Printer Friendly Version
Fixed link to latest Page


"You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism." - Cindy Sheehan

P I C T U R E   O F  T H E  D A Y

©2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte

Signs Economic Commentary
Donald Hunt
October 24, 2005

Gold closed at 468.80 dollars an ounce, down 0.7% from $472.20 at the previous Friday's close.  The dollar closed at 0.8369 euros, up 1.1% from 0.8279 euros a week earlier. That puts the euro at 1.1950 dollars, compared to 1.2079 at the end of the previous week. Gold in euros, then, closed at 392.30 an ounce, up 0.4% from 390.93 on the previous Friday. Oil closed at 60.63 dollars a barrel on Friday, down 5.2% from $63.76 the Friday before. Oil in euros worked out to 50.74 euros a barrel, down 4.0% from 52.79 for the week. The gold/oil ratio closed at 7.73 up 4.3% from 7.41 at the previous Friday's close. In the United States stock market, the Dow closed at 10,215.22 on Friday, down 0.8% from10,292.31 for the week. The NASDAQ closed at 2,082.21, up 0.8% from 2,064.83 at the previous Friday's close. The yield on the ten-year U.S. Treasury note closed at 4.38%, down ten basis points (hundredths of a percent) from 4.48 the week before.

Workers in the United States have been stunned in the past couple of weeks by the new Delphi Auto Parts contract, which cut wages in half. Delphi used to be part of General Motors before it was spun off. The auto parts industry has been extremely competitive for the past generation with competition from numerous offshore suppliers and with the implementation of just-in-time inventory processes throughout the auto industry.  With the last two remaining U.S. auto manufacturers, Ford and General Motors, losing billions, they have passed the pressure down to the suppliers, who employ a sizable percentage of the total auto manufacturing workers in the country. In previous generations, it was the auto industry that led the way to high paying industrial manufacturing jobs in the United States.  It's founder, Henry Ford, gave his name to the era:, the Fordist era, where the wages of industrial workers, and by extension, white collar workers as well, were managed by the trade union system and by collective bargaining.  These wages were set high enough for the workers themselves to propel the economy with consumer spending. 

Now, all the mouthpieces of the ownership class are telling us that those days are over:

Ohio Delphi workers denounce company plan to halve wages and slash jobs

By a WSWS reporting team
15 October 2005

The bankruptcy filing of Delphi Automotive has set the stage for a historic rollback in the wages of American auto workers to levels, in real terms, not seen since the explosive struggles of the 1930s that gave birth to the industrial unions in auto and other basic industries. Delphi, the world's largest auto parts company, which was spun off from General Motors in 1999, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection a week ago, after demanding that the United Auto Workers union accept wage cuts of up to 60 percent, along with massive job cuts and brutal rollbacks in health and pension benefits.

Since then, Delphi Chairman and CEO Steve Miller has issued one provocative pronouncement after another on the theme that decent wages and benefits for auto workers - and manufacturing workers in general - are a thing of the past. One example: "Paying $65 an hour for somebody mowing the lawn at one of our plants is just not going to survive anywhere in Industrial America for very long. That's just a hard fact of life."

The Wall Street Journal hailed Miller's stand and took up the same theme in a column published Thursday under the headline "Showdown." The major organ of US finance wrote: "It marks a true reckoning for the traditional auto industry and the end of a 75-year-old way of life in America: that of the highly paid but unskilled worker."

Earlier in the week Miller announced that he would ask the bankruptcy court to void Delphi's contracts with its 33,000 unionized workers if the unions did not accept his demands, and predicted his wage cuts would be implemented by next spring.

These attacks will devastate industrial cities across the United States which have already seen tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs disappear over the last two decades. One of these cities is Dayton, Ohio, where Delphi employs 5,700 hourly and salaried workers. Four of Delphi's five plants in Dayton are on the company's list of "underperforming" facilities that face sale or closure.

Dayton has long been a center of auto parts manufacturing. In the early 1970s General Motors employed some 30,000 workers in the city making brakes, air conditioners, struts and other automotive parts. By 1995 that number had fallen to just 15,000. Following GM's spin-off of Delphi there was a further huge reduction in jobs.

Delphi workers currently contribute wages of $260 million annually to the local economy. In addition, dozens of Dayton-area companies employing thousands of workers are in the auto parts maker's supplier network. They could face bankruptcy if Delphi shuts down operations.

A WSWS reporting team visited the Delphi Chassis Needmore Road plant in Dayton and spoke to workers about the bankruptcy filing. Only some 1,200 workers remain at Delphi Chassis out of a workforce that once numbered 4,300. Because of years of downsizing, two thirds of Delphi workers have more than 20 years seniority. One of the central purposes of Delphi's bankruptcy filing is to obtain a court ruling terminating its pension obligations to unionized employees.

A Delphi worker, Robert, told the WSWS, "People are so stressed and sick of the situation that they can't get out of bed and come to work."

...The hefty bonuses awarded top Delphi executives prior to the bankruptcy evoked disgust from virtually every worker interviewed. Overall, there was a mood of anger and militancy, and a sense that the problem began with top management.
The following remarks were fairly typical: "What they are doing here at Delphi is crazy. This bunch is no good. There is too much money at the top. Those people are paid millions and don't work. Delphi has taken the profits we made them and invested in China, which made them more money and put us out of work."

Patricia said, "The place to start is at the top, the ones that have it and want more, while we workers at the bottom don't have anything. I have worked in three auto plants and for all the blood and sweat we have given the company, our reward has been pain."

In this situation, the leadership of the United Autoworkers has done everything it can to demoralize workers and convince them that resistance is hopeless. In a flier recently distributed at the plant, the union said it would limit its opposition to the courts. UAW officials insisted that the company was within its legal rights to seek the cancellation of the union contract due to its bankruptcy filing.

...Given the prostration of the UAW, few workers look to the union for a solution. At the same time, there is a sense that the attack on Delphi workers is part of a broader social problem.

Paul, a worker in his late 40s with 28 years seniority, said, "It's a real bad situation. Everything workers fought for in the last 70 years is being taken away. In 1996, GM decided they would crush the UAW and send everyone to the bottom. The government has done nothing to help working people. Now it looks like I will have to work until I am 65."

Mike told the WSWS, "I have 28 years service and will be cheated out of my pension. There seems to be a global scheme to put all the wealth in the hands of a few people, and in order to get the money and power they are taking everything workers have."

He connected the latest attack on Delphi workers with the war in Iraq and the policies of the Bush administration. "I am against wars. If every worker took the position, 'I will not kill another worker,' we could do away with war.

"They have spent $350 million on war in Iraq. That money could have been spent on jobs. The war is about oil and control of the world by the US government and European governments will help the US. The assault on democratic rights is almost a done deal now with the Patriot Act and other antidemocratic laws."

As all this has been happening, we U.S. workers have had as consolation the fantasy of moving to Europe, where workers have guaranteed pensions, healthcare and eight weeks vacation.  At least somewhere on the globe the average person gets a fair deal. But now global capitalism has begun to take those things away from European workers as well.  France is holding on, thanks to citizens who take to the streets and shut down the country as soon as the elite discusses even the smallest cutback. The situation in Germany looks bad, however:

Right-wing Social Democrat Steinbrück named finance minister in German grand coalition

By Dietmar Henning
15 October 2005

The nomination Wednesday of the former North Rhine-Westphalian prime minister, Peer Steinbrück (Social Democratic Party - SPD), to the post of finance minister in Germany's new grand coalition is a clear signal that future government policy will involve new welfare cuts and a further redistribution of wealth from the needy to the rich. At the start of the week the leadership of the SPD agreed to form a grand coalition with the conservative union parties, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU).

Steinbrück is a close political friend of the outgoing economics and labor minister, Wolfgang Clement (SPD). He is also a calculating apparatchik, who throughout his career has oriented his policies to the economic and financial guidelines laid down by Germany's employers' associations. He has little interest in the social implications of his decisions and could just as well have pursued his political career within the CDU.

...Already during his spell as economics minister in Schleswig-Holstein in 1993 Steinbrück promised a policy based on "continuity and reliability, freed from ideological blinkers" as well as an "economic policy without subventions."

Since then, Steinbrück has made a name for himself as a thoroughly dependable representative of the business lobby and has never sought to hide his affinities with conservative and "free-market" parties such as the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the CDU. He is a financial administrator for whom balance sheets are far more important than social conditions. He describes his politics as "straightforward" and himself as a "man of the executive."

Steinbrück expressly defended the outgoing German government's attacks on welfare rights and the unemployed - the Hartz reforms. In 1999, in his function as NRW economics minister, he allowed the payment of non-tariff low wages as part of a pilot project aimed at an "effective struggle against unemployment."

In financial questions, Steinbrück is an advocate of drastic cuts. Along the lines of the motto: the state cannot spend more than it has, he gives precedence to budget cuts over increasing revenue by raising taxes for big business and the rich.

During his period as prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Steinbrück introduced the largest budget-cutting package in the history of the state. The budgets for 2004 and 2005, which the NRW cabinet officially agreed in September 2003, contained cuts amounting to over €2 billion. Virtually all state departments were forced to accept drastic cuts, with many social institutions receiving much reduced subsidies. Steinbrück's finance minister at the time, Jochen Dieckmann (SPD), who shares Steinbrück's political views, admitted that these measures would lead to the loss of jobs.

Dieckmann and Steinbrück also ordered state officials to make their own "savings contribution." Working time was increased from 38.5 hours to 41 hours per week and holiday pay was cut. When confronted with numerous protests, Steinbrück defended his cuts by declaring there was "no alternative."

The Koch-Steinbrück commission

His determination not to give way to popular opposition is not the only qualification which Steinbrück brings to his new post as federal finance minister in a grand coalition. He also has direct experience in cooperating with the CDU.

Together with the prime minister of Hesse, Roland Koch (CDU), he developed the so-called Koch-Steinbrück commission paper. In September 2003 the two prime ministers submitted suggestions for the "biggest program for the dismantling of subsidies in postwar German history." The cuts were planned to take place over a period of three years and the paper was entitled "Dismantling subsidy based on consensus."

They proposed uniformly slashing virtually all department subsidies by 4 percent and stressed that the cuts could be extended beyond the initially proposed three years. The resulting cuts would have amounted to around €15.8 billion for the years 2004 to 2006 alone. Cuts in tax benefits for ordinary workers, amounting to savings of another €6 billion, were also in their sights. "However, we could obtain no agreement on these measures," Koch and Steinbrück were forced to concede two years ago.

Barely an area of administration was to be left untouched. A series of basic tax benefits for ordinary earners, such as travel allowances, were to be slashed. Even the "tax exemption for foreign orchestras and artistic groups" (savings of €5 million over three years) was included in the package.

Also lined up were cuts to subsidies for the coal mining industry, which has traditionally played a major role in the economy of NRW, as well as to the shipbuilding industry. Also targeted were subsidies for social facilities (including agencies for consumer protection, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, theatres, museums, institutes for vocational and apprentice training, juvenile welfare services and other welfare organizations). All in all, over €1.5 billion per year was to be saved in these various departments.

The "room for maneuver" created by the savings was to be used "for an additional lowering of taxes" which would be "at the same time an indispensable contribution to the stabilization of growth and jobs." In other words: cuts in social benefits would pay for windfalls for business interests and the well-off.

These cuts were to be implemented regardless of "resistance." The paper stated that "the organized resistance of groups and federations affected has succeeded time and time again in defending their own advantages at the expense of the general public." It continued: "[T]he current state of the public budget provides an opportunity and at the same time a challenge to implement subsidy dismantlement against such resistance."

Koch and Steinbrück were unable to introduce their policy a few years ago, but their proposals throw light on what can be expected from Germany's newly formed grand coalition: a further redistribution of wealth from the needy to the rich against the "organized resistance" of those affected.

The hopelessness of the situation for the EU countries is underlined by the fact that Steinbrück is a member of the socialist party and by the fact that the German voters rejected neo-liberal reforms in the last election. 

And, to make the effects of falling wages even worse, inflation is up.

Inflation Soars on Surge in Energy Prices


Inflation at the wholesale level last month soared by the largest amount in more than 15 years, reflecting the surge in energy prices that occurred following the Gulf Coast hurricanes.

The Labor Department reported that wholesale prices jumped 1.9 percent in September, led by surging prices for gasoline, natural gas and home heating oil after the widespread shutdowns of refineries and oil platforms along the Gulf Coast. Food prices, which had been declining, posted the biggest increase in 11 months as the price of eggs shot up by a record amount.

Excluding the volatile energy and food sectors, the so-called core rate of inflation also posted a worrisome increase of 0.3 percent after showing no increase at all in August.

The news on wholesale prices followed a report Friday that consumer prices had risen by 1.2 percent in September, the biggest one-month increase in a quarter-century as gasoline prices at the pump climbed by a record 17.9 percent.

While the core rate of inflation at the consumer level was well-behaved, rising by a tiny 0.1 percent, the worry is that the sizable increases in energy will soon begin to spill over into more widespread inflation pressures.

A number of Federal Reserve officials in recent weeks have expressed such concerns. In a speech in Tokyo on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said the jump in energy prices "will undoubtedly be a drag from now on."

Greenspan did not quantify how much of a slowdown will occur, but private economists are forecasting that the hit from Katrina and Rita could shave as much as a full percentage point from economic growth in the final six months of this year.

Analysts believe the Federal Reserve, which boosted interest rates for an 11th time last month, will keep raising rates in November and December in an effort to keep the energy price surge from becoming embedded in more widespread inflation pressures.

Notice here what Greenspan is really saying.  The Federal Reserve will fight inflation by means of a serious recession.  That is the only way to do it in an environment of stagflation, where there are simultaneously rising prices and falling employment and wages. In times of sharply rising energy prices, the only way to stop inflation is by engineering a steep drop in demand, which, with all the credit available to consumers, can only come with layoffs, pay cuts and bankruptcies. The political scandal, looming constitutional crisis and the losing war are not the only ways these times resemble the early seventies. 

The 1.9 percent jump in wholesale prices matched a similar rise in January 1990. The 1.9 percent jump has not been surpassed since a 2 percent jump in November 1974, a period when the country was coping with surging energy prices following the 1973 Arab oil embargo.

Over the past 12 months, the Produce Price Index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, has risen by 6.9 percent, the biggest 12-month change since a rise of 7 percent in the 12 months ending in November 1990.

For September, energy prices jumped by 7.1 percent, the biggest one-month gain since a 7.5 percent rise in October 1990. The increase reflected a 12.7 percent rise in the price of gasoline, a 9 percent increase in natural gas and a 4.8 percent increase in home heating oil.

The price of food shot up 1.4 percent last month, reflecting a record 49.3 percent increase in egg prices. Vegetable prices rose by 16 percent, reflecting big increases for snap beans, tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes and broccoli.

Outside of food and energy, the 0.3 percent increase in core inflation was the biggest rise since a 0.4 percent increase in July. Over the past 12 months, core inflation at the wholesale level is up 2.6 percent.

The price of new cars was up 0.9 percent in September with the price of light trucks up 0.5 percent.

The PPI showed inflation pressures showing up at earlier stages of production. The price of intermediate goods rose by 2.5 percent, the biggest increase in 31 years, while the price of crude goods jumped 10.2 percent, the biggest increase in more than two years.

The concern is that businesses, which so far have held the line on passing on the higher cost of their materials, may be forced to start raising prices to cope with surging energy costs.

These inflationary trends would be more worrying if there was more of a chance the economy would survive long enough for those trends to cause problems. The following article from Bloomberg has some pretty apocalyptic language when referring to the U.S. dollar and economy:

U.S. Investment Income Close to 'Tipping Point': John M. Berry

Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. may be approaching a dangerous "tipping point'' in its international transactions.

At the end of last year, foreign investments in the U.S. were worth $2.5 trillion more than this country's investments in the rest of the world. Yet last year, those U.S. assets abroad remarkably still earned $30 billion more than the foreign assets here.

That stunning disparity in returns is one of many reasons why the huge U.S. current account deficits of recent years have been so readily financed. The sagging net investment position wasn't being compounded by an ever higher interest bill -- as is the case with the mounting U.S. government debt.

This year the game has changed.

Net U.S. investment income turned negative by $455 million dollars in the second quarter, marking a swift deterioration from a $15 billion surplus in the first three months of 2004.

If this trend continues -- and there's no reason to think it won't -- the U.S. will be paying a steadily rising net amount to foreigners, and those payments will both increase the U.S. current account deficit and worsen the country's net investment position.

In a recently published analysis, economists Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas of the University of California at Berkeley and Helene Rey of Princeton University warned this situation could have serious consequences for the U.S.

The Dollar's Credibility

"Reaching the 'tipping point' where the U.S. for the first time since the second World War ceases to have a positive net return on its net assets could be seen by the market as a significant blow to the credibility of the dollar," the economists say.

"In a context where the external net worth of the U.S. is negative and the return on its net assets also turns negative, market participants could start demanding a higher premium on their dollar assets."

That the U.S. has been able to sustain financing for its international deficits up to this point is primarily due to the American dollar being the world's principal reserve currency, the center of the global monetary system.

Gourinchas and Rey's analysis traces how over the past half century U.S. investments abroad came to pay far greater returns than foreign investments here. The paper, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in August, is "From World Banker to World Venture Capitalist: U.S. External Adjustment and the Exorbitant Privilege."

'Exorbitant Privilege'

The phrase "exorbitant privilege" was coined by French Finance Minister Valery Giscard d'Estaing in 1965. He used it to describe "the ability of the U.S. to run large direct investment surpluses, ultimately financed by the issuance of dollars held sometimes involuntarily by foreign central banks," the authors say.

In those days, economists regarded the U.S. as "the Banker of the World," lending for long and intermediate terms and borrowing short, they say.

"Since then, the U.S. has become an increasingly leveraged financial intermediary as world capital markets have become more and more integrated. Hence, a more accurate description of the U.S. in the last decade may be one of the 'Venture Capitalist of the World,' issuing short term and fixed income liabilities and investing primarily in equity and direct investment abroad," Gourinchas and Rey write.

U.S. Balance Sheet

Initially, U.S. assets shifted from long-term bank loans to direct investments, such as the purchase of foreign companies, and in recent years, toward equity investments. Meanwhile, foreign investment has favored low-yielding safer assets, including bank loans, trade credit and debt, particularly Treasury securities.

"Hence the U.S. balance sheet resembles increasingly one of a venture capitalist with high return risky investments on the asset side," the economists say. "Furthermore, its leverage ratio has increased sizably over time."

Nevertheless, all the advantages that accrue to the U.S. as the provider of the central currency in the global monetary system can't forever offset the impact of the country consuming more than it produces. What if a "tipping point" has been reached?

Gourinchas and Rey say their analysis "does not imply that the current situation can be maintained indefinitely."

The Possible Repercussions

"Foreign lenders could decide to stop financing the U.S. external deficit and run away from the dollar, either in favor of another currency such as the euro, or just as dramatically, require a risk premium on U.S. liquid assets whose safety could not be guaranteed any longer.

"In either case, the repercussions could be quite severe, with a decline in the value of the dollar, higher domestic interest rates and yields, and a global recession," they caution.

"In a world where the U.S. can supply the international currency at will, and invest it in illiquid assets, it still faces a confidence risk," they say.

Should confidence be lost, the value of the dollar could plunge, and a world financial crisis could ensue. At that point, even the U.S. could be forced to stop living beyond its means.

We are entering uncharted waters here, even when we can point to some disturbing historical parallels with other empires. Non-linear thinking is needed.  Neo-classical, linear economics will not prepare us for the radical discontinuities ahead.  Here is one "fractal economist," Gary Lammert, quoted on George Ure's site:

Linear thinking will persist in seizing the notion of a typical growth period for equity valuations going into December. The ongoing stark macroeconomic data is no match for this pervasive linear thought. This linear ideation existed in October 2000 for the over valued and over consumed high techs. The NASDAQ's valuation decline into December 2000 should serve as a warning.

The current best fractal solution for the primary decay sequence of equity valuations is a decline over the next 50 or so trading days. By current fractal analysis, nonlinearity is expected as part of this solution with a remarkable unanticipated devolution. As commented before, nonlinearity is part of nature's recurrent theme and common solution for aged structural conditions at critical stress points. Supernovae, nuclear fission, earthquakes, and death are common nonlinear events in an otherwise linearly operating universe. The stress point of credit deceleration and contraction in a house of cards financial system dependent on continuous credit expansion has resulted in the tremors and shaking of the US composite equity valuation since 3 August 2005. These rumblings have been the warning quakes of the deluge soon to come.

In several months, the probable valuation decline will, retrospectively, be seen to fit perfectly well with the emanating economic data that is now occurring and is so very apparent to those with eyes wide open: the bankruptcy of venerable smokestack and airline industries; the inflationary energy cost pressure placed on America's new bell weather distribution industry, Walmart; the outsourcing pressure on America's higher paying manufacturing and technological jobs; the saturation and overvaluation and higher property taxes associated with the Real Estate South Sea Tulip industry; the narrowing of long and short term interest rate spreads decreasing lenders' profitability; the recent bolus of bankruptcy filings; the massive current account deficits whose continuation is wholly dependent on the cash strapped American consumer and his now cresting housing valuation debit card; the sharply falling consumer sentiment and general confidence in the future; the empty sales rooms of American automobile distributors; the mass of hopelessly insolvent corporate and city pension plans; the overly generous entitlement programs whose sustainability are squarely based on continued consumer borrowing and spending and a lower paying service economy to maintain future GDP growth; the recent ongoing derivative dealer debacle which is but the tip of the iceberg, and the historically low cash reserves in mutual funds. How could anyone miss the ongoing macroeconomic data occurring in our ENRON nation?

How indeed?

Comment: The following few articles flesh out the rather gloomy economic forecast in the US...

Click here to comment on this article

The king of real estate's cashing out

Tom Barrack is selling most of his U.S. portfolio. Maybe you should be
nervous too.
By Shawn Tully, Fortune Senior Writer
October 22, 2005: 6:05 PM EDT

NEW YORK (Fortune) - Tom Barrack, arguably the world's greatest real estate investor, is methodically selling off his U.S. real estate holdings as prices drive the market to nosebleed levels. [...]

"There's too much money chasing too few good deals, with too much debt and too few brains." The amateurs are going to get trampled, he explains, taking seasoned horsemen, who should get off the turf, down with them.

Says Barrack: "That's why I'm getting out."

Investors take heed. Barrack may be an amateur at polo, but when it comes to judging markets, he's the ultimate pro.

Arguably the best real estate investor on the planet, he runs a $245 billion portfolio of trophy assets, from the Raffles hotel chain in Asia to the Aga Khan's former resort in Sardinia to Resorts International, the largest private gaming company in the U.S. [...]

And he sees the bubble deflating soon. Barrack thinks the catalyst will be a trend few others are talking about, a steep rise in the price of building materials and labor. "Construction costs have spiked 20 percent in the past nine months," he says. The reasons: Shortages of labor and materials like lumber because of the building boom, and increases in the price of oil, needed to produce everything from plastic piping to insulation to shingles. [...]

Comment: Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are none too keen on the US economy, even going so far as to short sell the dollar - and now a real estate mogul is warning about the housing market. Obviously, some of the richest people in the world didn't amass their fortunes by being oblivious to market conditions and the moves of those who pull the economic strings...

Click here to comment on this article

Bush Picks Bernanke As New Fed Chairman
Associated Press Writer
Oct 24 1:09 PM US/Eastern

WASHINGTON - President Bush named top White House economic adviser Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board on Monday to succeed the near- legendary Alan Greenspan. [...]

It was the third time in as many years the president has turned to the 51-year-old Bernanke for a sensitive post. Bush named him to the Fed board in 2002, then made him chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers earlier this year. [...]

"If I am confirmed by the Senate I will do everything in my power, in collaboration with by Fed colleagues to help assure the continued prosperity and stability of the American economy," said Bernanke, a Harvard educated economist.

"My first priority will be to maintain continuing with the policy and policy strategies under the Greenspan era," Bernanke added.

Comment: Phew! We were worried there for a minute that Bernanke might actually try to save the US economy...

Click here to comment on this article

Delta Expects to Post Big Loss for 2005
October 19, 2005

ATLANTA - Delta Air Lines Inc., which is operating under bankruptcy protection, expects to post a loss of $2.16 billion excluding special items for 2005 because of soaring fuel prices, its chief financial officer told a group of the company's pilots Wednesday.

The projection by CFO Edward Bastian was made during a private presentation to Delta pilots and released publicly later in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Delta is the nation's third-largest carrier after AMR Corp.'s American Airlines and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines. [...]

The airline is trying to get its pilots to agree to another $325 million in concessions. That would be on top of $1 billion in annual concessions the pilots accepted last year.

If the two sides can't agree on the new round of cuts, Delta has said it is willing to try to use the bankruptcy court to impose the cuts. Union officials held meetings starting Monday to discuss their options.

Delta has already posted nearly $10 billion in losses since January 2001.

Comment: US airlines have suffered billions of dollars in losses since the 9/11 attacks. As the companies struggle to stay afloat, something has to give. From this article, as well as this week's Signs Economic Commentary, we can see clearly that it is the average workers who will pay the price. Pension funds have been wiped out literally overnight. Pilots and mechanics alike have two choices: take a pay cut, or find another job. In either case, their evaporating pensions mean that many will have to work instead of retiring.

In short, the economic situation is rather dire. Should the dollar crash - and from observing all the signs, it is simply a matter of time before the Powers that Be throw the switch - the financial problems of the airline companies will spread to other industries. Already we have seen Delphi file for bankruptcy, and the two major US automakers - Ford and General Motors - are barely stumbling down the road. Through it all, the Bush administration has insisted that everything is a-okay with the economy. While we might have previously thought that it would be easy for the Bush gang to blame an economic crash on another "terrorist attack", the Chinese, or the Easter Bunny, recent events regarding the possible indictment of senior Bush administration officials have got us thinking.

If there is one thing that has been abundantly clear from the beginning of the war on terror, it is that Bush is a puppet. He certainly seems to want to be a dictator, but let's face it: he's not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. One thing he and his administration have been very good it is passing all sorts of draconian legislation to protect us all from "evil t'rrists". It was at this point in our train of thought that certain remarks made by the C's years ago came to mind:

October 13, 2001:

Q:  My first question:  People are talking about, and are concerned about, what is to be the proper attitude, or the proper action - if any - or behavior, or response to the current situation in the world: terrorist activity, the increasing controls of the government, that sort of thing.  In other words, they are wanting to know if they should take action, or if they should just observe.  Or, should they be guided by their individual situations.  People are concerned.  Can you respond to these concerns?
A:  Most people will not be harmed in direct ways.
Q:  If most people will not be harmed in direct ways, does this mean that the idea that the United States may become the target for an all out... (A)  Before you ask, "most people" is an imprecise term.  "Most people" could be just over half.  That leaves a lot of room for "people" being harmed.  (L)  Can you be more precise?
A:  Force will not get out of hand yet.
Q:  (A)  Which I read as a "negligible number of people will be harmed" in global terms.  (L)  Is it true that only a negligible number of people will be harmed in the upcoming period?
A:  Yes.
Q:  (L)  But, of course, if one is among that "negligible number," it can be up-close and personal.  Can you give us - do we dare ask for a number?  (A)  No, because then we would have to specify the country and work our way through all the details.  You see, four thousand is still negligible in global terms.  (B)  Will the primary harm to people be psychological?
A:  Partly but also real strictures.
Q:  (L)  Do you mean greater control and loss of freedoms?  Is this stricture going to be physical, or a stricture on our freedoms, or a combination of both?
A:  Both.
Q:  (L)  Is there going to be a witch hunt in this country for people who the government wishes to identify as being potential terrorists, or anti-American, like the McCarthy era?
A:  First there will be controls by laws.  Then more force.

Well, at this point, people in the US are still relatively "free". Sure, anyone can be declared an enemy combatant and thrown in jail - or worse - without any proof of wrongdoing. And most people are NOT being harmed in direct ways. They can carry on with their lives, and they do not experience any real direct government interference such as curfews, martial law, etc. - only a few hassles every now and then because of the new "anti-terror" laws. The amount of force used to implement the plans of those in power in the US is rather negligible at this point.

So, under what circumstances might that change? Well, Bush and his gang seem to be sitting in a pot of water that is slowly beginning to boil. People are asking questions about Iraq and the war on terror. Think about the precarious position of the nation's economy, and the threat of a flu epidemic that we are told could kill millions around the world. Then think about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when the Bush government sat on its hands, and it took the military to ride in on their white horse and save everyone. Who in the US could ever forget the can-do attitude of that lovable General Honore cussing out orders at the police to get them to lower their weapons?

Look at the government as it exists today: the Republicans are corrupt, and the Democrats support them by just standing by and watching it all happen, occasionally making a little "peep" and raising an index finger slightly to indicate that they are thinking about objecting to the Bush administration's policies.

Does it seem like we're all being set up for someone new, someone who isn't afraid to "get things done" in the US and use the military if necessary? When many people don't have jobs, money, food, or a roof over their heads, they're trying not to get hit by some engineered superflu, and some little revelation about 9/11 or the war on terror is revealed, who do you think they will blame for getting them into that mess?

And who will they demand to step in and clean it all up??

Click here to comment on this article

Harper's Magazine: We Now Live in a Fascist State
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2005

The article below appears in the current issue of Harpers and was written
by Lewis H. Lapham

Knowing the source of this piece makes it all the more disturbing. It is not every day that the editor of a respected national magazine publishes an essay claiming that America is not on the road to becoming, but ALREADY IS, a fascist state.... or words to that affect. [...]

Harper's Magazine, October 2005, pps. 7-9

"But I venture the challenging statement that if American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, then Fascism and Communism, aided, unconsciously perhaps, by old-line Tory Republicanism, will grow in strength in our land." -Franklin D. Roosevelt, November 4, 1938

In 1938 the word "fascism" hadn't yet been transferred into an abridged metaphor for all the world's unspeakable evil and monstrous crime, and on coming across President Roosevelt's prescient remark in one of Umberto Eco's essays, I could read it as prose instead of poetry -- a reference not to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse or the pit of Hell but to the political theories that regard individual citizens as the property of the government, happy villagers glad to wave the flags and wage the wars, grateful for the good fortune that placed them in the care of a sublime leader. Or, more emphatically, as Benito Mussolini liked to say, "Everything in the state. Nothing outside the state. Nothing against the state." [...]

The several experiments with fascist government, in Russia and Spain as well as in Italy and Germany, didn't depend on a single portfolio of dogma, and so Eco, in search of their common ground, doesn't look for a unifying principle or a standard text. He attempts to describe a way of thinking and a habit of mind, and [...] he finds a set of axioms on which all the fascisms agree. Among the most notable:

  • The truth is revealed once and only once.
  • Parliamentary democracy is by definition rotten because it doesn't represent the voice of the people, which is that of the sublime leader.
  • Doctrine outpoints reason, and science is always suspect.
  • Critical thought is the province of degenerate intellectuals, who betray the culture and subvert traditional values.
  • The national identity is provided by the nation's enemies.
  • Argument is tantamount to treason.
  • Perpetually at war, the state must govern with the instruments of fear.
  • Citizens do not act; they play the supporting role of "the people" in the grand opera that is the state. [...]

Comment: Note that the one axiom which has not been implemented in the US is the second one: the idea that the democratic system needs to be thrown out the window in favor of the "sublime leader". Historically, that leader has stepped forward in other nations under certain conditions, which we discover below...

As set forth in Eco's list, the fascist terms of political endearment are refreshingly straightforward and mercifully simple, many of them already accepted and understood by a gratifyingly large number of our most forward- thinking fellow citizens, multitasking and safe with Jesus. It does no good to ask the weakling's pointless question, "Is America a fascist state?" We must ask instead, in a major rather than a minor key, "Can we make America the best damned fascist state the world has ever seen," an authoritarian paradise deserving the admiration of the international capital markets, worthy of "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind"? I wish to be the first to say we can. We're Americans; we have the money and the know-how to succeed where Hitler failed, and history has favored us with advantages not given to the early pioneers.

We don't have to burn any books.

The Nazis in the 1930s were forced to waste precious time and money on the inoculation of the German citizenry, too well-educated for its own good, against the infections of impermissible thought. We can count it as a blessing that we don't bear the burden of an educated citizenry. The systematic destruction of the public-school and library systems over the last thirty years, a program wisely carried out under administrations both Republican and Democratic, protects the market for the sale and distribution of the government's propaganda posters. [...]

We don't have to disturb, terrorize, or plunder the bourgeoisie. [...]

Having met many fine people who come up to the corporate mark -- on golf courses and commuter trains, tending to their gardens in Fairfield County while cutting back the payrolls in Michigan and Mexico -- I'm proud to say (and I think I speak for all of us here this evening with Senator Clinton and her lovely husband) that we're blessed with a bourgeoisie that will welcome fascism as gladly as it welcomes the rain in April and the sun in June. No need to send for the Gestapo or the NKVD; it will not be necessary to set examples.

We don't have to gag the press or seize the radio stations.

People trained to the corporate style of thought and movement have no further use for free speech, which is corrupting, overly emotional, reckless, and ill-informed, not calibrated to the time available for television talk or to the performance standards of a Super Bowl halftime show. It is to our advantage that free speech doesn't meet the criteria of the free market. We don't require the inspirational genius of a Joseph Goebbels; we can rely instead on the dictates of the Nielsen ratings and the camera angles, secure in the knowledge that the major media syndicates run the business on strictly corporatist principles -- afraid of anything disruptive or inappropriate, committed to the promulgation of what is responsible, rational, and approved by experts. [...]

I don't say that over the last thirty years we haven't made brave strides forward. By matching Eco's list of fascist commandments against our record of achievement, we can see how well we've begun the new project for the next millennium [...]

An impressive beginning, in line with what the world has come to expect from the innovative Americans, but we can do better. The early twentieth-century fascisms didn't enter their golden age until the proletariat in the countries that gave them birth had been reduced to abject poverty. The music and the marching songs rose with the cry of eagles from the wreckage of the domestic economy. On the evidence of the wonderful work currently being done by the Bush Administration with respect to the trade deficit and the national debt -- to say nothing of expanding the markets for global terrorism -- I think we can look forward with confidence to character-building bankruptcies, picturesque bread riots, thrilling cavalcades of splendidly costumed motorcycle police.

Comment: It does indeed seem that the fascism in the US has not reached its "golden age". All the laws are in place. The prison camps have been built. All that remains is for poverty to strike the massive middle class, and enough people in the US will demand that their sublime leader step forward and lead the American people back to greatness.

Click here to comment on this article

In ominous move, prosecutor in CIA leak case sets up Web site
Sat Oct 22,12:59 PM ET

WASHINGTON - In the clearest indication to date that criminal charges against top White House officials may be in the offing, the special prosecutor investigating the CIA leak case has unveiled his own Web site -- one week before his probe was scheduled to wrap up.

Although aides to Patrick Fitzgerald urged reporters not to read too much into the move, its timing Friday gave new fodder to speculation that White House political strategist Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff for Vice President Richard Cheney, could be in legal trouble. [...]

The prosecutor has already spent nearly two years trying to determine who in President George W. Bush immediate entourage illegally disclosed the name of Central Intelligence Agency operative Valerie Plame -- without seeking to publicize his work on the Internet.

That is why his decision to establish a presence in cyberspace so late in the game is seen as an indication that Fitzgerald believes his work will continue far beyond October 28, when the term of his grand jury expires.

Only a grand jury can indict a person in the United States. Fitzgerald is expected to meet with its members on Tuesday or Wednesday. [...]

"I'm very concerned it could go very, very badly," said a senior administration official, who asked not to be identified.

Click here to comment on this article

Bushies feeling the boss' wrath

Prez's anger growing in hard times - pals
October 24, 2005

WASHINGTON - Facing the darkest days of his presidency, President Bush is frustrated, sometimes angry and even bitter, his associates say.

With a seemingly uncontrollable insurgency in Iraq, the White House is bracing for the political fallout from a grim milestone that could come any day: the combat death of the 2,000th American G.I.

Comment: How ridiculous would it be if the "2000th casualty" - a number that pales in comparison to the real number of soldiers who have been killed or wounded in the war on terror - brought down Bush?

Last week alone, 23 military personnel were killed in Iraq, and five were wounded yesterday in a relentless series of attacks across the country.

This week could also bring a special prosecutor's decision that could shake the foundations of the Bush government. [...]

The specter of losing Rove, his only truly irreplaceable assistant, lies at the heart of Bush's distress. But a string of political reversals, including growing opposition to the Iraq war, Hurricane Katrina's aftermath and Harriet Miers' bungled Supreme Court nomination, have also exacted a personal toll.

Presidential advisers and friends say Bush is a mass of contradictions: cheerful and serene, peevish and melancholy, occasionally lapsing into what he once derided as the "blame game." They describe him as beset but unbowed, convinced that history will vindicate the major decisions of his presidency even if they damage him and his party in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

At the same time, these sources say Bush, who has a long history of keeping staffers in their place, has lashed out at aides as his political woes have mounted.

"The President is just unhappy in general and casting blame all about," said one Bush insider. "Andy [Card, the chief of staff] gets his share. Karl gets his share. Even Cheney gets his share. And the press gets a big share." [...]

Comment: Is Bush starting to crack? In true psychopathic form, he is blaming anyone he can find for his own mistakes. The current crisis facing the Bush administration is certainly shaping up to be the biggest ever. In a rather bizarre exchange with a late night TV host, one comedian even joked that senior administration officials will be executed for treason...

Click here to comment on this article

Second case of bird flu virus confirmed in Croatia
Mon Oct 24, 9:52 AM ET

ZAGREB - A second case of the H5 bird flu virus has been confirmed in Croatia on samples taken from swans found dead in a lake in the east of the country, the agriculture ministry said.

"We have identified the (H5 strain of) virus in samples taken from swans" that were found dead at a lake near the eastern village of Nasice on Saturday, agriculture ministry spokesman Mladen Pavic told AFP on Monday.

The announcement came less than three days after the ministry said it had identified the H5 virus in the organs of six swans found dead at another lake some 15 kilometres (nine miles) away near Zdenci village.

It was not immediately known whether the cases found to date are the deadly H5N1 sub-type of influenza that has claimed more than 60 human lives in Asia since 2003. [...]

Click here to comment on this article

Wilma Batters Florida; One Death Reported
Oct 24 11:48 AM US/Eastern

NAPLES, Fla. - Hurricane Wilma plowed into southwest Florida early Monday with howling 125 mph winds and dashed across the state to the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, shattering windows, peeling away roofs and knocking out power to millions of people. At least one death in Florida was blamed on the storm. [...]

The same storm that brought ruin over the weekend to resort towns along Mexico's Yucatan Coast came ashore in Florida as a strong Category 3 hurricane, but within hours had weakened into a Category 2 with winds of 105 mph. [...]

Wilma, Florida's eighth hurricane in 15 months, came ashore in Florida at 6:30 a.m. EDT near Cape Romano, 22 miles south of Naples, spinning off tornadoes and bringing a potential for up to 10 inches of rain, the National Hurricane Center said.

Wilma was moving northeast at about 25 mph, up the Atlantic coast. By early Wednesday, it was expected to be off the coast of Canada, but forecasters said it may not bring heavy rain because its projected track was far off shore. [...]

About 35 percent of Key West was flooded, including the airport, said Jay Gewin, an assistant to the island city's mayor. No travel was possible in or out of the city, he said. U.S. 1, the only highway connecting the Keys to the mainland, was flooded.

Key West Police Chief Bill Mauldin said the flooding was severe - "more extensive than we've seen in the past." [...]

Comment: Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Alpha is firing up, but is not expected to become a hurricane...

Click here to comment on this article

Record-breaking Tropical Storm Alpha in Caribbean
Sat Oct 22, 2005

MIAMI - A record-breaking 22nd named tropical storm formed in the Caribbean on Saturday and could bring life-threatening floods and mudslides to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the U.S National Hurricane Center said.

The storm was called Tropical Storm Alpha, the first time the hurricane center has resorted to using the Greek alphabet since it began naming tropical cyclones in 1953.

The 2005 hurricane season has had so many storms that all the storm names preassigned for this year were used up with Hurricane Wilma, which pounded the Mexican resort of Cancun on Saturday and was expected to head to Florida on Sunday.

Alpha made 2005 the most active hurricane season since records began 150 years ago, and the 2005 season still has five weeks to run. The 1933 season had 21 named storms. [...]

Click here to comment on this article

Poll shows Iraqis back attacks on UK, US forces
Sat Oct 22, 5:45 PM ET

LONDON - Forty-five percent of Iraqis believe attacks on U.S. and British troops are justified, according to a secret poll said to have been commissioned by British defense leaders and cited by The Sunday Telegraph.

Less than 1 percent of those polled believed that the forces were responsible for any improvement in security, according to poll figures.

Eighty-two percent of those polled said they were "strongly opposed" to the presence of the troops. [...]

Click here to comment on this article

US customs 'mistreated' French minister
October 21, 2005

PARIS - France has protested to the United States over the mistreatment of a government minister of north African origin by customs authorities at Atlanta airport, the foreign ministry in Paris said Friday.

On October 13 Azouz Begag, who is equal opportunities minister, was held by a customs officer for a "control that was a little excessive," according to spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei. [...]

The spokesman refused to give details of the incident, but said the action of the official had been "completely out of place for a government minister." [...]

Click here to comment on this article

Slow Burn: The Great American Antismoking Scam (And Why It Will Fail)
by Don Oakley

"Slow Burn" is a highly personal but thoroughly documented journey by the author, Don Oakley, to find out the truth behind the supposed medical facts undergirding the nation's three-decades-long crusade against smoking.

He begins with a searching critique of the 1964 surgeon general's report, which set the crusade into motion, and details the reservations of the surgeon general's advisory committee regarding the seven weak studies which formed the basis for the famous warning that "Cigarette smoking is a health hazard of sufficent importance in the United States to warrant appropriate remedial action." It was that "action"--or, more accurately, actions--flowing from the report over the past three decades that persuaded the author, a retired newspaper editorial writer, to undertake his book.

A smoker in good health for 53 years, he was appalled at the hysteria infecting America as a result of an endless series of assaults against smoking and those who choose to indulge in it. In the course of his research, Oakley acquired, and in "Slow Burn" gives the reader, a basic knowledge of epidemiology and the uses--and especially the misuses--of statistics. The book examines the most important studies into smoking since the 1964 report and reveals that many if not most of them are fatally flawed by deep antismoking bias on the part of researchers who are supported by abundant antismoking grant money, much of it extorted from smokers themselves.

At the same time he reports on numerous studies exonerating smoking that the public has never heard about. The book is also infused with great humor as the author pokes fun at some of the more ludicrous claims and almost superstitious beliefs surrounding smoking, beliefs that unfortunately are entertained by many in the medical establishment as well as by the lay public.

"Slow Burn" is, however, an utterly serious work. Oakley realizes that any attempt by a nonscientist to challenge "what everybody knows" about smoking will be greeted with widespread disbelief. But as he asks in Chapter 2, even if everything said about smoking is true, is what we as a nation are doing on the basis of it wise and necessary? As detailed in subsequent chapters, what we HAVE done has been to ostracize and discriminate against a quarter of the population, to villainize an industry and applaud its plundering by state attorneys general and the plaintiffs' bar and, above all, to countenance the prostitution of science and the corruption of the nation's legal system--all in the politically correct cause of a "smoke-free" society. [...]


Amazon Reviewer: Though written in a conversational and highly accessible tone, this exhaustively-researched book exposes the wildly misleading conclusions drawn by the anti-tobacco fanatics, based on their junk science "studies" and other misinformation. One of the book's most useful revelations is that the "400,000 deaths from tobacco per year" factoid, which "everybody know is true," did not come from medical records or post-mortem examinations, but is rather a statistical projection that resides in a computer! It is no better and no worse than the assumptions upon which it is based, but any statistician can tell you that mere correlations do not prove causality. (For example, the fact that more people die in hospitals than anywhere else does not "prove" that hospitals are the leading "cause" of death!) I am a lifelong non-smoker, but when I hear the anti-tobacco nuts raving, I don't mind telling you that I feel personally threatened. Whose life is it, anyway? I'd like to tell them to keep their damned hands off MY health! For those who feel as I do, this book is a must.


Amazon Reviewer: The author has put together an incredible wealth of information gleaned from the internet, scientific studies, and newspaper articles and organised it with serious intent AND a sense of humor that makes it all readable!

He makes a VERY convincing case for the argument that a lot of the "information" that we see on the media about smoking and secondhand smoke is actually manufactured propaganda designed to achieve a "goal" of eliminating smoking not only in America but around the whole world. [...]

This book ISN'T just for smokers! If you're a nonsmoker who's concerned about the "danger" you're in from other peoples' smoke you should read this book as well... you might find yourself surprised at some of the lies you've been told!

I think the thing I liked best about the book was its style: the author is SERIOUSLY annoyed (to put it mildly) at the Antismokers and their manipulations of the facts and of peoples' fears and it comes through on every page. His personal touch makes the book VERY readable despite the quantity of information that he's managed to jam into it.


Amazon Reviewer: This is an extremely well-researched and put together history and critique of the Anti-Smoking Crusade. It is a long and heavy book, but every page is interesting reading. Every comment and fact the author shares is either marked as personal experience or he has the documentation to back it up. He doesn't try to sell anyone on the idea that smoking is good for you; he is only trying to point out how extreme and over the top the actions of the Anti-Smoking Crusade have been. He looks at it from several angles, including the cost to our society of degrading and humiliating a sizable percentage of the population to satisfy a few fanatics. I thought I knew a lot about the phony EPA second-hand smoke studies, but I was wrong. This book fleshes it out in more detail, and gives the back story on the lawsuits against the tobacco companies in Florida. The truth will shock and possibly even hurt you, as it did me. [...] This book was published in 1999 and Mr. Oakley could see the War on Fat coming even back then. In mid-2002, I can see the same pattern emerging to a T (the similarity of the Anti-Smoking Crusade and the War on Fat are not coincidental). I fear for the society we are becoming, schizophrenic, trying to be politically correct and oh so tolerant and a tyrannical nanny state all at the same time. Heaven help us all!

Comment: We have commented in the past on anti-smoking stories, pointing out that a government that knowingly allows and supports exposing its people to numerous toxic chemicals, genetically modified food products, and harmful prescription drugs should hardly be viewed as "concerned" when it comes to stamping out smoking. Nothing in politics happens by accident. If the Powers that Be have pulled the strings to make our governments ban smoking, there is most likely a very good reason for it.

There is a vast amount of data that directly contradicts the notion that smoking dramatically increases deaths from lung cancer. For starters, check out the charts here. Clearly, from looking at the table, something OTHER than smoking is causing lung cancer deaths. And it ain't "second hand smoke," either!

It seems many people are beginning to question the notion that smoking is as bad for us as our leaders would have us believe. The following article was written by the author of a free online book:

Click here to comment on this article

In Defense of Smokers: Online book
An Online Book by Lauren A. Colby

Anti-smokers, brought up in schools where the teachers showed them phony pictures of "healthy lungs" and "diseased smoker's lungs" tend to think that there have been thousands and thousands of "studies", linking smoking to every disease from emphysema to heart attacks to lung cancer. When I began researching the subject, however, I found that, like the myth about smoker's lungs turning brown from cigarette tars, the "thousands and thousands of studies" was also a myth.

Now, there *were* thousands of animal studies (if you consider each animal studied to be "study"), in which researchers tried to induce lung cancer and other diseases in rats, rabbits, mice, monkeys, dogs, etc., by forcing the animals to smoke. But these studies all *failed*; no diseases were induced. So, I don't have to discredit those studies.

In the late 1950's, the lung cancer societies in England and the U.S. conducted seven epedemiological studies, described in great detail in my book, which purported to establish a statistical correlation between *cigarette* smoking and lung cancer. Strangely, however, the same studies showed no such correlation between cigar/pipe smoking and either lung cancer or morbidity. In fact, the studies actually showed that pipe smokers live longer than people who don't smoke at all.

Correlation, of course, does not prove causation. In my book, I discuss the biases in the studies which resulted in flawed conclusions. My point here, however, is simply that virtually everything written about the dangers of smoking is predicated on these seven ancient studies. There *have* been a few new studies, e.g., Wynder's study of smoking in the U.S. and Japan, but I don't have to discredit them, because they prove my point, i.e., that Japanese smoke more than Americans but live longer and have far less lung cancer!!!

Smoking and Life Expectancy

Suffice to say that some of the countries with the highest rates of smoking have the lowest rates of lung cancer. [...]

Top 15 Male Life Expectancies

  LE (years) Smokers prevalence (%)
1. Iceland 76.6 (1994) 31.0 (1994)
2. Japan 76.5 (1994) 59.0 (1994)
3. Costa Rica 75.9 (1994) 35.0 (1988)
4. Israel 75.9 (1994) 45.0 (1990)
5. Sweden 75.5 (1994) 22.0 (1994)
6. Greece 75.2 (1994) 46.0 (1994)
7. Switzerland 74.8 (1994) 36.0 (1992)
8. Netherlands 74.7 (1994) 36.0 (1994)
9. Canada 74.7 (1994) 31.0 (1991)
10. Cuba 74.7 (1994) 49.3 (1990)
11. Australia 74.5 (1994) 29.0 (1993)
12. Spain 74.5 (1994) 48.0 (1993)
13. Malta 74.5 (1994) 40.0 (1992)
14. Italy 74.4 (1994) 38.0 (1994)
15. France 74.3 (1994) 40.0 (1993)
USA 72.6 (1994) 28.1 (1991)

If, as the anti smokers postulate, smoking is a deadly "addiction", trimming years off the life of the smoker, how do they explain such examples as Japan, Israel, Greece, Cuba, Spain, Italy and France? How can it be that people in these countries smoke far more than people in the United States, yet manage to live substantially longer?

Lauren A. Colby is a practicing attorney. From 1955 to 1957, employed by the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C. Now in private practice, dealing with and sometimes fighting the Federal Government. He has participated in more than 250 civil lawsuits or administrative hearings, and more than 50 appeals to the Federal Courts, contesting actions of the Federal Communications Commission and the Food and Drug Administration.

Comment: There was one group close to the heart of the Powers that Be that was as adamant about the dangers of smoking as US leaders are today:

Click here to comment on this article

The anti-tobacco campaign of the Nazis: a little known aspect of public health in Germany, 1933-45
by: Robert N Proctor, professor of the history of science, Department of History, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, United States

Historians and epidemiologists have only recently begun to explore the Nazi anti-tobacco movement. Germany had the world's strongest antismoking movement in the 1930s and early 1940s, encompassing bans on smoking in public spaces, bans on advertising, restrictions on tobacco rations for women, and the world's most refined tobacco epidemiology, linking tobacco use with the already evident epidemic of lung cancer. The anti-tobacco campaign must be understood against the backdrop of the Nazi quest for racial and bodily purity, which also motivated many other public health efforts of the era.

Medical historians in recent years have done a great deal to enlarge our understanding of medicine and public health in Nazi Germany. We know that about half of all doctors joined the Nazi party and that doctors played a major part in designing and administering the Nazi programmes of forcible sterilisation, "euthanasia," and the industrial scale murder of Jews and gypsies. [...]

Tobacco in the Reich

One topic that has only recently begun to attract attention is the Nazi anti- tobacco movement. Germany had the world's strongest antismoking movement in the 1930s and early 1940s, supported by Nazi medical and military leaders worried that tobacco might prove a hazard to the race. Many Nazi leaders were vocal opponents of smoking. Anti-tobacco activists pointed out that whereas Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt were all fond of tobacco, the three major fascist leaders of Europe--Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco--were all non- smokers. Hitler was the most adamant, characterising tobacco as "the wrath of the Red Man against the White Man for having been given hard liquor." At one point the Fuhrer even suggested that Nazism might never have triumphed in Germany had he not given up smoking. [...]

Culmination of the campaign: 1939-41

German anti-tobacco policies accelerated towards the end of the 1930s, and by the early war years tobacco use had begun to decline. The Luftwaffe banned smoking in 1938 and the post office did likewise. Smoking was barred in many workplaces, government offices, hospitals, and rest homes. The NSDAP (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) announced a ban on smoking in its offices in 1939, at which time SS chief Heinrich Himmler announced a smoking ban for all uniformed police and SS officers while on duty. The Journal of the American Medical Association that year reported Hermann Goering's decree barring soldiers from smoking on the streets, on marches, and on brief off duty periods.

Sixty of Germany's largest cities banned smoking on street cars in 1941. Smoking was banned in air raid shelters--though some shelters reserved separate rooms for smokers. During the war years tobacco rationing coupons were denied to pregnant women (and to all women below the age of 25) while restaurants and cafes were barred from selling cigarettes to female customers. From July 1943 it was illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to smoke in public. Smoking was banned on all German city trains and buses in 1944, the initiative coming from Hitler himself, who was worried about exposure of young female conductors to tobacco smoke. Nazi policies were heralded as marking "the beginning of the end" of tobacco use in Germany.

German tobacco epidemiology by this time was the most advanced in the world. Franz H Muller in 1939 and Eberhard Schairer and Erich Schoniger in 1943 were the first to use case-control epidemiological methods to document the lung cancer hazard from cigarettes. Muller concluded that the "extraordinary rise in tobacco use" was "the single most important cause of the rising incidence of lung cancer." Heart disease was another focus and was not infrequently said to be the most serious illness brought on by smoking. Late in the war nicotine was suspected as a cause of the coronary heart failure suffered by a surprising number of soldiers on the eastern front. A 1944 report by an army field pathologist found that all 32 young soldiers whom he had examined after death from heart attack on the front had been "enthusiastic smokers." The author cited the Freiburg pathologist Franz Buchner's view that cigarettes should be considered "a coronary poison of the first order." [...]

Comment: Gee, the field pathologist's report sounds a lot like the studies that are used today to demonize smokers. Surely the fact that young soldiers were under severe psychological stress from committing heinous crimes and watching their buddies and enemies alike be blown to bits had nothing at all to do with their fatal heart attacks...

After the war Germany lost its position as home to the world's most aggressive anti-tobacco science. Hitler was dead but also many of his anti- tobacco underlings either had lost their jobs or were otherwise silenced. [...]

The flipside of Fascism

Smith et al were correct to emphasise the strength of the Nazi antismoking effort and the sophistication of Nazi era tobacco science. The antismoking science and policies of the era have not attracted much attention, possibly because the impulse behind the movement was closely attached to the larger Nazi movement. [...]

Comment: For the real scoop on the "dangers" of smoking, and to get an idea of why the Nazis launched such a major anti-smoking campaign, check out our Anti-anti-smoking article.

Click here to comment on this article

CIA Invests In No-Fuel Power Generators
October 18, 2005

Arlington, Va. - The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is reportedly investing in a power unit that can generate substantial electrical energy without using any fuel. [...]

The generators are fueled by solar and wind energy, with a battery backup for use during the night or when winds are calm. And the units are designed to run for years with little maintenance, the newspaper said. [...]

And now privately owned, SkyBuilt has a new investor -- In-Q-Tel -- a venture capital firm owned by the CIA. [...]

Although no models for homes are yet available, SkyBuilt says its mobile power station can help meet critical power needs, such as during disasters, terrorist attacks, military operations or meteorological emergencies.

Comment: If the CIA is concerned about generators that do not require fuel, you can bet there is a very good reason behind it...

Click here to comment on this article

Recent Earthquakes
2005 October 23

October 23, 2005:

Magnitude 3.0 Quake - GREATER L.A. AREA, CALIFORNIA

Magnitude 5.5 - ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE

Magnitude 6.0 - SEA OF JAPAN

Magnitude 6.0 - PAKISTAN

October 24, 2005:



Click here to comment on this article

A fern grows in the Arctic Ocean
By Ned Rozell
October 21, 2005

An older version of Alaska's license plates describes the state as "The Last Frontier," but that title might better fit the mysterious peaks and valleys in the dark world beneath the sea.

From the depths of a long ridge spanning the floor of the Arctic Ocean, researchers have pulled up evidence of a plant that now grows in rice fields in Vietnam. This suggests that the top of the world was once a very warm place. [...]

Comment: If the crazy climate changes we've seen lately are any indication, the top of the world may become very warm again a lot sooner than we might hope...

Click here to comment on this article

Making High School Fun!

Intelligent Design
October 22, 2005

Lately a furious debate has been raging between nuclear physicists, paleontologists, chiropractors, televangelists and other men of science as to whether the theory of evolution should be taught in our schools. The dissenters believe some other explanation should be taught, one that has the catchy name "Intelligent Design."

I am not a scientist. I'm a writer, and so have not devoted much time or thought to this subject, spending my days foraging for food and surfing internet porn, but I determined to find out more.

Luckily, my local community college offers a course in their Continuing Education Series based on the Young Earth Theory, an offshoot of Intelligent Design, and so I enrolled in the once-a-week night course.

Reading the synopsis of the class was very interesting. According to the pamphlet, the course will show how humans and animals of all kinds - including dinosaurs - lived at the same time and inhabited the same geographical regions. Examples of human footprints found with dinosaur tracks, among other inexplicable and anachronistic evidence, will be studied. There are to be numerous guest speakers and a short film series to augment the text.

I was excited. Thursday night came and I took my place in the classroom, front row. The professor, an energetic young fellow with an unusually high-pitched voice, gave a short introduction and announced that we would begin with the short film promised in the literature. He dimmed the lights. [...]

Kona Lowell is the author of The Solid Green Birthday and Other Fables and runs the Dolphin. He lives in Hawai'i and can be reached through his website:

Comment: The author goes on to describe the film: the popular cartoon "The Flintstones".

For a serious look at ancient man - including evidence that he did, indeed, possess an amazing type of "technology" virtually unknown to us even today - check out Laura Knight-Jadczyk's The Secret History of the World.

Click here to comment on this article

And Finally...

CDC Report: New STD Pandemic
SOTT Health Advisory

THE CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL has issued a no-nonsense, albeit delayed warning about a new, highly virulent strain of socially transmitted disease. This disease is contracted through dangerous and high risk behavior.

The disease is called Gonorrhea Lectim (pronounced "Gonna Re-elect him"). Many victims have contracted it after having been screwed for the past 4 years, in spite of having taken measures to protect themselves from this especially troublesome disease.

Cognitive sequellae of individuals infected with Gonorrhea Lectim include, but are not limited to, anti-social personality disorder traits; delusions of grandeur with a distinct messianic flavor; chronic mangling of the English language; extreme cognitive dissonance; inability to incorporate new information; pronounced xenophobia and homophobia; inability to accept responsibility for actions; exceptional cowardice masked by acts of misplaced bravado; uncontrolled facial smirking; total ignorance of geography and history; tendencies toward creating evangelical theocracies; and a strong propensity for categorical, all-or-nothing behavior.

The disease is sweeping Washington. Naturalists and epidemiologists are amazed and baffled that this malignant disease originated only a few years ago in a Texas bush. Please inform any of your friends and associates who have been acting unusual lately.

Click here to comment on this article

NEW! 9/11: The Ultimate Truth is Available for Pre-Order!

On the fourth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Laura Knight-Jadczyk announces the availability of her latest book:

In the years since the 9/11 attacks, dozens of books have sought to explore the truth behind the official version of events that day - yet to date, none of these publications has provided a satisfactory answer as to WHY the attacks occurred and who was ultimately responsible for carrying them out.

Taking a broad, millennia-long perspective, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's 9/11: The Ultimate Truth uncovers the true nature of the ruling elite on our planet and presents new and ground-breaking insights into just how the 9/11 attacks played out.

9/11: The Ultimate Truth makes a strong case for the idea that September 11, 2001 marked the moment when our planet entered the final phase of a diabolical plan that has been many, many years in the making. It is a plan developed and nurtured by successive generations of ruthless individuals who relentlessly exploit the negative aspects of basic human nature to entrap humanity as a whole in endless wars and suffering in order to keep us confused and distracted to the reality of the man behind the curtain.

Drawing on historical and genealogical sources, Knight-Jadczyk eloquently links the 9/11 event to the modern-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She also cites the clear evidence that our planet undergoes periodic natural cataclysms, a cycle that has arguably brought humanity to the brink of destruction in the present day.

For its no nonsense style in cutting to the core of the issue and its sheer audacity in refusing to be swayed or distracted by the morass of disinformation that has been employed by the Powers that Be to cover their tracks, 9/11: The Ultimate Truth can rightly claim to be THE definitive book on 9/11 - and what that fateful day's true implications are for the future of mankind.

Published by Red Pill Press

Scheduled for release in October 2005, readers can pre-order the book today at our bookstore.

Click here to comment on this article



Readers who wish to know more about who we are and what we do may visit our portal site Quantum Future

Remember, we need your help to collect information on what is going on in your part of the world!

We also need help to keep the Signs of the Times online.

Send your comments and article suggestions to us Email addess

Fair Use Policy

Contact Webmaster at
Cassiopaean materials Copyright ©1994-2014 Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk. All rights reserved. "Cassiopaea, Cassiopaean, Cassiopaeans," is a registered trademark of Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk.
Letters addressed to Cassiopaea, Quantum Future School, Ark or Laura, become the property of Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Republication and re-dissemination of our copyrighted material in any manner is expressly prohibited without prior written consent.