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Friday, July 22, 2011

Pretribulation of the Church

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Report: China building electromagnetic pulse weapons for use against U.S. carriers

Chinese paramilitary policemen stand guard near Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China's capital. (Associated Press)

China's military is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons that Beijing plans to use against U.S. aircraft carriers in any future conflict overTaiwan, according to an intelligence report made public on Thursday.

Portions of a National Ground Intelligence Center study on the lethal effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and high-powered microwave (HPM) weapons revealed that the arms are part of China’s so-called “assassin’s mace” arsenal - weapons that allow a technologically inferiorChina to defeat U.S. military forces.

EMP weapons mimic the gamma-ray pulse caused by a nuclear blast that knocks out all electronics, including computers and automobiles, over wide areas. The phenomenon was discovered in 1962 after an aboveground nuclear test in the Pacific disabled electronics in Hawaii.

The declassified intelligence report, obtained by the private National Security Archive, provides details on China’s EMP weapons and plans for their use. Annual Pentagon reports on China's military in the past made only passing references to the arms.

“For use against Taiwan, China could detonate at a much lower altitude (30 to 40 kilometers) … to confine the EMP effects to Taiwan and its immediate vicinity and minimize damage to electronics on the mainland,” the report said.

The report, produced in 2005 and once labeled “secret,” stated that Chinese military writings have discussed building low-yield EMP warheads, but “it is not known whether [the Chinese] have actually done so.”

The report said that in addition to EMP weapons, “any low-yield strategic nuclear warhead (or tactical nuclear warheads) could be used with similar effects.”

“The DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile has been mentioned as a platform for the EMP attack against Taiwan,” the report said.

According to the report, China’s electronic weapons are part of what are called “trump card” or “assassin’s mace” weapons that “are based on new technology that has been developed in high secrecy.”

“Trump card would be applicable if the Chinese have developed new low-yield, possibly enhanced, EMP warheads, while assassin’s mace would apply if older warheads are employed,” the report said.

According to the report, China conducted EMP tests on mice, rats, rabbits, dogs and monkeys that produced eye, brain, bone marrow and other organ injuries. It stated that “it is clear the real purpose of the Chinese medical experiments is to learn the potential human effects of exposure to powerful EMP and [high-powered microwave] radiation.”

The tests did not appear designed for “anti-personnel [radio frequency] weapons” because of the limited amounts of radiation used.

However, the report said another explanation is that the Chinese tests may have been research “intended primarily for torturing prisoners,” or the tests may have been conducted to determine safety or shielding standards for military personnel or weapons.

Washington Times

End of the Silicon Age? Researchers create the first artificial neural network out of DNA

Artifical intelligence: The researchers' neural network plays a mind-reading game in which it tries to identify a mystery scientist

Scientists have taken a major step toward the creation of artificial intelligence - not in a robot or a silicon chip, but in a test tube.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have created a circuit of interacting molecules that can recall memories based on incomplete DNA patterns, just like the human brain.

'The brain is incredible,' says Lulu Qian, a Caltech senior postdoctoral scholar in bioengineering.

'It allows us to recognize patterns of events, form memories, make decisions, and take actions.

'So we asked, instead of having a physically connected network of neural cells, can a soup of interacting molecules exhibit brainlike behavior?'

Consisting of four artificial neurons made from 112 distinct DNA strands, the researchers' neural network plays a mind-reading game in which it tries to identify a mystery scientist.

The researchers 'trained' the neural network to 'know' four scientists, whose identities are each represented by a specific, unique set of answers to four yes-or-no questions, such as whether the scientist was British.

Mail Online


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Iran Opens Oil Bourse - Harbinger of Trouble for New York and London?

The last three years of global recession have dealt a major blow to American capitalist ideas trumpeted throughout the world on the value of “free markets.” Wall St has been revealed as a form of casino economy, with the bankster insiders gambling with other people’s, and eventually, the government’s money in the form of bailouts. As the Republicans in Congress, scenting victory in the 2012 presidential elections, hold a gun to the Obama administration’s head and rating agencies consider downgrading U.S. government bonds in light of Washington’s possible defaulting, many ideas around the world that previously seemed implausible because of the dominance of the U.S. economy are garnering renewed interest.

Not surprisingly, many of these concepts originate in countries not enamored with Washington’s influence, perhaps none so more than “Axis of Evil” charter member Iran, which has seen its economy hammered by more than three decades of U.S.-led sanctions. Now Iran is working a program, that, if it succeeds, could help undermine the dollar’s preeminence as the world’s reserve currency more effectively than a Republican filibuster.

Iran’s sly weapon against the Great Satan’s currency? An oil bourse on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf, which has now begun selling high-grade Iranian crude oil.

Mohsen Qamsari, deputy director for international affairs of the Iranian National Oil Company was modest about the exchange’s initial capabilities, saying, "The commodity stock exchange has been pursuing a mechanism for offering crude oil on the stock exchange for a long time, and it has taken the preliminary steps, to the extent possible. Considering the existing banking problems, foreign customers are not expected to be taking part in the first phase of offering crude oil on the stock exchange, and this will be done on a trial basis. Today Bahregan heavy, high quality, low sulfur crude oil with less sourness will be offered on the stock exchange for the first time. In the first phase, a 600,000 barrel shipment will be offered."

Given that the world currently consumes roughly 83 million barrels of crude oil each day, the initial oil offerings at the Iranian stock exchange are hardly going to make or break the market, but they do represent an attempt by a significant oil producer to divert revenue streams from New York Mercantile Exchange, the world's largest physical commodity futures exchange, which handles West Texas Intermediate benchmark futures, and London's Intercontinental Exchange, which deals in North Sea Brent. All trades are in dollars, effectively giving the U.S. currency a monopoly.

The Kish Exchange dates back to February 2008, when instead of Tehran, Kish was chosen because it had designated as a free trade zone. The Exchange was set up to trade contracts in euros, Iranian rials and a basket of other currencies other than dollars. The previous year, Iran had requested that its petroleum customers pay in non-dollar currencies. But the Exchange initially traded contracts only for oil-derived products, such as those used as feedstocks for plastics and pharmaceuticals. Now the institution has taken the next step.

Even as Congress remains tone-deaf to the recession’s effect on American jobs and the economy, others have taken careful note. On 17 June 2008, addressing the 29th meeting of the Council of Ministers of the OPEC Fund for International Development in the Iranian city of Isfahan, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told those in attendance, "The fall in the value of the dollar is one of the biggest problems facing the world today. The damage caused by this has already affected the global economy, particularly those of the energy-exporting countries. ... Therefore, I repeat my earlier suggestion, that a combination of the world's valid currencies should become a basis for oil transactions, or (OPEC) member countries should determine a new currency for oil transactions."

What it would take for Iran’s new exchange to survive and flourish are some heavy-duty customers that Washington would be wary of picking a fight with, and Tehran already has one – China.

China, the world's largest buyer of Iranian crude oil, has renewed its annual import pacts for 2011. In 2010 Iran supplied about 12 percent of China's total crude imports. According to the latest report of the China Customs Organization, Iran's total oil exports to China stood at 8.549 million tons between January and April 2011, up 32 percent compared with the same period last year. Iran is currently China's third largest supplier of crude oil, providing China with nearly one million barrels per day.

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Layoffs, Layoffs Everywhere You Look There Are Layoffs

The competition for jobs in the United States is absolutely brutal right now, and it is about to get worse. A new wave of layoffs is sweeping across America. During tough economic times, Wall Street favors companies that are able to cut costs, and the fastest way to "cut costs" is to eliminate employees. After a period of relative stability, the employment picture in the U.S. is starting to get bleaker again. New applications for unemployment benefits have now been above 400,000 for 15 straight weeks. Finding a good job is kind of like winning the lottery in this economy. Our federal government and the state governments have made it incredibly complicated and extremely expensive to have employees on the payroll. It is getting harder and harder to get a large enough return to justify the time and expense that hiring employees requires. So many firms now find themselves trying to do more with the employees that they already have. Other companies are turning to temp agencies as a way to reduce costs and increase workplace flexibility. A lot of the big corporations are sending as much work as they can overseas where the wages are far lower and where the regulatory environment is much simpler. All of this is really bad news for American workers that just want good jobs that will enable them to provide for their families.

When we first started seeing huge numbers of layoffs a few years ago, I encouraged people to look into government jobs because I thought that they would be a lot more stable in this economic environment.

But today that is no longer true. In fact, state and local governments all over the United States are responding to massive budget problems by slashing payrolls in an unprecedented fashion.

Sadly, the reality is that the number of "secure jobs" is rapidly declining in America. If you have a "job" ("just over broke") right now, you might not have it for long. That is one reason why everyone should be trying to become more independent of the system.

Once upon a time the U.S. economy produced a seemingly endless supply of good jobs. This helped us develop the largest and most vibrant middle class in modern world history.

But now employees are regarded as "costly liabilities", and businesses and governments alike are trying to reduce those "liabilities" as much as they can.

This summer the pace of layoffs seems to be accelerating all over the nation. Just check out what has been happening over the past few weeks....

-Lockheed Martin has made "voluntary layoff offers" to 6,500 employees.

-Detroit is losing even more jobs. American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings has told the remaining 300 workers at its manufacturing facility in Detroit that their jobs will be ending in early 2012.

-Layoff notices have been sent to 519 employees of Milwaukee Public Schools, and more than 400 open positions are going to go unfilled.

-The Gap has announced that up to 200 stores will be closed over the next two years.

-Cisco has announced plans to lay off 9 percent of their total workforce.

-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says that 625 city employees will be losing their jobs as a result of cutbacks.

-Pharmaceutical giant Merck recently dumped 51 workers from an office in Raleigh, North Carolina.

-Perkins has revealed that they will be closing 58 restaurants.

-This week, Goldman Sachs announced that they will be eliminating 1,000 jobs.

-Cracker Barrel is rapidly reducing staff at its headquarters.

-Telecommunications and web marketing firm Crexendo has announced that it will be laying off about 30 percent of its workforce.

-Borders has announced that they will be shutting down their remaining 399 stores and that 10,700 employees will lose their jobs.

-Now that the space shuttle program has ended, thousands of NASA employees will be losing their jobs.

Sadly, there are hundreds of more examples of recent layoffs and job losses. One website that tracks these layoffs daily is Daily Job Cuts. It is pretty sad when there are entire websites that are devoted to chronicling how fast our economy is bleeding jobs.

What is worse is that it looks like the pace of layoffs is going to keep increasing.

One report that was recently released found that the number of job cuts being planned by U.S. employers increased by 11.6% in June.

That is not good news.

Things don't look good for employees of state and local governments either.

State and local governments have eliminated approximately 142,000 jobs so far this year.

That is bad, but this is just the beginning.

UBS Investment Research is projecting that state and local governments in the U.S. will combine to slash a whopping 450,000 jobs by the end of next year.


Barack Obama and Ben Bernanke keep trying to tell us that the economy is improving, but that simply is not the case. Yes, some of the largest corporations have announced big earnings, but that is not translating into lots of jobs for American workers.

Today, most large corporations only want to have as many U.S. workers as absolutely necessary. In a world where labor has been globalized, it just doesn't make sense for corporations to shell out massive amounts of money to American workers when they can legally get away with paying slave labor wages to workers on the other side of the globe.

So if it seems like it is far harder to get a good job in America today than it used to be, the truth is that you are not imagining things.

Our entire system discourages job creation inside the United States. Every single year, even more ridiculous job-killing regulations are being passed on the federal and state levels. It has become extremely expensive and ridiculously complicated to hire people.

So how are American families surviving? Those that still do have jobs are finding that wages are not going up but the cost of living rapidly is. Many American families are making up the difference by using their credit cards more.

In June, credit card purchases in the U.S. increased by 10.7 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

It looks like a whole lot of people have not learned their lessons about how bad credit card debt is.

Millions of other American families have fallen out of the middle class completely. Today, one out of every six Americans is enrolled in at least one government anti-poverty program. The level of economic suffering in this country continues to soar.

In fact, the number of Americans that are now sleeping in their cars or living in tent cities remains at staggering levels.

What we are witnessing in this country is not just a "recession" or an "economic downturn". What we are witnessing are fundamental economic changes.

Until there are fundamental policy changes in the United States, there will continue to be huge waves of layoffs and millions of jobs will continue to be shipped out of the country.

In the old days, one could go to college, get a good job with one company for 30 years and retire with a big, fat pension.

Now, that way of doing things is completely and totally dead.

Today, there is virtually no loyalty out there. It doesn't matter how long you have been working at a particular job. When it becomes financially expedient to get rid of you, that is exactly what is going to happen.

It is a cold, cruel world out there right now. Don't assume that you will always have a good job. The world is rapidly changing.

Don't get caught in the trap of believing that the way that things were is the way that things are always going to be in the future.

Economic Collapse

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Massive heat wave spreads across United States

Main Image

(Reuters) - Crowds flocked to waterfronts and swimming pools on the East Coast and in the Midwest on Thursday to try to cope with a massive heat wave that has killed at least 22 people this week.

The National Weather Service issued excessive heat warnings for wide areas of the central and eastern United States, saying the combined heat and humidity could push the "real feel" temperature to 115 Fahrenheit (46 Celsius) through Saturday.

By Thursday afternoon in New York City, the thermometer hit 91F (33C) but it felt more like 112F (44C), according to AccuWeather.com.

With the promise of refreshing ocean breezes, Boston's whale-watching ships and high-speed tourist boats sold out their trips by mid-morning.

Cooling centers in Richmond, Virginia, and New York City welcomed overheated residents and a truck labeled "Water Fountain on the Go" cruised Manhattan streets, offering to refill water bottles to keep residents hydrated.

Electricity utility Con Edison said scattered outages were likely in New York in coming days with demand expected to hit all-time highs.

Unhealthy smog levels triggered by the heat were reported in Chicago, where residents were asked by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to reduce polluting activities such as idling vehicles and mowing lawns.

By the weekend, the heat wave is expected to cover half of the United States and affect nearly half of its 310 million people, AccuWeather.com forecaster Mary Yoon said.

"What makes this heat wave so impressive is the pure size and longevity," said Yoon.


Longstanding records in Philadelphia and other cities may melt away by Friday, when temperatures are expected to spike. The low pressure system that barreled east was expected to bring powerful thunderstorms with hail to northeastern states.

"Do not take this threat lightly," the National Weather Service warned on its website, noting the extreme temperatures are particularly dangerous for the elderly and the very young.

"The length of this heat wave will pose a very real and dangerous health risk to these at-risk groups and those that do not have access to air conditioning."

In the central United States, where the high temperatures have killed nearly two dozen people, more deaths were tied to the heat.

An elderly woman whose body was found in her bedroom in St. Louis, where a working air conditioner had not been turned on despite 99F (37C) temperatures, was determined on Wednesday to have died of heat stroke.

Similar causes of death were reported on Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri, where a woman in her early 80s died, and in Hutchinson, Kansas, where three elderly people were found dead in separate homes on Wednesday.

Of the people who died in Hutchinson, one had a ceiling fan and another, a 76-year-old man, had an air conditioner.

"He had an air-conditioning unit in the window but didn't use it because he didn't want to pay the electric bill," said Hutchinson Police Sergeant Thad Pickard.

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Default expected in second Greek bailout deal, says senior euro-zone official

Christine Lagarde

GREECE is expected to be placed on "selective default status" soon by all three rating agencies after European leaders reached agreement on a new bailout plan for the debt-crippled nation, a senior euro-zone official said today.

"This is the expectation among all euro-zone leaders. They have decided to accept this risk after assurances by the European Central Bank that it will continue to accept Greek bonds as collateral despite the default status," the official who participated in the summit talks said.

"Private holders will be hit by losses regardless of what option they choose, and this is default. The expectation is that the contagion effect will be limited because the ECB has decided to bend its rules on Greece. But nobody really knows how the market will react," the official added.

Euro-zone leaders agreed today on a second rescue package for Greece to fully cover its financing gap.

Official financing will amount to 109 billion euros ($145bn) while the net contribution from the private sector will be an estimated 37bn euros.

Euro-zone leaders said in a statement that private bondholders were given a "menu of options" to voluntarily participate in the Greek bailout.

The contribution of 37bn euros will come from swaps of existing bonds with new ones that have longer maturities. Another 12.6bn euros will come from bond buybacks.

"There was nothing really voluntary in this exercise," the official said.

The maturity on aid loans to Greece from the euro-zone emergency lending vehicle, the European Financial Stability Facility, will also be extended to a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years, with a grace period of 10 years.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said: "We now have a program and a package of decision which create a sustainable path for Greece."

He said the Greek government is committed to implementing macroeconomic reforms to meet the requirements of its financing package.

He added that the decision today send "a very strong message of support to the banking system".

Leaders added that private sector involvement will be limited to Greece.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said it is "crystal clear" that private sector involvement is a unique solution for Greece.

The head of the International Monetary Fund welcomed the financing deal meant to stem a European sovereign-debt crisis, indicating it was enough for the fund to approve an expanded program for Greece.

"The IMF welcomes the important steps taken today by the leaders of the euro zone and the EU institutions.
These measures provide significant support to growth and financial stability in Greece and in the euro zone," Christine Lagarde, the new IMF managing director said in a statement after European leaders announced a new strategy to solve the euro-zone's financial crisis.

"Based on strong implementation of the program by the Greek authorities, and the determination by member states to support Greece, the IMF will continue to play its part in line with Fund policies and, of course, subject to the approval by our Executive Board," she said.

There's been a growing urgency among world leaders that Europe must overcome its political differences and solve its debt crisis before it spirals into another global financial meltdown.

Fears that the debt crisis may engulf Europe's fourth largest economy, Italy, has accelerating concerns that months of bickering between European officials is on the brink of pushing the euro zone plight into a far more damaging stage.
The Australian

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Keiser Report: Ideas

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Strong explosion rocks Oslo Video

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Iran: Ahmadinejad threatens to send US, Israel 'to the morgue'

Tehran, 20 July (AKI) - Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has threatened to destroy the United States and Israel if put on the defensive.

"Resistance will continue until Iran sends its enemies to the morgue," he said on his website, making a reference to the US and Israel who he said are "on the verge of collapse and gasping for their last breathes."

Ahmadinejad may have been reacting to news from Iranian state media that Iran brought down a U.S. "spy drone" flying near its Fordo nuclear enrichment plant in Qom province.

State-run Press TV didn't say when the incident happened. US officials said there were unaware that a US unmanned aircraft was downed, according to news reports.

The Islamic Republic, Ahmadinejad said on his website "is the region's greatest military power."


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Hope for US housing market dampened

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes hit a seven-month low in June as demand for condominiums fell and contract cancellations surged, dampening hopes the distressed housing market was starting to improve.

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes hit a seven-month low in June as demand for condominiums fell and contract cancellations surged, dampening hopes the distressed housing market was starting to improve.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday sales fell 0.8 percent last month from May to an annual rate of 4.77 million units, the lowest since November and a third straight monthly fall.

Economists had expected sales to rise to a 4.90 million-unit pace.

The drop in sales was surprising given that pending home sales contracts rebounded in May. On Tuesday, a report showed home construction in June jumped to a six-month high.

Pending home sales are drawn from a small sample and become actual sales with a lag of a month or two.

Contract cancellations were the chief driver behind June's drop in sales, the group said, though it could not give a specific reason. However, it noted the sluggish economy, especially the weak labor market and tight lending conditions.

"Buyers and sellers are increasingly running up against conservative appraisals, which often cause deals to fall through or be delayed," said Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Canceled contracts rose to a 16 percent rate from 4 percent in May. That was the highest since the Realtors started tracking cancellations last year and was well above the usual rate of 9 percent to 10 percent.

Jay Piro, an agent in Nutley, New Jersey, said he has seen contract cancellations rise to 30 percent of his would-be sales in the last six months, mostly involving homes for sale by banks after their owners failed on their mortgages.

Buyers walk away from those properties because banks are too overwhelmed by foreclosures to process them quickly, Piro said. Other deals flop when lenders get nervous about a buyer's credit-worthiness or when buyers get cold feet about inspection problems -- from termites to oil tank issues.

"Things that used to fly in a normal deal because purchasers were so anxious to own property, today they back out," said Piro, who works for realty firm Remax.

While cancellations have been the trend in the last couple of years, the spike in June took industry analysts by surprise. They had not seen a similar pattern with pending contracts for new home sales, they said.

"Cancellations have been ongoing, it's not a one-month trend," said Jonathan Smoke, head of research at Housing IntelligencePro in Washington. "On the builders side, we have not seen a corresponding change in cancellations. If anything, they have been moderating on the new home contracts side."

June's drop in sales drop could add to concerns about the economy's ability to rebound this quarter after stumbling badly in the first half of the year.

The decline in sales last month was concentrated in condominiums, with single-family home sales flat. Single-family homes account for a large portion of the home resale market.

Weakness in housing, still struggling with an over-supply of for-sale and foreclosed properties, is a drag on growth.

Data next week is expected to confirm the economy lost further momentum in the second quarter after a pedestrian 1.9 percent annual growth pace in the January-March period.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Hope+housing+market+dampened/5138197/story.html#ixzz1Sqc6SzTI

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Fed planning for potential U.S. default

Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg

PHILADELPHIA — The U.S. Federal Reserve is actively preparing for the possibility that the United States could default as a deadline for raising the government’s US$14.3-trillion borrowing limit looms, a top Fed policymaker said on Wednesday.

Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser said the Fed has for the past few months been working closely with Treasury, ironing out what to do if the world’s biggest economy runs out of cash on August 2.

“We are in contingency planning mode,” Plosser told Reuters in an interview at the regional central bank’s headquarters in Philadelphia. “We are all engaged … It’s a very active process.”

Plosser said his “gut feeling” was that President Barack Obama and Congress will come to an agreement to increase the Treasury’s borrowing authority in time to avert a default on government obligations.

Obama was due to meet with top Republicans in Congress on Wednesday to discuss the latest attempts to end the dispute over raising the country’s debt ceiling, a row which has raised the prospect of the Treaury Department running out of money to pay its bills next month.

The Treasury has repeatedly said default was unthinkable and that there was no alternative to raising the debt ceiling, and Plosser’s remarks marked the most extensive public comments on the matter from a U.S. official.

One aspect of the Fed’s contingency planning is purely operational: the Fed is developing procedures about how the Treasury will let it know which checks will get cleared and which won’t, Plosser said.

The Fed effectively acts as the Treasury’s bank — it clears the government’s checks to everyone from social security recipients to government workers.

“We are developing processes and procedures by which the Treasury communicates to us what we are going to do,” Plosser said, adding that the task was manageable. “How the Fed is going to go about clearing government checks. Which ones are going to be good? Which ones are not going to be good?”

“There are a lot of people working on what we would do and how we would do it,” he said.

Plosser added that there are difficult questions that the Fed itself had to grapple with.

The Fed lends to banks at the discount window against good collateral. But what happens if U.S. Treasuries no longer fit that bill?

“Do we treat them as if they didn’t default, in which case we would be saying we are pretending it never happened? Or do we treat them as if they defaulted and don’t lend against them?” Plosser said. “Those are more policy questions.”

Plosser, who was a vocal critic of some of the Fed’s extraordinary lending during the financial crisis — which he said veered into fiscal policy and risked the central bank’s independence — warned it would be crucial for the Fed not to do the Treasury’s work for it.

“We have to be very careful that we don’t become, that we don’t conduct fiscal policy in this context,” he said. “That we don’t substitute for the inability of the Treasury to borrow in some circumstances.”

That said, the Fed, which is charged with ensuring financial stability, would clearly feel the responsibility to step in as a lender of last resort if markets seized up after a U.S. default, he added.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last week warned that a default could have “catastrophic” effects on financial markets.

Plosser, a former dean of the Simon School of Business at Rochester University, was more circumspect.

“It could be very bad. At some level we don’t really know what the consequences could be. It could be very serious. It could be less serious. Do we really want to run that experiment?”

Plosser is a voting member of the Fed’s monetary policy-setting committee this year.

© Thomson Reuters 2011
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US report warns of al-Qaida terror threat to utility plants

Ground Zero NYC New York

US officials fear al-Qaida will attempt a massive September 11 anniversary attack by sabotaging a major utility facility with the use of insiders that the terrorist organization has successfully planted in such facilities, a US intelligence report released on Wednesday states.

ABC quoted the new US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report as warning that violent extremists have obtained such insider positions and are planning physical and cyber attacks at a major facility, including a chemical or oil refinery.

"Based on the reliable reporting of previous incidents, we have high confidence in our judgment that insiders and their actions pose a significant threat to the infrastructure and information systems of US facilities," the report reads. "Past events and reporting also provide high confidence in our judgment that insider information on sites, infrastructure, networks, and personnel is valuable to our adversaries and may increase the impact of any attack on the utilities infrastructure."

Jerusalem Post

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Dollar, Bernanke....

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Dollar slips vs. euro on Greek deal report

The euro EURUSD -0.15% climbed to trade at $1.4436, up from $1.4230 in late North American trading on Wednesday. At its lows of the day, it touched $1.4137.

The currency extended gains in afternoon trading, moving above $1.44, after EU leaders said they agreed to a new program for Greece that would also involve the support of 30 international financial institutions
“We agree to support a new program for Greece and, together with the IMF and the voluntary contribution of the private sector, to fully cover the financing gap,” said the European Union heads of state in a joint statement following a summit in Brussels. Read details on the new package for Greece

The deal would entail 109 billion euros, or $156.7 billion, in official assistance and another 50 billion euros in a bond exchange and debt buyback program with the private sector. As part of the agreement, maturity on future loans to Greece from the euro zone’s bailout fund will be extended from 7.5 years to up to 30 years while funds will be loaned at 3.5%. Read more on private support for Greece

“We call for a comprehensive strategy for growth and investment in Greece,” the leaders said, adding that the E.U. will “relaunch the Greek economy.”

Market Watch


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