Issue 12 – December 2011

Current Affairs Essay
Financial Black Holes and Economic Stagnation  By Rodrigue Tremblay
Occupy America  By Michael Parenti
Featured Books
The Road  By Cormac McCarthy
Last Words: A Memoir  By George Carlin with Tony Hendra
The Assassination of Julius Caesar  By Michael Parenti
Sunshine Assassins  By J. F. Miglio
Recommended Reads
A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis  By Irene Woodbury
Say Not What If  By Andrew Friedman
The Small Business Guide (U.S Edition 2011)  By Owen O. Daniels
Master Self-Publishing  By Owen O. Daniels
The Great Singapore Penis Panic and the Future of American Mass Hysteria  By Scott D. Mendelson, M.D., Ph.D.
Super Life Secret Codes  By Great Sun
Pain Pill Addiction: A Prescription for Hope  By Jana Burson M.D.
The Employee Rights Handbook  By Steven Mitchell Sack
Bouncing Back From Loss  By Donna Marie Thompson Ph.D
Mockery  By Philip Kraske
A Pointed Death  By Kath Russell
Everything I Never Wanted To Be  By Dina Kucera
Enough for Us All  By Dorothy I. Riddle
Frozen in Time  By Theodore Jerome Cohen
Journey to Terra Incognita  By Gerald Shingleton
Goodnight, Brian  By Steven Manchester
The Mine  By Daniel R. Cobb
The Friday Night Club  By Jacob Nelson Lurie
The Entrepreneur Guide U.S. 2010 Edition  By Owen O. Daniels
Golden's Rule  By C. E. Edmonson
A World Away: The Quest of Dan Clay  By T.J. Smith
The Harrowing Escape: The Quest of Dan Clay (Book II)  By T.J. Smith
Winter  By Maneesh Sharma
Soul's Infarct  By Diamela Eltit & Paz Errazuriz
A Worthy Legacy  By Tomi Akinyanmi
Dangerous Liaisons  By Michael D'Ambrosio
Shroud of Beckoning  By Deb Woody
Shadows and Not  By Sara Brown
America's Suicidal Statecraft  By James Cumes
The Handkerchief  By Julian Stark
The End of the 19th Century  By Eric Larsen
Up Close: A Mother's View  By Fiona Yaron-Field

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.

 

A Slot Machine Ate My
Midlife Crisis

By Irene Woodbury

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Humorous, fun-filled story about a 45-year-old woman who chucks her life in Houston and decides to remain in Las Vegas after a bizarre girls’ weekend.

Say Not What If
By Andrew Friedman

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Written as a long rhyming poem by a prisoner on death row, the story is an insightful examination of life and the realization that time is our most important commodity.

The Small Business
Guide (U.S Edition 2011)

By Owen O. Daniels

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Comprehensive reference resource book for entrepreneurs who want to start up and run a small business.

Master Self-Publishing
By Owen O. Daniels

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Excellent reference resource for anyone who wants to self-publish his or her own books.

The Great Singapore Penis
Panic and the Future of
American Mass Hysteria

By Scott D. Mendelson, M.D., Ph.D.

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Amazing study of a 1967 Singapore epidemic regarding male genitalia and how it relates to future mass hysteria in the United States.

Super Life Secret Codes
By Great Sun

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Illuminating discussion of life’s hardships and how to overcome them with love and gratitude.

Pain Pill Addiction: A
Prescription for Hope

By Jana Burson M.D.

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Penetrating examination of drugs, drug abuse, and the most successful methods for treatment and recovery.

The Employee Rights
Handbook

By Steven Mitchell Sack

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Comprehensive and practical handbook written in layman’s language on the legal strategies employees can use to protect themselves in the workplace.

Bouncing Back From Loss
By Donna Marie Thompson Ph.D

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Inspirational and informative account of how to deal with life’s setbacks and losses and transform the future to one’s advantage.

Mockery
By Philip Kraske

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Engaging political thriller about a young writer who stumbles onto the truth about a political election where both candidates are rocked by scandals.

A Pointed Death
By Kath Russell

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Entertaining mystery thriller about a biotech consultant and her dog Skootch and how they become involved in the high stakes world of corporate trade secrets and murder.

Everything I Never
Wanted To Be

By Dina Kucera

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
A struggling comic’s poignant and often hilarious account of her family’s battle with alcoholism and drug addiction over four generations.

Enough for Us All
By Dorothy I. Riddle

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Enlightening source book that uses quantum physics and metaphysics to help individuals attain personal transformation.

Frozen in Time
By Theodore Jerome Cohen

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
An exciting tale of greed, betrayal, and murder based on real events from the Antarctic continent.

Journey to Terra Incognita
By Gerald Shingleton

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Thought-provoking metaphysical adventure that begins in 1950s California and ends in the jungles of Guatemala.

Goodnight, Brian
By Steven Manchester

www.StevenManchester.com

(Fiction)
Inspirational story about how a woman’s faith and unconditional love help her grandson to lead a normal life after he is poisoned by a toxic soy formula and given little hope by his doctors.

The Mine
By Daniel R. Cobb

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Engaging thriller about an idealistic biologist who fights state corruption and corporate fraud perpetrated by a ruthless gold mining company.

The Friday Night Club
By Jacob Nelson Lurie

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
An irreverent coming of age story of a young man who must choose between continuing his hedonistic lifestyle or settling down and getting married.

The Entrepreneur Guide
U.S. 2010 Edition

By Owen O. Daniels

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Comprehensive book filled with information and answers about everything one needs to start and maintain a business.

Golden’s Rule
By C. E. Edmonson

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Compelling story about a modern-day girl battling cancer who finds inspiration by reading the diary of a 14-year-old slave girl from the 1800s.

A World Away: The
Quest of Dan Clay

By T.J. Smith

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Exciting story in the tradition of The Chronicles of Narnia about a young man and his three friends who embark on an out-of-this world journey where they are hunted by savage beasts along the footpath to a demonic castle.

The Harrowing Escape:
The Quest of Dan Clay (Book II)

By T.J. Smith

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
The saga continues as Dan Clay and his companions continue their quest to locate Dan’s brother in a parallel world filled with savage beasts and half-man, half-serpent creatures.

Winter
By Maneesh Sharma

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Fast-paced thriller about a predator with otherworldly talents who has a penchant for killing women and stealing fine art.

Soul’s Infarct
By Diamela Eltit & Paz Errazuriz

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Unique and penetrating examination through text and photographs of love among marginalized individuals in a notorious Chilean psychiatric hospital.

A Worthy Legacy
By Tomi Akinyanmi

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Touching and lyrical account about a dying Nigerian man and his practical wisdom for living life to the fullest.

Dangerous Liaisons
By Michael D’Ambrosio

www.amazon.com

(Science Fiction)
In this action-packed sequel to The Eye of Icarus, Lieutenant Will Saris and his new bride are caught in a web of treachery where no one, including the Space Fleet, can be trusted.

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.

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.

 


 

Financial Black Holes and
Economic Stagnation

By Rodrigue Tremblay

“Financial markets are driving the world towards another Great Depression with incalculable political consequences. The authorities, particularly in Europe, have lost control of the situation. They need to regain control and they need to do so now.”

— George Soros, international financier

“There is no cause to worry. The high tide of prosperity will continue.”

— Andrew W. Mellon, President Herbert Hoover’s Secretary of the Treasury, September 1929

Presently, one has the net impression that today’s governments, both in Europe and in the United States, have their fingers plugging the holes in the financial dike, but fear that that the entire dam could collapse in the not too distant future with dire economic consequences.

Let’s see if we can make sense of it all.

Let’s say to begin that most financial crises are the direct result of unsustainable debt levels relative to income that need to be wrung out of the economic system. It has happened in the past (notably in 1873, in 1907 and in 1931, for example), and numerous times in developing countries, and it will undoubtedly happen again in the future. The process is more often than not always the same: some large banks, corporations, consumers or governments take on too much risky debt that becomes unsustainable when economic conditions change, thus launching the entire economy into a devastating process of debt deflation. Sometimes, it may take decades to overcome such a debt deflation and it usually creates an environment of economic stagnation when aggregate demand collapses.

What makes the current financial crisis so troublesome is not only that debt levels are historically high for some countries, but also because the usual instruments and procedures to reduce the debt burden, while doing the least damage to the real economy, have been rendered inoperative, due to a large extent, to the poisonous so-called financial “innovations” that have taken place since 1999 in the general climate of wholesale financial deregulation. As a consequence, financial debt in many countries creates a sort of financial black hole that siphons off money income and prevents it from being re-circulated back into the economy. This creates a serious deficiency of demand (when consumers spend less, when corporations postpone investments and when governments adopt austerity programs) that translates into low output growth, economic stagnation and high unemployment.

In this short article, I will try to identify some of these financial “black holes” that starve the economy of the necessary funds to prosper. I will also attempt to explain why this financial crisis may turn out to be much more serious than previous ones and why governments should take drastic measures to avoid a devastating economic depression. -I have done this in the past, again, in 2006, and again, in 2007, and again and again in 2010, but obviously some politicians, both in Europe and in North America, don’t seem to get. Instead, they seem to think that fiscal austerity and lower taxes is all that takes to stimulate the economy and lower unemployment. They cannot be more wrong in the current context. Such policies in an open economy are going to make things worse, much worse if they are applied over time.

Here is why.

Many governments had the imprudence of piling up debt upon debt over the last thirty years, but especially over the last ten years. There are four main causes for such a public binge of debt in many countries.

-First, in Europe, the creation of the Euro zone in 1999 induced some imprudent member countries to go deep into debt by taking advantage of the credibility of the euro and by issuing bonds in euros at favorable interest rates. There was, indeed, a widely held belief on the part of lenders and borrowers alike that the new monetary union provided an implicit guarantee of stability to the safety of the loans.

-Second, lenders were induced to lend large sums at low interest rates because borrowers could avail themselves of a newly created financial instrument, the Credit Default Swaps (CDS) that allowed them to take a low cost insurance against an eventual default on their bonds. (By the way, the financial crises on both sides of the Atlantic are closely linked due to the fact that some large U.S. banks are heavily exposed to the European sovereign debt crisis as sellers of credit default swaps.)

-Third, the persistent large trade imbalances in the world meant that some countries, such as mainland China (which joined the World Trade Organization in December 2001), piled up tremendous external trade surpluses and their excess funds became available to foreign borrowers. Indeed, large international banks found it most profitable to channel these newly created funds to willing sovereign borrowers around the world.

-Fourth, some central banks, especially the American Greenspan Fed, thought they were obliged to provide an environment of easy money after the events of September 11, 2001 in the U.S., and they kept interest rates unduly low for too long, thus providing an additional inducement to eager borrowers to go deeper into debt. Indeed, the housing bubble in the United States that led to the subprime mortgage crisis was a creation of the Greenspan Fed with the encouragement of the Bush-Cheney administration.  Read More


Occupy America

By Michael Parenti

Beginning with Occupy Wall Street in September 2011, a protest movement spread across the United States to 70 major cities and hundreds of other communities. Similar actions emerged in scores of other nations.

For the first two weeks, the corporate-owned mainstream media along with NPR did what they usually do with progressive protests: they ignored them. These were the same media that had given the Tea Party supporters saturation coverage for weeks on end, ordaining them “a major political force.”

The most common and effective mode of news repression is omission. By saying nothing or next to nothing about dissenting events, movements, candidates, or incidents, the media consign them to oblivion. When the Occupy movement spread across the country and could no longer be ignored, the media moved to the second manipulative method: trivialization and marginalization.

So we heard that the protestors were unclear about what they were protesting and they were “far removed from the mainstream.” Media cameras focused on the clown who danced on Wall Street in full-blown circus costume, and the youths who pounded bongo drums: “a carnival atmosphere” “youngsters out on a spree,” with “no connection to the millions of middle Americans” who supposedly watched with puzzlement and alarm.

Such coverage, again, was in sharp contrast to the respectful reportage accorded the Tea Party. House Majority Leader, the reactionary Republican Eric Cantor, described the Occupy movement as “growing mobs.” This is the same Cantor who hailed the Tea Party as an unexcelled affirmation of democracy.

The big November 2 demonstration in Oakland that succeeded in closing the port was reported by many media outlets, almost all of whom focused on the violence against property committed by a few small groups. Many of those perpetrators were appearing for the first time at the Oakland site. Some were suspected of being undercover police provocateurs. Their actions seemed timed to overshadow the successful shutdown of the nation’s fourth largest port.

Time and again, the media made the protestors the issue rather than the things they were protesting. The occupiers were falsely described as hippie holdovers and mindless youthful activists. In fact, there was a wide range of ages, socio-ethnic backgrounds, and lifestyles, from homeless to well-paid professionals, along with substantial numbers of labor union members. Far from being a jumble of confused loudmouths prone to violence, they held general assemblies, organized themselves into committees, and systematically took care of encampment questions, food, security, and sanitation.

One unnoticed community protest was Occupy Walnut Creek. For those who don’t know, Walnut Creek is a comfortable conservative suburb in northern California (with no known record of revolutionary insurrections). Only one local TV station gave Occupy Walnut Creek brief attention, noting that about 400 people were participating, average age between 40 and 50, no clowns, no bongos. Participants admitted that they lived fairly prosperous lives but still felt a kinship with the millions of Americans who were enduring an economic battering. Here was a contingent of affluent but rebellious “middle Americans,” yet Walnut Creek never got mentioned in the national media, as far as I know.

The Occupy movement has promulgated a variety of messages. With a daring plunge into class realities, the occupiers talk of the 1% who are exploiting the 99%, a brilliant propaganda formula, simple to use, yet saying so much, now widely embraced even by some media commentators. The protestors carried signs condemning the republic’s terrible underemployment and the empire’s endless wars, the environmental abuses perpetrated by giant corporations, the tax loopholes enjoyed by oil companies, the growing inequality of incomes, and the banksters and other gangsters who feed so lavishly from the public trough.

Some occupiers even denounced capitalism as a system and hailed socialism as a humane alternative. In all, the Occupy movement revealed an awareness of systemic politico-economic injustices not usually seen in U.S. protests. Remember, the initial and prime target was Wall Street, finance capital’s home base.

The mainstream news outlets not only control opinions but even more so opinion visibility, which in turn allows them to limit the parameters of public discourse. This makes it all the more imperative for ordinary people to join together in demonstrations, hoping thereby to maximize the visibility and impact of their opinions. The goal is to break through the near monopoly of conservative orthodoxy maintained by the “liberal” media.

So demonstrations are important. They have an energizing effect on would-be protestors, bringing together many who previously had thought themselves alone and voiceless. Demonstrations bring democracy into the streets. They highlight issues that have too long been buried. They mobilize numbers, giving a show of strength, reminding the plutocracy perched at the apex that the pyramid is rumbling.  Read More

Featured Books


Buy The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road
By Cormac McCarthy

A nightmarish, yet poetically written tale of a father and son and their brutal trek to survive in a post-apocalyptic America.


Buy Last Words: A Memoir by George Carlin

Last Words: A Memoir
By George Carlin with Tony Hendra

Master comedian/satirist George Carlin takes us on a wild ride as he recounts his turbulent life and ground-breaking career with great candor and trademark humor.


Buy The Assassination of Julius Caesar by Michael Parenti

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.

A bone-chilling political
morality fable…

— Midwest Book Review

Buy Sunshine Assassins by John F. Miglio

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

Bestsellers











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

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