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Why Banks Aren't Lending: The Silent Liquidity Squeeze

bank bailout loans
© Mary F. Calvert / The New York Times
John Councilman, president of AMC Mortgage, at his office in Fallston, Maryland, on July 13, 2010.
Where did all the jobs go? Small and medium-sized businesses are the major source of new job creation, and they are not hiring. Startup businesses, which contribute a fifth of the nation's new jobs, often can't even get off the ground. Why?

In a June 30 article in The Wall Street Journal titled "Smaller Businesses Seeking Loans Still Come Up Empty," Emily Maltby reported that business owners rank access to capital as the most important issue facing them today; and only 17 percent of smaller businesses said they were able to land needed bank financing. Businesses have to pay for workers and materials before they can get paid for the products they produce and for that they need bank credit; but they are reporting that their credit lines are being cut. They are being pushed instead into credit card accounts that average 16 percent interest, more than double the rate of the average business loan. It is one of many changes in banking trends that have been very lucrative for Wall Street banks, but are killing local businesses.

The Travesty of the $1.6 Trillion in "Excess Reserves"

The bank bailout and the Federal Reserve's two "quantitative easing" programs were supposedly intended to keep credit flowing to the local economy; but despite trillions of dollars thrown at Wall Street banks, these programs have succeeded only in producing mountains of "excess reserves" that are now sitting idle in Federal Reserve bank accounts. A stunning $1.6 trillion in excess reserves has accumulated in bank reserve accounts since the collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008.


Life with Big Brother: Does Google Spy for NSA? Judge Says You Can't Know

© Google
'Court is not to conduct detailed inquiry to decide whether it agrees with agency'

A federal judge has ordered that whether Google is spying for National Security Agency or not, you have no right to know.

"The NSA need not disclose 'the organization or any function of the National Security Agency, [or] any information with respect to the activities thereof,'" U.S. District Judged Richard Leon has ordered.

"Once the agency, through affidavits, has created 'as complete a public record as is possible' and explained 'in as much detail as is possible the basis for its claim,' ... 'the court is not to conduct a detailed inquiry to decide whether it agrees with the agency's opinions,'" he said.


24,000 files stolen from defense contractor, and Pentagon uses the opportunity to increase the cyber terror attacks hysteria

A foreign intelligence service swiped 24,000 computer files from a US defense contractor in March in one of the largest ever cyberattacks on a Pentagon supplier, a top Defense Department official revealed on Thursday.

"It is a significant concern that over the past decade, terabytes of data have been extracted by foreign intruders from corporate networks of defense companies," Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said.

"In a single intrusion this March, 24,000 files were taken," Lynn said in a speech at National Defense University here outlining the Pentagon's strategy in cyberspace.

Speaking to reporters after his speech, Lynn described the theft of data from the unidentified defense contractor as "significant" and one of the largest ever.

Bad Guys

Greece ignores racism to pursue alliance with Israel

© Amos Ben Gershom / GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Greek President Karolos Papoulias.
On the eve of his visit to Israel, Greek President Karolos Papoulias spoke of the "strong relationship in all aspects" between his country and the Zionist state. The fact that Israel continues to occupy Palestine, expand Jewish-only colonies on occupied territory and persecute millions of Palestinians, including many who practice Greek Orthodox Christianity in the West Bank, seems to have little or no bearing on the evolving relations between the Greek and Israeli governments.

"We are now involved in an intensive process of cooperation. Our ministers and officials systematically consult and work together on all levels and in key areas, including energy, defence and security, as well as agriculture and tourism," said the Greek president.

He added that "we are also working together on international issues and matters of regional concern to both countries. We are pursuing a strong relationship on trade, investment, political and security cooperation."

Greece is a sovereign state and should be free to pursue its various interests as its sees fit. However, it must also be aware of the negative ramifications that come with having close ties with what is essentially a rogue state whose modus operandi is based on ethnic cleansing, land theft and organised state terror against the Palestinians native to the Holy Land.

In recent months and weeks, the Greek air force has held joint exercises with its Israeli counterparts in the eastern Mediterranean. Moreover, the Greek authorities are widely believed to have connived with Israeli intelligence agents to thwart the Freedom Flotilla II planning to take much-needed humanitarian aid to Gaza, still in the grip of Israel's siege. The flotilla was set to highlight the illegitimacy, illegality and utter criminality of the 5-year-blockade on the coastal enclave.

Star of David

Israel Urges Ukraine Not To Recognize Palestine As State During Session Of UN General Assembly In September

Israel flag
Israel hopes that Ukraine won't recognize Palestine as a state at the session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in September.

Israel's Ambassador to Ukraine Zina Kalay-Kleitman said this in an interview with the Den newspaper.

"We do hope, taking into consideration our good bilateral relations, that Ukraine which has had a very balanced stance on the matter lately will further continue to keep to this balanced approach and won't support the one-sided action of the United Nations," she said.

She noted that the initiative concerning possible recognition of the State of Palestine would have a destructive influence on the peace process in the Palestine - Israel relations.


Donald Rumsfeld Patted Down as TSA Unveils New Security Measures

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld getting the full pat-down treatment at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on July 13, 2011. Sources told TMZ that Rumsfeld was all smiles during the body sweep and was "very nice" throughout the procedure. Rumsfeld even tweeted about it: "It takes those of us with two titanium hips and a titanium shoulder a bit longer to get through TSA
Even Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld gets the pat-down from TSA. So do babies and grannies and that is part of the reason that the government agency is ready to try a new approach.

Gossip website TMZ published photos of the former Defense Secretary smiling as TSA agents at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago patted him down during normal security precaution on Wednesday.

The frisking of someone as recognizable as Rumsfeld prove that the system does not discriminate, even in favor of the very famous.

Rumsfeld tweeted about it - "It takes those of us with two titanium hips and a titanium shoulder a bit longer to get through TSA," he wrote.

But the agency that has come under criticism for patting down the elderly and infants, and now says it is ready to try a new approach for some passengers.

Today the Transportation Security Administration announced a pilot program which it says will move towards "risk-based, intelligence driven" security screening. TSA Spokesman Greg Soule told ABC News, that this pilot is an effort to "focus more on passengers we know less about, and not focus our resources as much on passengers who are less of a risk. However, there will continue to be an element of randomness and unpredictability."


Exclusive: Woman's ordeal at the hands of Israeli forces

© The Associated Press
Israeli soldiers carry their gear after arriving in Israel from the Gaza Strip.
This is the exclusive first picture of the West Chiltington woman arrested and detained by Israeli forces for trying to visit Bethlehem in the West Bank.

Audrey Gray, 77 a retired nurse and current Methodist preacher, was one of 12 people detained after travelling to Israel aiming to stay at the Palestinian Aida refugee camp just north of the city.

She was travelling in a group of 25 people to Bethlehem via Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport.

Once detained the plucky pensioner reportedly went on hunger strike.

In a recent Methodist church newsletter she commented on her trip saying that 'there will be others from around the world visiting at the same time going to other locations around Bethlehem.'


Arab League Raps Pro-Israel Britain

© unknown
David Cameron (R), outgoing Israeli ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosor (C), and William Hague.
The Arab League has strongly condemned the British government for arresting Sheikh Raed Salah, calling for his immediate and unconditional release, a statement said.

The league said in its statement that news of Sheikh Salah's arrest was received "with considerable shock and surprise", calling for him to be treated in a manner befitting an internationally-renowned man of faith.

Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, was arrested by British authorities in London, irrespective of the fact that there were no legal or legitimate reasons for him to be pursued.

His programme of activities in Britain was publicised well in advance; the plan was to speak about the realities of the Palestine-Israel conflict to British politicians, academics and members of the public. The intention was to provide an opportunity for those in Britain to hear the Palestinian narrative for a change.

The Arab League said Sheikh Salah is well known for his prominent role in the non-violent struggle to defend the Palestinian people and their rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the inhabitants of Jerusalem al-Quds who suffer under Israeli regime's policy of systematic racial discrimination.

His arrest came as the UK government is giving Zionist war criminals a safe haven immune from arrest.


UK: Murdochs to be grilled by phone-hack committee

Rupert Murdoch
© unknown
Rupert Murdoch
As Scotland Yard arrests Murdoch man who worked for cops

News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch have confirmed they will talk to MPs about the phone-hacking scandal that has engulfed the media empire.

A spokeswoman at News Corp told The Register that the company was "in the process of writing to the committee now".

As we reported earlier today, the two men had rejected an initial request from Tory MP and chairman of the culture, media and sport committee John Whittingdale to attend the public inquiry on 19 July.

The Murdochs were later summonsed to attend the grilling by Whittingdale.


Hotmail adds "my friend's been hacked" reporting feature

The crowd-sourcing feature, which can be found in the "Mark as" menu, lets users report compromised accounts directly to Hotmail.

Faced with the sobering reality that about 30 percent of all Hotmail spam comes from compromised e-mail accounts, Microsoft has added a nifty "My friend's been hacked!" reporting feature.

The crowd-sourcing feature, which can be found in the "Mark as" menu, lets users report compromised accounts directly to Hotmail.

"When you report that your friend's account has been compromised, Hotmail takes that report and combines it with the other information from the compromise detection engine to determine if the account in question has in fact been hijacked. It turns out that the report that comes from you can be one of the strongest "signals" to the detection engine, since you may be the first to notice the compromise," according to Microsoft's Dick Craddock.