Archive for January, 2012

CBO projects $1.08 trillion deficit, 8.9 percent jobless rate in 2012


By Erik Wasson – 01/31/12 10:00 AM ET

The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday predicted the budget deficit will rise to $1.08 trillion in 2012.

CBO also projected the jobless rate would rise to 8.9 percent by the end of 2012, and to 9.2 percent in 2013.

These are much dimmer forecasts than in CBO’s last report in August, when the office projected a $973 billion deficit. The report reflects weaker corporate tax revenue and the extension for two months of the payroll tax holiday.

A rising deficit and unemployment rate would hamper President Obama’sreelection effort, which in recent weeks has seemed to be on stronger footing.If the CBO estimate is correct, it would mean that the United States recorded a deficit of more than $1 trillion for every year of Obama’s first term.

The deficit was $1.4 trillion in 2009, $1.3 trillion in 2010 and $1.3 trillion in 2011. The largest deficit recorded before that was $458 billion in 2008.

CBO had forecast an 8.5 percent unemployment rate for the end of 2012 in its August report. It now expects the jobless rate to be higher, and to still be at 7 percent in 2015.

The higher unemployment numbers are due to lower economic growth than previously estimated. Gross domestic product for 2011 is now estimated to have grown 1.6 percent in 2011, down from the 2.3 percent forecast in August. CBO a year ago had predicted 3.1 percent growth for 2011.

The outlook for 2012 has also worsened. GDP is forecast to grow only 2 percent this year, compared to a previous estimate of 2.7 percent.

Budget cuts from the August debt deal, and projected tax increases set to kick in when the Bush tax rates expire at the end of the year, will “restrain economic growth this year and significantly restrain growth in 2013,” according to CBO. But it says the fiscal prudence will help growth in the out years.

It is unclear whether the Bush tax cuts will be allowed to expire. Republicans want all of the tax rates to be extended, and the White House wants Bush tax rates for families with annual income below $250,000 to be extended.

Gross federal debt would rise from $14.8 trillion at the end of 2011 to $21.7 trillion under CBO’s projections.

CBO uses a “current policy” baseline that assumes the Bush-era tax rates will not be extended after 2013, however.

The deficit will be much higher if Congress takes several actions that many expect.

If the Bush tax rates are extended, for example, the deficit would rise.

It will also rise if Congress patches the Alternative Minimum Tax, which lawmakers have routinely done to prevent higher taxes from being imposed on middle class taxpayers.

It would also rise if Congress continues to pass the “doc fix” that prevents a cut to Medicare payments to doctors, something that Congress has done on a near annual basis.

Finally, if Congress does not follow through on cuts mandated by the failure of the debt supercommittee, the deficit will grow. Lawmakers are already talking about cancelling scheduled cuts to the Pentagon’s budget.

In the “alternative fiscal scenario” where these things happen the gross federal debt rises to $29.4 trillion by 2022.

Obama will release his 2013 budget request on Feb. 13. He is expected to included in it recommendations for reducing the deficit by $4 trillion over a decade and to call for the end of Bush era tax rates for the wealthy.

By the end of March, House Republicans plan to vote on their alternative budget, authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Ryan hopes to release a budget similar to his 2012 budget which reforms Medicare into a private insurance system for future retirees.

“With four straight years of trillion-dollar deficits, no credible plan to lift the crushing burden of debt, and a Senate majority that has failed to pass a budget for over 1,000 days, the president and his party’s leaders have fallen short in their duty to tackle our generation’s most pressing fiscal and economic challenges,” Ryan said in reaction to the CBO report.

This story was updated at 10:27 a.m.


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  • What great news for America!  So much for Hope and Change. Now let’s change the man in the White House. Are you be off now than three years ago, NO ! NO! NO!
  • Obama’s America. Welcome to the “Yes We Can”
  • William Dierker 1 hour ago
    I would avoid the WH press corp too if I had Obama’s record.
  • Obama shouldn’t worry. He just chatted with Diane “The OWS protestors are in 1000 countries” Sawyer. Diane gave the President such hard hitting questions like “Who do think will win the Super Bowl?” and “Do you think Newt Gingrich is a racist for calling him ‘The Food Stamp President’?” That’s Diane, always getting the information people want.No questions on Solyndra, or Fast and Furious, or his trillion dollar deficits. Those don’t seem to be a problem for Diane.

  • Goldman Sachs predicitions for 2012::: Unemployment up to 9.0%; GDP 1.8%; Gold up to $1950; Oil up to $127 Barrel……………………………………
  • DebbieSmith1956 1 hour ago
    The United States debt-to-GDP ratio has now passed the 100 percent mark, a level that many economists regard as a danger point. With looming demographic issues facing Washington, even slightly higher spending on Medicare and Medicaid over the next decades could result in primary deficits in excess of 20 percent of GDP as shown here:http://viableopposition.blogsp…

    That is the point where the debt problem will come home to roost. Unfortunately, it will be far too late to do anything about it.

  • You are 110% correct.I have been posting this senario for some time now.Progressives on this site that defend this administration’s policies either don’t understand what extremely high debt to GDP does to our country or God forbid they actually want the country to collapse.You Progressives tell me why running deficits of 1.1 to 1.4 trillion dollar deficits each year is good for the country.I can’t run deficits every year and survive,how can this country?
  • “The deficit was $1.4 trillion in 2009, $1.3 trillion in 2010 and $1.3 trillion in 2011. The largest deficit recorded before that was $458 billion in 2008.”SAYS IT ALL.  This Pres is a huge mistake.

  • How’s that Hopey, Changey stuff workin’ out for ya?
  • This past Friday, GDP was reported. For all 2011, the economy grew at 1.7 percent while our national debt grew 8 percent and we lost our AAA credit rating. If debt grows faster than output it will always eventually lead to insolvency.  As a nation, we must reign in spending.  Eventually our creditors will wise up and cut us off, at which time we will be forced to face economic realities whether we want to or not.Ron Paul is the only candidate offering spending cuts. $1 Trillion. The deficit has exploded higher to the point that issuance is outrunning foreign purchases.  A large portion of this issuance has been bought by the Federal Reserve.  The Federal Reserve has stepped in and bought trillions of dollars of US debt issued by the US Treasury or agencies of the Federal Government. In 2011, interest on the national debt was $454 billion. If interest rates were the same as they were in 1995, our interest payments on our national debt would have exceeded $1 trillion in 2011 and none of that is reducing the principle balance. That is solely interest on our nation’s debt.

    Our national debt now stands at over $15 trillion and now equals our GDP. It is increasing at 8 percent a year, far outpacing the annual growth in GDP.  Our national debt is over $2,000 for every person in the world! That is an enormous amount of debt!

    70 percent of our public debt matures within 5 years.  In my opinion, financing long-term liabilities with short-term debt is desperate and risky. If interest rates rise only a small amount, it will consume all discretionary spending.

    What are we getting for all this debt we are incurring? More wars? A safer world? Do American’s want to be the policeman of the world or nation builders? Are these American ideals?  Isn’t it folly to think America can afford these ideals? If we embrace such ideals, how can we not understand when we get labeled as being imperialistic? How can this foreign intervention not foster anti-Americanism and radicalism? Are we really more safe or less safe under such a foreign policy? Admiral Mike Mullens, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated the single biggest threat to national security is the national debt.

    Profligate government spending affects all Americans.  Whether you are Republican or Democrat, the interest paid will consume the national budget and will affect everything from not only defense spending, but also Medicare, Social Security and other government programs.

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InnerCity Struggle has worked with youth, families and community residents for the past sixteen years to promote safe, healthy and non-violent communities in the Eastside.

We organize youth and families in Boyle Heights, unincorporated East Los Angeles, El Sereno and Lincoln Heights to work together for social and educational justice. InnerCity Struggle provides positive after-school programs for students to become involved in supporting our schools to succeed.

We have empowered students to reach their family’s dream of college. The work of InnerCity Struggle demonstrates that youth and parents working together are a powerful force for improving their communities and making real change.

InnerCity Struggle has also educated and empowered thousands of Eastside voters to be heard at the ballot box on critical issues impacting our communities.

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The Social Contract By Jean Jacques Rousseau


The Social Contract

by

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

eBooks@Adelaide
2010

This web edition published by eBooks@Adelaide .

Rendered into HTML by Steve Thomas .

Last updated Sun Aug 29 18:57:10 2010.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence
(available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/au/). You are free: to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work, and to make derivative works under the following conditions: you must attribute the work in the manner specified by the licensor; you may not use this work for commercial purposes; if you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the licensor. Your fair use and other rights are in no way affected by the above.

eBooks@Adelaide
The University of Adelaide Library
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Table of Contents

BOOK I

  1. Subject of the First Book
  2. The First Societies
  3. The Right of the Strongest
  4. Slavery
  5. That we must always go back to a First Convention
  6. The Social Compact
  7. The Sovereign
  8. The Civil State
  9. Real Property

BOOK II

  1. That Sovereignty is Inalienable
  2. That Sovereignty is Indivisible
  3. Whether the General Will is Fallible
  4. The Limits of the Sovereign Power
  5. The Right of Life and Death
  6. Law
  7. The Legislator
  8. The People
  9. The People (continued)
  10. The People (continued)
  11. The Various Systems of Legislation
  12. The Division of the Laws

BOOK III

  1. Government in General
  2. The Constituent Principle in the various Forms of Government
  3. The Division of Governments
  4. Democracy
  5. Aristocracy
  6. Monarchy
  7. Mixed Governments
  8. That all forms of Government do not suit all Countries
  9. The Marks of a Good Government
  10. The Abuse of Government and its Tendency to Degenerate
  11. The Death of the Body Politic
  12. How the Sovereign Authority maintains itself
  13. The Same (continued)
  14. The Same (continued)
  15. Deputies Or Representatives
  16. That the Institution of Government is not a Contract
  17. The Institution of Government
  18. How to Check the Usurpations of Government

BOOK IV

  1. That the General Will is Indestructible
  2. Voting
  3. Elections
  4. The Roman Comitia
  5. The Tribunate
  6. The Dictatorship
  7. The Censorship
  8. Civil Religion
  9. Conclusion

Table of Contents
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Last updated on Wed Jan 12 09:44:12 2011 for eBooks@Adelaide.

They’re Over 1000 Hate Groups In USA And Growing


Southern Poverty Law Center

Fighting HateTeaching ToleranceSeeking Justice


Active U.S. Hate Groups

Stand Strong Against Hate

Join people across the nation who are standing strong against the hate. Add yourself to our map as a voice for tolerance.

The Southern Poverty Law Center counted 1,002 active hate groups in the United States in 2010. Only organizations and their chapters known to be active during 2010 are included.

All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.

This list was compiled using hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports.

Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing. Websites appearing to be merely the work of a single individual, rather than the publication of a group, are not included in this list. Listing here does not imply a group advocates or engages in violence or other criminal activity.

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© 2012. Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Great Society Program


In 1963 poverty was at 22.6 percent by 1970 it dropped to 12.3 percent this according to US Senator Tom Harkin.

 

 

Once Again, Obama’s USDA Less Transparent than Bush’s


The ballooning national debt and Tea Party pressure has members of Congress running in the halls with their budget-cutting scissors in hand. The Senate Agriculture Committee is no exception. This Thursday morning, the senators convened a hearing billed as focusing on:

… measuring the performance of every agriculture program, fighting fraud, eliminating duplication and waste, and cutting red tape for farmers.

It’s convenient for the committee that the Environmental Working Group released on the same day the latest update of its farm subsidy database, which has been searched 250 million times since it debuted in 2004.

We hope they’ll notice that despite lawmakers’ boasts of enacting major reforms in the 2008 farm bill, the new data clearly show that wealthy absentee land owners and mega farms awash in record income are once again the main beneficiaries of federal farm programs – while struggling family farmers go begging.

And once again, the database shows that many farm subsidy recipients get those fat government checks at addresses in New York City, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles – not exactly farm country, and a far cry from the programs’ original intent.

Compounding the bad news, under President Obama the US Department of Agriculture has again sharply limited the data that EWG receives under the Freedom of Information Act in order to assemble the database and identify the real winners of farm subsidy largesse. It’s those data that has allowed EWG to follow the money and exposed the gross inequities in federal spending that enable the big agricultural operations to come away with the most generous haul of taxpayer dollars.

In 2007, the USDA under former President Bush released previously unavailable records that allowed EWG’s database to uncover nearly 500,000 farm subsidy recipients whose identities had previously been shielded by byzantine mazes of co-ops and corporate shell games. The database revealed, for example, that Florida real estate developer Maurice Wilder, reportedly worth $500 million, was pulling in almost $1 million a year in farm subsidies for corn farms he owns in several states.

In 2010 and now 2011, however, the USDA has refused to release the data that provided this revelatory accounting of just who receives the billions paid out under the maze of federal farm programs.

In preparing for Thursday’s hearing, the Senate Agriculture Committee said that it would be focusing on the accountability and effectiveness of farm programs:

Yesterday the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General (USDA OIG) issued a report detailing its fraud prevention efforts in programs under its jurisdiction, including food assistance programs. USDA OIG’s report shows that in the last six months it has conducted successful investigations and audits that led to 516 arrests, 249 convictions, $47.8 million in recoveries and restitutions, 114 program improvement recommendations, and $11.1 million in financial recommendations across all initiatives under USDA purview, including 80 convictions and $7.9 million in monetary results in food assistance programs.

The Agriculture Committee’s hearing on accountability will examine all areas in the committee’s jurisdiction, including food assistance programs.

Targeting fraud and abuse in any government program is smart policy, and good politics. Federal money is increasingly scarce, and it should go to those that need it – such as poor women and children who depend on federal food and nutrition programs to get enough to eat. But the farm bill’s awkwardly assembled family of sibling programs – including nutrition assistance, farm subsidies and agricultural support – makes for intense rivalries, especially in tough economic times. The subsidy lobby that jealously guards the lavish payments to commodity crop growers finds it easy to stand by quietly while nutrition programs suffer sharp cuts while working feverishly to keep the spotlight off of the largesse of farm subsidy payments.

The outcome of these battles is easy to predict. The Senate Ag Committee members are unlikely to benefit personally or politically from federal nutrition programs for the poor. But as the EWG Farm Subsidy Database made clear, the committee’s members largely represent states with robust farm subsidy hauls, commodity crop payments to the states represented by the Senate Agriculture committee totaled $3.38 billion 2010. House Agriculture Committee Member Districts pulled in $1.99 billion in commodity crop subsidies in 2010.

Speaking of the House side, Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) is also beating the accountability drum.

We will examine how we are spending money, where the money is going, and whether the goals of each program are being met. We will look for duplication within issue areas to determine program overlap. We will scrutinize waste, fraud and abuse, and look for ways to build on the success USDA has already achieved.

We have an obligation to taxpayers to ensure our resources are being spent wisely.

But like beauty, what constitutes wise spending is in the eye of the beholder, and the makeup of the House Agriculture Committee’s membership, with its base firmly in states that are home to commodity crop growers, leaves little doubt where its priorities lie.

If the committee takes its cue from the House GOP leadership’s budget bill, which took aim at a wide variety of nutrition assistance efforts, programs like Know Your Farmer Know Your Food will be in peril.

The bill forces USDA to report to Congress every time officials travel to promote the department’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” program, which supports locally grown food, and discourages the department from giving research grants to support local food systems. Large agribusiness has been critical of the department’s focus on these smaller food producers.

And for those concerned with soil erosion, water quality and the effectiveness of conservation programs authorized through the farm bill, there is a severe lack of transparency there, too.

All sides trumpet their insistence on accountability and “wise” spending, but somehow those priorities never seems to include transparency or equity. It’s long past time for America’s food and farm programs benefit all citizens, not just a handful of wealthy agribusiness churning out the raw material for an unhealthy food system. If Congress can’t manage to take a hard-nosed look at the skewed spending priorities of these programs, as well as the administration’s reluctance to identify the biggest winners of the government’s largesse, then taxpayers and eaters need to demand it.

Twitter Updates

  • At #findingnorth screening @sundancefest looking forward to audience reaction to the critical topic of hunger in America 2 days ago
  • Stalwart food and farm policy reformer @RepRonKind eyes crop subsidy reform http://t.co/HWO8MyEL #foodbill 2 days ago
  • Fair 2 ask farmers 2 protect water, soil in return for billions of $ that taxpayers spend on crop insurance? http://t.co/J1Sm6BsJ #foodbill 2 days ago

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Genetically Modified Foods—The Silent Killer


Genetically Modified Foods, The Silent Killer

Previously! Censored Information, Healthy Sources of Genetically Modified Free Foods and Drinks, and Those to Avoid

Monsanto

I believe that there are certain situations where the question isn’t whether one can do it, but whether one should do it, and that goes for corporations as well.

The controversies of bygone days still haunt Monsanto. For example, in 1984, Monsanto and Dow Chemical agreed to pay a $180 million settlement to American Vietnam War veterans who complained of long-lasting physical effects from the use of Agent Orange.


The two companies were the largest producers of the pesticide-turned-chemical-warfare agent.

However, the controversy is still noted in Monsanto’s SEC filings — Vietnamese and Korean lawsuits have also been filed, and while most have been dismissed, in January 2006, the Seoul High Court ordered that Monsanto and Dow Chemical pay $62 million in compensation to approximately 6,800 people. The plaintiffs may still appeal. (Two lawsuits originally filed in 1999 sought more than $4 billion in damages from the companies.)

Monsanto’s pharmaceutical business, Pharmacia, is now part of Pfizer and its chemicals business was spun off as Solutia. (You can read this article for details on how Monsanto and Solutia share a legacy — and payments — regarding environmental remediation related to PCB pollution, an ongoing issue.)

Today’s Monsanto comprises the agricultural business alone.

The split didn’t free Monsanto from controversy, though. Note their primary business now – Genetic Modification / Genetic Engineering.

Such products are touted as increasing agricultural productivity and yields. Some say such solutions from companies like Monsanto will feed the world. However, if you ask some farmers and most environmentalists, you’ll get a different story.

Monsanto is embroiled in quite a few lawsuits. It takes quite some time to read through them all in regulatory filings.

It agreed to pay $100 million in royalties to the University of California, which claimed Monsanto violated its patent on bovine somatotropin, or Posilac, a hormone that increases milk production in cows.

90 Texas farmers alleged that Monsanto failed to warn them about a defect in its Genetically Modified cotton product, resulting in widespread crop loss.

Monsanto’s most obvious controversy is the Genetically Modified hot button.

A group of farmers, consumers, and environmentalists recently sued the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, alleging that it is improperly allowing Monsanto to sell an herbicide-resistant alfalfa seed without examining the health, environmental, and economic ramifications.

Monsanto isn’t just the defendant in many lawsuits. Part of its business is being the plaintiff as well.

For example, Genetically Modified alfalfa is expected to easily contaminate old-school alfalfa crops, which could result in Monsanto lawsuits against farmers for royalties if traces of its own patented Genetically Modified alfalfa get into such farmers’ crops even by accident.

Alfalfa is easily cross-pollinated by bees and the wind. That seems not only an ethical issue, but an antitrust issue as well.

Many farmers and environmentalists contend that Monsanto is gearing up to have an agricultural monopoly, and they’ve filed suits related to antitrust issues.

Furthermore, many people are still unconvinced that Genetically Modified products like Monsanto’s won’t end up being harmful to human health or the environment in the long run.

“Frankenfood”-Free Europe?

The European Union has had a long-standing reluctance to approve Genetically Modified products, and many companies, including Monsanto, have been fighting to get GMO wares into the European market.The World Trade Organization recently made a preliminary ruling against the EU, which may eventually force a more open approach to GM foods. (The EU has been approving the products on a case-by-case basis, requiring labeling and traceability.) Europeans believe Genetically Modified foods are dangerous.

Their concern isn’t surprising, given food-supply health and safety issues in recent years. Consider the BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease) situation. The adverse effects of using meat and bone materials in animal feed weren’t known for many years, until mad cow disease emerged and made the leap to human infections, known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Genetically Modified products are alive and well in the United States, however. Monsanto has a cache of high-profile food company customers here. Kellogg, which now uses Monsanto’s Vistive to lower the trans-fat and saturated fat content of certain foods — and since there are no labeling requirements, most Americans are eating Genetically Modified foods whether they know it or not.

Whole Foods Market has been a major advocate of clear Genetically Modified labeling, (bear in mind that organic food is understood to be GM-free). In fact, Whole Foods’ stance on environmental matters is probably one of its biggest selling points with its customers.

Monsanto’s request for nonregulated status of Roundup RReady2Yield™ Soybean MON89788

MONSANTO KNEW ABOUT PCB TOXICITY FOR DECADES 

Monsanto does not deny that everyone is contaminated with PCBs. They argue instead that since they have contaminated the entire planet they are innocent of all liability: Monsanto’s internal documents,
many of which are being posted for the first time for the world to see, uncover a shocking story of corporate deception and dangerous secrets.

If Monsanto hid what it knew about its toxic pollution for decades, what is the company hiding from the public now?

This question seems particularly important to us as this powerful company asks the world to trust it with a worldwide, high-stakes gamble with the environmental and human health consequences of its genetically modified foods.

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