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Archive for August, 2011

 

Reuters reports: “The United States lost its top-notch AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s on Friday, in a dramatic reversal of fortune for the world’s largest economy.” The new rating is AA+. In explaining their decision Standard & Poors cites both the decision by Republicans in Congress to turn the debt ceiling into a […]/p

via BREAKING: S & P Downgrades U.S. Credit For First Time In History, Repeatedly Cites GOP Intransigence On Taxes.

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Obama on the Backs of the Poor

OpEdNews 8/3/11

By Ray McGovern

What are we to make of the Obama-brokered deal on debt and spending? It was certainly what the Germans call eine schwere Geburt (a difficult birth); it was one of the few times I would have favored abortion.

I am reminded of a sermon that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave during the turbulent 1950s, in which he peered into the future and issued a prescient warning:

“A nation or a civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.”

In promoting and then signing the so-called “deficit reduction” legislation, President Barack Obama has definitively confirmed that he stands in the ranks of those spiritual-death-dealing, “soft-minded” men about whom Dr. King warned so ominously.

In my view, even dyed-in-the-wool Obama supporters will now have to let the scales fall from their eyes. The new one-sided “compromise” so clearly promotes the interests of the wealthy over those of the poor that, in Biblical terms, it can readily be seen as a Goddamned deal.

More of the same

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Paul Feldman reports on giant Israeli protests

Peoples Assembly Network 08.01.2011

Highlights:

* On Saturday night, more than 150,000 people – out of a population of seven million – gathered in 12 cities across Israel as part of the biggest social movement the country has witnessed.

* Middle-class Jews and Israeli Palestinians have come together in local encampments in a way that seemed unimaginable only a few weeks ago.

* A poll showed that 87% of Israelis support the tent city protests.

* A steady influx of wealthy diaspora Jews from New York, Miami and Paris who bought up flats in Israel’s big cities has driven up prices in many affluent neighbourhoods along the Mediterranean coast in cities such as Tel Aviv and Netanya, in addition to Jerusalem.

* In Israel, the Zionists who dominate a nationalist state founded on a single ethnic group have used the threat of an external “enemy” in the shape of Arab regimes to hold sway over a seemingly pliant population.

* The idea that the Jewish state represents all Jews equally is being exposed and blown apart and with it will go the raison d’être of the Zionist regime itself.

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By CARL HULSE, NYT
August 1, 2010

WASHINGTON — After months of partisan impasse, the House on Monday approved a budget agreement intended to head off a potential government default, pushing Congress a big step closer to the conclusion of a bitter fight that has left both parties bruised and exhausted.

Despite the tension and uncertainty that has surrounded efforts to raise the debt ceiling, the vote of 269 to 161 was relatively strong in support of the plan, which would cut more than $2.1 trillion in government spending over 10 years while extending the borrowing authority of the Treasury Department. It would also create a powerful new joint Congressional committee to recommend broad changes in spending — and possibly in tax policy — to reduce the deficit.

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Huffington Post 7/30/11

Jennifer Bendery

WASHINGTON — With just three days left until the country is set to begin defaulting on its debt, the House rejected a debt proposal by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Saturday — a move Republicans designed purely for theatrics to show the bill lacked the votes to pass.

The bill was rejected by a vote of 173 to 246. Eleven Democrats joined all of the House Republicans in opposing Reid’s bill. The defecting Democrats included Reps. John Barrow (Ga.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Bruce Braley (Iowa), David Loebsack (Iowa), Jim Matheson (Utah), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Mike Ross (Ark.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.), Peter Visclosky (Ind.) and David Wu (Ore.).

Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) headed to the White House to discuss the state of play with President Barack Obama shortly after the bill went down.

House Republicans pushed Reid’s bill through via a restrictive voting process: The measure was taken up on the suspension calendar, which requires a two-thirds vote to pass, bars amendments and limits debate to 40 minutes.

Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.), who sits on the House Rules Committee, called the day’s business “a joke,” “a disgrace” and “an insult to the American people.”

The effect of taking up Reid’s bill on the suspension calendar — a move typically reserved for noncontroversial measures — is “a $2.5 trillion bill being brought up under the same process used for post offices,” McGovern said.

Read more at Huffington Post

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Tony Blair will face scathing criticism from Sir John Chilcot’s inquiry over his role in the Iraq war, according to reports.

The former prime minister will be held to account for major failings in the war in which 179 British soldiers, 3,500 US soldiers and more than 100,000 Iraqis died, it has been alleged.

He will be criticised for claiming it was ‘beyond doubt’ Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, the Mail on Sunday reported.

Sir John Chilcot’s findings will also criticise Mr Blair for failing to admit to a ‘secret pledge’, allegedly made with former US president George Bush, that he would go to war.

In the report, due out this autumn, Mr Blair will also come under fire for failing to plan to avoid the post-war chaos in Iraq.

Former foreign secretary Jack Straw and ex-Downing Street spin doctor Alastair Campbell are also expected to be criticised.

Read more: http://www.metro.co.uk/news/870992-tony-blair-to-face-scathing-criticism-from-chilcot-inquiry-into-iraq-war#ixzz1TllBQxxz

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