Is America too big to fail?

NEW YORK: In the narrative that has governed American commercial life for the last quarter-century, saving companies from their own mistakes was not supposed to be part of the government’s job description. Economic policymakers in the United States took swaggering pride in the cutthroat but lucrative form of capitalism that was supposedly indigenous to their frontier nation.

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Top 25 Things Vanishing From America: No.1 The Family Farm

Here you will find all Top 25 Things Vanishing From America.

This series explores aspects of America that may soon be just a memory — some to be missed, some gladly left behind. From the least impactful to the most, here are 25 bits of vanishing America.

1. The Family Farm

My mother grew up on her family’s dairy farm in central Oregon, and when she was a child she was in 4-H — just like all the kids in her town. I’ve always admired her way with the “home arts” (she makes a mean jar of cucumber relish, and her embroidery festoons quilts for all my boys) so when I saw her 4-H ribbons I assumed that big purple one must have been for brownies, or jam. “Oh, that was for the pig I raised,” she said matter-of-factly.

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Bernanke, Paulson Pressed to Seek Big-Government Bank Bailout

July 21 (Bloomberg) — Ben S. Bernanke and Henry Paulson are under pressure to embrace the big-government policies of America in the 1930s, or Sweden in the 1990s, to contain the conflagration engulfing the U.S. housing and financial markets.

Among the ideas: Using taxpayer money to shore up the capital of loss-ridden Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, setting up new agencies to buy and refinance mortgages in default, even taking over failing financial institutions.

The government’s current “fire-brigade approach to dealing with the fallout from the extremely weak domestic economy is eroding general confidence in the U.S. financial system,” says Brian Bethune, chief U.S. financial economist at Lexington, Massachusetts-based Global Insight. “Bold, creative, aggressive policy action is needed.”

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Drought threatens drinking water for a million Australians

SYDNEY (AFP) – Up to a million people in Australia could face a shortage of drinking water if the country’s drought continues, a report on the state of the nation’s largest river system revealed Sunday.

The report said the situation was critical in the Murray-Darling system, which provides water to Australia’s “food bowl”, a vast expanse of land almost twice as big as France that runs down the continent’s east coast.

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8,500 U.S. banks; many will die soon

I called the death of Indymac Bancorp on Monday, July 7th. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation seized Indymac on Friday, July 11th.

I called the implosion of the two Government Sponsored Entities in the mortgage business, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Wednesday, July 9th. Sunday, July 13th the White House announced a bailout for them.

Related article: Fed: No more bailouts, except Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Want to know what happens next? It’s ape ass ugly and it’s going to happen to you, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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US to Iran: You have two weeks


US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack

Washington says Tehran has two weeks to decide between suspending its uranium enrichment program and facing ‘further isolation’.

In a Saturday statement, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said time has come for Tehran to choose between confrontation and meeting Western demands over its enrichment program.

“We hope the Iranian people understand that their leaders need to make a choice between cooperation, which would bring benefits to all, and confrontation, which can only lead to further isolation,” said McCormack.

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How China’s taking over Africa, and why the West should be VERY worried

This article is also another lesson in racism, which is always a sure sign of absolute ignorance, insecurity and low self-esteem, because racism is attempting to see other people as inferior, so that those “superior” racists can feel better about their wretched, unenlightened little life. ________________________________________________________________________________________

On June 5, 1873, in a letter to The Times, Sir Francis Galton, the cousin of Charles Darwin and a distinguished African explorer in his own right, outlined a daring (if by today’s standards utterly offensive) new method to ‘tame’ and colonise what was then known as the Dark Continent.

‘My proposal is to make the encouragement of Chinese settlements of Africa a part of our national policy, in the belief that the Chinese immigrants would not only maintain their position, but that they would multiply and their descendants supplant the inferior Negro race,’ wrote Galton.

‘I should expect that the African seaboard, now sparsely occupied by lazy, palavering savages, might in a few years be tenanted by industrious, order-loving Chinese, living either as a semidetached dependency of China, or else in perfect freedom under their own law.’


Close relations: Chinese President Hu Jintao accompanies Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

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Commercial bankruptcies soar

Small business bankruptcies

WASHINGTON – Driven by a sour economy and skittish consumers, U.S. business bankruptcies saw their sharpest quarterly rise in two years, jumping 17 percent in the second quarter of 2008, according to an analysis by McClatchy.

Commercial filings for the first half of 2008 are up 45 percent from last year, as the national climate for commerce continues to deteriorate amid rising energy and food costs, mounting job losses, tighter credit and a reticence among consumers to part with discretionary income.

From April through June, 15,471 U.S. businesses called it quits, according to data from Automated Access to Court Electronic Records, an Oklahoma City bankruptcy management and data company.

States that saw the biggest increase in filings were Delaware, Montana, Oregon, Maryland and Connecticut, suggesting that the economic gloom is spreading beyond large population centers.

It was the 10th straight quarter that business bankruptcy filings have increased. Nearly 29,000 companies filed in the first half of 2008.

Another 60,000 to 90,000 others probably have closed, because roughly two to three businesses fold for every one that files for bankruptcy, said Jack Williams, resident scholar at the American Bankruptcy Institute.

The vast majority of these failed companies are among the nation’s 23 million small businesses, with fewer than 100 employees. Their fortunes have tumbled as the national economic downturn has deepened.

“The climate is turning desperate for small businesses,” said George Cloutier, founder of American Management Services, a consulting firm that helps small companies increase profits. “They are in crisis, and, as these numbers show, it’s getting worse and worse.”

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FDIC will run out of money, says Roubini

(RTTNews) – The FDIC is looking for ways to shore up its depleted deposit fund, including charging higher premiums on riskier brokered deposits, FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said Friday.

However, that fund is “a myth,” according to longtime banking consultant Bert Ely, and consumers may end up paying the price of what is expected to be a growing wave of bank failures.
NYU Economics Professor Nouriel Roubini predicts that Congress will have to intervene in order to bail out the deposit fund.

“They’re going to run out of money, with certainty,” he predicted. “Congress is going to have to recapitalize the FDIC, those $50 billion plus is not going to be enough, by no means.”

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