BRICS Against Washington Consensus

by Pepe Escobar, from Asia Times

The headline news is that this Tuesday in Fortaleza, northeast Brazil, the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) fights the (Neoliberal) World (Dis)Order via a new development bank and a reserve fund set up to offset financial crises.

The devil, of course, is in the details of how they’ll do it.

It’s been a long and winding road since Yekaterinburg in 2009, at their first summit, up to the BRICS’s long-awaited counterpunch against the Bretton Woods consensus – the IMF and the World Bank – as well as the Japan-dominated (but largely responding to US priorities) Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The BRICS Development Bank – with an initial US$50 billion in capital – will be not only BRICS-oriented, but invest in infrastructure projects and sustainable development on a global scale. The model is the Brazilian BNDES, which supports Brazilian companies investing across Latin America. In a few years, it will reach a financing capacity of up to $350 billion. With extra funding especially from Beijing and Moscow, the new institution could leave the World Bank in the dust. Compare access to real capital savings to US government’s printed green paper with no collateral.

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The US Housing Market is Still “Flat on its Back”

from Mike Whitney, CounterPunch

Get a load of this chart from DataQuick’s National Home Sales Snapshot. It’ll tell you everything need to know about housing.

As you can see, prices are flatlining or drifting lower while sales are sinking like a stone. That’s the whole ball of wax, isn’t it?

Sure, sales will increase in the spring (as they always do), but judging by the sharp dropoff in last year’s hottest markets, this could be the crappiest spring selling season since the crash.

Why?

unnamed

(Note: MSA=metropolitan statistical area)

Because prices are too high, rates are too high, “organic” demand is too weak, credit is too tight, and the pool of potential buyers has shrunk to the size of a walnut, that’s why.The banks have reduced the percentage of distressed homes (foreclosures and short sales) on the market to roughly 11 percent from 59 percent in 2009. Fewer distressed homes mean higher prices, but higher prices mean fewer sales. It’s a trade-off. The banks get their money, but the market goes to hell. That’s how it works. According to most estimates, there are roughly 4.5 million homes in some stage of foreclosure. That means that –at the present pace–we should get through this Housing Depression a few weeks before Judgment Day. But don’t hold me to that.

Did you catch this gem on Bloomberg last week? It’s about the big private equity guys exiting the market. Take a look:

“Blackstone Group LP is slowing its purchases of houses to rent amid soaring prices after a buying binge made it the biggest U.S. single-family home landlord. Blackstone’s acquisition pace has declined 70 percent from its peak last year, when the private equity firm was spending more than $100 million a week on properties, said Jonathan Gray, global head of real estate for the New York-based firm…” (Blackstone’s Home Buying Binge Ends as Prices Surge, Bloomberg)

Okay, so the speculators are getting out of housing. How’s that going to effect the market?

No one really knows yet, but it can’t be good, after all, all-cash deals amounted to nearly 50 percent of all homes sales in many of the hotter markets last year. That’s why prices went up even though the economy was still in the shitter, because the fatcats were loading up on cheap real estate. Now it looks like they’re headed for the hills. That’s NOT going to be good for sales.

Did you know that existing home sales have dropped for six months straight, dipping below trend to the same level they were at in 1998?

But how can that be, you ask, when everyone’s blabbing about the recovery? How can that be when the Fed has purchased more than $1.4 trillion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and rates are a measly 4.5%? How can that be prices have been climbing higher for more than a year?

[read the rest, here]

Soros Praises “Ukrainian renaissance” – He’s An Apologist for Neo-Nazi Violence and Brutal Repression

by Scott Creighton

[see updates at the end of this article]

“[N]obody who has read a business magazine in the last few years can be unaware that these days there really are investors who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit. These new actors on the scene do not yet have a standard name; my proposed term is ‘Soroi’.” Paul Krugman 1999

You can’t make this stuff up. You just can’t.

Billionaire speculator and vulture capitalist George Soros (family changed their name from Schwartz in 1936) has penned an Op Ed praising the outcome of the recent IMF serving color revolution in the Ukraine. For a man who famously hates anti-Semitism, it seems rather odd that he would be aligning himself with the rise of the neo-Nazi nationalist parties in the Ukraine. But then again, Soros (Schwartz) has always been more about the money than he was about his religious identity.

That’s probably because money is his religion.

Not only is Mr. Soros (chosen name means “designated successor” or “next in line” in Hungarian) busily rewriting the history of this bloody conflict in his new Op Ed, he’s actually serving as an apologist for the neo-Nazi’s brutal violence which ultimately brought down the elected government of the country and now is positioning itself to wipe out what they consider to be enemies of the true Ukrainian state; Jews and other leftists.

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Ukraine’s Brown Revolution: Brought to you by your friends at the IMF

by Scott Creighton

Just a couple of quotes from recent articles to put all of this Ukrainian “democracy” into perspective for you.

  • Among the reasons Mr. Yanukovych turned away from signing political and trade accords with Europe in November was his unwillingness to carry out austerity measures and other reforms that the International Monetary Fund had demanded in exchange for a large assistance packageNew York Times
  • A $15 billion bailout package secured by Mr. Yanukovych from Russia in December has been suspended, and Ukraine is now hurtling toward default. New York Times
  • Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, the leader in Parliament of the Fatherland Party and a leading contender to serve as acting prime minister, pleaded with colleagues to swiftly reach an agreement on the designation of an interim government, which is needed to formally request emergency economic assistance from the International Monetary Fund. New York Times
  • The International Monetary Fund has made clear that it will demand austerity measures and other long-stalled economic changes in exchange for any assistance package. New York Times

As I have written in the past, the color revolution currently unfolding in Thailand was also brought to you by your friends at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as was the illegal Washington backed coup in Egypt.

 

A bankers’ plan for Detroit

from the WSWS

The proposal submitted late last week by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to the federal court overseeing Detroit’s bankruptcy is a blueprint for a devastating attack on the working class of the city. The “plan of adjustment” would be better termed the “plan of destruction,” targeting pensions, health care and core public assets, including the world-renowned Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).

Orr’s plan confirms the central premise of the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit held by the Socialist Equality Party on February 15: A crime is being perpetrated, one that is the product of a political conspiracy involving both big business parties and all the institutions of the state.

A New York Times article over the weekend compared, approvingly, what is taking place in Detroit to the restructuring of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Indeed, the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina was used as an opportunity to depopulate sections of the city and go after basic social rights, including the handing over of public education to for-profit charter schools.

[read the rest, here]

“Wall Street’s Favorite Democrat” Looks to Deregulate Derivatives Even More

by Scott Creighton

Former Goldman Sachs executive and current national finance chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, called “Wall Street’s Favorite Democrat” by Bloomberg, Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), is pushing a new bit of legislation to make it easier for Wall Street and Goldman Sachs to make piles of money setting up the next financial catastrophe just like they did back when they got Clinton to repeal Glass-Steagall.

The bill would “allow banks to keep commodity and equity derivatives in federally insured units,” Politico reported on Wednesday, meaning that banks would no longer be forced to spin off their trading desks. It would weaken Dodd-Frank’s “push out” provision, otherwise known as the Prohibition Against Federal Government Bailouts of Swaps Entities, which bars federal assistance from being provided to any swaps entity.

Himes, who was recently named the national finance chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is a former executive at Goldman Sachs, where he was a vice president.” Huffington Post

Jim, like President Obama, was born to do the “good work” of neoliberalizing America and Europe. His daddy worked for the Ford Foundation and UNICEF  in Lima Peru. His father worked under the presidency of Fernando Belaúnde who was particularly favored by the U.S. at the time because he basically handed over the nationalized oil industry to Standard Oil. Belaunde was forced to resign under threat of military coup in late 1968 and the new government did horrendous things like started a land reform program giving land back to the people and nationalized the oil industry again. They were also setting up  deals coming closer to Cuba and the Soviet Union. Eventually the Good old U.S. of A got their man back in the saddle again in 1980.

As you can see, a very similar path to greatness that our Glorious Leader had. Born to the Ford Foundation and neoliberalized dictators in far away lands and he ends up running things in the Democratic party. Small world for these oligarchs ain’t it?

The US Government Has Constructed a Ubiquitous Surveillance State

(In keeping with the article I just posted about how the Reagan White House helped the fascist state in Guatemala set up death squads and in understanding what the government did in conjunction with the brutally murderous state of Indonesia and so many others, here is a little current events note to make you think about the VERY NEAR future this country is racing to meet)

by Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian

The five right-wing justices hand Obama a victory by accepting his DOJ’s secrecy-based demand for dismissal…

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Globalist Jesus Worshiped at Golden Globes While the “Other’ CIA Film Received It’s Award

by Scott Creighton

Globalist Jesus slipped out on stage at the Golden Globes yesterday and the idol worship and false praise rang out loud and clear from all those Hollywood elites who were afraid to be seen not rejoicing in his splendor. His background didn’t matter, his brutal corporate history didn’t matter, his lies and betrayal of his wife and the honor of his office didn’t matter. All that matters is the fact that he is as rich as the ancient dictators of old and the fact that his fascist fingers grip power with the help of Hollywood’s new team of acclaimed writers: the Central Intelligence Agency.

It was a despicable display of Orwellian servitude by a group of soulless, talentless hacks risen to the ranks of what is laughably called “the A-List” simply because they will bow to their new morally bankrupt neo-liberal god-king.

globalist jesus

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Post Tropical Cyclone Sandy: FEMA Stages Sandy PR Show For Gov Christie

by Scott Creighton

UPDATE 2: from status quo mouthpiece Huffington Post: Ed Gillespie, Romney Adviser, Admits Obama’s FEMA Doing A Good Job Responding To Sandy could they make it any more obvious that they are taking a dive?

UPDATE:I found this video from Higgins. He takes a camcorder around the outside of his home (doesn’t show damage inside the home for some reason) viewing all the damaged possessions he’s laid outside like his neighbors but I couldn’t see much if any damage to his home itself. Turns out, he owns a home on some kind of waterway and it looks like all the damage to his possessions are from the rising water. And though that is bad and a terrible loss for him, it seems like he still has a home which is good I suppose.

UPDATE 2: This Higgins guy sits in his car filming while “Hurricane” Sandy is a blowin. He claims the “roof is blown off a NAPA store” but what actually happened is the roll on roof section of rubberized roofing blew off the top of the store, not the ROOF itself. Here he has a video of a piece of siding blowing off a house and a downed tree. I guess this guy has never seen a real hurricane before.

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Take a look at this. Here is a guy, Alexander Higgins I think, who has lost his home due to Sandy. He needs help, that’s for sure. But what does FEMA do? They stand around, with the press, using him and others from his neighborhood as props lined up behind where Gov. Christie is going to make a PR speech about how FEMA is overworked trying to help the victims of Sandy. Notice how small the crowd actually is. If they wanted to actually help these people, they would have already done so. But they don’t. They WANT them to remain in a limbo status because they can USE that to garner more sympathy and a bigger check from the Federal government to be given to various crony companies linked to Christie and others. They are exploiting these legitimate victims for political and economic gains. Surprised? Ever heard of Katrina?

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Post Tropical Cyclone Sandy: Online Social Marketers Comparing Sandy to Katrina

by Scott Creighton

UPDATE: See comparison videos of Sandy and Katrina at the end of this article

UPDATE 2: You think I’m making this up? Huffington Post: Hurricane Sandy vs. Katrina Infographic Examines Destruction From Both Storms notice how they inaccurately report that Sandy made landfall as a Cat 1 hurricane. That is untrue.

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Dear Social marketers and influence peddlers:

Just stop it. We aren’t that stupid. It’s a “Wag the Dog” natural disaster and it’s obvious and we are sick of it. We aren’t that stupid and you aren’t that smart so just stop it.

We understand that neo0liberal Christie and Bloomberg (Bloomberg Business Week “It’s Global Warming Stupid“) want to get as much money as they possibly can to hand over to various cronies of theirs to grow their personal fortunes once they leave office. We get that. But stop pretending this exaggerated crap tropical depression is worse than Katrina, it isn’t. Not even close.

And what you are doing is insulting: it’s insulting our collective intelligence and it’s insulting to the people who suffered through Katrina to have you belittle their losses and their grief for nothing more than a larger slice of the Disaster Capitalism pie. So go get your precious money, cash the damned checks an…

… just stop it.

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Post Tropical Cyclone Sandy: Chris Mathews Drools Over Clinton; Calls Deniers “Luddites” and “Pigs”

by Scott Creighton

Chris Mathews proves his sycophancy and his ignorance once again.

It’s all about man-made global warming … I mean climate change … I mean global warming. Can’t question those scientists because we have to get Barack Obama ready to force the failed UK carbon credits market on the U.S. just as soon as the fraud election is over (read as “Romney takes a dive like McCain, Kerry, and Gore before him”)

Chris Mathews went on Hardball yesterday and breathlessly drooled over Bill Clinton saying that Sandy proves man-made global warming is real. He also called deniers of this new religion “pigs” and “Luddites” (for the “Luddites” quote see this)

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Post Tropical Cyclone Sandy – Alternative Media Spins with Establishment

by Scott Creighton

Several “alternative” news sites are out there cheer-leading for the disaster capitalists in one way or the other whereas I have shown that though the storm was a bad one, it hardly lived up to the “Frankenstorm of the Century” billing it received and is now being over-hyped by people who look to use this storm to pocket billions in cash for themselves and their crony capitalist friends, to push their “global warming’ agendas and to possibly even effect the upcoming election (jobs numbers probably won’t be out before the election next week)

No, it is not a popular position to take, but it’s the truth. Several readers here have left comments about how relatively normal things in New York city are right now and of course the NYC marathon is still on track for this weekend. For those with damaged homes or stuck in areas hard hit by the storm, our sympathies are with you. But your suffering is not justification to let disaster capitalist ambulance chasers turn this post tropical cyclone into a 100 billion dollar corporate handout.

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Spanish Townsfolk, Our Monster: Now What Are We Going to Do About It?

by Scott Creighton

UPDATE 3:The French, Spanish and Greek governments all announced multibillion-euro austerity plans yesterday in the face of massive popular opposition.”

UPDATE 2: Slavery in the UK. The unemployed are being forced to work for major British corporations, for free, just so they can continue to receive their unemployment benefits. This plan is the same as one attempted here in the states, one that still has a great deal of support in congress. Imagine the profits retailers could pocket if they got free seasonal workers during the holiday buying season.

UPDATE: In Dubai, one of our close economic allies, they call slave owners “sponsors” and fine their slaves if they attempt to take their own lives when the desperation of their true situation becomes too unbearable to live with.

I found myself thrown away and I thought of my poor family back home. I felt desperate and decided I should die,” she said. The National

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While Americans cheer for the return of  zebra striped officials to the NFL games today, the Spanish, the Greeks and many others across Europe are fighting for their very lives and the freedom to determine the quality of them on their own. Our apparent lack of concern is understandable when you consider that what they are desperately struggling against is in a large part, our creation. Not only is Dr. Frankenstein disinterested in the harm his creation inflicts on the people around him by choice, but the townsfolk themselves willingly turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the cries of their neighbors in nearby villages just so long as the monster feeds elsewhere.

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Spainish Anti-Austerity Protests Spreading

by Scott Creighton

The IMF “austerity measures” are nearly the exact same thing that we have imposed on other nations for decades. They were called the “economic brick” when Milton Friedman and his Chicago Boys imposed them on the people of Chile in 1973 after Kissinger and the CIA orchestrated the violent overthrow and murder of their elected president Salvador Allende on Sept. 11th, 1973.

The people of Spain are saying “no”. Let’s hope the rest of the world will as well and soon. We have to get off our asses here as well. Left cover or not, these fascists will take everything from us, no one is safe. The sooner you understand that, the better we will all be.

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Pure Brutality: Riot Police in Madrid Attack Auterity Protesters

by Scott Creighton

The Dark Knight pictured this the other way around and for that I called it pure propaganda. The riot squads across the world are using brute force to repel the people of their own communities as they struggle for social and economic justice in the face of the same crushing austerity measures that Obama himself will be pushing during the lame duck session of congress this year. They were swinging away at young girls and hitting men in the back as they tried to calm the crowds.

“Skirmishes continue between protesters and riot police in Madrid, with cops firing rubber bullets and tear gas at the crowd. Fourteen people have been injured and 22 arrested, local media report.

Madrid emergency services have confirmed that at least 14 people, including three policemen, have been injured in clashes between police and protesters. One of the wounded is believed to be in critical condition, according to local news.

Riot Police belted protesters, dragging some them by the arms and legs, who had tried to get through police lines. An uneasy order was restored and police have brought in reinforcements and have begun to try and disperse the crowd.

Thousands of activists have congregated in Madrid’s Plaza de Neptune, 100 meters from the Congress building, to protest Spanish austerity measures.” RT

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