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Syria government approves lifting state of emergency
Today's Headlines
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Page 6: Politix
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Page 4: Opinion
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US credit rating at risk
[Al Jazeera] Standard & Poor's (S&P) has threatened to downgrade the United States' prized AAA credit rating unless the B.O. regime and Congress find a way to slash the yawning federal budget deficit within two years.
The only way to accomplish that is to start dismantling the enormous machinery of government and trimming what's left. Dump NPR, the Department of Education, Department of Energy, the EPA, the Department of Transportation, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, all the bureaucratic mess that's grown into fiefdoms over the years. We live in a computer age: rather than seeing government grow we should be seeing it shrink as computers pick up the paper shuffling.
S&P, which assigns ratings to guide investors on the risks involved in buying debt instruments, slapped a negative outlook on the country's top-notch credit rating, on Monday.

It said there is at least a one-in-three chance that it could eventually cut it.

A downgrade, which would leave Germany and La Belle France with a higher rating, would erode the status of the United States as the world's most powerful economy and the dollar's role as the dominant global currency.

If investors start demanding higher returns for holding riskier US debt, the rise in bond yields would crank up borrowing costs for consumers and businesses.

That would threaten to hurt the economy as it recovers from the worst recession since World War II.

"This new warning highlights the need for the US to take better control of its fiscal destiny if it is to avoid higher borrowing costs and maintain its central role at the core of the global economy," said Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive at PIMCO, which oversees $1.2tn in assets and has a short position on US government debt.

Major US stock indexes fell by more than 1 per cent on the day.

Longer-dated government bond prices initially fell but recovered to post solid gains as falling stocks took over as the main driver for price action in the Treasury market. Bond prices frequently trade inversely to stocks.

Although the dollar rose as more immediate fiscal problems in Greece hurt the euro and supported some US assets, it is down about 5 pertcent against major currencies in 2011.

S&P's move, coupled with record low US interest rates, will do little to make it more attractive, said Kathy Lien, director of research at GFT.

"Even though I don't think an actual downgrade would occur, in this very sensitive or vulnerable time for the US dollar, it's enough to spook investors from holding or buying dollars," she said.
Posted by: Fred || 04/20/2011 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336064 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Where is the Dem's "It's all Bush's fault!". Or maybe the Dem's are just running out of other people to blame?
Posted by: Unuse Grumble6505 || 04/20/2011 0:11 Comments || Top||

#2  The dems are deliberately spending to take this country down. Either that or they are stupid. Or both.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/20/2011 1:58 Comments || Top||

#3  Wiki had a section on criticism of S&P:

Credit rating agencies such as Standard & Poor's have been subject to criticism in the wake of large losses beginning in 2007 in the collateralized debt obligation (CDO) market that occurred despite being assigned top ratings by the CRAs.

Credit ratings of AAA (the highest rating available) were given to large portions of even the riskiest pools of loans. Investors, trusting the low risk profile that AAA implies, loaded up on these CDOs that later became unsellable. Those that could be sold often took staggering losses. For instance, losses on $340.7 million worth of CDOs issued by Credit Suisse Group added up to about $125 million, despite being rated AAA by Standard & Poor's.[5]

Despite common perception, Standard & Poor's didn't rate the two major Icelandic banks, Kaupthing and Landsbanki.[citation needed]

Companies pay Standard & Poor's to rate their debt issues. As a result, some critics have contended that Standard & Poor's is beholden to these issuers and that its ratings are not as objective as they should be.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/20/2011 2:06 Comments || Top||

#4  So is S&P just 'suggesting' to the US Government that it needs to pay/pay more for its next rating?
Posted by: Glenmore || 04/20/2011 8:00 Comments || Top||

#5  So is S&P just 'suggesting' to the US Government that it needs to pay/pay more for its next rating?

"unless the B.O. regime and Congress find a way to slash the yawning federal budget deficit within two years."

Sounds like "spend less", to me.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 04/20/2011 8:37 Comments || Top||

#6  If you want a shock, go to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

They rate the Government Finances of the US at a "4" out of 100. Countries with higher ratings include Mynamar, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Chad, Mali, Sri Lanka. The only countries lower than the US are Zimbabwe, Angola, Somolia.
Posted by: Bill Clinton || 04/20/2011 11:00 Comments || Top||

#7  White House Tried to Get S&P to Not Lower the Outlook or to Keep Silent Regarding the New Rating.

The Obama administration privately urged Standard & Poor’s in recent weeks not to lower its outlook on the United States — a suggestion the ratings agency ignored Monday, two people familiar with the matter said. …
Treasury officials told S&P analysts that they were underestimating the ability of politicians in Washington to fashion a compromise to curb deficits, a Treasury official said. They argued a change in ratings was not needed at this time because the debt was manageable and the administration had a viable plan in the works, the official said.
But S&P analysts told Treasury officials on Friday that they were unmoved — and released a report that expressed skepticism that the political parties could come together on how to bring spending in line with revenue.
Posted by: Percy Phusons4229 || 04/20/2011 11:50 Comments || Top||

#8  with the current taxation system the state cannot extort any more without harming the economy even further and thus lowering extortion further.
Posted by: Bright Pebbles || 04/20/2011 12:59 Comments || Top||

#9  Unfortunately BP - the current Administration sees that as a feature - not a bug.
Posted by: CrazyFool || 04/20/2011 13:01 Comments || Top||

#10  File under"Man made disaster" and alert level Imminent.
Posted by: newc || 04/20/2011 14:27 Comments || Top||

#11  We have a n imminent warming that terrorists led by Sheik Zerobama are planning to debt bomb American children.
Posted by: Bright Pebbles || 04/20/2011 14:57 Comments || Top||

#12  No-interest savings accounts and high user fees, coupled with high-interest loans and huge credit barriers, won't end until the banks manipulate their way to solvency. The Financial sector is indifferent to interests other than their own. Obama should have been working towards devising new credit instruments, rather than subsidizing the banks and throwing money at non-productive job creation. Every Clinton-Bush era de-regulator kept his job under the Enlightened One.
Posted by: Unavigum Turkeyneck2012 || 04/20/2011 19:05 Comments || Top||

#13  There are only two ways of cutting deficits; raise taxes or cut expenditure.
Leaving the cutting of taxes to one side and concentrating on expenditure cutting the major issue to address is the pain threshold(I prefer to call it the cold turkey syndrome, more descriptive)
A high threshold means a country can handle more pain, a low threshold less pain. A good example of a high threshold would be Ireland, where the populous has meekly accepted their medicine and most of the productive workers have stolen away to foreign shores, leaving the drones behind.
An example the low threshold would be Greece where there is low level civil war as exemplified by Keratea.
As explosions boom, the town's loudspeakers blare: "Attention! Attention! We are under attack!" Air-raid sirens wail through the streets, mingling with the frantic clanging of church bells. Clouds of tear gas waft between houses as helmeted riot police move in to push back the rebels. This isn't a war zone, but a small town just outside Athens. And while its fight is about a rubbish dump, it captures Greece's angry mood over its devastated economy.

As unemployment rises and austerity bites ever harder, tempers seem to fray faster in Greece, with citizens of all stripes thumbing their noses at authority. Some refuse to pay increased highway tolls and public transport tickets. There has been a rise in politicians being heckled and even assaulted. Yesterday, in Thessalonika, scores of activists were arrested after violent clashes with police

Now if the US turns out to be a low threshold country and the rubes march on Washington and raze the Houses of Congress and the Senate to the ground before making the politicians perform the Highbury gig while suspended from the nearest lamppost, what would be the constitutional implications?
When could new elections be held, etc?
Posted by: tipper || 04/20/2011 19:54 Comments || Top||

#14  Every Clinton-Bush era de-regulator kept his job under the Enlightened One.
Posted by Unavigum Turkeyneck2012

Which should give us an accurate indicator of who is really in control in the US.
Posted by: Besoeker || 04/20/2011 22:50 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Politix
Obama administration officials tried to keep S&P rating at 'stable'
The Obama administration privately urged Standard & Poor's in recent weeks not to lower its outlook on the United States -- a suggestion the ratings agency ignored Monday, two people familiar with the matter said.

Treasury Department officials had been discussing with S&P whether the ratings agency should change its outlook on the United States to "negative" from "stable," an indication that the country could lose its crucial AAA rating in coming years over its soaring debt levels.

Treasury officials told S&P analysts that they were underestimating the ability of politicians in Washington to fashion a compromise to curb deficits, a Treasury official said. They argued a change in ratings was not needed at this time because the debt was manageable and the administration had a viable plan in the works, the official said.
Another boatload of FAIL for team Bambi. People will support you as long as they aren't threatened by your actions. Well, Bambi... the investors are starting to look at you like a toxic asset. Enjoy.
Imagine what the press would say if George Bush had tried to influence the raters at the S & P. Of course, Dubya had no need to do so in the first place.
Posted by: DarthVader || 04/20/2011 13:08 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336063 views] Top|| File under:

#1  So, what will be the focus of attack on S&P? Can we expect new regulations on ratings agencies whereby the gov't controls the scores? Or maybe that the agencies are no longer allowed to rate non-private issues?

I figure that the thugocracy that is Barry's buddies will start swinging soon.
Posted by: AlanC || 04/20/2011 13:33 Comments || Top||

#2  Congress already did that, AlanC
Posted by: newc || 04/20/2011 14:29 Comments || Top||

Issues-2012 Barack Obama

Sorry, the page you're looking for isn't here. Keep checking the blog for the latest from the campaign as we continue to provide new content, tools, and opportunities to get involved.

In the meantime, here are some links that might help:
Posted by: Beavis || 04/20/2011 08:49 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336061 views] Top|| File under:

Home Front: Culture Wars
Issa threatens contempt charges in gunwalker probe
Rep. Darrell Issa has tired of waiting for the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to respond to his subpoenas in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's probe of the ATF gunwalker scandal. In a letter today to ATF's director, Issa warned of contempt proceedings if the DoJ and White House continue their refusal to comply with subpoenas, and pointedly explained why the DoJ's current investigation isn't germane to the issue:

For the first time since Republicans took control of the House and gained the power of congressional subpoena, the Obama administration has declined to comply with a subpoena issued by top GOP oversight official Rep. Darrell Issa.

In the face of a subpoena by Issa, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) provided no documents by the April 13 deadline, according to an April 20 letter from Issa to ATF's director, Kenneth Melson.

Issa is threatening contempt proceedings if ATF does not comply.
First simple step, Defund the ATF.
As the T-shirt says, ATF should be a convenience store, not a government agency.
Posted by: DarthVader || 04/20/2011 13:16 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336075 views] Top|| File under:

Confirmed - Border Patrol has a no apprehension policy in Arizona
Posted by: Frozen Al || 04/20/2011 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [336065 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Part of the bigger 2012 re-election plan? Time to recall any Democrat in office ... now.
Posted by: Unuse Grumble6505 || 04/20/2011 0:13 Comments || Top||

#2  Maybe it's time to turn it over to the States.

Oh, wait, somebody tried that! Feds won't allow it.
Posted by: Bobby || 04/20/2011 6:26 Comments || Top||

#3  Immigration = Lower Wages + Higher Rents.

The rent-seekers in both parties like both regardless of what is good for the country.
Posted by: Bright Pebbles || 04/20/2011 7:58 Comments || Top||

#4  time for Congressional hearings with Janet Incompetano in the hot seat
Posted by: Frank G || 04/20/2011 9:42 Comments || Top||

#5  No, time for peoples Tribunals with Congress and all Cabinet level and Czars in the hot seat. Followed by some old fashioned dispensing of harsh justice. The kind that precludes any recidivism.
Posted by: Spats Slusosh3914 || 04/20/2011 10:25 Comments || Top||

#6  We need to line up the raped and beaten women these smugglers bring across and hold Janet Nappyhead accountable! What goes on with the border crossings and our not intercepting it is criminal!
Posted by: 49 Pan || 04/20/2011 12:12 Comments || Top||

#7  This is how they turn Arizona into a blue state just like they did with California. They'll get "community organizers" from Acorn to register those illegals to vote.
Posted by: Ebbang Uluque6305 || 04/20/2011 12:28 Comments || Top||

#8  Intentional manipulation of basic law enforcement and border security to give dishonest numbers for political use by the Obama Administration. There was a time when people got prosecuted and impeached for such abuse of elected/appointed public office.

That time needs to return and this administration needs a flushing to clear out the excrement.
Posted by: NoMOreBS || 04/20/2011 15:01 Comments || Top||

#9  "Confirmed - Border Patrol has a no apprehension policy in Arizona"

Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 04/20/2011 18:48 Comments || Top||

#10  Why force presumptions? Throw a rock in the US-Mex border regions and you will hit an illegal.
Posted by: Unavigum Turkeyneck2012 || 04/20/2011 18:59 Comments || Top||

#11  5000 or so illegal votes were cast in Colorado in what was a fairly close Senate election last time. Dem won. Surprise.
Posted by: OldSpook || 04/20/2011 20:44 Comments || Top||

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Two weeks of WOT
Wed 2011-04-20
  Syria government approves lifting state of emergency
Tue 2011-04-19
  Suicide Bomber Attacks Afghan Ministry of Defence
Mon 2011-04-18
  Five Hurt as Regime Agents Disperse Rallies in South Syria
Sun 2011-04-17
  Egypt: Justice orders the dissolution of the former ruling party
Sat 2011-04-16
  Qaddafi bombards Misrata
Fri 2011-04-15
  Pro-Hamas Italian activist hanged in Gaza
Thu 2011-04-14
  Pro-Hamas Italian Kidnapped By Salafists In Gaza
Wed 2011-04-13
  AU Libya Peace Plan Flops
Tue 2011-04-12
  Syrian soldiers shot for refusing to fire on protesters
Mon 2011-04-11
  Metro blast in Minsk kills several
Sun 2011-04-10
  Shooting erupts in seaport of Baniyas, Syria
Sat 2011-04-09
  22 Syrian protesters killed, hundreds wounded
Fri 2011-04-08
  Gulf states expect Yemen's Saleh to quit: Qatari PM
Thu 2011-04-07
  Rebels push back toward Brega
Wed 2011-04-06
  Gaddafi troops force retreat towards Ajdabiya

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