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Posts Tagged ‘government’

China on the brink of mass unrest

Posted by msrb on January 6, 2009

China: A New Revolution May Be in the Making

Out with the old corrupt regime; in with the young new visionaries

Outlook (Liaowang) Magazine, produced by the official Xinhua news agency, warned this week that weakening economic outlook could result in large scale unrest by millions of disparate migrant workers and university graduates without jobs.

“‘Without doubt, now we’re entering a peak period for mass incidents,’ a senior Xinhua reporter, Huang Huo, told the magazine, using the official euphemism for riots and protests.” Reuters reported.


Migrant workers wait to board a train back home at the waiting room of a railway station in Taiyuan, Jiangxi province December 16, 2008. Rising unemployment and a widening income gap are the two issues of most concern to Chinese people, an annual report released on Monday by the Chinese Academy of Social Science said, China Daily reported. REUTERS/Stringer (CHINA). CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA. Image may be subject to copyright.

“In 2009, Chinese society may face even more conflicts and clashes that will test even more the governing abilities of all levels of the Party and government.” Huang Huo said.

“The candor about these problems reflects the severity of the unemployment problem. It’s meant to attract the attention of all levels of government,” said Mao Shoulong, a professor of public policy at Beijing’s Renmin University.

“The government wants to show that stability is at the top of its agenda.”

“The biggest threats to China’s social fabric will come from graduating university students, facing a shrinking job market and diminished incomes, and from a tide of migrant laborers who have lost their jobs as export-driven factories have shut.” The report said.

“Factory closures, sackings and difficulties paying social security had already unleashed a surge of protests, the report said. Officials in provinces that have provided tens of millions of low-paid workers for coastal factories have reported a leap in the number returning to their farm homes without work.”

The authorities estimated that there were about 10 million jobless rural migrant workers, the magazine said.

A total of 7 million university and college graduates, including the ones who are still jobless since graduating in 2008, would be hunting for jobs this year, Huang estimated.

Based on its 8 percent GDP growth target, the government could probably generate about 8 million new jobs for the whole country this year, he added. Bearing in mind that in 1989,  the core of the pro-democracy protests comprised of university students.

“If in 2009 there is a large number of unemployed rural migrant laborers who cannot find work for half a year or longer, milling around in cities with no income, the problem will be even more serious,” said Huang.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said: “We have the ability and the confidence to ensure the Chinese economy’s stable and relatively fast growth and to ensure social stability.”


The Morning After. Victims of Tiananmen Massacre-Beijing, June 4th, 1989.  More horrific images available at source.

The Outlook report said that the protests were “increasingly politicized, making it harder for officials to douse them by force or cash hand-outs.”

“Social conflicts have already formed a certain social, mass base so that as soon as there is an appropriate fuse it always swiftly explodes and clashes escalate quickly,” said Huang. Source

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Posted in Beijing, Renmin University, riots, Tiananmen massacre, Xinhua | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Government Without Law

Posted by msrb on January 3, 2009

December 26, 2008

Government Without Law
By Ralph Nader

Over thirty years ago, a book came out titled “How the Government Breaks the Law, by Jethro K. Lieberman.” Even then it was old news and the examples cited seemed small compared to today’s chronic law-breakers in the White House and at many federal departments and agencies. Many recent books have been written on the expansive outlaw behavior of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Less attention has been devoted to the explosion of unauthorized actions by the Executive in recent years. What should be the most frequent question by reporters to government officials — namely, “By what authority are you acting?” – is the rarest of inquiries.

A two part series on Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. in the Washington Post by David Cho in late November brought this point out in a stunningly frank admission by the Corporate bailout czar himself.

Speaking of the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as other megaseizures of failing Wall Street firms, Mr. Paulson expressed these anarchic words: “Even if you don’t have the authorities – and frankly I didn’t have the authorities for anything – if you take charge, people will follow.”

Whew! There you have it! He becomes the law and the law is what he says it is because no one – neither a rubber-stamping President, nor a supine Congress, nor any citizen, deprived of any standing to sue, is going or can do anything about it.

Reporter Cho goes on to write: “Senior government officials said Paulson helped craft rescue programs for financial firms, though he was not sure he had an unquestionable legal basis for the initiatives including the bailouts of the failing investment bank Bear Stearns in March and the wounded insurance giant American International Group (AIG) in September.”

Mr. Paulson went further. Playing Congress, he backed the Federal Reserve – already a government within a government funded by banks– to unprecedented unilateral expansion of its powers and its self-made assets. The Post reported that officials from the Treasury and the Fed “never knew whether they had the legal authority to interfere with the market for such derivatives but did so anyway because the opaque trading threatened the wider financial system.”

Unauthorized Executive Branch actions tend to be contagious. Noticing that the crisis left Wall Street on its knees and willing to unilaterally assume over $8 trillion in a variety of loan, subsidy and capital obligations, the Bush regime kept making more of its powers all by itself. Why not, they may have been thinking? Look what they’ve gotten away with in the areas of military and foreign policy actions.

Weekend gigantic corporate bailouts – a more recent one being the $300 billion plus assumption of Citigroup’s financial risks – engineered by Citigroup co-boss, Robert Rubin–were very secret affairs.

The more public grab of power was the $700 billion goliath to rescue the casino capitalists on Wall Street which was submitted in only 3 ½ pages of proposed legislation to Congress by Paulson and Ben Bernake, the Fed’s chairman in September.

This was too much for the ideologies of House Republicans who beat it on the first round. Even the spineless Democrats thought the requested authority was too much of a blank check. So what happened? Bush told Paulson to give various members of Congress “sweeteners” such as pork and tax breaks for favored lobbyists to get the required votes. Consequently, Paulson was granted staggering discretion to spend the $700 billion when, where and to whom he wanted under whatever conditions or no conditions at all. All in the name of socialism saving capitalism from massive collapse. Ironic.

Mr. Paulson came away from Capitol Hill with Congress in his hip pocket – not exactly what the framers of our Constitution had in mind in 1787.

Thus embolden, Paulson initiated a unilateral, administrative repeal of a Congressional enactment in the tax code – section 382 – to give the banks a huge windfall of about $140 billion. George K. Yin, former chief of staff of the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, rejected the legality of the Treasury Department’s decision. He told the Post: “I think almost every tax expert would agree that the answer is no. They basically repealed a 22-year-old law that Congress passed [and Reagan signed] as a backdoor way of providing aid to banks.”

Section 382 of the Tax code “sharply restricts a company from using the tax losses of a company it acquires to reduce its own tax liability,” according to the respected Citizens for Tax Justice.

The Treasury’s two-page notice generated a brief specialized display of outrage from members of the Tax writing committees in Congress and a hundred national, state and local organizations signed a joint letter to Congress demanding the legislators reverse the Treasury’ unauthorized edict.

So what did the House of Representatives do? It passed, later rejected by the Senate a provision in the auto bailout bill, a provision that would have extended the unauthorized Treasury ruling to the automobile industry!

What is going on here is a revolutionary coup d-etat of our legal system by executive branch diktats.

Is the organized legal profession through their bar associations in challenge mode? Are law professors churning over this mockery of the legislature and executive branch administrative law? Are conservative groups – always upset about judicial activism – going into high gear against the new monarchy in and around the White House in downtown Washington, D.C.? Are all those futurists worried enough about the trillions of debt dollars being piled on our children and grandchildren to protest and act? Not really.

Obviously, all this is a developing story. Stay tuned, unless you are willing to be turned out.

Posted in Congress, Federal Reserve, Henry M. Paulson, Wall Street | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

I’m a War President, Not a Weatherman!

Posted by msrb on June 21, 2008

The Best Caption Competition Winners:

- There’s no war here.

- Don’t trouble me with national emergencies, I have a war to fight.

- Our troops need all the money we can send them to fight the enemy over there.

- Don’t be sissies! This is nothing like the 1993 deluge.


President George W. Bush talks to the media after viewing receding floodwaters on Normandy Drive in Iowa City, Iowa, USA, on 19 June 2008. EPA/MATTHEW HOLST / POOL. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

Midwest Flood Victims Feel Misled by Feds

“They all told us, `The levees are good. You can go ahead and build,”‘ said Parks, who did not buy flood coverage because her bank no longer required it. “We had so much confidence in those levees.”

“People put all their hopes in those levees, and when they do fail, the damage is catastrophic,” said Paul Osman, the National Flood Insurance Program coordinator for Illinois. “New Orleans is the epitome; a lot of those people didn’t even realize they were in a floodplain until the water was up to their roofs.”


This used to be a road, and we parked our trucks right there!

Volunteers sandbag a building submerged in Burlington, Iowa June 15, 2008. Officials moved paintings, books and documents out of harm’s way on Sunday as record flooding in parts of the U.S. Midwest partly submerged the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City. REUTERS/Eric Thayer (UNITED STATES). Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

Who Cares?

“We reported to the president in ’94 that the levee system was in disarray, the levees were not high enough to take care of any potential problem. People didn’t understand their flood risk and there wasn’t good co-ordination across federal, state and local governments,” said Gerald Galloway, a professor of engineering and flood control expert.

“The same thing applies today,” Galloway said. “It’s amazing that in the face of [Hurricane] Katrina and now this particular challenge that we continue to relearn the same lessons.”

Galloway’s recommendations to improve the levee system were basically ignored. He said that he’s experiencing much the same response now from officials as in 1993.

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Posted in Bush, collapse, ecosystems, Energy, environment, Global Warming, government, money, politics, war | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Let Them Eat Bullets!

Posted by msrb on April 23, 2008

Delivering Climate Security: International Security Responses to a Climate-Changed World

According to the above-titled report written for Britain’s Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), governments around the world have hugely underestimated the potential conflicts resulting from climate change. The highlights of the report are:

  • If climate change is not slowed and critical environmental thresholds are exceeded, then it will become a primary driver of conflicts between and within states

  • In the next decades, climate change will drive as significant a change in the strategic security environment as the end of the Cold War,” said Mabey.
  • If uncontrolled, climate change will have security implications of similar magnitude to the World Wars, but which will last for centuries
  • A failure to acknowledge and prepare for the worst case scenario is as dangerous in the case of climate change as it is for managing the risks of terrorism or nuclear weapons proliferation
  • Unless achieving climate security is seen as a vital and existential national interest it will be too easy to delay action on the basis of avoiding immediate costs and perceived threats to economic competitiveness

Source

Can the world elite brand the poor and starving masses as “terrorists” in order to eliminate them?

Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.” According to a report by New York Sun.

News Reports:

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Posted in Bush, collapse, ecosystems, Energy, environment, Global Warming, government, money, politics, war | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Emerging Food Crisis

Posted by feww on April 10, 2008

Since February 2008, riots and protests concerning rising food prices or food shortages have been reported in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cameroon, Egypt, El Salvador, Haiti, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique, Philippines Senegal, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.

According to AFP Report: “Analysts have said economic misery in crushingly-poor Myanmar was a force behind protests which drew up to 100,000 people into the streets of the military-ruled country last year.”

Poorer countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia and in which 60-70 percent of the income is spent on food are particularly hard hit by soaring food prices.

“In the Philippines, one of the world’s biggest importers of rice, the government deployed troops last week to deliver grain to poor areas of the capital Manila amid worries about shortages.”

Grain prizes have risen by 42 percent and dairy products 80 percent since2007. The head of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said: “There is a risk that this unrest will spread in countries where 50 to 60 percent of income goes to food . . .”

Elsewhere, soaring food prices are leading to political instability and humanitarian crisis:

In China, the price of pork, their staple diet, has risen by more than 60 percent in the last 12 months.

In Vietnam, consumer prices rose by about 17 percent (YoY) in the first quarter of 2008. Up to 20,000 workers at a Vietnamese shoe factory opted for a a two-day strike last week “because of the increase in prices which has hit people hard recently,” according to union official Nguyen Thi Dung.

In Singapore, one of Asia’s wealthiest countries, ten people were arrested by police last month for holding a rally, without a permit, to protest rising living costs.

Rising food (and fuel) prices have triggered protests also in India, Malaysia and Pakistan causing seismic shifts in political and social policies.

The World Bank anticipated last week “heightening political tensions” throughout Asia should “rising inflation stalls poverty reduction measures.”

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Posted in Bolivia, Cameroon, Egypt, El Salvador, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal, Uzbekistan, Yemen | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

 
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