Busted: Bankers and The Global Economy

June 27, 2010

Jobs & G20: Budget Slashing Fever & Fantasy

To hear the G-20 proclaim it, the U.S. and other “prime economies” had better slash their budget deficits before the world comes to an end. The U.S. Senate quashes continued aid for the unemployed. Wall Street investment firms and banking succeeds in watering down financial reform. The fantasy continues while economists and politicians worry behind the scenes.  Even VP Joe Biden openly admitted that the United States will not regain the jobs that were lost in the “Great Recession.”

The official jobless rate, projected at below 10%, is pure fiction and must treated as such by those that seek the truth. It doesn’t consider many unemployed people that have dropped off the charts into oblivion. Underemployment is a national plague that the Labor Bureau of Statistics has revealed. Many are the discouraged job seekers and those that have settled for part-time work. The U.S. Labor Department shows that there are 79 million men in America between the ages of 25 and 65. Nearly 18 million of them, a record 22%, are out of work. This doesn’t include the underemployed. The impact is larger in African-American men.

The financial markets, like the government lawmakers, could care less about the deficit. Perhaps they should. As a result, investment rates in bonds is down. Almost all of them ignore engineered inflation which pays off central bankers to the tune of about 10% yearly, the real loss in buying power for the nation. In the meantime, the official inflation rate is a “convenient” 3% most years. Powers that be project an inflation rate 2.3% yearly for the next 30 years. Dreamland. Because of what is really a stagflation economy, falling prices and deflation of the dollar are more likely.

Wall Street and multinational capitalism seems to be in robust condition, to the cost of everyone but them. Corporate profit margins have reached record levels at 36% as the average American is short circuited entirely. These profits have never been so high since record keeping began. These figures are much the same as they were in the Reagan administration.

More than half of the national budget funds defense (don’t forget the wars), national debt interest and Social Security/Medicare. Politicians are eyeballing cuts on the latter, often silent as a senior political voice fades away. Don’t kid yourself. You’ll pay for seniors and the disabled one way or the other. Don’t kid yourself about the other major expenses either. Meanwhile, the national budget has climbed steadily for decades in the 6% to 10% range, much higher than the professed inflation rate.

There are no easy answers beyond beginning to live within our means as a nation. For years, Americans had forgotten about this necessity, encouraged by the system to spend endlessly, until the recession hit us between the eyes. Only bankers, multinationals and Wall Street have profited in their own economic bubble. Government has forgotten what economic balance and locally productive jobs mean, threatening to destroy their own system of weights and balances with unfettered spending and wars overseas, designed to keep terrorist attacks overseas and out of America. We have created our own reality. Are we willing to change?

October 5, 2008

U.S. Government Plans New Cyber Security

To highlight National Cyber Security Month, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff expressed his desire for an aggressive computer infrastructure that would provide an aggressive defense, much like an anti-aircraft weapon.

The initial effort of the federal government, often referred to as Einstein, was designed protect the government computer network from internet and computer attacks by limiting the number of portals to government computer systems and searching for signs of cyber tampering.

Einstein 2.0 is a new system being tested to detect computer intrusions as they happen in real time. How strange when Chertoff announced that would like to see a program that looked for early indication of tampering and stop that tampering before any further efforts could be made. Isn’t that what Einstein 2.0 is all about? Apparently, even Einstein 2.0 is not strong enough medicine for Chertoff.

For years, government information has been compromised. Notable was an event made public in 2003 where Chinese government hackers routinely entered National Security Computers. Chertoff is fearful of terrorist activity that could “cause potentially very serious havoc” to government systems. This says nothing of the potentially secret and private data that would be lost to an enemy attacker forever. He plans on making the investment now instead of waiting for a catastrophe.

He admits that since the internet is seen as a place of freedom and privacy, coming in and taking over the national internet would create a great deal of discomfort. “We are deliberately going slowly because we recognize that the issue of government involvement in the Internet is fraught with all kinds of potential concerns and potential anxieties about not having the government have a big-foot impact on an area of communication and commerce that has traditionally been viewed as really independent and free.”

The Bush administration released a new National Cyber Security Initiative in January 2008 that spelled out increased security for federal government computer systems. Current anti-virus and firewall protection is not seen as robust enough. The other Bush plan in the security initiative is to develop cooperative measures with the private sector to address threats to businesses. This includes not only protection from hackers, but also from counterfeit parts, which an individual or another nation could use to create computer vulnerabilities in the United States.

One item is being publicly overlooked. The reality is that with the current complexity of programs today, a system could be easily compromised on the inside by savvy programmers. Sending computer and data work overseas as well as using foreign workers with temporary visas are highly questionable in a time when security seems to be the chief concern of some governmental authorities. Yet, that is exactly what U.S. industry and government continues to do, subverting the U.S. employment market with the pretense of saving money and failing to mandate secure procedures. How will a program that is written in a foreign land by foreign programmers meet the real security test. The best security program can be easily compromised by internal or planted terrorists. Keep in mind that one man’s terrorist is another man’s hero.

The U.S. government is clearly interested in stepping up surveillance and protection in the name of security. Do we trust them enough to do the job right using taxpayer money or does the U.S. government have any business meddling with internet any more than they do now? ~ E. Manning

Related articles:

New Surveillance Law Threatens American Privacy
Does Government Surveillance Harm Society?
Surveillance and National Security: Where is America Going?
Domestic Spying Threat Continues

July 8, 2008

The Fed: Power and Protection Rules

The Federal Reserve, with new power in hand, intends to issue new rules next week aimed at protecting future home buyers from scandalous lending practices. The media has proclaimed the new rules are the most sweeping response to a housing crisis that has propelled foreclosures to record highs. Considering what is happening to American home buyers, this might considered to be true. The most sweeping response has been the bailout of Wall Street beginning with Bear Stearns in this writer’s humble opinion.

The fact is that there are plenty of regulations. Regulations did not stop bankers from breaking the law with predatory loans, nor stopped investors from (more…)

January 11, 2008

The Joy of Electronic Passports

Filed under: government, money, passport, security — Tags: , , , , , , , , — digitaleconomy @ 12:00 am

passportchip.jpgThe U.S. passport is almost ready to join the digital age. After more than three years of research, discussion and the typical indecision expected, the State Department has finalized most of the technical and logistical details of new, supposedly tamper-proof passports embedded with a smart-card chip. This “contactless smart chip and antenna” is flexible enough to embed in the cover of a standard passport booklet. These electronic issue passports have supposedly been available through the U.S. Passport Website, but have not yet entered the mainstream just yet.

Proponents of the new passport say (more…)

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