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From: Les H4/9/2012 1:00:02 PM
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Italy Fights Spain for Investors as ECB Boost Fades: Euro Credit
By Emma Charlton - Apr 8, 2012 7:01 PM ET

Competition between Italy and Spain for international investors’ funds will heat up this quarter as domestic buying stoked by the European Central Bank fades.

Italian and Spanish bonds slumped last week after demand dropped at a Spanish bond sale and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said his country is in “extreme difficulty.” The decline reversed a first-quarter rally sparked by more than 1 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) of ECB loans to the region’s banks via its longer-term refinancing operation. Spain’s 10-year yield spread to German bunds widened to the most in four months, while Italy’s reached a six-week high.

bloomberg.com

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From: Les H4/9/2012 6:14:00 PM
   of 14344
 
Natural gas glut means drilling boom must slow

Natural gas producers are being forced to scale back as prices fall, storage caverns fill up

news.yahoo.com

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From: Les H4/10/2012 1:04:53 PM
1 Recommendation   of 14344
 
U.S. filmmaker repeatedly detained at border
Laura Poitras makes award-winning controversial films, and is targeted by the U.S. government as a result
By Glenn Greenwald, Salon

One of the more extreme government abuses of the post-9/11 era targets U.S. citizens re-entering their own country, and it has received far too little attention. With no oversight or legal framework whatsoever, the Department of Homeland Security routinely singles out individuals who are suspected of no crimes, detains them and questions them at the airport, often for hours, when they return to the U.S. after an international trip, and then copies and even seizes their electronic devices (laptops, cameras, cellphones) and other papers (notebooks, journals, credit card receipts), forever storing their contents in government files. No search warrant is needed for any of this. No oversight exists. And there are no apparent constraints on what the U.S. Government can do with regard to whom it decides to target or why.

...

But the case of Laura Poitras, an Oscar-and Emmy-nominated filmmaker and intrepid journalist, is perhaps the most extreme. In 2004 and 2005, Poitras spent many months in Iraq filming a documentary that, as The New York Times put it in its review, “exposed the emotional toll of occupation on Iraqis and American soldiers alike.” The film, “My Country, My Country,” focused on a Sunni physician and 2005 candidate for the Iraqi Congress as he did things like protest the imprisonment of a 9-year-old boy by the U.S. military. At the time Poitras made this film, Iraqi Sunnis formed the core of the anti-American insurgency and she spent substantial time filming and reporting on the epicenter of that resistance. Poitras’ film was released in 2006 and nominated for the 2007 Academy Award for Best Documentary.

In 2010, she produced and directed “The Oath,” which chronicled the lives of two Yemenis caught up in America’s War on Terror: Salim Hamdan, the accused driver of Osama bin Laden whose years-long imprisonment at Guantanamo led to the 2006 Supreme Court case, bearing his name, that declared military commissions to be a violation of domestic and international law; and Hamdan’s brother-in-law, a former bin Laden bodyguard. The film provides incredible insight into the mindset of these two Yemenis. The NYT feature on “The Oath” stated that, along with “My Country, My Country,” Poitras has produced ”two of the most searching documentaries of the post-9/11 era, on-the-ground chronicles that are sensitive to both the political and the human consequences of American foreign policy.” At the 2010 Sundance film festival, “The Oath” won the award for Best Cinematography.

Poitras’ intent all along with these two documentaries was to produce a trilogy of War on Terror films, and she is currently at work on the third installment. As Poitras described it to me, this next film will examine the way in which The War on Terror has been imported onto U.S. soil, with a focus on the U.S. Government’s increasing powers of domestic surveillance, its expanding covert domestic NSA activities (including construction of a massive new NSA facility in Bluffdale, Utah), its attacks on whistleblowers, and the movement to foster government transparency and to safeguard Internet anonymity. In sum, Poitras produces some of the best, bravest and most important filmmaking and journalism of the past decade, often exposing truths that are adverse to U.S. government policy, concerning the most sensitive and consequential matters (a 2004 film she produced for PBS on gentrification of an Ohio town won the Peabody Award and was nominated for an Emmy).

But Poitras’ work has been hampered, and continues to be hampered, by the constant harassment, invasive searches, and intimidation tactics to which she is routinely subjected whenever she re-enters her own country. Since the 2006 release of “My Country, My Country,” Poitras has left and re-entered the U.S. roughly 40 times. Virtually every time during that six-year-period that she has returned to the U.S., her plane has been met by DHS agents who stand at the airplane door or tarmac and inspect the passports of every de-planing passenger until they find her (on the handful of occasions where they did not meet her at the plane, agents were called when she arrived at immigration). Each time, they detain her, and then interrogate her at length about where she went and with whom she met or spoke. They have exhibited a particular interest in finding out for whom she works.

She has had her laptop, camera and cellphone seized, and not returned for weeks, with the contents presumably copied. On several occasions, her reporter’s notebooks were seized and their contents copied, even as she objected that doing so would invade her journalist-source relationship. Her credit cards and receipts have been copied on numerous occasions. In many instances, DHS agents also detain and interrogate her in the foreign airport before her return, on one trip telling her that she would be barred from boarding her flight back home, only to let her board at the last minute. When she arrived at JFK Airport on Thanksgiving weekend of 2010, she was told by one DHS agent — after she asserted her privileges as a journalist to refuse to answer questions about the individuals with whom she met on her trip — that he “finds it very suspicious that you’re not willing to help your country by answering our questions.” They sometimes keep her detained for three to four hours (all while telling her that she will be released more quickly if she answers all their questions and consents to full searches).

Poitras is now forced to take extreme steps — ones that hamper her ability to do her work — to ensure that she can engage in her journalism and produce her films without the U.S. Government intruding into everything she is doing. She now avoids traveling with any electronic devices. She uses alternative methods to deliver the most sensitive parts of her work — raw film and interview notes — to secure locations. She spends substantial time and resources protecting her computers with encryption and password defenses. Especially when she is in the U.S., she avoids talking on the phone about her work, particularly to sources. And she simply will not edit her films at her home out of fear — obviously well-grounded — that government agents will attempt to search and seize the raw footage.

That’s the climate of fear created by the U.S. Government for an incredibly accomplished journalist and filmmaker who has never been accused, let alone convicted, of any wrongdoing whatsoever. Indeed, documents obtained from a FOIA request show that DHS has repeatedly concluded that nothing incriminating was found from its border searches and interrogations of Poitras. Nonetheless, these abuses not only continue, but escalate, after six years of constant harassment.

salon.com

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From: Jim Bryan4/10/2012 6:05:21 PM
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Good Money: Why Rep. Kevin Brady's Sound Dollar Act Worries Barney Frank
By Ralph Benko

4/09/2012

Why is Rep. Barney Frank rounding up his liberal legislative militia to oppose the Sound Dollar Act of 2012? This is a bill recently introduced by Rep. Kevin Brady, top Republican on the Congressional Joint Economic Committee. It is co-sponsored by 31 of his House colleagues and has a Senate counterpart from Utah’s Mike Lee.

A panicked Rep. Frank snapped to immediately. He rounded up 26 liberal democrats to sign a letter of opposition. “We believe strongly that the dual mandate should be maintained, and we believe that the Federal Reserve’s actions in pursuit of that mandate have been helpful in dealing with our unemployment problem,” wrote Frank and fellow liberals to committee chairman Spencer Bachus.

Believe it or not, Frank’s beliefs do not always coincide with common sense reality. As Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby wrote in 2008:

“Time and time again, Frank insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in good shape. Five years ago, for example, when the Bush administration proposed much tighter regulation of the two companies, Frank was adamant that “these two entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not facing any kind of financial crisis.” When the White House warned of “systemic risk for our financial system” unless the mortgage giants were curbed, Frank complained that the administration was more concerned about financial safety than about housing.

“Now that the bubble has burst and the “systemic risk” is apparent to all, Frank blithely declares: ‘The private sector got us into this mess.” Well, give the congressman points for gall.

Frank and other liberals are hostile to legislation that constrains the Fed’s “discretionary activism.” Discretionary activism is what Columbia dean (and key Romney economic policy advisor) R. Glenn Hubbard indicts in Seeds of Destruction: Why the Path to Economic Ruin Runs Through Washington, and How to Reclaim American Prosperity. This book contains a chapter entitled “Why an Easy-Money Street is a Dead End” and a subchapter “The Road to American Prosperity Cannot Be Paved with a Cheap Dollar.”

Brady’s legislation plays a major role in helping the GOP formulate a crucial plank in its economic platform: good money. Even more potent is this bill’s extraordinary emphasis on gold. In its findings, the Act directs the Federal Reserve to monitor prices in three sectors. One is, exclusively, gold: The “Federal Reserve should monitor … the value of the United States dollar relative to gold… to determine whether the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy is consistent with long term price stability.” Another section directs the Fed to monitor the prices of “major asset classes (including… gold and other commodities…).”

Gold alone thus occurs in two of the three directives to the Fed. This appears by no means accidental. Brady elegantly has structured this legislation in a way that gives space both to the conservatives (supply side, movement, libertarian, and constitutionalist Tea Party) and Establishment Republicans (and conservative Democrats) to come together to work out what good money looks like.

The overwhelming conservative consensus is for the dollar, whether issued by the government or the private sector, to be defined as a fixed weight of gold and for currency convertibility. Intramural differences among conservatives, and between conservatives and Republicans (and, for that matter, Blue Dog Democrats who are attuned to the popularity of the gold standard with voters) are far narrower than the differences between conservatives and liberals. The Weekly Standard.com, reports Brady’s position: “Our goal today…is to start a thoughtful debate….” He succeeds.

continued... forbes.com

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From: Les H4/10/2012 11:45:58 PM
   of 14344
 
Decision in Trayvon Martin case expected by Friday; Zimmerman goes AWOL from lawyers
By FRANCES ROBLES — McClatchy Newspapers
Posted: 4:00am on Apr 10, 2012; Modified: 10:43pm on Apr 10, 2012

bradenton.com

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To: Les H who wrote (12132)4/11/2012 2:35:37 PM
From: Les H
   of 14344
 
The New Rules: Obama's Missile Defense Fantasy a Pentagon Dream Come True
By Thomas P.M. Barnett | 02 Apr 2012

worldpoliticsreview.com

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From: Les H4/11/2012 3:50:10 PM
   of 14344
 
Exiting Euro Could Spark Greek Revival, Doom Germany: HSBC's King

ibtimes.com


Euro Zone Breakup Fears Cuasing Deposit Flight From PIIGS

ibtimes.com


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From: Les H4/11/2012 7:32:23 PM
   of 14344
 
MCKINLEY AND FITTON: Bernanke’s fairy tale recession story for kids
Records show Fed had no coherent strategy for bank bailouts

washingtontimes.com

Interestingly enough, one of the GWU students pressed the chairman for more details on the decision-making process underlying interventions like what occurred with AIG. The student, identified by Mr. Bernanke as “Max,” boldly questioned the chairman’s methods: “Where do you draw the line between bailing out a bank and allowing it to fail? Is it arbitrary or is there some sort of methodology?” Mr. Bernanke meandered a bit in responding to Max and eventually admitted that the process was somewhere in between arbitrary and a set methodology, noting that it was a “case-by-case process” and “somewhat ad hoc.”

Let’s suppose for a moment that Max wasn’t satisfied with the chairman’s ill-defined response and he decided to do a more in-depth analysis of the Fed’s bailout of AIG for the semester’s final term paper. Surely, there would be an abundance of documents available supporting the Fed’s approach in the AIG case. After all, if the Fed’s bailout of AIG really saved us from “the end,” as Mr. Bernanke called it, the Fed should be all too happy to provide such details, and likely already has released an abundance of them.

We actually brought suit against the Fed nearly two years ago, requesting precisely that type of information. Some of the details revealed the shocking extent of the ad hoc, seat-of-the-pants nature of the analysis just days before the Fed made the AIG bailout decision. Emails produced by the Fed show confusion about basic information concerning AIG. One Fed email in particular says it all: “What do you know about AIG? Have you produced memos on them anytime recently?”

What we know from the material that was released is damaging enough but more than half of the content of the documents was redacted.

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From: Les H4/11/2012 9:40:12 PM
1 Recommendation   of 14344
 
The "Rorschach" Facts in the Killing of Trayvon Martin
Posted: 04/11/2012 2:36 pm

huffingtonpost.com

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To: Les H who wrote (12138)4/12/2012 8:47:07 AM
From: Les H
1 Recommendation   of 14344
 
The US Military is Stocking Up On a Massive Amount of Anti-Radiation Pills In Preparation for Nuclear Fallout

theintelhub.com

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