Daily Digest

Daily Digest - January 16

Saturday, January 16, 2010, 11:00 AM
  • Significant chance' of second financial crisis, warns World Economic Forum
  • Bill Moyers Journal: David Corn and Kevin Drum
  • Consumers are Squeezed as Inflation Outpaces Wages
  • CPI Only Rose on Things You Use Every Day
  • Are We Trading in a Rigged Casino?
  • Raiding the Retirement Fund to Keep Your Business Afloat
  • Keeping Precious Metals Offshore

Economy

Significant Chance' of Second Financial Crisis, Warns World Economic Forum (nncita)

Investors must steel themselves for the possibility of a second leg to the financial crisis, and should be equally prepared for a fiscal crisis, in which a major economy faces either default or a "sudden stop" in financing themselves on capital markets, according to the World Economic Forum.

Bill Moyers Journal: David Corn and Kevin Drum (Davos)

David Corn and Kevin Drum, join Bill Moyers on the Journal to explain how the banking lobby continues to hold so much power in the nation's capital.

Consumers are Squeezed as Inflation Outpaces Wages

American families were squeezed last year as their inflation-adjusted weekly wages fell 1.6 percent—the sharpest drop since 1990—even as consumer prices rose only modestly.

CPI Only Rose on Things You Use Every Day (Davos)

The MSM is ecstatic about our low inflation in December. Just one problem. Housing makes up 43% of the CPI calculation. Gasoline makes up 3% and food makes up 8% of the CPI calculation. So, the government tells you there is no inflation because your house price is declining and new car prices are declining. Meanwhile, anyone who lives in the real world has seen gasoline prices rise 53% in the last year, clothing prices jumped 4.8% in December, and food at home jumped 3.6%.

Are We Trading in a Rigged Casino? (Ben Johnson)

This entire little episode smells like dead fish. Someone was either "lying in wait" with enough liquidity to soak that up and not generate a price spike, whoever did it was on both sides (and thus GUARANTEED there would be no material price spike) or one of the oddest coincidences I've ever seen in the futures markets - 100,000 contracts magically appearing on both bid and offer from two different people at the same precise instant - magically occurred.

Raiding the Retirement Fund to Keep Your Business Afloat (Nickbert)

A recent survey of 2,000 small businesses owners by consulting firm Information Strategies found that 74% said they would tap into their 401(k) to keep cash flowing through a revenue slowdown or if they needed the money to expand business. Entrepreneurs are also using retirement money to fund startups, because small business loans and venture capital are scarce.

Keeping Precious Metals Offshore (Nickbert)

An increasing number of Americans are concerned enough about the threat of precious metals confiscation to want to store gold or silver overseas. But laws in effect in 21 states may stand in their way.


24 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
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Re: Daily Digest - January 16

"Nissan Motor Co.’s factory in central China is making cars almost 24 hours a day, yet Pan Xiaowei still waited three months for her new Tiida compact to arrive at the dealership.

“It wasn’t like this a couple of years ago,” said Pan, 34, whose husband runs a property development company in Shandong province. “We used to buy and get a car straight away, and now you have to pre-order and wait.”

China overtook the U.S. last year as the world’s largest automobile market with sales surging 46 percent to 13.6 million, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Nissan, Ford Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. are running their Chinese factories at full capacity, with overtime and weekend shifts, and still can’t deliver enough cars."

"The percentage of men age 55 and older who were unemployed and job hunting last year hit its highest rate since the U.S. record series began in 1948."

"New York State's general fund ended December $204.6 million in the red, the first time that has happened, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said.

He also forecast in his December cash report an "uphill battle" for the Empire State in the final quarter of its fiscal year, which ends March 31, saying another shortfall of about $3 billion is anticipated.

"December was not a good month for New York," the state official said. "What happened in December could be just a flurry compared to the possible blizzard heading our way next fiscal year. These problems don't self-correct. New York needs serious budget repairs."

The state racked up a $17.9 billion budget deficit in fiscal 2010, and Gov. David Paterson used more than $11 billion in temporary, or "one-shot," fixes to close it. That made 2011 an even more challenging year, and DiNapoli has estimated that the three-year general fund gap through fiscal 2012 could reach $27.5 billion.

Given a December shortfall, the general fund would need to borrow from other funds in the state's Short-Term Investment Pool, said Howard Cure, Director of Municipal Research at Evercore Wealth Management, in a report earlier this month. "Once the last financial cushion is depleted, the riskier and scarier it will be if there is an unanticipated further downturn." "

"Throughout the financial crisis we’ve witnessed governments stepping in to backstop and rescue failing corporations with loans and bailouts… now imagine the reverse. For the first time, judging by the cost of insuring against a debt default, “the market has started to price in a bigger probability of default among industrialised countries than among investment grade companies.”

According to the Financial Times:

“This development reflects the market’s current obsession with sovereign risk. The same thing applies in the bond markets where investors are no longer willing to regard the debt of an increasing number of developed world governments as risk free. These countries have taken on huge private sector debts in their efforts to reverse the economic downturn and bail out the financial sector.

“John Wraith, fixed income strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, says: ‘The concept of what is risk free has certainly changed in as much as government bond yields of the UK and other countries are higher than some corporates.’”"

"Pennsylvania's revenue collection in December was $37 million below projections, Rendell said. The fiscal year-to-date shortfall is $254 million, his spokesman in Harrisburg said. Rendell hopes to see an improving revenue picture in 2010."

"Wrestling with a multibillion-dollar budget deficit, Arizona decided Friday to close nearly all of its state parks, including the famed Tombstone Courthouse and Yuma Territorial Prison.

The State Parks Board unanimously voted to close 13 parks by June 3. Eight others had already been closed, and the decision would leave nine open -- but only if the board can raise $3 million this year."

"Los Angeles Councilman Bernard Parks revealed that the city's revenue shortfall hit a staggering $175 million halfway through the fiscal year.

Parks, chairman of the City Council's Budget and Finance Committee, said tax and fee collections were short $75 million in the first quarter and $100 million in the second quarter.

The shortfall could mean layoffs and furloughs — even for city employees who thought their jobs were protected by a recent labor deal.

Nor can the city expect to see the typical second and third quarter boost in revenue, Parks said.

"In my judgment, there's little expectation that you're going to see this revenue figure turn around during this fiscal year,'' he said. "

"On Thursday, Community Health Commissioner Rhonda Medows announced that the state’s Medicaid shortfall for Fiscal 2011 will be in the neighborhood of $635 million.

That’s a 33 percent increase over the $477 million shortfall the state faced last year.

One observer noted that when combined with the temporarily enhanced 3:1 federal match for Medicaid expenditures, this amounts to a total $2 billion shortfall. The result could be “devastating” for the state’s hospitals and health care providers, the source said. "

"According to the Minnesota Management and Budget Agency, the state of Minnesota's projected budget deficit for the current 2010-11 biennium will be $1.203 billion, and it will be $5.426 billion for the 2012-13 biennium. Those are enormous numbers.

In addition to reduced revenues, a large portion of these deficits are the result of excessive spending. During the past 50 years, spending in our state has increased an average of 10 percent a year, 21/2 times the rate of inflation during the same time period. That's a huge problem."

"State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) said estimates are that the state will be facing a deficit of $12 billion to $16 billion when lawmakers sit down next year to develop the budget for the next biennium.

State leaders feel it is prudent to start finding ways to save money now, said Kolkhorst.

“What I think they’re trying to do is to start identifying areas where we can save money. Budgets can ebb and flow, and costs and expenses can ebb and flow,” she said.

“We know we are going to face a huge budget deficit next session, and that’s before health care reforms ... a shortfall of between $12 billion and $16 billion. And then the question becomes, do we use the ‘rainy day’ fund and how much do we use?’ That will certainly help lessen the impact.”"

"HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- After more than a quarter century of rapid growth, China's factory-to-the-world economy could now be set for a major slowdown, even as it tries to spend its way to strength, according to an expert on the causes of the global financial crisis.

Noted economist and author Richard Duncan said that, faced with sluggish global growth and a tapped out U.S. consumer, there's little hope that China can keep its factory-geared economy in motion much longer.

"China has followed an export-led growth model for the last 25 years, and it has just hit a brick wall when the U.S. economy went into crisis," Bangkok-based Duncan said in an interview with MarketWatch.

Duncan is the former London-based head of global investment strategy at ABN Amro. In 2003 he authored "The Dollar Crisis," which warned that imbalances in global trade would lead to a meltdown of the financial system."

"LOS ANGELES, Jan. 15, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Starting January 25th, thousands of dangerous criminals will be released early from California state prisons – and for the first time in nearly 30 years, sent back to local communities without any supervision,” stated the Los Angeles Police Protective League.

“The County of Los Angeles will be dramatically impacted, with over 5,000 felons to be released to our city,” said Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) President Paul M. Weber. “What concerns law enforcement is that unlike the current program, where released inmates have been placed on parole, restricted from certain types of activities, or provided various community-based rehabilitative resources, these inmates will be completely unsupervised.”"

"For months the LAPPL has been warning the public that the prison gates are going to fly open in order to close the state budget deficit."

$0.0507493 cents as of Friday

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Re: Daily Digest - January 16

Regarding saxplayer's link;
UK, Germany, France at Greater Default Risk Than Top Companies

No doubt the rating agencies will downgrade Sovereign risk after the event as they've already proved so adept at doing at the corporate level...

Rule and measurement by idiocy.

DavidC

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Re: Daily Digest - January 16

I'm waiting for something to trigger the second wave, wonderding if it will be china. Just how long can they hide all their problems?

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Re: Daily Digest - January 16

I'm waiting for something to trigger the second wave, wonderding if it will be china. Just how long can they hide all their problems?

 

If I had to bet I'd say they could hide their problems longer than usual; the gov't there has such control over all information that they could never report anything's going wrong, even if every city is in chaos.

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Re: Daily Digest - January 16

How the Government Is Swallowing the Economy

http://www.usnews.com/money/blogs/flowchart/2009/11/09/how-the-government-is-swallowing-the-economy

Davos nice watch! Bill Moyers Journal: David Corn and Kevin Drum Gets your blood boiling LOL. Sick world now.

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Re: Daily Digest - January 16
idoctor wrote:

Gets your blood boiling LOL. Sick world now.

+1!!!

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Re: Daily Digest - January 16
Davos wrote:
idoctor wrote:

Gets your blood boiling LOL. Sick world now.

+1!!!

I also couldn't take that, and so had to post it here. glad I did Smile

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Re: Daily Digest - January 16

Very interesting LOL.... Freaky times also....

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Re: Daily Digest - January 16 on Bill Moyers Journal

Davos,

I appreciate your sharing of this.  An excellent piece of journalism, which is rare.   Kevin Drum and David Corn describe the core issues with the financial industry in this country with such a clarity.   I am sort of beginning to think that the establishment in this country is not capable of reforming itself.   Like they said, there are really something rotten at the core of the financial industry, which seems to be a rigged casino rather than anything else, and the industrial military complex machine which President Eisenhower warned American people against when he was leaving his office.

presentmoment

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Re: Daily Digest - January 16 on Bill Moyers Journal
presentmoment wrote:

Davos,

I appreciate your sharing of this.  An excellent piece of journalism, which is rare.   Kevin Drum and David Corn describe the core issues with the financial industry in this country with such a clarity.   I am sort of beginning to think that the establishment in this country is not capable of reforming itself.   Like they said, there are really something rotten at the core of the financial industry, which seems to be a rigged casino rather than anything else, and the industrial military complex machine which President Eisenhower warned American people against when he was leaving his office.

presentmoment

IMO any leader who was afraid about Americans killing each other for rat meat would have done everything in his/her power to understand and then fix the problem. They don't understand it and they sure as heck didn't fix it. I think Walker was right, the biggest deficit is a leadership deficit. So I'd agree, reform won't happen until the cancer kills the empire.

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is this for real.....?

Obama staffer wants ‘cognitive infiltration’ of */** conspiracy groups

By Daniel Tencer

January 15, 2010 "Raw Story" -- In a 2008 academic paper, President Barack Obama's appointee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs advocated "cognitive infiltration" of groups that advocate "conspiracy theories" like the ones surrounding 9/11.

Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law professor, co-wrote an academic article entitled "Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures," in which he argued that the government should stealthily infiltrate groups that pose alternative theories on historical events via "chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine" those groups.

As head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Sunstein is in charge of "overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs," according to the White House Web site.

Sunstein's article, published in the Journal of Political Philosphy in 2008 and recently uncovered by blogger Marc Estrin, states that "our primary claim is that conspiracy theories typically stem not from irrationality or mental illness of any kind but from a 'crippled epistemology,' in the form of a sharply limited number of (relevant) informational sources."

By "crippled epistemology" Sunstein means that people who believe in conspiracy theories have a limited number of sources of information that they trust. Therefore, Sunstein argued in the article, it would not work to simply refute the conspiracy theories in public -- the very sources that conspiracy theorists believe would have to be infiltrated..

Sunstein, whose article focuses largely on the 9/11 conspiracy theories, suggests that the government "enlist nongovernmental officials in the effort to rebut the theories. It might ensure that credible independent experts offer the rebuttal, rather than government officials themselves. There is a tradeoff between credibility and control, however. The price of credibility is that government cannot be seen to control the independent experts."

Download a PDF of the article here.

Sunstein argued that "government might undertake (legal) tactics for breaking up the tight cognitive clusters of extremist theories." He suggested that "government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action."

"We expect such tactics from undercover cops, or FBI," Estrin writes at the Rag Blog, expressing surprise that "a high-level presidential advisor" would support such a strategy.

Estrin notes that Sunstein advocates in his article for the infiltration of "extremist" groups so that it undermines the groups' confidence to the extent that "new recruits will be suspect and participants in the group’s virtual networks will doubt each other’s bona fides."

Sunstein has been the target of numerous "conspiracy theories" himself, mostly from the right wing political echo chamber, with conservative talking heads claiming he favors enacting "a second Bill of Rights" that would do away with the Second Amendment. Sunstein's recent book, On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done, was criticized by some on the right as "a blueprint for online censorship."

Sunstein "wants to hold blogs and web hosting services accountable for the remarks of commenters on websites while altering libel laws to make it easier to sue for spreading 'rumors,'" wrote Ed Lasky at American Thinker.

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Re: Daily Digest - January 16

 

 Pretty good satire IMO.. reminds me of this..

 

 http://www.theonion.com/content/video/in_the_know_is_the_government

 

 

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Re: is this for real.....?

Dude, what if Chris Martenson doesn't actually exist and we're getting all that fabricated data? Are we still in the Matrix? :)

Samuel

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China's housing bubble: how long can it go on?

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Re: is this for real.....?

Sunstein is a self confessed enemy of free speech.

Sunstein is posed to become the head of Obama's 'Ministry of Truth'.

This is extremely worrying.

With Governments across the globe now threatening to begin internet censorship websites even like this one may soon be a thing of the past.

Cass Sunstein – The Red General

http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/19017

"...Sunstein wants to regulate personal email content, and everything that appears on the internet. They want to force non-profit organisations to publish material on their sites that directly contradicts their beliefs and reasons for existing. That is, Sunstein and Obama want to get rid of all and any criticism and opposing views. To do it, they are willing and ready to enforce their demands on society. Thus they become true czars, with Red flags. They will be modern-day Inquisitors. (For an academic judgment against Sunstein – if he doesn’t get it destroyed first)..."

Damnthematrix wrote:

Obama staffer wants ‘cognitive infiltration’ of */** conspiracy groups

By Daniel Tencer

January 15, 2010 "Raw Story" -- In a 2008 academic paper, President Barack Obama's appointee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs advocated "cognitive infiltration" of groups that advocate "conspiracy theories" like the ones surrounding 9/11.

Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law professor, co-wrote an academic article entitled "Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures," in which he argued that the government should stealthily infiltrate groups that pose alternative theories on historical events via "chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine" those groups.

As head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Sunstein is in charge of "overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs," according to the White House Web site.

Sunstein's article, published in the Journal of Political Philosphy in 2008 and recently uncovered by blogger Marc Estrin, states that "our primary claim is that conspiracy theories typically stem not from irrationality or mental illness of any kind but from a 'crippled epistemology,' in the form of a sharply limited number of (relevant) informational sources."

By "crippled epistemology" Sunstein means that people who believe in conspiracy theories have a limited number of sources of information that they trust. Therefore, Sunstein argued in the article, it would not work to simply refute the conspiracy theories in public -- the very sources that conspiracy theorists believe would have to be infiltrated..

Sunstein, whose article focuses largely on the 9/11 conspiracy theories, suggests that the government "enlist nongovernmental officials in the effort to rebut the theories. It might ensure that credible independent experts offer the rebuttal, rather than government officials themselves. There is a tradeoff between credibility and control, however. The price of credibility is that government cannot be seen to control the independent experts."

Download a PDF of the article here.

Sunstein argued that "government might undertake (legal) tactics for breaking up the tight cognitive clusters of extremist theories." He suggested that "government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action."

"We expect such tactics from undercover cops, or FBI," Estrin writes at the Rag Blog, expressing surprise that "a high-level presidential advisor" would support such a strategy.

Estrin notes that Sunstein advocates in his article for the infiltration of "extremist" groups so that it undermines the groups' confidence to the extent that "new recruits will be suspect and participants in the group’s virtual networks will doubt each other’s bona fides."

Sunstein has been the target of numerous "conspiracy theories" himself, mostly from the right wing political echo chamber, with conservative talking heads claiming he favors enacting "a second Bill of Rights" that would do away with the Second Amendment. Sunstein's recent book, On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done, was criticized by some on the right as "a blueprint for online censorship."

Sunstein "wants to hold blogs and web hosting services accountable for the remarks of commenters on websites while altering libel laws to make it easier to sue for spreading 'rumors,'" wrote Ed Lasky at American Thinker.

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Re: is this for real.....?
rowmat wrote:

Sunstein is a self confessed enemy of free speech.

Sunstein is posed to become the head of Obama's 'Ministry of Truth'.

This is extremely worrying.

I will be really concerned if Sunstein starts calling his department "Minitrue":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Truth

 

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Re: is this for real.....?

Actually Sunstein is Obama's pick for the next Supreme Court Justice.

Obama’s Favorite For Supreme Court Justice Sunstein Wants To Ban Guns, Free Speech

Jasenica wrote:
rowmat wrote:

Sunstein is a self confessed enemy of free speech.

Sunstein is posed to become the head of Obama's 'Ministry of Truth'.

This is extremely worrying.

I will be really concerned if Sunstein starts calling his department "Minitrue":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Truth

 

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Sunstein is a complete and utter nutcase!!

Cass Sunstein Another Nut In The White House

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Re: Daily Digest - January 16

It is amazing to me how Obama decides on the people he surrounds himself with.

For the economy it is Geithner, Summers et al

For White House staff and political activities it is Emmanuel, Sunstein

 

I can't think of a worse bunch to run the country.

 

Ken

 

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Re: Daily Digest - January 16

I'm looking for the recent post of a link that lists banks with a B rating. The topic was moving your money from

a large bank to a smaller bank more conservative in investments. TY

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Re: Daily Digest - January 16

Great clip of Jon Stewart 

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-january-12-2010/clusterf--k-to-the-poor-house---wall-street-bonuses

What does it say about our society when the only MSM figures pointing out the truth of our situation are comedians?

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Re: Daily Digest - January 16
kenc wrote:

It is amazing to me how Obama decides on the people he surrounds himself with.

For the economy it is Geithner, Summers et al

For White House staff and political activities it is Emmanuel, Sunstein

I can't think of a worse bunch to run the country.

Ken

You've got a short memory:

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfovitz, Perle, Greenspan. - Or maybe their existance is merely a conspiricy theory of the politically niave - Sunstein is sure to find out.

Obamaman has been there since the 'Time of Dawn' (or was it Michelle?).

I'm begining to wonder if perhaps David 'Lizard' Icke isn't perhaps right - there is just one family of lizards with different skins - this one has got a bit more black in it.

And one year on....

We Grouchists note that Gumtree prison in Cuba is still full of happy campers.  Maybe Arnie can send his early-release er... 'overspill' campers from sunny LA to see out the end of their holiday on Gumtree Island. Seeing as he's not Terminator any more and can't just 'pop them off' like he used to in the good old days.

Interesting story the other day - which no one has pick up on to my amazement - All the gold is tungsten - hope they don't start producing gold-tipped drills. Hasta la Vista.....baby.

I vill be Groucho.....

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Re: is this for real.....?
guardia wrote:

Dude, what if Chris Martenson doesn't actually exist and we're getting all that fabricated data? Are we still in the Matrix? :)

Samuel

I discovered this...:

Sunstein'wife is Samantha Power, who Obama appointed to the National Security Council last year, which was the organisation Oliver North worked for when he did the Iran-Contra deal with the Iranian Prime Minister Mir Hussein Moussavi, who is now the opposition to Ahmadinejad and the one to take power if the Iranian regime is overthrown.
 
The Iran-Contra scandal was looked into by a commission of congressmen led by Lee Hamilton, who now heads the Wilson Center in Washington in the Ronald Reagan Building. Hamilton whitewashed President Reagan over the affair. And working for him at the Middle East desk is the Iranian traitor Haleh Esfandiari who the Iranians imprisoned in 2007 as a spy before exposing her and letting her go.
She is a strong supporter of Moussavi and his wife Zahra Rahnvardsee her article in New York Review of Books just this week
 
And guess what, Obama and Power and Hamilton and Esfandiari all had dinner together at the Wilson Center on January 8th 2009, just a week before his inauguration. http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/node/15199
 
Talk about a nest of vipers.
Mike
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Re: is this for real.....?
Damnthematrix wrote:
And guess what, Obama and Power and Hamilton and Esfandiari all had dinner together at the Wilson Center on January 8th 2009, just a week before his inauguration. http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/node/15199
 
Talk about a nest of vipers.

They sure are cozy up there. There's no place left for us in their thoughts I'm sure.. :(

Samuel

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