Subject: NOOZ, 7 OCTOBER 2008 Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:23 am
Politics scuttles plan to put US diplomats in Iran
By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer Sat Oct 4, 10:38 AM ET
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration has shelved plans to set up a diplomatic outpost in Iran, in part over fears it could affect the U.S. presidential race or be interpreted as political meddling, The Associated Press has learned.
The proposal to send U.S. diplomats to Tehran for the first time in three decades attracted great attention when it was floated over the summer, but has now been placed on indefinite hold as November's election nears and Iran continues to defy demands to halt suspect nuclear activities, officials told the AP.
Two administration officials familiar with the matter spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal administration deliberations on the sensitive subject.
The officials said a decision had been made to leave the decision to the next U.S. president because it could be seen as a reward for Iran's nuclear intransigence, especially when Iran policy has become a key part of the heated campaign between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain.
Obama has called for unconditional direct talks with the leaders of adversaries such as Iran and North Korea, assuming that groundwork by lower-level officials indicated that the top-level talks would be fruitful.
McCain has ridiculed the suggestion as naive.
Thus, opening an interest section, or de facto embassy, in Tehran could be interpreted as a Republican president helping a Republican nominee by neutralizing a distinction that might make the Democrat appealing. Or, it could be seen as hurting McCain by leaving him to defend a more hard-line position than the current Republican president's.
Either way, the administration concluded that now was not the time.
"There is no desire to inject this into the campaign," the second official said.
The idea's demise represents the end of any marquee efforts to remake the U.S. relationship with its most formidable Mideast adversary before President Bush leaves office in January. Although Bush once called Iran part of an "axis of evil," along with North Korea and prewar Iraq, and says Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is dangerous, he also had allowed a variety of tentative overtures to Tehran.
The best-known effort would have had Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sit down for negotiations over Iran's disputed nuclear program, with the tantalizing prospect of expanded talks on other subjects. She said she would go anywhere, including Tehran, to have those conversations if Iran met its side of the bargain.
That offer went nowhere, in part because Iran refused to meet the U.S. terms to begin talks.
The diplomatic office would have provided a public face for the U.S. government in a country where suspicion of America runs deep, perhaps increasing U.S. influence. It also might have made it easier for Iranians to apply for visas to visit the United States.
The idea of creating an interest section in Iran similar to the one the United States runs in communist Cuba has been around for some years. But it gained new steam in June when veteran diplomats began to look again at the plan with Rice's blessing.
Rice never publicly endorsed the concept but allowed it was one of several things the administration was considering to improve contact between the Iranian and American people. At one point, there was speculation that an announcement on the matter might be made in late August.
Although Iran has a small interest section in Washington, the two countries do not have diplomatic relations. The U.S. has had no official presence in Tehran since the 1979 Islamic revolution and subsequent takeover of the American Embassy and hostage crisis. U.S. interests in Iran are handled by the Swiss.
While the administration has given up on opening the interest section in its waning months in office, it has gone ahead with promoting unofficial contacts with Iran.
Late last month, the Treasury Department gave special permission to the private American-Iranian Council to open an office in Tehran. The office plans to promote educational and cultural exchanges by hosting round-table discussions and conferences.
The Princeton, N.J.-based council will join a few other think tanks and policy institutes that have similar licenses from the Office of Foreign Assets Control to work in Iran. Tehran is under heavy U.S. penalties over its nuclear program and support for groups that the U.S. labels terrorist organizations.
The executive director of the council, Brent Lollis, expressed hope that the opening of the office would improve ties between Iranian and American academics and eventually lawmakers. He also said he hoped it could help pave the way for the opening of a U.S. interest section in Tehran.
"We are in full support of an interest section, and we hope that it will come about," he said. "This is a good beginning for that."
Subject: Re: NOOZ, 7 OCTOBER 2008 Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:25 am
Top McCain Aide: ‘If We Keep Talking About The Economic Crisis, We’re Going To Lose’»
Last month, when two of Wall Street’s major financial institutions collapsed, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) declared that he “still” believes that “the fundamentals of the economy are strong.” Since then, McCain’s handling of the crisis has at times appeared incoherent — such as flip-flopping on his support of regulation and claiming he would have fired chairman of the SEC, which the president doesn’t have the constitutional authority to do.
As a result, the McCain campaign has issued a new strategy: just don’t talk about the economy and instead attack Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) character — as a top McCain aide explained to the New York Daily News:
“It’s a dangerous road, but we have no choice,” a top McCain strategist told the Daily News. “If we keep talking about the economic crisis, we’re going to lose.”
Indeed, on Saturday, the Washington Post quoted another top McCain adviser acknowledging that McCain needs to shift away from the economy:
“We are looking for a very aggressive last 30 days,” said Greg Strimple, one of McCain’s top advisers. “We are looking forward to turning a page on this financial crisis and getting back to discussing Mr. Obama’s aggressively liberal record and how he will be too risky for Americans.”
Even McCain’s top surrogate Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) last week noted that talking about the economy is bad for McCain, saying that passing the bailout package “will be good for John McCain” because “it will get people back to comparing the two candidates free of a sense of crisis that may make them want to turn against Republicans.”
Aside from his disparate and muddled handling of the financial crisis in the past few weeks, perhaps there is another reason McCain wants to shift the conversation away from the economy: his policies mirror those of the unpopular President Bush. As Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) noted yesterday on ABC’s This Week, McCain “wants to continue the policies we’ve seen in the last eight years.”
In short, at a time when the economy is the number one issue facing voters, McCain’s message to voters is: Stop whining and start focusing on attacking Obama.
Subject: Re: NOOZ, 7 OCTOBER 2008 Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:32 am
does the vast majority of this planet give a damn when the markets fail? why would they? the only thing i worry about is that my work has chosen to move us all to hsbc which is a big fancyass bank, out of our dusty little vietnamese state bank, which, dusty and unsexy as it is, is also probably immune to anything resembling global finance. and i'm sure it's all to look sexy and hi-rollery.
Posts : 323 Join date : 2008-03-27
Subject: Re: NOOZ, 7 OCTOBER 2008 Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:35 am
The Caucus | A New York Times Blog October 6, 2008, 3:57 pm McCain: ‘Who Is the Real Barack Obama?’ By Michael Cooper
ALBUQUERQUE – Senator John McCain pressed his strategy of trying to sow doubts about Senator Barack Obama during the closing month of the campaign by asking a crowd at a rowdy rally here Monday: “Who is the real Barack Obama?’’
That question came in a sharply-worded speech in which Mr. McCain dismissed Mr. Obama as “a Chicago politician,’’ said that the Obama campaign had had to return “$33,000 in illegal foreign funds from Palestinian donors,’’ and sought to raise questions and doubts about Mr. Obama’s background. The speech came as the McCain campaign has opened a series of verbal assaults on Mr. Obama as it tries to turn the page on the financial crisis, which many analysts believe has rallied support to the Democrats. But even as Mr. McCain gave the sharper-edged speech, the stock market was plunging.
In the speech, Mr. McCain repeatedly tried to paint Mr. Obama as a largely unknown, risky choice. “I didn’t just show up out of nowhere,’’ Mr. McCain said to cheers, seeking to draw a contrast with Mr. Obama. He said that “even at this late hour in the campaign, there are essential things we don’t know about Senator Obama or the record that he brings to this campaign.’’
Mr. McCain decried what he called Mr. Obama’s “touchiness every time he is questioned about his record.’’
“For a guy who’s already authored two memoirs, he’s not exactly an open book,’’ Mr. McCain said. “It’s as if somehow the usual rules don’t apply, and where other candidates have to explain themselves and their records, Senator Obama seems to think he is above all that. Whatever the question, whatever the issue, there’s always a back story with Senator Obama. All people want to know is: What has this man ever actually accomplished in government? What does he plan for America? In short: Who is the real Barack Obama? But, my friends, you ask such questions and all you get in response is another angry barrage of angry insults.’’
Mr. McCain complained that “whenever I have questioned his policies or his record, he has called me a liar,’’ even as he accused Mr. Obama of lying about his record.
“Senator Obama has accused me of opposing regulation to avert this crisis,’’ he said. “I guess he believes if a lie is big enough and repeated often enough it will be believed. But the truth is I was the one who called at the time for tighter restrictions on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that could have helped prevent this crisis from happening in the first place.’’
Mr. McCain’s return to Washington during negotiations of the financial bail-out bill was criticized by some participants for complicating its passage by injecting presidential politics in the mix, and the bill’s initial demise was widely attributed to the failure of House Republicans to support it. But Mr. McCain faulted Mr. Obama and the Democrats for going slow on the bailout package.
“Today the Dow has fallen below 10,000,’’ he said. “And yet, members of his own party said they felt no pressure to vote for the bill. Why didn’t Senator Obama work to pass this bill from the start? Why did he let it fail and drag out this crisis for a full week before doing a thing to help pass it?’’
The crowd booed mentions of Mr. Obama repeatedly, and several men called out again and again that Mr. Obama was a “liar,’’ and yelled “send him home!”
The Obama campaign responded that Mr. McCain was “angry.”
“On a day when the markets are plunging and the credit crisis is putting millions of jobs at risk, the one truly angry candidate in this race kept up his strategy of ‘turning the page’ on the economy by unleashing another frustrated tirade against Barack Obama,’’ Tommy Vietor, an Obama campaign spokesman, said in a statement.
Subject: Re: NOOZ, 7 OCTOBER 2008 Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:38 am
In a weak climate, U.S. dollar has muscle
By Mark Landler Published: October 6, 2008
WASHINGTON: Stock markets are swooning, credit markets remain frozen, and some foreign officials are predicting that the United States will lose its status as a financial superpower. And yet the dollar - the most visible symbol of America's financial might - is surging.
Last week, the dollar rose to its highest level in more than a year against the euro, the Canadian dollar and several other currencies. It rose even after the Bush administration's rescue plan for banks had initially foundered in Congress and even in the wake of a dismal employment report on Friday.
The dollar's surge seems counterintuitive. Previous financial panics - in Asia, Russia and Mexico - devastated the local currencies as foreign investors stampeded for the door. The Thai baht, the Russian ruble and the Mexican peso were reliable barometers of confidence of foreigners in those emerging markets. As confidence crumbled, their exchange rates did, too.
But the dollar is not like any other tender. As the de facto reserve currency of the world, it benefits from global upheaval, even those that originate in the United States.
"It's ironic, given that we just messed up big time, the response of foreigners is to pour more money into us," said Kenneth Rogoff, an economics professor at Harvard. "They're not sure where else to go."
Subject: Re: NOOZ, 7 OCTOBER 2008 Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:40 am
Deepening finance crisis causes global market panic
Agence France-Presse Published: Monday October 6, 2008
by Rob Lever
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Desperate measures by governments in Europe and North America to steady the banking system failed to stem panic in global markets Monday amid deepening gloom at the scope of the financial crisis.
Nothing seemed to stop stock markets taking, in many cases, record falls.
Nigel Gault at Global Insight said the markets were seeing a realization of "the worst fear," namely "that the financial crisis and the slowdown in economic growth would reinforce each other, dragging the economy into recession, perhaps a severe one."
In Washington, Treasury officials said they would act quickly to implement a massive bailout plan for the financial sector, seeking bids by Wednesday for managers of toxic real estate assets at the root of the crisis.
The Federal Reserve and Treasury said they were studying the possibility of making unsecured loans in an effort to keep credit flowing in the financial system.
Wall Street came back from the edge of the abyss in a highly volatile session and European shares were hit hard in a round-the-world rout.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as much as 800 points during the session, slipping below the key psychological level of 10,000 for the first time since 2004. The blue-chip index closed down 369 points (3.58 percent) at 9,955.50.
The Nasdaq skidded 4.34 percent and the Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 3.85 percent, halving early losses.
The partial comeback on Wall Street was the only modest glimmer of hope in an otherwise horrific day for global markets.
"When will the slide end? It's anybody's guess," said David Kastner at Charles Schwab & Co.
"But the aggressive actions being taken by the Fed, and increasingly by the central bankers in Europe and Asia, point to an eventual stabilization in confidence -- where the real crisis lies. In the meantime, we expect sharp bouts of bargain hunting and more panic sell-offs."
In Iceland, Prime Minister Geir Haarde said the government was ready to take control of the country's banks, citing "a gargantuan crisis, which is part of a broader worldwide crisis" but were divided on a US-style bailout.
After a weekend summit of the European Union's big four leaders in Paris, member states' leaders issued a joint statement on Monday vowing to defend banks but remained divided on a US-style bailout fund.
"This is precisely why investors have become nervous over the capabilities of European officials to deal with the credit crunch in a coordinated, EU wide manner," said Andrew Busch at BMO Capital Markets.
"Each action appears to be country-centric with no over-arching solution like in the United States."
Russia's RTS stock market closed down 19.10 percent in its worst fall in history. Indonesian shares fell more than 10 percent and trading in Brazil's stock market was suspended after massive declines of 15 percent, before the index pared its loss to 5.43 percent.
The London FTSE 100 index of leading shares fell 7.86 while in Paris the CAC 40 index shed 9.04 percent, its heaviest one-day loss since its creation in 1988.
The Frankfurt DAX lost 7.07 percent. In Dublin the Irish stock exchange's main ISEQ index ended with a loss of 9.59 percent, with banks taking the hardest hit.
European governments appeared divided on whether guaranteeing all deposits was the best way to safeguard confidence, and the EU commission called on member states for better coordination.
Denmark, Portugal and Iceland guaranteed deposits, emulating Germany on Sunday and Ireland and Greece last week, adding pressure on other European governments to follow suit.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called a meeting of his "economic war cabinet." Finance minister Alistair Darling said the government would consider extending insurance guarantees.
Amid the turbulence, the euro fell to a 14-month low of 1.3441 dollars. Oil prices slipped below 90 dollars a barrel amid fears of a global downturn.
The turmoil emerged after the collapse of loans to would-be US homebuyers with dark credit histories and caused a chaotic chain reaction, revealing how cheap credit throughout the financial system had created a massive bubble.
The US government approved a law Friday to buy up 700 billion dollars of bad mortgages and other assets from banks, freeing them up to start lending again.
"The bank bailout has not worked," said economist Peter Morici at the University of Maryland.
"The bank bailout will provide banks with much-needed liquidity but it does not address the compensation and management practices on Wall Street that drove irresponsible decisions and gave rise to the crisis."
A few analysts tried to keep a brave face.
"Let's try to rise above this depressing deluge of doom and review why the world might not come to an end, although it sure looks bad this morning," said Ed Yardeni at Yardeni Research.
"There is an enormous amount of liquidity parked in liquid assets with near-zero interest rates. Stocks are ridiculously cheap if the world isn't coming to an end."
Central banks continued to pump tens of billions of dollars into interbank money markets that are now essentially on life-support from state institutions because commercial banks are too frightened to lend to each other.
In a bid to increase liquidity, the US Federal Reserve said it would begin to pay interest on bank deposits for the first time and expand its refinancing operations for commercial banks to 900 billion dollars by year-end.
Subject: Re: NOOZ, 7 OCTOBER 2008 Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:31 am
Posts : 323 Join date : 2008-03-27
Subject: Re: NOOZ, 7 OCTOBER 2008 Wed Oct 08, 2008 1:14 am
one last thing:
Obama Hatred At McCain-Palin Rallies: "Terrorist!" "Kill Him!" (VIDEO)
The Huffington Post | Rachel Weiner | October 6, 2008 04:39 PM
John Aravosis at AmericaBlog writes:
McCain was speaking today in New Mexico, doing his usual personal attack on Barack Obama, as the stock market plummeted (you can see the ticker next to McCain on the screen, an apt reminder of what McCain and his fellow Republicans represent), and McCain asked the crowd "who is Barack Obama?" Immediately you hear someone yell "terrorist." McCain pauses, the audience laughs, and McCain continues on, not acknowledging, not chastising, not correcting. Oh, but McCain does say in the next sentence that he's upset about all the "angry barrage of insults."
Marc Ambinder notes that the shouter advances McCain's Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright attacks, while Jonathan Martin suggested the campaign would need a third party to do it:
Judging by McCain's slightly startled reaction, he clearly didn't anticipate that reaction, and McCain's in no way responsible for the utterances of anybody in his audience. But he must have some idea of how deeply this fear/outsider/other meme has spread. A tripartite strategy isn't needed.
UPDATE: The Washington Post reports on a similar moment at a Palin rally today:
"Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers," Palin said.
"Boooo!" said the crowd.
"And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,'" she continued.
"Boooo!" the crowd repeated. Story continues below
"Kill him!" proposed one man in the audience.
And Dana Milbank highlights another incident from Tuesday:
Worse, Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."
"Getting ugly out there," says ABC's Jake Tapper.
American News Project went inside a pro-Palin rally set up by the McCain campaign to watch the vice presidential debate, where supporters booed moderator Gwen Ifill and laughed when Sen. Joe Biden got choked up talking about his first wife and daughter's deaths. Watch: