The End Really Is Near: Here’s a Play-By-Play of the Coming Economic Collapse as Predicted by 5 Economists

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Recoveries generally don’t die of old age. So what’s going to kill ours? Five economists call it like they see it Since June, 2009, the pit of one of the biggest recessions in American history, the U.S. economy has been growing, slowly but steadily. That’s just over nine years of uninterrupted growth.

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Since June, 2009, the pit of one of the biggest recessions in American history, the U.S. economy has been growing, slowly but steadily. That’s just over nine years of uninterrupted growth. If the good times roll for another year — and most economists expect they will — this expansionary period will go down as the longest ever in American history, surpassing the 120-month-long period during the ‘90s tech boom. But don’t be so quick to pop bubbly and send the confetti raining down. There’s precedence for unprecedented growth: It always ends. The economy, of course, moves in cycles.

And no matter how you slice it, it would seem there’s only so much more climbing before a fall. But what will set off a downturn? How bad will it be? And when will it actually happen? To answer these questions and more, Salon consulted with five economists, three of whom (Peter Schiff, Steve Keen and Dean Baker) predicted the 2008 financial crisis before it hit.


— Read on

Posted by The NON-Conformist


Man behind Janus case says public unions will have to sell themselves better after Supreme Court ruling

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The Illinois state worker behind a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that public workers cannot be forced to pay union dues said Thursday morning that the unions will be forced to do a better job selling themselves.

Man behind Janus case says public unions will have to sell themselves better after Supreme Court ruling

Image: (Carolyn Kaster, AP)

“A lot of these unions have asked for, and received, the ability to inclusively, collectively bargain for everybody,” Mark Janus said during an interview with Albany radio. “Now that this decision has come down, they’re going to have to come out and sell a product, if you will, and they will have to prove to the individuals that there is a definite benefit for being part of the union.”

Janus — who said the decision will save him about $50 a month — said it was more about the issue than the money. He called it “mainly a matter of choice.”

More from NY Daily News

Posted by Libergirl

Black women candidates feel slighted by Democrats

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An illustration of a donkey blindfolded

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

There are at least 43 Democratic black women running as challengers for U.S. House seats, but only one — Lauren Underwood of Illinois — has the backing of the national campaign organization.

Why it matters: Black women are a powerful voting bloc for the Democratic Party as they work to capture the House and Senate. In 2016, 94% of black women voted for Clinton over Trump. In Alabama’s special election, they helped Doug Jones win — 98% of them voted for him, compared to just 34% of white women. Now they’re running for office in overwhelming numbers, but some feel the party isn’t investing in them.

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The big picture: Right now, there are only 19 black women serving in Congress. Only 67 women of color overall have been members of Congress since 1964.

Be smart: The conversation about the party’s support of the black community — both as voters and candidates — is not going away any time soon. Just look at Cynthia Nixon’s gubernatorial campaign in New York, where she’s getting headlines like “Cynthia Nixon’s Political Run Should Be Taken Seriously Because She Takes Black Voters Seriously.”

Black women running say their enthusiasm isn’t matched by groups like the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Even the Congressional Black Caucus is backing Michael Capuano, the Democratic incumbent in Massachusetts’ 7th district, over his challenger Ayanna Pressley, who’s a black woman.

  • There’s been a focus on the progressive vs. moderate fight within the Democratic Party, making some feel overlooked. “I think some of the other groups [like progressives] have gotten more attention than any racial group,” Kimberly Hill Knott, who’s running for Congress in Michigan, told Axios. I don’t hear the national party talking about an urban agenda.”
  • But one progressive candidate who is also black, Kerri Harris, who’s running for U.S. Senate in Delaware, said she’s had no recognition from the party. “They can keep pretending like we don’t exist or come out against us as candidates, but they’ll realize the best way to uphold our Democracy is to encourage it.”

One big challenge: Politics is driven by money. If you’re not raising a lot of it, you’re viewed as unelectable. But raising money as a first-time candidate and a black woman is often half the battle, according to the candidates interviewed by Axios.

“These are organizations that are meant to help make sure black interests are represented and yet everybody is looking at who’s more electable based on money.”
— Alabama congressional candidate Audri Scott Williams

The other side: While some candidates want more from the national party, black women were praised at the DNC’s annual Women’s Leadership Forum this year, with Democrats like Rep. Maxine Waters and DNC Vice Chair Grace Meng calling them the “backbone” of the party.

  • The DNC’s Political and Organizing Director Amanda Brown Lierman said in a statement: “While the DNC does not endorse in contested primaries, we work with our state parties to make sure first-time candidates have the tools and information they need.” She added: “African-American women are the backbone of the Democratic Party, and we know we can’t take them for granted. That’s why we’ve made meaningful investments in our state parties in order to turn out and engage women of color.”
  • The DCCC didn’t address the number of black women on their Red to Blue list, but said they’ll keep working on diversity of candidates because it’s “crucial to winning back the House.” DCCC spokesman Kamau Marshall added: “The DCCC is proud to support the historic number of women and African American candidates running for Congress, who will bring a wealth of knowledge and cultural competence to the political table for Democrats.”

By the numbers: A recent collection of polls (from the Associated Press/NORC Center and CBS News) shows the diversity among black voters. Only 1% identify as Republicans, 92% disapprove of President Trump, and the 59% who identify as Democrats is smaller than the percentage of black voters who actually vote for Democratic candidates.

The bottom line: Black women candidates want more from the Democratic Party, but Democrats might not have to worry much about how they’ll vote in 2018 or 2020.

By Alexi McCammond/Axios

Posted by The NON-Conformist


Sears To Close Another 72 Stores As Sales Continue To Plunge

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Sears will close another 72 stores as sales plunge and losses grow. The beleaguered retailer said that it has identified about 100 stores that are no longer turning a profit, and the majority of those locations will be shuttered soon. Sears lost $424 million, or $3.93 per share, for the period…

via Sears To Close Another 72 Stores As Sales Continue To Plunge — CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Posted by Libergirl

Carson’s New Plan Raises Rent for Millions in Public Housing

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Millions of families living in federally subsidized public housing would pay more for rent under a proposal unveiled by Ben Carson

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson talks to reporters at the Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles on April 24, 2018.

Image: Time Magazine

Millions of families living in federally subsidized public housing would pay more for rent under a proposal unveiled Wednesday by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.

The proposal would have to be approved by Congress, where it could touch off a debate over how best to support some of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable families. Democrats will likely put up fierce resistance and some members of the Republican majority will be reluctant to embrace it ahead of midterm elections in the fall.

— Read on

Posted by Libergirl

Venezuela town issues own currency amid cash shortages

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Local officials said that the currency would make it easier for residents and visitors to trade during the town’s festivities, which start on Monday.

They said rampant hyperinflation and a scarcity of bolivares, the national currency, had affected trade in Elorza.

The new currency can be bought at the mayor’s office via bank transfer.

The paper bills feature the face of independence hero José Andrés Elorza and, like the town, are named after him.

“People don’t have bolivares to spend, that’s why we have created bills of two denominations… and we’ve already sold 2bn bolivares worth,” mayor Solfreddy Solórzano, from the governing PSUV party, said.

Local businessman Canuto García explained that the town came up with the idea after it noticed that at local festivities in nearby cities “money did not flow”

More from BBC News

Posted by Libergirl

Dark Money Then, Trumpocalypse Now

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A team led by University of Massachusetts professor emeritus Thomas Ferguson reveals that “a giant wave of dark money” flowed into Donald Trump’s campaign coffers in the last months of the 2016 election, enabling him to go heads up with Hillary Clinton’s $1.4 billion juggernaut in the final stages of the contest. The identity of Trump’s late-campaign godfathers is “shrouded,” according to a paper authored by Ferguson and his collaborators, Paul Jorgensen and Jie Chen, but all signs point to “a sudden influx of money from private equity and hedge funds.” The cash infusion brought Trump’s total spending up to $861 million. Although that’s still substantially less than Hillary’s total outlays, Trump’s dark money arrived just in time to capitalize on Clinton’s failure to mount an effective blitz in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Thus, it wasn’t the Russians that brought us Trump, but the usual suspects: private equity and hedge funds bandits. Ferguson notes that a number of private equity managers “who do not appear in the visible roster of campaign donors” began to show up “prominently around the President” after his upset win—masters of dark money, creeping into the light to claim their rewards.
Prof. Ferguson specializes in tracing corporate money to deduce the political leanings and schemings of the various corporate sectors. During the Obama administration, Ferguson’s research showed Silicon Valley and the high-tech sector were Barack Obama’s most reliable corporate allies, in terms of campaign contributions and political support. (And he, in turn, dutifully served the digital oligarchs.) The new study indicates that Trump owes a huge debt to the vultures of financial speculation. But then, virtually every corporate sector is seeing its wish-lists fulfilled under this president, who over the past year has proven his loyalty to his class.
Or, some would argue that he has been bludgeoned into that posture. Certainly, the bulk of the ruling class and their attendants, interpreters and enforcers were horrified that the Orange Menace might destabilize the two-capitalist-party system, undermine the free global flow of capital and jobs, and allow the momentum of the military offensive begun by Barack Obama in 2011 to falter. That threat to the imperial order has passed. Trump’s savage assault on the very concept of regulation; his willingness to renegotiate NAFTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership; and the rise of the generals as both day-to-day and overall policy managers in his White House, are “normalizing” Trump. The Republican tax cut—a looting spree—although not engineered by Trump, redounds to his benefit in 1 percent circles. As their unearned gains accrue, the Lords of Capital appreciate the uses of The Donald. Orange is the new normal—a measure of how insane late stage capitalism has become.

Democrats are not happy, sensing that their partnership with the clandestine services to eject Trump by non-electoral means is losing steam by the day. After almost two years, the predicate offense—that Trump and the Russians colluded in hacking the Democrats—has not been proven, or even convincingly presented. By now, the media-CIA-Democrat version of “resistance” is hoping that Trump will somehow self-destruct through some act or statement that is beyond the pale—except that nobody knows where “beyond” is.
Decent people thought Hillary Clinton had stepped beyond civilized discourse when she greeted news of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s murder, cackling, “We came, we saw, he died.” Nothing so vile and savage had passed the lips of any ranking diplomat of a major power since World War 2, yet Clinton not only kept her job, but would have become president were it not for the late campaign cash infusions from hedge funders to Donald Trump. Clinton’s murder-drenched cackle was a more shocking affront to civilization than any outburst yet recorded by Trump—a man not clever enough to paraphrase Julius Caesar—including his barroom cracker commentary on “shithole” countries.

The corporate Demo-press case for a Trump-Putin axis looks more and more like a Potemkin construct—a daily assemblage of front page portals to nowhere, all façade with no back. One must eat and breathe manure to pull the likes of Donald Trump even deeper into the muck, from below—but that has been the mission the premiere corporate media have assigned themselves. Whatever aura of fairness and credibility that still clings to their filthy corporate carcasses, is irrevocably fading. And that is a good thing, just as it is a good thing that President Trump is despised by about half the country; and that Hillary Clinton is even less popular than Trump; and that the global public’s trust in the United States has plummeted dramatically under Trump’s presidency. What true radical does not wish for the dissolution of the mad pox of U.S. imperialism and all its interlocking institutions, with hope that this will signal the end of half a millennium of Europe’s rapacious wars against the rest of the planet, and of capitalism’s war against the Earth, itself?

In truth, imperialism, internally and externally, shudders under the weight—not of Donald Trump’s orange mane, but of its own contradictions. Trump is an excretion of the system. Late stage capitalism is the mother of monstrosities, subverting science itself—the sum total of humankind’s acquired knowledge and labor—to the enslavement of the species; the path down which Amazon, Google, Apple and the other techno-omnivores are rushing, propelled by the same for-profit engine that carved up our ancestors’ worlds into edible chunks for a rich, white few.

The unraveling of this system is the overarching story of our times, a saga of great crime—and real resistance. The oppressors’ media cannot tell this story, so they must smother reality with a daily narrative of lies: “counter-speech,” as Google, Twitter and Facebook have dubbed their new policy. They want to monopolize (and, of course, monetize) the human story—no dissenting versions allowed. One immediate aim is to disappear Black Agenda Report and a short list of other left publications, and then move on to other white-outs.

(It is really quite amazing that senior and junior imperial heads of state—Obama, Merkel, Macron, May—and titans of industry—Bezos, Zuckerberg, Pichai—were so quick to affix their own imprimaturs to the crude hit piece put out by the red-baiters at PropOrNot, and showcased on the front page of the Washington Post, back in late November 2016. The combined audiences of the dozen or so targeted lefty sites would have little impact on a national electoral contest. But again, empire demands a monopoly.)

The main objective is to make endless war palatable, as imperialism attempts to bomb, blockade, occupy and bluster its way out of a cascade of crises. Unable to compete with the Chinese command economy, its “soft” power exhausted, the U.S. empire plays the only strong card it has left: its massive military, now centered on a special operations force roughly as large as the entire French Army. War becomes both the means of imperial survival and justification for its continued existence: the how and the why of empire.

That’s why there is no such thing as a “resistance” that is not loudly and consistently anti-war.

By Glen Ford/truthdig

Posted by The NON-Conformist


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