Sunday, October 25, 2009

Views on the News - 22/10/2009

Wall Street’s daylight robbery

Roughly a year after accepting unprecedented financial aid to shore up its operations, Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs Group Inc. posted yet another impressive quarter that further distances itself from rivals, many of which are still struggling to overcome the credit crisis. The strong results -- a profit of $3.19 billion, or $5.25 a share, for the three months ended Sept. 25, up from $845 million, or $1.81 a share, a year earlier -- were greeted with a barrage of questions about Goldman's decision to set aside compensation at a breathtaking pace; its 31,700 employees are on track to earn an average of about $700,000 apiece in 2009, a record for the 140-year-old firm. Goldman is not alone in this daylight robbery of US tax payers’ money. Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and other US banks have also posted huge profits.

The profits are a result of Obama’s administration handing over US tax payer’s money disguised as bail out packages to the banks. The banks have then taken advantage of record low interest rates to lend out money at higher rates thereby using the difference to generate huge profits. The resulting inequality between bankers pay and poverty stricken citizens is being touted as way of creating prosperity for all. The vice-chairman of Goldman Sachs said,”We have to accept that inequality is a way of achieving greater opportunity and prosperity for all”

UK Government blackmailing Muslims into spying

A multi-million pound government scheme designed to prevent the radicalization of young British Muslims is being used to gather intelligence about innocent people not suspected of terrorism involvement. The “Preventing Violent Extremism”, also known as Prevent, was launched three years ago as part of the Government's four "Ps" anti-terror agenda - Prevent, Pursue, Protect and Prepare. But reports have suggested the programme was instead being used to gather intelligence about innocent people who are not suspected of involvement in terrorism. The Institute of Race Relations said the Prevent scheme had been used "to establish one of the most elaborate systems of surveillance ever seen in Britain ". Some involved in the programme told the Guardian of their fears that they are being co-opted into spying. Several sources involved in the programme reportedly said it gathered intelligence about the thoughts and beliefs of Muslims who were not involved in criminal activity. Among the topics asked included gathering information about the sexual, religious and political views of innocent people as well as information about their mental health.

Resetting US Iranian relations: Tehran mulls uranium export plan

This week the BBC reported that Iran and three world powers have been handed a draft agreement aimed at reducing international concerns over Tehran 's nuclear programme. Details are yet to be confirmed, but the plan is believed to involve Iran exporting uranium to be enriched in France and Russia . Iran 's chief negotiator has not commented on the uranium export plan. The negotiations have involved the UN, Iran , France , Russia and the US . IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters in Vienna that he was feeling "optimistic" after the talks, which he said had been "very constructive". "Everybody at the meeting was trying to help, trying to look to the future and not to the past, trying to heal the wounds that existed for many years," he said. "I have circulated a draft agreement that in my judgment reflects a balanced approach to how to move forward."

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Iran to act quickly, and said her country would continue "to discuss the full range of issues that have divided Iran and the United States for too long". She added: "The door is open to a better future for Iran , but the process of engagement cannot be open-ended. We are not prepared to talk just for the sake of talking." France said the plan was acceptable and would benefit Paris and its partners.

America aims to fix the results of the Afghan election

The United States would be receptive to a power-sharing arrangement between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his election challenger if they agreed to it, Obama administration officials said Wednesday. Karzai and former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah have settled on a Nov. 7 runoff following weeks of US pressure on Karzai. Now both Karzai and Abdullah are considering a coalition government that could either replace the runoff or follow it. A State Department official said the U.S. would not be opposed to a power-sharing deal, depending on its legitimacy and how it was implemented. The Obama administration is stressing that any such agreement is up to the Afghan government and the U.S. is not involved in any effort to forge or encourage it.
The U.S. wants a government that is legitimate in the eyes of Afghans and the international community, officials say, and at present that legitimacy appears clearest through the Afghan Constitution's requirement for a run-off vote. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., met repeatedly with Karzai leading up to Tuesday's announcement that a runoff would be held. Kerry gave Obama his accounting at the White House on Wednesday, and afterward told reporters that in Afghanistan he "did not discuss nor did I even attempt to put on the table the concept of a coalition." But despite his public denial Kerry acknowledged the issue was being discussed in Kabul , and said there may have been talks between the Karzai and Abdullah camps on it "even today."

Pakistani parliament formally legitimizes American tyranny over Pakistan

The federal cabinet formally accepted on Wednesday the Kerry-Lugar Bill (Enhanced Partnership Act with Pakistan Bill of 2009). Briefing the media after a cabinet meeting, Information Minister Qamaruz Zaman Kaira said there were no differences of opinions about accepting the assistance under a law which applied to the American executive. However, no sooner had Pakistan formally approved the Kerry-Lugar Bill the US Congress was looking at further ways to undermine Pakistan’s eroded sovereignty by setting out fresh conditions for military aid to Pakistan. The new limits include efforts to track where US military hardware sent to Pakistan ends up, as well as a warning that US aid to Pakistan must not upset “the balance of power in the region” — a reference to tensions with India . The limits are in a $680 billion US Defense Department spending measure for 2010 that the Senate will take up after the bill cleared the House of Representatives in a 281-146 vote on October 8.


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