Why The Chinese Monopoly On Rare Earth Elements Is So Incredibly Dangerous

Most Americans have no idea why rare earth elements are important or why the Chinese monopoly on them is so dangerous.  But now that China is enforcing strict new quotas on the export of these metals a lot more people are going to start learning about them.  So just exactly what are they?  Well, “rare earth elements” is a name that has been given to 17 metals from the middle of the Periodic Table with nearly unpronounceable names such as lanthanum, cerium, tantalum, neodymium and europium.  These metals are used in an increasing number of high technology products.  Everything from iPods to wind turbines to missile-guidance systems use these metals.  Unfortunately, today China controls over 90 percent of the world supply of rare earth elements.  This puts China in an incredibly powerful position. (Read More...)

Is This The Dirtiest Election Cycle Of All Time?: The 8 Most Vicious Political Attack Ads Of 2010

With just a few precious days to go until the November elections, politicians across the United States are pulling out all the stops in an effort to get elected.  Vicious attack ads are seemingly everywhere.  In fact, many analysts are already proclaiming that 2010 is the dirtiest election cycle of all time.  When it comes to politics, the truth is that it is a lot easier to communicate one really bad thing about your opponent than it is to communicate a whole bunch of small positive things about yourself.  As the old saying goes, drivers are not going to slow down to look at a pretty sunset, but they certainly will slow down to look at a really bad car wreck.  In the waning weeks of the 2010 election, candidates across the United States are desperately attempting to manufacture those “car wreck moments”.  This has resulted in an absolute flood of vicious political attack ads popping up on television in recent days.  If the Founding Fathers could look back on us now, do you think they would be proud of how we are conducting ourselves?    (Read More...)

Mortgage Investors To Bank Of America: We’re Pissed And We Want Our 47 Billion Dollars Back

Everyone knew that the foreclosure fraud crisis was going to spawn a festival of lawsuits, and now it looks like it is already beginning.  The New York Federal Reserve Bank is part of a consortium of eight large institutional investment firms that has launched an effort to force Bank of America to repurchase $47 billion worth of mortgages packaged into bonds by its Countrywide Financial unit.  It turns out that most mortgage bond contracts explicitly require the repurchase of loans when the quality of the loans falls short of promises made by the sellers.  As most of us know by now, many of these mortgages that were packaged together into “AAA rated” securities were actually a bunch of junk.  But this is just the beginning.  There are going to be hordes of lawsuits stemming from this crisis and it is going to take years and years for this thing to work through the legal system.  All of the big players in the U.S. mortgage industry are going to be paralyzed for an extended period of time by this crisis, and that means that buying a home and achieving the American Dream is going to become a lot harder for millions of Americans.  Not only that, if mortgage lending institutions end up being forced to take back gigantic mountains of bad mortgages it could end up sinking a whole lot of them.  The implications for the U.S. financial system would be staggering.  (Read More...)

Insider Trading Is Legal For Members Of Congress – And They Refuse To Pass A Law That Would Change That

Is insider trading wrong?  Most Americans would say that it is.  In fact, some very wealthy and very prominent Americans (including Martha Stewart) have gone to prison for it.  It just is not right for those with inside information that is not generally available to the public to make huge profits in the stock market by making key trades based on that information.  But there is one group, members of the U.S. Congress, that can do all the insider trading they want and get away with it.  That is because insider trading is perfectly legal for members of Congress.  Yes, you read that correctly.  So how would that work?  Well, for example, a member of Congress may know that a law that is about to be proposed would have a very positive effect on a particular company and could buy up a ton of stock in that company a few days before that law is introduced.  Isn’t that wrong?  Of course.  Is there any law against it?  Not at all.  (Read More...)

16 New Records That The American Economy Has Set During The Past 12 Months – And They Are All Bad

Over the past twelve months, the U.S. economy has continued to come apart like a 20 dollar suit.  During that time it seems like more bad economic news has been coming out nearly every single day.  Instead of getting better, the problems facing the U.S. economy only seem to be multiplying.  The U.S. government and the U.S. financial system continue to absolutely drown in debt.  Factories, jobs and massive amounts of wealth continue to fly out of the United States every month at an astounding pace.  Meanwhile, the number of Americans enrolled in anti-poverty programs continues to shatter records and the U.S. housing industry continues to set records for futility.  The truth is that less Americans are living the American Dream today than were living it twelve months ago.  The U.S. economy is in a serious state of decline, and it is time for all of us to wake up and admit the truth. (Read More...)

Out Of Control Greed? Wall Street Firms Are Projected To Pay Out $144 Billion In Compensation For 2010

Is greed out of control on Wall Street?  Typically, liberals, Democrats and socialists say yes, and conservatives, Republicans and Tea Party supporters say no.  But just because you are not a socialist doesn’t mean that you have to support the wild greed that is happening on Wall Street right now.  As the rest of the U.S. economy deeply struggles, the major financial firms down on Wall Street are projected to pay out an all-time record of $144 billion in compensation for 2010.  Just think about that.  Not 144 million dollars – what we are talking about is 144 billion dollars.  Not that making money is a bad thing.  Capitalism is a great thing (although what the United States has now is not capitalism).  Free enterprise is a great thing.  But any economic system begins to break down whenever massive amounts of financial power is concentrated in just a few hands.  Wall Street firms have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying to get the game rigged in their favor, and Wall Street firms have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on campaign contributions to keep things that way.  For example, three of Barack Obama’s six biggest campaign donors were Wall Street firms (Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup).  These big Wall Street firms dominate the U.S. financial landscape to a degree that is almost impossible to understate.  Now of course part of the American Dream is being able to work hard and make as much money as possible, but when monolithic financial firms are able to corrupt the game so severely and funnel such massive amounts of money to themselves, at what point are we going to finally admit that there is something fundamentally broken about the system? (Read More...)

What Do The American People Believe About Government?

As the November elections draw near, a number of polling organizations have been asking the American people fundamental questions about what they believe about politics and what they believe about government.  So what have these polls shown?  Well, it is undeniable that distrust and dissatisfaction with the government is growing.  The American people are getting fed up with what is going on in Washington.  It is also clear that the number of Americans that are in favor of big government is decreasing.  But it is actually more complicated than that.  It appears that the American people want the government to get off their backs, but they also want the government to do more and to provide more services.  The American people apparently want fewer laws but more protections.  The American people seem to want lower taxes but also more government spending to stimulate the economy.  In other words, the American people want to have their cake and eat it too.  (Read More...)

21 Reasons Why Donald Trump Is Right – China Is Just Ripping This Country Like Nobody Has Ever Ripped Us Before

Earlier this week, an interview with Donald Trump on Fox & Friends made headlines all over the world.  During that interview, Trump stated that he was “absolutely thinking about” running for president in 2012.  But what didn’t get as much attention is why Donald Trump is so motivated to possibly run for president.  It turns out that Donald Trump is horrified by how China (and other nations as well) are absolutely taking advantage of the United States in global trade.  Trump put it this way during the interview: “China is just ripping this country like nobody has ever ripped us before.”  And you know what?  Donald Trump is absolutely right about this.  You see, China has been openly manipulating its currency for years and years so that their products are far cheaper than those produced in America.  This has put entire industries out of business in the United States.  Not only that, but China also openly subsidizes many of their industries, thus giving them a competitive advantage over U.S. businesses and our government does nothing about it.  In addition, China has exploited the fact that they allow their workers to be paid near slave labor wages to attract thousands upon thousands of factories and manufacturing facilities to their shores.  China dumps massive amounts of cheap goods on our shores while openly discriminating against many U.S. good and services.  This kind of unfair trade has enabled the Chinese government to pile up hundreds of billions of dollars in excess currency reserves which it ends up lending back to the U.S. government.  Basically, China is running a massive scam on us and is getting tremendously wealthy in the process. (Read More...)

Inflation Or Deflation? It Is The Fourth Branch Of Government (The Federal Reserve) That Will Make That Decision For Us

Today there is a great debate in the economic community about whether we are going to have crippling deflation or unprecedented inflation in the years ahead.  For decades, a never ending spiral of debt has fueled the almost unbelievable prosperity that Americans have enjoyed.  We have lived way beyond our means, and in the process we have piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.  Now, the fourth branch of the U.S. government (the Federal Reserve) has a  decision to make.  Will the Federal Reserve allow the U.S. economy to deleverage, thus setting off a deflationary nightmare worse than the Great Depression, or will the Federal Reserve attempt to crank up the debt spiral one more time by flooding the U.S. economy with another giant wave of paper money? (Read More...)