Thursday, May 15, 2014

Today's Links

 1--7 Shocking Facts About the Financial Security of Americans, ABC

Forty percent of individuals in the U.S. said they could not or probably could not come up with $2,000 if an unexpected need arose, according to research by Atif Mian of Princeton University and Amir Sufi of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

2---China Slams US "Hypocrisy", Tells Obama To Stop "Inspiring Militancy", zero hedge

3---IMF report: No end to economic breakdown (april), wsws

Almost six years after the eruption of the global financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund has effectively ruled out any return to the economic growth rates that preceded September 2008.
Two major chapters of the IMF’s World Economic Outlook, published for the spring meetings to be held in Washington at the end of this week, provide a gloomy assessment of the state of the world economy. In the advanced economies, investment is falling as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP), while in the “emerging markets,” there is no prospect for growth rates to return to pre-2007 levels.

The IMF notes that real interest rates have been declining since the 1980s and are “now in slightly negative territory.” But this has failed to boost productive investment. On the contrary, what it calls “scars” from the global financial crisis “have resulted in a sharp and persistent decline in investment in advanced economies.” Between 2008 and 2013, there was a two-and-a-half percentage point decline in the investment to GDP ratio in these countries. The report adds that ratios “in many advanced economies are unlikely to recover to pre-crisis levels in the next five years.”

This conclusion is of immense significance given the critical role of investment in the functioning of the capitalist economy. In what are deemed “normal” conditions, investment—the expansion of productive capacity—is the key driving force of capitalist economic growth. Undertaken in anticipation of future profits, investment creates new demand in labour markets and the markets for machinery, raw materials and the means of production in general. This, in turn, creates further demand and expanded profit opportunities, stimulating additional investment, thereby setting in motion a virtuous economic circle.

But if investment stagnates or declines, the circle turns vicious. This is what is now taking place.
As the IMF puts it: “An important concern is the possibility of a prolonged period of very low growth (‘secular stagnation’) in advanced economies, especially if new shocks were to hit these economies or if policies do not address crisis legacies as expected.”

4--Fast food workers bite back with worldwide May 15 strike, RT

5--Why I Support the Benghazi Inquiry--From Benghazi to Boko Haram, cp

Members of both parties and everyone in the higher echelons of the military/intelligence community knew that the U.S. had aligned with groups in Eastern Libya that were known to be jihadists. The fact that both parties supported the NATO intervention knowing that jihadists affiliated with al Qaeda played a major part in the overthrow of Gaddafi and that the largest CIA station in North Africa was established in Benghazi where it provided arms and was used as staging ground for inserting jihadist’s forces into Syria, means that both parties share an interests in avoiding the serious legal and moral implications of U.S. actions in Libya.

I welcome the hearings and could not care less about the implications for the candidacy of Hilary Clinton or the reputation of Barack Obama. I am more interested in curbing the right-ward militarist trajectory of U.S. policy. As an African American the plight of the more than 200 school girls captured by Boko Haram holds a special outrage for me. But I am also outraged by the murder of people defending their rights to self-determination at the hands of U.S.-supported thugs in Odessa Ukraine, outraged by the fact that people are daily terrorized by the constant buzz of U.S. drones that kill women and children in wedding parties and individuals who may “act” like they might be so-called terrorists, outraged that people can call themselves moral and even progressive and support the brutal Israeli occupation and de-humanization of Palestinians.

And I am outraged knowing that U.S. policy-makers don’t give a damn about the school girls in Nigeria because their real objective is to use the threat of Boko Haram in the Northern part of the country to justify the real goal of occupying the oil fields in the South and to block the Chinese in Nigeria.

Exposing the whole sordid story of the destruction of Libya and the role of Al-Qaeda as the “boots on the ground” for U.S. geo-strategic objectives in North Africa and the Middle East represents the only strategy that an independent and principled left could pursue in wake of the fact that the hearings are going to occur. Anything other than that is capitulation, something that the left has routinely done over the last six years, and some of us still struggle against in the hope that one day the “responsible” left will eschew the privileges that stem from its objective collaboration with the interests and world-view of neo-liberal white power and re-ground itself in authentic radical principles and the world-wide struggle against Western domination

6--Pondering QE, Atlanta Fed

7--GMO producers should be punished as terrorists, Russian MPs say, RT

8--17 Facts To Show To Anyone That Still Believes That The U.S. Economy Is Just Fine, zero hedge

9--China’s Xi and Russia’s Putin to make Substantial Statement, nsnbc

10--Japan GDP growth hits 5.9% amid massive shopping spree, CNN

Japan's economy grew at a breakneck pace in the first three months of the year as consumers went on a massive shopping spree to avoid a planned sales tax increase.
Gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual rate of 5.9% in the first quarter, Japan's Cabinet Office said Thursday. The expansion was much quicker than the 4% figure expected by economists, and a major rebound from disappointing growth in the fourth quarter of 2013.

11--The Johnson crapo fiasco, HW

“We continue to believe that Senator Reid is unlikely to bring the Johnson-Crapo GSE reform bill to a floor vote due to both legislative and political concerns. Given our view that GSE reform legislation will not advance further in this Congress, we believe that the FHFA will likely remain the center of the housing policy universe for the foreseeable future,” Compass Point says

12--Gazprom Sees Little Risk Of Disruption To European Energy Supply, oil price

13--Goodbye American middle class: New report reveals that 62 percent of Americans earn $20 or less per hour. Household income stuck in neutral for a generation., my budget 360

14--Elusive Muscovite with three names takes control of Ukraine rebels, reuters

15--Builder Survey: April New Home Sales Decline , WSJ

16--Quarterly Foreclosure Rate is Near Pre-Crisis Levels , WSJ

17---Corporate Interests Behind Ukraine Putsch , consortium news

18--Why US Fracking Companies Are Licking Their Lips Over Ukraine, common dreams
From climate change to Crimea, the natural gas industry is supreme at exploiting crisis for private gain – what I call the shock doctrine,  Naomi Klein

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