Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I know this seems like an odd idea, but, shouldn't the USA offer asylum to Alhaji Umaru Mutallab

Was the system set up to be THIS dysfunctional? Maybe add a few colors, okay?

Shocking Pink for airline alert.

Florescent Green for cyber warning.

Purple for trains, bridges and surface transport.

Aquamarine for ships and waterways.

That sort of stuff.

Six months is no joke, okay? The last time the Intelligence Departments warned about an attack within three months Cheney treated the warning as if it needed an appointment to receive any action.

The USA wanted him to testify to the Senate and now his son has agreed to cooperate with authorities. It would seem a good incentive for Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to continue to supply information if his parents were safe.

Perhaps he and his family are safe in Nigeria, but, how can anyone be sure? After all the USA is holding Umar. I would think there should be some reward for his father for being so forthright about all this.

...The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, (click here) in a letter dated January 7, asked Mutallab to appear before it tomorrow to testify on the alleged bombing attempt by his son, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab....

When I think of cyber and traditional attacks with airliners, I first think of the Super-Jumbos that require a lot of software that might be available for corruption and 'in flight' malfunction by sabotage.

Someone want to raise the terror alert? Just a thought.

..."Al-Qaeda maintains its intent to attack the homeland (click here) -- preferably with a large-scale operation that would cause mass casualties, harm the U.S. economy or both," Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair told the committee in a hearing convened to assess looming threats against the country....

Just in case The Republicans and their pundits at FOX don't 'get it.'

100 % of zero is still zero

Percentage of GDP is irrelevant to any recovery from an economic crash. And the collapse of 2008 was a crash by any definition.

After a crash the Gross Domestic Product of any country is not really known. It wasn't even really known before the crash because the economy prior to the crash was a faux economy.

The California Gold Rush was a rampant economy because of the promise of 'mad money' with the discovery of gold. The Boom Towns crashed because it was all based in over exaggerated expectations.

What occurred in large measure during the Bush/Cheney/Secretaries of Commerce years was no different than the California Gold Rush. The expectations of those years were exaggerated and people from every walk of life mortgaged their lives to achieve status and wealth that was promised to them.

The economy of Bush was destined to fail and everyone that did not participate knew it. Those folks still have their homes and their lives and with any luck their jobs.

The profound truth to the circumstances the USA faces today is that, 1. it are not alone, although the rest of the global economy wishes it were and 2. the economy of the USA has yet to be realized.

The current USA Labor Department is going about things the right way. They are looking at the economic collapse of each region as it experiences it and addresses it with programs to return a degree of economy to existing infrastructure that is still viable.

The intervention by the USA Labor Department is about sustainable employment, sustainable tax base and it is not 'flash in the pan' growth spurts that will only return to un or underemployment again.

The Stimulus allowed breathing room to the States, but, also addressed crumbling infrastructure that was grossly neglected during the 'years of neglect' from 2000-2008 all for the sake of a nation at war.

I am sure I can look back at the Clinton Surplus and find a lot of uses for it that would have resulted in economic growth past 'the service economy' of the time, but, that was wasted and now we are faced with 're-growing' the USA from practically scratch. It is an interesting exercise actually. We expected more cooperation from the salvaged banks but received none. A good lesson for all to learn as far as I am concerned.

But, what is more interesting than any of it, is that we have a huge opportunity before to rebuild the infrastructure of our country that will serve 'better' priorities rather than ones of the past. We can literally 'remake' our education, energy, transportation, etc. infrastructure with the future in mind.

The point is, even after one year of trying we don't know what the new GDP of the USA is. We have yet to achieve our goals and realize their outcomes.

The town where I am living has seen the rebirth of 'Main Street' since the collapse. Shops that once lined 'the mall' have abandoned higher rental prices and returned instead to Main Street shops. It is charming again to walk down Main Street and 'experience' the town rather than scampering about the mall and hurrying on the way. The local economy feels more like a local economy rather than a big box store and the shop keepers are doing well. Craftspersons display their goods on consignment in shops where it makes sense and 'it is a good thing.'

There are businesses that have gone out of business, but, then they were probably run by poor management that could not absorb any loss and forced to close their doors. That can be stated as appropriate, but, it is still unfortunate to those that face hard times.

Larger companies that were viable before are still seeing viability, but, with losses they have had to adjust and hope higher sales will return.

Lots and lots of sales at chain stores which give the shoppes are run for their money, but, I can't believe those chains can keep up that pace for long.

The point is 'contraction' of any economy is a blow to the debt a nation carries, but, when the recovery is realized sometimes 'when working with percentages' the entire picture changes.

So, for a country with a debt of 50% to its GDP, with contraction of 25%, the amount of the debt doesn't change, but, the percentage does. That can be bad news for an economy that is unrecoverable, BUT, the USA has much promise and many untapped opportunities. So the picture for its economy is really quite bright.

What also contributes to the optimism of this economy is a President determined to ravage old habits of cronyism and rid the national debt of unnecessary ventures and wasted taxpayer monies. I have not witnessed a President as obviously 'on the hunt' for government waste as President Obama is. I am proud of him. The sad reality is that Democrats don't realize a favorite son when they see one.

As the President is successful and waste is sculpted from the budget, we will end up with more in our treasury than we bargained for. What will also be unexpected is the increased tax base and an increase in revenues and before we know it we will not only have the country we longed for, but, one that can pay its bills.

I am less worried, than determined and I think that is the best outlook one can have. Small businesses and local economies are more important to our recovery than can be said.

...in the interim, the President is absolutely correct again,...the best venue for people that find themselves floundering is finding an education that will provide in the future and stick with it. Those that have wanted that Masters or PhD have an opportunity they should take advantage of, too.

I will return to reading the Republicans 'alternative' plans tomorrow. There is just so much I can read at a time. I needed a day off.


It is nearly impossible to get serious conversations from the USA media regarding the economy, so Canada is a good source of comparative values.

Canada is extremely similar in its demographics to the USA economy. There are some differences.

The USA has anti-trust laws, where Canada actually intervenes with government power to stop the exploitation of its workers.

Canada has less agriculture than the USA. Due to its northern position on the globe the agricultural sector is in the southern end of the country.

There is a rating scale called "The Index of Economic Freedom." It is an interesting scale, I don't believe it is the quintessential scale, I prefer the United Nations comparison of countries better especially when it comes to natural resource conservation, but, this is basically a measure of 'opportunity' countries practice in their policies.

The Top 10 for 2009 included both Canada and the USA, which is 'kinda' neat, because, we are among some really 'cool and thriving' countries other than the 'usual' European group we frequently 'akin' ourselves with. In the top 10 Canada is ranked 7th and the USA 8th (click here). The point is we don't have to be Canada-wannabees for economic direction, but, it is a valid comparison to what Canada is doing to find its way out of this Wall Street mess as compared to the USA.

So, that stated, Canada is continuing to spend and its economic minister isn't nearly as concerned about the nation's debt as the Conservatives of the Republican Party in the USA portray its importance.

It clearly tells me that the propaganda from the Murdoch Propaganda Machine is completely disaffecting the USA economy and causing a slow down in the recovery in the USA. I wish Canada would speak out about that because indirectly the USA's economy effects all nations and certainly the economic recovery of both Canada and Mexico.

The 'freeze' that was an attempt at bipartisanship by President Obama is simply a stupid idea that has been politically engineered by the RNC. It dominated the latest election in Massachusetts and now the USA is burdened ONCE AGAIN with idiocy rathrer than productivity. The House should eliminate 'the Republican Deep Freeze' from its bill and therefore it will be tempered in negotiations with the Senate.

The Global Community should take note, the USA is under siege by its Right Wing Media and for some stupid reason it is unable to reign in that power. Any country's ministers with strategies to break this up should advise the White House as soon as possible. The people of the USA are not safe.

Thank you.

Flaherty urged to keep spending taps open (click here)

Jeremy Torobin and Tavia Grant

Ottawa, Toronto Globe and Mail Update

Canada's leading private economists are urging Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to tread a cautious path in his March budget and keep spending flowing in a fragile recovery.

At a meeting in Ottawa on Tuesday, the economists will suggest Mr. Flaherty look past some of the better-than-expected data in Canada and the United States and resist moving too quickly to rein in the deficit.

The economists have boosted their projections for the economy, which Mr. Flaherty uses to shape his own assessments. They now see average economic growth of 2.7 per cent this year, according to a Bloomberg survey. That's higher than the 2.3 per cent Mr. Flaherty projected in his September fiscal update, but still well below the 5 per cent to 6 per cent that typically follows a deep slump...

THE PERCENT of GDP is irrelevant to the best outcome of the USA. The faster the tax base expands the more of the nation's deficit will be paid. We could literally have the deficit paid off in the Baby Boomer's lifetimes if we apply the principles correctly and return quality of life and the American Dream back to the Middle Class.

China is encouraged to spend as their 'percent' GDP is only 5%, but, the economy of China is huge compared to the USA due to the population difference.

Quite literally, if the USA draws down its spending too quickly we will witness a huge hike in unemployment when the troops come home and I am sorry, but, war is NOT an economic directive.

The USA, with our new President, will be able to spend its way out of the NEGLECT of the conservative party of the past five decades. We need to "go there" and go there quickly. I find the budgets of the Obama White House in step with its peers around the globe.

Spending in education will bring the USA into competitive ranges with others globally and we cannot afford to languish another year. Our children's futures demand cutting edge opportunity and it is high time we invested.

The more jobs and needs this nation creates the better off we are. If the conservatives of the USA are so very, very concerned about the Stimulus and the spending of the government then they need to propose legislation that will provide 'regulators' to oversee spending where ever federal dollars are distributed to be sure they are used as proposed. So far, NOTHING, I have witnessed anywhere tells me there is rampant corruption of the spending of the Stimulus, but, with such a large program there will no doubt be some.

Where spending is a 'bad idea' is when the deficit far outreaches 'an established' and fairly 'static' GDP. We have witnessed this in Argentina. But, with the potential the USA has to build an infrastructure and employ more and more people, especially now that its States are coming in line with a return of their State Legislators, spending is the venue of change and improvement. The USA DOES NOT KNOW its potential yet and to cut it off at the knees before we attain it is complete moronity.

Fiscal Conservatives are very poor judges of what is best for the country. They were the onces that sunk the economy in the first place and to trust them all over again is the worst possible sense of judgement the American people have ever shown. The American people are reacting to their own 'personal fiscal fears' when they think about what the economy on a national scale should be doing. It isn't the same and sooner or later the people of the USA are going to have to trust the President and realize he has done everything to benefit this country and assist the people to remain 'okay' in the face of a deeply troubled economy.

We have to trust and believe in our judgement of leadership at the time of the 2008 election and not the propagandized reality of a desperate Republican Party. It is okay to blame Bush and the Republicans for our troubles. They did this. They sincerely did.

Sweden bullish about prospects for growth

Published: 27 Jan 10 14:45 CET
The Swedish government released a more optimistic forecast for the economy on Wednesday, announcing it expects the country’s GDP to climb by 3.0 percent in 2010.
n its previous forecast, presented in November, the government projected that the Swedish economy would only expand by 2.0 percent this year.

According to the new forecast, however, the economy is expected to grow by 3.0 percent in 2010, 3.6 percent in 2011, and 3.2 percent in 2012.

Unemployment will also continue to rise in 2010, however, reaching 9.5 percent before dropping down to 8.9 percent in 2011 and 7.6 percent in 2012.

Meanwhile, inflation is also expected to creep up in the following years, with consumer prices inching up by 1.3 percent in 2010, 2.1 percent in 2011, and 2.7 percent in 2012, according to the government’s new forecast.

Finance minister Anders Borg admitted even he was surprised when his colleagues presented him with the new unemployment projections.

“It’s quite a strong downward revision of more than 4 percent, if you look a few years down the road,” he said at a Wednesday press conference.

“We’re going to be at a level of around 4 to 5 percent unemployment within a few years.”

G7 may debate yuan, bank regulation: Japan (click here)

Finance Minister Kan says he expects frank G7 debate instead of document

Leika Kihara

TOKYO Reuters

Group of Seven finance leaders may discuss the Chinese yuan and President Barak Obama's financial regulation plan when they meet in the Arctic Canadian town of Iqaluit this weekend, Japan's finance minister said.

China has come under heavy pressure from the G7 leading nations to revalue its currency, which some economists say is kept artificially low, giving it an unfair export advantage and hindering more balanced economic growth.

Tokyo believes that a more flexible yuan is desirable but has been more reserved than its G7 peers in its criticism of China's currency system on the view that pressuring Beijing won't work.

“We'll deal with this issue based on our understanding that stable economic growth in China is desirable for Japan,” Finance Minister Naoto Kan told a news conference on Tuesday...

Flaherty to Raise Canada’s 2010 Growth Outlook (Update2) (click here)

February 01, 2010, 05:08 PM EST

(Updates bond trading in ninth paragraph.)

By Theophilos Argitis

Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s March 4 budget may include a stronger forecast for 2010 economic growth, a survey of analysts showed, giving him more scope to fight the country’s rising debt burden.

Canada’s economy will expand 2.7 percent in 2010, faster than the 2.3 percent projected in the September fiscal update, according to a Bloomberg survey of 14 of the 16 forecasters Flaherty consults for his budget. Flaherty will meet the 16 economists from banks, universities and research institutes in Ottawa tomorrow to gather their projections.

Faster growth in 2010 may help propel Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s plan to shift the government’s focus to eliminating the deficit, which could sustain demand for Canadian debt at a time when opposition lawmakers and economists question the government’s ability to balance the budget....

OECD urges China to spend freely (click here)

Alan Wheatley and Zhou Xin

Beijing Reuters

China needs to run a continued fiscal deficit and let its real exchange rate rise to rebalance its economy towards domestic demand and thus sustain the impressive growth of recent years, the OECD said on Tuesday.

In only its second full-length study of non-member China, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development maintained its November forecast of an acceleration in gross domestic product growth to 10.2 per cent in 2010 from 8.7 per cent last year.

Near-term economic overheating was unlikely as the economy had ample spare capacity, the OECD said, forecasting that consumer prices would rise a modest 1.8 per cent in 2010.

The OECD said China's fiscal deficit remained small despite Beijing's 4 trillion yuan ($585.9-billion) stimulus program and advised against a return to the conservative spending policies that left the general government budget in surplus to the tune of more than 5 per cent of GDP in 2007.

“Further out, maintaining strong domestic demand will require a continued fiscal deficit,” the report said....