March 20, 2017

Issue 04 – April 2010

By In Volume 7 2010

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.


The Mine
By Daniel R. Cobb
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
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
Comprehensive book filled with information and answers about everything one needs to start and maintain a business.

Golden’s Rule
By C. E. Edmonson
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
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
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.

By Maneesh Sharma
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
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
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
(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
Thought-provoking supernatural tale about a four-year-old who is possessed by a demonic spirit.

Shadows and Not
By Sara Brown
Soul-searching poetry anthology that illuminates the human condition.

America’s Suicidal Statecraft
By James Cumes
Well researched and documented examination of the self-destructive policies of the United States.

The Handkerchief
By Julian Stark
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
Imposing lyrical epic about a Midwestern family’s journey through time and space.

Up Close: A Mother’s View
By Fiona Yaron-Field
A touching and meditative memoir of a mother and her disabled daughter told through pictures and commentary.

Secrets Revealed
By Sheshena Pledger
Gritty crime noir tale about a notorious crime family’s feud with its biggest rival.

A Case of Wild Justice
By Yvonne Jerrold
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
Delightful children’s story about the adventures of a little girl and her imaginary friend.

The Survivors
By Derek Laurens
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
The novella prequel to the sci-fi adventure, The Survivors.

My Angels Are Come
By Art Stump
Insightful and candid day-to-day journal of how the author dealt with and survived prostate cancer.

Ghost Tango
By Janeen Ledford
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
Controversial examination of race, religion, and spiritual evolution.

Awaken and Arise!
By Arthur Earl Jones, Ph.D.
Fascinating, mystical life journey devoted to spirituality, self-discovery and planetary ascension.

One Time in Paris
By Wade Stevenson
&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
(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
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
Inspirational memoir of how two baby boomers transform their lives by quitting their jobs and living on a sailboat.

By Paul Kiritsis
Thought provoking collection of personal myths, legends, and poems centered on Egyptian and classical mythology.


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.
• Author/reader resource for book reviews and news
• Complete list of book publishers & publishing info
• Registry of electronic publications
• Major book and publishing data
• E-commerce site for global bookselling
• 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
• 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 Family of bookseller Web sites
• Independent authors from around the world
• Author Yellow Pages: Online author directory
• Dan Poynter’s Para Publishing: The Godfather of self publishing
• Global book club & reading group
• Over 90 pages of inspired marketing ideas for small business owners and self-published authors.


Economic Bubbles, Financial
Crises, Past and Present

By Rodrigue Tremblay

It is well enough that people … do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.
— Henry Ford, American industrialist

It seems to me that Europe, especially with the addition of more countries, is becoming ever-more susceptible to any asymmetric shock. Sooner or later, when the global economy hits a real bump, Europe’s internal contradictions will tear it apart.
— Milton Friedman, American economist

The normal functioning of our economy leads to financial trauma and crises, inflation, currency depreciations, unemployment and poverty in the middle of what could be virtually universal affluence-in short … financially complex capitalism is inherently flawed.
— Hyman Minsky, American economist

I have spent some fifty years studying economic cycles and teaching international finance, but I had never seen the likes of what we witnessed and experienced over the last three years. That’s because such financial crises seem to happen 60 to 75 years apart.

—It is a fact that the outbreak of this severe worldwide financial crisis two years ago was a surprise to many people.

For instance, it was widely thought that financial crises, and the severe economic recessions and sometimes depressions they provoked, were really a thing of the past thanks to the protective net of financial regulations that was designed in the 1930s to prevent a repeat of such financial collapses.

—But here we are again, mired in the most severe economic crisis since the 1930s. We may ask why?

The main reason is that the U.S economy, but also most of the world economy, has been subjected to a financial experiment, over the last some 10 years, which has turned sour. In fact, it has turned into a financial fiasco.

Indeed, it must be understood that a completely new type of banking finance was invented; but all the risks involved had not been properly assessed. For a while, the debt pyramid was allowed to grow, but it collapsed when its shaky and unsound foundation disintegrated.

—Of course, there have been similar financial collapses in the past, (notably in 1873, in 1907 and in 1931) and the overall cause is always the same: the financial sector takes too much risk and becomes overextended, creating in the process a debt load for the economy that is unsustainable.

Let’s consider a striking fact of today financial situation: The debt load imposed on the economy is even higher today than it was in the 1930s when total total debt reached the level of some 300% of the annual production or GDP.

Well, today, the ratio of total debt to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is close to 400 percent.

Keep in mind that it took nearly 20 years to bring this ratio down to about 140, in 1952.

What this means is that today it takes about $4.00 of debt to create one dollar of economic activity while it took only $1.40 of debt in the early 1950s to create one dollar of GDP activity. This shows how complex the financial system has become. The question that remains to be answered is whether it will take 20 years to lower the debt ratio from 400% to, say, 200%!

This all shows how this can be devastating for the real economy when financial flows are disrupted and when credit becomes difficult to obtain.

—Sadly, this is our situation today: Investors and producers have a lot of problems financing their new investment projects. This is a big monkey on the back of the economy and it is an important cause of current, and possibly future, economic stagnation.

But before looking into the future, let’s review quickly the main reasons why financial crises arise. Why, in other words, the financial tail is sometime allowed to wag the economic dog.

1. First, the question of deregulation. Too much optimism, overconfidence or simple naivet� sometimes allow the development of some form of risky Ponzi-scheme finance. And, this is pretty much what we have seen over the last 10 years.

—Under the old traditional financial rules, a bank or a credit union would collect deposits or borrow in the open market, lend this money to investors, keep reserves for contingencies, and would hold onto the loans until maturity.

For big banks, at least, this is no longer the model. With the merging of investment banking and commercial banking after 1999, traditional financial rules were pushed aside and they were replaced with the rules of asset securitization through which large banks ceased being banks to become brokers, that is they ceased being lenders to become sellers of sophisticated new securities. More about that later.

Under these new rules, a bank still accepts deposits or borrows in the open market, but it does not hold on to the loans it makes. Rather, it takes a bunch of heterogeneous loans made by itself or by others, repackages and slices them up, and sells them as investment vehicles to third parties. That’s what is called the “securitization” process; it is a sort of sausage machine that takes one type of securities at one end and transforms it into another type of securities, a more risky one, at the other end. -Large Banks have become large financial sausage makers!

In other words, the financial chain has been made longer, much longer; but, as with all chains, its overall strength is not better than the strength of its weakest link. And the new financial products turned out to be the weakest links. They were toxic financial products.

2. Why were such new banking rules adopted? Why were they so risky and dangerous? And how did they lead to the near complete collapse of the credit system in the fall of 2008? These are fundamental questions.

And, as for most questions, there are short answers and there are long answers.

I have four short answers:

-First, they were very profitable to the mega-banks for a while because the banks raked in large fees on the new financial products.

-Second, the politicians were persuaded to let them “innovate” with the new leverage finance by removing most regulation that would have prevented the banks from doing what they were doing.

-Third, it led to irresponsible lending because the lenders were no longer risking their own money but the money of far away investors.

-And, fourth, the moral dimension cannot be neglected. Indeed, it took a lot of corruption and a lot of greed to create such a mammoth crisis. -[Greed was even glorified in the 1987 movie “Wall St.” in which Michael Douglas-playing the character of financier Gordon Gekko-says: “Greed is good, Greed is right. Greed Works.” This was the prevailing ideology at the time.]

(This is an issue that I explain more fully in my new book The Code for Global Ethics.)

For a financial crisis of this magnitude to occur, it takes two kinds of corruption or fraud. -(I don’t delve here into the kind of intellectual corruption that supported the ideology that markets can do no wrong or that they are always “efficient”. In fact, markets are very imperfect; they are often under the control of monopolies or cartels, and sometimes, they do not function at all.)

In the first place, politicians have either to make mistakes or worse, to be in the banks’ pockets and do what people with money (who want more money) tell them what to do.

For instance, as far back as 1977, the Carter administration and the U.S. Congress prepared the ground for the future crisis: It passed the Community Reinvestment Act, by which the Federal Housing Administration loosened down-payment standards for marginal borrowers. -Twenty-five years later, in 2003, President George W. Bush also signed “The American Dream Downpayment Act” into law. This reinforced the pressure on large banks to provide subprime mortgages to needy borrowers incapable of making down payments.

The public financial deregulation stampede that took place between 1999 and 2007 was therefore an extension of this philosophy that special lending rules could and should apply to housing finance.

The string of specific financial deregulation steps taken by the politicians that have paved the way for the current era of irresponsible Ponzi-scheme finance and casino-like leverage banking practices is very long, and I don’t want to burden you with too many details. Read More




Featured Books


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
Controversial political thriller about a band of democratic rebels and their attempt to overthrow the corporate fascist shadow government in the USA…Read Reviews

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Busy? Try Book Summaries.


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Links For Progressive Publications & Organizations

• “An association of writers working to advance literature, defend free expression, and foster international literary fellowship.”
• “Hard-hitting investigative journalism.”
• Influential democracy in action group
• The “Unconventional wisdom since 1865.”
• Op/ “Progressive news and essays.”
• Air America Radio: “Unabashed liberal talk radio and humor.”
• Counterpunch: Hard-hitting alternative news and essays
• 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.
• 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 Alternative news and essays
• Mother 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
• 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
• People for the American Way

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