Bad News Friday
by Stephen Lendman
Imperial America suffered multiple body blows. So did most Republican presidential aspirants in the latest Pew Research poll - conducted from September 22 - 27, based on Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters, indicating they’ll vote in the Republican primary or caucus in their state. More on this below.
First how the empire fared, a time its power brokers would like to forget, symptomatic of a nation in decline, the eventual fate of all empires in history.
Soviet Russia the last one. America’s turn awaits. Lunatics in Washington assure it, a bipartisan criminal class - corrupt, ruthless, lawless. When it goes, it may take us all with it.
A snapshot of what’s happening now. For the first time since Soviet Russia dissolved, America’s imperial project was challenged - Putin waging real war on terrorism, Obama officials frantic about what to do next, daring no more than a war of words accomplishing nothing.
September 30 changed the equation in Syria. It’s too early to tell how things will turn out. Putin is committed. He’s no quitter. He’s got plenty of domestic support.
Addressing the World Economic Forum last January, Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister, Igor Shuvalov, said Russians steadfastly support their leader.
“Read our history. (They’ll) never give up their leader. We will tighten our belt, eat less food, suffer any privations, but if outsiders want to force changes on us, we will be united as never before.”
It shows in Putin’s overwhelming popularity. Russians trust him for good reason. He says what he means and means what he says - polar opposite Obama’s serial lying.
Will Putin’s Syrian campaign change things dramatically? At least enough to let Washington know it’s reckless agenda is being challenged. If successful in Syria, maybe Iraq next - a mission to defeat the scourge of terrorism, its elements supported by Washington, reviled by humanity.
The monthly US jobs report was another Friday disaster - dismal barely describes it. Economist David Rosenberg called it a big disappointment, far worse than the headline number - 142,000 mostly rotten jobs supposedly created, July and August figures revised lower, wage growth flat, Rosenberg saying:
“Adding insult to injury and revealing an even softer underbelly to this report was the contraction in the workweek to 34.5 hours from 34.6 hours in August, which is effectively equivalent to an added 348,000 job losses.”
“So take the headline number, tack on the downward revisions, and the loss of labour input from the decline in the workweek, and the “real” payroll number was -265,000. You read that right.”
Increasing numbers of layoffs makes things worse. Challenger Gray reported 58,877 in September, 205,759 for Q III, the highest total since 2009’s third quarter.
Year-to-date, nearly half a million US workers were laid off, on track to be the highest yearly total since 2009, perhaps indicating a worse 2016.
Paul Craig Roberts explained US labor force participation fell to its lowest level in four decades - why real unemployment is 23%, not the fake 5.1% headline figure, a willful deception and outrage to the millions of Americans wanting jobs, unable to find them.
Most getting them are low-paid service workers, employed at poverty or sub-poverty wages.
Roberts’ coauthor Dave Kranzler commented on Friday’s jobs report, saying “(t)here’s not enough lipstick in the world to pretty up this pig.”
He called the official numbers “a fairytale,” nightmarish for the unemployed and underemployed. Most alarming is his description of the state of things as follows:
“The Fed is losing control of a system that is rapidly collapsing from countless skeletons in the closet that have come to life.”
“Too much debt in every nook and cranny of the US system; hidden OTC derivatives bombs with lit fuses; impending emerging market sovereign bankruptcies; declining tax revenues, and State/local Governments on the verge of insolvency; a real economy that is in a frenetic downward spiral; the most overvalued stock market in history (when you strip out all the accounting gimmicks piled into what is being reported by S&P 500 America).”
“Perhaps most frightening is a political system with the wheels coming off.” Imperial America is like a washed up, punch-drunk fighter, believing he can challenge the world and win.
China, Russia, India and other nations are rising. America’s preeminence is fading, already thirdworldized for the majority of its citizens, impoverished or close to it, suffering from social injustice, duopoly power running things exclusively for monied interests.
Kranzler concludes his comments, saying America is “economically, financially, politically and socially collapsing.”
The ongoing race to succeed Obama is farcical and meaningless - the outcome predetermined, known before polls open next November.
Business as usual always wins, at the expense of democratic governance. Voters have no say whatever.
For what it’s worth, Pew Research delivered bad news to most Republican aspirants - Trump increasing his top standing to 25% support, runner-up Ben Carson falling to 16%.
From there it’s all downhill:
Rubio and Fiorina - 8%
Cruz - 6%
Establishment favorite Bush - a dismal 4%; a third Bush presidency looks increasingly unlikely
Huckabee and Paul - 2%
All other candidates combined - 4%
Expect most to wither and disappear before long. US political candidates at all levels are bought like toothpaste - billions of dollars spent in each cycle, each one more expensive than earlier ones.
The Center for Responsive Politics reports a “five-fold upsurge” in funding from political organizations working to influence the outcome of next November’s election - over the same time period in the 2012 campaign cycle.
Americans get the best democracy money can buy - exclusively for the privileged few, none for themselves.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.