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Some have said the world will be 'corpocracy'. The largest corporations will indirectly run everything. I am starting to believe it. They already own the government. They really do. Eventually we might see 'contractors' do the fighting in wars with corporations hiring and training their own military and the government selling it as more cost effective than housing, training, feeding and paying soldiers themselves.



I think in the USA it is already the case. In the last 10-20 years laws were implemented that corporations can invest _anonymously_ millions of USD into politicians and parties.

I just read a report that in the USA state laws are _directly_ written by corporations and now add the monstrous lobbying machine in Washington and all state capitals, which is able to bring down every law and rule which tries to limit the power, influence of corporations or which tries to control the behavior of the corporations. Of course it is well known that the corps will do everything to maximise their income, even it is against the good of the people (see for example Iraq where private companies built army barracks with faulty (cheap) electricity which killed a few soldiers).

We all know that the wealth of the corporations exploded, while the income of the blue collar works has eroded since _three_ decades.


In regard to privatization, it recently came out that this costs the states and counties a lot of money. For example I think it is in Florida where private prisons just take the 'normal' prisoners and leave the expensive prisoners (mentally ill, chronically ill, disables, e.g.) to the state which already pays a huge fee to private the prisons. In the end privatization is more expensive than public prison system...

In Europe we currently have a huge wave in de-privatization in regard to waterworks. A french company took over the waterworks of cities all around Europe (first they bought the politicians involved) and the result: prices went up immediately while the service and maintenance went down. Now many cities buying the waterworks back, because it's cheaper and better for the cities and the citizens.

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S&P downgrades US credit rating from AAA



WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States has lost its sterling credit rating from Standard & Poor's.


The credit rating agency on Friday lowered the nation's AAA rating for the first time since granting it in 1917. The move came less than a week after a gridlocked Congress finally agreed to spending cuts that would reduce the debt by more than $2 trillion -- a tumultuous process that contributed to convulsions in financial markets. The promised cuts were not enough to satisfy S&P.


The drop in the rating by one notch to AA-plus was telegraphed as a possibility back in April. The three main credit agencies, which also include Moody's Investor Service and Fitch, had warned during the budget fight that if Congress did not cut spending far enough, the country faced a downgrade. Moody's said it was keeping its AAA rating on the nation's debt, but that it might still lower it.


One of the biggest questions after the downgrade was what impact it would have on already nervous investors. While the downgrade was not a surprise, some selling is expected when stock trading resumes Monday morning. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 699 points this week, the biggest weekly point drop since October 2008.


"I think we will have a knee-jerk reaction on Monday," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank.


But any losses might be short-lived. The threat of a downgrade is likely already reflected in the plunge in stocks this week, said Harvey Neiman, a portfolio manager of the Neiman Large Cap Value Fund.


"The market's already been shaken out," Neiman said. "It knew it was coming."


One fear in the market has been that a downgrade would scare buyers away from U.S. debt. If that were to happen, the interest rate paid on U.S. bonds, notes and bills would have to rise to attract buyers. And that could lead to higher borrowing rates for consumers, since the rates on mortgages and other loans are pegged to the yield on Treasury securities.


However, even without an AAA rating from S&P, U.S. debt is seen as one of the safest investments in the world. And investors clearly weren't scared away this week. While stocks were plunging, investors were buying Treasurys and driving up their prices. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which falls when the price rises, fell to a low of 2.39 percent on Thursday from 2.75 percent Monday.


A study by JPMorgan Chase found that there has been a slight rise in rates when countries lost an AAA rating. In 1998, S&P lowered ratings for Belgium, Italy and Spain. A week later, their 10-year rates had barely moved.


The government fought the downgrade. Administration sources familiar with the discussions said the S&P analysis was fundamentally flawed. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the matter publicly. S&P had sent the administration a draft document in the early afternoon Friday and the administration, after examining the numbers, challenged the analysis.


S&P said that in addition to the downgrade, it is issuing a negative outlook, meaning that there was a chance it will lower the rating further within the next two years. It said such a downgrade, to AA, would occur if the agency sees smaller reductions in spending than Congress and the administration have agreed to make, higher interest rates or new fiscal pressures during this period.


In its statement, S&P said that it had changed its view "of the difficulties of bridging the gulf between the political parties" over a credible deficit reduction plan.


S&P said it was now "pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the administration to be able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government's debt dynamics anytime soon."


One analyst suggested the downgrade might move Congress to take concrete steps to fix the nation's budget problems.


"It's a downgrade and it's bad, but if it spurs more conversation about bringing down spending and maybe more intelligent tax policy, it could be a good thing in the long run," said Frank Barbera, a portfolio manager of the Sierra Core Retirement Fund.


The Federal Reserve and other U.S. regulators said in a joint statement that S&P's action should not have any impact on how banks and other financial institutions assess the riskiness of Treasurys or other securities guaranteed by the U.S. government. The statement was issued to make sure banks did not feel that the downgrade would affect the amount of capital that regulators require the banks to hold against possible losses.


Before leaving for a weekend at Camp David, President Barack Obama met with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in the Oval Office late Friday afternoon.


The downgrade is likely to have little to no impact on how the United States finances its borrowing, through the sale of Treasury bonds, bills and notes. This week's buying proves that.


"Investors have voted and are saying the U.S. is going to pay them," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics. "U.S. Treasurys are still the gold standard." He noted that neither his parent organization, Moody's, nor Fitch, the other of the three major rating agencies, have downgraded U.S. debt.


The ratings agencies were sharply criticized after the financial crisis in 2008 for not warning investors about the risks of subprime mortgages. Those mortgages were packaged as securities and sold to investors who lost billions of dollars when the loans went bad.


Japan had its ratings cut a decade ago to AA, and it didn't have much lasting impact. The credit ratings of both Canada and Australia have also been downgraded over time, without much lasting damage.


"I don't think it's going to amount to a lot," said Peter Morici, a University of Maryland business economist.


Still, he said, "The United States deserves to have this happen," because of its clumsy handling of fiscal policy.


In reacting to the downgrade, Democrats and Republicans continued to blame each other and pledged to hold firm to their principles.


Republican presidential candidates criticized the White House. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., called on Obama to fire Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and submit a plan to balance the budget and not just reduce future deficits. Republican candidate Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, said the credit downgrade was the "latest casualty" in Obama's failed economic leadership.


House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said the American people will be closely watching the work of the 12-member joint committee that has been created to produce more than $1 trillion in additional savings over the next decade.


"The work of this committee will affect all Americans, and its deliberations should be open to the press, to the public and webcast," she said.


Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said the downgrade underscored the need for a "balanced approach to deficit reduction that combines spending cuts with revenue-raising measures" such as doing away with tax breaks for the wealthy and oil companies.




Well done, politicians. You are all douche bags, both parties.

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Down grading the USA's credit rating should hurt Obama a lot.


If the credit rating gets down graded again, I suspect the Republicans will feel they have won.


I hope the US politicians of both parties will understand, that this no political game anymore, but I fear they don't.

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I hope the US politicians of both parties will understand, that this no political game anymore, but I fear they don't.



All some party members want is to see Obama fail no matter what it takes. It sounds like to me that some have been holding back a lot of hate. It makes me wonder if those Republicans that went and register as Democrats so as to vote in the Democratic primary really feel stupid now being their vote went to Obama so Hillary would not get the nomination.



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All some party members want is to see Obama fail no matter what it takes. It sounds like to me that some have been holding back a lot of hate. It makes me wonder if those Republicans that went and register as Democrats so as to vote in the Democratic primary really feel stupid now being their vote went to Obama so Hillary would not get the nomination.





The US Postal Service is getting into position to default.


What will happen to the mail?


What will happen to the Postal Service's employee's pension fund?


Interesting times we are living in.


Everybody should get on the bandwagon and buy Johnson & Johnson stock. They own KY.

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Just reading American Bill Bryson’s latest book “At Homeâ€. I love everything he’s ever written, my favourite travel writer.


It seems some things never change…


P46.. where Bryson is describing the various stands at the UK Great Exhibition of 1851 held in Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace


“The United States section almost didn’t get filled at all. Congress, in a mood of parsimony, refused to extend funds, so the money had to be raised privately. Unfortunately, when the American products arrived in London, it was discovered that the organizers had only paid enough to get the goods to the docks and not onwards to Hyde Park. Nor evidently had any money been set aside to erect the displays and man them for five months. Fortunately, the American philanthropist George Peabody, living in London stepped in and provided $15,000 in emergency funding, rescuing the American delegation form its self generated crisis. All of this reinforced the more or less, universal conviction that Americans were little more than amiable backwoodsmen not yet ready for unsupervised outings on the world stage.


So it came as something of a surprise when the displays were erected to discover that the American section was an outpost of wizardry and wonder. Nearly all the American machines did things that the world earnestly wished machines to do – stamp out nails, cut stone, mould candles – but with a neatness, dispatch, and tireless reliability that left other nations blinking. Elias Howe’s sewing machine dazzled the ladies and held out the impossible promise that one of the great drudge pastimes of domestic life could actually be made exciting and fun. Cyrus McCormick displayed a reaper that could do the work of forty men. – a claim so improbably bold that almost no-one believed it until the reaper was taken out to a farm in the Home Counties and shown to do all that it promised it could. Most exciting of all was Samuel Colt’s repeat-action revolver which was not only marvellously lethal but made from interchangeable parts, a method of manufacture so distinctive that it became known as ‘the American system’ â€.



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Don't worry... Rick Perry is praying for y'all.




God help America, Obama rival prays

Veronica Zaragovia, AAP

August 7, 2011, 10:32 am


Texas Governor Rick Perry, expected to launch a 2012 White House bid soon, rallied the faithful for a day of Christian prayer and fasting on Saturday asking God to fix America's woes.


"Father our hearts break for America," Perry prayed before a rapturous crowd of around 30,000 people gathered at a Houston stadium and thousands more watching via an online livestream.


"We see discord at home, fear in the marketplace, anger in the halls of government and as a nation we have forgotten who made us, protects us, blesses us. For that we cry out for your forgiveness."


The gathering is expected to burnish Perry's credentials among religious conservatives who shape Republican presidential primaries. But the blend of politics and piety could alienate swing voters thought to decide general US elections.


Perry insisted that the event was apolitical, even as he asked God to impart "wisdom" on the president of the United States -- without mentioning Barack Obama's name -- and prayed that God would "inspire" the nation's leaders, pastors, generals, and parents in "difficult times."


God's "agenda is not a political agenda. His agenda is a Salvation agenda," the Republican governor said, adding that "God is wise enough to not be affiliated with any political party."


As streams of people filled the first, second and third levels of the stadium for the seven-hour event dubbed "The Response," they often stood with their hands waving fervently in the air, cried, sang, read passages from the Bible and swayed to the music.


Shouts of "Hallelujah" could be heard throughout.


Public shows of religious faith are nothing new to US politics -- George W. Bush said during the 2000 campaign that his favorite philosopher was Jesus Christ -- but at least one of the groups backing the event could raise eyebrows.


The American Family Association, listed as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center that tracks US extremists, rails against "the homosexual agenda" and accuses Obama of having "shown far more interest in promoting Islam than his own self-proclaimed Christian faith."


But Barry Brummett, who studies the appeal of Evangelical religious discourse at the University of Texas at Austin, says Perry's public shows of faith are "not beyond what you might see a 'mainstream' political leader do anywhere."


The November 2012 election is expected to turn on Obama's handling of the economy, and Perry could be expected to trumpet the robust job growth of the "Texas Miracle" he has overseen since taking office in 2000.


But critics of Perry point out that his state has high rates of poverty, and he would likely face fire over telling an anti-tax "Tea Party" rally in April 2009 that Texas might be better off seceding from United States.

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