Friday, June 7, 2019

Some of my tweets from June 1 - 6

























































The state of the US economy


Worth a read. 

Paul Craig Roberts at his blog
The State of the Economy

The story line is going out that the economic boom is weakening and the Federal Reserve has to get the printing press running again.  The Fed uses the money to purchase bonds, which drives up the prices of bonds and lowers the interest rate.  The theory is that the lower interest rate encourages consumer spending and business investment and that this increase in consumer and business spending results in more output and employment. 

The Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, and Bank of England have been wedded to this policy for a decade, and the Japanese for longer, without stimulating business investment.  Rather than borrowing at low interest rates in order to invest more, corporations borrowed in order to buy back their stock.  In other words, some corporations after using all their profits to buy back their own stock went into debt in order to further reduce their market capitalization!  

Far from stimulating business investment, the liquidity supplied by the Federal Reserve drove up stock and bond prices and spilled over into real estate.  The fact that corporations used their profits to buy back their shares rather than to invest in new capacity means that the corporations  did not experience a booming economy with good investment opportunities. It is a poor economy when the best investment for a company is to repurchase its own shares.

Consumers, devoid of real income growth, maintained their living standards by going deeper into debt.  This process was aided, for example, by stretching out car payments from three years to six and seven years, with the result that loan balances exceed the value of the vehicles.  Many households live on credit cards by paying the minimum amount, with the result that their indebtedness grows by the month. The Federal Reserve’s low interest rates are not reciprocated by the high credit card interest rate on outstanding balances. 

Some European countries now have negative interest rates, which means that the bank does not pay you interest on your deposit, but charges you a fee for holding your money.  In other words, you are charged an interest rate for having money in a bank.  One reason for this is the belief of neoliberal economists that consumers would prefer to spend their money than to watch it gradually wither away and that the spending will drive the economy to higher growth.

What is the growth rate of the economy?  It is difficult to know, because the measures of inflation have been tampered with in order to avoid cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients and the payment of COLA adjustments in contracts........

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Some of my tweets from May 26 - 31













































































The long-drawn crucifixion of Julian Assange continues

No end to the injustice being meted out to Assange by the USA, UK. Australia and Sweden. 


Riva Enteen at DissidentVoice
National Lawyers Guild Echoes Smear Campaign About Julian Assange

I have been a proud member of the National Lawyers Guild for over 30 years, beginning in law school, and serving as union staff of the SF/Bay Area Chapter for over a decade.  The Guild was founded in 1937 as an organization of lawyers to defend FDR’s New Deal, and was the first racially integrated Bar Association.  Its preamble states that it is:
…an association dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system…which shall function as an effective political and social force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests.
The Guild is unique as a multi-issue progressive legal organization which strives to integrate both political and legal action, recognizing that many victories which appear to be won in the courts are actually won in the streets. Unlike the ACLU, it also takes positions on foreign policy issues.
My employment as Program Director ended about a year after 9-11 because some in the organization disapproved of my work with Arab and Muslim groups, which included setting up a hotline for those contacted by the FBI and (then) INS.  I was even reprimanded for spending too much time supporting fearless people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart, because she defended Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, even though defending unpopular defendants is central to the purposes of the Guild......





Caitlin Johnstone at her blog
The UN Torture Report On Assange Is An Indictment Of Our Entire Society

On the eighth of April, shortly before London police forcibly carried WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy, a doctor named Sondra S Crosby wrote a letter to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights requesting that the office look into Assange’s case. Today, following a scorching rebuke of multiple governments by UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer, mass media outlets around the world are reporting that Julian Assange has been found to be the victim of brutal psychological torture.
Melzer, who by his own admission began his investigation as someone who had “been affected by the same misguided smear campaign as everybody else” regarding Assange, speaks of Assange’s plight with the fresh-eyed ferocity of a man who has not been immersed in a soul-corroding career in establishment politics or mass media. A man has not been indoctrinated into accepting as normal the relentless, malicious character assassinations of the western political/media class against a publisher of inconvenient facts about the powerful. A man who, when looking deeply and objectively into the facts with uncorrupted vision, was able to see clearly just how unforgivably abusive Assange’s treatment has been.
“In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law,” Melzer said. “The collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now!”.....



Joe Lauria at ConsortiumNews 
UN Torture Report: ‘Demonized’ Assange Has Faced ‘Psychological Torture’

The UN special rapporteur on torture has blasted four nations for imposing psychological torture on Julian Assange.
‘A Relentless and Unrestrained Campaign of
Public Mobbing, Intimidation and Defamation’
Warns of ‘Criminalization of Journalism’
The UN special rapporteur on torture has issued a stinging rebuke to the United States, Great Britain, Sweden and Ecuador for “deliberately” exposing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to years of “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” which can only be described as “psychological torture.”
“In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law,” Nils Melzer said in a statement published on the UN High Commissioner for Human Right’s website on Friday. “The collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now!”....

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Some of my tweets from May 21 - 25



































































Friday, May 24, 2019

The crucifixion of Julian Assange continues unabated



Right before our eyes, we are seeing how very much down the hole the once great country of the United States of America has fallen and yet we are reluctant to call things the way they are and keep pretending it's still a democracy.  Sad! 

Joe Lauria at ConsortiumNews
Assange Indicted Under Espionage Act on 17 New Counts

 WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was indicted on Thursday under the Espionage Act, the first time a journalist has been charged under the Act for possessing and disseminating classified information.

A journalist was indicted under the Espionage Act for the first time in U.S. history on Thursday when the Department of Justice charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with 17 counts of violating the Act in a move that opens the way for prosecution of anyone who publishes classified information.

The 37-page indictment charges Assange under four sections of the Act, including Section E for possessing and disseminating classified matter. It charged him with acts common to any investigative journalist:
“(i)circumvent(ing) legal safeguards on information; (ii) provid(ing) that protected information to WikiLeaks for public dissemination; and (iii) continu(ing) the pattern of illegally procuring and providing protected information to WikiLeaks for distribution to the public.”     
Assange is serving a 50-week sentence in London’s Belmarsh prison for skipping bail and seeking asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in 2012 because he feared onward extradition from Sweden to the United States and prosecution under the Espionage Act. He was arrested on April 11 when Ecuador illegally lifted his asylum and let British police onto Ecuadorian territory to carry Assange from the embassy.

The U.S. had until June 12 to add additional charges in its extradition request to Britain. The decision on extradition rests with British Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who WikiLeaks said “is now under enormous pressure to protect the rights of the free press in the UK and elsewhere.”
 
Not a Journalist
John Demers, head of the DOJ’s National Security Division, in announcing the indictment told reporters: “Some say that Assange is a journalist and that he should be immune for prosecution for these actions.  The department takes seriously the role of journalists in our democracy and we thank you for it. It is not and has never been the department’s policy to target them for reporting.”

But Demers said Assange wasn’t a journalist. “No responsible actor, journalist or otherwise, would purposefully publish the names of individuals he or she knew to be confidential human sources in a war zone, exposing them to the gravest of dangers,” he said.  

Assange’s attorney in the U.S., Barry Pollack,  responded:...........