Now, the debt-default ‘blame game’

Maybe the erstwhile riverboat gamblers who now populate the upper echelons of the financial services industry in this country are beginning to see some of their investments unravel as the ripple of stock market panic, from the Asian markets, to Europe to Wall Street, grows into a tsunami of bad faith and credit in U.S. bonds–the bedrock of the world economy. Maybe.

Most of the smart ones have probably already short-sold their vulnerable investments, and are cooling their heels with their holdings now shifted to gold, and other more secure market hedges. Earlier this Century they cashed-out the U.S. real-estate market. Then they managed to get the government to bail them out with hundreds of billions of dollars because their super, high-stakes “investment” operations were deemed to be “too big to fail.” So, now I’m sure the crafty ones are “making bank” on the impending default on the U.S. debt.

Meanwhile, the political blame-game is going on, as if the elderly, the poor and their defenders in the Democratic Party, are equally culpable for the impending crash, as are the gluttonous corporations, the rich, fat-cats who run them and their wannabe-billionaire protectors in the Republican Party. Continue reading

Rupert Murdoch’s just deserts

Billionaire-bully, publisher, king-maker, right-wing ideologue Rupert Murdoch may be on the verge of getting some of what’s coming to him for his unconscionable and immoral behavior in the business arena.

Murdoch may soon be frog-marched into a British court, where lawyers and judges wear powdered wigs, just as European men began doing in the 17th Century when King Louis XIII started going bald. Several of the top officials of his media empire have already been arrested, a top editor of his Wall Street Journal in this country has resigned, and rather than face the music, recently, Murdoch shuttered a 168-year-old newspaper–News of the World, the largest circulated newspaper in the United Kingdom, with 2.6 million readers per week–because of the widening scandal, which has already embarrassed Prime Minister David Cameron and tarnished the reputation of the vaunted Scotland Yard, where Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson resigned from his position, skulking away with his tail between his legs.

Some rich folks think they are above the law. Continue reading

Hello Great Depression: Goodbye Obama

The kindest thing I can say about President Barack Obama and his conduct in the ongoing talks about the federal deficit is that he has a proclivity for making concessions without a demand being placed before him. That is, he goes into each negotiation concerning the nation’s future, offering his GOP interlocutors major compromises before the bargaining even begins.

In return for the generous concessions made by the President, the recalcitrant Republicans make even more strident demands. They have forced him to concede on nominations, from so-called “Green Czar” Van Jones, to so-called “Consumer Czar” Elizabeth Warren, Agriculture Department specialist Shirley Sherrod, and he got nothing in return for sacrificing those honorable public servants to the right-wing bully pulpit. Nothing. Zilch. Nada.

I don’t have a “beef” with the President like his most prominent critics, Dr. Cornell West, and TV personality Tavis Smiley. Continue reading

Secret debt ceiling ‘Ace’ up Pres. Obama’s sleeve?

The U.S. debt ceiling debate has become a high drama.

Around August 4 or 5, the country will be required to make an interest payment of more than $30 billion on the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt. The problem is Uncle Sam is, for all practical purposes out of money. Ordinarily that would be a ho-hum event, because the country would simply sell some new bonds to raise the cash to pay the older debts coming due. It’s called the “national debt” and it is secured by “the full faith and credit of the United States.” In other words, as long as there is a USA, holders of U.S. bonds will eventually get paid.

The only problem is that now, the government has no legal authority to borrow any money above the already reached debt ceiling, without the approval of Congress. Usually Congress raises the debt ceiling and the country remains solvent, because the federal government–which prints the currency, which incidentally is used as the standard medium of exchange to pay for oil and most other international transactions–because the federal government says the country is solvent.

On the boulevard, that’s called a “Ponzi scheme,” in honor of one Charles Ponzi. Continue reading