Welcome to the weekly roundup of great articles, facts and figures. These are the weekly finds that made our eyes pop.
Minnesota Shut Down
Minnesota, just in time for the holiday, has shut down. Closed are state parks, race tracks and even rest stops! No peeing for you Minnesota!
The closing of its two horse tracks is one of dozens of ways that residents and businesses are being affected by the shutdown, which has closed parks, the Minnesota Zoo, highway rest areas and halted construction projects. Dealer Mike Obermueller at Running Aces is joining about 23,000 furloughed state workers.
Seems to be yet another Republican war against the State under the guise of budget reduction.
Dayton, a 64-year-old first-term governor and former U.S. senator, said the sides are $1.4 billion apart, with Republicans refusing to approve tax increases and him opposing a budget with only spending cuts.
“Maybe they’re willing to throw the poor people of Minnesota, the elderly people of Minnesota, people with disabilities in Minnesota under the state bus,” Dayton said during a news conference at the state Capitol before the shutdown. “I’m not.”
California has closed about 1/4th of it's parks as well. Washington was a little more prudent, charging $10 bucks for a day pass and $30 for a season.
China Uses Loophole to Hide Buying Up U.S. Debt
Reuters discovered the U.S. Treasury quietly closed a loophole on Treasuries auctions because China was buying up more debt than disclosed.
The real reason for the change, a Reuters investigation has found, was more serious: The Treasury had concluded that China was buying much more in U.S. government debt than was being disclosed, potentially in violation of auction rules, and it wanted to bring those purchases into the open - all without ruffling feathers in Beijing.
Treasury officials then worked to keep the reason for the auction-rule change quiet, with the acting assistant Treasury secretary for financial markets instructing subordinates to not mention any specific creditor's role in the matter, according to an email seen by Reuters. Inquiries made at the time by the main trade organization for Treasury dealers elicited the explanation that the change was a "technical modernization," according to a document seen by Reuters. There was no mention of China.
The incident calls into question just how clear a handle the Treasury has had on who is buying U.S. debt. Chinese entities hold at least $1.115 trillion in U.S. government debt, and are thought to account for roughly 26 percent of the paper issued by Washington, according to U.S. government data released on June 15.
New York Attorney General Takes on the Big Banks
William Greider is always a treat. His latest is how the New York Attorney General has grown some Cojones.
The most powerful Wall Street banks are used to getting their own way, especially with politicians, but New York’s attorney general is trying to turn the tables on them. Eric Schneiderman is digging into the accumulating evidence of massive fraud and false documentation revealed by the foreclosure mess and asks a potentially explosive question: How bad is it?
The answer could prove devastating for some of the largest financial institutions in the land, confronting them with huge new losses and maybe renewing the banking crisis the Obama administration thought it had resolved. Perhaps that’s why law-enforcement agencies, state and federal, have not undertaken a thorough investigation of the scandal—they’re afraid of what they might find. The newly elected New York AG has been obliquely warned that his inquiry could “blow up the economy,” but he ignores the scare talk. If the evidence is there, it should definitely put the banks on the defensive, for a change.
Infosys Abuses U.S. Immigration System
Most people in tech know India offshore outsourcing companies abuse the U.S. guest worker system to labor arbitrage, it's an old story, but finally it's getting some legal action due to some whistle blowers.
A giant Indian outsourcing company with thousands of employees in the United States is facing an expanding federal investigation prompted by claims from an American whistle-blower that it misused short-term visitors’ visas to bring in low-cost workers from India.
Accusations that the company, Infosys Technologies, repeatedly violated the terms of business visitor visas were first raised in a lawsuit filed in February in Alabama by Jack Palmer, an Infosys project manager. Aside from Mr. Palmer, at least two other Infosys managers in the United States have submitted internal whistle-blower reports pointing to Indians on business visitor visas who were performing longer-term work not authorized under those visas, according to internal documents and current Infosys managers.
GOP Halts Trade Deals
The GOP is halting trade deals, but not for the reasons one would think. Nope, they are upset over assistance to those workers displaced. Lori Wallach:
For most Americans, what’s newsworthy is not that the administration is pushing Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which effectively is a job burial insurance program, but that pushing a deal on TAA is being used as political cover to move more NAFTA-style trade agreements that will kill more American jobs in the first place, especially given our high unemployment rates.” Wallach added. “The point that’s gotten lost in all this wrangling over TAA is that the three leftover Bush trade deals are bad in and of themselves.
Barack Hoover Obama
Krugman just wrote a blog post calling Obama Herbert Hoover. While we've been saying this for some time, I think that's about the most blunt I've seen Krugman in a while.
We're so damned, a non-choice between insane agendas by the GOP and Obama's never ending corporate lobbyist written agendas.
Wal-Mart hires InfoSys
Somehow it's no surprise that Wal-Mart is one of Infosys' major clients. Their relentless pursuit of lowest bid contractors results in a relentless decline in wages and working conditions:
"At least one of Infosys’ major clients, Wal-Mart, has been contacted by investigators about its contracts with Infosys."
Infosys Abuses U.S. Immigration System
China - arbitrage?
With such huge funds to invest, the People's Bank of China, agents and related banks are most probably practicing some form of arbitrage with U.S. Treasury paper. They have enough funds to influence markets around the world. Probably they are using a computer program that ties the U.S. Treasury paper into currency exchange. You know, just one one-hundredth of one percent, if you turn that three times a week ... with little or no risk ... pretty soon it adds up to real money. Specifically, over the course of a year, you make 2¢ on each $1. Sounds like not much, but let's say that your 2¢ per dollar is on a billion dollars. That comes to a tidy $20 Million per year. (That's exclusive of the effective interest earned for your bank by the paper that your bank holds.)
Now suppose you are an insider with the People's Bank of China and you want something more than just your ordinary pension as someone who has climbed to the top of the bureaucratic ladder over a period of years. Maybe you have to split the take with a few other insiders ... but even a mere $Million is a handy nest egg to have in a place as affordable as China, or, if you don't care for China, let's say, the Philippines.
Don't mean to moralize on someone who is trying to make a living and provide for a family, just noting a possibility. I tend to suspect anywhere that there is a lack of transparency. Or am I too cynical?
China buys U.S. debt for currency manipulation
They have to buy up U.S. Treasuries in order to peg the Yuan. Without it they have runaway inflation due to currency manipulation. Some details here.
Then by meta tag China.
Seems we need another page which has key critical posts which goes into some of these details at the ready.
I don't think most people understand the mechanisms of currency manipulation and why China has to buy U.S. debt in order to do it.
Thank you for link to your earlier article
For about a half-century now, I have known something of the market-making insiders and the way Treasury paper is unleashed on the world. I am pretty sure that most people have no idea of those mechanisms, although they are not secret.
But the mechanisms of currency manipulation? That seems to me like some very murky stuff. I just know that the everyday numbers are awesomely huge, fortunes can be made or lost in microseconds.
I recall that case in Singapore (a British bank) where some poor soul lost everything, and maybe was even imprisoned, when betting that some currency would always have go up overnight, they couldn't all fall at the same time. Seemed like a reasonable assumption.
The way things are today, it's all computer trading. Arbitrage must be constant and never-ending, but no one understands it, do they? My understanding is that professional mathematicians are paid to devise models, test them out and then use them on the fastest computers with the fastest connections.
An Illegal Alien's Guide to Best Places in America
Ya all gotta read this over on Fox News. I know some of the facts are accurate but the sarcasm is deadly.
Pretty much straight facts
The sarcasm is light, it seems to me, especially considering that most people are not ready for straight facts.
The FOX story is mostly pretty much straight facts from Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), although presented with apparent prejudicial intent.
My preferred source for facts on immigration issues is NumbersUSA. I am somewhat favorably disposed toward the DREAM Act on humanitarian grounds, but facts are facts, and NumbersUSA (opposed to DREAM) is very good at facts -- statistical, political and legislative -- forthrightly stating a strong policy to contain immigration.
NumbersUSA: 'No to immigrant bashing'
The problem with every single one of these agendas, which I might note, they push over doing anything for the U.S. middle class, if one pays attention...
is they put it all with examples of people who really should be legalized, given a green card and then hide the fact the bills have so many loopholes it will increase illegal flows exponentially.
the real agenda is to have unlimited migration, purely for the purposes of repressing wages, labor.
While everytime any of these reduced immigration groups are referenced, immediately one will hear how they are a bunch of racist xenophobes, yada yada, but CIS, well, their research techniques sure seem more solid than AEI or the Hertitage foundation, which is some serious spin often.
So, I take each report, paper whatever individually on these things but I have to agree, NumbersUSA is probably the most labor reality focused on the lot.
I just thought this article was so amusing because we have tons of "top 10 places to live", "10 top employers" and all of these things going so it's almost a parody of other economic reports.
But the info contained within the article is accurate. California is so out of bounds with their massive budget crisis, I think that's where the economic realities of no immigration enforcement really hits home.
Right now we have all sorts of articles claiming Georgia and Alabama cannot find farm workers to pick the harvests. OMG they might have to offer those as summer jobs to teenagers! OMG!
(anyone detassle corn as a teenager, hard as hell, hot, nasty, tough, but it paid usually 3x what you could get working at McDonalds to teenagers).
Detassling corn? WOW!
You remember detassling corn? Wow! Me too.
First actual paycheck I ever got. I was 15 years old, and rich beyond anything I had ever imagined at something like 50¢/hour. Great Iowa kids to work with!
Detassling corn was hot, but it didn't seem like hard work to me. Later, in California, I worked short hoe with a Californio Chicano crew. Now, THAT was hard work! Great guys to work with there too! (Short hoe was later outlawed in California and probably elsewhere.)
Teenagers and even college students working in agriculture? Yes! It was once and it could be again. Nothing wrong with it!
Contradictory positions on exports
"The problem with every single one of these agendas ... is [that] the bills have so many loopholes [that they] will increase illegal flows exponentially." -- Robert Oak
A notable example of this kind of legislation, where the devil is indeed in the details, is the hilariously named "STAPLE" Act, originating with US Representative Jeff Flake (Republican - Arizona). Here's from NumbersUSA --
This legislative initiative was, of course, endorsed by the Obama administration.
Here's the absurd justification for the policy on 'exporting' graduates:
"Foreign-born students studying in our universities have the potential to make significant contributions to our future economic growth if they could stay and work in the U.S. after they graduate. Exporting this talent to other countries is not in our economic interest." (from White House paper on immigration policy, underlining added)
The administration would do better to fall back on the ideology of multiculturalism, as such, than to attempt this inane justification by way of self-contradictory corporate globalist thinking.
Why NOT export graduates? 'Exporting' graduates who come here to buy valuable training would just mean that U.S. universities result in a PLUS for our balance of trade! Isn't that the whole point of corporate globalism? -- to accomplish a trade balance? Isn't that what the corporate globalists have always promised, since their NAFTA campaign to the present day?
The quote is from the administration's official paper on immigration, at a section titled "Immigrants are job creators" of a PDF titled "Building a 21st Century Immigration System" (at p. 11). This is available from the White House at --
White House webpage on immigration policy
With a quote like this, a Ross Perot (if we had a Ross Perot) could kick butt in a presidential debate or in a Perot-style infomercial (which Perot funded from his personal funds)! It's like this: the U.S. is currently exporting the last of our high-grade coal (the kind needed for steel production) to China, proclaiming that as a great example of the success of corporate globalism. But we should not ever think of our higher educational system as a successful export industry? Why not?
The justifications for immigration legislation that favors special money interests (basically MNCs and other global operators) seems to always be in terms of "our economic interest" or "the national interest". Explanations end there. Well, it's an official government statement on 'the national interest'! We can't question that?
I have come to hold my nose whenever I read an official statement about "our" economic or "national" interest
The White House paper, BTW, is a very good presentation of the pro-immigration multiculturalist position, if anyone wants to see that.
I am curious about something: can anyone point to just one national political figure who stands for popular election anywhere in the world, other than Barack Obama, who is an avowed pro-immigration multiculturalist? I doubt it.
These problems are national but also global. The basic phenomena are continued high global population growth rates and related population flows, unregulated capital flows and casino capitalism, institutionalized cyclic industrial relocation, resource depletion, endemic socio-economic instability, apparent failure in human terms of the corporate globalist world system, and, political corruption associated with lack of confidence in democratic processes and institutions.