Tuesday, March 22, 2005

If this guy is right, we're in big trouble! 

Jason Hommel of the Silver Stock Report says General Motors is nearly insolvent. He predicts the automotive giant will go bankrupt in three months to a year.

In an article he published online at Kitco on March 18, Hommel suggested that if GM goes down, it might pull the whole U.S. financial system down with it; hence the name of the article, "The Death of the Dollar."

Hommel looked up GM's vital financial statistics in Yahoo Finance and found that the company's market capitalization, i.e. the total value of its stock, added up to about $16 billion after the stock fell from $34/share to $28.35/share, and that the carmaker was in debt to the tune of $300 billion. Hommel thinks that GM will default on its bonds because it won't be able to cope with higher interest rates. Losses on debts this large will cause bond investors to lose faith in even larger debtors, such as the US government.

Hommel says, "The annual deficit is around $700 billion. How will the U.S. government sell bonds to finance the deficit if bondholders are getting wiped out? . . . Foreign nations are all sounding the alarm already that they will be selling U.S. bonds to diversify the holdings of their central banks: Russia, India, China, South Korea, Japan. . . . what major foreign nation is left to buy them?"

On March 21, a day that saw the Dow lose 64 points, GM stock rose $1.07 to $29.69. But GM is in major trouble. Last evening's Nightly Business Report on PBS announced that the company is going to cut 28 percent of its nonunion white collar jobs, and that it expects a negative cash flow this year. Reuters is reporting that GM has cancelled plans to build some new rear-wheel cars in North America. And the lead sentence on Alex Taylor III's Fortune Magazine article, "GM hits the skids," is "GM's first quarter was a slow-motion car wreck."

GM is the world's No. 1 automaker. Isn't this the kind of blue chipper Bush and the rest of the neocon privatizer want you to gamb . . . I mean, invest your retirement in? Maybe this is why Bush is in such a hurry to set up "private accounts" for Social Security, to draw more money into Wall Street to prop up struggling megacorps like GM, and perhaps the entire US financial system as well.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

New Pentagon strategy: United States will target “internal threats” of other countries 

With the fabricated “war on terrorism,” the Bush administration gave itself the propaganda pretext to intimidate, provoke, presumptively attack, occupy and plunder any nation in its crosshairs, in order to carry out its geostrategic imperatives and sequential conquest of world oil and energy supplies. International law, national sovereignty, and other inconveniences have been routinely destroyed, along with the defenseless populations in the way.

Now under its new Pentagon defense strategy (and detailed analysis in “New Undeclared Arms Race” by Michel Chossudovsky), the administration, with predictable hubris, explicitly grants itself permission to enter any country to combat that country's “internal threats” (as dictated by the United States, and then forced upon “cooperative” partners). In addition to the usual “terrorism” and “weapons of mass destruction,” the administration will act against insurgencies (i.e. nationalistic movements that oppose US interests), along with narcotrafficking and organized crime operations that the United States (the leading exponent of all of the previous criminal activities) is not itself overtly or covertly managing and controlling.

As the world's leading post-Cold War superpower, the United States has long possessed the means and the might to intervene, interfere, invade, and wage war, along with the force to bring virtually any nation to its political knees. The new Pentagon strategy simply makes it easier, spelling out new political and criminal intentions upfront---including plans to “influence” China and Russia, which face “strategic crossroads” with the United States.
For more on the emerging world war landscape, see Chossudovsky's “New Undeclared Arms Race”, and “GlobalCorp” by Mike Ruppert.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Argentine president asks for Shell boycott 

President Nestor Kirchner of Argentina has asked Argentines to boycott Royal Dutch/Shell. The Dutch/UK oil company announced price hikes on gasoline and diesel fuel last week.

Reuters reports that Kirchner, at an event with schoolchildren last week, said: "Argentines should not buy from them, they have to say 'no' to Shell. Let's unite and not even buy a can of oil from them. May they realize that Argentines no longer put up with this. A national boycott is the best thing the people can do," at an event with schoolchildren last week.

Kirchner's stand was backed by pickets who protested at local Shell headquarters.

In criticizing Royal Dutch/Shell, Krichner noted that Brazil's Petrobras and Spain's YPF Repsol do not plan to raise prices. Kirchner is concerned that hikes in energy prices will spark the kind of hyperinfation that ruined the Argentine economy in 1989-1990.

Can you imagine a US president ever calling on Americans to boycott a corporation, even a foreign one?

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The rescue of Giuliana Sgrena runs afoul of US military shooters 

Great joy over the news that Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena is free after a month of captivity in Baghdad turned to great sadness at the news that US troops fired upon the vehicle carrying her, Nicola Calipari, the Italian intelligence agent who secured her release, and two other Italian agents to the airport, killing Calipari and wounding Sgrena and the two others.

According to Sgrena's newspaper, Il Manifesto, Calipari was killed when he threw himself over Sgrena to shield her from the gunfire. She was hit in the left should by shrapnel and was treated at a US military hospital.

In a statement released by the US Army's Third Infantry Division in Baghdad, the soldiers did not know Sgrena was in the vehicle, which, they said, was approaching a checkpoint near the airport at a high rate of speed and failed to respond to signals and warning shots to stop, leading them to stop the vehicle by firing at its engine block.

There are many questions about who abducted Sgrena from in front of a Baghdad mosque on Feb. 4, where she had gone to conduct an interview, and now there are many more about yesterday's incident.

As Dario De Judicibus wrote yesterday, from Italy, in a letter to the editor:

“Giuliana Sgrena was freed today by Italian intelligence. No blitz was necessary, no guns, no force.

“BUT . . .

“While Sgrena was going to the Baghdad Airport with three agents of Italian Intelligence, America soldiers fired on the car. One of the agents protected Sgrena with his body. He was killed by American fire. Sgrena and the other two agents were injured. The agents had no weapons. A happy ending was transformed into a tragedy.

“In Italy we still do not understand if the USA sent to Iraq a ‘professional' army. It is hard to think to those guys as professionals. We have many soldiers there; but we are there to help, not to fire on anybody who is moving, allies included.”

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