• Guests:
    • Economist, futurist and author Howard Bloom.
    • Award winning writer/director Phillipe Diaz. His movie "The End of Poverty" is opening nationwide (and here in Portland) Friday 12/4.
  • Topics:
    • Lessons from Spain... what we won't talk about, but must!
    • "Everything you know is wrong": is global capitalism on its last legs? Has the west begun a decline into a new dark age? Does American civilization deserve to survive?
    • "The End Of Poverty".
    • Economic news.
  • Bumper Music:
  • Today's newsletter has details of today's guests and links to the major stories and alerts that Thom covered in the show, plus lots more. If you haven't signed up for the free newsletter yet, please do. If you missed today's newsletter, it is in the archive.
  • Quote: "It is a tragic mix-up when the United States spends $500,000 for every enemy soldier killed, and only $53 annually on the victims of poverty." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Article: US may revise Afghan withdrawal date by Daniel Dombey and James Blitz.
    "The US has said that it may rethink its plan to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan by July 2011 if conditions on the ground prevent a security handover to the Afghan government.

    Pressed on Wednesday by Republicans sceptical about fixing a timeline for withdrawal, Robert Gates, defence secretary, said that the strategy unveiled by President Barack Obama on Tuesday was narrower than past US objectives for Afghanistan and achievable within the timespan the president had set out.

    "
  • Poem: I'm Explaining a Few Things by Pablo Neruda.

    "You are going to ask: and where are the lilacs?
    and the poppy-petalled metaphysics?
    and the rain repeatedly spattering
    its words and drilling them full
    of apertures and birds?
    I'll tell you all the news.

    I lived in a suburb,
    a suburb of Madrid, with bells,
    and clocks, and trees.

    From there you could look out
    over Castille's dry face:
    a leather ocean.
    My house was called
    the house of flowers, because in every cranny
    geraniums burst: it was
    a good-looking house
    with its dogs and children.
    Remember, Raul?
    Eh, Rafel? Federico, do you remember
    from under the ground
    my balconies on which
    the light of June drowned flowers in your mouth?
    Brother, my brother!
    Everything
    loud with big voices, the salt of merchandises,
    pile-ups of palpitating bread,
    the stalls of my suburb of Arguelles with its statue
    like a drained inkwell in a swirl of hake:
    oil flowed into spoons,
    a deep baying
    of feet and hands swelled in the streets,
    metres, litres, the sharp
    measure of life,
    stacked-up fish,
    the texture of roofs with a cold sun in which
    the weather vane falters,
    the fine, frenzied ivory of potatoes,
    wave on wave of tomatoes rolling down the sea.

    And one morning all that was burning,
    one morning the bonfires
    leapt out of the earth
    devouring human beings --
    and from then on fire,
    gunpowder from then on,
    and from then on blood.
    Bandits with planes and Moors,
    bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,
    bandits with black friars spattering blessings
    came through the sky to kill children
    and the blood of children ran through the streets
    without fuss, like children's blood.

    Jackals that the jackals would despise,
    stones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,
    vipers that the vipers would abominate!

    Face to face with you I have seen the blood
    of Spain tower like a tide
    to drown you in one wave
    of pride and knives!

    Treacherous
    generals:
    see my dead house,
    look at broken Spain :
    from every house burning metal flows
    instead of flowers,
    from every socket of Spain
    Spain emerges
    and from every dead child a rifle with eyes,
    and from every crime bullets are born
    which will one day find
    the bull's eye of your hearts.

    And you'll ask: why doesn't his poetry
    speak of dreams and leaves
    and the great volcanoes of his native land?

    Come and see the blood in the streets.
    Come and see
    The blood in the streets.
    Come and see the blood
    In the streets!"

  • Article: Report reveals vast banking 'underclass' among US adults By Sarah O'Connor and Francesco Guerrera.

    "Some 60m adult Americans live without a bank account or use pawn shops and other non-bank operations to handle their finances, according to a government report that called for an expansion of basic services to the "underbanked".

    The report, issued yesterday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a banking regulator, could increase political pressure on banks to do more for their communities after unprecedented government efforts to bail out the sector.

    "[There is] an imperative for government and industry to expand financial access to the substantial number of households that have never been banked," the report concluded. Sheila Bair, FDIC chairman, said financial groups should offer tailored products to the underbanked."

  • Article: America Without a Middle Class by Elizabeth Warren, Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel created to oversee the banking bailouts.

    "Can you imagine an America without a strong middle class? If you can, would it still be America as we know it?

    Today, one in five Americans is unemployed, underemployed or just plain out of work. One in nine families can't make the minimum payment on their credit cards. One in eight mortgages is in default or foreclosure. One in eight Americans is on food stamps. More than 120,000 families are filing for bankruptcy every month. The economic crisis has wiped more than $5 trillion from pensions and savings, has left family balance sheets upside down, and threatens to put ten million homeowners out on the street.

    Families have survived the ups and downs of economic booms and busts for a long time, but the fall-behind during the busts has gotten worse while the surge-ahead during the booms has stalled out. In the boom of the 1960s, for example, median family income jumped by 33% (adjusted for inflation). But the boom of the 2000s resulted in an almost-imperceptible 1.6% increase for the typical family. While Wall Street executives and others who owned lots of stock celebrated how good the recovery was for them, middle class families were left empty-handed.

    The crisis facing the middle class started more than a generation ago. Even as productivity rose, the wages of the average fully-employed male have been flat since the 1970s.

    But core expenses kept going up. By the early 2000s, families were spending twice as much (adjusted for inflation) on mortgages than they did a generation ago -- for a house that was, on average, only ten percent bigger and 25 years older. They also had to pay twice as much to hang on to their health insurance."

  • Article: Vietnam starts unwinding stimulus by Tim Johnston.

    "Vietnam plans to stop its interest rate subsidy scheme at the end of the year, becoming the first Asian nation to start unwinding its post-crisis stimulus programme, the government announced on Wednesday.

    Analysts expect Vietnam’s gross domestic product to grow about 5 per cent this year in contrast to many of its neighbours, which are expected to see their economies shrink."

  • Article: How to make it (FT).

    "It is not clear how the UK will earn its living in the years to come. It is certain, however, as new research published on Thursday by the Financial Times confirms, that the country cannot return to the economic model that it employed in recent years. British economic growth must be more balanced.

    Between 1997, when Gordon Brown took office in the Treasury, and 2007, when the economic crisis began, finance, construction and real estate services made up 50.5 per cent of UK growth. A further 23.2 per cent of the increase in output came from sectors that were dependent on then-growing state spending: public administration, health and education."

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