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Moody's cuts ratings of 15 banks,
Morgan Stanley down two notches
By Rick Rothacker and Steve Slater
(Reuters) - Ratings agency Moody's downgraded 15 of the world's biggest banks on Thursday, lowering credit ratings by one to three notches to reflect the risk of losses they face from volatile capital markets activities, but banks criticized the move as backward looking.
Morgan Stanley, one of the most closely watched firms in the much anticipated review, had its long-term debt rating lowered by just two notches, one level less than had been expected, sending its stock up sharply in after-hours trading.
US to fall off 'fiscal cliff', warns Joseph Stiglitz
The US economy is likely to fall over a "fiscal cliff" at the start of next year because Washington will be too divided to stop it, Joseph Stiglitz, one of the world's leading economists, has warned
By Richard Blackden - Telegraph.co.uk
America faces a combination of tax increases and spending cuts in January which risk plunging the world's biggest economy back into recession if they are all allowed to happen, he said.
"There are so many political battles ahead that the likelihood we avoid all of these elements that will then avoid the fiscal cliff is very problematic," Mr Stiglitz told The Sunday Telegraph. "It's a real danger."
As economy stutters, confidence is key
Consumers, businesses weigh slowdown, threat of 'fiscal cliff'
By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The economic picture in the U.S. has turned darker, but it could get darker still if businesses and consumers lose confidence.
Nearly every indicator over the past few months has turned lower in a reflection of a weakening economy. What's worse, many economists and business leaders warn that growth will slack off even further unless governments in the U.S. and Europe address existing or looming crises over debt, taxes and government spending levels.
"Pretty high hurdle" to QE3: Fed's Bullard
By Jonathan Spicer
NEW YORK | Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:18pm EDT
(Reuters) - Federal Reserve policymakers still see a "pretty high hurdle" before they would unleash a third round of quantitative easing, or QE3, a top Fed official said on Friday.
Speaking two days after the U.S. central bank decided to take a more modest policy step to help the flailing economic recovery, St. Louis Fed Bank President James Bullard said the Fed has done "what it can do."
Central Banks Face Power Limit As Debt Persists, BIS Says
By Jennifer Ryan - Bloomberg.com
Central banks in developed nations are confronting the limits of their ability to aid economic recovery as government efforts to strengthen their finances fall short, the Bank for International Settlements said.
"Central banks are being cornered into prolonging monetary stimulus as governments drag their feet and adjustment is delayed," the Basel, Switzerland-based BIS said in its annual report, published today. "Both conventionally and unconventionally accommodative monetary policies are palliatives and have their limits."
Keiser Report: Feta Cheese Trap (E305)
In this episode, Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, discuss smashed watermelon and dead rat collateral and the fraud flow of a less than zero balance sheet. In the second half of the show Max talks to economist, Constantin Gurdgiev, about intergalactic bailout bonds to the rescue and other crazy ideas to solve the global debt catastrophe and the significance of the gold collateral to Germany's idea of a European Redemption Fund.
BIS backs pan-European banking system
By Greg Robb, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The Bank for International Settlements, a global forum for central banks, on Sunday backed moves to create a pan-European banking system.
The BIS said the creation of one regulator, one supervisor and one deposit-insurer would help ease the European debt crisis.
"The conclusion is hard to escape that a pan-European financial market and a pan-European central bank require a pan-European banking system. Banks in Europe must become European banks," the BIS, a global forum for central banks, said in its annual report published Sunday.
Surprise Strength in Gold
By: Adrian Ash - GoldSeek.com
Given the challenges it faces, gold so far in 2012 has in fact proven strong...
"GOLD PRICE PLUMMETS" is the obvious headline right now. But fact is, the gold price has in truth been surprisingly strong so far this year.
First up, the US gold futures and options market. These contracts rarely run to physical settlement, but still they wag the dog of physical prices near-term. Because the price of gold for future delivery of course affects how much people ask or bid for metal today.
GATA appearance on CNBC Asia...
Central Bank Gold Manipulation "Steady As Ever"
....Chris Powell, Secretary and Treasurer of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee told Bernie Lo on CNBC Asia overnight that central banks are continuing to manipulate the gold market as they are interested in supporting government bonds and the dollar and keeping interest rates low.
Powell warns about "paper gold" and says that we "try to persuade investors that if they are purchasing gold, they had better get real gold – metal. They should not get "paper gold" and keep it within the banking system."
He says that "there is huge naked short position in gold" and estimates that perhaps "75% to 80% of the gold that the world thinks it owns does not exist and is just a claim on a bullion bank that is underwritten basically by the central banks."
How Does Gold Fare During Hyperinflationary Periods?
Jeff Clark - CaseyResearch.com
Inflation is a natural consequence of loose government monetary policy. If those policies get too loose, hyperinflation can occur. As gold investors, we'd like to know if the precious metals would keep pace in this extreme scenario.
Hyperinflation is an extremely rapid period of inflation, but when does inflation (which can be manageable) cross the line and become out-of-control hyperinflation? Philip Cagan, one of the very first researchers of this phenomenon, defines hyperinflation as "an inflation rate of 50% or more in a single month," something largely inconceivable to the average investor.
Mobilization of Gold
Commodities / Gold and Silver 2012
Contributions to the I.M.F. Come with Conditions
By: Julian_DW_Phillips - MarketOracle.co.uk
While the B.R.I.C.S nations are contributing to the I.M.F.'s funding with the purpose of shoring up the global financial system, they've stipulated that they want more power in the I.M.F. China is contributing $43 billion, so as it races to become the world's leading economic and financial nation it wants a bigger part of the decision making process, commensurate with its rising power. So the first question to be asked is, "Will it get it?"
All the bail-out systems under the sun
cannot make the eurozone work
Another week, another summit. This week's shindig of EU leaders in Brussels will be bound to focus on efforts to shore up the euro.
By Roger Bootle - Telegraph.co.uk
Once again, it is likely to disappoint. The main issue is well-known; bail-outs for indigent, non-tax-paying southerners at the expense of hard-working northerners.
The form book tells us that even if they come up with something, the proffered solution will be too little, too late.
Eurozone nations are stuck in a 'doom loop'
The euro was a very bad idea yet fiscal union is far worse and will fail, but not before it spreads bitterness across Europe.
By Liam Halligan - Telegraph.co.uk
'These global economic problems have their roots in the fools' paradise we all used to live in," observed Lord Peter Mandelson on Friday, to a packed seminar at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
"Pretty much everyone borrowed and spent beyond their means and that's now catching up with us," continued the former Cabinet Minister. "And it's the inter-twining of the sovereign debt and banking crises that makes any eurozone resolution extremely difficult."
Mario Monti: we have a week to save the eurozone
Italian prime minister warns that there is no room for failure in talks between single currency's big four countries
By John Hooper - The Guardian, Thursday 21 June 2012
Italy's prime minister, Mario Monti, has warned of the apocalyptic consequences of failure at next week's summit of EU leaders, outlining a potential death spiral that could threaten the political and economic future of Europe.
The Italian leader is to hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, the French president, François Hollande, and Spain's prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, in the hope that the single currency's big four countries can pave the way for a breakthrough at next week's meeting.
Starving Greeks queue for food in their thousands
as debt-wracked country finally forms
a coalition government... but how long will it last?
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER - dailymail.co.uk
Starving Greeks queued around the block for free food handouts yesterday as the country's politicians managed to end a crippling stalemate to form a coalition government.
Young children as well as the elderly waited in line in Athens to collect the parcels of fruit and vegetables donated by farmers from Crete to help ease the devastating austerity faced by many Greeks.
But as hungry people collected food, a few miles away a new conservative-led alliance was formed, vowing to renegotiate the country's strict European bailout in a bid to breath economic life back into the debt-stricken country.
EU watchdog sets out ethics code for eurocrats
BY BENJAMIN FOX - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - The EU's 55,000 officials should be bound by a new set of "ethical principles", according to the head of the EU institutions watchdog.
In a statement released Tuesday (19 June), European Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros, said that the new rules would "help build greater trust between citizens and the EU institutions."
The principles were first drafted in 2010 by national ombudsmen across the EU and have been finalised following a public consultation which ended last year. Diamandouros said he would apply the guidelines when conducting inquiries arising from complaints about the EU.
Germany's Constitutional Conundrum
How the Euro Might be Derailed
by MARSHALL AUERBACK - CounterPunch.org
The European financial officials are preparing their policy package to deal with the current crisis for the meeting scheduled next week. It is not clear whether any of the proposals will be able to stop the ongoing bank run. Here are some of the rumored proposals:
• Euro member jointly issued short term bills – in effect, short term euro bonds.
• A debt redemption fund as proposed by economic advisors to Merkel.
• New procedures for euro area banking supervision.
• Using the ESM to purchase peripheral nations' bonds in order to reduce their sovereign interest rates.
Marc Faber, gold, economic collapse,
reset button, new financial
Tony Blair says only Germany
and a 'grand plan' can save the euro
Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, said the euro can only be saved by a "grand plan" in which Germany is prepared to treat the debts of all nations as one.
The problem of the eurozone was that it was "motivated by politics and delivered in economics", he said on BBC 1's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, warning that incremental changes such as help for Spanish banks "is not enough" to address the bigger issues facing the European Union.
Europe was being presented with either "austerity with reforms "or "growth with reforms" but needed "austerity with growth and reforms", he said.
Schaeuble says "no" to throwing money at euro crisis
Reporting by Erik Kirschbaum
(Reuters) - Throwing more money at the eurozone debt crisis will not solve the problem because the troubles have to be resolved at the cause, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Sunday.
Schaeuble also said in an interview with German TV network ZDF that Greece has not done enough to fulfil promises it made in exchange for bailout funds. Schaeuble also criticised the recent interventions by U.S. President Barack Obama.
Germany tells Greece to stop asking for help
and start cutting budgets
Germany has told Greece to stop asking for more help and get on with implementing the reforms it has already promised as tensions mount before this week's crucial summit of European Union leaders.
By Alistair Osborne - Telegraph.co.uk
In unusually blunt remarks, German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said: "The most important task facing new prime minister [Antonis] Samaras is to enact the programme agreed upon quickly and without further delay instead of asking how much more others can do for Greece."
His comments highlight Germany's growing impatience with the eurozone's problem nations in what is shaping up to be another significant week for the single currency bloc.
Germany Plans Joint Federal-State Debt In Merkel Fiscal Deal
By Tony Czuczka - Bloomberg.com
Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to share borrowing costs with Germany's states to help ease their budget squeeze, completing a deal the opposition said will help secure German ratification of the European Union's fiscal pact.
Germany's federal and state governments plan their first joint debt sale in 2013 to help the states meet the pact's deficit limits, the German government's press office said in an e-mailed statement in Berlin today.
Stimulus Package Ahead for the Eurozone
by Alexander Reed Kelly - Truthdig.com
The leaders of France, Germany, Spain and Italy made a bid to save the euro Friday, pledging to push for a $163 billion program to stimulate growth in the depressed European economies.
The four countries made the decision ahead of next week's European Council meeting in Brussels. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been hesitant to support stimulus proposals that would force German taxpayers to pay for the bailout of Europe's failing economics, supported the move.
Gerald Celente on Capitalaccount - 22 June 2012
Emerging Markets' Europe Problem
By Dominique Moisi - Project-Syndicate.org
PARIS – From Hong Kong to São Paulo, and all points between, one word dominates all others among big investors: Greece. Will the Greeks remain in the eurozone? What will happen to the European Union and the global economy if they do not?
Until recently, Europe was a sort of mirror that confirmed for the major emerging economies the spectacular nature of their own success. They could contrast their high growth rates with Europe's high levels of debt. They could oppose their "positive energy" with the pessimism dominating European minds. They were only too willing to advise Europe to work harder and spend less, as legitimate pride mingled with an understandable desire to settle historical scores and attenuate their legacies of colonial submission and humiliation.
Angela Merkel defies Latin Europe and the IMF on bond rescue
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has shot down calls for full mobilisation of the eurozone's bail-out funds to halt the raging bond crisis in Spain and Italy, ignoring unprecedented pleas for action from the International Monetary Fund.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
"Each country wants to help but if I am going to call on taxpayers in Germany, I must have guarantees that all is under control. Responsibility and control go hand in hand," she said after a crucial summit of the eurozone's Big Four powers in Rome.
Mrs Merkel -- or La Signora No in Italy -- doused hopes of a break-through on proposals by the "Latin Bloc" leaders of Italy, France, and Spain to deploy the funds (EFSF and ESM) to cap the bond yields of "virtuous" countries vulnerable to contagion, or to recapitalize banks directly to take the strain off sovereign states.
Financial TIme Bombs
from 'V' - SteveQuayle.com
June 21, 2012
Steve, where do I begin? Lets start up with the Eurozone and take it from there. I was the first to mention to you that the Spanish Bailout had already happened before it was even announced that they were going to need more within the week. Well a week has passed and it said that both Italy and Spain need an almost $1 Trillion dollar bailout. The reason? Apart from both being insolvent, Italy has to borrow money at 7% to lend to Spain at 3% by edict of the Euro Technocrats via ECB. These morons have the economics understanding of a five year old. Now both countries are heading the way of Greece, which is total economic death as Greece is a failed state, with no government, a stolen election and thousands starving to death.
Yes, there is an alternative to capitalism:
Mondragon shows the way
Why are we told a broken system that creates vast inequality is the only choice? Spain's amazing co-op is living proof otherwise
By Richard Wolff - Guardian.co.uk
There is no alternative ("Tina") to capitalism?
Really? We are to believe, with Margaret Thatcher, that an economic system with endlessly repeated cycles, costly bailouts for financiers and now austerity for most people is the best human beings can do? Capitalism's recurring tendencies toward extreme and deepening inequalities of income, wealth, and political and cultural power require resignation and acceptance – because there is no alternative?
I understand why such a system's leaders would like us to believe in Tina. But why would others?
Of course, alternatives exist; they always do. Every society chooses – consciously or not, democratically or not – among alternative ways to organize the production and distribution of the goods and services that make individual and social life possible.
New World Order Blueprint Leaked
By: Rudy Avizius - MarketOracle.co.uk
On June 12, a leaked copy of the investment chapter for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was made public. This copy was analyzed by Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch and has been verified as authentic. This agreement has been negotiated IN SECRET for 2-1/2 years and no information has ever been released until this leak. So why have the details of this negotiation been so secret? This agreement has been framed as a "free trade" agreement and yet out of 26 chapters only two have anything to do with trade. The other 24 chapters grant new corporate privileges and rights, while limiting governments and protective regulations.
Panic in the New World Order
by Gary North - LewRockwell.com
For the first time in my career, I see the international establishment, sometimes called the New World Order, facing a crisis so large that its very survival is at stake. For the first time, these people are scared.
There are not many of them. In his book, Superclass, author David Rothkopf estimates that there are only about 6000 people at the top of the pyramid of world power and influence. They are mostly males, and at least a third of them have attended America's most prestigious universities. Most of the others have attended comparable universities in Europe.
JPMorgan Chase Gets $14 Billion Per Year
In Government Subsidy
Jamie Dimon and his presidential cufflinks do not care for your questions about the bank's government subsidy.
At least some of the billions of dollars that JPMorgan Chase lost gambling on creditderivatives once belonged to you.
Last week, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) had the gall to spoil the Senate Banking Committee's gentle grooming of JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon by pointing out that his bank would not still be in existence without taxpayer assistance.
States Face Pressure on Pension Shortfalls
[Google title for free article pass]
By MICHAEL CORKERY And MICHAEL RAPOPORT - WSJ.com
New accounting rules are likely to show that public pension plans could face hundreds of billions of dollars in additional liabilities, putting new pressure on state and local governments to act.
The revamped rules expected to be approved Monday by an accounting-standards group will force governments to record pension costs sooner than they did before and disclose shortfalls more prominently. The changes also will force some public pension funds to calculate retirement benefits using more conservative assumptions.
Peter Schiff on Fox Business - Monday, June 18, 2012
Blame the Rich!
Trickle Up Economics
By Peter Schiff - LewRockwell.com
The political left wing has long tried to cast doubt on the fairness, and even the efficacy, of free market capitalism by branding it as a "trickle down" system. This epithet is meant to show how the middle and lower classes are dependent on scraps of wealth that happen to fall from the buffet table of the rich. This characterization of an unfair and inefficient system has helped them demonize policies that lower taxes (if they also extend to the wealthy) and reduce regulation on business.
* * * * *
In suburban America, middle class begins to confront poverty
By Izhar Harpaz
BOULDER, Colo. – The small communities that dot the picturesque mountain landscape outside Boulder, Colo., conjure up an image from long before the great recession. Here the manicured lawns and expensive cars are a testament to the achievements of a fiercely independent and educated middle class; a 21st century version of suburban bliss. But often these days, the closed doors of well-kept houses hide a decidedly different reality: hushed conversation about food stamps and Medicaid, depleted bank accounts and 401K's, kitchen shelves stocked with groceries from food pantries.
"It's this dirty little secret," said Joyce Welch, a stay-at-home mother of three whose husband, a mechanical engineer, lost his job six months ago. "Everybody is supposed to be able to buy the new car, supposed to buy the new house. And what we don't talk about is people who struggle, and they're struggling more and more." The Welch family lives in Superior, a Boulder suburb that was listed by Money Magazine as one of the "Top 20 best places to live in America" in 2011. Neighboring Louisville was ranked number one.
Private Sector Pensions Under Attack
by Henry Shivley - fromthetrenchesworldreport.com
This article is for those still fortunate enough to have a job in the private sector who have been waving the banner and shouting the slogans for public pension reform. We at From the Trenches have been saying for months now that the attack on public pensions is unjust and is being used to divide we the people against one another to the benefit of the corporate elite.
As the theft and corruption in the United States has become cyclical in its operation and as we have told you it would be; now the corporations are asserting that there exists a $435 billion shortfall in private pensions. And of course all those workers in the public sector, having been betrayed by workers in the private sector, will now support corporate cuts in private pensions saying, "If they can do it us then let them do it to them.
Will Toledo, Ohio Be The First Major American City
To Be Owned By China?
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
It has been said that there are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One way is by using the sword, and the other is by using debt. Fortunately, America is not in danger of being conquered by the sword right now, but America is being conquered by debt. The borrower is the servant of the lender, and today we owe China more than a trillion dollars. By running a gigantic trade deficit with us, China has been able to become incredibly wealthy. We have begged them to lend us back some of the money that we have sent them and this has made them even wealthier. Now China is gobbling up U.S. real estate and U.S. assets at an astounding pace. In fact, some cities are in danger of becoming completely dominated by Chinese ownership. One of those cities is Toledo, Ohio. In many "rust belt" areas, real estate can be had for a song, and the Chinese are taking full advantage of this. America was once the wealthiest nation on earth, but now we are drowning in debt and we are being sold off in chunks to the highest bidder. Is this the legacy that we are going to leave for future generations?
The Collapse of American Society
Thousands in Phoenix protest
Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio's tent city jail
Religious group holding annual convention in Phoenix joins with immigrant-rights group to rally against conditions in notorious jail
By Matt Williams and agencies - Guardian.co.uk
Thousands of protesters rallied Saturday night for the closure of a "inhumane" complex of canvas prison tents set up by America's self-styled toughest sheriff.
Critics of Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio – an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama and a hardliner on immigration – claim that confinement to the "tent city" in Arizona violates prisoners' human and constitutional rights.
Health-Care Tax Credit Eludes Some
Small Businesses Bump Up Against Pay Limits,
Share of Premium and Restrictions on Family Firms
By EMILY MALTBY - WSJ.com
Hundreds of thousands of small businesses are excluded from claiming a health-care tax credit, and many blame overly narrow restrictions.
"You're penalized for giving people a higher wage and a more professional opportunity," said Michael Griffin, whose St. Louis ad agency offers health-insurance coverage to its six full-time employees.
Reading The 'Obamacare' Tea Leaves As Ruling Looms
By SAHIL KAPUR - TalkingPointsMemo.com
With a Supreme Court decision on 'Obamacare' expected this week, tensions have reached a fever pitch as observers eagerly await the verdict on the law's constitutionality.
Just three months after legal experts widely predicted the health care reform law would be upheld, expectations have changed dramatically and conservatives are bullish about victory.
The Supreme Court and the Affordable Care Act
Health Care is a Right, Not a Mandate
by MARK VORPAHL
Any day the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA). Most at risk is this act's "individual mandate" which requires everyone to buy health insurance from a private insurer or face a steep fine. If the "individual mandate" is ruled unconstitutional, it is possible that the Supreme Court justices will throw out the ACA in its entirety. Even if they agree to keep the ACA intact while rejecting the individual mandate, this will put the entire bill in jeopardy since it is this provision that makes the ACA economically feasible.
HHS pushes out cash ahead of ruling
By J. LESTER FEDER, KATHRYN SMITH
and KYLE CHENEY - Politico.com
Conservatives wanted the White House to stop spending on the health care law until the Supreme Court rules on whether it's constitutional.
But the administration has forged ahead, spending at least $2.7 billion since oral arguments in the case ended on March 28. That's more than double the amount that was handed out in the three-month period leading up to the arguments, according to a POLITICO review of funding announcements from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Health Care Reformers At Odds
Over Post-Supreme Court Strategy
BRIAN BEUTLER - TalkingPointsMemo.com
Democrats and supporters of President Obama's health care law are preparing a variety of contingency plans — messaging and legislative strategy — in the event that the Supreme Court strikes part or all of the Affordable Care Act.
But like Republicans — who are torn over how to respond in the event that the Court doesn't fully uphold the law — supporters of the law haven't settled on a single approach. And with a ruling expected next week, it now appears likely that Democrats and health care reformers will lack a unified message or an all-hands-on-deck strategy if the individual mandate falls.
At The Gates of Montpelier
A Trojan Horse Among Vermont Healthcare Reformers?
by STEVE EARLY - CounterPunch.org
While the nation waits for an overdue Supreme Court decision that will decide the fate of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, another health care drama with wide implications for universal health care is just starting in Vermont.
Prodded by a strong grassroots movement, the Vermont legislature voted last year for a single-payer state health care system (Act 48) where every citizen will eventually be eligible for publicly funded health care.
Fast and Furious—the Witch Hunt
By Eugene Robinson - Truthdig.com
In 2006, when George W. Bush was president, federal law enforcement officials came up with a spectacularly dumb idea: Allow powerful firearms purchased in the United States to "walk" across the Mexico border, where authorities would trace the weapons and eventually nab the big-time criminals who supply guns to the ultra-violent Mexican drug cartels.
It is no surprise that most of the weapons promptly disappeared.
But the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, undeterred by failure, went back to the "gun-walking" technique again the following year—and used it once more in 2009, after President Obama had taken office, in the tragic fiasco known as Operation Fast and Furious.
Issa Staffer Offered To Stop
Holder Contempt Vote For DOJ Scalp
RYAN J. REILLY - TalkingPointsMemo.com
Rep. Darrell Issa's chief investigative counsel offered to stop the contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder in exchange for the resignation of Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, Newsweek's Dan Klaidman is reporting.
Issa staffer Stephen Castor brought up the issue of "accountability" during a phone call with a senior DOJ official last week, according to the report. Castor reportedly said they could head off the contempt vote if Breuer stepped down.
Koch: I helped change Obama
By MAGGIE HABERMAN - Politico.com
Ed Koch, the mercurial former New York mayor and Jewish community figure who was helpful to George W. Bush in places like Florida in the 2004 presidential race, sees "change" by President Obama, who he was slow to support, on the subject of Israel.
"Going to foreign affairs and Israel in particular, where I am very concerned that I think Israel is in great danger, where I thought the president was not giving enough attention," Koch told WABC radio's Aaron Klein. "He's changed. And I believe I had something to do with the change."
Domain Wheeling and Dealing
Applicants for New Web Extensions
Head to Icann Meeting to Gauge Competition
By SARAH E. NEEDLEMAN - WSJ.com
Entrepreneurs and big companies are battling one another for the rights to manage hot new Web address endings, including .app, .home and .book. Some are gathering in Prague this weekend, where they may decide to team up and pursue a contested domain together or duke it out.
Among them will be Bill Doshier of Conway, Ark., who hopes to meet his competition for the rights to .fun.
Data Mining: Big Corporations Are Gathering Every Shred Of Information About You That They Can And Selling It For Profit
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
When most people think of "Big Brother", they think of the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the Department of Homeland Security and other shadowy government agencies. Yes, they are definitely watching you, but so are many big corporations. In fact, there are some companies that are making tens of millions of dollars by gathering every shred of information about all of us that they can and selling it for profit to anyone willing to pay the price. It is called "data mining", and these data miners want to keep track of literally everything that you do. Most people know that basically everything that we do on the Internet is tracked, but data mining goes far beyond that. When you use a customer rewards card at the supermarket, the data miners know about it. When you pay for a purchase with a credit card or a debit card, the data miners know about it. Every time you buy a prescription drug, that information is sold to someone. Every time you apply for a loan, a whole host of organizations is notified. Information has become an extremely valuable commodity, and thanks to computers and the Internet it is easier to gather information than ever before. But that also means that our personal information is no longer "private", and this trend is only going to get worse in the years ahead.
EU hands personal data to US authorities on daily basis
BY NIKOLAJ NIELSEN - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - EU and US co-operation in combatting terrorism remains shrouded in secrecy as Europol, the EU police agency, refuses to render public an inspection report that details how financial data is handed over to US authorities.
The document, written by the joint-supervisory body (JSB) which supervises the data protection rules are properly applied at Europol, noted on Thursday (21 June) that the EU agency transfers bulk data on a daily basis to the US department of treasury.
Lord Monckton: UN Teaches Children They Need to Die!
TSA forgot to pug it in...
Unplugged metal detector triggers JFK chaos
By PHILIP MESSING and CANDICE M. GIOVE - NYPost.com
These fools are keeping us safe?!?
The TSA's bungling reached a new low yesterday when a JFK Airport terminal had to be evacuated and hundreds of passengers marched back through security screening all because one dimwitted agent failed to realize his metal detector had been unplugged, sources told The Post.
The stunning error led to hours of delays, two planes called back from the runway and infinite frustration for furious passengers.
"The truth is, this is the failure of the most basic level of diligence," a law-enforcement source said.
"How can you expect the public to feel confident of the mission of the TSA if they don't even know if the lights are turned on?"
Scientists warn US east coast over accelerated sea level rise
Study says sea level is rising far faster than elsewhere, which could increase incidence of New York flooding
By Damian Carrington - Guardian.co.uk
Sea level rise is accelerating three to four times faster along the densely populated east coast of the US than other US coasts, scientists have discovered. The zone, dubbed a "hotspot" by the researchers, means the ocean from Boston to New York to North Carolina is set to experience a rise up a third greater than that seen globally.
Asbury Sallenger, at the US geological survey at St Petersburg, Florida, who led the new study, said: "That makes storm surges that much higher and the reach of the waves that crash onto the coast that much higher. In terms of people and communities preparing for these things, there are extreme regional variations and we need to keep that in mind. We can't view sea level rise as uniform, like filling up a bath tub. Some places will rise quicker than others and the whole urban corridor of north-east US is one of these places."
Tropical storm Debby prompts
emergency warnings along Gulf Coast
Forecasters unsure where storm will hit, but it is expected to reach hurricane strength before making landfall this week
Associated Press - Guardian.co.uk
Coastal regions in three US states were under a tropical storm warning Sunday as Debby churned off the Gulf Coast, edging ever closer to landfall.
In Louisiana the governor declared a state of emergency to free up resources ahead of a possible soaking and strong winds. Warnings also were issued for coastal Alabama and parts of Florida, including the Panhandle.
Tropical storm Debby
expected to strengthen into Gulf Coast hurricane
Strong storm forces evacuation of oil and gas workers in the Gulf of Mexico as it heads toward landfall in Louisiana and Texas
Reuters - Guardian.co.uk
Tropical Storm Debby churned slowly toward the US Gulf Coast on Sunday with 50 mph (30 kph) winds and was expected to strengthen into a hurricane as it skirted the Louisiana coast and took aim at Texas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Debby was centered about 165 miles (265 km) southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and was moving slowly northward at around 3 mph (5 kph). The storm was expected to strengthen into a hurricane by Tuesday night.
THE ARGENTINA COLLAPSE
Lessons from Argentina's economic collapse
The topic is not a new one. When Argentina spiraled into social and economic collapse in the late 90′s life changed for everyone. Regardless of the causes, there is much to be learned from a country that was once prosperous and is now recovering from economic crises that put about 60% of the people into poverty.
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Hands Off Syria
Before the US House of Representatives: Statement Introducing HR 5993, The Syria Non-Intervention Act of 2012
by Ron Paul - LewRockwell.com
Mr. Speaker: The Administration is marching toward another war in the Middle East, this time against Syria. As with the president's war against Libya, Congress has been frozen out of the process. The Constitution, which grants Congress and only Congress the authority to declare war, is once again being completely ignored.
The push for a US attack on Syria makes no sense, is not in our interest, and will likely make matters worse. Yet the Administration, after transferring equipment to the Syrian rebels and facilitating the shipment of weapons from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, has indicated that its plans for an actual invasion are complete.
The Syrian Conundrum
Washington and Damascus
by SAUL LANDAU - CounterPunch.org
Syria has become dangerous. Syrians get killed and wounded almost daily. Their neighbors have also felt the impacts of violence: refuges in Turkey and outbreaks of fighting in Tripoli's streets in Lebanon where peace depends on a nuanced arrangement between Christians and Sunni and Shia Muslims.
Northern Iraqi Kurds share with Syrian Kurds the "statehood" ideal that has periodically shaken the region and provoked Turkey to use heavy military force.
Netanyahu ready to pounce... if truce broken
Egypt-Brokered Cease-Fire With Israel Declared By Hamas
By Calev Ben-David and Gwen Ackerman - Blooomberg.com
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the military is ready to use "greater force" to halt rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, after Hamas declared a cease-fire following a week of violence in the south.
Three rockets fired from Gaza have struck Israel today, according to an Israeli army spokeswoman, who spoke anonymously in accordance with military regulation. There were also no reports of Israeli strikes on the seaside strip.
Turkey Promises 'Necessary Steps' After Syria Downs Jet
By JOE PARKINSON - WSJ.com
ISTANBUL—Turkey on Saturday vowed to take "necessary steps" to respond to the downing of a Turkish military jet by Syria on Friday, but signals from Ankara and Damascus suggested neither wanted a military confrontation over the incident, which raised tensions along the neighbors' long border to an ominous new high.
The Turkish and Syrian navies on Saturday continued a joint search for the crew of the missing aircraft, an F-4 military jet, which Syria said fell into the Mediterranean Sea about six miles west of the Syrian village of Umm al-Tuyour. Turkish news networks reported Saturday evening that neither of the two pilots had been found.
Turkey blames Syria for jet attack, consults NATO
By Jonathon Burch and Khaled Yacoub Oweis
ANKARA/AMMAN | Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:34pm BST
(Reuters) - Turkey accused Syria on Sunday of shooting down a military reconnaissance jet in international airspace without warning and called a NATO meeting to discuss a response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Amid growing acrimony between the once-friendly neighbours, Syria said its forces had shot dead "terrorists" infiltrating its territory from Turkey, which along with Western and Arab nations has backed the cause of Syrians fighting Assad.
Turks do not want to live in the EU any more
BY ANDREW RETTMAN - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - Turkey says future visa-free travel will work out well because Turks no longer want to live in the EU.
Its European affairs minister Egemen Bagis told EUobserver on Friday (22 June) that Turks these days travel to EU capitals "to spend [money]" in shops and hotels.
"In the past, when Turks were asked do you want to live in Europe, 80 percent would say Yes. Now, 85 percent say No. Turkish citizens feel there is more hope in Turkey, better job opportunities," he said.
Turkey goes to Nato over plane
it says Syria downed in international airspace
Foreign minister says Ankara will take incident to Nato and dismisses Syria's claim it did not know plane was Turkish
By Staff and agencies - Guardian.co.uk
Nato is to meet on Tuesday at Turkey's request following the shooting down of one of its warplanes by Syria in what it says was international airspace.
Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said Ankara would formally present the incident to its Nato allies to prepare a response under article four of the organisation's founding treaty.
Turkey Says Syria Downed Plane In International Airspace
By Ali Berat Meric - Bloomberg.com
A Turkish warplane shot down by Syrian forces was in international airspace when it was struck, and Turkey is still weighing a response to the attack, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu said.
The unarmed plane briefly entered Syrian airspace minutes before it was hit on June 22, and then plunged into Syrian waters about 8 miles (13 kilometers) offshore, Davutoglu said on state television today. It was on a test flight related to Turkey's radar system, and was not spying onSyria, he said. The plane was clearly identifiable as Turkish, and Syria made no attempt to issue a warning after the earlier infringement, Davutoglu said. Turkish rescue teams are still searching for the F4 Phantom jet's two crew members, he said.
Syria Forms New Government; Key Posts Unchanged
AP - ABCNews.com
Syrian President Bashar Assad issued a decree forming a new government Saturday, but it will be headed by a key loyalist and the foreign, defense and interior ministers kept their jobs.
The move comes as fears mounted that the conflict was aggravating regional tensions. Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Saturday his country would take "necessary" action against Syria after Syrian forces shot down a Turkish military plane.
Dispatches From Cairo: Ms. Clinton, Kindly Butt Out
By Lauren Unger-Geoffroy - Truthdig.com
CAIRO—Since Tuesday, Egypt has suffered a hot spell that produced a record number of heatstroke victims, including me and two friends. But the weather has not stopped supporters of the two presidential election "winners" from holding victory celebrations. Nor has it stopped Egyptians from wondering whether the ousted President Hosni Mubarak is clinically dead, fully dead, alive and conscious, or alive but unconscious, and whether he had a heart attack or a stroke or had fallen in a bathtub. The volleys of bullshit have been heavy as journalists rush back and forth in pursuit of the stories.
Mohammed Morsi of Muslim Brotherhood
wins Egypt's presidential election
ASSOCIATED PRESS - NYPost.com
CAIRO — Mohammed Morsi was declared Egypt's first Islamist president on Sunday, chosen in the freest elections in history that left the nation deeply polarized between supporters of an old regime figure and those eager for democratic change.
It was the culmination of the tumultuous first phase of a transition launched 16 months ago with the uprising that ousted autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak, who was replaced by a ruling military council headed by Mubarak's defense minister of 20 years. It is the start of a new struggle with the military to restore the powers that the ruling generals stripped from the presidency even before the victor was declared.
Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi declared president of Egypt
Egyptians celebrate while neighbours react with guarded optimism to appointment of first elected Islamist candidate
By Abdel-Rahman Hussein in Cairo
and Julian Borger - Guardian.co.uk
The Arab Spring entered a new chapter last night when Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was declared Egypt's first democratically elected president, triggering rapture in Cairo's Tahrir Square and a nervous welcome from regional leaders jittery over the advance of Islamism.
Sixteen months after the fall of his predecessor, the dictator Hosni Mubarak, official election results gave Morsi, a US-educated engineer, 51.7% of the vote against 48.3% for his rival, Ahmed Shafiq, a former prime minister under Mubarak. The turnout was reported to be 51.6%.
Israel Jittery After Brotherhood Victory in Egypt
By IBRAHIM BARZAK and JOSEF FEDERMAN - AP - ABCNews.com
The Muslim Brotherhood victory in Egyptian presidential elections, announced Sunday, has raised fears in Israel that its strategic 1979 peace agreement with its southern neighbor could be in danger.
In contrast, in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, ecstatic residents flocked into the streets, fired guns in the air and handed out candy in celebration.
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