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Signs of the Times for Tue, 21 Mar 2006

REGIONAL FX HEADLINES Tuesday, March 21, 2006
WASHINGTON - A number of Middle Eastern central banks said on Tuesday they would seek to switch reserves from the US greenback to euros.

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By Tony Capaccio and Jeff Bliss
17 Mar 06
U.S. military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan will average 44 percent more in the current fiscal year than in fiscal 2005, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service said.

Spending will rise to $9.8 billion a month from the $6.8 billion a month the Pentagon said it spent last year, the research service said. The group's March 10 report cites ''substantial'' expenses to replace or repair damaged weapons, aircraft, vehicles, radios and spare parts.

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By Kathy Kiely
WASHINGTON - The House of Representatives is on track this year to be in session for fewer days than the Congress Harry Truman labeled as "do-nothing" during his 1948 re-election campaign.

Members of Congress are taking an entire week off for St. Patrick's Day. It's the latest scheduling innovation to give members more time to meet with constituents.

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By John Berthelsen
Asia Times
21 Mar 06
Of all the things that could wreck the US dollar - and there are many - the projected Tehran oil bourse, which is tentatively scheduled to open on March 20 to trade Iran's crude and other petroleum products in euros rather than US dollars, is probably not among them.

The much greater threat to the US currency is the US current account deficit, which ballooned to 7% of gross domestic product in the fourth quarter of 2005. The announcement drove the euro up to 1.202 against the US dollar as skittish traders renewed their concerns about the world's fiat currency

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By Barbara Ehrenreich
The Progressive
March 21, 2006
I was in the Atlanta airport recently, cruising a bookstore, when this catchy title leaped out at me: Women Who Make the World Worse: and How Their Radical Feminist Assault Is Ruining Our Schools, Families, Military, and Sports.

Since the author is National Review Washington editor and Fox News pundit Kate O'Beirne, I indulged my vanity and looked up my own name in the index. There I was, right up front on page 4, credited with ruining our families. If O'Beirne had done a little more research, she might have found me responsible for wrecking our military and schools, as well. But I can't complain: Destroying the family is a hefty accomplishment all by itself.

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By Fred Block
The Nation
March 21, 2006
Market fundamentalism has ruled the country for close to 25 years. It has produced weak economic performance, corporate crime waves, government corruption and a coarsening of the culture. But the amazing thing is that efforts to hold the market fundamentalists accountable have gained so little traction.

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The Scotsman
19 Mar 06
TONY Blair's intimate involvement in sanctioning the loans which have rocked his government is exposed today, after one of his closest confidantes confirmed that he "knew exactly what was going on" and was aware of the risks from the start.

A senior member of the Prime Minister's inner circle gave a remarkable insight into the angst and confusion within the party's fundraising operation as it prepared for the 2005 election.

Blair last week accepted responsibility for the hugely controversial £14m in loans, which did not have to be declared in public. It emerged last week that at least three of the lenders had subsequently been nominated for peerages by the party.

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by Jerome R. Corsi
Posted Mar 21, 2006
Mexico's giant Cantarell oil field, in the Gulf of Mexico off the Yucatan, was supposedly discovered in 1976 after a fisherman named Cantarell reported an oil seep in the Campeche Bay. Last week, Mexico announced finding another giant oil field off Veracruz, the Noxal, estimated to hold more than 10 billion barrels of oil.

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