DoomwatchTM vs. Timesizing®

Collapse trends - Feb. 1-14, 2003
[Commentary] ©2003 Philip Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA (617) 623-8080 - HOMEPAGE


2/14/2003  headlines from hell -
  1. Stocks closed down, pointer summary (to C1), WSJ, front page.
    ... for the 7th session of the past 8 despite a late-day rally....
    [and the Times' version -]
    Major markets close lower again, pointer squib (to C7), NYT, C1.
    The Dow...closed down 8.3 points to 7749.87. The Nasdaq slipped 1.53 pts to 1277.44 and the S&P500 index slipped 1.31 pts to 817.37.
    [Further -]
    Unreal 'real' figures and other good news, by Floyd Norris, NYT, C1.
    ...Investors are depressed. Over the last month, the major stock averages are down about 12%, and the declines have hit 94% of the stocks in the S&P500..\.. Is it just war and terrorism worries? Or is there something fundamentally wrong with the economy?
    [An excellent question, even qualifying as an articulation of The Big Question. But Floyd doesn't answer it. Instead, he goes off on Alan Greenspan -]
    The most revealing part of Greenspan's Congressional testimony this week came when he...said..\.. if geopolitical "uncertainties diminish considerably in the near term...we should be able to tell far better whether we are dealing with a business sector and an economy poised to grow more rapidly - our more probable expectation - or one that is still laboring under persisting strains and imbalances that have been misidentified as transitory." In other words, is the burst bubble still causing damage that an easy monetary policy cannot solve?...
    [Poor paraphrase - we'd say, "In other words, is there something fundamentally wrong with the economy that caused the bubble, the burst, and the persisting strains and imbalances that should be correctly identified as permanent" - unless we shift from makework to sharework in the form of automatic adjustment of the workweek against comprehensive unemployment and automatic overtime-to-training&hiring conversion.]
    Mr. Greenspan has kept his rose-colored glasses and, unlike some investors, has retained his faith in Wall Street analysts....
    In other words, he's just one more cheerleader among many.]
    ..\..Th[ese are] important question[s] for Mr. Greenspan's legacy, and his legacy should be far more important to him than the question of whether pResident Bush will offer him another term as Federal Reserve chairman in 2004....
    [We're afraid Mr. Greenspan's legacy is already shot. See 2/07/2003 #4 below - the 'maestro' is a hack.]

  2. [and here's part of the reason -]
    Bankers [are] opposing new state curbs on unfair loans, by Henrques & Fuerbringer, NYT, C1.
    The banking industry has stepped up a fight to block new state laws aimed at curbing unscrupulous mortgage lending....
    [Bankers just don't get it.]

  3. [and a little background -]
    Enron manipulated tax laws, pointer summary (to A2), WSJ, front page.
    ...to achieve $2 billion in tax and accounting benefits over 6 years, a congressional report found.

  4. Joking aside, a serious antipathy to things American [no, just Bushian] rises in Europe, by Craig Smith, NYT, A11.
    [This is like trying to make anti-Sharon into anti-Judaism, but there was a telling joke about American education -]
    AMSTERDAM...- When a comedian at Boom Chicago's comedy club here asked the audience for their most embarrassing confessions Wednesday night, a European-accented voice called out from the gloom, "I'm from the United States."
    "O.K.," the comic responded with quicksilver timing, "I'll speak more slo-o-owly then." The crowd roared, delivering one of the biggest laughs of the night....
    [If American education isn't just producing a bunch of gullible patsies, how come so many Americans went out and bought duct tape this week, in response to what Daniel Shore has called, "the orchestration of American jitters"? How come so many Americans voted for Bush instead of somebody with some principles, Pat Buchanan, and how come so many voted for Gore instead of somebody with some principles and intelligence and looong public service, Ralph Nader; in short, why didn't we have a real race instead of two flavors of money-drowned bland? Here's another take on the antipathy -]
    For old friends, Iraq bares a deep rift - Opposition to war has forged a popular unity in Europe, if not among its governments, by Richard Bernstein, NYT, front page, A10.
    BRUSSELS...- As antiwar demonstrators prepare for what they are saying will be among the largest protest marches in history this weekend, many in Europe [and America!] are asking themselves: how did trans-Atlantic relations, which were so good so recently, get so bad so quickly?...
    [One word - Du(m)bya. Here's another take on his intelligence -] The intellectuals - A sense of fine qualities trampled and of something 'terribly wrong' - Freedoms envied by the world 'are being systematically eroded', by Sarah Lyall, NYT, A10.
    [Even before the Bush administration's latest manifestations, people who'd lived through the 30s in Germany were getting a lot of scary similar feelings.]

  5. [and a little demo of the fleeing freedoms -]
    Strange way to protect democracy - If an antiwar march is prohibited, why not ban the St. Patrick's Day parade?, by Clyde Haberman, NYT, C12.
    Woke up yesterday to hear a guy on TV talking about the possibility of a cyanide gas attack. That's when the idea hit: The family should stock up on canaries. When heading into the subway, we could dangle a caged canary from a long pole. If the bird keels over, we might have enough time to run back to safety on the street. Then all we have to do is fight scores of other subway refugees for a taxi.
    On reflection, this made about as much sense as buying duct tape for the living room window that never stays open anyway....

  6. [and here's another example of Bush's black&white 'brain' -]
    Flirting with disaster - U.S. talk of using atomic arms in Iraq is a big mistake, op ed by Nicholas Kristof, NYT, A31.
    ...loose talk in the Bush administration about using nuclear weapons in Iraq.
    [Then came yet another Bush administration reversal -]
    ...Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld yesterday seemed to dampen the wild talk. He said that "we will not foreclose the possible use of nuclear weapons if attacked," but added thta "we can do what needs to be done using conventional capabilities." The equivocation is well-intended; it's meant to dissuade Saddam Hussein from using chemicals against us. But Bruce Blair, a former Minuteman launch officer who is better known as the president of the Center for Defense Information in Washington, notes that by publicly lowering our threshold for using nuclear weapons, we're sending a dangerous signal to other countries....
    [The suicidal stupidity of this administration grows and grows. Even Phil Hyde's mother-in-law, a die-hard dyed-in-the-wool redneck conservative, now regards Bush and his administration of oil tygoons as "lunatics."]
    [Further -]
    A danger to commerce - Old trading partners are concerned about effects of the split over war, by Mark Landler, NYT, A11.
    [Interesting that some businessmen aren't concerned about war, just the split over war.]

  7. Spending bill is approved with its storehouse of pork - A $397.4 billion measure makes sure there is a little something for the [rich!] folks back home, by Carl Hulse.
    Rep. Jeff Flake (R, Ariz) said Congress was a good candidate for the "Pork Barrel Hall of Fame." [photo caption]
    [But then, this guy's just "a flake."]
    [bonus for you greens who don't like Frankenfood -]
    Late addition to spending bill [that passed] would dilute organic rules - Use of regular rather than organic feed for livestock could be accepted, by Marian Burros, NYT, A22.

  8. Colorado: Bilingual motto plaques, by Mindy Sink, NYT, A28.
    A legislator has introduced a bill to allow plaques with "In God We Trust," and its Spanish translation, "Confiamos en Dios," in public buildings, including schools. The bill, amended to include the translation, would require the donated plaques to be visible from 20 feet and allows suits if the act is not enforced.
    [With all the problems this country has, this is the type of thing we're distracting ourselves with. Aside from setting an unfair and partiality-tainted precedent that we can't possibly follow through on (which would involve being fair and translating public messages into every one of the thousands of minority languages in this country), there's the little matter of rolling back America's big diversity-favoring, creativity-inducing institutional advantage by un-separating church and state.]

  9. Brazil: Inflation surges, by Suzanne Kapner, NYT, W1.
    ...2.25% in January, edging the annualized inflation rate up to 14.5% [after rising] 2.1% in December...well above the government's 8.5% target.
    [Whoa, Brasil (Portuguese spelling) may be going back to the hyperinflation of the mid-90s. A little inflation is a good thing, centrifuging the inefficiently concentrated spending power in the kind of primitive uncapped personal income&wealth type of economy that we're all suffering from around the world today back in these economic Dark Ages at the beginning of the Third Millennium AD. But hyper-inflation of the 20-30% level Brasil had in the mid-90s, let alone the 100-1000% levels Germany had in the early 20s, kills old ladies and others on fixed incomes cuz their incomes aren't indexed to inflation (and if they were, the hyperinflation would be even worse) and they can't get to the grocerystore fast enough to buy anything with the money they've got before the prices jump up out of range again.]
    The central bank's overnight lending rate is already at a 4-year high of 25.5%.
    [This bank must be "cheating" by printing money to pay for government programs (instead of raising taxes on the rich) and then trying to control the resulting inflation by raising interest rates to curtail private-sector job creation and wage-push inflation, even though wage increases are not the big reason for the inflation, central-bank money printing is. So here is a fascinating experiment in the 8th-biggest economy in the world, where the superficial manipulation of interest rates has become dysfunctional at the opposite end to where they've become dysfunctional in the world's 1st and 2nd biggest economies. Inflation and unemployment are supposed to be on a seesaw - if one goes up or down, the other is supposed to do the opposite. And you're supposed to be able to manipulate this seesaw by getting your central bank (eg: US Fed) to manipulate interest rates. That's because (A) we're assuming the main component of inflation is pay raises and (B) if you raise interest rates, it's harder for businesses to borrow money to expand and create more jobs and give employees more choice and power and payraises - ergo more inflation - while if you lower interest rates, it's easier for businesses to borrow money and expand and create more jobs, so employees have less choice and power and payraises - ergo less inflation. The numbskulls at the Fed in the mid-90s even developed what they called the non-accelerating-inflation rate of unemployment ("NAIRU") - in other words, they actually fostered unemployment with high interest rates to keep inflation down. The problem with this is that raising rates to foster unemployment to control inflation amounts to fostering recession to control inflation, because you're clobbering employee-consumers, your consumer base and your markets. So eventually you can succeed in getting a persistent recession (alias depression), as the U.S. and Japan have both done.]

  10. New Zealand: Flat retail sales, by Wayne Arnold, NYT, W1.
    Though they rose 1.3% in Q4, retail sales in New Zealand were flat in December...a sign that the country's fairly robust economic growth of recent years may have run its course....

2/13/2003  headlines from hell -
  1. North Korea broke accords, has missile that could hit U.S., headline buried on A6 on article continuation, WSJ.
    [The Bush-suckered Wall Street Journal sure don't wanna put this on the front page! Here's the wimpy headline they ventured on A3 -]
    North Korea broke nuclear accords, U.N. agency says, by Michael Schroeder & David Cloud, WSJ, A3.

  2. [Then there's all the "counting your chickens before they hatch" -]
    Planning for a life after Saddam - US-funded 'free Iraqis' brainstorm on nuts and bolts of society, by Neil King Jr., WSJ, A4.
    [Is this going to be like "life after Osama"? Compare the additional fatuosity in this issue -]
    The toughest test: Après Saddam, op ed by Albert Hunt, WSJ, A13.

  3. Bush aims to mute religious critiques of attack on Iraq, by Greg Hitt, WSJ, A4.
    [= more 'homeland security' dba cancelling freedom of speech?]
    ...Mr. Bush, who has made faith a defining characteristic of his pResidency, can't easily ignore such opposition....
    [Oh no? Just watch'im. He's the scariest thing since Joe McCarthy. Time to drop the Electoral College to prevent 'him' from happening again.]

  4. [whoopsie, another ad against Bush and his policies, but not a full-page ad this time -]
    Bush weakens America - Bush and a narrow circle of extremist advisors have done more than any foreign enemy could to weaken us, ¼-page ad by BushWeakensAmerica (PO Box 75786 Washington DC 20013), NYT, A20.
    Our security depends most of all on admiration [and gratitude] by people of the world for all the good works for which America has been known. Gratitude does not motivate...suicide attacks.... Bush and those advisors - In the end, it is we the American people who have allowed ourselves to think everything was going along well, and failed to keep our representatives in check....
    [Hear, hear!]

  5. [and here's another example -]
    A Bush panel, pointer summary (to A2), WSJ, front page.
    ...said a voluntary plan with industries will cut greenhouse-gas emissions 18% over a decade.
    [Yeah sure.]
    Environmentalists disagreed.
    [Further, tomorrow -]
    Weak response on global warming, editorial, 2/14/2003 NYT, A30.
    In a transparent bit of salesmanship that should not be mistaken for a serious policy, the Bush administration announced Wednesday that it had persuaded several major industries to make voluntary reductions in the rate at which they produce carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to global warming. It was the administration's latest effort to show that voluntary controls will make unnecessary the mandatory reductions called for by many scientists, environmentalists and members of Congress - as well as by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that Mr. Bush rejected after taking office....
    [More Bush efforts to make things better for the 1% of the population who already have things best, while making them worse for everyone else, especially those who already have things worst -]
    The House, 230-192, passed Bush's tough welfare rules, pointer summary (to A4), WSJ, front page.
    ...to put more single mothers to work [with no jobs] and press them to marry....
    [Yes, we can find all our answers in the Victorian Age.]

  6. [Ya hafta wonder why Wall Street supports this clown -]
    Blue chips fall 84.94 points, off 7% for year, by E.S.Browning, WSJ, C1.
    [And then there's -]
    Consumer confidence dives [to 68 in Massachusetts - Jan.] index falls 15 points to early '90s level, by Kimberly Blanton, Boston Globe, C1.
    [Or maybe he's buying them off, just like the 10 little European countries that fell in line a coupla weeks ago (Romania agrees with Bush? Wow!) Here's another buried headline -]
    Pain of Wall Street settlement will be eased by U.S. taxpayers, headline on article continuation, C9.
    [and the wimpy front-of-section headline -]
    Wall Street's settlement [of stock-research abuses] will be less taxing, by Gregory Zuckerman, WSJ, C1.
    ...Most of the payments likely will be tax-deductible for the companies....
    [You mean, sorta like burglars deducting the cost of their crowbars?]

  7. [so he does what he shouldn't, and doesn't do what a Republican should - like get rid of business-dragging sales taxes -]
    Attention, Web shoppers: That'll be 6% extra - Under pressure from states, more online retailers start collecting sales tax, by Nick Wingfield, WSJ, D1.

  8. [then there's his fellow Republicans, just as dumb -]
    Georgia's governor plans a 2004 referendum, news summary, WSJ, front page.
    ...on reviving a state flag dominated by a Confederate emblem, a decision likely to roil race relations.
    [Much as we love referendums - some guys just don't know when to "let it go."]

  9. Sprint president seeks more exit pay, by Joann Lublin, WSJ, A3.
    [What, is he blackmailing them or something? Just show him the door and push.]

  10. Advertising - Media companies are raising their First Amendment flags, by Nat Ives, NYT, C4.
    [In short, despite the need for upwardly creeping standards of clarity and truthfulness because of the growing complexity of products and services on the market, the advertising industry wants the right to lie. So the right to lie joins the silly queue of imposters lining up to claim free speech, just as the right to spend any amount of money to win elections is now presented as free speech. Remember caveat emptor? That was fine when things were simpler, but today, not everyone can afford to subscribe to the basic minimal tool in the consumer marketplace; namely, Consumers' Report. Remember "Macht macht Recht" = "might makes right." Today's version is "Geld macht Recht" = "money makes right."]

2/12/2003  headlines from hell -
  1. Collateral damage - US allies are skeptical of Bush's moves, op ed by Robert Kuttner, Boston Globe, A19.
    [More good soundbytes from Boston -]
    ...Since Nixon's opening to China, six US presidents have walked a delicate line, coaxing China to liberalize, inviting it into the community of trading nations, keeping a wary eye on China's military capacity, balancing the interests of Taiwan. Since Reagan, four administrations have worked to form an alliance with the new Russia, to diminish Russia's nuclear arsenal and help it become a normal nation.
    But Bush's Iraq policy has accomplished the unthinkable - it has produced a French-German-Russian axis that has little in common except a growing fear that the United States is being led by a lunatic fringe.
    [There's a pretty stark assessment of our insecure position as Americans in 2003. With this recklessly radical, extremist and war-loving "conservative" administration, how many of us will survive to 2005 and another (any other!), hopefully sane administration? Bush's policy essentially says to Saddam Hussein, "I'm crazier than you." It worked for Reagan vs. USSR because Gorbachev had the courage to say to his own power structure, "Ya know, he's right - he IS crazier than us." But Gorby had a big country and a lot of people he loved. Saddam Hussein may be quite a different fish. And meanwhile, the rest of the world, whom we haven't bought with foreign aid, is looking on and thinking, "Hmm, this is the second time in less than 20 years that the USA has pulled this "I'm crazier than you" stunt and "played chicken" with the peace and welfare of the world. And now they've got a client state doing it = Israel. This is starting to be a habit, which means, the USA may really have gone crazy, and be turning into a self-righteous psychopathic killer, ignoring the warnings of Jacob Bronowsky ("The Ascent of Man" Ch.11) of the dangers of Absolute Certainty and "Gott Mit Uns."]
    Other collateral damage includes disdain for the UN.  Bush and his aides, in bullying other nations to fall into line, invoke the League of Nations, which failed because it was too weak and divided. But it is Bush who might destroy the UN....
    So yes, Saddam Hussein is a menace. But [North Korea is more of a menace, and] the policy of containment and inspections - which Bush would abandon for war - is keeping Saddan bottled up.
    [That is, it's working.]
    Meanwhile, our allies are getting more serious about the project of containing George W. Bush.
    [Call the men in the white suits with the big butterfly nets.]

  2. Arms makers see great potential in India market, by Saritha Rai, NYT, W1.
    [Like India doesn't have enough problems without these amoral death-dealers.]

  3. [and speaking of amoral -]
    Journal's 'double dipping' doesn't serve you well, letter to editor by Journalism Prof. Orville Schell of UC/Berkeley, WSJ, A17.
    ......The Jan. 30 op-ed piece by 8 European heads of state support[ed] the Bush administration's position vis-a-vis war with Iraq.... What I felt was excessive was for your paper, which is, after all, a strong editorial supporter of the current administration, to report news that supported the pResident's position [our mixed-casing - ed.] from your own op-ed piece, not only on your own front page, but the same day.... Here, op-ed views suddenly were converted into news, not by someone else, but by the WSJ. It was in this sense that I used the old saw \in\ some comments I made to the Los Angeles Times...that, "If you don't like the news, go out and make some yourself."
    I feel that this kind of auto-coverage, especially when political motives might be imputed to it, risks being seen as not only political in nature, but self-serving and self-promotional. I do not think it well serves a paper whose reporting is as excellent as yours.... In my view, it would have been better practice simply to have run your op-ed piece on the editorial page and then let other media outlets cover its news value....
    Perhaps we can write off this unusual double dip as a bit of overexuberance. In any event, my comments hardly qualify as lese majeste worthy of such a self-defensive reaction \as\ your Feb. 3 editorial "The Op-Ed Alliance" [and a follow-up] Feb. 7 Letter to the Editor that also misrepresents what I said....

2/11/2003  headlines from hell -
  1. Bush urges rich churches to reach out to poor ones - Asks Christian broadcasters to help, by Richard Stevenson, NYT, A20.
    [Shades of Poppy's "Thousands Points of Lite" - our spelling. Here we had an economy during and after World War II with good strong centrifugal mechanisms to spread the income of the nation out to those who actually spent it. We have gradually dismantled those mechanisms over the decades, starting especially with JFK's little 1963 attack on the graduated income tax, and now this usurper wants to concentrate the income of the nation in even tighter, more unspendable 'black holes' in the top brackets. This of course means we have to shift from a guaranteed balance of designed-in centrifugation to charity, which is notoriously capricious and unreliable. Any economy that relies for vital functions (such as centrifugation of spending power) on charity is lethally flawed. Bush wants someone else to take the responsibility - not government, reliably, but churches, serendipitously, and now we will all suffer the unintended consequences of this gigantic and radical experiment by this self-styled "conservative" on going back to a previous, less predictable arrangement despite having a much larger population which depends utterly on more predictable arrangements, not less. Colleague Kate says that Bush's shenanigans are turning her mother, retired from Chase Investments, into a liberal - which is quite an accomplishment!]

  2. Renters receiving U.S. aid to pay more under budget - Proposal would turn a[n upper] limit into a floor, by Robert Pear, NYT, A16.
    WASHINGTON...- The Bush administration is proposing to increase rents charged to thousands of poor people who receive federal housing aid. The increase would be accomplished by changing 3 little words in federal law. The minimum rent for tenants, which is "not more than $50" a month under current law, would have to be "at least $50" a month under pResident Bush's plan. In budget documents sent to Congress last week, the administration said the proposal was "intended to promote work" by people who live in federally subsidized housing.
    [The Gordian Knot facing the Bushbrains is, how to promote work when there are no jobs? Check out the traffic jam in Chicago when people heard there were jobs at a Ford assembly plant (see "A crush of applicants - Low employment and high anxiety," op ed by Bob Herbert, 2/10/2003 NYT, A27, cited in the 'not counting' top area of yesterday's downsizings, 2/08-10/2003), or the crowd of laborers desperate for a day's work who wait in East Coast donut shops and convenience stores or the parking lots of West Coast Home Depots (see "Outside do-it-yourself store, men yearn to do it for them - Home Depot parking lots draw laborers desperate for casual work," by Charlie LeDuff, 2/12/2003 NYT, A18, cited in the 'not counting' top area of tomorrow's downsizings, 2/12/2003). An alternative analysis - he seems to want to get more and more money from those who don't have it & less and less from those who do. But as Will Rogers said back in the Depression when asked where the gov't was going to get the money for all its program proposals, "Wal, I guess they're going to git it from the rich, cuz they's the only ones that has any!"]
    Some local authorities have a minimum rent of zero or $25 a month. Under Mr. Bush's proposal, they would have to charge $50 a month and could set the minimum much higher for some or all tenants....
    Mitchell Daniels Jr., budget director, faulted the local authorities..\.. [photo caption]
    [Coddled rich boys, insulated and isolated, doing ignorant top-down reforms with no clue about the situation "on the ground." Shades of the Scott Antarctic Expedition.]
    The proposal is the latest example of what critics describe as onerous requirements placed on poor people by Mr. Bush's budget....
    [Maximums that turn into minimums and vice versa in poorly designed gov't regulation. Hey, isn't that what happened to the "maximum" 40-hour workweek? It's become a minimum to get health insurance, because the maximum is unenforced and the design of the upper limit (overtime) is flawed, slightly demotivating employers but strongly motivating employees with time&ahalf, instead of simply requiring reinvestment of all overtime/ overwork earnings and profits in OT-targeted training and hiring. And as unions feared back in the '30s, the minimum wage has turned into a maximum wage for unskilled workers.]
    The current law, adopted in 1998, also says a family receiving federal housing aid cannot be evicted because of failure to pay the minimum rent. These categories would be repealed under the administration proposal....
    [Think we've got a lot of disability (5.4m), homelessness (??m) and prison inmates (2.1m) now? Watch for a LOT more in this "richest country in the world" - a sobriquet that hardly matters when 1% of the population has 99% of the income and wealth - and soon, jobs. Astonishingly, Dubya's bro seems to have attacks of generosity to judge by the neighboring article, "Florida struggles to find a way to achieve smaller {school} classes," by Dana Canedy, NYT, A16, whose photo caption states, "Florida voters approved a measure in Nov. to limit class sizes, and Gov. Jeb Bush has proposed spending $3B to accomplish that." Earlier in the paper we find, "Administration gives advice on how to prepare for a terrorist attack - No imminent threat, officials emphasize," by Philip Shenon, NYT, A12. With all his revolutionary class-warfare proposals, "conservative" Dubya is a lot more imminent threat to America and Americans than any terrorist. As we've said so many times before, if his party was somehow reversed, the Republicans would have been SCREAMING for impeachment for months now - and, anybody seen or heard from a Democrat lately? Oh yeah, now our boy Kerry has cancer of the prostate, the little gland-muscle that powers your manhood.]
    [Followup -]
    Bush, rent and taxes, letter to editor by Emmett Barcalow of Amherst MA, 2/18/2003 NYT, A26.
    Has the Bush administration no shame? At the same time that it strives to reduce the taxes of the wealthy, it plans to increase the rent poor people pay in federal housing by making a maximum rent the minimum and doing away with rent ceiling (news article, Feb. 11).
    The administration's reason - that it aims "to promote work and responsibility" - is ludicrous.... The Bush administration wants to eliminate inheritance and dividend taxes. Won't that promote leisure rather than work?
    This administration never misses a chance to give to those who have the most and take from those who have the least.
    [Which, apart from the bleeding heart moralizing, gra-a-adually strangles the economy. Because those who have the most have far more than they can spend in hundreds of lifetimes, and as more and more of the spending power of the nation goes into the deep-freeze of capital concentration in the top brackets, the wealthy get more and more amazed that consumer spending is flat ("quirky consumers!") and their stocks are zigzagging down. Even so, the highly paid and apparently intelligent people who keep on and on with this are legion -]
    Bush's stimulus plan and its two big ifs, by Daniel Altman, 2/18/2003 NYT, C1.
    ..."We need to have a tax 'reform' [our quotes - ed.] that straightens out the tax system to remove its bias against capital formation." Robert E. Hall, Stanford University.
    [In other words, against further capital concentration. This blind man is teaching economics to our young people and he hasn't even learned the lesson of the neo-classical revolution of marginalism in his own discipline = the marginal efficiency of capital = the decreasing efficiency of concentrated money. And behold the extent of the ignorance here -]
    An immoral tax, by Michael Novak, 2/18/2003 WSJ, A22.
    We are so habituated to the progressive income tax that most conservatives...fail to focus their ire on the basic immorality of that progressive income tax, and the social damage it has caused.
    [Like its contribution, along with the wage-raising labor shortage, to the centrifugation of income and the wartime and postwar prosperity?]
    For decades, progressive economists have tried to make what one called "the uneasy case for the progressive income tax" - without success....
    [Clearly there are a lot of economists, including "progressives," who don't understand their own marginalist revolution of the 1870s and 80s in anything but its application to prices.]

  3. Going gray - For ailing Japan, longevity begins to take its toll - Rapidly aging population adds to economic mess; Who will do the work? by Sebastian Moffett, WSJ, front page.
    [Who will do the work? The fact that they have to ask this question on the front page of the biggest economy's financial newspaper betrays the cluelessness of today's economists, analysts and investors on technology. THE ROBOTS ARE ALREADY DOING THE WORK, YOU MORONS! That's why Japan has been in the economic toilet for the past 12 years in the first place (and why we're heading in now)! Japan is the single most technologized socio-economy in the world, moreso than France which is also ahead of the big-talk small-action USA, and of course, moreso than the functionally Luddite USA. When you respond to technological efficiency with downsizing instead of makework or better, sharework, OF COURSE you don't have economic growth alias UPsizing. Recall the Ford-Reuther paradox - Ford, "Let's see you unionize these robots!"   Reuther, "Let's see you sell them cars."]

2/08-10/2003  headlines from hell -
  1. 2/08 Agency ends pursuit of Cheney energy panel data, by Adam Clymer, NYT, A32.
    ...Kenneth Walker, the comptroller general, announced that..\..the General Accounting Office [GAO], Congress's investigatory arm...would not appeal a Federal District Court decision handed down on Dec. 6 that found that [the GAO] lacked standing to sue for the names of the staff members and other people present at..\..VP Dick Cheney's energy task force...meetings, as well as the task force's costs.... When [Mr. Walker] brought the suit, Democrats headed 2 Senate committees and asked him to pursue the issue.... Now Republicans are in charge of the Senate and its committees, and they see no reason to question the preparation of an administration policy they support..\..
    [Another unintended consequence of Americans' allowing themselves to be railroaded by sabre-rattling and gulled into voting Republican in November - and of Democrats' chaotic stand against the Iraq war and Republican arrogance, overreach and coverup. Even presidential candidate John Kerry disgraced himself by supporting American aggression in Iraq, though we will vote for ANYTHING the sleazy Dems prop up in 2004 just to get the world safe enough to afford the luxury of voting our conscience again in terms of voting for the most historically Republican (except for their lapse during the Ulysses Grant's administration, the GOP was generally the more intelligent and progressive party over their first 75 years - recall that the Dems had been supporting slavery and opposing the Declaration of Independence!) and Lincolnesque candidate on offer lately, Ralph Nader. It was an honor to be involved in American politics at the same time as he was. (He ran for president in '96, '98 and 2000 at the same time as Phil Hyde was running against Joe {twice) and Ted Kennedy.)]
    Mr. Walker added that private litigants were weeking the same information, and had promised to supply it to [the GAO] if they won....

  2. [the only thing worse than imagining the US gov't has been taken over by a small SWAT team from the top of the oil industry is that we'd been taken over by the nuclear power industry - such silly fears, eh?]
    2/10 Very early warning: Saying 'keep out' to folks in 12,003 - Nuclear-waste dump seeks a timeless danger sign; Grass that says 'stay off', by Peter Waldman, WSJ, front page.
    YUCCA MOUNTAIN, Nev. - After more than 20 years and $4 billion of scientific research, this barren ridgeline may be the most-studied slice of "empty" [our quotes] desert in history.... Scientists can tell you...the dates of every ice age in the area going back 500 millennia.
    It's the next 10,000 years that's giving people fits....
    The world's oldest stone monument - the Step Pyramid in Egypt - is just 4,000 years old.
    [Wrong, it's more like 4,700, the smaller mastabas around it are older and neither are nearly as old as the cave paintings in France.]
    The oldest known writings - in Sanskrit - date back 5,000 to 7,000 years..\..
    [Wrong again. They're in Sumerian and date back roughly 5,200 years. Yet -]
    Last summer, Congress approved Yucca Mountain as America's first permanent repository for high-level radioactive waste. But before the nation's spent nuclear fuel can be hauled for burial under the 5,000-foot ridge, regulators have ordered the US Dept. of Energy to design a system of markers and monuments meant to ward off intruders from the site through the year 12,000....

  3. 2/08 Performing a free trade juggling act, offstage - An ambitious strategist handles an agenda of thorny issues, by Elizabeth Becker & Edmund Andrews, NYT, B1, B3.
    ... The United States blocked a trade deal in December that would have allowed poor countries to import generic versions of patented medicines, drugs that would help Sadick Mussa and his daughter, Adija, in Malawi. [photo caption]..\..
    [This at the same time the U.S. is trying to paint the E.U. as heartlessly starving Africa by rejecting American Frankenfoods (ie: bioengineered, genetically altered edibles), as if the present US administration gives a damn about Africa except insofar as it could hurt the US pharmaceutical industry or profit the US biogenetic industry. And Bush tries to pass off this governmental interference as free-market capitalism???]
    WASHINGTON...- Over the next few months, Robert Zoellick, the US trade representative [to ??], will play the central role in deciding whether people in sub-Saharan Africa have access to inexpensive drugs to fight a host of diseases. He may well be attacked by European consumers if genetically modified food shows up on their supermarket shelves without labels and against their will.
    And he will be the chief referee in the global fight between heavily subsidized American farmers [read "agribusiness"] and their much poorer rivals in Africa and Asia, who say the subsidies are ruining their livelihoods....

2/07/2003  headlines from hell - first a trio of qikis & then kapow, a wrenching revelation re Greenspan -
  1. [Bush & ilk diss the rest of the world again, #1 -]
    U.S. seeks 54 exemptions on pesticide ban, by Christopher Marquis, NYT, A19.
    WASHINGTON...- The Bush administration is requesting exemptions for 54 companies and trade groups that want to continue using a pesticide [methyl bromide] scheduled to be phased out by 2005 under a treaty to protect the ozone layer [the Montreal Protocol of 1987], officials said [yester]day. All but two [exemptions] have been approved in whole or in part by the Environmental "Protection" Agency [our quotes]. ...The exemption requests, to be submitted this week to the Ozone Secretariat at the UN, drew criticism from environmental groups, which said the environmental agency was undermining the...Protocol, [which] is generally regarded as one of the most effective environmental pacts...with 160 signers.... The U.S. is the largest consumer of methyl bromide, accounting for 25% of its global consumption. It is produced here by the Albemarle Corp. of Richmond VA as well as aby companies in Israel and China..\.. David Doniger, policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council...said, "[Methyl bromide has] the only user community that has continued to fight...the rules every step of the way."...

  2. [Bush & ilk diss the rest of the world again, #2 -]
    World watch -...The Americas -...Briefly, WSJ, A9.
    HOUSTON - An unrepentant Texas said it would ignore a World Court order demanding it stay the executions of two Mexicans, a decision likely to create more friction between the U.S. and its allies over capital punishment.

  3. [and what are all Bush's "pro-business" warwhoops and world-dissings actually doing for business?]
    Blue chips drop to lowest level since October, by E.S. Browning, WSJ, C1.
    [and]
    U.S. productivity falters, ending streak of gains - Decline is first since slump of 2001..., by Greg Ip, WSJ, A2.
    [followup]
    'Manufacturers' of nothing, pointer summary (to A2), 2/10/2003 WSJ, front page.
    The percentage of manufacturing-sector jobs that actually make something has shrunk. While productivity is up, the loss of such jobs might hurt the economy more than you'd expect.
    [And the target article bears the ominous headline -]
    The outlook - Manufacturers find themselves increasingly in the service sector, by Clare Ansberry, WSJ, A2.

  4. [ohoh, the 'genius' that throws the darts to set our interest rates is coming under fire in the Times -]
    Is the maestro a hack? - Greenspan's last chance for redemption, op ed by Paul Krugman, NYT, A29.
    [and Krugman makes a surprisingly good case against him -]
    It's probably wishful thinking, but some people hope that the old Alan Greenspan - the man we used to respect - will make a return appearance next week. ...Now the fiscal deterioration has reached catastrophic proportions. That's a deterioration of $570 billion, just for next year - matched by a comparable deterioration in each following year. You know, $570B here and $570B there, and pretty soon you're talking real money.
    Not my fault, says Mr. Bush. "A recession and a war we did not choose have led to a return of deficits," he declared. Really?
    ["Did not choose"??? And -]
    Will the recession and war cost $570 billion per year, every year? Besides, Mr. Bush knew all about the recession and Osama bin Laden (remember him? [oh yeah, thiiink so]) a year ago, when [Bush's] projections showed a return to surpluses by 2005. Now they show deficits forever - even though they don't include the costs of an Iraq war.
    Anyway, isn't a leader supposed to solve problems, not look for excuses? [Remember "not my fault" above. Check this later squib in the Wall Street Journal -]
    Domestic dysfunction, pointer summary (to A4), 2/10/2003 WSJ, front page.
    So, is Bush's domestic agenda going anywhere? Officials come and go, details are hard to come by and the pResident has his mind[?] on Iraq. All this jeopardizes provocative plans for heath care and the economy.
    [Back to Krugman -]
    But Mr. Bush proposes to make the problem worse. Contrary to all previous practice, he wants to cut taxes even further in the face of "wartime" deficits.
    Although financial reporters have started to realize that Mr. Bush is out of control - - the sheer banana-republic irresponsibility of his plans hasn't been widely appreciated.
    [Note the scary comment in a letter to the editor by Davidson Gigliotti of New York on the previous page (A28), "The big lesson of the 20th century was this: poverty, humiliation, suffering and death are the penalties that await citizens who lose control of their governments."]
    That $674B taxcut you've heard about literally isn't the half of it. Even according to its own lowball estimates, the administration wants $1.5 trillion in taxcuts over the next decade - more than it pushed through in 2001. Another $575 billion or so will be needed to fix the alternative minimum tax [AMT] - something officials have said they'll do, but haven't put in the budget.
    [So, no Iraq war in the budget and no AMT fix in the budget yet either. But here's the real shaker -]
    The administration has used gimmicks to postpone most of the cost of these taxcuts until after 2008 - and whaddaya know, the Office of Management & Budget has suddenly stopped talking about 10-year projections and now officially looks only 5 years ahead.
    [Oh gaaawd. Mummy always told us not to worry - there were "smart people in control at the top." But then, she tried to sell us Santa Claus too.]
    But there are long-term projections tucked away in the back of the budget; they're over-optimistic, but even so they suggest a fiscal disaster once the baby boomers start collecting benefits from Social Security and Medicare. ("We will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, other presidents, other generations," declared Mr. Bush in the State of the Union. And with a straight face too.)
    So where does Mr. Greenspan come in? Next week he will testify before the Senate Banking Committee. Will he, at long last, acknowledge the administration's fecklessness?
    Mr. Greenspan must know that many people, whatever they say in public, now regard him as a partisan hack. That very much includes Republicans, who assume that he will support anything Mr. Bush proposes.... He has certainly run out of excuses. If Mr. Greenspan nonetheless finds ways to rationalize Mr. Bush's irresponsibility, or if he takes refuge in Delphic utterances that could mean anything or nothing, history will remember him as a man who urged hard choices on others, but refused to make hard choices himself..\.. What he does next week will determine whether that perception [that he will support anything Mr. Bush proposes] sticks.... This may be Alan Greenspan's last chance to save his reputation - and the country's solvency.
    [Damn, and we thought Greenspie was simply 'genius' cuz he got out of the market back in the early 90s like we did. But here he is, portrayed with bigtime clay booties. How could anyone pay a man enough to ream himself like this? Tune in next week for the next exciting instalment. Meanwhile, WELL DONE, Krugman!]
    [Followup - Greenspan did the flip and saved his reputation -]
    Greenspan throws cold water on Bush arguments for tax cut - Budget deficits do matter, Fed chairman says, by Edmund Andrews, 2/12/2003 NYT, front page.
    [and the inside headlines on the continuation -]
    Greenspan rebuts Bush's plan for new tax cuts - A Democrat calls the Fed chief's comments the 'kiss of death' for the Bush tax proposal.
    [But blanding out the impact a bit, we have the Wall Street Journal -]
    Greenspan gave scant support, pointer digest (to A2), 2/12/2003 WSJ, front page.
    ...to Bush's proposed tax cuts and called for a return of budget rules that would require offsetting any tax reductions with spending cuts or tax increases elsewhere. The Fed chief told Congress that new economic stimulus isn't needed yet [huh? - what planet...], saying data suggest the economy improved in January. [yeah sure]
    [and the indicated article -]
    Greenspan is tepid on Bush package - Fed chief advises attention be paid to budget deficit, calls stimulus premature, by Greg Ip, 2/12/2003 WSJ, A2.
    [Oops, more followup. Greenspan's getting Dubya disease = multiple flipitis -]
    Greenspan muted his criticism, pointer summary (to A2), 2/13/2003 WSJ, front page.
    ...of Bush's tax-cut plan and backed eliminating levies on dividends....
    [and the indicated article -]
    Greenspan refines [i.e., reverses] view of Bush's tax-cut plan - Fed chief praises abolishing dividend tax, but warns of deficit over long term, by Greg Ip & Jeanne Cummings, WSJ, A2.
    [So Greenspa's reputation isn't saved. The "maestro" is a political hack. What a putz!]

2/06/2003  headlines from hell -
  1. Government soon to hit debt limit - Bush will be forced to ask Congress to boost ceiling..., by Greg Ip, WSJ, C13.
    [or the Times' version -]
    Warning on hitting debt ceiling of $6.4 trillion around Feb. 20, by Carl Hulse, NYT, A27.
    [and what would that come to in yearly interest??? Here's the charming neigboring story -]
    Increase for Budget Office is double the overall [4%] goal - An 8% rise in spending amid a general 4% government cap, by Philip Shenon, NYT, A27.
    [And yet the head of the Budget Office has the gall to squawk about other agencies busting the 4% cap!]
    WASHINGTON...- In releasing the Bush administration's 2004 budget this week, the White House budget director, Mitchell Daniels Jr., was adamant that the government needed to cap any growth in federal spending next year at 4%.
    ["Do as I say and not as I do."]
    Why 4 percent [in the first place]?
    "That is what the average American family is expected to see in their paycheck's growth," Mr. Daniels said, explaining that pResident Bush wanted to "match government's growth to the growth of American family income."...
    [Does anyone know any families besides Bush, Cheney, Condie & Rummy, Bill Gates, George Soros and Ted Turner who are getting anywhere near 4% 'growth in their paycheck' in this 'recovery'?]

  2. Taking steps toward goal of no tax for investors, by Edmund Andrews, NYT, C1.
    Piece by piece, pResident Bush's new tax proposals would go a long way toward achieving a goal cherished by many of his top advisers: eliminating taxes on investment income....
    [Hey, why stop there?! Why not have a flat tax on income that only goes up to the $63,000 level like Social Security tax? Then the wealthy would have virtually no taxes at all! How to make up the difference? Have a reverse-graduated income tax. Soak the poor! We're doing it with sales and excise taxes anyway.]
    White House officials insist that their proposals are not part of a comprehensive plan to push through a fundamental change in the tax system.
    [And if you believe that, "we've got a bridge to sell you."]
    The goal, they say, is simply to encourage savings and eliminate obstacles to investment.
    [As if our problem is insufficient savings and investment rather than insufficient markets and consumer spending. Here's the WSJ's articulation -]
    Bush's tax revamp in four easy pieces, by David Wessel, WSJ, A2.
    ...Bush is - albeit ineptly - proposing the most significant revamping of the U.S. tax code in nearly 20 years.
    [And people believe this guy is a "conservative"???]
    He wants to do much more than cut taxes. He wants to move toward taxing Americans on what they spend, not what they earn [or on income they don't earn! - ed.], and toward substantially lighter taxes on the owners of capital....
    [Sounds like a formula for deep, deeep recession. As Milton Friedman says, you get more of what you subsidize and less of what you tax. This throws the burden of taxation off concentrated money and onto centrifuged money. And off unearned money and onto earned money. That'll mean even more tightly concentrated money in our 'black hole' economy, and even weaker markets than the weak markets investors are already complaining about. It will also mean fewer and fewer earners and more and more parasites, at both ends of the income continuum.]
    Here's the plan in 4 easy pieces. ["Easy" pieces? Easy as trying to squeeze blood out of a stone while letting the swollen ticks gorge till they explode? Why not just give all the money in America to Bill Gates and be done with it? This is going to be a WONDERFUL lesson for the world. This will finish off all the nonsense about "concentrated money works just as hard as spread-around money" once and for all. Of course, it will be enormously painful for most Americans, who aren't rich, but the rest of the world will be slapping their knees and rolling in the aisles. This will reduce the American economy to the level of India's faster than anything. Then the only richer nations than us will be Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy, China, Brazil, Canada, Spain and Mexico. "Astrophysical" economics focused on the balancing of the centrifugal and centripetal forces on $$$ will reign triumphant.]
    [followup]
    Bush floats shift to consumption tax, by Greg Ip, 2/10/2003 WSJ, A3.
    [Ya know, some guys have a genius for making the most disastrous moves at the most disastrous times. Then there's -]
    About 10 major retailers, pointer summary (to B5), 2/10/2003 WSJ, front page.
    ...have voluntarily expanded the number of states in which they collect sales tax from Web customers.
    [Bang business, bang sales, and you'll get less of it and fewer of them. Then you'll get fewer rich people too, cuz they'll have less and less to invest in that is sustained by the markets you have bashed.]

  3. [and for all you big Bush fans, here's another endearing little touch -]
    Ashcroft pushes executions in more cases in New York, by Weiser & Glaberson, NYT, front page.
    [which suddenly mushrooms, off the front page, to -]
    Ashcroft orders U.S. attorneys to seek death in more cases - An aggressive change affecting 28 suspects nationwide, continued from A1, NYT, C13.
    [Ahh, the gentle troglodites of the Bush junta strike again. These people must be very bored to try to shift America into reverse on so many fronts at once.]
    [Followup -]
    John Ashcroft's death-penalty edicts, editorial, 2/07/2003 NYT, A28.
    Atty Gen. John Ashcan [oops] Ashcroft has directed federal prosecutors in New York and Connecticut to seek the death penalty in a dozen cases in which they had recommended lesser sentences. Mr. Ashcroft's orders are a triumph of ideology over good prosecutorial practice. The Bush administration should reconsider them....
    [or "C'mon, baby, let the Mean Spirit flow!"]

  4. [meanwhile, over in Deutschland -]
    Germany's 11% jobless rate is 5-year high, Dow Jones via WSJ, A14.
    [And these are the people whose worksharing programs Japan sent its Labor Minister over to study on 1/15/2002 #2??? If the Germans had any real worksharing programs - with flexible adjustment of the workweek against comprehensive unemployment plus overtime-to-training&hiring conversion - their jobless rate would be zero percent.]

2/04/2003  headlines from hell -
  1. [aside from the influx of illegal immigrants (mentioned yesterday, below, #2) puncturing the possibility of engineering a wartime boom, the Wall Street Journal of all papers has thought up a number of other reasons why it won't work this time -]
    War spending wouldn't outweigh the harmful effects on economy - War no longer lifts economy, by Bob Davis & Greg Jaffe, WSJ, front page.
    [Note that this whole article assumes that the major point of Bush's oil junta in pushpushpushing for war with Iraq is economic stimulation rather than just stealing Iraq's oil - and so this article is based on a big assumption from the gitgo.]
    ...The idea that war is good for Western economies - ..\..Military spending is one of the few "bright" spots in a weak US economy [our quotes - ed.], but an Iraq war wouldn't provide the stimulative jolt that military conflicts once did.
    [Note that the underlying metaphor here is wrongly interpreted. The metaphor is the coronary defibrillator, which everyone thinks "provides a stimulative jolt" to a stopped heart that starts it again. Actually, the defibrillator delivers a thoroughly stopping jolt to the stopped heart, and counter-intuitively, the heart electrical rhythm kicks in again. That's why the machine is called a de-fibrillator instead of a fibrillator. The way war operates is similar. War interrupts the commonplace peacetime strategy of the wealthy rulers of the economy in terms of creating a market-rewarding shortage of their skills and a market-punishing surplus of everyone else's, and of unskilled labor in general, thus enabling themselves to accumulate a HUGE disproportion of spending power which, despite their claims, does not "work as hard" as the constantly spent and respent money spread around throughout the lower and lower middle income brackets and eventually accumulates so astronomically and tightly that it suctions the markets away from its own investments - ergo recession or worse. (Note the clever substitution of the phrase "income brackets" for the taboo word "classes" and for God's sake, USE this substitution when you are repeating this argument! Unless we keep up in the verbal arms race in the Cold War with the disinformation specialists in the Bush junta - Gore Vidal's word on The Connection the other night - with better re-information technology, we and America are toast.) The smart solution is Timesizing. The dumb 'solution' is war - if it's big enough and lasts long enough. So the question is, could this one little country of Iraq provide a big enough, long-lasting enough killing field - for killing low&middle bracket Americans - to put the manhours of the non-plutocrats into a perceived shortage in the American job markets, thus centrifuging by pervasive market forces all the inefficiently super-concentrated spending power of our current "black hole" economy? And now that our war strategies are so high-tech and depopulated, the answer is indeed probably NO.]
    ...The Pentagon is now rushing to replenish stocks of smart bombs and other weapons used extensively during the short war in Afghanistan. [And short wars don't do it for the economy either - ed.] It recently instructed Boeing to triple production of satellite-guidance systems that are bolted onto smart munitions, which will produce aboaut $5B in revenue for the company through the end of the decade. The profit margin for Boeing, believed to be near the top of the Pentagon's 15% cap [phew!] for US contractors, is far better than the company makes on its commercial aircraft orders [rip off them dumb taxpayers!] The Afghan war also consumeda number of Predator unmanned surveillance planes, which are prone to crash in cold weather. The Pentagon dubs the planes "high demand/low density" assets, Defense Secy Donald Rumsfeld says is military-speak for "we didn't buy enough." This year, the Pentagon is more than doubling its spending, to $1.4B, on unmanned planes such as Predators made by General Atomics Aeronautical Inc., and another unmanned spy plane, the Global Hawk, made by Northrop Grumman Corp..\..
    ["Unmanned" doesn't cut it. It's population kill-off, specifically workforce kill-off that is the quintessential component of a wartime boom, not just money flows between concentrated-money areas, i.e. military spending and "investment." War has got to create a perceived labor shortage or it doesn't succeed in creating the "wartime boom." Recall that, at the moment, Bush-junta plans include only reservists and volunteers, an insignificant percentage of the current American population of 280m? while in both World Wars I and II (WW1&2), the draft culled significant percentages of the then-American populations, thereby harnessing market forces to get employers bidding against one another for help, thereby raising wages and less tangible benefits and centrifuging spending power back out to the people who actually immediately spent it and spent it again and again. The resulting "war booms" were comparable to the "plague booms" experienced throughout Europe during and after plague years throughout the last millennium, for example, during and after the Black Death of 1348 when 25-33% of the entire population of Europe was killed off. (Note that America's short 2-year "enjoyment" of the "tonic" effects of WW1 - which for everyone else was a 4-year war - were boosted by the virulent global flu epidemic - see mortality notes in 11/29-12/01/2003 #6.) We would expect to find the same "tonic" effects on the economy after the Civil War, but we have not so far come across any treatment of that war which dwells on the positive economic effects. Perhaps even Americans have some core of shame.]
    ...Since pResident Bush took office, defense spending has been climbing and the administration is asking for another 4.2% increase to $380B in the year ending 9/30/2004, excluding Iraq costs. After any hostilities begin, the Pentagon is expected to ask for as much as $80B more to cover war costs and early rebuilding..\..
    Increased defense spending - But - [makework alert (see our realms of makework #11) -]
    ...However any war turns out, the Bush administration plans to continue its defense build-up, taking advantage of a political environment much more friendly to defense spending than in the years following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
    [Boy, what a lost opportunity that was to "pound our swords into plowshares"!]
    By 2009, the White House estimates [they're planning on a 2nd term? oh God, how many days left in this one till we can get rid of them?!], military spending will grow to $484 billion. Much of the money goes for hiring new people. Some of the money spent on exotic weaponry may eventually help commercial industry, thus multiplying its economic effect....
    [Maaakework, and not particularly efficient or reliable makework at that. The alternative for all this strained and destructive makework nonsense, particularly military makework which busies millions of pawns for 40+ hrs/wk on one side and slaughters them on the other, is flexible adjustment of the workweek vs. unemployment, alias Timesizing.]

  2. [and speaking about misguided war -]
    Misguided marijuana war, editorial, NYT, A34.
    Administration officials annoyed at California's support of the medical use of marijuana have found someone on whom to vent their frustration. Last week, at the urging of federal prosecutors, a judge convicted Ed Rosenthal of charges that carry a 5-year minimum sentence. Mr. Rosenthal is a medical-marijuana advocate who grows the drug for use by the seriously ill. His harsh punishment shows that the misguided federal war on medical marijuana has now escalated out of control.
    Mr. Rosenthal, who raised marijuana in an Oakland warehouse, was acting within states and local law. California's Proposition 215, which voters approved in a 1996 referendum, permits marijuana use by seriously ill people. In addition, Oakland has its own medical marijuana law, and Mr. Rosenthal was acting as an "officer of the city." Nevertheless, the judge refused to allow the defense to mention any of this at his trial, since it is not a valid defense against federal drug charges....
    [The Bush oil junta infuriates yet another constituency with their religious-right puritanism. As colleague Kate points out, aren't these the same people who pay such lip service to states' rights?!?]
    [Followup tomorrow -]
    Jurors apologize for verdict, pointer summary (to A13), 2/05/2003 NYT, front page.
    Five jurors who convicted a medical-marijuana advocate last week have now issued a public apology and demanded that the judge grant him a new trial.
    [Back to today. Stay tuned for more on Bush administration thuggery-skulduggery or just plain "overreach," as this gem from the front page of today's Wall Street Journal -]
    What are we going to stop funding? pointer summary (to A4), WSJ, front page.
    Bush's budget proposes many increases, and that doesn't include a war in Iraq. But while it costs money to run the world [HUH?! our 2-bit brain-dead oil cartel thinks they're gonna "run the world" with our taxmoney?!], the U.S. looks to be on the eve of an overreach.
    [It takes a lot to wake up the Planet Big-Biz bozos of the Wall Street Journal, but - here's a stirring. They're just beginning to realize that Bush is not about small government and freedom, but Big Government for a small short-sighted group at the top of one industry, oil, and any curtailment of freedom it takes to make that Big Gov't stick. How many days before Nov/2004 when we can oust Bush and his Claque of Disaster? There's little chance of the wimpy money-drowned Dems calling for impeachment the way the GOP did all through the Clinton administration for much less harmful behavior.]
2/01-03/2003  headlines from hell -
  1. [once again, we witness, unfolding before our eyes, the wasteful and deadly "war solution" to economic woes -]
    2/02   Duty calls reservists, employers - Military mobilization means firms mandated to protect rights of workers asked to serve, by David Bushnell, Boston Globe, G1.
    [It's working - the war centrifuge. War centrifuges spending power from employers and on up into the top brackets where it is packed in unspendable concentrations, because employers and on up dismantle the centrifuges one by one during peace time - starting, e.g., with the dilution of the graduated income tax under the Democrats in 1963, proceeding via the restructuring of interest on mortgages and the dressing up of the unemployment rate, and pursued recently by the repeal of the power limitations of the Glass-Steagall Banking Act and the attempts by the banks to toughen the bankruptcy laws and by squealing "hurt-feelings" rich boys that they're getting "double taxed" on corporate dividends. Only war gags their loud whining and extracts the inefficiently consolidated spending power they've amassed in such stunning over-redundance -]
    Cummings Properties in Woburn extends itself for several employee reservists. Company chief William Cummings [shown beaming in photo] with employees Eric Anderson, and Mike Dumelle, who have served as marine sergeants, and Rob Nigro, a major in the Army Reserves. [photo caption]
    [Of course, the real centrifuge mechanism is the resulting perceived "labor shortage," which is really just a labor-employment balance after all, which forces employers to bid against one another for employees and raise wages and benefits, transferring the spending power out to the vast majority who actually spend it. The rich boys need the involvement of death to let go and share, even to the extent required to sustain their own investments in a period where they've manipulated such an overwhelming power to the centripetal forces on the nation's income that they are effectively suctioning the markets away from their own investments.]
    As the Pentagon fine-tunes its mobilization plans for a possible war with Iraq, employers have their own marching orders for complying with a federal law governing the rights of employees when they are called up for active duty. Under the Uniform Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act, or USERRA, employers are required, among other things, to grant employees who are reservists, cumulative active duty leave of up to 5 years. Once an individual has been deactivated, he or she must be given the same or a similar job and at the same pay rate [as] prior to military service. Many companies in Massachusetts and elsewhere appear to be complying with the 1994 law, especially large national companies, according to US Labor Dept. officials and others. But the law's brunt is being felt, they note, by small businesses [whose] operations are often hit harder when a key employee goes on active duty....
    [Where now are all the "conservatives" screaming against Big Government's intervention into the free market to "force" employers to do things they don't want to do? The pathetic primitiveness of our so-called "modern" and "advanced" state of humanity is proclaimed by the fact that - it still takes a WAR to rebalance the economy and restore human SHARING back to levels that can rebuild and sustain prosperity.]
    [Followup -]
    Reporting for duty - Massive call-up of reserves disrupts careers, workplaces; 'Prove yourself all over again', by Dunham & Jaffe & Maher, 2/18/2003 WSJ, B1.

  2. [meanwhile, going in the other direction and tending to swamp our job market and keep wages down from another area despite war's "tonic" depletion -]
    2/01   Rapid increase in illegal immigrants, AP via NYT, A15.
    The number of immigrants living illegally in the United States jumped by one million [14%] in less than 4 years, the Immigration & Naturalization Service [INS] reported. In the latest count, based on statistics from the 2000 census and the INS, roughly 7 million immigrants were living illegally in the U.S. as of Jan/2000. Mexicans made up 69%, or 4.8m of [those], compared with 58% in 1990....
    [The Timesizing position on immigration is that, whatever the immigrant history and mythology of your nation, however much you may value immigrants, you can always get too much of a good thing (including money). All parameters in natural systems have upper and lower limits of tolerance, and we need them in the immigration area as well. These limits are ideally set by direct public referendum, as mentioned in the Timesizing Program's Phase 5, "Plugging the Leaks." And however you arrive at your limits, you either enforce them or they're meaningless, including limits on immigration. Ergo, there should be zero illegal immigrants.]

For earlier collapse stories, click on the desired date -

  • Jan. 16-31/2002.
  • Jan. 1-15/2002.
  • Dec/2002.
  • Nov/2002.
  • Oct. 16-31/2002.
  • Oct. 1-15/2002.
  • Sept. 10-30/2002.
  • Sept. 1-9/2002.
  • August/2002.
  • July 16-31/2002.
  • July 1-15/2002 + Jun 30.
  • June 16-29/2002.
  • June 1-15/2002.
  • May/2002.
  • April/2002.
  • Mar.12-31/2002.
  • Mar.1-11/2002.
  • Feb.16-28/2002.
  • Feb.1-15/2002.
  • Jan/2002.
  • Dec/2001.
  • Nov.16-30/2001.
  • Nov.1-15/2001.
  • Oct/2001.
  • Sep.15-30/2001.
  • Sep.1-15/2001.
  • Aug/2001.
  • July/2001.
  • June/2001.
  • Apr-May/2001.
  • Mar/2001.
  • Feb/2001.
  • Jan/2001.
  • Dec.21-31/2000.
  • Dec.11-20/2000.
  • Dec.1-10/2000.
        Earlier Y2000 months accessible via links at bottom of Dec.1-10/2000 page.
  • Dec.16-31/99.
  • Dec.1-15/99.
        Earlier 1999 months accessible via links at bottom of Dec.1-15/99 page.
  • Dec/98.
        Earlier months accessible via links at bottom of Dec/98 page.


    Questions? Comments? email timesizing@aol.com).

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