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Archive for February 15th, 2008

Bloomberg Says U.S. Looking Like A Third World Country

By- Suzie-Q @ 5:30 PM MST

NYC Mayor: U.S. Resembling A ‘Third-World Country’

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) ― Mayor Michael Bloomberg has unleashed another flurry of jabs on Washington, ridiculing the federal government’s rebate checks being “like giving a drink to an alcoholic” on Thursday, and said the presidential candidates are looking for easy solutions to complex economic problems.

The billionaire and potential independent presidential candidate also said the nation “has a balance sheet that’s starting to look more and more like a third-world country.”

President Bush signed legislation Wednesday that will result in cash rebates ranging from $300 to $1,200 for more than 130 million people.

The federal checks are the centerpiece of the government’s emergency effort to stimulate the economy, under the theory that most people will spend the money right away.

But Bloomberg does not believe it will do much good. And his harsh words at a news conference Thursday reflect the view among some of his associates that the country’s economic woes present a unique opportunity for him to launch a third-party bid for the White House.

The theory among those urging him to run for president is that a businessman who rose from Wall Street to build his own financial information empire might be particularly appealing as the fiscal crisis worsens.

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NY Governor Warns Of ‘Financial Tsunami’

By- Suzie-Q @ 3:45 PM MST

WASHINGTON (AFP) – New York state governor Eliot Spitzer warned Thursday that bond and credit woes afflicting Wall Street and global markets could turn into a more damaging “financial tsunami.”

In testimony to the US Congress, Spitzer urged lawmakers and regulators to urgently address the bond and credit problems roiling the financial industry which have forced some big firms to writeoff billions of dollars in troubled securities.

“If we do not take effective action, this could be a financial tsunami that causes substantial damage throughout our economy,” Spitzer said, according to a transcript.

He said the financial difficulties of bond insurance companies could have a widespread effect because they insure a broad range of bonds and securities such as municipal bonds, college loans and even relate to museum budgets.

Spitzer cautioned that individual investors who own bond portfolios could also sustain losses if the industry faces further losses and writedowns.

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Write A Caption…

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:00 PM MST

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“Walking Away: The Least Bad Option”

Sudhan @18:00 CET

Immanuel Wallerstein | Commentary No. 227, Feb. 15, 2008

Except for a hardy band of neo-con optimists and the official apologists of the Bush regime, almost everyone is agreed today that the United States has gotten itself into a nasty, self-wounding mess in Iraq where it is fighting a drawn-out guerrilla war it cannot win. At the same time, a very large number of the critics of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, both in the United States and in Europe, repeatedly say that nonetheless the United States cannot just “walk away.” What not walking away means is not very clear, but it seems to mean maintaining U.S. troops and bases in Iraq for a considerable length of time while the United States tries, vainly, to enable the Iraqi government under its tutelage to assert some kind of reasonable control over its territory and restore a modicum of peaceful life to its citizens.

Let us explore why it is said that the United States cannot just “walk away.” There is a long list of supposed consequences that all seem plausible on the surface. One is that it would result in unconstrained civil war in Iraq. This may be true, although many Iraqis feel that they are already living in precisely such a civil war, even with U.S. troops on the scene.

Continued . . .

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What Happened?

By- Suzie-Q @ 8:00 AM MST

What happened? The administration did everything right. The invocation of “countless American lives” hanging in the balance, the specter of terrorists delightedly chatting away undetected, the urgency emphasized by a threat to delay a long-scheduled presidential trip to Africa in order to secure the nation against attack.

That’s right, the Protect America Act, the surveillance bill the administration pushed through Congress last August in a brilliantly executed squeeze play, will expire at midnight. The House should have already folded by now and simply passed the Senate’s surveillance bill, complete with retroactive immunity for the telecoms. But the Dems haven’t; they’re sticking to the bill they passed months ago. What gives?

It might have something to do with the fact that the lapsing of the Protect America Act (PAA) won’t substantially affect things at all. The old FISA law will kick back into effect. And authorizations granted under the PAA in the last six months to wiretap entire terrorist groups will stick for an entire year. In the words of House intelligence committee Chair Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), “Things will be fine.”

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anthony @ 13:35 GMT

Bush Spy Bill Stance Called Fear-Mongering

CBS | Friday February 15, 2008

(CBS/AP) President Bush, in remarks meant to spur House Democrats into accepting a controversial new bill that would expand the government’s ability to spy on Americans, warned that the country faced terror strikes that would make September 11 “pale by comparison.”

In response, critics of the new bill accused Mr. Bush of “fear mongering,” and of trying to deflect attention from the bill itself. Its most controversial provision would prevent Americans from suing phone companies that helped the administration spy on them since the White House surveillance program was instituted in 2001.

Mr. Bush has made immunity from civil prosecution for the telecoms a must-have element for revamping the nation’s surveillance laws, repeatedly saying he would veto any bill that does not exempt telecoms from lawsuits.

The battle lines are being dug in more deeply as House and Senate members prepare to meet in conference to match competing versions of the legislation, an update of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (or FISA). (more…)

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anthony @13:20 GMT

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The Existentialist Cowboy | Thursday, February 14, 2008

Torture and atrocities are not confined to Abu Ghraib. In and out of the nation’s ‘out-sourced’ penal institutions, perverts with badges terrorize the nation, threatening innocent children, , women and the handicapped. Everyone is a target.

Being an innocent bystander, a model citizen, a Rotarian is not enough to keep you safe from rogue cops, tin-horn sheriffs, or other so-called law enforcement personnel. Who let these dogs out? Who uncorked this evil genie? What Nazi mentality makes a lethal enemy of those who had been sworn to “protect and serve” us? I am pissed!

My fellow Americans, we are being made war upon! And it is no coincidence that the culture of fear, hate, prejudice, perversion and violence unleashed by the evil administration of one George W. Bush is largely to blame. The endemically corrupt GOP has ‘stunk up the place’ and no one is safe –not in your home, your car, your property! This is what it means to live in a police state.

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