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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Saturday, July 30, 2011

t's been a brutal week on Wall Street.. investors lost hundreds of billions of dollars as the markets lost ground every day.. pressure is intense to produce an accord on a borrowing ceiling before the opening bell on Monday..
The Democrat-controlled US Senate is seeking a vote on its plan to raise the nation's $14.3trillion (£8.7trillion) debt limit, which could determine whether a deal to avoid government default is possible..
Senate leaders want a prompt vote so the plan can be passed on Sunday..
The debate comes a day after the Senate rejected a rival Republican bill passed in the GOP controlled House of Representatives..
Barack backs Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's proposal, which would cut $2.2tn from deficits and raise the debt ceiling by $2.7trillion..
The Senate plan calls to raising the debt ceiling until after the 2012 elections.. but Republicans have sought a plan which raises the ceiling for just a few months..
Perhaps the best hope to avoid default is for the Senate to pass an amended bill tomorrow which can be put to the House on Monday, ahead of the deadline..
Democrat leaders in the Senate are said to be seeking agreement with Republicans to avoid procedural obstacles which could delay the Senate vote until Monday..
Reid accused the Republicans of trying to filibuster.. or delay.. proceedings..
"Unless there is a compromise, or they accept my bill, we're heading for economic disaster," according to Reid..
Now.. this has been tempered by figures released yesterday.. US economic growth is much weaker than first thought according to government analysts..
The economy grew at an annualised rate of 1.3% in the second quarter, the Commerce Department said.. Economists had forecast growth of 1.8%..
And in a surprise move, first-quarter growth was revised down sharply from 1.9% to 0.4%..
This evidence of economic weakness increases the pressure on the government as it attempts to increase its borrowing limit..
And the word from those who are veterans of this type of political wrangling have a clear message for the man on the street..
'This time, be afraid. Be very afraid.'..
The seemingly unbridgeable impasse between the two parties as the deadline for raising the nation’s debt limit approaches has Tom Daschle losing sleep, as he never did when he was a Senate Democratic leader in the mid-1990s and Congressional Republicans forced government shutdowns rather than compromise on spending cuts..
“That was nothing compared to this. That was a shutdown of the government.. this could be.. in reality.. a shutdown of the entire economy.. You can’t be too hyperbolic about the ramifications of all this.”
Democrats and Republicans with legislative experience agree that even if both sides decided today to raise the $14.3 trillion borrowing ceiling and to reduce future annual deficits.. it would be extremely difficult for the compromise measure to wend its way through Congress before Tuesday’s deadline, given Congressional legislative procedures..
Any possibility of avoiding an economy-shaking default seemed to rest on hopes of a so-far nonexistent compromise in the Senate.. between the majority leader Harry Reid..A Democrat representing Nevada, and the Republican minority leader.. Senator Mitch McConnell representing Kentucky.. that could pass by Tuesday and then be sent to the House..
That would force Speaker John Boehner to decide at the 11th hour whether to hold a House vote on a bill that would not get many Republican votes, forcing him to rely on Democrats and perhaps further weaken his leadership, or to risk blame for an economic crisis..
And yet another factor is the reaction of analysis groups the likes of Standards and Poors and Moodys come Monday morning.. If the US sees it's credit rating fall below triple-A.. the long term effects on borrowing both by the government and the private sector could be exceedingly damaging.. Tom Davis, a former House Republican leader from Virginia commented “The stakes are much higher here. If interest rates start spiking up, it’s going to cost us a lot more than anything you could save. They’re playing brinkmanship with our credit rating. That’s not very smart.”
Typical American understatement..
Barack’s position in the battle over the debt limit was strengthened by chaos among Republicans in Congress.. but slack growth.. tumbling markets..and a weakening dollar suggest that he may be losing the longer-term economic struggle on which his chances of re-election depend..
On Capitol Hill, the normal business of legislation has been eclipsed by raucous posturing.. Yesterday, farce gave way to desperation as Republicans in the House of Representatives gave ground to the Tea Party on a Debt Bill that they already knew was doomed in the Senate..
Time for Americans to take a close look at those they've elected.. and for a voice to be heard from the man on the street..

It's a human reflex, like breathing or sobbing..
As dust from the bombed buildings still clogged the air and paramedics searched for survivors of the twin massacres in Oslo and the nearby island of Utoya, Norwegians and the wider world began trying to make sense of the senseless..
An early template had to be discarded after the arrest of Anders Behring Breivik.. The horror couldn't be pinned on the familiar lunacy of Islamic jihadism..
So another narrative began to emerge, of a rarer form of madness.. These had been the actions of a psychopath, a lone wolf..
And yet this lacks credibility as well..
Leading members of the European far right have been quick to disassociate themselves from Breivik and to reinforce the idea that he was driven not by ideology but insanity..
"The manifesto of the perpetrator makes clear that this is the work of a madman. That the struggle against Islamization is misused by a psychopath is disgusting and a slap in the face of the global anti-Islamic movement," wrote Geert Wilders.. Chairman of the Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV).. in a statement published on his party's website..
Founded in 2005, the PVV has swelled to the third largest party in the Dutch parliament on a platform calling for a halt to immigration from non-Western countries..
This, in itself, regardless of any disclaimers made by others who share some of the core ideals of Breivik.. is indicative of a growing sentiment of anti-Islamic thought..
"Neither the PVV nor I are responsible for a lone idiot who violently distorted the freedom-loving, anti-Islamization ideals, no matter how much some people would like that.."..
Yet, it seems there is a significant number of Eurozone members who are fed up with sitting back, and listening as radical Imams rail against the West, and call for the formation of a 'worldwide Caliphate under Sha'ria Law..'
The unfortunate truth of the matter is, that while the Oslo killings have been condemned by all right across the political spectrum.. there are those who would fervently wish for a curb on the numbers emmigrating from the Middle East..
A dangerous situation.. highlighted by the actions of a madman..

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