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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Israel under Fire

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NATO launched its most intense bombardment yet

No flying zone... what a place to be!!!!

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) - NATO launched its most intense bombardment yet against Moammar Gadhafi's stronghold of Tripoli Tuesday, while a senior U.S. diplomat said President Barack Obama has invited the Libyan rebels' National Transitional Council to open an office in Washington D.C.

The international community has been stepping up airstrikes and diplomatic efforts against the regime in a bid to break a virtual stalemate, with the rebels in the east and Gadhafi maintaining his hold on most of the west.

The NATO airstrikes hit in rapid succession within a half-hour time span, setting off more than 20 explosions and sending up plumes of acrid-smelling smoke from an area around Gadhafi's sprawling Bab al-Aziziya compound in central Tripoli.

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said at least three people were killed and dozens wounded in NATO strikes that targeted what he described as buildings used by volunteer units of the Libyan army.

NATO said in a statement that a number of precision-guided weapons hit a vehicle storage facility adjacent to Bab al-Aziziya that has been used to supply regime forces "conducting attacks on civilians." It was not immediately clear if the facility was the only target hit in the barrage. Bab al-Aziziya, which includes a number of military facilities, has been pounded repeatedly by NATO strikes.

The U.S. launched the international air campaign on March 19 after the passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution to protect civilians after Gadhafi sent his forces to crush a the public uprising against his rule. NATO, which has taken over the airstrikes, says it has been doing its best to minimize the risk of collateral damage.

The alliance has been escalating and widening the scope of its strikes over the past weeks, hiking the pressure on Gadhafi, while many countries have built closer ties with the rebel movement that has control of the eastern half of Libya.

In a significant new deployment of firepower, France and Britain are bringing attack helicopters to use in the strikes in Libya as soon as possible, French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said Monday.


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US Worse Off Financially Than Euro Nations: Walker

The US is spending $4 billion a day more than it is taking in, putting the country on an unsustainable fiscal path perpetuated by both Democrats and Republicans, according to David Walker, head of the Comeback America Initiative.

Solving America's problems will require a combination weighted toward spending reductions but one that also will require spreading the taxation burden around more evenly, said Walker, the former US comptroller general.

"We're not growing enough and we're not going to grow our way out of this problem," he said in a CNBC interview. "We would have to have double-digit real GDP growth for decades to grow our way out of this hole."

Walker's organization promotes fiscal stability and is warning that the US is trailing many other developed nations in terms of getting its fiscal policies in order. Comeback America is a conservative think tank funded mostly through a grant from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, named for the founder the Blackstone Group private equity firm.

In fact, according to an index that Comeback America developed, the US is in worse shape from a fiscal standpoint than debt-plagued nations such as Italy or Spain, he said.

With the nation hitting its $14.294 trillion debt ceiling and in need of an extension, Congress is debating the proper mix of tax increases and spending cuts so that the US does not end up like weaker euro zone nations such as Greece, Spain and Portugal that are in danger of debt defaults.

Walker leans more towards the spending-cut side, but also sees inequities in the tax structure that must be corrected to help generate revenue.



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US, Pakistan Near Open War; Chinese Ultimatum Warns Washington Against Attack

China has officially put the United States on notice that Washington’s planned attack on Pakistan will be interpreted as an act of aggression against Beijing. This blunt warning represents the first known strategic ultimatum received by the United States in half a century, going back to Soviet warnings during the Berlin crisis of 1958-1961, and indicates the grave danger of general war growing out of the US-Pakistan confrontation.

“Any Attack on Pakistan Would be Construed as an Attack on China”

Responding to reports that China has asked the US to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty in the aftermath of the Bin Laden operation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu used a May 19 press briefing to state Beijing’s categorical demand that the “sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan must be respected.” According to Pakistani diplomatic sources cited by the Times of India, China has “warned in unequivocal terms that any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China.” This ultimatum was reportedly delivered at the May 9 China-US strategic dialogue and economic talks in Washington, where the Chinese delegation was led by Vice Prime Minister Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo. Chinese warnings are implicitly backed up by that nation’s nuclear missiles, including an estimated 66 ICBMs, some capable of striking the United States, plus 118 intermediate-range missiles, 36 submarine-launched missiles, and numerous shorter-range systems.

Support from China is seen by regional observers as critically important for Pakistan, which is otherwise caught in a pincers between the US and India: “If US and Indian pressure continues, Pakistan can say ‘China is behind us. Don’t think we are isolated, we have a potential superpower with us,’” Talat Masood, a political analyst and retired Pakistani general, told AFP.

The Chinese ultimatum came during the visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani in Beijing, during which the host government announced the transfer of 50 state-of-the-art JF-17 fighter jets to Pakistan, immediately and without cost. Before his departure, Gilani had stressed the importance of the Pakistan-China alliance, proclaiming: “We are proud to have China as our best and most trusted friend. And China will always find Pakistan standing beside it at all times….When we speak of this friendship as being taller than the Himalayas and deeper than the oceans it truly captures the essence of our relationship.” These remarks were greeted by whining from US spokesmen, including Idaho Republican Senator Risch.

The simmering strategic crisis between the United States and Pakistan exploded with full force on May 1, with the unilateral and unauthorized US commando raid alleged to have killed the phantomatic Osama bin Laden in a compound at Abottabad, a flagrant violation of Pakistan’s national sovereignty. The timing of this military stunt designed to inflame tensions between the two countries had nothing to do with any alleged Global War on Terror, and everything to do with the late March visit to Pakistan of Prince Bandar, the Saudi Arabian National Security Council chief. This visit had resulted in a de facto alliance between Islamabad and Riyadh, with Pakistan promising troops to put down any US-backed color revolution in the kingdom, while extending nuclear protection to the Saudis, thus making them less vulnerable to US extortion threats to abandon the oil-rich monarchy to the tender mercies of Tehran. A joint move by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to break out of the US empire, whatever one may think of these regimes, would represent a fatal blow for the fading US empire in South Asia.

As for the US claims concerning the supposed Bin Laden raid of May 1, they are a mass of hopeless contradictions which changes from day to day. An analysis of this story is best left to literary critics and writers of theatrical reviews. The only solid and uncontestable fact which emerges is that Pakistan is the leading US target — thus intensifying the anti-Pakistan US policy which has been in place since Obama’s infamous December 2009 West Point speech.

Gilani: Full Force Retaliation to Defend Pakistan’s Strategic Assets

The Chinese warning to Washington came on the heels of Gilani’s statement to the Pakistan Parliament declaring: “Let no one draw any wrong conclusions. Any attack against Pakistan’s strategic assets, whether overt or covert, will find a matching response…. Pakistan reserves the right to retaliate with full force. No one should underestimate the resolve and capability of our nation and armed forces to defend our sacred homeland.” A warning of full force retaliation from a nuclear power such as Pakistan needs to be taken seriously, even by the hardened aggressors of the Obama regime.

The strategic assets Gilani is talking about are the Pakistani nuclear forces, the key to the country’s deterrent strategy against possible aggression by India, egged on by Washington in the framework of the US-India nuclear cooperation accord. The US forces in Afghanistan have not been able to conceal their extensive planning for attempts to seize or destroy Pakistan’s nuclear bombs and warheads. According to a 2009 Fox News report, “The United States has a detailed plan for infiltrating Pakistan and securing its mobile arsenal of nuclear warheads if it appears the country is about to fall under the control of the Taliban, Al Qaeda or other Islamic extremists.” This plan was developed by General Stanley McChrystal when he headed the US Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. JSOC, the force reportedly involved in the Bin Laden operation. is composed of Army Delta Force, Navy SEALs and “a high-tech special intelligence unit known as Task Force Orange.” “Small units could seize [Pakistan’s nukes], disable them, and then centralize them in a secure location,” claimed a source quoted by Fox.

Obama Has Already Approved Sneak Attack on Pakistan’s Nukes

According to the London Sunday Express, Obama has already approved an aggressive move along these lines: “US troops will be deployed in Pakistan if the nation’s nuclear installations come under threat from terrorists out to avenge the killing of Osama Bin Laden… The plan, which would be activated without President Zardari’s consent, provoked an angry reaction from Pakistan officials… Barack Obama would order troops to parachute in to protect key nuclear missile sites. These include the air force’s central Sargodha HQ, home base for nuclear-capable F-16 combat aircraft and at least 80 ballistic missiles.” According to a US official, “The plan is green lit and the President has already shown he is willing to deploy troops in Pakistan if he feels it is important for national security.”

Extreme tension over this issue highlights the brinksmanship and incalculable folly of Obama’s May 1 unilateral raid, which might easily have been interpreted by the Pakistanis as the long-awaited attack on their nuclear forces. According to the New York Times, Obama knew very well he was courting immediate shooting war with Pakistan, and “insisted that the assault force hunting down Osama bin Laden last week be large enough to fight its way out of Pakistan if confronted by hostile local police officers and troops.”

The Shooting Has Already Started

The shooting between US and Pakistani forces escalated on Tuesday May 17, when a US NATO helicopter violated Pakistani airspace in Waziristan. Pakistani forces showed heightened alert status, and opened fire immediately, with the US helicopter shooting back. Two soldiers at a Pakistani check post on the border in the Datta Khel area were wounded.

Possible Pakistani retaliation for this border incursion came in Peshawar on Friday, May 20, when a car bomb apparently targeted a 2-car US consulate convoy, but caused no American deaths or injuries. One Pakistani bystander was killed, and several wounded. In other intelligence warfare, Ary One television reported the name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad, the second top US resident spook there to have his cover blown in six months.



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Netanyahu rejects Obama´s 1967 border plan

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Italy attacks Standard & Poor's after credit downgrade

Italy attacks Standard & Poor's after credit downgrade

Italy has attacked credit rating agency Standard and Poor's for raising fears that the country could follow Greece, Portugal and Ireland into a sovereign debt crisis.

Giulio Tremonti, Italy's finance minister, described S&P's decision to downgrade the outlook on Italy's government debt from stable to negative as "strange".

He said the move – which sparked economic concerns in Rome – lacked "even one example of a decline in the economy or public finances to justify downgrading the forecast".

The Italian Treasury said the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the OECD had passed "very different" judgements on Italy's financial health.

The downgrade of the outlook means there is a one-in-three chance that Italy will be downgraded within the next 24 months.

S&P's said it cut its forecasts because of fears that Italy's fragile centre-right coalition government may struggle to cut the country's vast public deficit.

The Telegraph

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"The greatest threat of tornadic activity Tuesday lies from Oklahoma City to Wichita..."

Right after Obama's contempt to Israel.............

After severe thunderstorms and tornadoes damaged parts of the southern Plains over the weekend, another round of devastating tornadoes is on the way for Tuesday.

Major Tornado Outbreak Tuesday

AccuWeather.com Meteorologists are forecasting that there will be at least 50 tornado reports on Tuesday, many of them across the eastern half of Oklahoma and eastern Kansas.

The greatest threat of tornadic activity on Tuesday lies in the corridor from Oklahoma City, Okla., to Wichita, Kan., to already hard-hit Joplin, Mo.

This includes the cities of Dallas, Tex., Topeka, Kan., and Tulsa, Okla.

These locations have the potential for long-lived and long track tornadoes, hail to the size of baseballs and flash flooding from thunderstorms that develop.

A strong low pressure system coming out from the Rockies will strengthen across the southern Plains Tuesday, creating ideal conditions for dangerous storms and potential tornadoes.

Thunderstorms will first erupt during the afternoon hours on Tuesday across central Kansas, central Oklahoma, and north-central Texas. These thunderstorms will quickly turn severe, producing large hail and potentially devastating tornadoes.

These storms will then track eastward late Tuesday afternoon into Tuesday night bringing the threat for destructive tornadoes into the Middle Mississippi River Valley for the nighttime hours.

Residents should be advised that tornadoes that occur at night are the most dangerous due to the simple fact that most people are asleep. Persons are urged to keep tuned to local media outlets during this severe weather outbreak and have a plan of action prepared should severe weather strike.

Global stock markets fall as Spain default fears grow

Escalating fears about Europe's debt crisis hit markets around the world, as the Spanish government's battering at the hands of its voters stoked investors' doubts as to whether Madrid will be able to carry out their painful spending cuts as planned.

Sharp falls on Wall Street continued recent stock market woe, amid fears that Europe's debt crisis might be spreading to larger economies.

Escalating fears about Europe's debt crisis led to rocky trading around the world, as the Spanish government's battering at the hands of its voters stoked investors' doubts as to whether Madrid will be able to carry out their painful spending cuts as planned.

On Monday, the FTSE 100 closed down almost 2pc at 5,835.89 points, while the CAC 40 in Paris fell 2.1pc to 3,906.98 after the defeat of Spain's ruling Socialist party in local elections raised questions as to whether the economy deemed "too big to bail" can implement the necessary austerity measures.

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 1.05pc at 12381.26. "What is clearly unnerving markets at the moment is just how unquantifiable the eurozone crisis still is," said David Jones, chief market strategist at IG Index.

The euro touched a record low against the Swiss franc and a two-month low against the dollar. Against the pound, the euro 0.4p to 86.99p. In contrast, the price of gold rallied to its highest in almost a fortnight, as investors took flight and looked to hedge their exposure to the risk that one of the eurozone's stragglers will default on its debt.

Spain's voter protest spooked investors already nervous about the prospect of electorates derailing bail-out plans and austerity packages for stricken European nations, as voters in the eurozone's successful economies resent what they view as hand-outs and those in struggling economies protest harsh fiscal reforms.
The Telegraph


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Beck: Obama´s betrayal of Israel

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Obama Furious with Israel

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The Coming Interest Armageddon

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Next economic downturn will be seen after July this year.....

SHANGHAI – Even as a number of economists are predicting that another economic downturn will occur in the United States between 2012 and 2013, a Chinese economist is saying the troubles will come much sooner.

Wang Jian, an economist famous for making provocative statements, thinks the next downturn will be seen after July this year and will be even worse than the one that hobbled the US economy in 2008.

“After the sub-prime mortgage troubles, public data show that the US government froze its toxic assets between 2009 and 2010,” Wang, secretary-general of the China Society of Macroeconomics, an affiliate of the National Development and Reform Commission, told the China Securities Journal on Monday.

“But such toxic assets will not vanish by themselves. Traditionally, a standard financial derivative contract lasts for five years. So the toxic assets that triggered the sub-prime mortgage troubles in 2007 were signed before July 2002.”

Wang explained that the explosive increase in the use of financial derivatives took place between 2005 and 2007.

“Take credit default swaps as an example. Their total capitalization was at $920 billion in 2000. That snowballed, under loose lending conditions, to $6 trillion in 2004, and further increased to $62 trillion in July 2007,” he said.

According to his calculations, the derivatives that are coming due this year and next year are worth 10 times as much as the ones that caused the latest downturn and will deal a catastrophic blow to the global economy.

Wang’s projection was echoed by other experts. Chen Daofu, director of the policy research center at the financial research institute of the State Council’s Development Research Center, told China Daily that the quantitative easing monetary policy adopted by the US will cause further disaster for the world.

“Since the financial crisis, the US has used the policy to cover up its problems temporarily,” Chen said. “But the policy undermines the future economic development of the United States, and more troubles are looming in the future.”

After the recent downturn, a large number of American home buyers decided not to pay off their mortgages after seeing the prices of their homes drop by 40 percent. By the end of 2010, more than 5 million US families had not made payments for more than two months to the mortgage lenders they were indebted to. As more people refuse to make such payments, a further downturn is unavoidable, according to Wang.

The US is also faced with a loss of trust. In years past, more than 60 percent of the national debt issued by the US has been purchased by US enterprises and residents. This year, though, about 70 percent of the newly released debt was purchased by the Federal Reserve, while the remaining part was sold to China, Japan and the UK.

Real News Reporter


Greeks Bearing EU debts squeezed on bailout payback

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Jordan's king impatient with Israel

President Barack Obama meets with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Washington

WASHINGTON, May 22 (UPI) -- Jordan's King Abdullah said Israel is changing its stance on peace talks with the Palestinians and scuttling a golden opportunity for a settlement.

Appearing on ABC's "This Week with Christiane Amanpour," the king said Israel's refusal to deal with Hamas was unrealistic and ran counter to its insistence that the Palestinian government be united.

President Mahmoud Abbas "has now made reconciliation with Hamas and does represent the Palestinian people, and the Israeli argument is, well, we can't deal with him because of Hamas," Abdullah said. "Abbas had been very clear that Hamas will not be part of the government."

Abdullah warned that allowing the status quo between the two states to continue would only lead to another Palestinian uprising in the near future.

"It's always easy to find an excuse why not to do the right thing," Abdullah said. "And if we continue along those lines, then we will never solve this problem."

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/05/22/Jordans-king-impatient-with-Israel/UPI-14081306084895/#ixzz1NC4cBolN

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