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Signs of the Times for Wed, 01 Mar 2006

Signs Editorial:

Stephen Pizzo
28 Feb 06

Is something happening? After nearly six years of hoping something would happen, I am resisting the temptation to accept that suddenly something really is happening.

But the signs are coming in strong suddenly. It's getting harder for me to deny it. Something is afoot. Something long overdue.

Here are a few recent clues.

Clue #1:

Neocon architect says: 'Pull it down'

NeoConserativism has failed the United States and needs to be replaced by a more realistic foreign policy agenda, according to one of its prime architects....Francis Fukuyama, who wrote the best-selling book The End of History and was a member of the neoconservative project, now says that, both as a political symbol and a body of thought, it has "evolved into something I can no longer support". He says it should be discarded on to history's pile of discredited ideologies.  (Full Story)

Fukuyama goes on to single out Neocon One, George W. Bush, his economic policies and the war in Iraq, for special criticism.

Fukuyama -- who once supported the war in Iraq, now says it's the wrong sort of war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time:

"The most basic misjudgment was an overestimation of the threat facing the United States from radical Islamism," he argues. "It seems very unlikely that history will judge either the intervention [in Iraq] itself or the ideas animating it kindly".

Finally there was this jaw-dropping statement from the man who created the Neocon movement :

Fukuyama says the neocon movements' key players in this administration  "are Leninists who believe that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will. Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik version, and it has returned as farce when practiced by the United States".

Holy cow.  The Bushies being called pack of Leninists by their own guru. 

Something is happening.

Clue #2:

If you have more than two discretionary nickels to rub together you've heard of PIMCO, the investment firm. PIMCO is hardly a hotbed of socialist thought. The company is one of the largest investment firms in the world, with more than $590 billion in assets under management.

So, when PIMCO's managing director, Bill Gross, talks about money, those with money listen. And Bill did just that this week on PIMCO's own web site.

“A copy of the annual Economic Report of the President arrived at my desk the other day....  It’s not so much that the report was a compilation of untruths or even half-truths. It’s just that it failed to tell the truth, the whole truth, and most definitely nothing but the truth. If there were WMD in our economic future, you’d be hard pressed to find them here. Mild innuendos about global and demographic challenges yes, but nothing that couldn’t or wouldn’t be overcome with good old American ingenuity, hard work, and a fawning foreign investment public nearly trampling each other to get their hands on attractive U.S. "investments."  Nowhere to be found was the catchy phrase à la Tennessee Williams referring to the "kindness of strangers" or a suggestion of "living on borrowed time."

Ah, but that, it seems to me, was the critical rub. Have we, can we, will we use capital to foster future growth or must we earmark it for future liabilities that have been under-reserved? Have we borrowed from the future to pay for today’s party and will our future creditors allow us to pay it back on our own terms with low yields and a strong dollar? While the gang that couldn’t shoot (or talk) straight expressed few doubts, I as you can probably tell, have mine.  (Full Essay Here)
(Audio Version Here)

Well! How about that? A guy who manages over half a trillion bucks of other people's money saying such startling things right out loud!  Normally Wall Street folk avoid saying anything that might spook the sheep. They like to play up the positive and brush aside the negative. It's only when disaster looms too close for comfort that they shout “fire” -- usually over their shoulder after they clear the exit first.

Bill Gross' essay is chilling confirmation that the Bush economy is but a hollow tree. It may look okay on the surface, but one strong storm and it'll come crashing to earth.  I've suspected it was so from the very start. Now it's being said by folks with a vested interest in the tree. Something is happening.

Clue #3

And then there's all the talk suddenly of America's emerging "oligarchy." Americans had thought such social termites were unique to former Soviet block nations. But apparently when George looked into Putin's eyes and saw his soul – he also saw a new future for America as well. An America carved up like a juicy Angus cow, the prime cuts going to prime contractors and what's left on the floor split between the rest of us.

Now the rest of us are finally shouting “foul!”

Here's a clip from a great Web newsletter that tracks the growing American wealth disparity. It's appropriately named, “Too Much!”

New Data on America's Wealth

"Two years ago, the Federal Reserve Board had 4,522 American families interviewed, typically for 80 minutes each, about their personal household finances. Last week, the Fed unveiled a summary of the data from this massive survey effort, and the new numbers tell an old story.

America's economy, the Fed data make clear, is only working for the wealthy. Everyone else is treading water — or even falling behind....The new Fed Survey of Consumer Finances — the latest installment of research the Fed conducts every three years — offers the federal government's best update on income and wealth distribution in the United States. That distribution continues to skew.

Back in 1995, typical families in America's richest 10 percent held 697 times more net worth than typical families in the nation's poorest 25 percent. In 2004, the new Fed data reveal, the net worths of top 10 percent families outpaced the net worths of families in the bottom 25 percent by 841 times."

Yes, something is happening.

The Bushies got away with a lot of lies over the past five and half years, and for that we must blame not only them, but ourselves for letting it happen, and our media, which failed its own prime directive – to find the truth and report it.

But lies are not enough any longer, because new lies must now compete with the very ugly and obvious physical truths their earlier lies have created:

- Hard working Americans are poorer than they were, and it looks as though they are going to get poorer yet before anyone comes along able to get us back on track.

- Iraq is a mess, always has been, always will be, and they just wasted $600 billion re-learning that.

- Homeland security is another lie. We are not one iota safer today than we were on September 10, 2001. We now know that the entire Homeland security business was just one big, fabulously expensive, bureaucratic Chinese fire drill. A lot of noise and fury, signifying nada. How do we know that now?

- Katrina,
- The moronic port deal,
- The gutting of states National Guard units,
- The Keystone cops panic last week over that non-ricin attack,
- Osama still at large,
- Mullah Omar, still at large,
- Iran perking right along on a nuclear weapons program,
- North Korea is stacking up new nukes like cordwood...
- And this just in:

Veterans May Face Health Care Cuts in 2008
At least tens of thousands of veterans with non-critical medical issues could suffer delayed or even denied care in coming years to enable President Bush to meet his promise of cutting the deficit in half — if the White House is serious about its proposed budget.

 Had enough?

The bottom line --  unless you were in a top tax bracket, owned a defense contracting firm, made pharmaceuticals, or pumped oil, you've lost ground since the Bushies arrived in town.

And – here's the biggest laugh of all – it was those who have suffered most – middle class working, religious conservatives – who put these morons into power, not once, but twice. (So much for intelligent design.)

But the worm is finally turning. Better late than too late.

The November mid-term elections could be Phase I of a two-part house cleaning. Recently I spoke to a former Republican member of the California Assembly who told me, “This November I will vote for any Democrat running against any Republican for the US Congress. It's just gotten too out of hand up there with the GOP running the whole show.”

And that from a life-long Republican politician!

Yes, something IS happening.  And only one thing can screw it up – old-school Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Joey Lieberman, Rahm Emanuel, et al.

And, rest assured,  they are working furiously on doing just that.

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