February 11 2006
International Forecaster Weekly |
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Summary: Bush faces a wave of anger against him... a review of the state of the george w bush state of the union address... a timetable for the coming war with Iran... and more
Our observation of the actions of the President in his State of the Union address was that he has finally realized the waves of power were flowing against him. He’s a lame duck but he doesn’t know that yet. The first stage is severe problems in getting legislation through Congress or convincing allies to support controversial measures. These problems usually don’t occur until after the coming November elections.
Mr. Bush faces fading support among Americans for what will be remembered as the central decision of his presidency, the war in Iraq. That is borne out by his unprecedented poor approval ratings.
Mr. Bush’s major theme in his speech was for Americans not to retreat, not to give up, not to succumb to pessimism, not to be defeatist. He was pleading with Americans not to abandon him. He and his neocons have been ambushed by their own policies.
Staging and content of the speech was full of lies, half-truths, obligatory standing ovations and predictable applause at the end of very sentence. The staging was repetitive and overbearing.
He said he was on target for cutting the deficit in half by 2009, which is ridiculous inasmuch as he and Congress increase the budget deficit daily.
Our President told us in his speech he would seek the end of tyranny in our world. How, by kidnapping supposed terrorists and torturing them to death? George only tolerates his brand of tyranny.
He would have us believe our nations survival is at stake due to terrorism.
He tells us we are fighting to win in Iraq when like in Vietnam we are fighting only as much as politically permissible.
He tells us the American economy is healthy and vigorous and growing faster than any other major industrialized nation. Yet, government figures are bogus, particularly on unemployment and inflation. Plus M3 and credit are growing at 12% when 3% is normal and this has been going on for some time.
He says over the last five years $880 billion in taxes have been cut. That money has ended up in China in the form of vendor financing and if China sells dollars the dollar will collapse. That certainly isn’t a liquid asset and what happens when they do sell?
He said government must address the costs of healthcare and then proposes health savings accounts, which are more tax breaks.
The humdinger is reducing the country’s oil imports from the Middle East by 75% in 20 years, which is ridiculous and he’ll be long out of office.
Then, of course, his henchmen arrested Cindy Sheehan because they didn’t like her T-shirt.
We found it of interest that he failed to address funding problems for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
He vowed to continue wasting our tax dollars and American lives building democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan and combating his version of tyranny throughout the world.
There was no reference to tax reform, nor the scandals deep within the Republican Party and what he’d do about them.
He defended warrantless spying on Americans when to date we haven’t found a terrorist in the US. Americans continue to be subjected to police state methods.
Since he came to office the number of Americans living in poverty has risen to more than 37 million of which 13 million are children. More than 25% of Americans make less than $30,000 a year, 46% of black and 44% of Hispanic families fall below that level.
Funding for healthcare, child support and education have been gutted for the poor. $40 billion has been cut from the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Head Start. Medicaid for the poor was cut $7 billion and Medicare for the old cut $6.4 billion. The student loan program was cut $12.7 billion. In exchange we received $120 billion in funding annually to continue the occupation of Iraq and Iran and a $439 billion defense budget. $27 billion more in tax cuts mostly for the wealthy. These tax cuts will cost more than $150 billion over the next ten years. 97% of the cuts go to households making over $200,000 a year. Households with incomes under $100,000 will get 0.1% of these cuts.
Our President forgot to mention New Orleans where he sent federal troops and mercenaries, which is against the law. This is where he cut the budget for the Army Corp of Engineers to keep the levees viable and they collapsed. He didn’t discuss the absolute failure of FEMA. He spent $85 billion on what is left of the city and will spend no more as 400,000 people are still displaced all over the country. He has left New Orleans to rot so his friends can move in and buy land for $0.20 on the dollar.
He won’t even discuss the tragedy that is New Orleans.
He failed to discuss the human carnage in Iraq.
Hamas wasn’t voted into office; the corrupt Fatah was voted out. His administration was and is a Fatah backer. Incidentally, Yasser Arafat died a billionaire.
He devoted five sentences to illegal immigration and remains committed to amnesty.
Mr. Bush’s State of the Union Address left much unsaid.
Deprived of their reason for war with Iran the development of nuclear weapons, George and the neocons have now switched their sites on Syria. In a new book, ‘Saddam’s Secrets,’ written by the former second in command of Saddam Hussein’s Air Force, wants us to believe Iraq moved its weapons of mass destruction to Syria. This public admission is to be the catalyst to invade Syria. For some time the CIA and the Israeli Mossad have contended that this is true and the means George and the neocons have known it for some time as well, if the story is true. Our perennial problem is that the administration lies so much we don’t know what is fact and what is lies. On the short term, the administration has been deprived of its excuse to invade Iran, so they’ll invade Syria under the pretext they have WMD. Due to agreements Iran is obliged to come to Syria’s aid. This allows the US, UK and Israel to attack Iran.
The analysts, newsletter writers and foreign media are so convinced of invasion they are setting timetables. We are told these plans were made a few years ago. Prognosticators, who all believe they have inside information, are split as to whether we’ll see surgical nuclear strikes, to convince Syria and Iran they had better surrender to America’s brand of Democracy, or nuclear obliteration. All the pundits pick March as the month of attack. The attackers believe they not only will be joined by Turkey, but they will as well have the backing of European governments. We are still skeptical regarding how Europe will react, especially the Netherlands and France, which have large Muslim populations. Then again, perhaps NATO and Europe only need some pretext to join in on the carnage. Perhaps they’ll just liquidate the domestic Muslim unrest. That’s very possible because killing millions is of no consequence to these people. Then again, the timeline may have been set to force Iranian capitulation. As you can see, there is a great deal that we professionals don’t know. Then there are Russia and China. We believe Russia will carry the day for Iran. The production of nuclear material will be done in Russia and who knows what there intent is. Russia still wants that Iranian business, not a smoldering country. In the end the Russians, Chinese, Iranians and Syrians could come out the winners without having war.
The average American family has no margin for error. They have no savings and they are too deeply in debt. Thirty-two years ago in 1973, it took a husband’s income to support a family. Today for survival 75% of wives work. That leaves no margin for error. In the olden days if dad lost his job, mom could get a job to tide them over. That replacement isn’t available anymore. Americans spend less on food and manufactured items today, but more is spent on entertainment, computers, housing and health care. The cost of housing and healthcare has everything unbalanced and those two items alone could cause us serious problems along with higher energy costs. Americans are finally starting to realize that they have to change their spending habits and lifestyles. That was borne out in 2005’s final quarter when spending grew at a 1.1% pace, the slowest since the second quarter of 2001 when we still were in a recession. The cutbacks were in durable goods, such as cars, which dropped 17.5%, the sharpest decline since the first quarter of 1987. Business spending was projected to be up 10%. It only rose 3.5% as business continues to preserve cash, hold down inventories and act as though it sees recession in the distance. We believe the link between housing prices and consumer confidence is faltering. Spending and borrowing is turning down. We cited a 1.1% increase in consumer spending, but the fourth quarter also saw cash out mortgage financing dropping precipitously. Slowing of real consumer spending precedes recession and a stock market decline. Real disposable income continues to fall. Wages go up 4% and inflation rises 10%, hardly a fair trade off. New jobs are almost all low paying and we should have created 10 million more jobs in the bogus recovery, but that was thwarted by free trade and globalization. Consumers can see the refinancing of homes coming to an end and that means reduction of debt, living within ones means and less spending. They all mean a reduction in consumer confidence and a questioning of the durability of a fading wealth effect. Higher energy prices do not instill confidence either. Another factor is higher mortgage payments on ARMS, and higher minimum credit card payments, both of which will cut back on spending. We also will see 1/2% to 3/4% higher interest and mortgage rates, which cannot be expected to fall again for at least a year.
At the same time our government goes deeper and deeper into debt to finance wars to benefit transnational elitist corporations. That means even if government wanted to raise taxes they couldn’t. A falling economy would make that impossible. The dollar index is close to 88.36 currently. Next year we see it at 60. If Iran is not attacked and oil is traded in euros, further pressure will be put on the dollar. All the foregoing factors will affect corporate profits as well.
In 1848, during his effort to oppose the war with Mexico, Abraham Lincoln had attacked President Polk upon the floor of the House for having sent units of the US Army into a disputed border region between Mexico and the US. Lincoln said that the president’s action violated the Constitution’s requirement that only Congress could declare war. Lincoln’s own action in raising an Army by executive order was a far greater violation of these same provisions of the Constitution dealing with the declaration of war than the alleged violations of President Polk, which he had attacked. The “Executive Order Army” could be said to be the precursor to the whole litany of executive orders that have been a favorite device of power-grabbing presidents ever since. As we can see Bush’s acts are not novel and without precedent. Many presidents have deliberately started wars unilaterally to enrich world elitists.
Here we go again, two FEMA disaster assistance employees working in New Orleans were arrested yesterday, Jan. 28th, on federal bribery charges, accused of accepting $10,000 each in exchange for letting a contractor submit inflated reports on the number of meals it was serving at a Hurricane Katrina relief base camp.
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