A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
Mike Whitney ArchiveColumn Archive
Does the Name "Strauss-Kahn" Ring a Bell?
The International Monetary Fund has finally admitted that it was wrong to recommend austerity as early as it did in 2010-2011. The IMF now agrees that it should have waited until the US and EU economies were on a sustainable growth-path before advising them to trim their budget deficits and reduce public spending. According to… [MORE]
The Double Whammy
Japanese stocks suffered their biggest one-day plunge in more than four months following an announcement that the world’s third biggest economy had slipped back into recession. The two consecutive quarters of negative growth were triggered by an increase in the sales tax that was implemented by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in April. The VAT tax… [MORE]
It's No Accident
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2014 was a banner year for Afghanistan’s booming opium industry. According to a United Nations annual survey released on Wednesday, opium cultivation set a record in 2014, increasing by an impressive 7 percent year-over-year and up nearly 50 percent from 2012. Afghanistan presently produces 80 percent of the world’s heroin which provides billions of dollars… [MORE]
Grab a Pitchfork
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“The Republican victory does not represent a shift by the American population to the right, but demonstrates the bankrupt and reactionary character of the Democratic Party and the mass disillusionment with the Obama administration. In the absence of any progressive alternative to the two right-wing, corporate-controlled parties, the majority of potential voters stayed home. Voter… [MORE]
Subprime Loans and Auto Sales
“It’s not the underlying economics that’s driving things, it’s central bank liquidity.” — Matt King, Citigroup Soaring auto sales are not so much a sign of a strong economy as they are an indication of financial hanky-panky. We saw this same type of fakery play out in housing between 2004 – 2006, when prices went… [MORE]
The American Dream, Gone
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1: Wage Stagnation: Why America’s Workers Need Faster Wage Growth—And What We Can Do About It, Elise Gould, EPI Economic Policy Institute: “The hourly compensation of a typical worker grew in tandem with productivity from 1948-1973. …. After 1973, productivity grew strongly, especially after 1995, while the typical worker’s compensation was relatively stagnant. This divergence… [MORE]
"Easy Money" Mel Watt Loosens Lending on Mortgages
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Here we go again. Last week, the country’s biggest mortgage lenders scored a couple of key victories that will allow them to ease lending standards, crank out more toxic assets, and inflate another housing bubble. Here’s what’s going on: On Monday, the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Mel Watt, announced that Fannie… [MORE]
Do Tumbling Buybacks Signal Another Market Crash?
“Frankly, we are so far off the economic rails, the locomotive is stuck in a swamp and the trailing cars are piling up around it.” Anonymous, Comments line, Naked Capitalism Since the end of the recession in 2009, investors have borrowed a record amount of money to finance their stock acquisitions. According to the Financial… [MORE]
Unbelievable. On Wednesday, stocks were hammered after economic data showed that the US and global economies were headed for a major slowdown. By mid-day, the Dow was down 460 points before clawing its way back to minus 173 points. It looked like the market was set for another triple-digit flogging on Thursday when the Fed… [MORE]
In the Blink of an Eye
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“Financial markets are faced with uncertainty that isn’t going away. The slowdown in Europe is probably in the early innings, the Fed hasn’t begun to raise interest rates, and geopolitical crises seem to pop up by the day.” Jeff Cox, Finance editor, CNBC Six years of zero rates and trillions of dollars of asset purchases… [MORE]
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The Saker is an ex-military analyst who was born in Europe to a family of Russian refugees. He now lives in Florida where he writes theVineyard of the Saker blog and is a regular contributor to Russia Insider. The international community of Saker Blogs includes, besides the original Saker blog, French, German, Russian, Oceania and… [MORE]
"Don't Do Stupid Shit"
The ISIS siege of Kobane continued overnight while cities across Turkey were set ablaze by Kurdish protestors. At least 19 civilians were killed by Turkish riot police who were trying to disperse angry crowds that had gathered to protest the government’s unwillingness to defend the predominantly Kurdish city. According to Hurriyet, “The worst violence was… [MORE]
The University of Al-Qaeda?
“Since 2003, Anglo-American power has secretly and openly coordinated direct and indirect support for Islamist terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda across the Middle East and North Africa. This ill-conceived patchwork geostrategy is a legacy of the persistent influence of neoconservative ideology, motivated by longstanding but often contradictory ambitions to dominate regional oil resources, defend an… [MORE]
Why the Real Target is Assad Not ISIS
Invoking the same ominous language as his predecessor, Barack Obama used a prime time presidential address on Wednesday to announce the beginning of a war on Syria. And while there’s no doubt that many Americans will be confused by Obama’s misleading focus on the terrorist organization named ISIL, the real purpose of the speech was… [MORE]
U.S. Meddling Dims Prospects for Peace
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“It’s Uncle Sam who’s pushing us into this slaughter. And let’s be frank, many politicians in Ukraine are just following his orders.” – Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko The Minsk Ceasefire Protocol has very little chance of succeeding. In fact, the meeting between the warring parties was not convened to stop the violence as much as… [MORE]
Obama Begs for More War
“In the implementing of their policies, our western partners– the United States first and foremost – prefer to be guided not by international law, but by force. They believe in their own ‘exceptionalism’, that they are allowed to decide on the fate of the world, and that they are always right.” – Russian President Vladimir… [MORE]
The Downing of Malaysia Flight 17
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“There is no innocent explanation for the sudden disappearance of MH17 from the media and political spotlight. The plane’s black box has been held in Britain for examination for weeks, and US and Russian spy satellites and military radar were intensively scanning east Ukraine at the time of the crash. The claim that Washington does… [MORE]
Washington's "Pivot" hits a Brick Wall
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“We are currently witnessing an epic and historic event. The Ukrainian regular army and the punitive battalions are suffering a catastrophic defeat to the south of Donetsk…..It still is not quite clear how the Junta intends to avoid a complete defeat here…. By squandering the most combat-capable brigades in systematic offensive operations, the Junta sustained… [MORE]
The Sergei Glaziev Interview
If you want to understand what is going on in Ukraine, then you need to watch this 15 minute video with Putin advisor and friend, Sergei Glaziev. Glaziev explains how structural changes in the global economy and a shift to Asia have precipitated a desperate attempt by US policymakers to maintain their grip on power… [MORE]
Et Tu, Mullah?
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On Thursday, Ukraine’s parliament passed a law that will allow foreign investors to lease up to 49 percent of Ukraine’s transit pipelines and underground gas storage facilities. The bill, which had failed to pass just weeks earlier, was approved by the slimmest of margins, 2 votes, suggesting that there might have been some arm twisting… [MORE]