DoomwatchTM vs. Timesizing®
Collapse trends - January 10-31, 2004
[Commentary] ©2004 Philip Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA (617) 623-8080 - HOMEPAGE
1/27/2004 12 headlines from hell in the Wall St. Journal (j) &/or NY Times (t) - missing earlier and later dates are handled entirely on current homepage or archive pages -
1/24-26/2004 14 headlines from hell in the Wall St. Journal (j) &/or NY Times (t) - missing earlier and later dates are handled entirely on current homepage or archive pages -
- Fiscal 2004 deficit estimate is basically unchanged at $477 billion, CBO said (j.A1)
- Long-term deficit expected to widen (j.A2)
- Hey, big gov't spender - by taking next generations' money without their consent, Bush is stealing (j.A15)
- Red ink realities - federal tax receipts now at lowest level since 1950 & income & corporate taxes combined take smallest share of national income since 1945 (t.A27)
- Rehnquist rebuffed calls for him to advise Scalia to recuse himself from energy-panel case over social ties to Cheney (j.A1)
- How driving prices lower can violate antitrust statutes - 'monopsony' suits mount as firms accused of squeezing suppliers (j.A1) - WSJ now seeing value of antitrust?!
- Talking politics, Maureen Dowd says Dean & wife far from mainstream cuz disconnected from each other's careers (t.A26) - Dowd morphing into Phyllis Schlafli?
- Leader of polygynous sect faces rebellion from within (t.A15) - barbarous hogging of women goes unprosecuted by Utah or Ariz.
- Bill Gates to receive honorary knighthood (j.B5) - barbarous hogging of money gets rewarded by UK (def'n of money hogging? failure to reinvest at source)
- Housing prices continue to rise - But a new study suggests bubble mentality has developed in some of the hotter markets (j.D1)
Housing cost makes many 'have nots,' study says - Number of households that spent more than 30% of income on housing: 11,000 in 1990; 600,000 in 2000, 1/25/2004 Boston Globe, J1
- Italy's small investors fume - Money heads for mattresses as losses on securities mount - Italy's major banks stand to lose E100m's in loans to Parmalat, but loss of trust in bankers could hurt more (j.A13)
- Bird flu spreads to 8th Asian nation, Pakistan - already in China, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand (j.A12)
- [another downside of globalization hustle -]
Bird flu virus spreads to Thailand with chicken exports (1/24 t.A1, 1/26 j.A13)
- Bad loans at South Korean banks jump 23% due partly to creditcard defaults (1/26 j.A13) - need spread work & pay with 40-hr workweek now, not July
- Brazil's moment - populist prez Lula displaces US-leaning Fox as LatAm leader (1/24 t.A28)
- U.S., Costa Rica reach free trade area accord (1/26 j.A13) - spider CEOs of U.S., having vacuumed Mexican maquiladoras to Asia, enmesh another temporarily juicy fly
- Toyota beats Ford as 2d biggest carmaker (1/16 j.B2)
- Adieu N.H. - early NH primary loses its basic purpose cuz down-home tradition drowned out by mass media (1/24 t.A28)
- 'Kennedy' comeback, old populism in new bottles with surge by Kerry & Edwards - 'sure we voted for the war, but who knew?' (1/26 t.A27) - anyone with half a brain knows you don't do pre-emptive unilateral war
- Poverty & charity endure in NYC, co-dependent, complementary pathologies without timesizing (1/24 t.A28)
- [mounting list of exceptions US-style 'free trade' goods = agricultural, lumber, minerals, steel, textiles, tobacco, & now -]
low-cost medicines from Canada spun as 'unsafe' (1/24 t.C1,C4)
- 'Ahead of the tape,' the return to rampant speculation as in nanotech make you mourn how little people learned from the dot-com bubble (1/26 j.C1) - why? so much income concentration, top brackets have no alternative
- More and more autism cases (1/26 t.A1) - yeah, especially in the White House
- Bush targets cutting deficit to $200B in 5 yrs - sure, sure (1/24 t.B1,A9)
- Bush lost in space, commander in chief of War on Terror that has no limits & War in Iraq that has no exit (1/25 bg.H11)
- [latest list of autistic Bush outrages from Boston Globe -]
1/24 Yes, marriage is under attack, letter to editor by Laurie Nordman of Westborough MA, BG, A12.
As pResident Bush sets out to defend marriage, might I suggest that he focus on alleviating the underlying stresses that contribute to America's current divorce rate of 40-50%.
Marriage is [indeed] under attack, but not by gay unions, as the pResident suggests. It's under attack from the burden of worries married couples face, worries completely unrelated to whether gay couples get the same [legal protections] we heteros do.
With half of all marriages ending in divorce, there's no question that marriage needs defending. But gay unions aren't the problem; the problem is the stress and worry inflicted by the pResident's failed or missing policies. pResident Bush can best defend marriage by spending more time trying to fix our economic, education, and health problems, and less time worrying about people's sexual preferences. America will be better and stronger for it.
- Right now, most Americans worry about keeping or finding a job.
- We worry about the lack of funding for our children's schools.
- We worry about how we'll pay for care if we get sick.
- We worry that we won't be able to retire because there's no guarantee Social Security will be there for us.
- We worry that the federal government is expanding an already unmanageable deficit by spending more and collecting less.
1/25 Bush's selective omissions, letter to editor by Rob Stegman of Needham MA, Boston Globe, H10.
In the otherwise excellent article by Susan Milligan and Bryan Bender, "Bush used selective data in his address, critics say" (1/22 BG, A3), the reporters missed a few key omissions in the State of the Union address. For example, in his speech pResident Bush proposed increases in job training and education, support for community colleges and larger Pell grants for college students. What he didn't mention was that in previous budgets he had cut -
As always with this pResident, it is more revealing...what he does than...what he says.
- $700m from job training and education,
- $230m from community college education,
- and $270m from the Pell grant program.
[And here's the list from the previous article -]
Bush used selective data in his address, critics say - Incomplete picture is alleged by some on Iraq and jobs, by Milligan & Bender, 1/22/2004 Boston Globe, A3.
[Phew, when not even the Boston Globe will come out and say, "Bush lied", America is roadkill. Plus they use the word "president" as often as they can. We don't.]
DC - ...Bush's State of the Union speech painted a rosy picture of his administration's foreign and domestic accomplishments. But [his] selective use of information - and, critics say, some exaggerations - obscured the troubles plaguing the economy at home and democracy-building efforts overseas.
[How about democracy rebuilding efforts at home?]
- Bush accurately reported [increasingly misleading GDP] growth in the economy and an [incomplete] increase in productivity [which undercounted overwork], but he failed to mention that some 2.5m jobs have been lost since he took office
- and that job growth in December was flat.
- And while [he] noted the US military's capture of [irrelevant] Saddam Hussein and the writing of a new constitution in Afghanistan [where at least half the population, mainly women, can't read], he left out that investigators have not found weapons of mass destruction, which was the stated justification for invading Iraq....
- Bush's carefully crafted language \about\ "dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activitites"...did not include the pointed accusations he made last year, when he reportd that British intelligence had obtained evidence that Hussein was seeking nuclear material from Niger.
- Nor did he suggest direct ties between Iraq and the 9/11 terrorist organization Al Qaeda, as he did in the 2003 State of the Union address....
- On Tuesday night, [he] boasted that "this economy is strong, and growing stronger," noting that "the pace of economic growth in the third quarter was the fastest in nearly 20 years," and that "jobs are on the rise." Those statements are true.
[No, they're not. The economy is in depression and CEOs are merging and downsizing the workforce and the consumer base down to Third World levels, with cumulating hyper-income in the top brackets and cumulating deactivated consumers in unemployment, welfare, disability, homelessness, prisons, and suicide, and also in forced early retirement, forced postponed retirement, forced interrupted retirement, forced part-time, and forced self-"employment". The GDP rise that supposedly measures economic growth is better than the old GNP which gave points for offshore production of American firms, but it still gives pluses for vast negatives like prison building and the burgeoning costs of treating stress-related illnesses.]
[He] made only a passing reference to the burgeoning budget deficit, and he said he could cut it half over the next 5 years. But [his] own domestic agenda - including making the 2001 and 2003 taxcuts permanent - would make it difficult [oh c'mon, impossible] to slash the deficit, analysts say [including] Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense....
- Bush praised his No Child Left Behind law, and pledged to increase funding for Pell Grants to help students pay for college. But he neglected to say his budget did not include full funding for the No Child Left Behind initiative...and that his previous budgets have limited eligibility for Pell Grants....
- He touted the new Medicare law, saying seniors will be able to save 10-25% on prescription drugs with a discount card to be issued later this year. But he failed to note that the card does not guarantee any discount, and that it may not cover all drugs.
- On foreign policy, Bush once again praised the international coalition he had marshaled, calling by name 18 countries that have sent troops to Iraq, and alluding to 17 others.... Yet the total of 35 force-contributing countries can be deceiving. While the U.S. has roughly 130,000 troops in Iraq, there are [only] about 25,000 troops from [all 35] other countries [25000/130000+25000= only 16%]. The UK has contributed roughly 11,000 troops, making them easily the 2nd-largest source of military forces.
[So the top two have contributed 130000+11000= 141,000 troops to the 130000+25000= 155,000 total, or 91%, meaning that the other 34 "force-contributing" countries together contributed only 9%.]
While a few other countries - Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, and Ukraine, for example - have made contributions that number more than 1,000 troops, most have made only token contributions, according to a compilation by GlobalSecurity.org, a defense-oriented thinktank in Virginia....
[making this is a token "coalition."]
A spokesman for US Central Command, which oversees Iraq operations, said that the threshold to be considered a force provider is having contributed at least one unit.
[What's a "unit"?]
"Even with the Brits, you've only got maybe four battalions that can be considered combat battalions and the rest are engineers and logistics," said Patrick Garrett, a defense analyst with GlobalSecurity.org. "You see that across the board."
1/23/2004 bonus headline from hell -
1/17-19/2004 2 headlines from hell in the Wall St. Journal & NY Times -
- Ashcroft urges nations to fight corruption, Boston Globe, A21.
[The autistic Bush regime wouldn't abide by the World Court, but -]
John D. Ashcroft signed anti-corruption treaty [at Davos]. [photo caption]
[They're not hypocrites. They're just autistic. It gets worse -]
[- so this 'news' is a month old -]
Ashcroft signed a landmark UN anticorruption treaty requiring politicians to disclose their campaign finances....
[The Bush regime won't even disclose the attendees at the public energy taskforce meeting in spring, 2001.]
1/16/2004 headlines from hell in the Wall St. Journal & NY Times -
- 1/17 The falling dollar, letter to editor by Bruce Boghosian of Lexington MA, Boston Globe, A10.
Robert Kuttner's column "This business cycle could get vicious" (op ed, Jan.7) did a fine job of debunking the administration's claims of economic recovery.
An additional point he could have made in support of his argument is that the value of the dollar is now at a low not seen in decades. We have been encouraged to celebrate the fact that the [dollar-denominated] Dow...has risen from about 8400 at the beginning of 2003 to recent values in the vicinity of 10,500 - an increase of more than 30%. During that same period, however, the dollar has dropped in value from about o.9524 euros to about 0.7874 euros.
A lightning calculation tells us that as far as Europeans are concerned, the Dow has gone from 8,000 euros to [only] 8,268 euros - an increase of only 3.35%.
[And there would a similar small increase in yen from the Japanese point of view.]
In other words, from Europe's perspective, there has been no US [stock] recovery.
[...let alone general economic recovery considering recent disappointing jobs reports.]
While a low dollar may be temporarily good news for wealthy US industrialists who export, it is quite the opposite to consumers who must purchase imported items. The Bush administration is simply gambling that the American people will not notice that they are the victims of an elaborate shell game until after the Nov. election.
- 1/18 Measuring morals - Researchers ask if Americans are cheating more [yes] and what can be done about it, by Laura Secor (not to be confused with Canada's 1812 war heroine and now, candy store, Laura Secord), Boston Globe, H1.
"In corporate America today," declared former Vermont governor Howard Dean in last Sunday's Iowa debate, "this pResident has turned a blind eye to morality.
[Compare GOP presidents Warren Harding and Calvin "the business of America is business" Coolidge, and Dem prez Bill "guess I'll pardon Mark Rich in return for all this money" Clinton.]
We have lost our moral compass in this country...."
Dean might well have taken a leaf out of a provocative new book by David Callahan. In "The Cheating Culture: Why more Americans are doing wrong to get ahead" (Harcourt), Callahan argues that while conservatives crow about family values and sexual morality, their fiscal policies have created a culture that not only permits but encourages immoral economic behavior.
[and then job desperation and poverty take it from there.]
Thanks to -
Americans more and more frequently take the quick, dishonest route to wealth, writes Callahan, who runs the public-policy thinktank Demos. "It is just too easy in this society for cheaters to float seamlessly upward, seeing few downsides along the way," he maintains. We cheat on -
- the deregulation of [the finance industry],
- the widening gap between rich and poor,
- and the over-emphasis on material values [and state lotteries],
- [and the example of our political and business leaders]
and from there it is a short leap to the sorts of business and investment fraud that swept America in the 1990s and exploded with scandals like Enron and WorldCom....
- our taxes
- and our SATs,
- we lie on our resumes,
- we overcharge our clients and customers,
[and Global Crossing and Tyco and Martha Stewart Inc. and Halliburton and Bechtel et cetera. The easiest way to correct this is with the discipline of the market, but not a market with as skewed a playing field as today. The playing field must first be leveled by rebalancing the supply of labor hours and employment hours. And the easiest way to do that is to make the unemployment rate smoothly and automatically adjust the workweek. Thus, as long as unemployment is too high or rising, the reinvestment threshold that defines the top of the workweek gradually lowers and the additional overtime thus created is designed to target, trigger and fund its own resolution via on-the-job training and hiring.]
1/15/2004 headlines from hell in the Wall St. Journal & NY Times -
- 3 omens -
- [American political world continues its decline -]
Candidates play money game - With wink and nod, loopholes develop in state spending limits - 'The limits don't serve any compelling purpose,' says the FEC commissioner, WSJ, A4.
[So our Federal Election Commissioner, Michael Toner, doesn't even believe in the rules he's supposed to enforce? - let alone one person, ONE vote, that is, ONE political power unit? We're toast.]
- The Agriculture Dept. confirmed it sometimes let slaughterhouses choose which cattle to test for mad-cow disease, pointer (to A3), WSJ, front page.
[So why bother testing? Target -]
Validity of mad-cow tests questioned, by Scott Kilman, WSJ, A3.
[Compare another questioning dba outcry, that had an effect -]
Fertility panel drops monitoring plan - Group retreats on tracking of embryos, babies' health after outcry over privacy, by Antonio Regalado, WSJ, A9.
- Rising stocks, home values are restoring wealth - U.S. households are aided by 'recovery' [our quotes], but could fall victim to sudden declines, by Greg Ip, WSJ, front page & A9.
[So what's so bad about that? First let's wade thru a bit of the usual initial happytalk -]
DC - Recovering stock prices and steadily rising home values have almost restored the wealth of [top income-bracket!] American families to levels last seen when the stock market peaked in 2000, new Federal Reserve data show.... The rebound in stocks that began last March plus continued gains in real estate have reversed the damage done to household wealth and spending when the stock market bubble burst.
[not without hiring - and if they're calling the 2000 stock peak a bubble, why aren't they calling the current stock 'recovery' a bubble too (or Bubble II)?]
...Wealth is heavily concentrated among the richest households. The new Fed data don't include any information on the distribution of wealth, although real-estate wealth is more evenly distributed than stock-market wealth.
[What a pair of admissions - on the front page of the power elite's primary media organ - buried in the 2nd-last paragraph (6th from beginning). Let's go back and pick up some of the distracting non-distribution data from the earlier paragraphs -]
..\..Total household net worth rose to $42.1 trillion at the end of the 3rd quarter from $41.5 trillion at the end of the second, the Federal Reserve reported yesterday.... From the cyclical low in Sept/2002, net worth has jumped $3.5 trillion, or 9%. Of that, 43% has come from the value of increased stock and mutual-fund holdings and 8% has come from increased home equity. The balance consists of bank deposits, pensions [most of most households' stock holdings is sequestered from spending in pensions], insurance and other assets....
Net worth consists of all household assets, such as stocks, mutual funds, pension savings, ownership of small businesses, minus liabilities such as mortgage and credit-card debt. The recession and weak recovery of 2001-2003 were due in part to households reeling in their spending in response to lost stock wealth.
[Yeah sure. Never mind lost jobs. Only 52% of American households own any stock and they get included in this misleading figure - meant to make you think that the majority of Americans or American voters own stock - even if it's a household of lots of people and only one of them owns only 0.01 share in a mutual fund tied up in their 401k so that couldn't spend the stock appreciation anyway.]
Mr. Varvares said the bear market in stocks probably cut household spending growth in half in 2002, to 2.7%.
[Extremely unlikely. The behavior of the stock market is relevant only to the small retail markets in luxury goods. The real factor was the cumulative downsizing in response to waves of work-saving technology crashing on the breakwater of a frozen 1940-era workweek of 40 hours despite a century and a half of workweek reduction, instead of resumed timesizing = sharing and spreading the vanishing market-demanded employment via workweek reduction. So where has the continued spending activity come from? Consumer debt -]
...Indeed, total household debt grew at a 10.1% annual rate in Q3, the Fed said, down slightly from the 11.9% growth in Q2. With mortgage debt growing faster than home values, owners' equity dropped to 54.3% of home values in Q3, a new low, from 54.8%.
[But gee, didn't they lead with the Great News that "Rising stocks, home values are restoring wealth"??? Why is all this masked bad stuff happening? A subtitle on page A5 of today's Journal may give an ittybitty clue - "The borrowing to buy homes or to make purchases [ie: to survive] is central to growth in banking." This is from the inside section of a page 3 article titled "Consumer business aids big banks."]
..\..Low mortgage rates and a growing population have kept housing prices rising in the past few years, and that helped cushion consumer spending from the 46% loss of US stock capitalization - about $9 trillion, according to Fed data - from Mar/2000 to Sept/2000. In recent years, many families have borrowed against their homes' increased value by taking out bigger mortgages or home-equity loans.
[And now we go back to para. 3 to pick up the even more distracting interleaved stock theme, because the Journal is trying, as usual, to spin stockholders whose stock appreciation impacts their spending, more likely a negligible number and amount -]
The turnaround in the stock market has helped the recovery "big time" [doubtful], said Chris Varvares, president of Macroeconomic Advisers LLC, a St. Louis MO forecasting firm [not unbiassed]. Indeed, he said it has probably contributed more to the 'recovery' [our quotes] in the past year than the summertime tax cut [not difficult].... With stock prices up 12% in Q4 and homes continuing to rise in value, albeit at a slowing rate, the total [net worth] probably approached $43 trillion by the end of 2003. That isn't far from the record high of $43.6 trillion reached at the end of 1Q00. The figures aren't adjusted for inflation [or for the fall of the dollar! - see "The falling dollar," 1/17/2004 Boston Globe, A10], and they include the holdings of nonprofit organizations....
1/14/2004 headlines from hell in the Wall St. Journal & NY Times -
- 1 omen -
- Self-employed blamed for 'tax gap' - IRS taxpayer advocate proposes withholding from contractor payments, WSJ, D2.
[thus transferring more of the burden to the middle-income brackets, weakening the consumer base further, and sabotaging on yet another front any hope of sustainable recovery. But at least some of the voters are waking up to the real beneficiaries of the Bush tax cuts -]
Voters warm to 'canceling' some tax cuts - [WSJ/NBC News] Poll shows most Americans would rather pay more to IRS than spend less on programs, WSJ, A4.
[And if the Bush taxcuts were cancelled, it wouldn't be most Americans paying more, it would be those who'd wouldn't even notice it because of their super-high income - except for the fact that they're such whiners, like the "Princess and the Pea. Soak the rich and the economy continues. Soak the poor and the economy collapses. Because the poor spend most of their money and it goes circulating from hand to hand. But the rich are already spending all they care to. They save most of their money, and invest when they think they see good investments. But as they concentrate more and more of the national income in their own hands and spending goes down, they see fewer and fewer good investments, and a self-fueling downward spiral begins - one that we're quite in the middle of. Clinton had it going down slowly. Bush has it doing down quickly because he's transferring so much more money to the rich. The consumer base is shrinking and has been extended only by consumer credit. But now that is finally maxing out, we must re-centrifuge the income of the nation or replay the Great Depression and enter the Third World.]
- 2 takeover overviews -
- J.P. Morgan Chase to buy Bank One - Plan valued at $58B has Dimon succeeding Harrison as CEO in '06 - Big competitor to Citigroup, WSJ, front page (//NYT, front page).
- Big mergers have a long history of failure and troubles, by Alex Berenson, NYT, C8.
If history is any guide, at least one sure-fire "bet the house and then double-down" winner will emerge from J.P. Morgan Chase's giant acquisition of Bank One.
That would be Citigroup.
Megamergers like the one announced yesterday have a long and glorious history of failure and troubles....
- 1 downsizing, totaling 1,421 lost jobs plus (3-in-1) uncounted economywide downsizing stories, in WSJ &/or NYT -
- US Airways to close its Allegheny Airlines unit, AP via NYT, C4.
[Most people thought "Agony Airlines" was long gone anyway.]
...either by merging operations into another subsidiary or by liquidation. Allegheny, based in Middletown PA, employs 1,421 workers &...serves 38 cities, mostly in...mid-Atlantic region....
- 1 bankruptcy, mentioned in (WSJ) Wall Street Journal &/or (NYT) NY Times -
- KB Toys files for [Ch.11] bankruptcy protection, by Barry Meier, NYT, C4 (//WSJ, B6).
...the nation's 4th-largest toy retailer [follows FAO] citing holiday-season price wars [started by Wal-Mart] for its continuing losses....
[...never mind the downsizing American consumer base. That's it. Levi's is gone. The 4th-largest toy chain is gone. America is turning into a mere facade, like the set of an old Western movie - and behind it, a few super-rich, hundreds of Wal-Marts, and thousands of Wackenhut prisons.]
- 2 cases of eroding retirement, as documented in Wall Street Journal & NY Times -
- Retirees face pinch on benefits - Costs surging; many firms halt programs, Boston Globe, front page.
- [Cases in point -]
United and Delta increase pressure on employees for concessions, NYT, C1.
- 1 workplace suicide overview -
- U.S. soldiers in Iraq, blurb, WSJ, front page.
...are committing suicide at a high rate despite the work of special teams sent to help them deal with combat stress, the Pentagon's top doctor said....
- 2 cases of makework, totaling unspecified jobs, -
- FCC chairman [Michael Powell] seeks stronger obscenity curbs, NYT, B5.
[So subsidies for 'good' hetero-only marriage were only appetizers.]
- Alstom SA, WSJ, C5. ...The Paris-based transport & power-engineering company...was rescued from near bankruptcy last summer when the French state intervened to orchestrate a bailout....
1/13/2004 surfin' them headlines from hell in the Wall St. Journal & NY Times -
- 3 warnings -
- Waking up to a worldwide problem, letter to editor by David Boodman of Lexington MA, Boston Globe, A18.
Kudos for your editorial calling attention to the link between birthrates and war ("Planning for peace," Jan.12, A14). Although there are other factors that come into play, there is little doubt that political leaders will resort to war to conceal the problems of overpopulation. Mexico's Pres. Vicente Fox is playing host to George Bush, who, in exchange for relieving Mexico of its vast labor surplus, will get thousands of indentured servants (and the job of rounding them up for deportation in 3 years). In the meantime Bush will benefit from the gratitude of employers looking for this cheap labor.
And in Africa, famine, AIDS, drought, and overpopulation will conspire to produce perhaps as much human misery as World War II.
There's little reason to believe that our world's leaders will wake up to this problem and find a way to deal with it.
[See Phase 5 of the Timesizing program.]
We are saddled with religious leaders who refuse to accept the irrefutable arithmetic of compound growth
[Malthus is with us yet!]
but instead believe that the capacity of the earth to support human life is infinite. Add to them the politicians and other special interests whose planning horizon extends no further than a week and you have reason to despair.
What lies ahead are a lengthening list of shortages:
More editorials are needed to wake us up.
- agricultural space,
- and even space to dump the wastes that these resources eventually become.
- [Speaking of which, here's a fully awake letter on today's Journal editorial pages, of all places -]
Unscrupulous businesses foster illegal immigrants, letter to editor by William E. Porter of Mesa AZ, WSJ, A13.
This retired corporate executive totally rejects the solution and underlying rationale advanced on your Jan.12 editorial page by Tamar Jacoby ("American conservatism: America as a beacon...") and Jagdish Bhagwati ("...And a new dawn for immigrants").
"Conservatism" is more than adopting Coolidge's "The business of America is business." From Edmund Burke through Barry Goldwater, conservatism had major social aspects associated with the commonweal. "Duty, honor, country" - not confined to the military - and "the rule of law" may be quaint in today's neoconservative setting, but many of us live by these principles.
Since the 1986 immigration act, the major malefactors in the illegal alien drama have been segments of the business community. By ignoring weak employer sanctions and hiring illegals, these businesses have "passed the savings along to you," the local taxpayers, through increased burdens in hospitals, schools, and law enforcement. There was a lack of political courage to establish effective sanctions (e.g., major fines, loss of business license, etc.). Ms. Jacoby and Mr. Bhagwati offer no such proposal; illegals will continue to flow as long as unscrupulous businesses can escape severe punishment.
- They dish it out, but can't take it, letter to editor by Sue Campbell of Helena MT, Boston Globe, A18.
...The Republican National Committee spokeswoman Christine Iverson says, "All you see is...relentless attacks on the pResident of the United States."
Where was she 1992-2000? Or is it OK when the attacks are on a Democratic president for personal flaws but not OK against a Republican administration for -
[Those who slap at others with the name-calling of "Bush haters" should simply be branded "Bush lovers". No matter what outrage Bush Inc. commits, day after day, they scurry around, name-calling and rationalizing. But as Krugman pointed out yesterday (1/13/2004 NYT, A27), "the credentials of the critics just keep getting better," - the latest being the Army War College (1/12/2004 Boston Globe, A2) - and the above item from today's Journal. Maybe if some of them (for instance, Ted "Kennedy says war in Iraq was choice, not necessity," 1/15/2004 NYT, A13), had had a little more guts earlier on, fewer people would have been suckered in.]
- killing, maiming, injuring and imprisoning tens of thousands,
- ignoring civil rights,
- offending the rest of the world,
- lying to the American people and the world about weapons of mass destruction,
- transferring the tax burden from the richest 1% to the middle [and lower] class,
- losing millions of jobs,
- destroying the environment,
- and promoting one set of religious beliefs over others?
- 7 downsizings, totaling 34,611 lost jobs + unspecified, and (2) uncounted economywide downsizing stories, in WSJ &/or NYT -
- Germany to overhaul military and reduce defense spending, by Craig S. Smith, NYT, A4.
...The country w[ill] reduce spending by E26B or $33B in the coming years and close as many as 100 military bases..\..part of a continuing effort to modernize its outdated military.... The combined forces will also shave off ['gouge out' would be more apt] 32,000 troops to bring the country's military personnel down to 250,000....
[Equivalent to 32k/(32k+250k)= 32/282= an 11% downsizing. That'll worsen Germany's labor surplus and lower wages and labor leverage further.]
- Baking company is shut; 1,300 lose jobs, AP via NYT, C3.
The Bake-Line Group, a 5-yr-old cookie and cracker manufacturer [HQd] in Oakbrook Terrace IL..\..shut its seven plants and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy [when] it became clear over the weekend that expected financing would not materialize.
- Union Pacific Corp., WSJ, C6.
...will transfer more than 1,000 workers from St. Louis to its new headquarters in Omaha, Neb....
[Beyond a commute, we treat 'transfers' as layoffs, and Omaha is 447 miles from St. Louis on I70 and I29 via Kansas City.]
- Rayovac announces layoffs and a move to Atlanta, Bloomberg via NYT, C3.
...The battery maker [will] consolidate the operations of Remington Products, the razor business it acquired in September, lay off 217 workers and move its own HQ to Atlanta from Madison, Wis....
[Again the toxic takeover-downsizing connection.]
- Franklin Electric Co., NYT, C3.
...Bluffton, Ind., a maker of electric motor controls, plans to close an operation in Muskegon, Mich., that employs 94.
- Hewlett-Packard invests overseas, by Wayne Arnold, NYT, C6 (//WSJ, C6).
...The company \will\ invest $1B over the next 5 years to expand its manufacturing operations in Singapore, where it will shift some production from the U.S.... While many manufacturers have been moving job out of Singapore, HP has 9 factories there.
[Unspecified lost jobs.]
- SureBeam Corp., food irradiation company, to file for Ch.7 bankruptcy, Dow Jones/AP via NYT, C3.
...and cease operations on Friday....
[Unspecified lost jobs.]
- 4 bankruptcies, mentioned in (WSJ) Wall Street Journal &/or (NYT) NY Times -
- TL Administration Corp. et al. f/k/a TwinLab Corp. et al...Chapter 11...jointly, legal notice, WSJ, C8.
- Factory 2-U, a discount retailer, files for Ch.11 bankruptcy, NYT, C3.
- Baking company is shut; 1,300 lose jobs, AP via NYT, C3.
The Bake-Line Group, a 5-yr-old cookie and cracker manufacturer [HQd] in Oakbrook Terrace IL..\..shut its 7 plants and filed for Chapter 7....
- SureBeam Corp., food irradiation company, to file for Ch.7 bankruptcy, NYT, C3.
- 5 cases of makework, totaling unspecified 'jobs' -
- Bush will seek to boost NASA's budget, blurb, WSJ, front page.
...by 5% annually for the next 3 years to help pay for his plan to put a base on the moon and to mount an eventual manned expedition to Mars, an administration official said....
[He's scurrying to coat-tail on every passing accomplishment - on "OPM" = other people's money. Followup -]
Bush proposed an ambitious manned-space venture...will seek $12B..., pointer (to A2), 1/15/2004 WSJ, front page.
Bush proposes $12B fund to explore space, WSJ, A2.
Bush backs goal of flight to moon to establish base - Calls for a later voyage to Mars..., 1/15/2004 NYT, front page.
Bush's space vision thing, editorial, 1/15/2004 NYT, A28.
Life (and death) on Mars - Bush's space mission can be affordable - if it's one-way [- yeah, especially if it's a one-way trip for him], NYT, A29.
- Bush plans $1.5B drive for promotion of marriage - Officials try to address conservatives' concerns, NYT, front page.
[Weirder and weirder. Bigger government. Bigger gov't debt. Bigger pork. Bigger invasion of the bedroom. Social engineering. And another attempt to subsidize reproduction in an age of overpopulation. Followup -]
Pondering a marriage proposal, letter to editor by Assoc. Prof. Jackie Smith of SUNY/Stoney Brook Sociology, 1/15/2004 NYT, A28.
...This money might be better spent by reducing the key cause of domestic strife: the limited economic opportunities for working families....
[ Timesizing doesn't require government money as makework does.]
- Bush said Canada can bid, pointer (to A2), WSJ, front page.
...for [2nd-round] reconstruction contracts for Iraq....
[Don't knock yourself out doing us any "favours." Compare -]
Lumber declines on expectations of tariff decrease, by Leslie Aldrich, OsterDowJones Commodity News via WSJ, C6.
...The Commerce Dept. is proposing cutting tariffs on Canadian lumber....
["Free" trade a l'americain - tariffs on steel, tariffs on lumber, subsidies for agriculture, subsidies for aerospace and mining....]
- China to give up $41B stake in 2 big banks, by Keith Bradsher, NYT, W1.
HONG KONG...- Just a week after bailing out two [Bank of China, China Construction Bank] of the country's biggest banks, China's Ministry of Finance is preparing to help them again, this time by writing off its $41B stake in them in a bid to help cleanse their balance sheets of nonperforming loans and prepare them to issue stock, Chinese bankers said on Tuesday....
[How swiftly the "People's Republic" of China has adapted to welfare for the rich. At the moment, they're still below growth-stifling levels of $concentration -]
China's economy grew, pointer (to A11), WSJ, front page.
...at an 8.5% pace last yr, its fastest rate in 6 yrs, boosted by growth in exports & investments.
- Malaysia: Open for business, pointer (to A11), WSJ, front page.
The nation's new leader [PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi] is trumpeting an end to favoritism in giving out government contracts.
1/10-12/2004 surfin' them headlines from hell -
- 2 omens -
- New worry for Asian exporters - Weak U.S. retail stocks may signal waning demand, WSJ, C16.
[And why are US retail stocks weakening? Because the only retail that's moving is the tiny luxury segment and the heavily discounted &/or rebated. Here we witness the beginning of The End. The decline of domestic consumer demand, 2/3 of the U.S. economy, is finally surfacing after years of gradual downsizing-driven weakening and record levels of camouflaging consumer debt. Prepare an obit for the once-great American consumer base. Compare the beginning of The End of "Free" Trade (except, of course, where inconvenient, e.g., to our drug companies, such as Pfizer in relation to cheap drugs from Canada - 1/14/2004 WSJ, A6) -]
Fast gaining in technology, China poses trade worries, NYT, C1.
- Financial restatements rose to record in 2003, study says, by Jonathan Glater, NYT, C2.
...206 restatements of annual audited financial reports last year, up from 183 in 2002, according to...the Huron Consulting Group....
- 4 downsizings, totaling 594 lost jobs + unspecified, and (1) uncounted economywide downsizing story, in WSJ &/or NYT -
- Walt Disney Co., WSJ, B10 (//NYT, C4).
...announced the shutdown of its Orlando FL animation studio, eliminating 258 jobs there...leaving Disney with just more than 600 workers in its feature animation unit, down from a high of more than 2,200 in 1999.... The Burbank CA company is shifting from hand-drawn animated films to computer-generated features and videos....
[More "anecdotal" evidence against the constantly repeated opinion that "technology creates more jobs than it destroys." The pressure for sharing the vanishing work intensifies.]
- InterMet Corp., NYT, C4.
...Troy MI, which makes cast-iron auto parts, [will] close a foundry in Havana IL that employs 205 people.
- Graphic Packaging Corp., NYT, C4.
...Marietta GA, which makes cartons used in food packaging, [will] close a folding-carton plant in Garden Grove CA by the end of Q2, affecting...131 employees.
- SureBeam Corp., Dow Jones via WSJ, B2.
...plans to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and expects to cease operations Friday....
[Unspecified lost jobs.]
- Warm, fuzzy feelings for East Germany's gray old days, by Richard Bernstein, NYT, A4.
EISENHUETTENSTADT, eastern Germany -...One [feeling] is clearly the disillusionment felt by many former Easterners over German reunification, which took place 13 years ago.
[But East Germans are still treated as 2nd-class citizens and given 35-hours pay for 38-hours work by Schroeder's own intervention. See stories in our timesizing archives last July.]
Unemployment these days is commonly 25% in regions like Eisenhuettenstadt.
[At its worst during the Great Depression (1933), U.S. unemployment was only 24.9%, so parts of east Germany are in deep depression and Chancellor Schroeder still doesn't "get" the timesizing imperative. And this is the country the Japanese Labor Minister visited to study worksharing systems in Jan/2001? Like Chirac in France, they're still clueless. Also, in post-socialist east Germany -]
All this has give rise to a sort of East German post-mortem feeling that maybe the [socialist] East had its good aspects after all, especially a certain economic security and stability, even if your best vacation option was Bulgaria....
- Rents are no longer subsidized.
- Doctor visits cost money.
- People can be fired.
- In addition, as Andreas Ludwig, the West German scholar of urban history who started the [Eisenhuettenstadt] museum a few years ago, noted, even capitalist products break down or are shabby and schlocky.
[Another embarrassment for capitalism, where our post-socialist neighbors asked of us bread, and we gave them stones. They asked of us fish, and we gave them snakes. (Matt:7:8-9) With a system where 1% of the population can acquire 99% of the wealth, we can't even help ourselves - yet. Our primitive, near-sighted, downsizing-not-timesizing capitalism is sinking us so fast, we really have no system ideas to offer anyone else - until we implement automatic workweek fluctuation against underemployment and share and spread the vanishing, market-demanded, not-yet-robotized employment.]
- 1 bankruptcy, mentioned in (WSJ) Wall Street Journal &/or (NYT) NY Times -
- SureBeam Corp...Chapter 7, Dow Jones via WSJ, B2.
- 1 prison story -
- Doing hard time in Greenland isn't really that hard - Arctic inmates roam free, hunt seal, buy DVDs; Victims are crying foul, WSJ, front page.
- 1 case of makework, totaling 1500 temporary 'jobs' -
- The Pentagon extended Iraq tours, blurb, WSJ, front page.
...for 1,500; mainly helicopter pilots and other transport personnel....
- 2 omens -
- [Here's confirmation -]
1/11 Wealthiest nonprofits favored by foundations, by Bombardieri & Robinson, Boston Globe, front page.
[- that relying on charity isn't much good for centrifuging and dynamizing money except for the occasional showy downstretch.]
- 1/11 Risky business, by D.C. Denison, Boston Globe Mag, 6.
Peter Blute...morning drive-time talk-radio host on WRKO Boston: ...When we put on a liberal substitute host, the conservatives just turn it off.
Q: Why do you think that is?
Peter: It could be because conservatives have more of an agenda. Liberals don't have as clear an agenda....
[Correct. They have a grocery list of issues in random order. Timesizing culls and prioritizes lists on both sides.]
- 5 downsizings, totaling 2300 lost jobs and (1) uncounted economywide megastory, in WSJ &/or NYT -
- 1/10 WestPoint Stevens will close 4 US factories, Bloomberg via NYT, B4.
...and lay off about 975 workers.... WestPoint is based in West Point, Ga.
- 1/12 U.S. meatpackers lay off workers amid [mad-cow] export ban, by Kilman & Carlisle, WSJ, B4.
...Cargill Inc., the Minneapolis commodity processing giant, said Friday its Excel meatpacking unit laid off about 700 workers at five cattle-slaughtering plants, or 7% of the employees at those plants....
- 1/10 Smurfit-Stone is closing 4 US plants and eliminating 315 jobs, AP via NYT, B4.
...about 1% of its workforce...240 hourly and 75 salaried employees..\..in a cost-cutting move.
- 1/12 U.S. meatpackers lay off workers amid export ban, by Kilman & Carlisle, WSJ, B4.
...Swift & Co. of Greeley, Colo...furloughed about 270 people at its beef plants....
[We count as layoffs any 'furloughs' that are reported without termination dates.]
- 1/12 U.S. meatpackers lay off workers amid export ban, by Kilman & Carlisle, WSJ, B4.
Tyson Foods Inc., the Springdale, Ark., meat giant...furloughed about 40 people and has reassigned an undisclosed number....
[We count as layoffs any 'furloughs' that have no reported termination dates.]
- 1/12 Scant job growth forces jobless to stop looking despite 'recovery' [our quotes], WSJ, A2.
[Quick take -]
- 1/12 The U.S. jobless rate, pointer (to A2), WSJ, front page.
...fell in December, but only because thousands of potential workers [alias consumers] stopped looking for jobs [and stopped confidently consuming - ed.].
[Times version -]
- 1/10 Growth in jobs ground to halt during December - Fewer search for work - Bush focuses on drop in unemployment rate - Report is [bad] surprise, NYT, front page.
[Domino effect = further downsteps into Third World -]
- 1/12 Dollar's prospects look bleak - Weak jobs report augurs more pressure on currency; No policy support looms - The jobs data are 'unambiguously bad' for the dollar, says one currency strategist [Rebecca Patterson, sr. currency strategist at JP Morgan Chase in NYC], WSJ, C4.
[and also -]
- 1/10 Share prices slide after report of anemic job growth, NYT, B4.
[and also -]
- 1/12 [US Treasury] yields fall as jobs data augur steady [low interest] rates, WSJ, C2.
[and also -]
- 1/12 Options' risk forecast increases in reaction to [= as a function of] weak jobs report, WSJ, C2.
[Hokey smokey, stocks, treasuries & options all hit. So how far off were the forecasters?]
- 1/12 Ahead of the tape...- Whiff, by Jesse Eisinger, WSJ, C1.
Pity the poor Wall Street economist. Big staffs, sophisticated models, reams of historical data, degrees from schools known merely by the name of the biggest benefactor (...Wharton, Tuck...) and still they forecast about as well as groundhogs.
The Wall Street consensus utterly blew the latest employment report, forecasting a strong gain [of 150,000] in jobs for December and whispering that the report could show an even bigger gain [of 175,000-200,000 - see yesterday below]. Instead, merely 1,000 people were added to non-farm payrolls in December, a major disappointment. Moreover, November and October figures were revised downward. When the economy runs at roughly a 6% [GDP?] rate, as it did in the second half of last year, typically payrolls rise by 300,000-400,000 a month. This time, the figure has been about 37,000.
[Wakey wakey. Jobs in Iraq (& China & India) don't count here. Nor do jobs for robots. Nor do they help American retail etc. figures.]
How do the people who advise the world's most powerful financial institutions on how to bet their billions get something so wrong? ...Wrong-footed economists...blame the data..\.. The highly crucial monthly employment data is one of those government economic reports that strives for a level of precision far beyond the government's ability to measure. In an economy of millions of jobs, forecasting down to the thousands is impossible....
[But they didn't even forecast down to the ten-thousands, let alone the thousands. In fact, they didn't even forecast down to the right hundred-thousand! At this point they should be questioning fundamental assumptions, such as "business cycle." It's not a cycle; it's been a long, slow, cumulating downspiral obscured by rosy indexes defined by interest-conflicted cheerleading self-flattering economic "scientists" - and that cumulation of downward trends, focused in simplistic panaceas that weaken the consumer base, such as taxcuts for the rich and free trade for the offshorers crowned with kneejerk downsizing in response to waves of worksaving technology crashing against a frozen 1940-level workweek and a workoholic culture, has finally gone critical, as it did at the end of the 1920s. The war solution (mega-makework via the Pentagon and major workforce liquidation&disabling) just isn't working this time because the ultimate weapons are too dangerous and the enemies, real (Qaeda) and imagined (Iraq), are too small and unpredictable. Sooner or later we're going to be forced, kicking and screaming, to go with the intelligent solution that we practiced 1938-40 and that France used 1997-2001, work sharing and spreading via workweek reduction, which has historically yielded a sustainable unemployment drop of 1% for every hour cut from the workweek, with associated growth in consumer markets. Meanwhile, has Wall Street learned anything from this forecasting fiasco? Judge for yourself from the article right beside this one -]
- 1/12 Stocks enjoy a good first week - Gains of major indexes encourage bulls to predict a prosperous year; 'Almost a perfect environment' [Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at R.W. Baird], WSJ, C1.
[How can Bittles talk like this? Based on irrelevant positive indicators -]
[And check out their heavily insulated take on the Nov. election -]
- ...inflation and interest rates are low,
- and the economy is still growing handsomely [sic], despite a foggy jobs picture...
- 1/12 Bush's early electoral edge: It's not his father's economy [no, it's much worse] - Timing of downturn and rise in ownership of stocks [ha], homes benefit pResident..., WSJ, front page.
[In short, investors think it's all about them, and employees and consumers just don't matter that much. Wall Street is about to get enough cold shocks to wake the thickest cheerleader, because they don't call it the consumer base for nothing, and its base is the job market. So, the good news -]
- 1/10 As far as jobs go, Bush can only wait, by Edmund Andrews, NYT, B1.
[Or...he can quit goosing money to the top, de-activating it into Black-Hole levels of compaction and worsening jobs & consumer markets, and instead, he can start sharing the vanishing employment as his predecessor Hoover started to do but didn't do fast or focused enough.]
- 1 bankruptcy, mentioned in (WSJ) Wall Street Journal &/or (NYT) NY Times -
- 1/12 Toscorp Inc. et al...Chapter 11...jointly, legal notice, NYT, C2.
For earlier collapse stories, click on the desired date -
July 1-15/2002 + Jun 30.
Earlier Y2000 months accessible via links at bottom of Dec.1-10/2000 page.
Earlier 1999 months accessible via links at bottom of Dec.1-15/99 page.
Earlier months accessible via links at bottom of Dec/98 page.
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