Republican Con Job Deluxe
"It's the 'new normal' we all have to deal with." - CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
Today's political narrative on CNN is the 'new normal" the precious TV pundits are going to CONtinue shove down our throats each and every day: If big cuts aren't made soon, there could be further downgrading of America's credit rating.
Today's narrative, repeated via different "experts" ad nauseaum, infers we must make big cuts to Social Security and Medicare or face further downgrading of America's credit. Since when does the Republican Party and Standard & Poor hold the American economy hostage? Since the Republican Party begrudgingly realized the fact Obama is very most likely going to trounce any Republican Party candidate, that's when.
These are some of the most harmful lies ever disseminated to the general public. These so-called "experts" are nothing more than mouthpieces for their corporate and political masters and financial self-interest. The MSM is working overtime manufacturing so-called, "conventional wisdom" that says Social Security and Medicare must be cut, or face further downgrading of America's credit and the worsening of our economy. Wolf Blitzer actually asked one so-called CNN "expert" if there was anything the U.S. could have done to avoid yesterday's S&P downgrading of America's credit, and the guy said yes, the cuts to Social Security and Medicare should have already been made, and if the cuts would have already been made, S&P wouldn't have downgraded U.S. credit. Blitzer further "helped out" by saying yes, the tough decisions have to be made. (inappropriately mischaracterizing Social Security as what ails America's economy)
Since when does a shady corporation named Standard & Poor (a questionable organization at best, criminal at worst) dictate U.S. economic policy to America's political system and parties? This is the SAME CORPORATION that issued BOGUS credit ratings for bogus mortgage securities. Since when does Standard and Poor possess the GALL AND MORAL IMPERATIVE to publicly WARN politicians and voters that if they don't leave the Bush tax cuts intact, S&P will possibly downgrade America's credit even further? Since this morning, when top S&P executives appeared on CNN and MSNBC specifically warning Americans that if they don't cut Social Security and Medicare, there will be further downgrading of America's credit rating.
When S&P calculated America's debt ratio, etc., they counted the Bush tax cuts as permanent beyond 2012, when they are set to expire. This accounts for the $2 trillion discrepancy between the U.S. Treasury Dept. and Standard & Poor. Even Warren Buffet said S&P erred in downgrading America's AAA rating: S&P Erred in Cutting U.S. Rating: Buffett
I personally believe S&P's downgrading of America's credit rating is a direct result of President Obama refusing to endorse the permanent renewal of the Bush tax cuts. The Bush tax cuts were and remain a gross tax loophole which caused a big part of the financial mess America is suffering from right now.
Standard & Poor's downgrade of America's debt couldn't come at a worse time. The result is likely to be higher borrowing costs for the government at all levels, and higher interest on your variable-rate mortgage, your auto loan, your credit card loans, and every other penny you borrow.
Why did S&P do it?
Not because America failed to pay its creditors on time. As you may have noticed, we avoided a default.
And not because we might fail to pay our bills at the end of 2012 if tea-party Republicans again hold the nation hostage when their votes will next be needed to raise the debt ceiling. This is a legitimate worry and might have been grounds for a downgrade, but it's not S&P's rationale.
S&P has downgraded the U.S. because it doesn't think we're on track to reduce the nation's debt enough to satisfy S&P and we're not doing it in a way S&P prefers.
Here's what S&P said: "The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics." S&P also blames what it considers to be weakened "effectiveness, stability, and predictability" of U.S. policy making and political institutions.
Pardon me for asking, but who gave Standard & Poor's the authority to tell America how much debt it has to shed, and how?
If we pay our bills, we're a good credit risk. If we don't, or aren't likely to, we're a bad credit risk. When, how, and by how much we bring down the long term debt or, more accurately, the ratio of debt to GDP is none of S&P's business.
S&P's intrusion into American politics is also ironic because, as I pointed out recently, much of our current debt is directly or indirectly due to S&P's failures (along with the failures of the two other major credit-rating agencies Fitch and Moody's) to do their jobs before the financial meltdown. Until the eve of the collapse S&P gave triple-A ratings to some of the Street's riskiest packages of mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations.
Had S&P done its job and warned investors how much risk Wall Street was taking on, the housing and debt bubbles wouldn't have become so large and their bursts wouldn't have brought down much of the economy. You and I and other taxpayers wouldn't have had to bail out Wall Street; millions of Americans would now be working now instead of collecting unemployment insurance; the government wouldn't have had to inject the economy with a massive stimulus to save millions of other jobs; and far more tax revenue would now be pouring into the Treasury from individuals and businesses doing better than they are now.
In other words, had Standard & Poor's done its job over the last decade, today's budget deficit would be far smaller and the nation's future debt wouldn't look so menacing.
We'd all be better off had S&P done the job it was supposed to do, then. We've paid a hefty price for its nonfeasance.
A pity S&P is not even doing its job now. We'll be paying another hefty price for its malfeasance today.
Robert Reich: S&P Debt Warning is 'Height of Hubris'
WASHINGTON) -- It's the "height of hubris" for ratings agency Standard & Poor's to suggest it may cut the credit rating of the U.S. even if the debt crisis is solved, says Robert Reich, former labor secretary in the Clinton administration.
"No credit rating agency has gone as far as S&P," he told ABC News on Wednesday. "That's a highly political move. I'm surprised they are doing it."
Reich, who is a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley and has also worked under Presidents Carter and Obama, called the credit rating agency's latest reports "irresponsible."
With just days to go until the Treasury estimates the U.S. could default on its sovereign debt, Reich said S&P has no business sharing its political opinions about U.S. economic policy. The U.S. currently has the highest AAA rating on its debt, which tops $14 trillion. A lower debt rating would mean higher borrowing costs for the U.S., adding billions more to the debt.
While ratings agencies testified Wednesday at a House financial services committee hearing on their role in the subprime mortgage market, Reich pointed out that Standard & Poor's contributed to the financial meltdown by giving AAA ratings to some of Wall Street's riskiest packages of mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations.
S&P's threat of a downgrade to the nation's credit rating goes one step further than Moody's and Fitch, the other two major credit rating agencies, by declaring even if Congress agrees to lift the $14.3 trillion debt limit, they and President Obama must also reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years.
In April, Standard & Poor's cut the U.S. ratings outlook to negative from stable and warned that its AAA rating is at risk unless lawmakers agree on a plan by 2013 to reduce the budget deficit and nation's debt.
Robert Reich: You Can Officially Blame The Double Dip On The Republicans
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-republicans-double-d...
Aug 6, 2011
Republican Con Job Deluxe
Romney mystery milllion dollar donor comes forward
Invited paper to be presented to the “Encuentro Nacional de comunidades Campesinas, Afrodescendientes e Indigenas por la Tierra y
“El dialogo es la Ruta”
12 al 15 de agosto 2011
We live in a time of great destruction and grand economic opportunities and
De-Militarization: The Specificities of
State and para-state violence, however, is not random; over 4 million Colombian farmers, peasants and rural intermediaries have been forcibly dispossessed and their lands seized by big landowners, narco-traffickers, generals and businesspeople allied with the government. In other words State terror and mass dispossession is a peculiarly Colombian method of “capital accumulation”. State violence is the method to secure the means of production to increase agro-exports at the expense of family farmers.
Within the militarized state – especially because of its deep-rooted links to regional
Most Latin American countries which have gone through a transition from dictatorial rule to electoral politics have respected opponents; only
As a result of mass struggles and popular uprisings, center-left regimes pursue relatively independent economic policies and progressive anti-poverty programs. They have raised living standards and provide political and social space for continued class struggle.
“Peace settlements” produce winners and losers and reflect the external and internal correlation of forces. The process of negotiation, including who is consulted in setting priorities and making concessions ,is central to the future trajectory of the “peace process”.
Recent history provides us with two diametrically opposed ‘peace processes’ with dramatically different consequences: the Indo-Chinese peace settlement of 1973-75 and the Central American peace settlements of 1992-1993. In the case of Indo-China and more specifically the Vietnamese-US peace settlement, the National Liberation Front (NLF), secured the withdrawal of the
Over the past 35 years,
In contrast, the Central American peace agreements signed by the guerrilla leaders led to the end of armed conflict and the incorporation of the insurgent elite into the electoral system. However, there were no basic changes in the military, economic and social system. None of the mass popular organizations were consulted. The bulk of the armed fighters, both popular insurgents and paramilitary mercenaries, were discharged and became an army of “armed” unemployed. Over the past 20 years, criminal gangs have taken over large swathes of Central America, while the ex-Farabundo Marti guerrilla elite and their Guatemalan/ Nicaraguan colleagues, have become affluent businesspeople and allied with conservative electoral politicians. They are protected by private bodyguards and oblivious of the conditions of 60% of the population living below the poverty-line. The “peace accords” in
The Vietnamese and Central American peace agreements took place during different international moments. In the 1970’s the Soviet Union and
Clearly the change in the international correlation of forces influenced but did not determine the unfavorable results in
The reactionary political correlation of forces of the 1990’s has changed dramatically. By 2011, only
The Central American peace settlement, with its acceptance of the militarized state, linked to agro-mineral export elites and narco-criminal gangs has become a monument for a failed “peace process”. The Vietnamese peace settlement, while far from perfect, at least has provided peace, security, agrarian reform, and higher income for the peasantry and workers. No doubt
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