real autonomy, and he had admitted the mistakes of Mao's disastrous Cultural Revolution of 1966-76.
       Another article is: "Beijing releases action plan for human rights."  ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#qi_recalls_the
    [Apr 14, 09]

    • [Banks book millions p.w., but won't cut home interest.]
       

    [Banks book millions p.w., but won’t cut home interest]

     
       The West Australian, letters § wanews com au , Article and Letter, Wednesday, April 15, 2009
       Page 20.

    [Government debt by tender twice weekly, 60% foreign.] "Risk of a wrong number with broadband bonds."

        AUSTRALIA: As the Federal Budget sinks deeper and deeper into the red, the Government has already begun raising about $1 billion a week this way via sales of Treasury bonds to institutional investors, such as banks, insurance companies, superannuation and pension funds.  About 60 per cent are sold to offshore entities.
       Each Wednesday and Friday, Treasury's debt manager, the Australian Office of Financial Management, holds tenders for up to $700 million worth of bonds.  There's one set to go off this morning at 10.15am. … tenders in Australia have been over-subscribed.
       [COMMENT: The Federal Government has the power to print banknotes and to mint coins, plus the power to tax everybody and everything inside national borders.  Yet it is going $1,000,000,000 a week further into debt!?  Please explain!  And, tell us again that "the fundamentals are sound," please! COMMENT ENDS.]

    IN SHORT

    [Banks ought to hang heads]


       Letter, Page 22: The banking sector in this country should be hanging its head in shame. For the past five years we have been fed through every form of media the banks' advertising campaigns centred on commitment to the community and care for customers.
       Now we are in the toughest economic crisis most of us have faced and what do the banks do? They look to increase their profit margin on home loans when customers are hurting. In tough times we need everyone shouldering their fair share of the burden – including banks! Ross Fitzgerald, Currambine.

       [COMMENT: And don't forget, even though the Reserve Bank announces a cut in interest rates, the cheque-paying banks DO NOT get their credit to create from the RBA.  No, they create it in the same old way; therefore, if they lower interest, they obtain fewer profits than formerly.  If you didn't know that, you didn't know that when the RBA had ridiculously high interest, there was no real commercial cause for the banks to raise interest.  And, like Brian Tennant's (W.A. civil liberties advocate) recent letter in the same paper said, bank shareholders believe they have some rights to a healthy return on their investment.
       Oh, look again at the first newsitem's first sentence.  The banks are mentioned among the "institutional investors."  Did you know that at certain times bank-backed debt is financing various other investors who buy bonds?  And do you know newspapers at present are reporting that the banks are lending less than usual to small business these days – so why do you think there is a shortage of money, and mines are being sold, including to dictatorships?
       The system is called "Sound Finance," and is practised world-wide.  It has many "willing collaborators," i.e., lesser beings doing the hard work for the shadowy people behind High Finance. COMMENT ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#banks_book_millions
    [Apr 15, 09]

    • Chinese checkers.  ['Sell the milk, not the cow.']    

    Chinese checkers

       The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia), letters § sundaytimes newsltd com au; p 2, Sunday, May 10, 2009
       AUSTRALIA – SENATORS Nick Xenophon and Barnaby Joyce are taking a campaign to block Chinese investment in mining giant Rio Tinto into every lounge room in Australia.
       Chinalco, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, proposes buying a $26.1 billion share in Rio Tinto.
       In a national TV ad launched last night, funded by Optical Superstore founder Ian Melrose, independent Senator Xenophon says: "You sell the milk, not the cow, and we should be selling the minerals and not the mine."
       Senator Joyce said: "Why would we allow the Chinese Government to buy and control a key strategic asset in our country?" #

       [RESPONSE: Published May 14, '09 in a daily paper. ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#chinese_checkers
    [May 10, 09]

    • [Stop selling strategic asset.]
           
    IN SHORT

    [Stop selling strategic asset]

     
       The West Australian, letters § wanews com au , Letter to The Editor, p 22, Thursday, May 14, 2009

    [Stop selling strategic asset]


       Well done to senators Nick Xenophon and Barnaby Joyce for opposing the sellout of $26.2 billion worth of mining giant Rio Tinto to China.
       Yes, why sell the cow?  Why sell a strategic asset to a great power trampling on human rights (Tiananmen Square 20 years ago) and dangerously expansionist (think Tibet)?
       Tibet was an independent power for many years in past centuries, according to the historical atlas I have. John C. Massam, Greenwood. #

    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#stop_selling_strategic
    [May 14, 09]

    • Reporter feels mob's hate in the Holy City.  - Sabbath extremists spitting like rain, and assaulted lady reporter.     

    Reporter feels mob’s hate in the Holy City

       Australian Broadcasting Corporation, http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/07/06/2617502.htm , (Updated Tue Jul 7, 2009 6:10am AEST), Posted 9:02am AEST Mon July 6, 2009
       ABC's Middle East correspondent Anne Barker became caught in violent street protests involving ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem at the weekend.
       This is her graphic account of her ordeal:
       As a journalist I've covered more than my share of protests. Political protests in Canberra. Unions protesting for better conditions. Angry, loud protests against governments, or against perceived abuses of human rights. I've been at violent rallies in East Timor. I've had rocks and metal darts thrown my way. I've come up against riot police. But I have to admit no protest - indeed no story in my career - has distressed me in the way I was distressed at a protest in Jerusalem on Saturday involving several hundred ultra-Orthodox Jews.
       This particular protest has been going on for weeks. Orthodox Jews are angry at the local council's decision to open a municipal carpark on Saturdays - or Shabbat, the day of rest for Jews. It's a day when Jews are not supposed to do anything resembling work, which can include something as simple as flicking a switch, turning on a light or driving. So even opening a simple carpark to accommodate the increasing number of tourists visiting Jerusalem's Old City is highly offensive to Orthodox Jews because it's seen as a desecration of the Shabbat, by encouraging people to drive.
       I was aware that earlier protests had erupted into violence on previous weekends - Orthodox Jews throwing rocks at police, or setting rubbish bins alight, even throwing dirty nappies or rotting rubbish at anyone they perceive to be desecrating the Shabbat. But I never expected their anger would be directed at me.
       I was mindful I would need to dress conservatively and keep out of harm's way. But I made my mistake when I parked the car and started walking towards the protest, not fully sure which street was which. By the time I realised I'd come up the wrong street it was too late.
       I suddenly found myself in the thick of the protest - in the midst of hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews in their long coats and sable-fur hats.
       They might be supremely religious, but their behaviour - to me - was far from charitable or benevolent. As the protest became noisier and the crowd began yelling, I took my recorder and microphone out of my bag to record the sound. Suddenly the crowd turned on me, screaming in my face. Dozens of angry men began spitting on me.
       Spit like rain: I found myself herded against a brick wall as they kept on spitting - on my face, my hair, my clothes, my arms. It was like rain, coming at me from all directions - hitting my recorder, my bag, my shoes, even my glasses. Big gobs of spit landed on me like heavy raindrops. I could even smell it as it fell on my face. Somewhere behind me - I didn't see him - a man on a stairway either kicked me in the head or knocked something heavy against me.
       I wasn't even sure why the mob was angry with me. Was it because I was a journalist? Or a woman? Because I wasn't Jewish in an Orthodox area? Was I not dressed conservatively enough?
       In fact, I was later told, it was because using a tape-recorder is itself a desecration of the Shabbat even though I'm not Jewish and don't observe the Sabbath. It was lucky that I don't speak Yiddish. At least I was spared the knowledge of whatever filth they were screaming at me. As I tried to get away I found myself up against the line of riot police blocking the crowd from going any further.
       Reassurance: Israeli police in their flak jackets and helmets, with rifles and shields, were yelling just as loudly back at the protesting crowd. I found them something of a reassurance against the angry, spitting mob. I was allowed through, away from the main protest, although there were still Orthodox Jews on the other side, some of whom also yelled at me, in English, to take my recorder away.
       Normally I should have stayed on the sidelines to watch the protest develop. But when you've suffered the humiliation and degradation of being spat on so many times - and you're covered in other people's spit - it's not easy to put it to the back of your mind and get on with the job. I left down a side street and walked the long way back to the car, struggling to hold back the tears. #

       [COMMENT: So, parts of the Judaist spectrum are not spreading sweetness and light!  (Copies also at submit/subchron8.htm and religion/religchron3.htm ) COMMENT ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#reporter_feels_mob_s
    [Jul 7, 09]

    • Land tax system in need of overhaul.   

    Land tax system in need of overhaul

       The Australian Financial Review, www.afr.com , edletters § afr com au , Property observed, by Robert Harley, p 46, Thursday, July 16, 2009
    Property investors paid an extra $1.1 billion in land tax in 2008-09. While everything else was going down – land values, rents and property returns – the hated land tax just kept rising. In fact it soared, with receipts rising 27 per cent.
       Investors will be slugged again this financial year. Victoria and Western Australia predict a fall in receipts but hard-pressed Queensland will take another 30 per cent. Overall, the total land tax take will rise by 6 per cent, to almost $5.9 billion in 2009-10.
       If that is the case, a small group of Australian property investors will have funded a 35 per cent rise in land tax through two of the worst years of global financial turmoil.
       It's a nonsense. The system is structured to extract the most money from the fewest voters using lagged or questionable valuations that, in many cases, push investors into ever more punishing tax brackets.
       Mark Kraulis, who runs the U Pull It car parts recycling yards in Adelaide, got his bill last November. For one of the yards, the tax jumped 200 per cent.
       "That is insanity," he told me at the time. "From $9000 to $30,000; how do you factor that into your equation? We would have been happy with CPI [consumer price index]. We had 25 people, we had to put six off."
      [Graph] Going up Growth in state land tax revenue (%).    SOURCE: PROPERTY COUNCIL  
       So it's not just the rich and passive land owners who are being slugged. Sydney land tax campaigner, Mike Danzey, argues that one impact of land tax in his city has been to reduce the supply of affordable rental accommodation in suburbs where it is most needed.
       "Australia's land tax system is totally dysfunctional," Property Council chief executive Peter Verwer says. "It hurts government because it is volatile; and it hurts the private sector because it is inconsistent and uncertain." But that does not mean state governments are going to change.
       A spokesman for the South Australian treasurer, Kevin Foley, says land tax is not something that his government can afford to reform at the moment – and the point is being taken.
       Executive director of the Property Council in South Australia Nathan Payne says: "There is a recognition that state governments are suffering from the global financial crisis, but so are property investors.
       "The key to reform is through the federal mechanism." That mechanism is the review into Australia's Future Tax System being chaired by Treasury Secretary Ken Henry.
       However, anyone who hopes that land tax will be abolished under the review needs to think again.
       "There are some inherently immobile tax bases, such as land. The importance of taxing these bases effectively is likely to increase in the future," Dr Henry said in a speech last March.
       The review's consultation paper, released last December, pointed in the same direction. Some submissions recommended that land tax should be abolished but others wanted it broadened by removing exemptions and concessions.
       (The imposition of land tax on the family home is a key issue, but that is what happens with municipal rates. Effectively council rates are an all-embracing but relatively cheap land tax.)
       Most submissions to the review regarding property taxation argued for the removal of stamp duty on conveyances. As a transaction tax, stamp duty is an inefficient brake on the economic activity.
       "Many submissions propose abolishing stamp duty, perhaps replacing it with a modified land tax … Many submissions consider land tax an efficient and under-utilised tax base," noted the review.
       So land tax is here to stay.
       What is needed is major overhaul.
       At the moment, land tax fails every one of the five criteria set up by the Henry Review. It fails on equity, efficiency, simplicity, sustainability, and policy consistency.
       All parts of the system need reform.
       Who pays, what they pay, and on what valuation they base the payment, all need to go into the mix.
       "Right at the top of Dr Henry's list, I am sure, will be the comprehensive modernisation of Australia's property tax system," Verwer says. #

       [1st RECAPITULATION: "There are some inherently immobile tax bases, such as land. The importance of taxing these bases effectively is likely to increase in the future," Dr Henry said … ENDS.]
       [1st COMMENT: Yes, land is immobile.  That is why some reformers say all land, including land on which homes stand, ought to be taxed, because there is no way land can be shifted offshore.  Much tax is avoided by professional people, and by global corporations that can use "transfer pricing," and by drug barons who shift their unaccounted money and profits to offshore tax havens.  Instead of calling it land tax, it ought to be called a service charge -- people who want protection by having a police force and the armed forces ought to pay, based on the land assets they hold, for that defence. COMMENT ENDS.]
       [2nd RECAPITULATION: … Many submissions consider land tax an efficient and under-utilised tax base … ENDS.]
       [2nd COMMENT: It is under-used because many powerful interests have campaigned against it for years, in spite of Australia trying to shift the tax burden off the workers and producers, to load it more on people who hoard land, waiting for future development to give them windfall profits.  The Capital Gains Tax has gone some way to catching up with such tax-dodgers.  But, yes, an overhaul is overdue for land tax, and for council rates, which ought NOT to be on the rental value of property including buildings and other improvements, but only on the unimproved capital value of the land. ENDS.]
       [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Mr R.G.Hart. ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#land_tax_system
    [Jul 16, 09]

    • Payroll tax needs rethink.   

    Payroll tax needs rethink

       The Australian Financial Review, edletters § afr com au , by Alan Mitchell, Economics editor, Wednesday, July 22, 2009
    The federal and state governments are dissatisfied with the system of sharing revenue from the goods and services tax between the states but can't agree to any further diminution in the role of Australia's system of horizontal fiscal equalisation, or HFE.
       So the Grants Commission may only simplify and fiddle around the edges of a system that critics say is inefficient and inequitable.
       But the pressures of globalisation and demographic change, and the fiscal legacy of the current recession, may force the change that politicians now reject.
       As Access Economies' Chris Richardson warned this week, Australia's governments face a big challenge in closing their structural budget deficits in the years ahead. The fiscal undertow of demographic change will add to that difficulty.
       At the same time, the things governments tax – particularly capital and skilled labour – are becoming increasingly internationally mobile, State governments, of course, continue to be constrained in the way they raise revenue by the even greater mobility of capital and labour between states.
       Treasury secretary Ken Henry explained, in a recent discussion of his tax review, that the future of federal and state taxes and the issues of federal-state financial relations were closely connected. Although for him, like the Grants Commission, the issue of HFE is off-limits.
       Yet any major reform of state taxes would quickly run up against the issue of fiscal equalisation. The states will be under pressure to reform their taxes because they and the federal government will be short of money.
       The only way the states can expand their revenue base is to use the broad-based taxes they already have but do not fully exploit The most important of these is payroll tax, transferred to the states by the McMahon government in 1971.
       Payroll tax could have gone a long way to reducing the so-called vertical fiscal imbalance between Canberra and the states. Although the tax nominally falls on payrolls, it is a close cousin of the GST [goods and services tax] and, when it was given to the states, was one of the least distorting taxes. In the 1970s it raised about one-third of the states' revenue, and it easily could have raised more.
       But instead of seizing the opportunity to gain greater financial independence from Canberra, the premiers soon began to erode the new tax base by granting small to medium businesses generous tax-free payroll thresholds and deductions.
       The reason was at least partly interstate competition. Once one state government began offering payroll tax exemptions to attract small business investment, other governments came under pressure to match it.
       Interstate competition also saw the abolition of estate taxes. Queensland abolished estate taxes in the late 1970s and became something of a tax haven for retirees. The other states abolished their estate taxes by the early 1980s.
       The best answer to this problem of interstate competition is for the states to co-operate in the creation of "national" taxes, as suggested by Canadian economist Jonathan Kesselman.
       In the case of payroll tax, for example, the states would agree to have identical tax bases (ideally with very low thresholds and no exemptions) while retaining some freedom to set their own tax rates. With the original, broad tax base restored, the payroll tax rates could be cut from their present levels and still raise more revenue. Indeed, the base could be broadened to include the self-employed.
       As a number of submissions to the Henry tax review have suggested, a national payroll tax could be most efficiently collected by the federal government. As Henry notes, there even would be an opportunity to link payroll tax to the pay-as-you-go collection regime.
       Similar reforms could be considered for a range of state taxes including the now-extinct estate taxes and the much-degraded state land taxes. In a world of highly mobile capital, the unimproved value of land represents one of the least mobile tax bases.
       Initially, these efficient national taxes would allow the states to repeal more of their inefficient taxes. But ultimately the states would be able to raise a higher proportion of their revenue – and they would be under pressure from the hard-pressed federal government to do so.
       However, it is unlikely that Victoria and NSW would agree to take part in any national tax unless the money was distributed back to the states from which it came. Any substantial extension of HFE [horizontal fiscal equalisation] beyond the GST [goods and services tax] would be politically impossible.
       Health-care grants have been separated from the HFE "pool". If fiscal pressures push the states into raising more of their own revenue by the use of national taxes, the importance of HFE could further decline, as it probably should. #

       [RECAPITULATION: But instead of seizing the opportunity to gain greater financial independence from Canberra, the premiers soon began to erode the new tax base by granting small to medium businesses generous tax-free payroll thresholds and deductions.
       The reason was at least partly interstate competition. [ … ]
       … In a world of highly mobile capital, the unimproved value of land represents one of the least mobile tax bases. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Regarding the article's discussion of states competing by lowering one of the taxes discussed, the Simultaneous Policy <http://­www.­simpol.org> proposal of John Bunzl, if adopted, could have led the States to work together, instead of adopting suicidal cutthroat competition.  The Australian Simpol is at <www.­simpol-oz.org>, and a brief description is given on our Links webpage.
       Needless to say, the very notion of Payroll Tax is against the beliefs of the Just World Campaign.  No employer ought to have to pay a tax to give a man or woman a job! ENDS.]
       [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Mrs Ethel Birt. ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#payroll_tax_needs
    [Jul 22, 09]

    • Farmers don't dig emissions plan.     

    Farmers don’t dig emissions plan

          The Australian Financial Review, edletters § afr com au , p 61, Wednesday, July 22, 2009
       A comparison of US and Australian proposals for emissions trading shows stark differences in the treatment of agriculture, writes Sophie Morris
      [Graph showing the composition of greenhouse gas emissions from the Australian agrciculture section 2006; AND, a Chart showing Changes in gross value of production (nett of permit costs), conservative scenario (relative to business as usual), including livestock's stomach gas emissions.]    SOURCE: ABARE CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS  
    The generous offset provisions on offer to American farmers as part of the United States-proposed emissions trading scheme are the envy of Australian farmers. Not only will American farmers not be penalised for their emissions from agriculture, but they will also be rewarded for activities that increase carbon sequestration or reduce farm emissions.
       This is afar cry from Australia's proposed model, which envisages that from 2015 farmers might be liable for their agricultural emissions and at this stage does not recognise on-farm abatement efforts, apart from tree-planting.
       Yet the American farm sector was not convinced of the merits of the bill.
       Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman has urged legislators to block the American Clean Energy and Security Act, warning it would "unquestionably impose enormous costs on the American economy, including agriculture".
       It remains to be seen whether the so-called Waxman-Markey Bill, having narrowly passed Congress late last month at a vote which split 219-212, can find its way through the US Senate, just as it remains to be seen when and if Australia's Senate will approve the Rudd government's proposed scheme.
       But it is inevitable that the scheme taking shape in the US will have a big influence on how agriculture is handled in Australia's response to climate change.
       It has already shifted the debate, as the coalition seizes on the differences between the two approaches and warns that if Australian farmers are unable to generate off sets, the scheme will function as a big tax on them, which they can do nothing about, short of downsizing or quitting the land.
       "Our agriculture would be destroyed if it's not in line witn America," opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt says.
       Some of the concessions to agriculture in the US model were secured by the Democrat-led House of Representatives agriculture committee in the final week before the Congress vote. These included the offset provisions and their administration by the US Department of Agriculture, rather than the less farmer-friendly Environmental Protection Agency. But the idea that agriculture would be exempt from the scheme was firmly established before that.
       National Farmers Federation clmate change expert Charlie McElhone, … says it was never even considered that agriculture be liable for its emissions under the US scheme.
       After all, the title of the US legislation refers to clean energy, rather than emissions reductions.
       He reasons that farming is considered differently in the US because food Security issues have been more prominent there than in Australia.
       McElhone says the US model brings into sharp relief concerns that if Australia's scheme penalises agricultural production, farming could head offshore to countries with lower costs. [*** Well worth reading more, showing how complicated it can be, including the possible reduction in the selling prices of farms.]

       [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Mrs Ethel Birt. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: The chart showing the percentage of stomach gas emissions from farm animals, and general scientific and general discussions on this this, amazes the Webmaster.  Before the human avalanche, increasing from 1,000,000,000 to six or seven times that number, didn't the wild animals, birds, fish, etc., have stomach gas emissions?  Although is is not genteel to think about it, don't the extra five or six billion human beings emit gases from their stomachs, too?
       So, why don't human reproduction figures enter into the figuring of experts and others writing about the possible effects on the atmosphere and on climate?
       Careful students and scholars have noted that the "global warming" warning groups have now glided into talking about "climate change."  Reason?  Too many very cold incidents being reported!  Big Business had been denying "global warming," then there seemed to be a shift.  Why?  Big Business has worked out how to make Big Bucks out of "carbon trading."  NOT reduction of carbon dioxide, note well, but TRADING in it!  That is, keep polluting happily with the hundred and one emissions from industry, transport, and selling, but provide a sweat-free profitable TRADING OPPORTUNITY for some elements of Big Business.  But, have the sheeple woken up yet? COMMENT ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#farmers_dont_dig
    [Jul 22, 09]

    • Six economists renew call for a "people's bank".   
       News Weekly, (issued fortnightly, Melbourne, Vic., Australia), nw § newsweekly com au, by Patrick J. Byrne, p 6, July 25, 2009
    NEWS WEEKLY, JULY 25, 2009 -- PAGE 6                         www.newsweekly.com.au
    BANKING

    Six economists renew call for a “people’s bank”


    by Patrick J. Byrne
       Over the past eight years, former ANZ bank chief Will Bailey has repeatedly called for a new government-backed development bank and for a review of Australia's banking system.
       He argued that a new government-backed bank was needed as financial deregulation had failed to protect some "highly valuable specialist institutions" like the former Commonwealth Development Bank and the Primary Industry Bank. New privately-owned community banks filled only a "tiny part" of the void left.
       Mr Bailey, a former managing director of ANZ Banking (1984-92) and deputy chairman of Coles Myer (1992-95), went on to call for a review of the banking system, given that the financial deregulation had begun with the Campbell Inquiry (1981) and that this was last reviewed by the Wallis Inquiry in 1996.
    Major review
       Now, six leading Australian economists have called for a major review of the financial system, which has evolved rapidly since the Wallis Inquiry.
       They also called for a new government-sponsored "people's bank", asking: "Should citizens who feel unsure and unqualified to shop wisely in our financial markets be able to access basic savings, payments, and wealth management products that have been vouchsafed by governments as being safe and professionally managed (for example, why can't Australians invest with the Future Fund)?
       "Is there a role for a publicly-owned entity … to offer essential services in Australia's finance sector that leverage off unique government infrastructure, such as Australia Post, the tax system, and the government bond market?" (The Age, Melbourne, July 8, 2009).
       The economists behind the call include Joshua Gans, professor of management at Melbourne Business School; Nicholas Gruen of Lateral Economics and a former commissioner with the Productivity Commission; Christopher Joye, managing director of Rismark International and former chairman of John Howard's 2003 Home Ownership Taskforce; Stephen King, the dean of business and economics at Monash University and a former ACCC commissioner; John Quiggin, professor of economics and politics at the University of Queensland; and Sam Wylie, a management consultant and senior fellow at Melbourne Business School.
       These economists warned that there were "fundamental flaws in Australia's ageing regulatory architecture" and an "inadequately defined role of government" in dealing with financial crises.
       Given that Martin Wolf, associate editor of the UK Financial Times, has shown that the worldwide economic downturn is, to date, tracking that of the 19305 Great Depression (see News Weekly, July 11), it is possible that the situation will worsen.
       In the US, EU and Australia, household debt is at record levels, meaning that consumers are likely to withhold spending until these levels come down substantially. That process has hardly begun.
       Banks around the globe are facing more losses from more toxic securities, and, given the inter-connectedness of the world's banking system, more crises overseas will likely have an adverse impact on the Australian financial system.
      [Picture] Will Bailey  
       The six economists warned of the dangers posed by Australia's massive net foreign debt: "As a nation with a large foreign debt that has continually increased its liabilities via enormous current account deficits, Australia's vulnerability to foreign shocks is in many respects greater than most of our peers.
       "It is, therefore, critical that policy-makers take this opportunity to thoroughly review the existing system and evaluate whether changes need to be made to it. Although the dependence of financial institutions on national governments has been reinforced by the crisis, global capital market integration is not going away."
       The economists raised a number of questions that an inquiry into the financial system needs to answer. In part they asked: "Will the Australian Government seek to establish a regulated clearing-house for the hundreds of billions of dollars of over-the-counter derivatives contracts that are otherwise beyond the remit of policy makers?…
       "Will the deposit and/or wholesale funding guarantees be phased out and, if so, what new policy guidelines will explain how they might be redeployed when capital markets seize up again, in a manner that minimises disruptions to other sectors?
       "If they are not phased out, how will the terms and price of these subsidies be determined and what regulatory constraints will be applied to prevent the emergence of moral hazard risks. More broadly, what parts of the credit markets will or will not be guaranteed in the future?
       "Should APRA [the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority] impose 'automatic stabilisers' that require banks to accumulate capital in good times to serve as insurance against the bad? …
       "Should the RBA lean against incipient asset-price booms fuelled by increases in system-wide leverage?
       "Should Australia's global foreign debt position be the subject of any general policy oversight and, if so, what measures should be pursued to ensure that these exposures are prudent?"
       These and other issues need to be addressed by a thorough inquiry, so as to strengthen the financial system, to ensure competition, and ultimately to preserve the nation's economic sovereignty.   NW  

       [RECAPITULATION: In the US, EU and Australia, household debt is at record levels … ENDS.]
       [1st COMMENT: So, the "boom" wasn't, really. COMMENT ENDS.]
       [ALSO READ: "Rebuilding a functioning financial system: Global financial crisis," by Colin Teese, same issue, pp 7-8.  A number of economists foretold the world financial crash. "One was Nouriel Roubini, professor of economics at New York University; another was British economist and financial commentator Peter Warburton in his book, Debt and Delusion: Central Bank Follies that Threaten Economic Disaster (Penguin 1999).
       The book ends saying that central banks have let the nations down, and that there is too little transparency and accountability.  "Prepare for an explosion that will rock the Western financial system to its foundations." ENDS.]
       [2nd COMMENT: Or, prepare to have Western assets fall into the hands of the East!  China, for example, is buying the Western Australian iron-ore industry which in a recent year had put prices up 80 per cent!  Greed and Stupidity are blood brothers, it seems!
       Colin Teese, who wrote this illuminating article, is a former deputy secretary of the Department of Trade, Australia.
       Unorthodox theorists such as followers of Douglas and George had said that the global financialist system had to crash. ENDS]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#six_economists_renew
    [Jul 25, 09]

    • Employ our unemployed, not Chinese.
               

    Employ our unemployed, not Chinese

     
       Letter to The Editor SENT TO The Australian and two other newspapers, July 28, 2009
       WA Premier Colin Barnett says that he wants China to build a WA port, and that Chinese workers will probably be needed to help do the work
       Australia's June unemployment was 5.8 per cent (real percentage probably 11.6 pc), and there was a record high of 3,150,600 part-time workers.
       And the number of house dispossessions and evictions adds to the number of homeless.
       Might I recommend that Mr Barnett, who before a previous election wanted to bring water from the north-west by CANAL to Perth, start by employing some of the Australian unemployed, before he brings Chinese here.
       And, hey, aren't the Chinese satisfied with Uighurland and Tibet -- why do they want Oz as well?

       [RESULT: Except for the last sentence, the letter appeared in The West Australian. ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#employ_our_unemployed
    [Jul 28, 09]

    • Opinion - Predictable intervention on 'non-problems'.   

    Opinion - Predictable intervention on ‘non-problems’

       CathNews (from the RCC Church Resources, Australia), http://www. cathnews.com/ article. aspx?aeid= 15436 , Opinion, by Peter Costello, in The Age (Melbourne), July 29, 2009
       MELBOURNE (Victoria) – The human rights industry begins with grand promises and ends up intervening in non-problems. We are led to believe that the purpose of these charters is to stop arbitrary arrests, guarantee a free press and guard against dictatorship. What does it actually do? In practice, it complicates the life of religious schools and opens lawsuits against the churches.
       The question is whether the law of the land should require them to employ people who are indifferent or hostile to their religion in their schools. Parents who choose to send their children to a Christian school have a reasonable expectation that the child will get a Christian education. How could the school fulfil its obligation to the parents if it is required by law to employ non-Christian or anti-Christian teachers to provide it? If the law demands this you might as well close down the concept of a Christian school - which might be what some of the critics intend.
       The provisions applying to religion have been operating for more than 30 years, with little fuss. So why is a parliamentary committee reviewing them now? Because, we are told, they have to be assessed for compliance against the Victorian 2006 Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. This charter was introduced with the promise that it would amplify rights and freedoms.
       There is something so predictable about this. - Peter Costello, The Age (click below for full article)
    http://www. theage.com.au/ opinion/ pursuing-the- churches-over- human-rights- is-contradictory- 20090728- e02j.html?page=-1 .

       [COMMENT: Australia is a country where, already, the judges are actively trying to remove the rights of some people, in favour of others.  A glaring example was the decision to award a burglar damages because the shop ceiling through which he was trying to enter the premises gave way and he was injured.  In a Western Australian case, a man who had been drunkenly asleep on a road, successfully sued a motorist whose car ran over him, gettting a partial payout.  The public, through insurance premiums and taxation, pays for such ridiculous perversions of justice.
       The Victorian anti-discrimination law was tried, and a non-court assembly fined and punished two pastors who explained the warlike stance of a rival religion, Islam.  It cost their supporters thousands to have a court overturn this perversity.  After all, unlike Communist and some Islamic countries, Australia allows people to leave if they can't stand free speech. COMMENT ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/ethics/ cont21.htm#opinion_predictable_intervention
    [Jul 29, 09]

    • Different thinking.
         

    Different thinking

     
       The Age (daily, Melbourne, Vic., Australia), Letter to The Editor, Tuesday, August 11, 2009
       EVERYONE'S in favour of more compact urban development ("Grow Melbourne from within", "No need to expand Melbourne's boundary", "Melbourne's empty nests" and "Let's win our city's battle with the bulge", The Age, 8/8).  Your editorial and Moreland Mayor Lambros Tapinos rightly identify rates and taxes as able to provide incentives to more appropriate development of urban land, yet few councils take even Moreland's partial approach and impose higher rates on vacant land.
       Only one, Monash, goes the whole hog with the strongest incentive to develop under-utilised urban land available to local government in Victoria, site-value rating.  Too bad that a group of Monash councillors are considering repealing it.
       Site-value rating acts as a powerful antidote to urban sprawl, but councils that adopt it are not permitted to make almost no distinction between the residential, commercial and industrial rates they impose.
       Local councils' take-up of site-value rating as an anti-sprawl antidote will be much greater if the arcane "limited differential" restrictions in rating legislation are repealed.  Melbourne would be much better for it. Andrew J. Gunter, Hawthorn East

    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#different_thinking
    [Aug 11, 09]

    • Federal Government set to maintain record high immigration levels.   

    Federal Government set to maintain record high immigration levels

       Herald Sun (Melbourne), http://www. heraldsun.com. au/news/ federal- government- set-to-maintain- record-high- immigration- levels/story- e6frf7jo-1225 768970486 ; by John Masanauskas, September 03, 2009
       THE Federal Government is set to maintain record high immigration levels, despite growing concern about the impact on young job seekers and urban congestion.
       The Rudd Government has admitted it wants to bring in up to 230,000 migrants annually over the next 40 years, according to a new Immigration Department report on skilled arrivals.
       This is about the same number as last year's record intake, which was cut by 18,000 places amid the global recession.
       Australia needed to maintain an annual migration intake of between 150,000 and 230,000 people to deal with the ageing of the workforce, said the issues paper, Select Skills: Principles for a New Migration Occupations in Demand List.
       Should immigration levels be cut or increased? Join the debate in the comments below
       "Within the framework, it will be important that those skilled migrants we choose are not only young and healthy, but also have a high level of education, language and skills," it said.

       Monash University demographer Dr Bob Birrell said yesterday the latest data showed that young Australians were losing jobs as migrants streamed in.
       The number of employed 15 to 24-year-olds fell by 100,000 to 1,818,000 in the year to July, Dr Birrell said.
       "The real brunt of the fall in jobs is being felt by young people," he said.
       "Yet the Federal Government is barrelling on with its big migration numbers."
       Dr Birrell said Australia could deal with its ageing workforce problem through better training and smarter work practices.
       A major poll taken after the latest federal election revealed growing concern about high migration, with more than 40 per cent of Victorians wanting it cut.
       This was way above the 27 per cent who wanted a reduction during a 2004 survey. It is believed that rising concern about jobs, urban congestion and water shortages is driving negative attitudes towards migration.
       Immigration Minister Chris Evans said this week that recent changes to skilled migration rules were helping to fill critical skill gaps.
       "A properly targeted migration program will ensure we have the right-sized and appropriately skilled labour force," he said.
       23 comments on this story # [By Sep 27, 09]

       [COMMENT: Besides the growing tide of sanctioned immigration, as Australia's water-deficiency becomes obvious, the people smugglers have become busier, having realised that the KRudd government has no stomach for keeping them out, and would not dream of withdrawing from UN conventions that have become unworkable.
       Not long after the above article appeared, two Muslim women were granted some Australian visa, because they feared genital mutilation if they returned to their own country.  Judging by certain readings, all females in some countries are condemned by supposedly holy books as being worthy of being beaten by their husbands.  In other words, about 50% of the world's Muslim population could be refugees, with a well-founded fear of violence.  Even migration-happy Howodd's motley team would have balked at 500,000,000 more refugees! COMMENT ENDS.]
       [KORAN (said to be the Angel Gabriel's message from Allah):  [Check the link, or click the University of Southern California (USC) at http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/search.html and search for the words "beat" and later "scourge."  Then read the versions revealed at http://www. usc.edu/ schools/ college/crcc/ engagement/ resources/ texts/muslim/ quran/004. qmt.html #004.034] DOCTRINE ENDS.]
       [HADITH:  [Try the link, or use search facility on the USC search page in the Bukhari hadeeth for "intelligence," and read the first one found.] TRADITION ENDS.]
       [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: N.M. ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#federal_government_set
    [Sep 03, 09]

    • The Great Escape.   

    The Great Escape

       The Weekend Australian, letters § theaustralian com au , by David Uren, Page Inquirer 1, Saturday-Sunday, September 12-13, 2009
    TWELVE months after the failure of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers, kicking off what became known as the global financial crisis and the Great Recession, the world looks little like the Great Depression of the 1930s despite the many dire warnings.
       No major banks have failed in recent months, car sales are improving worldwide and world trade grew 2 per cent in the June quarter. In Australia, conditions remain far from normal. The recently completed round of annual company profits was down about 12 per cent, the biggest drop since the 1990-91 recession. There are about 220,000 fewer full-time jobs now than there were a year ago.
       But in the Depression, unemployment hit 32 per cent in Australia, while it rose above 10 per cent in the recessions of the early 1980s and 90s. Retail sales figures out the other day showed food sales dipped 1 per cent in July, but we're not reduced to hunting rabbits.
       The Australian economy is performing much better than any of the other advanced economies. But the rest of the world is also not conforming to the more pessimistic forecasts. Indeed, across the world, economic news has consistently been coming in better than expected since the beginning of the year as the chart, which measures the balance of positive and negative surprises on new economic releases.
       It remains the most serious post-war recession, with unemployment about 10 per cent in Europe and the US, but recovery is in the air across the world.

       WHEN the news flash reporting the collapse of Lehman Brothers hit the screens of local financial market operators on the Australian east coast about lunchtime on September 15 last year, there was the wincing relief of a boil being lanced.
       The fate of the fourth largest investment bank in the US had been hanging in the balance over the previous week, its plunging share price bringing world markets down with it
       The Australian sharemarket, which had lifted 69 points on the previous Friday in hope of a rescue over the weekend, gave up 87 points that Monday (September 15) on the news of the failure.
       On the Tuesday, it emerged that legendary US broker Merrill Lynch had been sold for a pittance, at the point of the US banking regulators' shotgun, to the Bank of America while shares in the world's biggest insurer, AIG, were in free-fall as banks started withdrawing their credit lines to it. When it was taken over by the US government on the Tuesday night, markets plunged amid wild speculation on what would be the next financial domino to fall.
       "When I first learned that Lehman had gone down, I remember clearly thinking, 'This thing is going to be bigger than Ben Hur'," Treasurer Wayne Swan recalls.
       "I was getting frequent briefings from my senior Treasury guy in the Washington embassy and it just seemed there was a daily torrent of catastrophic news.
       "I would come in at around 5.30 in the morning, and shortly after get briefed about some new collapse or bailout on such a massive scale it was scarcely believable.
       "Over that week, it became quickly apparent that we were looking at something not seen in our lifetimes."
       The implications of Lehman's collapse began to sink in. No one knew who had what exposure to Lehman's $US613 billion debt, because so many of its deals were insured against the possibility of the bank failing, using a credit instrument invented in the late 1990s called a credit default swap.
       These products had mushroomed with the value of debt securities insured rising from $US6 trillion in mid 2004 to reach a peak of $US60 trillion in 2007. More alarmingly, no one had any idea of the financial standing of either the intermediaries providing the insurance, or of the value of many of the underlying loans.
       As the credit bubble inflated by these products burst, debt securities that supposedly had a one in 100,000 chance of defaulting did the unthinkable. The world's major banks became alarmed about the plummeting value of assets on their own balance sheets and then lost faith in the value of the assets held by other banks.
       The rivers of money flowing between the world's banks started to slow, with banks demanding an ever larger premium to cover the risk of lending to each other.
       UBS bank interest rate strategist Matthew Johnson says the nightmare moment came about October 10 when the market premium or extra rate that banks demanded for interbank lending blew out to about 4 percentage points, at which point trade froze.
       The only financial market that was working was foreign exchange futures, where traders were demanding a premium of 11 percentage points to deal in US dollars. Bond markets froze worldwide.
       The commercial paper markets, which companies worldwide use to finance their working capital, stopped working. Sharemarkets plummeted worldwide, with Australian investors losing 30 per cent of their wealth between September and mid-November.
       The world was staring into a financial abyss where business could not be funded, no investment undertaken and no global trade shipped.
       Weird things started happening: the interest rate on short-term US treasury bonds went negative, with hedge funds paying the US government to look after their cash, while, at the same time, the credit default swap market was putting the chance of the US government defaulting on its long-term bonds at about 40 per cent
       Reflecting on the crisis after launching this year's budget Swan recalled that as cabinet's budget subcommittee gathered on October 11 and 12 to consider what should be done, there was a consciousness of the plight of the Scullin Labor government in the wake of the 1929 sharemarket crash.
       "That government was swamped by events it could neither understand nor control. Sitting around that cabinet table in October and by teleconference from {Washington} DC, we were determined that history would not repeat itself. We were determined to respond with immediacy, purpose and effect," he said.
      ‘It became quickly apparent we were looking at something not seen in our lifetimes’  
      Wayne Swan, Treasurer  
       As preliminary data started to emerge, the drumbeat of depression grew louder. Car sales dropped 40 to 50 per cent in the major economies raising the threat of widespread bankruptcies in the motor industry. Countries that had nothing to do with sub-prime lending, such as Japan, started reporting output from their factories falling 10 per cent a month. World trade plunged 25 per cent in three months.
       Influential research exploring previous financial crises found they typically caused falls in gross domestic product of 9 percentage points and unemployment rising 7 percentage points. However this crisis, being global, had the potential to be worse.
       At the annual International Monetary Fund meeting managing director Dominique Strauss Kahn observed: "We are living through the most dangerous financial crisis since the one that led to the Great Depression. Many people have observed that some aspects of the current crisis are similar to that terrible crisis: among the public, over-optimism followed by a faltering of confidence, in the markets, mania followed by panic. Many people fear that the economic consequences could be as important."
       He did not agree, arguing that world leaders had learned from past mistakes and now possessed tools to intervene in their economies not available then.

       A PERCEPTIVE speech by Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens earlier this year underlined the stunning speed and simultaneity of the crisis, with production coming to a standstill in every major country including China in the final quarter of 2008. He suggested this may again be seen in the upswing.
       Most people thought this unlikely because the collapse in wealth and the need for the private sector to cut debt would constrain both household demand and the ability of the banks to expand lending, he said.
       "Yet the speed and size of the responses to the downturn by policy-makers around the world is just as unprecedented as the speed and size of the downturn itself. If there were an upside surprise on global growth, it would most likely be because the collective effects of all those policy responses turned out to be bigger than expected, perhaps because those expectations were formed by looking at a history where such simultaneous responses rarely occurred."
       Governments across the world had responded to the IMF's clarion call to pump money into their economies with massive cash handouts and spending packages, while central banks slashed interest rates and took over the job of financing the private banks and, in several countries, private business as well.
       Australia went into the crisis with the highest interest rates in the developed world, but it also cut them hardest, with rates dropping 3 percentage points between September and December.
       The Australian government was first to respond with fiscal spending, with its first $10.4bn package dominated by cash handouts to families and pensioners, unveiled on October 14, responding to the advice of Treasury secretary Ken Henry of "go early, go hard, go households".
       Followed by a second huge $42bn package in February, Australia's stimulus spending totals 4.9 per cent of GDP, which is one of the biggest stimulus investments in the world. However it is dwarfed by the 5.8 per cent of GDP package launched last November by the Chinese authorities, which was also supported by a massive surge in lending by China's banks.
       In speeches late last year, both the RBA's Stevens and Treasury's Henry emphasised the role of confidence. "Fundamentally what is driving weaker economic outcomes globally at the moment is fractured confidence," Henry told the National Press Club.
      [Picture] Contrast of eras: Unemployed men eat at a soup kitchen in the US during the 1930s Depression, top; lunch at a fashionable Sydney restaurant this week, above    Bottom picture: James Croucher  
       "We can talk ourselves into worse outcomes; of course we can. People do; it wouldn't be the first time. But we don't have to."
       The contribution of the stimulus delivered both by the government and the Reserve Bank to the strength of Australia's economy is widely debated, but it softened the collapse in household demand, supported business investment and boosted fragile housing markets.
       Macquarie Bank senior economist Brian Redican says there are several elements to Australia's performance.
       "There is our good fortune to have China as our major trading partner. It is also a good testament to the flexibility and responsiveness of policy makers, both the government and the Reserve Bank. It also reflects the fact that we didn't have the housing speculation of the US and other countries, mainly because the Reserve Bank was concerned about inflation and had been pushing up interest rates."
       Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey has his own list of reasons, starting with the strength of the economy going into the crisis, with 4 per cent growth, 4 per cent unemployment and strong public net assets.
       Australia had no major financial collapses or banks in serious trouble requiring bailout, such as Citigroup in the US and Royal Bank of Scotland in Britain. Monetary policy was particularly effective with big rate cuts passing directly through to households because of the widespread use of variable rate mortgages.
       The flexibility of a free floating currency also helped, with the value of the Australian dollar skittering from US85c to US65c in the space of six weeks.
       Finally, Hockey acknowledges that the government's budget stimulus helped. "If you throw enough money at something, some of it will stick. Our argument was it was too much money and poorly targeted," he says.
       Looking back on the most turbulent period managed by any treasurer since Ben Chifley during the war, Swan reflects on the turmoil of last September.
       "A lot of water has gone under the bridge in the year since then, but I can honestly say I'm proud of the way we've come through the global recession that followed.
       "Stimulus has meant we're basically the only advanced economy to avoid recession and we've got the lowest debt and deficit, unemployment is much lower than it would otherwise be, and the bank guarantees have helped our banking sector get through a very torrid time."
    George Megalogenis – Page 2
    Theodore Dalrymple – Page 6 #

       [RECAPITULATION: … shares in the world's biggest insurer, AIG, were in free-fall as banks started withdrawing their credit lines to it. […]
       Governments across the world had responded to the IMF's clarion call to pump money into their economies with massive cash handouts and spending packages, while central banks slashed interest rates and took over the job of financing the private banks and, in several countries, private business as well.
       Australia went into the crisis with the highest interest rates in the developed world, but it also cut them hardest, with rates dropping 3 percentage points between September and December. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Ask yourself: Why would the world's biggest insurer need "credit lines"?  Why weren't such credit lines LONG TERM LOANS?  Is this how Big Business, that runs banks, keeps all other businesses "toeing the line"?
       Why did the IMF (the International Monetary Fund) call on governments to "pump money into their economies"?  Where was this money going to come from?
       And did Mr and Mrs AUSSIE CITIZEN realise that Australia had the highest interest rates in the developed world?  The Just World Campaign did, and does.  And JWC knows that Australians STILL pay one of the highest interest rates in the developed world.  How do the Top End of Town, and the politicians, get away with this?  Did you know that the U.S. Federal Reserve bank rate in recent months varied from ZERO PER CENT to HALF A PER CENT? COMMENT ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#the_great_escape
    [Sep 12-13, 2009]

    • Who is my neighbour?  [Where did the money go?  And where did the bailout and stimulus money come from?]

    Who is my neighbour?

       The Record (R.C. Perth, W. Australia, weekly), cathrec § iinet net au , Editorial, p 8, Wednesday, September 16, 2009
    Passing the first anniversary of the global financial crisis, we are left with two mysteries: Where did all the money go? Where did all the money come from?
       There are many other questions, such as, How did a world not wise enough to know the crisis was coming suddenly become wise enough to know all the answers? And then, Whatever happened to poverty? However, these and other questions all go back to the mysteries of where the money went (when the world apparently lost it) and where did it come from (when the world apparently found trillions and trillions of dollars, euros, pounds, yen etc to replace what was lost and more besides).
       All of these questions and their answers may be too complex for mere editorial writers at The Record, but we have our own question: What would have happened if the world had found even one trillion dollars a month or a year before the crisis and applied it to the relief of poverty? They could have called it an economic stimulus for the poorest economies, and by now we might be congratulating ourselves that the economic stimulus was so effective that we did not suffer the economic crisis we didn't know was coming?
       The idea of ridding the world of poverty is not new. World leaders talked about it for years leading to the end of the last millennium and agreed on a set of goals for the beginning of the new millennium. Many countries increased their contributions to the poor either through cancellation of debt or direct contributions, and there has undoubtedly been some progress in some parts of the world.
       But there was nothing like the flood of finance the world unleashed to save the rich countries from a period of discomfort. The last 12 months has been a ghastly demonstration of who and what matters in the minds and hearts of mankind.  It is not the poor. [ … ]

       [RECAPITULATION: … we are left with two mysteries: Where did all the money go? Where did all the money come from? ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: That is the $64 question, asked early in the editorial.  What a pity that it did not lead to a deep discussion about the fictitious nature of money in the present economic system!  The very banks that needed government money to save themselves from becoming bankrupt, actually have pretended to lend the required money to the governments!  They created credit to lend, which was then used to keep them afloat! COMMENT ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#who_is_my
    [Sep 16, 09]

    • State's population grows by 220 a day.     

    State's population grows by 220 a day

       The West Australian, www.thewest.com.au , letters § wanews com au , By SHANE WRIGHT, ECONOMICS EDITOR, Page One, Wednesday, September 23, 2009
       WA is growing at its fastest rate in four decades, with the State's population increasing by 220 people a day during the first three months of the year.
       A record number of new residents came to WA from overseas. In the March quarter, 14,000 migrants moved to the State.
       With a natural increase (births over deaths) of 4300 and another 1500 people moving West from other States, the local population increased during the period by a record 20,215.
       The high growth is a national trend, with 97,000 migrants moving to Australia during the period – the biggest quarterly rise since the Australian Bureau of Statistics started collating figures.
       There are now 2.2 million people in WA, an increase of 68,000 in the past 12 months. Of the new residents, 43,000 are from overseas, 18,700 are from the State's increased birth rate and 5900 were from other parts of the country.
       WA recorded the nation's fastest population growth in the year to March (3.1 per cent), outperforming its nearest rivals Queensland (2.6 per cent), Northern Territory (2.2 per cent) and Victoria (2.1 per cent). Tasmania (one per cent) has the lowest growth rate.
       The NSW population hit the seven million mark for the first time, Victoria has 5.4 million people and Queensland – which added a record 113,000 residents – is home to 4.4 million.
       Perth has 1.6 million residents, an increase of 43,000 in one year. The city has added 166,000 people since 2003.
       Mandurah is the nation's fastest-growing city, with its population swelling 5.3 per cent or 4000 in the past year to 78,612. Bunbury's population has grown 4.1 per cent to 63,202, Geraldton's is up 2.8 per cent to 35,361 and Kalgoorlie-Boulder is up 2.5 per cent to 31,509.
       CommSec chief equities economist Craig James said the surge in population was one of the unsung reasons for the Australian economy holding up so well during the global recession.
       "Not only is Australia's population growing at the fastest rate in 40 years, but the growth rate has lifted significantly over the past year, driven by record migration," he said.
       "In simple terms, more people translates to increased spending and demand for homes, and as a result, increased momentum for our economy."
       Australia's population growth rate of 2.1 per cent is among the fastest in the developed world.
       Macquarie Bank interest rate strategist Rory Robertson said the population growth figures would further consolidate housing demand and underpin prices.
    > NEW ARRIVALS 4
    > OPINION 20 #

       [COMMENT: Land prices are rising, NOT the houses on the land.  In spite of the seeming joy of men from CommSec and Macquarie Bank, rising land prices is a revival of the "bubble," which like the last one will probably burst.  And it is NOT good news to anyone trying to buy or lease a home or premises for business, profession, etc.
       Perth is already water-deficient, being masked by pumping millions of litres from underground, a finite resource.  Country towns and many farmers are mostly reliant on non-renewable water.
       Meanwhile, wet-behind-the-ears politicians and the people smugglers are doing their best to replace the feckless Australians by a relentless wave of "invaders." COMMENT ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#state_s_population_grows
    [p 1, Sep 23, 09]

    • Try limiting population to ease global warming.   

    Try limiting population to ease global warming

       The West Australian, www.thewest.com.au , letters § wanews com au , By ROSS GITTINS, p 20, Wednesday, September 23, 2009
    You little beauty. Kevin Rudd's admission that the world's leaders are a long way from reaching agreement on how to respond to climate change means there's no reason we need to get his carbon pollution reduction scheme passed by Parliament before the meeting at Copenhagen in December. And if the leaders can't reach an agreement then, we may not need to do anything at all.
       Wow. Off the hook. All the nastiness that was the emissions trading scheme – a new tax, by any other name – no longer needed. Some countries have all the luck.
       Yes, I am being sarcastic. Listen to the Opposition and you'd think our problem wasn't that the world's getting hotter, the weather wilder and the sea level higher, but that playing our part in limiting those things may involve some unpleasantness. Accept a new tax? Surely global warming can't be THAT bad.
       But the Government's little better than its opponents. Mr Rudd has 100 top priorities, of which responding to climate change is just one. He can't resist playing politics. He advances the most timid policy at home, then jets off overseas to lecture other leaders on the need for concerted action.
       And boy, doesn't he look worried about the fate of the planet as he mixes and mingles with the great and good.
       It's clear the penny hasn't dropped. Neither our leaders nor we have any real appreciation of the severity and urgency of the problem we face. We can't focus on the problem for more than a few minutes. We can't stir ourselves to action.
       Everyone rightly condemns economists for their failure to foresee and warn us about the global financial crisis, but here's a climate crisis we've seen coming for years – and witnessed some of its early effects with our own eyes – and we can't take it seriously.
      [Pictures] Kevin Rudd, Wayne Swan  
       Even the economists who brought us the emissions trading scheme don't adequately appreciate the problem we've got.
       In reality, the economy exists within the ecosystem, taking natural resources from that system, using them and then ejecting wastes, including sewage, garbage and all forms of pollution and greenhouse gases.
       The global economy grows as the world's population grows and as people's material living standards rise. The problem is that the human population and material affluence have grown so much over the past 200 years
       On the one hand we're chewing through non-renewable resources at a rapid rate and using renewable resources faster than their ability to renew themselves. On the other, we're spewing out wastes faster than the ecosystem can absorb them.
       Global warming is, of course, an example of the latter. But it's just the most acute respect in which global economic activity is undermining the healthy functioning of our ecosystem. Think of the way we're destroying the world's fish stocks, the way farming practices are causing acidification, desertification and erosion of land, the way dams and irrigation are destroying our rivers and the way "progress" is destroying species.
       All this is happening with only about 15 per cent of the world's population enjoying high material living standards similar to ours. Now consider what happens to the global economy's use of natural resources and generation of wastes when China and India – accounting for almost 40 per cent of the world's population – get on a path of rapid economic development to raise their citizens' standard of living to something approaching ours.
       Since the rich countries are reluctant to countenance a decline in living standards, to put it mildly, and the poor countries most assuredly won't abandon their quest for affluence, there's one obvious variable that could be used to limit global economic activity's deleterious impact on the ecosystem: population growth.
       Limiting population growth in the developing world and allowing population to continue on its established path of decline in the developed world wouldn't be easy, but it would be easier than trying to prevent rising living standards among those already living.
       Hence my dismay when Wayne Swan's announcement last week that Australia's population in 40 years time is expected to be 6.5 million greater than was expected just three years ago was received without the blinking of an eye.
       From 21.5 million today, our population by about 2050 is now expected to reach not 28.5 million but more than 35 million. That's growth of 65 per cent rather than 33 per cent. The revised estimate is driven by "a greater number of women of child-bearing age, higher fertility rates and increased net overseas migration," Mr Swan explained.
       Even at an upwardly revised total fertility rate of more than 1.9 births per woman, we're still well below the long-term replacement rate of 2.1 births. So it's likely that most of the upward revision comes from higher immigration, which would also increase the number of women of child-bearing age.
       You might think that, once people have been born, it doesn't matter to the global environment what country they live in. But if they move from a developing to a developed country, their standard of living (and thus their use of natural resources and generation of wastes) greatly increases.
       Our apparently universally approved determination to maintain high immigration greatly increases the difficulty we'll have reducing our carbon emissions, puts a lot of pressure on house prices and raises questions about whether we're exceeding our "carrying capacity". But never mind all that. Did you know Our Kev had breakfast with the great Bill Clinton? Bill had an omelette but Kev had fruit salad.
       Ross Gittins, Economics Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald

       [RECAPITULATION: Think of the way we're destroying the world's fish stocks, the way farming practices are causing acidification, desertification and erosion of land, the way dams and irrigation are destroying our rivers and the way "progress" is destroying species.
       All this is happening with only about 15 per cent of the world's population enjoying high material living standards similar to ours. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Well said.  Not to mention the increasing pushing aside of the "Aussies" and their way of life. COMMENT ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#try_limiting_population
    [p 29, Sep 23, 09]

    • Extreme Leftist Gang Makes Threats Against Australia First; AND, Truth Television Returns   

    Extreme Leftist Gang Makes Threats Against Australia First

       Australia First Party, By an e-mail dated September 27, 2009
       An extreme leftist gang has made open threats against Australia First.
       The group, the Australasian Spartacist League (SL), was one of the organisers of the street violence against the Pauline Hanson One Nation party in the years 1997 – 1999.
       This time around the Spartacists are baying for our blood as a recent tabloid publication which has come into our hands, so clearly states. After denouncing us as “fascists” (such labels!) and denouncing one of our leaders as a “thug” parading as an “academic” and “politician” (flattery indeed!), they go on to call for “mobilisations” against the party – so as to deny us a platform and freedom of speech. They predict confrontation and say that we must be physically constrained.
       The Spartacists are a small group. However, they travel widely throughout the feral populations of the inner cities and work closely with foreign students and certain immigrant aliens.
       The rules of the game are changing. We await the traitor class media to report on these threats. Perhaps we may wait a long time? #
    Truth Television Returns
       Truth Television has returned. A number of productions are now on-line and we expect to add to our holdings over time. An item on the transport industry and the truckies’ struggle is currently being worked on.
       Readers can check things out at: www.truthtelevision.net
       The importance of such an internet service cannot be overestimated. #

       [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: N.M. ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/ cont21.htm#extreme_leftist_gang
    [Sep 27, 09]

    • Catholics suffer new wave of persecutions in Communist Vietnam; Attacks against the Church erupt throughout Vietnam.   

    Catholics suffer new wave of persecutions in Communist Vietnam


    Attacks against the Church erupt throughout Vietnam
       The Record (R.C. Perth, W. Australia, weekly), CWNews, p 11, Wednesday, September 30, 2009
       HUE, Vietnam (CWNews) – The Archdiocese of Hue in central Vietnam has been subjected to a campaign of negative propaganda in the state-controlled media following public protests against the government's confiscation of a Catholic school there.
       Almost simultaneously, an ultimatum has been sent by public officials to leaders of the Vinh diocese, ordering the removal of a large statue of Our Lady at a Catholic cemetery. Meanwhile, in the northern region, parishioners of Thai Ha in the Archdiocese of Hanoi were told that another plot of land claimed by Catholics as Church property would be put under state administration.
       Verbal attacks against the Church erupted in Hue after the publication of a statement by Archbishop Stephen Nguyen Nhu The and his Auxiliary Bishop Francis Xavier Le Van Hong in which they strongly objected to the confiscation of a Catholic school in the Loan Ly parish and the brutal violence of police against parishioners who had protested.
       The school, adjacent to the parish church of Loan Ly, was built by parishioners in 1956. From the beginning, it had been used as a Catholic school until local government officials seized it following the Communist takeover of South Vietnam in 1975.
       Ever since then, Sunday catechism classes have still been allowed - under a large picture of Uncle Ho, the Communist leader, rather than a crucifix. Since 1999, however, local officials have sought to convert the school into a hotel - a proposal that has encountered heavy public opposition.
       On September 13 authorities and police barricaded the school building. Hundreds of parishioners immediately protested, pulling down the fence, prompting thousands of police to rush to the scene where they attacked parishioners with batons and stun guns.
       In a September 23 statement, the two Bishops of Hue expressed their "shock and frustration with the way the government had unilaterally solved the Church property issue by the employment of violence" and called for "peaceful dialogue."
       In response, Hue Television ran a series of interviews in which government agents posing as Catholics verbally attacked the prelates.
       Vietnam newspapers attacked Fr Joseph Ngo Thanh Son, pastor of Loan Ly parish, accusing him of plotting and directing the protest by his parishioners - although the priest had been in the hospital. #

    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#catholics_suffer_new
    [Sep 30, 09]

    • Buckeridge attacks LandCorp 'inaction'  - 90 jobs at risk.    

    Buckeridge attacks LandCorp ‘inaction’

       The West Australian, Business, www.thewest.com.au/business , By Peter Kerr, p 59, Thursday, November 19, 2009
       Building magnate Len Buckeridge has launched a blistering attack on LandCorp, accusing the taxpayer-owned agency of "having its foot on the throats" of WA home builders because its slow release of land was keeping suburban lot prices high.
       Mr Buckeridge, one of WA's richest men, said yesterday he was also concerned about LandCorp's role in thwarting major infrastructure projects through mismanagement of industrial land supply as well as its discouragement of development in the North-West, which was costing the State the chance to change the "fly-in-fly-out" culture of the region.
       Mr Buckeridge's foray into the WA land supply debate came after Labor spokesman Mark McGowan on Tuesday called on the State Government to intervene in a dispute between LandCorp and Malaga-based manufacturing firm Complete that may see the company axe 90 jobs and move offshore to China. Complete says it cannot get land to build a new factory because of LandCorp's inaction.
       It also follows an attack two months ago by transport mogul Lindsay Fox's development arm, which called for LandCorp's "monopoly" over industrial land supply to be broken because the State-owned agency was frustrating its expansion plans.
       Mr Buckeridge said yesterday he was most concerned about LandCorp's participation in private land subdivisions.
       "You have a situation where LandCorp controls so much land that they (effectively) control the market," he said. "They take so long to create land with services and the like, so the price of the house-and-land package goes up enormously."
       Mr Buckeridge said the situation in towns such as Port Hedland and Dampier was "embarrassing" and holding back development of the North-West as well as costing families a chance to enjoy the lifestyle of the area. He called for the head of LandCorp, Ross Holt, to step down for "failing" WA taxpayers.
       Lands Minister Brendon Grylls backed Mr Holt but said he would take Mr Buckeridge's criticism on board.
       Mr Grylls said while he had previously been a critic of LandCorp, its new board was "heading in the right direction" in ensuring the agency stepped aside where private firms were willing to develop properties.
       Complete managing director Emanuel Dillon said that unless the Government intervened to force planning changes by tomorrow, his donga-manufacturing firm would have to shift its operations to China.
       Planning Minister John Day said the matter was before the State Administrative Tribunal. #

       [EXPLANATION: LandCorp is the "jazzy" name of what used to be called something like the Lands Department or the Titles Office, which used to have the duty of policing subdivisions and the like, in the interests of the Crown (read, "the people of Western Australia").  It proudly reports so-called profits. ENDS.]
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#buckeridge_attacks_landcorp
    [Nov 19, 09]

    • Cabcharge board rapped.   
    IN BRIEF

    Cabcharge board rapped


       The West Australian, Business, www.thewest.com.au/business , p 59, Thursday, November 19, 2009
       Cabcharge's board has been rebuked for the second year in a row oyer the $2.5 million salary paid to its long-time chief executive and chairman, Reg Kermode.
       About 40 per cent of shareholder votes were cast against Cabcharge's remuneration report yesterday after two influential proxy advisers urged a no-vote because Mr Kermode's pay this year was considerably higher than that pocketed by bosses at similar-sized companies.
       Last year, about 37 per cent of votes were cast against Cabcharge's pay card.
       The reprimand was voiced through proxies and not reflected at Cabcharge's annual meeting in Sydney where some shareholders said he deserved to be paid more. #
    http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/cont21.htm#cabcharge_board_rapped
    [Nov 19, 09]
    Click: INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE NEWS

    CONTENTS LIST and ANCHOR LIST (After reading an article, use Browser's "Back" button to return to Anchor List)
    Australian Jews protest against Israel's action. [of bombing and attacking Gaza Strip in Palestine, for firing rockets into Israel-occupied Palestine.] January 6, 2009
    Australia's future tax system [March 17, Public meeting, Perth, Government-organised.] Mar 11, 09
    Bank chiefs claim the worst is over, eye more rate cuts. AUSTRALIA, HONG KONG: NAB and ANZ banks see the end of the Great Recession, lower interest. Mar 26, 09
    Bankers Can't Be Trusted; Greenspan Says 'Nationalize'. UNITED STATES. March 2009
    [Banks book millions p.w., but won't cut home interest.] AUSTRALIA. Apr 15, 09
    Blank-cheque bailout terrifies markets and wipes credibility. BRITAIN allegedly gives banks "money" to stave off bankruptcy, and horrifies Sound Finance people. Jan 21, 2009
    Breaking in on the rent seekers. AUSTRALIA. By Bryan Kavanagh, Land Values Research Group (Melbourne). Mar 11, 09
    British Police set to step up hacking of home PCs. BRITAIN. No warrants required. Working in with European Union. Jan 05, 09
    Buckeridge attacks LandCorp 'inaction'. WESTERN AUSTRALIA not subdividing enough land, and holding North-West industrial development back. Perth firm will move manufacturing to China. Nov 19, 09
    Cabcharge board rapped. AUSTRALIA: 40% shareholders opposed high salaries etc. Nov 19, 09
    Catholics suffer new wave of persecutions in Communist Vietnam; Attacks against the Church erupt throughout Vietnam. Sep 30, 09
    Chinese checkers. ['Sell the milk, not the cow.'] AUSTRALIA: Two politicians and a magnate campaign against selling AUD $26.1 bn share in huge miner Rio Tinto. May 10, 09
    Chinese donation to Libs a secret. AUSTRALIA: 2007 Queensland Liberal Party; then-PM John Howard.  Media magnate Mr Bruno Zheng Wu, miner Mr Clive Palmer, and gambling owner Dr Stanley Ho. February 7-8, 2009
    [Deceptive China-contact Defence Minister must leave Parliament.] AUSTRALIA. Mar 27, 09
    Different thinking. AUSTRALIA: Site-value rating would help obviate Melbourne's urban sprawl. Letter. Aug 11, 09
    Editor of "West" falls to superior forces. W. AUSTRALIA. Paul Armstrong gone. Big Business regains control of newspaper. Sent on January 16, 2009
    Employ our unemployed, not Chinese. W. AUSTRALIA: Letter SENT opposing Premier Colin Barnett's plan to ship in Chinese to build mineral ore infrastructure. UE probably 11.6%. Jul 28, 09
    Europe faces up to deep recession. BRUSSELS: London, Edinburgh, and Madrid among those in trouble. Jan 21, 2009
    Extreme Leftist Gang Makes Threats Against Australia First; AND, Truth Television Returns. AUSTRALIA. Sep 27, 09
    Fake Faith and Epic Crimes. BLIAR and BLUSH might be indicted for war crimes. April 02, 2009
    Farmers don't dig emissions plan. AUSTRALIA: The USA, determined on food security, is offering U.S. farmers a far better carbon emissions deal than Australia is offering. Jul 22, 09
    Federal Government set to maintain record high immigration levels. AUSTRALIA. Fake skills shortage, youth losing jobs. Sep 03, 09
    Federal obligations exceed world GDP; Does $65.5 trillion terrify anyone yet? UNITED STATES: Accounting for recurring liabilities such as Social Security and Medicare benefits, the U.S.A. is really insolvent, and printing banknotes to keep going. Feb 13, 09
    Forrest to win green light for sale to China. AUSTRALIA: Iron ore to be ~ 17% under dictatorship's influence, so that FMG can export even more to its war machine. Mar 31, 09
    Fred Harrison on the Betrayal by the Powers that be. Global credit cutbacks. Feb 4, 09
    Gilt auction flop fear for economy. BRITAIN. Mar 31 to Apr 6, 2009
    • The Global Financial Crisis. Australian PM Kevin Rudd sees some of the hazards of deregulated banking and unbridled globalism.  Positive note: He writes that the Great Depression lasted a decade, in contradiction to most writers who say it ended around 1934. [Really it lasted 1929-41.] Feb 2009
    • The Great Escape. AUSTRALIA: David Uren explains how Australia is weathering the Great Recession of 2008-09. September 12-13, 2009
    Hockey's peril has a familiar, tainted hue. AUSTRALIA: The article sneers at Joe Hockey's truthful exposure of how the Beijing dictatorship is being courted by top Australian powerbrokers.  The paid trips and secret meetings will supposedly be papered over by the government, perhaps by considering an order to MsP and senators to give more details! Mar 28-29, 2009
    Holocaust echoes in a compromised land. [Nazi and Communist anti-Judaist pogroms; Judaists founded Hollywood.] W. AUSTRALIA: A play exhibits some "uncomfortable" historical facts. Apr 2, 09
    Jailed for lying to CCC.  W. AUSTRALIA: Sentenced at a private hearing. Jan 6, 09
    Land tax system in need of overhaul. AUSTRALIA. Jul 16, 09
    Martial Law, the Financial Bailout, and War. Peter Dale Scott (Global Research) gives an analysis including predatory lending, the increase in wealth inequality, and the persistence in the USA of a war mentality to suit the industrialists. January 8, 2009
    Motor Show Falls Victim To The Credit Crunch. BRITAIN: No show in 2010. Mar 24-30, 2009
    Nehru's great-grandson arrested over Muslim hate speech. INDIA. Varun Gandhi said that footage of his speech was doctored, to tarnish his image. Mar 28, 09
    No one is worth this much money. [$40m to Telstra man, 7-fold incentive increase to Bonds woman as shares fall 45%. AND -- Bonds jobs go overseas. $20m to Gaza instead of seniors. World over-populated. Drug bins an IQ test.]   Letters. Mar 7, 09
    [No private CCC sentencing.] W. AUSTRALIA. Jan 7, 09
    Payroll tax needs rethink. AUSTRALIA: Thoughtful article which discussed land revenue as well. Jul 22, 09
    Persecuting aggressive China in share deal, secret meetings. AUSTRALIA: Letter, iron-ore sellout, so more can be dug out. Mar 31, 09
    PM will woo the west. PERTH, W. Australia. Federal Cabinet coming to Perth. Mar 29, 09
    Qi recalls the day the tanks rolled in. CHINA. Tiananmen Square, Beijing, massacre nearly 20 years ago. Apr 14, 09
    • The Real AIG Conspiracy. Prof. Michael Hudson about the U.S.A. bailout of High Finance, Wall Street, and so on, and who got the bonuses and the rest of the money. (No word on how did this "money" materialise!) Mar 18, 09
    Reporter feels mob's hate in the Holy City. - Sabbath extremists spitting like rain, and assaulted lady reporter. JERUSALEM: Ultra-Orthodox Jews turn on lady reporter. Jul 7, 09
    Rock probe exposes blunders by Labour. BRITAIN: Northern Rock Bank went on lending high-risk 125 per cent mortgages AFTER receiving the British Government bailout. [Money for the rich, but not much for the unemployed.] Mar 24-30, 2009
    Rudd, Howard linked to Liu. [Helen Liu's bank account details allegedly on Australian Defence Minister's computer] AUSTRALIA and CHINA. Mar 29, 09
    Secret visits by Chinese raise valid questions. AUSTRALIA. PR chief visits political and news leaders in secret. Mar 31, 09
    Sir Fred's £3million cash and grab raid: Disgraced banker in new pension scandal. BRITAIN: The Royal Bank of Scotland changed his pension rules two days before he "left" -- forced out as the British Government had to pour in money to prop it up, taking 68% ownership. Mar 24-30, 2009
    Six economists renew call for a "people's bank". Gans, Gruen, Joye, King, Quiggin, Wylie. Plus, Will Bailey for past 8 years. AUSTRALIA Jul 25, 09
    State's population grows by 220 a day. W. AUSTRALIA. Sep 23, 09
    [Stop selling strategic asset.] Letter joining protest against mineral-mine sell-out to Chinese dictatorship. AUSTRALIA. May 14, 09
    Try limiting population to ease global warming. AUSTRALIA. Sep 23, 09
    Two million unemployed: But migrants still queue to reach Benefit Britain. BRITAIN: 1,300,000 on dole; 2,000,000 on breadline.  FRANCE sees danger in building another refugee camp. Mar 24-30, 2009
    Wall Street is morally and financially bankrupt. Comment by Adam Schwab on Crikey.com . Jan 30, 09
    Who is my neighbour?  Regarding the global bailouts of Big Business and the banks, a religious paper asks: Where did the money go? And where did the bail-out and stimulus money come from? Sep 16, 09

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