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Bush recession different in size and substance

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This recession is not only more serious than others of recent memory, but it affects different parts of the economy than previous ones have.  A couple of graphs show the former, and a few sentences, the latter:
clipped from www.dailykos.com

For the first time ever, more private-sector services [industry] jobs have been lost than goods-producing [manufacturing] jobs have been lost.
Many of those lost jobs were in retailing, which has seen its largest job losses since the data collection began in 1939
Some economists say many of those jobs will never come back as Americans wean themselves from the easy credit that’s fueled their consumption for the past 25 years.
“A lot of them are gone for good,” said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist for IHS Global Insight, a major economic consulting firm. “The age of the U.S. and world economy being driven by the U.S. consumer may be in the past.”
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UPDATE:  This morning, GM announced layoffs of an additional 10,000 workers.

The President’s stimulus plan is, doubtless, far from perfect.  But it has the support of the most brilliant economists we have, including the Nobel laureate Robert Krugman (whose chief concern is that it is far too small).  Investing in the economy has the potential for paying the government back manyfold, even above the cost of borrowing.

And another ten thousand people will be bringing bad news home to their families.

Seems foolish to delay.


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Written by Monte

February 9, 2009 at 9:04 pm

400 richest Americans’ incomes doubled under Bush tax cuts; economy collapsed

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clipped from thinkprogress.org
Bloomberg reports that, according to recently released IRS data, “the average tax rate paid by the richest 400 Americans fell by a third to 17.2 percent through the first six years of the Bush administration and their average income doubled to $263.3 million.” Much of their income came from capital gains resulting from the Bush tax cuts:
The drop from 2001’s tax rate of 22.9 percent was due largely to ex-President George W. Bush’s push to cut tax rates on most capital gains to 15 percent in 2003
Capital gains made up 63 percent of the richest 400 Americans’ adjusted gross income in 2006, or a combined $66.1 billion, according to the data. In all, the 400 wealthiest Americans reported a combined $105.3 billion of adjusted gross income in 2006, the most recent year for which the IRS has data.
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Observe the present economy. Like what you see?

O'Pari Luxury Yacht
Image by yachtfan via Flickr

Certainly the tide has risen for the very wealthy: their fortunes have doubled. But has this “rising tide” lifted “all boats?” Has trickle-down affected your income? Can we say that business has been stimulated?

Perhaps it’s a good time to wonder why tax cuts for the rich did not result in national prosperity as promised.

Mired on the shore in our jonboats, most of us look on as the yachts head for the open sea.


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Written by Monte

January 31, 2009 at 12:39 pm

U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture: US “has a clear obligation” to prosecute Bush, Rumsfeld

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Apparently, international law (which is, in this case, US law as well) is pretty clear.
clipped from thinkprogress.org
In remarks that aired on German television last night, Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, urged the U.S. to pursue former President George W. Bush and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld on charges that they authorized torture and other harsh interrogation techniques:

bushrummyweb.jpg

Rumsfeld, Bush

“Judicially speaking, the United States has a clear obligation” to bring proceedings against Bush and Rumsfeld. […] He noted Washington had ratified the UN convention on torture which required “all means, particularly penal law” to be used to bring proceedings against those violating it. […]

Indeed, a bipartisan Senate report released last month found that Rumsfeld “bore major responsibility” for abuses committed at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and other military detention centers […]

[L]ast week, a Bush administration official overseeing Gitmo trials said Rumsfeld approved the torture of one particular detainee.

Bush himself said last year that […] he personally authorized waterboarding Kalid Sheik Muhammad […]

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I wonder how the USA could demand compliance by any nation to any treaty obligation if it doesn’t fulfill its own solemn obligations in this case.

If we can look away when torture suits the leaders of the moment, can’t everyone? If we can find lawyers who’ll write opinions excusing our leaders when they feel torture appropriate, can’t everyone?

Robert Mugabe will see himself and the USA as birds of a feather.


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Spurned by Bush, Iran again offers talks

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A sign of hope:  In Iran’s first congratulatory letter to an American president since 1979, Iranian President Ahmadinejad suggests the offer of talks made to President Bush (and spurned by him) might still be on the table for the president-elect.
clipped from www.democracynow.org

Iranian President Congratulates Obama on Election Win

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has written Obama a congratulatory letter following his election win. It’s the first time since the 1979 Iranian revolution that an Iranian leader has congratulated the winner of an American presidential election. Obama has pledged to meet with Iranian leaders without preconditions. In his letter, Ahmadinejad suggests Iran would be open to talks with the United States in accordance with previous overtures that the Bush administration ignored. Ahmadinejad also writes that he hopes “the unjust actions of the past 60 years will give way to a policy encouraging full rights for all nations, especially the oppressed nations of Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.”
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Written by Monte

November 7, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Posted in Politics

Chevron to Bush: Force little countries not to sue when we pollute

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clipped from www.sojo.net

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“We can’t let little countries screw around with big companies like this—companies that have made big investments around the world.”
a Chevron lobbyist, who asked not to be identified, speaking about a lawsuit brought on behalf of thousands of Indigenous Ecuadorian peasants over the dumping of billions of gallons of toxic oil wastes into their region’s rivers and streams. Chevron is pressuring the Bush administration to eliminate special trade preferences for Ecuador if its government doesn’t quash the case. (Source: Newsweek)
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Big companies have greater sovereignty than nations?  They can force indigenous people not to resist the poisoning of their lands?  They can pressure Mr. Bush to force governments to turn on their own people?

“Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!” – Proverbs 31:8, The Message

For this week’s issue of Sojomail, visit Sojourners. More details on this story can be found at Chevron accused of geopolitical blackmail

Update, 8-19-08, related story: Judge Rules Aceh Villagers Can Sue Exxon for Human Rights Abuses

A federal judge has ruled that a suit alleging human rights violations against Exxon committed in Aceh can be heard in a US court. Eleven villagers from Aceh say Exxon should be held liable for alleged violent crimes by military units of the Indonesian national army hired by Exxon to protect its facilities. According to some estimates, ExxonMobil has extracted some $40 billion from its operations in Aceh. -DemocracyNow!


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Written by Monte

August 8, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Posted in Politics