Socio-Economics History Blog

Socio-Economics & History Commentary

A Crash this way Cometh!

  • I am not alone in forecasting Summer of Hell for America. Stock market should be correcting sharply down now to test the previous low of 6470 (DJIA). The 4000 level is not out of the question by summer. Bob Moriarty writes :
       
    I’m going to crawl way out on a limb. A major crash this way cometh. The stock markets have gone up for six straight weeks. That’s a pretty strong sign of a top. Our financial system continues to come unglued as Goldman Sachs leads the looting of the treasury after a financial coup d’état that has stolen $46,000 from each taxpayer to hand it over to the banks now running the country. After over $13.6 trillion has been poured into the banking system, I cannot see that a person I know has been enriched by even a single cent but each American is now indebted to the tune of an additional $46,000.
     
    It’s going to end badly. We are not at the bottom; we aren’t even near the bottom. In terms of the Great Depression, we are in 1931 or so; the bottom is ahead of us. I expect the dollar to default in the next few months after a General Motors and Chrysler bankruptcy convinces everyone that we are truly in a depression. US Bonds are on the brink of a collapse. When they do, the dollar will tank and interest rates soar. As measured by John Williams at ShadowStats.com, the real pre-Clinton unemployment rate is above 20%.
     
    I’ve called for riots by summer but even I have been startled by the number of mass murders in the United States in the last month or so. It’s the economy, stupid. It’s going to get worse, much worse as the insane financial policies of both political parties over the past fifty years come to their inevitable conclusion. The United States is bankrupt and soon the rest of the world will realize it. The days of writing checks in the firm belief the rest of the world will not cash them are over. The United States has had 89 years of being able to live beyond our means as a result of being the world’s reserve currency. It’s over and the deconstruction of the United States has begun.
     
    The risk of World War III being ignited by a US/Israeli attack on Iran has diminished considerably under Obama. However daily pronouncements out of Israel serve to remind us that a Zionist nuclear attack on Iran is still the #1 goal of Israel notwithstanding the 16 US intelligence agencies that all conclude Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. Israel made it clear under the Clean Break from the Peace Process that they intend to attack anyone who might be a threat to them at some point in the future, no matter how distant.
     
    Derivatives as measured by the BIS showed as $684 trillion[pdf] as of last June. A more current report will come out in a month. I expect it to show an increase in OTC derivatives. That’s insane. I saw the danger in the mere size of derivatives in January of 2002. They were out of control then. Now they are seven times larger and growing. And not a single “expert” in the Obama administration understands the danger of a $700 trillion dollar casino with no regulation and everyone playing with monopoly money. It allows companies such as Goldman Sachs to destroy companies, indeed countries with no risk to themselves. After all, the taxpayers of the United States have assumed all the risk of failure.
     
    Gold is a safe haven and will remain a safe haven. Paper gold may well disappear along with all the other monopoly money assets. We are in for another massive deleveraging that may well drag precious metals shares with it. The safest shares to be in will be those of producing gold and silver companies.
     
    Hunker down. This summer is going to get really fugly.
     
  • Why would NATO provoke Russia by having military exercises in Georgia?
     
    Russia’s foreign minister criticized on Thursday NATO’s plans to conduct exercises in Georgia, saying they could give the Georgian regime a sense of impunity, and raise tensions in the Caucasus region. The Cooperative Longbow 09/Cooperative Lancer 09 exercises led by the Western military alliance will be held from May 6 through June 1, and will not feature weapons or military vehicles.
     
    Sergei Lavrov said: “I hope that NATO countries, in planning future interaction with Georgia within the Partnership for Peace program, will avoid steps that could nudge the Georgian regime into a feeling of permissiveness and impunity.” “With regard to Georgia’s regime, a demonstration of NATO’s participation [in the exercises] will not send the right signal by those who honestly want to achieve stability in the Caucasus,” he said.
     
    Russia calls on NATO to cancel exercise
    Russia’s envoy to NATO called the alliance’s upcoming military exercises in Georgia an act of “insanity” and called for them to be canceled. RIA Novosti reported Saturday that the exercises will be held May 6 to June 1, and will not include light or heavy weaponry. The Russian news service said the envoy made his concerns known in a letter to NATO leaders.
     
    “On Monday I addressed NATO (incoming) Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen with a letter asking (him) to cancel the drills in Georgia, due to start in early May. I believe this is absurdity and insanity,”
    Dmitry Rogozin told reporters. Among other reasons, Rogozin said the event should be canceled amid a lack of trust.
     
    “It is provocational to rattle the saber near our borders until Russia-NATO military contacts are restored and until trust is restored between our sides,” he was quoted as saying.

       
  • With Israel ready to go to war with Iran, there is more than even chance we will see WW3.
     
    Israel stands ready to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites 
    The Israeli military is preparing itself to launch a massive aerial assault on Iran’s nuclear facilities within days of being given the go-ahead by its new government. Among the steps taken to ready Israeli forces for what would be a risky raid requiring pinpoint aerial strikes are the acquisition of three Airborne Warning and Control (AWAC) aircraft and regional missions to simulate the attack.
     
    Two nationwide civil defence drills will help to prepare the public for the retaliation that Israel could face. “Israel wants to know that if its forces were given the green light they could strike at Iran in a matter of days, even hours. They are making preparations on every level for this eventuality. The message to Iran is that the threat is not just words,” one senior defence official told The Times.
     

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April 21, 2009 Posted by | Economics, GeoPolitics | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hoxsey Cancer Cure?

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April 21, 2009 Posted by | Medicine & Health | | 3 Comments

Over 2,000 Professionals Call for an End to Fluoridation of Drinking Water

The Hidden Agenda: The Fluoride Deception

  • PROFESSIONALS’ STATEMENT CALLING FOR AN END TO WATER FLUORIDATION 
     
    EIGHT recent events make action to end water fluoridation urgent.
     
    1. The publication in 2006 of a 500-page review of fluoride’s toxicology by a distinguished panel appointed by the National Research Council of the National Academies (NRC, 2006). The NRC report concluded that the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) safe drinking water standard for fluoride (i.e. maximum contaminant level goal or MCLG) of 4 parts per million (ppm) is unsafe and should be lowered. Despite over 60 years of fluoridation, the report listed many basic research questions that have not been addressed. Still, the panel reviewed a large body of literature in which fluoride has a statistically significant association with a wide range of adverse effects. These include an increased risk of bone fractures, decreased thyroid function, lowered IQ, arthritic-like conditions, dental fluorosis and, possibly, osteosarcoma.
     
    The average fluoride daily intakes (*) associated with many of these adverse effects are reached by some people consuming water at the concentration levels now used for fluoridation — especially small children, above average water drinkers, diabetics, people with poor kidney function and other vulnerable sub-groups.
     
    For example, the average fluoride daily intake associated with impaired thyroid function in people with iodine deficiency (about 12% of the US population) is reached by small children with average consumption of fluoridated water at 1 ppm and by people of any age or weight with moderate to high fluoridated water consumption. Of special note among the animal studies is one in which rats fed water containing 1 ppm fluoride had an increased uptake of aluminum into the brain, with formation of beta-amyloid plaques, which is a classic marker of Alzheimer’s disease pathology in humans.
     
    Considering the substantial variation in individual water intake, exposure to fluoride from many other sources, its accumulation in the bone and other calcifying tissues and the wide range of human sensitivity to any toxic substance, fluoridation provides NO margin of safety for many adverse effects, especially lowered thyroid function.
     

    * Note: “Daily intake” takes into account the exposed individual’s bodyweight and is measured in mg. of fluoride per kilogram bodyweight.
     
    2. The evidence provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2005 that 32% of American children have dental fluorosis – an abnormal discoloration and mottling of the enamel. This irreversible and sometimes disfiguring condition is caused by fluoride. Children are now being overdosed with fluoride, even in non-fluoridated areas, from water, swallowed toothpaste, foods and beverages processed with fluoridated water, and other sources. Fluoridated water is the easiest source to eliminate.
     
    3. The American Dental Association’s policy change, in November 2006, recommending that only the following types of water be used for preparing infant formula during the first 12 months of life: “purified, distilled, deionized, demineralized, or produced through reverse osmosis.” This new policy, which was implemented to prevent the ingestion of too much fluoride by babies and to lower the risk of dental fluorosis, clearly excludes the use of fluoridated tap water. The burden of following this recommendation, especially for low income families, is reason alone for fluoridation to be halted immediately. Formula made with fluoridated water contains 250 times more fluoride than the average 0.004 ppm concentration found in human breast milk in non-fluoridated areas (Table 2-6, NRC, 2006).
     
    4. The CDC’s concession, in 1999 and 2001, that the predominant benefit of fluoride in reducing tooth decay is TOPICAL and not SYSTEMIC. To the extent fluoride works to reduce tooth decay, it works from the outside of the tooth, not from inside the body. It makes no sense to drink it and expose the rest of the body to the long term risks of fluoride ingestion when fluoridated toothpaste is readily available.
     
    Fluoride’s topical mechanism probably explains the fact that, since the 1980s, there have been many research reports indicating little difference in tooth decay between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities (Leverett, 1982; Colquhoun, 1984; 1985 and 1987; Diesendorf, 1986; Gray, 1987; Brunelle and Carlos, 1990; Spencer,1996; deLiefde, 1998; Locker, 1999; Armfield and Spencer, 2004; and Pizzo 2007 – see citations). Poverty is the clearest factor associated with tooth decay, not lack of ingested fluoride. According to the World Health Organization, dental health in 12-year olds in non-fluoridated industrialized countries is as good, if not better, than those in fluoridated countries (Neurath, 2005).
     
    5. In 2000, the publication of the UK government sponsored “York Review,” the first systematic scientific review of fluoridation, found that NONE of the studies purporting to demonstrate the effectiveness of fluoridation to reduce tooth decay were of grade A status, i.e. “high quality, bias unlikely” (McDonagh et al., 2000).
     
    6. The publication in May 2006 of a peer-reviewed, case-controlled study from Harvard University which found a 5-7 fold increase in osteosarcoma (a frequently fatal bone cancer) in young men associated with exposure to fluoridated water during their 6th, 7th and 8th years (Bassin et al., 2006). This study was surrounded by scandal as Elise Bassin’s PhD thesis adviser, Professor Chester Douglass, was accused by the watchdog Environmental Working Group of attempting to suppress these findings for several years (see video). While this study does not prove a relationship between fluoridation and osteosarcoma beyond any doubt, the weight of evidence and the importance of the risk call for serious consideration.
     
    7. The admission by federal agencies, in response to questions from a Congressional subcommittee in 1999-2000, that the industrial grade waste products used to fluoridate over 90% of America’s drinking water supplies (fluorosilicate compounds) have never been subjected to toxicological testing nor received FDA approval for human ingestion (Fox, 1999; Hazan, 2000; Plaisier, 2000; Thurnau, 2000).
     
    8. The publication in 2004 of “The Fluoride Deception” by Christopher Bryson. This meticulously researched book showed that industrial interests, concerned about liabilities from fluoride pollution and health effects on workers, played a significant role in the early promotion of fluoridation. Bryson also details the harassment of scientists who expressed concerns about the safety and/or efficacy of fluoridation (see Bryson interview).
     
    We call upon Members of Congress (and legislators in other fluoridating countries) to sponsor a new Congressional (or Parliamentary) Hearing on Fluoridation so that those in government agencies who continue to support the procedure, particularly the Oral Health Division of the CDC, be compelled to provide the scientific basis for their ongoing promotion of fluoridation. They must be cross-examined under oath if the public is ever to fully learn the truth about this outdated and harmful practice.
     
    We call upon all medical and dental professionals, members of water departments, local officials, public health organizations, environmental groups and the media to examine for themselves the new documentation that fluoridated water is ineffective and poses serious health risks. It is no longer acceptable to simply rely on endorsements from agencies that continue to ignore the large body of scientific evidence on this matter — especially the extensive citations in the NRC (2006) report discussed above.
     
    The untold millions of dollars that are now spent on equipment, chemicals, monitoring, and promotion of fluoridation could be much better invested in nutrition education and targeted dental care for children from low income families. The vast majority of enlightened nations have done this (see statements).
     
    It is time for the US, and the few remaining fluoridating countries, to recognize that fluoridation is outdated, has serious risks that far outweigh any minor benefits, violates sound medical ethics and denies freedom of choice. Fluoridation must be ended now. ……

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April 21, 2009 Posted by | Medicine & Health | 5 Comments

Big Bank Profits are Bogus! Massive Public Deception!

  • Seems like all the big banks are about to report profits for Q1 2009. How exactly did they manage to do this? Martin Weiss writes :
     
    Six of America’s Largest Banks at Risk of Failure
    As we have written here so often … as we documented in our recent white paper … as we showed in our presentation to the National Press Club … and as we explained again with new data in our follow-up press conference, the nation’s banking troubles are many times more severe than the authorities are admitting.
     
    First, look at the megabanks: The authorities SAY that all of the 14 largest banks have earned a “passing” grade in their just-completed “stress tests.” But just six months ago, the authorities swore that, without a massive injection of taxpayer funds, those same banks would suffer a fatal meltdown.
     
    Was the bad-debt disease magically cured? Did the economy miraculously turn around? Not quite. In fact, we have overwhelming evidence that the condition of the nation’s banks has deteriorated massively since then.
     
    How can our trusted authorities be so blatantly deceptive and still keep their jobs? Perhaps you should ask Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. Not long ago, for example, he declared that the total losses from the debt crisis would not exceed $100 billion, while conveying the hope that most of those losses could be soon written off. Also around that time, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated the losses would be $1 trillion, with only a small percentage written off.
     
    The IMF’s latest estimate: $4 trillion in losses, with only one-third of those written off so far. Bernanke’s error factor: He was 4,000 percent off the mark, in a world where 50 percent errors can be lethal.
     
    Meanwhile, based on fourth quarter Fed data, we find that, among the nation’s megabanks, six are at risk of failure in our opinion (seven if you count Wachovia and Wells Fargo as separate institutions).
     

    • JPMorgan Chaseis the nation’s largest, with $1.7 trillion in assets in its primary banking unit. It’s massively exposed to defaults by its trading partners in derivatives — to the tune of 382 percent (almost four times) its risk-based capital. Plus, since it holds HALF of ALL the derivatives in the U.S. banking industry, JPMorgan is at ground zero in the debt crisis.
       
    • Citibank is the nation’s third largest, with assets of $1.2 trillion in its main banking unit. Its total credit exposure to derivatives is a bit lower than Morgan’s, at 278 percent, but still extremely high. Plus, it has other troubles, especially the surging default rates in its sprawling global portfolio of credit cards and other consumer loans. (More on these in a moment.)
         
    • Wells Fargo and Wachovianow make up the nation’s fourth largest bank with combined assets of $1.17 trillion. But in the fourth quarter, they still reported separately, which is illuminating: Even without Wachovia’s troubled assets, TheStreet.com Ratings has downgraded Wells Fargo to a D+. Wachovia, meanwhile, got a D. This tells you that Wells Fargo wasn’t exactly the best merger partner, unless you believe in some bizarre math wherein adding two negatives somehow gives you a positive result.  
       
    • SunTrust, with $185 billion in assets, is getting hit hard by the collapse in the commercial real estate. Its Financial Strength Rating is D+.  
       
    • HSBC Bank USA has massive credit exposure to derivatives that’s even greater than Morgan’s: 550 percent of risk-based capital. We’re not looking at its larger foreign operations. But the U.S. numbers are ugly enough, meriting a rating of D+.
       
    • Goldman Sachs, which reported for the first time as a commercial bank in the fourth quarter, seems to be taking the biggest risks of all in derivatives. Its total credit exposure is 1,056 percent of capital. Bottom line: It debuts as a bank with a rating of D, on par with Wachovia. 
       
  •  How did this happen? Martin Weiss again :
     
    What Explains the Huge Gap Between Official Declarations and Our Analysis?
    We all use essentially the same data. And conceptually, the analytical approach is also similar. The primary difference is that the regulators have an agenda: Instead of protecting the people from bank failures, they’re trying harder than ever to protect failed banks from the people. Specifically …
     
    They have forever hidden the names of the banks on the FDIC’s “Problem List,” making it almost impossible for average consumers to get prior warnings of troubles. 
     
    They have never disclosed their own official ratings of the banks — the CAMELS ratings — making it difficult for the public to find safe institutions they can trust.
     
    They have religiously underestimated — or understated — the depth and breadth of the debt crisis. And as I explained a moment ago, they have rigged their recent stress tests to give passing grades to all of the nation’s 14 largest banks, sending the false signal that even the most dangerous among them are somehow “safe.”
     
    Legal Cover-Ups, Flim-Flam and Sham In the Big Bank’s “Glowing” First-Quarter Earnings Reports
     
    Wall Street is aglow with the latest “better-than-expected” earnings reports by major banks. But take one look below the surface, and you’ll see three of the most egregious accounting gimmicks in recent history.
     
    Gimmick #1. Toxic asset cover-up. In their infinite wisdom, global banking regulators have now agreed to let banks cover up their toxic assets by booking them at fluffy-high values, bearing little resemblance to actual market prices. Like magic, the bad assets are suddenly worth more, as hundreds of billions in losses are defined away.
     
    Gimmick #2. Reserve flim-flam. Every quarter, banks are required to estimate their losses and decide how much to set aside in loss reserves. If they deliberately guess too much in one quarter and too little in the next, they can shove all their bad earnings into earlier P&Ls and make future P&Ls look rosy by comparison.
     
    Gimmick #3. The great debt sham. Consider this scenario: A financially distressed real estate developer owes the bank $4 million. His revenues have plunged. He’s lost a fortune in his properties. And he’s on the brink of bankruptcy.
     
    Therefore, in the secondary market, traders recognize that loans like his are worth, say, only half their face value, or about $2 million. So far, a very common situation, right?
     
    But now imagine this: He walks into the bank one morning and claims that he really owes only $2 million. Why? Because, in theory, he says, he could buy back his own loan for that price, thereby reducing his debt in half.
     
    In practice, of course, that’s a pipedream. If he actually had the cash to buy back his own loans on the market, then he wouldn’t be financially distressed in the first place. And if he weren’t financially distressed, his loans wouldn’t be selling on the market for half price.
     
    The reality is that he can’t buy back his own debt and never will. And even if he could someday, he will still be on the hook for the full $4 million unless and until he files for bankruptcy and the bankruptcy judge decides otherwise.
     
    That’s why the government would never let real estate developers — or hardly anyone else, for that matter — mark down the debts on their books and still stay in business. But guess what?
    The government lets banks do precisely that!
     
    It’s the ultimate double standard: The banks get away with inflating their toxic assets. But at the same time, they’re allowed to mark to market their own debts, which happen to be trading at huge discounts on the open market
    precisely because of their toxic assets.
     
    Accountants call it a “credit value adjustment.” I call it cheating.

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April 21, 2009 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | Comments Off on Big Bank Profits are Bogus! Massive Public Deception!