Ireland downgraded to 'junk' in spiraling euro-crisis
US-based credit rating agency Moody's on Tuesday (11 July) downgraded Ireland's debt to junk status, amid growing market concerns about the stability of the eurozone as the debt crisis reaches Italy and Spain.
Citing the "growing possibility" that Ireland may need a second bailout at the end of 2013 and the "increased" likelihood that this bailout will require private sector participation, Moody's downgraded the country's rating by one notch to Ba1 status - meaning that its bonds are now considered "non-investment grade" and pensions funds, for instance, are no longer allowed to purchase them.
Moody's made the same move last week when it downgraded Portugal's rating by three notches to Ba2 status. Greece's rating is considerably lower - Caa1 which stands for "substantial risk", just three steps before what a rating agency considers "default" and with no perspective for investors to recover their money.
Solvency is a big problem in the southern countries - Greece, Portugal, Cyprus and Malta - but Italy, Spain and even France are also on a dangerous path, the study claims.
EU plans crisis summit as contagion fears grow
Financial markets hammered the euro and European assets on Tuesday after euro zone finance ministers opened the door to a possible Greek default and failed to prevent contagion spreading to Italy and Spain
The euro fell for a third straight day and diplomats said European Council president Herman Van Rompuy was trying to convene an emergency summit on Friday to deal with the latest dangerous lurch in the euro zone’s debt crisis.
“It is essential that euro area member states and the IMF act in the coming days to avoid market developments spinning out of control and risk contagion acceleration,” the Institute of International Finance (IIF), a major banking lobby, warned ministers in a report.
Fourth largest economy in Europe falters
We have all been aware of the problems of Greece, Spain, Ireland and Portugal; but how did Italy pop into the picture? It is the fourth largest economy in Europe and has among the highest standard of living in the world. Yet the telltale signs of a potential financial crisis have been in place for a number of years.
While Italy is not in the same boat with Greece (its insolvency index is: 2009: 24.8; 2101: 20.2; 2011: 24.3) the massive size of the Italian economy and the amount of euros needed to help that country would demolish the reserves of the Euro Zone and cause a potentially catastrophic financial crisis.
Just keep in mind - big crises lead to big changes, and big changes will be required for the EU to morph into the 10 kings stage. This is always worth remembering when viewing the developments in the EU.
In the rest of the world:
Iranian Officials: This is the Century of a Worldwide Islamic Awakening
The Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, addressing participants in Tehran's 28th International Holy Quran Contests, said on Tuesday that the revolutions and popular uprisings sweeping the Middle East and North Africa show that God definitely fulfills His promises.
He further emphasized that the regional nations' uprisings are a "clear indication of the fact that Allah's promises mentioned in the Holy Quran are definitely materialized."
Then on Wednesday, July 6th, the Iranian Supreme Leader's Advisor for Military Affairs, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, the ex-chief commander of the Guards, stated that the Muslim states' main share in control over the world's vital energy corridors has provided Islamic nations with an excellent chance to control the world economy.
He reminded the Islamic nations that their rich energy resources are their source of power, giving Muslims the capability to control the world economy.
This gets even more chilling, and almost reads as a "battle cry" by radical Islam:
Meantime, Islamic countries are located on both sides of these strategic bottlenecks, which we call 'compulsory passages.' Thus it can be said that Muslim states can come into control of the world economy."
"God willing, we should name the current century as the century of Islamic Awakening," Safavi underscored, adding that not only Egypt, Yemen, and Bahrain, but also a number of other nations in the Middle East and North Africa will eventually succeed in regaining power and controlling their fate in the next few years.
It is clear that the Iranian leaders are looking at the recent events in the Middle East with an eye to controlling the outcome to be one of anti-West sentiment, and that it will be played out to unite Muslims against Americans and Israelis.
With the radicals ruling Iran engaging us on several fronts: Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Libya and others; with Iran continuing to incite the populace in the region to overthrow U.S.-backed governments; with their progress on the missile delivery front; and with their pursuit of the nuclear bomb...Nuclear bombs in the hands of jihadists should be a red line for the free world.
Report: Iran missiles can now hit targets at 2,000 km range
Israeli missiles expert Uzi Rubin told Haaretz that launching a missile into the ocean at such a distance shows the Iranians’ ability to chart the course of the missiles and pinpoint the landing location. He said this was a breakthrough that would allow the Iranians to go on increasing the range of their missiles, if they so desire.
“This is the first tangible evidence that the Iranian Shihab 3 missile can actually reach that range,” said Rubin, former head of Israel’s Wall (Homa) missile defense program. He said such a range would allow Iranians to hit targets not only in the Persian Gulf and in Israel, but also in Europe.
Palestine: EU bid to avoid UN vote on independence has failed
Palestinian leaders have declared that an EU-led attempt to revive Arab-Israeli peace talks has failed, leading them to go full-speed ahead for UN recognition instead.
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas made the statement in Ramallah on Tuesday (11 July) following a meeting with his Greek counterpart, President Karolos Papoulias.
"We will go to the United Nations and we hope the United States will not use its veto, but that we will go with its agreement ... The fact that there is no statement from the Quartet is a negative indication that there is deep division between them," he said.
This article adds a new twist in this whole situation:
For his part, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, told Israeli daily Haaretz in an interview that he will submit the UN bid in "the coming weeks."
"The Americans just could not deliver the Israelis," he said on the Washington meeting, referring to the fact that Israel has rejected the idea of 1967 lines.
The Palestinians are confident that between 130 and 150 UN member states will acknowledge their bid, including a number of EU countries, such as Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
Asked by Haaretz on EU support for the move, Mansour said: "Just hold tight. You will be hearing interesting news soon about it before September."
Even without UN membership, the result could cause a sea change in Israeli-Palestinian relations: Palestine could apply to join the International Criminal Court in The Hague and file suits against alleged Israeli 'war crimes', it could ask Israelis on occupied land to become Palestinian citizens or leave and it could seek extra rights as 'prisoners of war' for the 5,000-or-so Palestinians currently in Israeli jails.
The move could also enflame tensions in what is already a tinder box situation in the Middle East.
The West Courts the Muslim Brotherhood -- and Its Own Destruction
The suicidal side of the Western elites’ pervasive tendency toward fantasy-based policy making was on full display last week when the U.S. and the European Union both announced that they were opening formal contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood, a group dedicated, in its own words, to "eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within, and sabotaging its miserable house.”
The Muslim Brotherhood, contrary to "intelligence” chief James Clapper’s laughable claim that it is "largely secular,” is dedicated to establishing an Islamic state in Egypt and implementing the Islamic law that has no room for democratic principles, does indeed employ violence against dissenters and miscreants, and tramples upon minority rights and women’s rights.
The stance toward the Muslim Brotherhood that is now being adopted by both the United States and the European Union puts all free people in danger. The West is courting its own destruction.
Record year for natural disaster losses
Halfway through, this year is already the costliest on record for natural catastrophes, insurer Munich Re said Tuesday in its first-half review. Losses hit $265 billion in the first six months of 2011 – which exceeds the $220 billion in losses in the biggest previous year for natural disasters, 2005.
The question now is how high this year's record toll might rise. Munich said first-half losses "are generally lower than second-half losses, which are often affected by hurricanes in the North Atlantic and typhoons in the Northwest Pacific." Just another way in which the coming months promise to be eventful, and not in a good way.
Republicans seek documents related to Fast and Furious gun scandal
Believing that the Operation Fast and Furious scandal reaches into the highest levels of the Justice Department, congressional Republicans asked the attorney general's office to turn over a sweeping trove of emails, documents and other material to determine Washington's role in the "reckless" operation that allowed U.S. semiautomatic weapons to flow to Mexican drug cartels.
Several Washington sources, who also asked not to be identified because of the current investigation, said since the operation was managed out of the ATF field office in Phoenix, senior officials in Washington were not necessarily aware of its specifics.
When you rely on the government
I recall looking at the starving refugees in New Orleans, thinking the same thing: "When you rely on the government..."
Now we have an article addressing this very topic. This is a brief article but it hits the main points. This article is in response to Obama's comments yesterday:
Well, that appeared to be the case until President Obama called the upcoming August checks into question. He put it this way to CBS News:
"I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it...."
So clearly he is now trying to use social security checks as a threat intended to force congress to agree to a tax hike.
But that is what governments can do when they "own" you. They can turn the faucet on and they can turn it off - at will. When you rely on the government they do indeed own you. Allow this at your own peril.
I'll jump to the conclusions:
So, whether its Social Security or government sponsored defined benefit plans, politicians are being shown to be poor businessmen. For years, politicians have told Americans that they need not worry, that their Social Security contributions were being put into a "lock box." Now AARP members are awaking to the "IOU" in the lock box from Uncle Sam. In fact, the only security eligible for the lock box is a special treasury note.
Imagine if a publicly traded company handled its retirement plan in such a manner -- having to borrow to make payments or only owning its own stock.
Management would be imprisoned.