Sites of Interest
(courtesy Empire Burlesque)
A Tiny Revolution
William Blum/Killing Hope
The Distant Ocean
Welcome to the Sideshow
Mark Crispin Miller
Crooks and Liars
Black Agenda Report
The Raw Story
Iraq Vets Against the War
Blues and Dreams
Bright Terrible Spirit
by Danny Schechter
PAULSON TO GM: SUFFER; VOLKER SEES NO UPTURN ANYTIME SOON
QUOTE OF THE DAY â€œWe are now at a crash site, and our priority should be to save the victims, not change the tires or repair the fender, much less build a new car. In the triage situation that now confronts the president-elect, keeping local schools and hospitals open should be the first concern, rebuilding bridges and expanding ports would come next, and rescuing bank shareholders at the very end of the line.â€ MIKE DAVIS, TOMDISPATCH
STATISTIC OF THE DAY: Cost of financial crisis so far: $4.28 trillion dollars. Thatâ€™s $4,284,500,000,000 and more than what was spent on WW II, if adjusted for inflation, based on our computations from a variety of estimates and sources.
PAULSON NIXES AID TO DETROIT
VOLKER SAYS RECOVERY A LONG WAY OFF
TED STEVENS LOSES ALASKA TO DEMOCRAT
I continue to slog my way through the financial quagmire, finding stories that I hope help illuminate whatâ€™s going on and indicate where this disaster is going. Idraw from the world press but also specialized blogs, tips, links and folks in the know. I hope you find it of value.
But before I begin, one headline grabbed my attention because it focuses on the human suffering that tends to get overshadowed by all policy debates, market drops and company closures. This is from CNN:
As children starve, world struggles for solution
INVESTMENT NEWS: PAULSON TO DETROIT: DROP DEAD
The federal governmentâ€™s Troubled Asset Relief Program should not be used to pull back Americaâ€™s top three automakers from the brink of bankruptcy, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson emphasized on Capitol Hill this morning.
In testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, he said TARP funding needs to be used solely to enhance Americaâ€™s financial system and that aiding the countryâ€™s automobile industry would â€œfall outside of that purpose.â€
Mr. Paulsonâ€™s opposition to using TARP funds to aid the automobile industry comes as Congress convenes in a special session this week to debate whether bailout funding should be supplied to Detroit-based General Motors Corp., Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford Motor Company and Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Chrysler Corp.
He also defended the shelving of the Treasury Departmentâ€™s initial plan to use a portion of the $700 billion TARP program to repurchase troubled mortgage assets (InvestmentNews, Nov. 12).
â€œWhile I understand the interest in spending TARP resources on other approaches, the efforts already under way will do more to prevent foreclosures than might have been achieved through very large purchases of mortgage-related securities through the TARP,â€ Mr. Paulson said in his opening remarks.
FT: The cost of insuring top quality US companies against default hit a record high on Tuesday even as Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke told Congress that their radical policy actions to ease the credit crisis were starting to bear fruit.
FT: CITIGROUP LIQUIDATES HEDGE FUND THAT FELL 53% IN ONE MONTH
GM, THE UAW AND DEMOCRATS ARE STILL PUSHING CONGRESS TO PASS A RELIEF BILL FOR THE AUTO INDUSTRY. WRITING IN THE NY TIMES, MITT ROMNEY SAYS LET THEM GO BANKRUPT.
TELEGRAPH (LONDON):ITS WORSE THAN YOU THINK
Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, has warned that the economic slump has begun to metastasise after a shocking collapse in output over the past two months, threatening to overwhelm the incoming Obama administration as it struggles to restore confidence.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
â€œWhat this crisis reveals is a broken financial system like no other in my lifetime,â€ he told a conference at Lombard Street Research in London.
â€œNormal monetary policy is not able to get money flowing. The trouble is that, even with all this [government] protection, the market is not moving again. The only other time we have seen the US economy drop as suddenly as this was when the Carter administration imposed credit controls, which was artificial.â€
His comments come as the blizzard of dire data in the US continues to crush spirits. The Empire State index of manufacturing dropped to minus 24.6 in October, the lowest ever recorded. Paul Ashworth, US economist at Capital Economics, said business spending was now going into â€œmeltdownâ€, compounding the collapse in consumer spending that is already under way.
Mr Volcker, an adviser to President-Elect Barack Obama and a short-list candidate for Treasury Secretary, warned that it is already too late to avoid a severe downturn even if the credit markets stabilize over coming months. â€œI donâ€™t think anybody thinks weâ€™re going to get through this recession in a hurry,â€ he said.
REALITY CHECK: DEPRESSION 2009: WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE
STEPHEN LENDMAN: WORSE THAN THE GREAT DEPRESSION
My comment: Lendman analyzes the comment by former Goldman Sachs chair, John Whitehead, that we are going into something worse thanthe Great Depression.â€™
ASIA TIMES ON BANKER GREED
ONE REPONSE: DEMANDING A NEW POLICY
WASHINGTON - Congressional and progressive leaders kicked off a major
effort on Capitol Hill today to push a long-term investment program that
could fill a staggering public infrastructure deficit cited in a new
report released today by the Campaign for Americaâ€™s Future.
The need for a bold public investment initiative was detailed at todayâ€™s
conference sponsored by the Campaign for Americaâ€™s Future at the Library
of Congress. Members of Congress, economists and labor and business
leaders agreed that the times demand an aggressive program to fuel our
economic recovery and growth, both in the short- and long-term.
Campaign for Americaâ€™s Future co-director Robert Borosage opened the
conference by noting that the need for substantial, strategic and
sustained public investments is rapidly increasing as economic