Saturday, December 18, 2010
The United States is rapidly becoming the very first "post-industrial" nation on the globe.
- All great economic empires eventually become fat and lazy and squander the great wealth that their forefathers have left them, but the pace at which America is accomplishing this is absolutely amazing. It was America that was at the forefront of the industrial revolution. It was America that showed the world how to mass produce everything from automobiles to televisions to airplanes. It was the great American manufacturing base that crushed Germany and Japan in World War II. But now we are witnessing the deindustrialization of America.
- Tens of thousands of factories have left the United States in the past decade alone. Millions upon millions of manufacturing jobs have been lost in the same time period. The United States has become a nation that consumes everything in sight and yet produces increasingly little.
- Do you know what our biggest export is today? Waste paper. Yes, trash is the number one thing that we ship out to the rest of the world as we voraciously blow our money on whatever the rest of the world wants to sell to us. The United States has become bloated and spoiled and our economy is now just a shadow of what it once was. Once upon a time America could literally outproduce the rest of the world combined.
- Today, that is no longer true, but Americans sure do consume more than anyone else in the world. If the deindustrialization of America continues at this current pace, what possible kind of a future are we going to be leaving to our children?
- Any great nation throughout history has been great at making things. So if the United States continues to allow its manufacturing base to erode at a staggering pace how in the world can the U.S. continue to consider itself to be a great nation? We have created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world in an effort to maintain a very high standard of living, but the current state of affairs is not anywhere close to sustainable. Every single month America does into more debt and every single month America gets poorer.
- So what happens when the debt bubble pops?
- The deindustrialization of the United States should be a top concern for every man, woman and child in the country. But sadly, most Americans do not have any idea what is going on around them.
- For people like that, take this article and print it out and hand it to them. Perhaps what they will read below will shock them badly enough to awaken them from their slumber.
- The following are 19 facts about the deindustrialization of America that will blow your mind...
- #1 The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001.
- #2 Dell Inc., one of America's largest manufacturers of computers, has announced plans to dramatically expand its operations in China with an investment of over $100 billion over the next decade.
- #3 Dell has announced that it will be closing its last large U.S. manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in November. Approximately 900 jobs will be lost.
- #4 In 2008, 1.2 billion cellphones were sold worldwide. So how many of them were manufactured inside the United States? Zero.
- #5 According to a new study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, if the U.S. trade deficit with China continues to increase at its current rate, the U.S. economy will lose over half a million jobs this year alone.
- #6 As of the end of July, the U.S. trade deficit with China had risen 18 percent compared to the same time period a year ago.
- #7 The United States has lost a total of about 5.5 million manufacturing jobs since October 2000.
- #8 According to Tax Notes, between 1999 and 2008 employment at the foreign affiliates of U.S. parent companies increased an astounding 30 percent to 10.1 million. During that exact same time period, U.S. employment at American multinational corporations declined 8 percent to 21.1 million.
- #9 In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of U.S. economic output. In 2008, it represented 11.5 percent.
- #10 Ford Motor Company recently announced the closure of a factory that produces the Ford Ranger in St. Paul, Minnesota. Approximately 750 good paying middle class jobs are going to be lost because making Ford Rangers in Minnesota does not fit in with Ford's new "global" manufacturing strategy.
- #11 As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing. The last time less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.
- #12 In the United States today, consumption accounts for 70 percent of GDP. Of this 70 percent, over half is spent on services.
- #13 The United States has lost a whopping 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.
- #14 In 2001, the United States ranked fourth in the world in per capita broadband Internet use. Today it ranks 15th.
- #15 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.
- #16 Printed circuit boards are used in tens of thousands of different products. Asia now produces 84 percent of them worldwide.
- #17 The United States spends approximately $3.90 on Chinese goods for every $1 that the Chinese spend on goods from the United States.
- #18 One prominent economist is projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.
- #19 The U.S. Census Bureau says that 43.6 million Americans are now living in poverty and according to them that is the highest number of poor Americans in the 51 years that records have been kept.
- So, how many tens of thousands more factories do we need to lose before we do something about it?
- How many millions more Americans are going to become unemployed before we all admit that we have a very, very serious problem on our hands?
- How many more trillions of dollars are going to leave the country before we realize that we are losing wealth at a pace that is killing our economy?
- How many once great manufacturing cities are going to become rotting war zones like Detroit before we understand that we are committing national economic suicide? The deindustrialization of America is a national crisis. It needs to be treated like one.
- America is in deep, deep trouble folks. It is PAST time to wake up.
America's military and economic empire could collapse at any time, but predicting the precise day, week or month of its potential demise is unattainable, according to a former New York Times war correspondent who spoke with Raw Story.
"The when and how is very dangerous to predict because there's always some factor that blindsides you that you didn't expect," Pulitzer-winning journalist Chris Hedges said in an exclusive interview. "It doesn't look good. But exactly how it plays out and when it plays out, having covered disintegrating societies, it's impossible to tell."
He explained that he learned this lesson as events unfolded around him in the fall of 1989. Then, members of the opposition to the Soviet Empire told him that they predicted travel across the Berlin Wall separating East from West Germany would open within the year.
"Within a few hours, the wall didn't exist," he said.
Hedges was one of the 131 activists were arrested in an act of civil disobedience outside the White House yesterday, even as Obama was unveiling a new report citing progress in the Afghanistan war.
Speaking to Raw Story on Wednesday night, he said the signs of US collapse are plain to see and compared the country's course through Afghanistan to Soviet Russia's.
"We're losing [the war in Afghanistan] in the same way the Red Army lost it," he said. "It's exactly the same configuration where we sort of control the urban centers where 20 percent of the population lives. The rest of the country where 80 percent of the Afghans live is either in the hands of the Taliban or disputed."
"Foreigners will not walk the streets of Kabul because of kidnapping, and journalists regularly meet Taliban officials in Kabul because the whole apparatus is so porous and corrupt," he said.
One day after this interview was conducted, reports hit the global media noting the CIA's warning to President Obama, that the Pakistan-supported Taliban could still regain control of the country.
Hedges predicted that President Obama's war report released Thursday would "contradict not only [US] intelligence reports but everything else that is coming out of Afghanistan."
His prediction came startlingly true: the CIA's own assessment was said to stand in striking contrast with President Obama's report.....read on
Taliban and the White House background
From the India Journal:
ASHGABAT, TURKMENISTAN - India Dec 11 signed agreements to import natural gas from Turkmenistan through an ADB-based $7.6 billion gas pipeline passing through Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Oil Minister Murli Deora signed the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) and the Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline here.
“Today is a very important day, not just for India, but for all the countries (in the TAPI project),” he said at the signing ceremony attended by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
The agreements are commitments of the four nations to building of the project even as New Delhi voiced concerns over safe delivery of gas through the pipeline that would pass Taliban stronghold Kandahar province and then into Pakistan’s restive tribal areas.....read on
Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that I have put up $20,000 of my own money to help bail Mr. Assange out of jail.
Furthermore, I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars.
We were taken to war in Iraq on a lie. Hundreds of thousands are now dead. Just imagine if the men who planned this war crime back in 2002 had had a WikiLeaks to deal with. They might not have been able to pull it off. The only reason they thought they could get away with it was because they had a guaranteed cloak of secrecy. That guarantee has now been ripped from them, and I hope they are never able to operate in secret again.
So why is WikiLeaks, after performing such an important public service, under such vicious attack? Because they have outed and embarrassed those who have covered up the truth. The assault on them has been over the top:
**Sen. Joe Lieberman says WikiLeaks "has violated the Espionage Act."
**The New Yorker's George Packer calls Assange "super-secretive, thin-skinned, [and] megalomaniacal."
**Sarah Palin claims he's "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands" whom we should pursue "with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders."
**Democrat Bob Beckel (Walter Mondale's 1984 campaign manager) said about Assange on Fox: "A dead man can't leak stuff ... there's only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch."
**Republican Mary Matalin says "he's a psychopath, a sociopath ... He's a terrorist."
**Rep. Peter A. King calls WikiLeaks a "terrorist organization."
And indeed they are! They exist to terrorize the liars and warmongers who have brought ruin to our nation and to others. Perhaps the next war won't be so easy because the tables have been turned -- and now it's Big Brother who's being watched ... by us!
WikiLeaks deserves our thanks for shining a huge spotlight on all this. But some in the corporate-owned press have dismissed the importance of WikiLeaks ("they've released little that's new!") or have painted them as simple anarchists ("WikiLeaks just releases everything without any editorial control!"). WikiLeaks exists, in part, because the mainstream media has failed to live up to its responsibility. The corporate owners have decimated newsrooms, making it impossible for good journalists to do their job. There's no time or money anymore for investigative journalism. Simply put, investors don't want those stories exposed. They like their secrets kept ... as secrets.
I ask you to imagine how much different our world would be if WikiLeaks had existed 10 years ago. Take a look at this photo. That's Mr. Bush about to be handed a "secret" document on August 6th, 2001. Its heading read: "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US." And on those pages it said the FBI had discovered "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings." Mr. Bush decided to ignore it and went fishing for the next four weeks.
But if that document had been leaked, how would you or I have reacted? What would Congress or the FAA have done? Was there not a greater chance that someone, somewhere would have done something if all of us knew about bin Laden's impending attack using hijacked planes?
But back then only a few people had access to that document. Because the secret was kept, a flight school instructor in San Diego who noticed that two Saudi students took no interest in takeoffs or landings, did nothing. Had he read about the bin Laden threat in the paper, might he have called the FBI? (Please read this essay by former FBI Agent Coleen Rowley, Time's 2002 co-Person of the Year, about her belief that had WikiLeaks been around in 2001, 9/11 might have been prevented.)
Or what if the public in 2003 had been able to read "secret" memos from Dick Cheney as he pressured the CIA to give him the "facts" he wanted in order to build his false case for war? If a WikiLeaks had revealed at that time that there were, in fact, no weapons of mass destruction, do you think that the war would have been launched -- or rather, wouldn't there have been calls for Cheney's arrest?
Openness, transparency -- these are among the few weapons the citizenry has to protect itself from the powerful and the corrupt. What if within days of August 4th, 1964 -- after the Pentagon had made up the lie that our ship was attacked by the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin -- there had been a WikiLeaks to tell the American people that the whole thing was made up? I guess 58,000 of our soldiers (and 2 million Vietnamese) might be alive today.
Instead, secrets killed them.
For those of you who think it's wrong to support Julian Assange because of the sexual assault allegations he's being held for, all I ask is that you not be naive about how the government works when it decides to go after its prey. Please -- never, ever believe the "official story." And regardless of Assange's guilt or innocence (see the strange nature of the allegations here), this man has the right to have bail posted and to defend himself. I have joined with filmmakers Ken Loach and John Pilger and writer Jemima Khan in putting up the bail money -- and we hope the judge will accept this and grant his release today.
Might WikiLeaks cause some unintended harm to diplomatic negotiations and U.S. interests around the world? Perhaps. But that's the price you pay when you and your government take us into a war based on a lie. Your punishment for misbehaving is that someone has to turn on all the lights in the room so that we can see what you're up to. You simply can't be trusted. So every cable, every email you write is now fair game. Sorry, but you brought this upon yourself. No one can hide from the truth now. No one can plot the next Big Lie if they know that they might be exposed.
And that is the best thing that WikiLeaks has done. WikiLeaks, God bless them, will save lives as a result of their actions. And any of you who join me in supporting them are committing a true act of patriotism. Period.
I stand today in absentia with Julian Assange in London and I ask the judge to grant him his release. I am willing to guarantee his return to court with the bail money I have wired to said court. I will not allow this injustice to continue unchallenged.
P.S. You can read the statement I filed today in the London court here.
We’ve seen behind the curtain, as the Fed waved its magic liquidity wand over Wall Street. Now it’s time to enlist this tool in the service of the people.
The Fed’s invisible hand first really became visible with the bailout of AIG. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in June 2009:
"Many of us were, shall we say, if not surprised, taken aback when the Fed had $80 billion to invest -- to put into AIG just out of the blue. All of a sudden we wake up one morning and AIG has received $80 billion from the Fed. . . . So of course we're saying, Where's this money come from? ‘Oh, we have it. And not only that, we have more.’”
How much more -- $800 billion? $8 trillion?
The stage magician smiles coyly and rolls up his sleeves to show that there is nothing in them. “Try $12.3 trillion,” he says.
That was the figure recently revealed for the Fed’s “emergency lending programs” to bail out the banks.
“$12.3 trillion of our taxpayer money!” shout the bemused spectators as pigeons emerge from the showman’s gloved hands. “We could have used that money to build roads and bridges, pay down the state’s debts, keep homeowners in their homes!”
“Not exactly tax money,” says the magician with his mysterious Mona Lisa smile. “When did you have $12.3 trillion in tax money sitting idle?”
Not only did he not use “tax money;” it seems he hardly used “money” at all. He just advanced numbers on a computer screen, amounting to credit against collateral, replacing the credit that would have been advanced by the money market before the Fatal Day the Money Market Died. According to CNNMoney –
“[T]he Federal Reserve made $9 trillion in overnight loans to major banks and Wall Street firms during the Wall Street crisis . . . . All the loans were backed by collateral and all were paid back with a very low interest rate to the Fed -- an annual rate of between 0.5% to 3.5%. . . .
“In addition to the loan program for bond dealers, the data covered the Fed's purchases of more than $1 trillion in mortgages, and spending to back consumer and small business loans, as well as commercial paper used to keep large corporations running. . . .
“Most of the special programs set up by the Fed in response to the crisis of 2008 have since expired, although it still holds close to $2 trillion in assets it purchased during that time. The Fed said it did not lose money on any of the transactions that have been closed, and that it does not expect to lose money on the assets it still holds.”
Or so it is reported in the media.......read on
None can foretell the future, and yet the shape of what we face can be shrewdly estimated with enough attention to historical trends; with broad contextual understanding; and with sufficient insight into the character of leaders, their societies, and the structures which define their basis.
These estimates will be tempered by the sudden acts of nature, the sudden emergence of true leadership from unexpected quarters, or key breakthroughs in science. Still, we can hazard reliable views on the shape of the world in, say, a decade — in 2020 — if present trends and characters remain, and on a knowledge of certain baseline levels of wealth and capability which presently exist.
In 2011, the world will probably remain beset by the lingering of the present crisis of currency levels and economic performance. This is essentially a mass psychological crisis, based around the perceptions which create trust, particularly trust in asset values and institutions......read on
Today 6 countries in Europe were the theater of riots. I highlighted in the past that voting turn-out has been on the rise in the past 8 years after a steady decline the 3 previous decades. During the credit boom fat and happy citizens had no time to vote, too busy producing or even more so consuming. Now with unemployment through the ceiling and poor economic perspectives people have started voting again. The next step is that they realize that no one in the political spectrum currently has any guts or brain and therefore no one offers a real credible fair solution, at least for now. When they do they burn things up. Because things are a little worse in Europe economically, and because the people there actually do realize the people in power are monkeys, they have now reached that stage of realization where burning things up is the logical response. Don't think the US will remain immune to this symptom of the new normal (unlike El Erian I have not revised up my forecast, and my concern is not slow growth but civil war). For proof there was a viral video going around yesterday with a man threatening a school board with a gun after his wife lost her job, and it sadly ended in a shooting. Sadly I have very much expected these incidents to become common place and it is certainly going to get a lot worse. I almost wonder if the most fair, clairvoyant, charismatic, and pro-active politician could help us prevent true chaos. I suppose the real question is will someone come along directing the blame abroad to deflect the anger of civil unrest towards an international war. Do not shoot the messenger, I am simply outlining what I consider the most likely scenario. I pointed out in 2008 that the two biggest market crashes of the 20th century were 1907 and 1929... it does not take a genius to do the math......read on