Sunday, April 30, 2006

Miners' Lives ‘Not Worth It’ for Investors

I told you masks didn't kill those miners.
Government regulators and industry insiders say there is not enough profit potential to attract the capital needed to develop and manufacture modern tracking and communications equipment for coal mines.

There is also little incentive to increase production of established products like emergency air supplies carried by miners.

As a result, observers say it will be difficult, if not impossible, for mining companies to comply with new safety standards approved by West Virginia and the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration after two accidents killed 14 West Virginia miners in January.

"Can we meet all the requirements of the law at the current time?" said Jim Dean, West Virginia's acting mine safety director. "That's pretty tough."
We can win a 'war on terror,' but we can't meet mining safety requirements?
[T]he market, as it exists now, is too small.
Oh yeah?
Coal mining is a giant industry, dominated by multibillion-dollar international companies. The United States has more than 625 underground coal mines employing 43,000 miners.
Doesn't sound small to me.
But industry insiders say those numbers are deceptive, especially when it comes to rare purchases like emergency communications equipment and air supplies. They say the market is small, stagnant and prone to boom-and-bust cycles.
What they REALLY mean is that the mining industry is CONTROLLED by a handful of MONOPOLIES that dictate prices to consumers and suppliers alike.

In many cases, the banks behind the coal companies are the same investors asked to cough up cash to develop safety equipment. Now, why would they want to exploit themselves?

So, while West Virginia's legislature has found miners' lives worthy of enacting legislation to protect them, investment bankers are nowhere to be found.

West Virginia now requires mines to provide emergency communication and tracking equipment, underground stockpiles of emergency breathing equipment and rescue chambers, among other things. And the mining agency has mandated that all underground coal mines store additional air supplies and install lifelines to guide miners to safety.

The problem is, much of that equipment does not exist. And what does exist, chiefly emergency air equipment, is scarce.
Mind you, it's not that there aren't innovators out there with ideas.
Entrepreneurs have come up with novel ideas for communications, tracking, air supplies and even emergency shelters in response to West Virginia's new law and federal rules.

Most of those products are still unavailable, [they have] not been deemed safe by regulators and would not be profitable because of the small market.

Let's face it, miners' lives are just not worth it for investment bankers.

So much for the "incentives" put in place by federal patents. Apparently, investment bankers need obscene profits GUARANTEED before they'll allocate their funny money - typical usurious moneylending mentality.

Watch them demand that the government give them MORE INCENTIVES to finance bringing safety products to market. As usual, we'll pay so they can profit.

Bush's Pathetic Comedy Act - The Joke's on US

Never has one man been so pathetic.
It was twice the fun for members of the White House Correspondents’ Association and guests Saturday night when President Bush and a look-alike, sound-alike sidekick poked fun at the president and fellow politicians.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I feel chipper tonight. I survived the White House shake-up,” the president said.
Very funny.

I wonder how hard he'd laugh if he was dragged naked on a leash across the cold hard floor.

Or how much fun he'd have watching his leg blown off by an improvised explosive?

Or the laughs he'd have if his only son came home in a box or if his child was born without a face from the DU he ingested while fighting an unjust war.

Enjoy it while you can - scumbag. Your day will come.

  Saturday, April 29, 2006

‘Big Oil’ Has America Over A Barrel

And they're unapologetic. They have an 'inalienable right' to charge consumers whatever price the market (they control) will bear. And boy are they exercising it.
[According to the CIA,] the combined first-quarter revenue of Exxon, Chevron and ConocoPhillips totaled $191.5 billion — more than the individual gross domestic products of 189 different countries, including the likes of Chile, Denmark, Peru and Venezuela[.]
That's right. Exxon outdoes Kuwait, Exxon-Chevron-Conoco outshines Venezuela . . .
[a] founding member of OPEC and [the] fourth-largest supplier of U.S. oil imports in 2005.
. . . and 188 other countries! These guys are HUGE! They're like Nation-states! How on earth did they come by all this power??? Merit? Hah!

But they're not only powerful, they're arrogant.

They shamelessly try to convince us that - according to their religion - it's their divine right to make tons of money while the rest of us either pay for the privilege of using their resources or suffer the consequence of living without it.
There's little that either lawmakers or the industry can do in the short-term about the high oil prices that yielded those profits, however, as long as energy markets stay tense and the global economy is expanding. Instead, it would take a decision by consumers and businesses to consume less fuel, a choice they have yet to make, analysts said.
Poor 'Big Oil.' There's nothing they can do. Profits are foisted upon them by hoards of consumer-masochists, who mercilessly bring it upon themselves.

After all, Big Oil worked hard (in concert with eachother and with bankers) to GET what we NEED. (Sound familiar?)

So, it's only fair that if we want to live in the 21st century, we must pay them for the privilege, or get used to living in the stone age. Those are the rules of the game.
[E]lected officials are doing a public disservice by not doing a better job of explaining how the global oil market works.

"It's late in the game," said Antoine Halff, director of global oil at Fimat USA in New York. "The only policy changes that would have an immediate effect would be demand restraints, such as increases in gasoline taxes, alternate driving days or enforcement of speed limits." Halff does not consider any of these will be suggested in Congress, especially during an election year.

I have news for you - Antoine - it's never too late to establish justice. There are plenty of measures against Big Oil that CAN get passed in Congress, ESPECIALLY in an election year.

Property and tax laws are legal constructs - NOT 'immutable rights.'

They're designed to yield the greatest possible benefits for the largest number of people. When they fail to meet those goals as routinely and as miserably as the current regime has failed they can and MUST be dismantled just as they were constructed.

But, that's not the picture Big Oil and their corporate media minions want to paint. According to them, it's consumers who must sacrifice and even then they may never see the fruits of their labor.

[I]t may take years before changes in consumer behavior affect the market.

"In the meantime, you as a consumer have three options," said Ebel of CSIS. "You have car keys, light switches and a thermostat. Use them judiciously.

In other words, you want oil? Bend over. Big Oil provides the lubricant, consumers get screwed.

Wakeup, America. They have us over a barrel of our own making. It's up to us to demand our rightful share of God's earth at a fair price.

Iraq's "Double Whammy" - Oil Output Lowest Since Invasion, Forced to Import

But aside from that and a few hundred thousand casualties, Iraq's a resounding success!
[Iraq's oil] exports have slipped to their lowest levels since the 2003 invasion.

* * *

Iraq, a founding member of OPEC, sits atop the world's third-highest proven reserves. Its estimated 115 billion barrels is more than any other OPEC member except for Saudi Arabia and Iran.

But contrary to optimistic expectations, Iraq's oil production has slipped further and further since the U.S.-led invasion, to an average of 2 million barrels a day. It has never regained even the reduced production levels that prevailed in the 1990s, when Iraq was under tough U.N. sanctions.

Iraq's oil could be providing relief to world markets, strained by high demand from China, the nuclear-related showdown with Iran and unrest near Nigeria's oil fields. Instead, it's not even covering its own needs.

The rickety Iraqi oil system has been damaged repeatedly by insurgent sabotage and attacks on maintenance crews. Corruption, theft of oil, and widespread mismanagement compound the problems, analysts say.

Iraq also lacks laws that would protect foreign investment, [Yeah, SURE! Bring on those beloved investors!] and its government is still sorting out whether oil will be controlled by the central government or the provinces.

The result: Iraq is importing refined oil products at record high prices at a time that it should be boosting exports to take advantage of those prices to earn money for reconstruction.
I wonder who they're buying over-priced oil products from???
In 1990, probably its peak production year, Iraq extracted about 3.5 million barrels a day. Restoring production to that level would require years and a $30 billion investment, Orwel said, even in the "best case scenario."

Those figures suggest misplaced optimism by Iraq's oil ministry, which in 2005 predicted crude production would reach 2.5 million or even 3 million barrels a day by the end of 2006. Analysts have called that prediction a pipe dream.

The outlook for this year looks about the same as 2005, Orwel said, casting doubt even on the ministry's revised plans to raise exports to 1.8 million barrels a day by year's end.

* * *

The loss of oil revenue to corruption and theft has become the biggest threat to Iraq's economy, costing Baghdad's beleaguered treasury billions of dollars, it said.

"For example, about 20 percent of the oil products that Iraq imported last year, worth $4.2 billion, were smuggled to neighboring countries," the report said.

Iraq's sputtering oil sector has defied optimists led by Vice President Dick Cheney and former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who hoped booming exports from Iraq could pay for its reconstruction and help satisfy world demand.

Instead, repercussions from the U.S.-led invasion are now slowing the global economy . . .

"The invasion of Iraq hasn't only been devastating to the Iraqi people, but it has been detrimental to the rest of the world," al-Fathi said from his home in Sharjah, in the UAE. "Iraq has lost a third of its production due to the American invasion."

"Now that Iraq has to import many petroleum products, it's a double whammy," he said.

Oil production was more successful under Saddam, he said. "There were technical problems. But they were contained. Things were improving slowly. We didn't have sabotage. We had full security in the oil fields."
Oh, but Saddam was EVIL, I tell you! EVIL! And Halliburton is better off without him!

Bush Sells Defense Supplier To Dubai Under Radar

Just goes to show that what we don't know CAN hurt us.
President Bush approved on Friday a Dubai-owned company's $1.24 billion takeover of Doncasters, a British engineering company with U.S. plants that supply the Pentagon.

Hoping to avert the sort of controversy that erupted over another Dubai state-owned company's plan to acquire operations at U.S. ports, Bush signed off on the deal after getting company assurances that the military supply chain would not be broken, the White House said.

Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, a leading opponent of the failed deal that would have given Dubai Ports World control of major U.S. port operations, said he would not oppose the purchase of Doncasters by Dubai International Capital.
Why should he? Out of sight, out of mind. The people don't know, so Schumer has nothing to gain by opposing it.
But another lawmaker, Democratic Rep. John Barrow of Georgia, said he wanted more details.

"Congressional oversight means accountability and accountability will help make sure that we don't sell off a piece of our military industrial complex today that we wish we had back tomorrow," Barrow said in a statement.

Pardon me, brainiac. But, as I understand it, the supplier wasn't ours to begin with.

Doncasters is an international group that operates nine U.S. plants. [!!!] It makes precision parts for the aerospace and specialist automotive markets, including parts for defense contractors for use in military tanks and aircraft.

Among the Doncasters' holdings is a plant in Barrow's district in Georgia that is THE SOLE supplier of turbine fan parts for the U.S. Abrams main battle tank.

Doncasters also makes engine parts for one variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, a Pentagon spokeswoman said. The program, co-developed by the United States and eight other countries, is building a next-generation radar-evading jet fighter.

Independence? What independence? We depend on international investors not just for our money, but for our bullets!
Dubai International Capital wanted its Doncasters takeover done in March, but had to wait for a 45-day U.S. review of national security concerns by the inter-agency Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS). It made its recommendation to Bush two weeks ago, and Bush said he approved the deal on Friday after it was "looked at very carefully."

"It's a sale that should go through," he told reporters.
Only one word can describe him - traitor.

The White House said CFIUS checked "issues ranging from counterterrorism to counterproliferation to counterintelligence, among others." It said the Dubai buyer "made contractual commitments to DOD (Department of Defense) to assure reliability of supply."

U.S. Army Secretary Francis Harvey said the Army had recommended approval of the deal even though it normally preferred to have more than one source for the parts it buys.

"We have British firms, we have French firms, we have Japanese firms" as suppliers, he said. "I don't have concern."

Ghee, that's a relief. Every country on the planet makes our defense supplies - EXCEPT US - but, he's not concerned.

And what "contractual commitments" are they talking about? Where are they going to sue if they cut off supplies in the middle of combat? The ITC??? Give me a break!

But, this is not an abberation. They're all in on it!

In the ports dispute, Bush was at odds with members of his Republican party as well as Democrats who were angry they were not consulted about a deal with clear security implications.

This time, the administration briefed some lawmakers, and the White House also sent a classified report about its decision on the deal to House and Senate leaders on Friday.

Schumer said Friday that the Doncasters' deal was different from the ports saga because it was carefully considered and involved products -- not services possibly easier to sabotage.

That is the most preposterous statement I've ever heard! Schumer is either hopelessly clueless or diabolically sinister.

These are not just "PRODUCTS" - these are OUR DEFENSE SUPPLIES! Not only can they be sabotaged, they can be withheld! Only a moron or a traitor could overlook this.
[Senator] Barrow was not satisfied, saying Bush should provide a full report with specifics of any assurances in the deal.

House Armed Services Committee Duncan Hunter, a California Republican, said his own staff review indicated the Doncasters deal was okay. "Numerous American companies" could make the tank components that Doncasters makes, Hunter said.
If "[n]umerous American companies could make [them]," then WHY AREN'T THEY?!!

HEL-LOOOO! We've been sold out! We have a government of traitors! They've privatized our military defense!

America is effectively defenseless!

And this is not by chance. This has been decades in the making.

Are you awake now? Or will it take one of their bullets to move you?

Byrd to Bush: “The Senate can send you home. You Better Believe That.”

He may be 88, but he sure knows how to stick it to him.
Despite more than two centuries of pressure to change and "modernize" the Senate, as an institution, it remains remarkably similar to the body created at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. It retains all of its original powers, including providing advice and consent -- yes. You said it. You better read that again in the Constitution.

It retains all of its original powers, including providing advice and consent to Presidents on nominations and on treaties, serving as a court of impeachment--you better believe it, Mr. President. The Senate can send you home. You better believe that.

If the House impeaches you, the Senate will try you. The Senate, don't forget it, serves as a court of impeachment and has an equal say with the House on legislation.

--Senator Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), August 24, 2006
OUCH! That's gotta sting.

But, no one deserves it more than Bush - except Cheney.

The Economy's Great! But, The People are Starving.

Don't believe me?
The Labor Department said employment costs measuring what employers pay in wages and benefits rose at the slowest pace in seven years during the first quarter, which should temper concerns about potential wage-induced inflation.

Its Employment Cost Index rose 0.6 percent in the first quarter, down from a 0.8 percent rise in the fourth quarter and well short of the 0.9 percent gain that had been forecast.

* * *

[Nevertheless, SURPRISE - SURPRISE, the] U.S. economy grew at its fastest rate in 2-1/2 years during the first quarter on strong spending and investment, while moderate price rises reinforced hopes for a pause in U.S. interest rate rises this summer.

Gross domestic product grew at a 4.8 percent annual rate in the January-March quarter, the Commerce Department said on Friday, more than twice the fourth quarter's 1.7 percent rate.

It was the best quarterly GDP performance since a 7.2 percent spurt in the third quarter of 2003.

"This rapid growth is another sign that our economy is on the fast track," President George ["the putz"] Bush told reporters. Growth is expected to moderate as the year wears on, giving the Federal Reserve room to pause in its rate-rise campaign.

The GDP report showed a gauge of personal spending excluding food and energy -- an inflation measure favored by the Federal Reserve -- advanced at a 2 percent rate in the first quarter compared with 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter last year.
Confused? Don't be.

There are two simple explanations for this obvious - and painful - contradiction.
  1. 'Free Market,' Baby! (where the rich are 'free' to exploit the poor)
  2. Livin' large when you're bankrupt (a.k.a., deficit spending)
The first explains the loss of jobs and anemic wage growth despite gains in productivity. You see, increased productivity does not necessarily mean more jobs, at least not when industrial or technological progress inures to the benefit of shareholders in a handful of corporations.

In other words, the minute there's a technological breakthrough, or an increase in efficiency (e.g., merger) that reduces the man hours needed to get a job done, corporations immediately reduce their labor force to add that savings to their bottomline.
[For example,] Verizon Communications plans to cut 1,661 jobs in four U.S. customer call centers by June 30 as part of its plan to cut 7,000 jobs after its January purchase of MCI, a spokesman said on Friday. . . .

Verizon has about 250,000 employees. It said it expects to cut 7,000 jobs in the three years after the MCI deal as part of its effort to create more than $8 billion in savings.
But, even this does not explain the extraordinary growth in GDP this quarter. After all, the money for the increased goods has to come from somewhere, and you KNOW it ain't coming from working Americans whose wages are stagnant and whose jobs are on the chopping block.
"Consumer spending obviously was affected by higher energy prices which would eat into discretionary spending," Denison said. "Chicago PMI was probably affected by the construction slowdown" in new-homebuilding.
In other words, the increased GDP can only be explained by uncontrolled deficit spending.
First-quarter GDP performance was boosted by government spending on reconstruction after last year's devastating hurricanes on the Gulf Coast. Federal government spending shot up at a 10.8 percent rate, a sharp contrast to the 2.6 percent rate of decline in the fourth quarter. It was the strongest government spending since a 22.1 percent jump in the second quarter of 2003.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the Joint Economic Committee on Thursday that growth was likely to moderate as the year wears on, partly because of some softness in housing markets.

* * *

[Meanwhile,] Businesses robustly boosted their investment during the first quarter, with spending rising at a 14.3 percent annual rate. That was three times the 4.5 percent fourth-quarter increase and was the largest in nearly six years.

Spending on equipment and software alone increased at a 16.4 percent rate in the first quarter -- the strongest in six years -- after a 5 percent fourth-quarter rise. The strong spending implies that corporations remain optimistic about their sales prospects and are willing to make investments to expand their businesses.
Is it beginning to make sense?

Corporations pump cash (and credit) into their factories to produce the goods the government buys hand-over-fist with DEBT (while we pay billions in interest to FINANCE it).

Voila! The economy is doing great! But, the population is starving.

What a terribly cruel hoax on the American people.

  Friday, April 28, 2006

“Chicago 911” Terror Exercises, May 2-4

RED ALERT: "CHICAGO 911" CONFIRMED (May 2-4, Terror Exercises)

By Capt. Eric H. May, MI/PAO, Ghost Troop Commander

I will answer email queries to the information below, and will provide documentation and links. This email/article is now part of official recording the Texas City Nuclear Inquest at CPTMAY

Colonel Tim Franklin, PAO, Illinois National Guard Captain Lisa Kopczynski, PAO, Indiana National Guard Officer Kubiak, Chicago Police Public Information Officer
In the last 24 hours, the police and military officers in above have confirmed the following exercise scenario, about to be conducted in Chicago:

Homeland Security is the "main proponent" (the command) for an exercise May 2-4, 2006, rehearsing a response to a WMD attack and building collapse in Downtown Chicago. State of Illinois civil assets, National Guard assets, Chicago area police assets and hospital assets will collectively be working under Homeland Security.

This is an uncomfortable confirmation of the alarming email/article I received, and promised to forward to you:

Webster Tarpley was also taking about this on crisis radio yesterday it is in the archives of
Considering the terror exercises that 'coincidentally' took place in NYC on 9/11 and in London on 7/7, this cannot be taken lightly. If you have friends in Chicago, pass it along.

Thank borkafatty for the scoop!

Related: May 1st 2006 - A New Day In Infamy?

Investment Banks - Not Masks - Killed the Miners at Sago

The first thing we did was activate our rescuers, as we had been trained. At least four of the rescuers did not function. I shared my rescuer with Jerry Groves, while Junior Toler, Jesse Jones and Tom Anderson sought help from others. There were not enough rescuers to go around.
--Randal MCloy, Sole Survivor, Sago Mine Disaster
The government denies the charge that the masks weren't working but says the men might not have known how to operate them. But, Randal's description of their immediate struggle to activate their masks "as [they] had been trained" suggests otherwise.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration said tests showed the emergency breathing devices were in working order. However, it was unclear whether the miners knew how to use them.

* * *

"We know that the Bush administration killed a proposal in 2001 that could have required the more frequent replacement of these self-contained, self-rescue units, required more inspection of these units and provided more adequate training on how to use them," California Rep. George Miller said.

MSHA spokesman Dirk Fillpot said the agency was looking into whether the miners were properly trained to use the devices. But he insisted the equipment should have worked.

"Initial testing conducted by MSHA and NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) on all SCSRs recovered after the explosion at the Sago mine found that those that were activated would have functioned properly," MSHA spokesman Dirk Fillpot said in a statement.
That says nothing about masks that were NOT activated, possibly because they COULD NOT be activated. But, this is beside the point.

Why is the media focused on technical details and political figureheads while nary a peep is said about the investment banker that owns Sago?

Sago is not just about defective masks and inept and corrupt bureaucrats. It's about MONOPOLY and GREED at the heart of our economic and political system. It's time to have a look at the fundamentals that continue to fuel these disasters.

It's time to meet the man behind the mines of West Virginia.
They call him the bottom-feeder king. And, for good reason. Billionaire New York investor, Wilbur Ross, 68, is the chairman of his own private equity investment firm and is "known for buying up failed businesses, turning them around and selling them for huge profits."

He formed International Coal Group (ICG), based in Ashland, Kentucky, in 2004 "to buy coal firms that lacked the capital to maintain their mines." (I wonder why they lack capital?)

BTW, Lexington, Kentucky, where Ashland is located, ranks #2 among American cities as best place to start a business based on cost of doing business; second only to Albuquerque, NM.

Are you beginning to see why they call him a bottom-feeder? I guess he chose Ashland over Albuquerque because of its geographical proximity to West Virginia, the second biggest coal producing state in the country (Wyoming is the first). Spares no expense to be close to what he loves.

What else is in Ashland? The Ashland Oil Company, a huge player and a by-product of the infamous Standard Oil Company. Everything makes sense in context.

Last year, ICG acquired the Sago mine, where the 12 miners were killed, by buying bankrupt Anker Coal Group Inc.
ICG has 11 active mining complexes, in West Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland and Illinois. Its revenues for the first nine months of 2005 totaled $466 million.
Of course. Take a look at energy prices.
The coal company said it would set up $2 million fund for the families of the dead miners and called for donations.
That's less than .4% of their annual revenues. And they have the nerve to "call for donations."
Ross said...the tragedy would not alter company plans to develop coal production at several mines it acquired last year, including the Sago mine.
Back to business as usual. But, what might that be?
[Ross has] parlayed a series of ballsy political and financial gambles on left-for-dead assets—midwestern steel mills, southern textile mills, and Appalachian coal mines—into an empire.

Ross’s funds now control 1.2 billion tons of coal reserves and what may soon be the country’s last-standing denim mill.
Who is this guy?!!
Thumbnail bio: Born in Weehawken, New Jersey, 1937, the son of a schoolteacher and a lawyer ... Attended a Jesuit military school, Yale, and Harvard Business School ... Worked for money-management firms and investment banks.
Surprise, surprise.
Spent 24 years at the New York office of Rothschild, Inc. Ran Rothschild’s bankruptcy-restructuring advisory practice.
Goodness, this just gets better and better.
Tenacious [negotiator.] In late nineties, started a $200 million fund at Rothschild to invest in distressed assets. As the U.S. bubble began to burst, Ross decided he wanted to invest more and advise less.
This guy is full of surprises.
On April Fools’ Day 2000, the 62-year-old banker raised $450 million to plunge into fallen companies. Excellent timing. [indeed] The 2000–1 rolling stock-market crash, 9/11, and a globally synchronous recession pushed scores of companies into bankruptcy.
Coincidence? I don't think so. This guy knows exactly when and where the money flows--or will NOT flow.
[Down went] Old Economy stalwarts in industries like steel and textiles—victims of excess capacity, global competition, and generous union contracts.
Toe your line elsewhere. We know better.
[M]ost professional investors regard bankrupt industrial firms as toxic piles ... [b]ut Chapter 11 allows those with an eye for damaged goods to gain control of assets on the cheap.

Why? Busted companies can reject leases, WALK AWAY from DEBT, terminate health-care promises, and punt pension plans onto the federally sponsored Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Such debt purges can suddenly make crappy business models seem brilliant.
Now, we're getting somewhere. It's the debt, STUPID! But, wait. It gets even better.
In 2001, when LTV, a bankrupt steel company based in Cleveland, decided to liquidate, Ross was the only bidder.
Go figure.
Ross suspected that President Bush, a free trader, would soon enact steel tariffs on foreign steel, the better to appeal to prospective voters in midwestern swing states. So in February 2002, Ross organized International Steel Group and agreed to buy LTV’s remnants for $325 million.
And, lo and behold...
A few weeks later, Bush slapped a 30 percent tariff on many types of imported steel—a huge gift.
But, they hadn't agreed beforehand, or anything like that, HONEST!
“I had read the International Trade Commission report, and it seemed like it was going to happen,” said Ross. “We talked to everyone in Washington.” (Ross is on the board of News Communications, which publishes The Hill in Washington, D.C.)
And so the story goes. American industry is systematically gutted:
A year later, Ross performed the same drill on busted behemoth Bethlehem Steel. Meanwhile, between the tariffs, China’s suddenly insatiable demand for steel, and the U.S. automakers’ zero-percent financing push, American steel was suddenly red hot.
Suddenly? There is nothing sudden about ZERO-financing. It's all part of the master plan.

[In October 2003,] Ross set about doing the same with ... Burlington Industries, a large textile company that failed in late 2001.

In March 2004, he snapped up Cone Mills, which, like Burlington, was based in Greensboro, North Carolina, and bankrupt.

As with the steel companies, the PBGC took over some of the pensions, the unions made concessions, and thousands of laid-off workers were recalled.

Most important, debt was slashed. Today, International Textile Group has just about $50 million in debt, LESS THAN the two companies were paying in INTEREST a few years ago.

What a crafty SOB! He orchestrates the whole disaster with his banking buddies; gets unions to make concessions (which makes the unions look like they were asking too much to begin with); and then rehires thousands of laid-off workers, becoming the town hero, even though (I'm certain) workers are getting less pay and fewer benefits than they were before bankruptcy.

And, the town is not alone. Ross has other fans.
“I really think the future of domestic manufacturing is people like Wilbur Ross,” says Bruce Raynor, head of UNITE HERE, a union that includes thousands of garment workers.
Now that's the type of leadership union workers can really depend upon -- to get them SCREWED.

So, there you have it, folks. The mastermind behind the mines of West Virginia. And who does he have his eye on next? "Distressed auto parts businesses."

Look out Delphi and friends! Ross is on a roll! A steamroll, that is.
Indeed, since I wrote that piece, Ross has made significant inroads into auto parts.

Investment banks - NOT MASKS - lie at the heart of the tragedy of Sago. Not only are they responsible for the deaths at Sago, but they pose the single most deadly threat this nation has ever faced - not so much for their power, but because they stand UNOPPOSED.

Bernanke Signals Dollar's Free Fall

Last week the IMF called for its demise. This week, Bernanke dutifully obliges. On his cue, the dollar begins its free fall . . .
The U.S. currency fell broadly on Thursday after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said in congressional testimony that "at some point in the future" a pause in rate increases may happen.

He also dealt another blow to the dollar by saying that global imbalances, a term often used to refer to the gaping U.S. trade deficit and surpluses in Asian countries such as China, may affect the currency.

The dollar has remained under pressure since last weekend when finance ministers of the Group of Seven major powers urged China and other Asian countries to let their currencies rise to help mend such imbalances.

"Since the G7 meeting, the market's focus has shifted to global imbalances from interest rate gaps," said Yoshinori Natori, currency trader at Shinkin Central Bank.

An end to the Fed's current cycle of hiking rates would remove a pillar of support for the dollar that had helped it rally in 2005, especially with both the euro zone and Japan expected to tighten policy this year.

* * *

Traders said that bids from Japanese investors blocked the dollar's fall, with some of them buying U.S. Treasuries in the wake of Bernanke's comments.

In other words, we ain't seen nothing yet! The dollar's about to take a nose dive.
The Fed's Bernanke denied that the G7's statement was meant as a call for a weaker dollar. [Yeah, right!] Hiroshi Watanabe, Japan's vice finance minister for international affairs, also said earlier on Thursday that markets had misinterpreted the G7 communique.

But many market players and analysts were not convinced.

"It simply doesn't make sense to have the dollar rising if you want to mend global imbalances," said Seiya Nakajima, chief economist at Itochu Corp.

"G7 nations seem to be accepting a gradual fall in the dollar. But at the same time they want to keep its fall under control so as not to disrupt the global economy and markets."

And they have the nerve to call it a 'free' market. I'll leave the assorted expletives to your imagination.

  Thursday, April 27, 2006

Where are Mearsheimer-Walt Deniers Now?

From the day their report was published it was clear that Mearsheimer and Walt were right about AIPAC's power over Congress. Nevertheless, there were those who obstinately denied it. I'd like to rub their noses in the outcome of the latest Bill against Iran. But, it's a pyrrhic victory in which our representatives have proven without doubt that they cannot be trusted to serve our best interest. But, at least we know who's who.

This is Who We CAN Trust:
Representatives who voted NO to Iran Freedom Support Act (PDF)
  • Baldwin, Blumenauer, Boyd, DeFazio, Duncan, Flake, Hostettler, Jones (NC)
  • Kucinich, Leach, McDermott, McGovern, McKinney, Oberstar, Obey, Olver
  • Paul, Rahall, Snyder, Stark, Taylor
This is Who We CAN'T Trust:
[P]ro-Israel lobbyists on Capitol Hill are cajoling members of Congress to support the Iran Freedom Support Act, which would expand the existing American sanctions on companies that invest more than $20 annually in Iran's oil and gas sectors. The bill would tighten sanctions on companies that invest in Iran's energy industry in the hopes of blocking money that could be used to produce nuclear arms.

The bill also provides for assistance to pro-democracy forces within Iran, and funding for independent media broadcasts to the country. The House of Representatives' Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican, and Howard Berman, a California Democrat, are sponsoring the proposed legislation. The sponsors of the Senate version are Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican, and Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Washington's pro-Israel lobby, has made pushing for sanctions on Iran its number-one priority in recent months.

Looks like AIPAC had their way with 397 highly impressionable representatives who can no longer be trusted.

So, where are Mearsheimer-Walt Deniers now?

At Long Last, Iran's Oil Bourse Has Arrived!

Finally, an alternative to the petrodollar!
Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh said on Wednesday that the establishment of Oil Stock Exchange is in its final stage and the bourse will be launched in Iran in the next week.

He told reporters, upon arrival from Qatar where he attended the 10th General Assembly of International Energy Agency and consultations with OPEC member states, that registration of the Oil Stock Exchange is underway and the entity will operate after being approved by by Council of Stock Exchange.

He rejected a statement attributed to him saying that Oil Stock Exchange will bring to the ground the US economy and said, "I don't know who has speculated that I've not talked about US economy."
Note, he didn't say that it couldn't happen, merely that he didn't say that it would happen!
Asked about conference on energy in Doha, he said that more than 60 countries and 30 oil companies and consultants took part in the conference.

Vaziri Hamaneh said that serious discussions were held including security of supply and demand, security of investment in energy and environment issues.

"The best method for security of demand in the oil sector is that consumers should be given opportunity to enter into partnership with the suppliers in investment in oil industry."
This is tantamount to an endorsement of some form of nationalization as a prerequisite for consumers getting a fair shake.
He said that the conference called for diversifying energy resources and cooperation of the developed states with the countries possessing oil and gas resources.

Asked about the oil price rise, Vaziri-Hamaneh said that oil price is being influenced by political situation, whereas it should be freed from political impacts and economic and technical fundamentals should determine the oil prices.

"As long as political impacts dominate the oil market, price hike will continue," he concluded.
In other words, as long as oil prices are controlled by TRADERS we'll not only be subject to the ongoing conspiracies of BIG Oil, but we will be at the mercy of paranoid swings of the stock market, present and future.

Thank borkafatty for the scoop!

Exxon Quarterly Profit Exceeds Annual GDP of UAE, Kuwait

That's right. According to the CIA, Exxon makes more in one quarter than the nations of the UAE or Kuwait make in the entire year.
Exxon's revenue for the three-month period was still greater than the annual gross domestic product of some major oil producing nations, including the United Arab Emirates ($74.67 billion) and Kuwait ($55.31 billion), according to statistics maintained by the Central Intelligence Agency.
But, they have the nerve to blame OPEC for rising gas prices.
[Exxon] the world's largest oil company, reported Thursday the fifth highest quarterly profit for any public company in history, posting gains from higher oil prices that were likely to stoke the furor over outsized oil company earnings.

Despite the 7 percent gain in earnings to more than $8 billion in the first quarter, Exxon Mobil said its earnings came in below its record fourth-quarter because all three of its business - exploration and production; refining; chemicals - didn't perform as well.
AAAWWWWW! They didn't make as much as they expected to. My heart bleeds for them - and I mean that quite literally - straight from my wallet.
The earnings report comes amid consumer outcry in the U.S. about soaring gasoline prices. The average retail price of gasoline in the U.S. is now $2.91 a gallon, or 68 cents higher than a year ago.
And we're supposed to believe that this is a coincidence?
It also comes as Washington lawmakers are looking to appease consumers with various proposals to make big oil companies pay more taxes or provide consumers with some other relief.
Now, you know what they do with all their profits. America, the bastion of freedom has turned into a cesspool of corruption where lawmakers don't look for REAL solutions - they 'look to appease consumers.' Throw them a bone and rub their bellies, they'll feel better after a coke and smile!
In January, Exxon posted the highest quarterly profits of any public company in history: $10.71 billion for the fourth quarter of 2005 and $36.13 billion for the full year.
So, EXXON is number 1 and number 5! Maybe they're also numbers 2, 3, and 4!

Earth to America! This is a wakeup call.

Big Oil has been robbing us blind for over a century. It's time to put a stop to this travesty.

The paltry measures they're proposing are not enough. We need meaningful energy reform in this country or these bastards are going to continue bleeding us dry at the pumps and in our homes.