Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Extend and Pretend Until We're Gone

Growth Forecasts, Warns New Downturn Would be Tougher to Tame” by S. Reddy and B. Davis Oct 9, 2012 A1
The IMF’s World Economic Outlook report warned: “Risks for a serious global slowdown are alarmingly high”

Majia here: Earlier in October I reported that world trade is slowing

Monday October 1, 2012 Wall Street Journal p. A1: "Trade Slows Around World: Declining Growth in Exports Dims Prospects for U.S. Economy; Europe Cuts Imports"

Global trade is stalling, dimming prospects that exports will buoy the U.S. economy in the coming months....  

U.S. exports to the European Union fell in July after largely holding up for two years, while overall export growth slowed.... The Port of Los Angeles, the nation's largest, said the volume of loaded outbound containers fell 10.% in August from a year earlier....

Shanghai, the world's largest port by volume, saw a 6% decline in shipping containers passing its quays in August, compared with a year earlier....

[end excerpt]

Majia here: Trade slows and the banking sector is more leveraged than ever with derivatives:

Big Bank Derivative Bets Nearly Double In Six Years By Peter G. Miller October 4th, 2012 OurBroker http://www.ourbroker.com/news/big_bank_derivatives_double_100412/

[Excerpted] America’s major banks now hold derivatives with a notational worth of $225 trillion – about a third of the world total. No kidding. Trillion.

And that’s up from a mere $120 trillion six years ago
. Rather than being weened off derivatives, America’s big banks are more deeply entrenched then ever.

Majia here: In my opinion the recession never ended. How could the recession have ended when unemployed people cannot find jobs and when household income continues to contract:

"Laid off workers find work at less pay" Christopher S. Rugabeer The Arizona Republic (8/25/2012), D1.
[Excerpt] "Only 56% of Americans laid off from January 2009 through December 2011 had found jobs by the start of this year, the Labor Department said Friday. More than half of them took jobs with lower pay. One-third took pay cuts of 20% or more.
Dean Baker, an economist and co-director of the Center for Economic Policy research "noted that of the 6.1 million people who lost jobs from 2009 through 2011, only 15% of them have found new ones with equal or higher pay."
[end excerpt]

[Excerpted] Household income is down sharply since the recession ended three years ago, according to a report released Thursday, providing another sign of the stubborn weakness of the economic recovery. From June 2009 to June 2012, inflation-adjusted median household income fell 4.8 percent, to $50,964, according to a report by Sentier Research, a firm headed by two former Census Bureau officials.

Incomes have dropped more since the beginning of the recovery than they did during the recession itself, when they declined 2.6 percent, according to the report, which analyzed data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. The recession, the most severe since the Great
Depression, lasted from December 2007 to June 2009.

Overall, median income is 7.2 percent below its December 2007 level and 8.1 percent below where it stood in January 2000, when it was $55,470, according to the report. [end excerpt]

Majia here: One major factor which has extended the great recession has been government unwillingness to prosecute the criminals responsible for the financial crisis.

There have been plenty of criminal activities – fraud – in a wide range of financial instruments and measures, ranging from Libor to fraud in the municipal debt auctions. http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/libor-suits-mount-but-fraud-corruption.html

Yet, rather than prosecute the banksters, the government has assisted them through quantitative easing, 0 interest rates, and by offering loans to investors (via Freddie Mac) to buy homes in foreclosure when it would be far simpler to simply help pay down (not off) the mortgages for upside down home owners.

The EXTEND AND PRETEND approach characterizes nearly all US government responses to ongoing financial and environmental crises.

Ongoing financial collapse is slow, but exhibits momentum that no amount of government extend and pretend can hide.

Ongoing environmental collapse is far scarier in my opinion and yet government persists in the extend and pretend approach for the truly horrendous disasters occurring as a result of Fukushima, the BP oil disaster, and the contamination of ground water by fracking.

The BP oil “leak” cannot be contained, as a recent headline from Enenews illustrates:
NOAA: Mystery sheen near BP’s relief wells from Gulf disaster — Silvery streamers up to several miles long — “Crude Oil Likely” (MAP) http://enenews.com/noaa-mystery-sheens-appearing-near-relief-wells-drilled-by-bp-silvery-streamers-up-to-several-miles-long

I guess Matt Simmons was correct when he warned that the ocean floor was fractured. http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/matt-simmons-is-dead.html

Perhaps the ocean fracturing and methane release are responsible for the ever-enlarging sinkhole disaster ongoing in LA. http://enenews.com/1150a-et-500-square-feet-falls-into-giant-sinkhole-towards-pipeline-on-sw-side-clean-up-halted

I really cannot get over the fact that the government has been allowing companies to inject toxic waste into underground caverns. http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/injection-wells-and-salt-dome-collapse.html

No doubt the corexit is still being employed to hide the evidence of this ongoing mega-catastrophe. Mother Jones reported in April of 2012 that the corexit is still present on Gulf beaches http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/04/microbes-arent-eating-oil-gulf-beaches-thanks-corexit-dispersant

Extend and pretend for BP and the Gulf oil industry are prioritized over the long term health and welfare of the people and animals of the Gulf region. See this excellent discussion here http://gosrc.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/the-gulf-of-mexico-is-dying-part-ii/

The Fukushima disaster also illustrates this extend and pretend phenomenon.

Tepco learned from BP how to create the appearance of transparency using webcams that hide and deflect attention more than they reveal. Who knows what dark secrets are being hidden about emissions from Japan's broken nuclear plants?

Still, the Tepco and TBS-JNN webcams have revealed that the crisis is far from over and Tepco was forced to admit this summer that millions of becquerels of cesium are still being released hourly. I presume that the real figure has several more zeros.

But since the public is distracted by growing impoverishment and mindless popular culture in both Japan and the US, governments and their corporate sponsors have simply extended the narrative of “disaster resolved and no harm done.”

On Monday the WSJ had a special section on alternative energy, which included a section on nuclear power. The pro-nuke piece, written by a can-do looking young man, asserted that the biological effects of radiation have been overstated. After all, he claimed, no one has died from Fukushima radiation. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443995604578001973671148176.html

Of course, we have no idea how many people have died from heart attacks, cancer, and leukemia from Fukushima because those stats are being manipulated, already.

Twenty years from now the official stats will no doubt hold that less than 20 people have died from Fukushima radiation even though the real number may number in the millions of fatalities.

Extend and pretend. That is the game.

Will the people begin to notice that the environmental collapse is escalating when their children are born with debilitating diseases and those around them develop inexplicably virulent illnesses?

Perhaps the collective human consciousness is so slow to react to threats that are not immediately empirically present that we will not connect the ongoing environmental collapse with the act of burying our dead.

Perhaps we will extend and pretend until there are none of us left to maintain the narrative.

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