March 20, 2017

Issue 04 – April 2009

By In Volume 6 2009

Recommended Reads

If you are an independent, small press, or traditional publisher and would like to submit your book(s) for consideration to “Recommended Reads,” click here.

 

Shroud of Beckoning
By Deb Woody


www.amazon.com
(Fiction)
Thought-provoking supernatural tale about a four-year-old who is possessed by a demonic spirit.

Shadows and Not
By Sara Brown


www.amazon.com
(Poetry)
Soul-searching poetry anthology that illuminates the human condition.

America’s Suicidal Statecraft
By James Cumes


www.amazon.com
(Nonfiction)
Well researched and documented examination of the self-destructive policies of the United States.

The Handkerchief
By Julian Stark


www.amazon.com
(Fiction)
An intimate and probing love story that examines the breadth and depth of love and passion between two people.

The End of the 19th Century
By Eric Larsen


www.amazon.com
(Fiction)
Imposing lyrical epic about a Midwestern family’s journey through time and space.

Up Close: A Mother’s View
By Fiona Yaron-Field


www.amazon.com
(Nonfiction)
A touching and meditative memoir of a mother and her disabled daughter told through pictures and commentary.

Secrets Revealed
By Sheshena Pledger


www.amazon.com
(Fiction)
Gritty crime noir tale about a notorious crime family’s feud with its biggest rival.

A Case of Wild Justice
By Yvonne Jerrold


www.yvonnejerrold.com
(Fiction)
An intriguing story about a group of senior citizens who fight back against crime and vandalism in their neighborhood by becoming human booby traps.

What Can We Do Next? The
Adventures of Lexi and Lolly

By Toula Magi


www.ToulaMagi.com
(Fiction)
Delightful children’s story about the adventures of a little girl and her imaginary friend.

The Survivors
By Derek Laurens


www.amazon.com
(Fiction)
Fast-paced sci-fi adventure about the crew of a space cruiser that lands on a distant planet inhabited by savage humanoids.

Lizard’s Lair
By Derek Laurens


www.amazon.com
(Fiction)
The novella prequel to the sci-fi adventure, The Survivors.

My Angels Are Come
By Art Stump


www.clumsyducks.com
(Nonfiction)
Insightful and candid day-to-day journal of how the author dealt with and survived prostate cancer.

Ghost Tango
By Janeen Ledford


www.amazon.com
(Fiction)
Intriguing account of a female teacher in a male prison for violent felons.

The Declaration of White Independence: The Founding Documents of Transudationism
By Kyle McDermott


www.amazon.com
(Fiction)
Controversial examination of race, religion, and spiritual evolution.

Awaken and Arise!
By Arthur Earl Jones, Ph.D.


www.planetaryascension.net
(Autobiography)
Fascinating, mystical life journey devoted to spirituality, self-discovery and planetary ascension.

One Time in Paris
By Wade Stevenson


www.amazon.com
(Memoir)
&nbsp An engaging and passionate account of a young man’s adventures and romances in 1960s Paris.

The Eye of Icarus
By Michael D’Ambrosio


www.publishersdrive.com
(Science Fiction)
Exciting story of an ambitious young officer who embarks on his first space mission that sets off a chain of events that not only changes his life but much of the universe
as well.

Prodigal of the Pecos
By C.E. Edmonson


www.pecosbooks.com
(Fiction)
Gritty Western tale about a man who returns home after many years to find the land of his birth embroiled in a bitter and deadly
land war.

Dolphins Under My Bed
By Sandra Clayton


www.dolphinsundermybed.com
(Nonfiction)
Inspirational memoir of how two baby boomers transform their lives by quitting their jobs and living on a sailboat.

Hermetica
By Paul Kiritsis


www.paulkiritsis.com
(Poetry)
Thought provoking collection of personal myths, legends, and poems centered on Egyptian and classical mythology.

Stolen Fields
By Jean Boggio


www.jeanboggio.com
(Nonfiction)
Riveting account of a family that held out against the government’s eminent domain takeover of their farm and how it shattered their American Dream.

Eleven Roses

By Alexander Hernandez
www.myspace.com/elevenroses
(Fiction)
Passion-filled story about a high-powered attorney who is forced to make a decision between a successful career and the woman
he loves.

What the Hell Is a Liberal?

By David Truskoff
www.erols.com/suttonbear
(Nonfiction)
Hard-hitting and insightful assortment of progressive essays and observations about politics and life.

The Trail

By Natalia Prentice
www.natalia-prentice.com/buy.html
(Fiction)
Thrilling, fast-paced tale about a young financial journalist who leaves Wall Street only to get sucked into a web of violence and intrigue set up by the world’s wealthiest power brokers.

The Shadow Factory
By Paul West


lumenbooks@earthlink.net
(Memoir)
An illuminating account of a stroke victim’s experience with global aphasia told through the perception of his own aphasic mind.

 

If you are an independent, small press, or traditional publisher and would like to submit your book(s) for consideration to “Recommended Reads,”

click here.

 

Book submission deadline is
the 20th of each month.

 

Links For Independent Writers & Publishers

• Publishers Marketing Association (PMA): Largest non-profit trade association helping independent publishers
• Small Press Center: Non-profit organization designed to help small independent book publishers
• Press Release Services: Submit Press Release, Online Distribution Services.
• LitPitch: Place to read books online for free and for authors to pitch book ideas and get feedback.
• Bookwired.com: Author/reader resource for book reviews and news
• WriteLinks.com: Complete list of book publishers & publishing info
• Books-in-Print.com: Registry of electronic publications
• Bowker.com: Major book and publishing data
• PubEasy.com: E-commerce site for global bookselling
• Published.com: Informative and helpful site for independent writers and self-publishers.
• The Center for the Book: Book fairs & literary events
• American Booksellers Association: Organization for independently owned bookstores
• Business.com: Site listing book distributors and wholesalers
• Dowse: A list of e-book publishers
• Internet Publishing: Tips about online publishing from Piers Anthony
• Online Books Page: Listings of books online, news, & features
• Book Sense.com: Family of bookseller Web sites
• Nospine.com: Independent authors from around the world
• Author Yellow Pages: Online author directory
• Dan Poynter’s Para Publishing: The Godfather of self publishing
• Bookcrossing.com: Global book club & reading group
• Newradiance.com: Over 90 pages of inspired marketing ideas for small business owners and self-published authors.

 

Links For Progressive Publications & Organizations

• PEN.org: “An association of writers working to advance literature, defend free expression, and foster international literary fellowship.”
• TruthDig.com: “Hard-hitting investigative journalism.”
• MoveOn.org: Influential democracy in action group
• The Nation.com: “Unconventional wisdom since 1865.”
• Op/EdNews.com: “Progressive news and essays.”
• Air America Radio: “Unabashed liberal talk radio and humor.”
• Counterpunch: Hard-hitting alternative news and essays
• Buzzflash.com: Headlines and stories from dozens of alternative publications
• Democracy Now!: Complete and comprehensive presentation of alternative news and analysis with Amy Goodman leading the charge.
• Brad Blog: Up-to-date progressive news & opinions.
• Radio Power Network: Listener supported, independent radio streaming progressive music and culture from around the world.
• NPR.org: National listener supported news and information.
• Pacifica Radio: Listener-sponsored radio featuring alternative news and community service.
• From the Wilderness: Radical alternative news and essays
• Tom Paine.com: Alternative news and essays
• Mother Jones.com: Alternative and environmental news
• Liberalism Resurgent: Wealth of information on liberalism & politics
• The Foundation for Taxpayers & Consumer Rights: Loads of information about social and consumer issues
• TvNewsLies.org: A compendium of TV news lies
• In the Spotlight: Unsettling information about the voting process in America
• The Rest of Story: Alternative news on the media
• Judicial Watch: Legal watchdog information
• The Center for Public Integrity: Public service journalism
• PFAW.org: People for the American Way

 

The Dance of the Trillions to Shore
Up Banks, Bankers and Gamblers

By Rodrigue Tremblay

Deficits in the, let’s say, 5 percent of GDP range would lead to rising debt-to-GDP ratios that would ultimately not be sustainable.

— Peter Orszag, Obama White House budget chief

The [US] financial system is facing possible total losses of $7 trillion. …With the banks ‘effectively insolvent’, we’ve concluded that the only viable solution is nationalization.

— Matthew Richardson and Nouriel Roubini, American economists

“China is worried that the U.S. may solve its problems by printing money, which will stoke inflation.”

— Zhao Qingming, Chinese financial analyst

Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce.

— James A. Garfield, (1831-1881) 20th President of the United States

After ten years of wholesale financial deregulation, bad policies and unsound banking practices, and facing a worsening recession, over the last year and a half the U.S. government has been pumping trillions of dollars in order to deleverage and recapitalize banks that were on the brink of insolvency. But the banking crisis is of such a magnitude, and the damage done to the financial system so widespread, that each pumping of money into the system has never seemed to be enough. This is because numerous American financial institutions, and among the largest, have suffered multibillion-dollar losses, not only with subprime mortgages, but especially with large amounts of derivative products that have turned sour. Not the least of these are the famous gambling products called credit default swaps (CDS), which the Bank of International Settlements is reporting to be worth some $57 trillion.

For its part, ever since the collapse of the investment bank Bear Stearns on March 15, 2008, the Fed has pumped trillions of dollars, under various forms, into sick financial institutions in order to keep them afloat, or in order to merge them with other entities.

In the case of Bear Stearns, for example, the Fed guaranteed $29 billion so that the new owner of Bear Stearns (JP Morgan Chase) would not suffer losses on the most risky assets on the books of the acquired bank. The Fed has also been buying loads of financial assets from troubled institutions, thus issuing new “high-powered” money against such assets. On November 25, 2008, for example, the Federal Reserve Board launched its up-to-one-$ trillion Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) to support the issuance of asset-backed securities (ABS) collateralized by student loans, auto loans, credit card loans, and loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

As recently as March 17, 2009, the Fed has also announced that its purchases of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) would be expanded from $500 billion to $1.25 trillion, and that it intends to double its purchases of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Federal Home Loan Bank bonds to $200 billion from the $100 billion intended initially.

Because the Fed stands ready to buy large amounts of the newly issued Treasury bonds to cover the large U.S. government’s fiscal deficit, it can be said that the Fed is actively and effectively busy monetizing both the public debt and private financial debts. As a consequence, the Fed’s balance sheet has ballooned to over $2 trillion now from less than $900 billion only one year ago. And it is likely to continue to expand in the coming months. Some of these loans will be repaid in the future and some of the new money will be retrieved, but if the Fed were to sell its portfolio of Treasury bonds to prevent an onset of inflation or to prevent the U.S. dollar from depreciating too fast, bond prices would drop significantly and interest rates would also rise quickly.

Similarly, the U.S. Treasury has been “investing”, guaranteeing and loaning hundreds of billions of dollars of public money to large American banks. It began on earnest last September, after the large investment bank Lehman Brothers ($691 billion of assets at the end of 2007) failed and the large world insurance company American International Group (AIG) followed thereafter and became insolvent. Then, the U.S. Congress passed in a hurry the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), under the threat of a financial Armageddon.

It has been evaluated that all these public bailouts of the financial system amount together to a staggering $12.9 trillion, nearly as large as the U.S. economy (GDP) at some $14 trillion, and larger than the current U.S. national debt of $11 trillion. This includes, of course, the close to $800 billion Obama Economic Stimulus package that the new administration sent to Congress in February and that Congress passed with a minimum of Republican support (none in the House and three in the Senate).

That is where we stand.

On Monday, March 23, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced that the Obama administration had decided to create a Public-Private Investment Program, and to pour $75 to $100 billion into it, the money coming from remnants of the old TARP program. The purpose, this time, is to rid American banks of the bad financial assets that are destroying their balance sheets, to the point of insolvency. What the new “Program” calls for is the purchase of as much as a half-trillion dollars of the American banks’ so-called toxic assets, with the government providing 85 percent of the funds to willing private investors at low interest rates, and guaranteeing (through FDIC) any loss on the financial assets that banks will unload through public auctions. The political attractiveness of this measure is that it provides a public subsidy to the banks and other financial institutions without Congress having to debate and vote new funds. It can be done administratively.

What can be said is that finally the Obama administration is doing, through the back door, what I myself recommended last April 12, 2008. The Obama administration, in effect, has decided to create the equivalent of the old Resolution Trust Corp. to liquidate bad mortgage-backed assets and other bad financial bets made by the banks and large insurance companies, such as AIG. The way that it is being done, however, is questionable, because this may turn out to be very costly to the U.S. taxpayers and is less than transparent.

Indeed, the new entity to be created would be tailored somewhat along the lines of the 1980s’ Resolution Trust Corp., which was established to dispose of the bad real estate assets of savings and loan institutions. However, and this may be a sign of the times, the new public-private program would be a mixed venture and would be far from having the same powers that the RTC had in managing the current troubled banks. Nevertheless, the new PPIP will fill essentially the same basic function as the RTC, i.e. selling bonds and borrowing in order to finance the purchase of bad “toxic” assets from insolvent or near insolvent institutions, in partnership with private investors and managers.

Financially, this is an operation that could be very profitable to the private firms that join the government in the operation, because the profit potential for them is high and the risks of losses are at a minimum, since such losses will be underwritten by the government. Therefore, most everybody in the private financial industry stands to win with the new policy: 1- the banks will rid themselves of bad assets at enhanced market prices (compared to what they are worth today); 2- banks’ shareholders will see an appreciation in the value of their common shares; and, 3- private investment firms and hedged funds will buy some of these assets at prices lower than par, using low cost non-recourse government loans, and all the while being fully protected by government guarantees of no loss to themselves. The only losers in the operation could be the American taxpayers who are guaranteeing that there would be no loss to private investors.

That is the reason Wall Street rallied 500 points after the announcement of the new banks’ bailout. Cynics could say that this is American-styled capitalism at its best: no loser except possibly the government and the taxpayers who support it. How it is going to play politically is anybody’s guess. It may be a good thing for the Obama administration that such a plan is not going to be debated in Congress.

When all is said and done, the Obama administration is essentially pursuing a policy similar to the one followed by the Bush administration, i.e. supplying public money to private banks and to private investors with a minimum of strings attached. Remember that last September, the Bush administration committed $400 billion to obtain a near 80 percent control in the world’s two largest mortgage companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were close to insolvency. Instead of taking them over and placing them into administrative receivership, in order to change their business model and their lending practices, since the government was guaranteeing these two institutions’ outstanding debts, (more than $ 5 trillion US), the Bush administration chose instead to keep up the appearance that these were still two privately run banks and only appointed a legal conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The rest was business as usual, including the payments of huge bonuses to the entrenched management.

Similarly, with the new Public-Private Investment Program, the Obama administration would have the authority to place a failed bank deemed ‘too big to fail’ in the equivalent of a conservatorship, while keeping its management more or less intact. One thing is different this time, however. Indeed, contrary to what happened after the U.S. government poured $185 billion into the large insurance company AIG, this time around the Treasury Secretary would have the power to limit payments to creditors and to break contracts governing executive compensation. The fact remains that there is still no intention of placing the most insolvent firms into administrative receivership and to change their business model or practices.

In conclusion, let us say that there will be consequences following from all this bailout money. In particular, what foreign lenders, especially the Chinese, do with their holdings of U.S. dollar-denominated debt, considering the risk of future interest rates hikes and future dollar depreciation. Already, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao has publicly raised his government’s concern about the safe value of the U.S. Treasury bonds and other dollar-denominated assets that they hold in huge quantities. -But, I guess, this is something for another day.

Rodrigue Tremblay is professor emeritus of economics at the University of Montreal and can be reached at rodrigue.tremblay@ yahoo.com. He is the author of the book The New American Empire. Visit his blog site at http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog.

 

 

Featured Book

A bone-chilling political
morality fable…

— Midwest Book Review

Sunshine Assassins by John F. Miglio

 

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Sunshine Assassins
By John F. Miglio
(Fiction)
Controversial political thriller about a band of democratic rebels and their attempt to overthrow the corporate fascist shadow government in the USA…Read Reviews

John F. Miglio is available for all types of speaking engagements. For information, click here

 

Book of the Year
(Nonfiction 2008)

OR Book of the year 2008

 

amazon.com
The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder
By Vincent Bugliosi


A powerful and convincing case against George W. Bush and his inner circle of advisors for the murder of over 4,0000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

 

Book of the Year
(Fiction 2008)

OR Book of the Year 2008

 

amazon.com
The Naked Earth
By Jonathan Adam DeCoteau


Exciting and insightful story about an Iraqi-American photographer who seeks redemption after he commits a brutal crime against his fellow man in Basra.

 

Book of the Year
(Nonfiction 2007)

OR Book of the year 2007

 

amazon.com
Fooled Again
By Mark Crispin Miller


Every American should read this well-documented and comprehensive account of the nationwide election fraud that handed George W. Bush a second presidential election.

 

Book of the Year
(Fiction 2007)

OR Book of the Year 2007

 

amazon.com
Dream of the Dragon Pool
A Daoist Quest

By Albert A. Dalia


An unforgettable tale about China’s best-loved poet-adventurer that blends magic, myth, and occult powers with
fast-paced action.

 

Book of the Year
(Nonfiction 2006)

OR Book of the year 2006

 

amazon.com
Your Daily Walk with the Great
Minds of the Past and Present

By Richard A. Singer Jr.


A terrific inspirational guide to personal transformation and spiritual development that uses quotes of famous people and insightful advice for every day of the year.

 

Book of the Year
(Fiction 2006)

OR Book of the Year 2006

 

amazon.com
Hollywood and Sunset
By Luke Salisbury


Witty and well written story about a writer from the East who takes a life-altering tour of 1916 Hollywood– in the company of D.W. Griffith, Lillian Gish, and Howard Gaye, an actor who likes to dress up as Jesus Christ.

 

Book of the Year
(Nonfiction 2005)

OR Book of the Year 2005

 

amazon.com
Bush on the Couch
By Justin A. Frank, M.D.


A compelling and insightful look into George W. Bush’s psyche, and how his deep-seeded fears, insecurities, and megalomania have undermined the safety of our country.

 

Book of the Year
(Fiction 2005)

OR Books of the Year 2005

 

amazon.com
Clearing Customs
By Martha Egan


A sinister, yet amusing tale of an ex-hippie owner of a small, struggling Latin American imports store who joins with her friends to fight corrupt custom officials whose harassment threatens to put her out of business.

 

Books of the Year
(Nonfiction 2004)

OR Books of the Year 2004

 

amazon.com
The Assassination of
Julius Caesar

By Michael Parenti


Award-winning author and scholar examines ancient Roman history from a populist viewpoint, arguing that Caesar was assassinated for being a champion of the people.

OR Books of the Year 2004

 

amazon.com
The War on Freedom
By Nafeez Mossaddeq Ahmed


Riveting and well-researched expose of how and why America was attacked on 9/11, including information about faked terrorism and mass media manipulation by the Bush administration.

OR Books of the Year 2004

 

amazon.com
Crossing the Rubicon
By Michael Ruppert


Hard-hitting, iconoclastic editor/publisher of “From the Wilderness” strips the power elite to the bone and takes a shocking look at the decline of the American empire at the end of the age of oil.

 

Books of the Year
(Fiction 2004)

OR Books of the Year 2004

 

amazon.com
Candle in a Dark Time
By Virginia Stuart


Compelling, emotionally charged story of how a Danish woman risks her life to save Jews from Nazis during World War II.

OR Books of the Year 2004

 

amazon.com
My Life: A Story
By Jesus Christ

By Christopher Miller


Innovative and provocative story of the life of Jesus Christ told as a first person narrative.

OR Books of the 2004

 

amazon.com
The Others at Monticello
By Esther Franklin


Award-winning historical novel that explores the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slaves, especially Sally Hemings and her children.

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