Tuesday September 9 2008
Source: The Guardian
Tuesday September 9 2008
Source: The Guardian
There are various other satellite powers, such as manipulating electronic instruments and appliances like alarms, electronic watches and clocks, a television, radio, smoke detector and the electrical system of an automobile. For example, the digital alarm on a watch, tiny though it is, can be set off by a satellite from hundreds of miles up in space. And the light bulb of a lamp can be burned out with the burst of a laser from a satellite. In addition, street lights and porch lights can be turned on and off at will by someone at the controls of a satellite, the means being an electromagnetic beam which reverses the light’s polarity. Or a lamp can be made to burn out in a burst of blue light when the switch is flicked. As with other satellite powers, it makes no difference if the light is under a roof or a ton of concrete–it can still be manipulated by a satellite laser. Types of satellite lasers include the free-electron laser, the x-ray laser, the neutral-particle-beam laser, the chemical-oxygen-iodine laser and the mid-infra-red advanced chemical laser.
Unknown to most of the world, satellites can perform astonishing and often menacing feats. This should come as no surprise when one reflects on the massive effort poured into satellite technology since the Soviet satellite Sputnik, launched in 1957, caused panic in the U.S. A spy satellite can monitor a person’s every movement, even when the “target” is indoors or deep in the interior of a building or traveling rapidly down the highway in a car, in any kind of weather (cloudy, rainy, stormy). There is no place to hide on the face of the earth. It takes just three satellites to blanket the world with detection capacity. Besides tracking a person’s every action and relaying the data to a computer screen on earth, amazing powers of satellites include reading a person’s mind, monitoring conversations, manipulating electronic instruments and physically assaulting someone with a laser beam. Remote reading of someone’s mind through satellite technology is quite bizarre, yet it is being done; it is a reality at present, not a chimera from a futuristic dystopia! To those who might disbelieve my description of satellite surveillance, I’d simply cite a tried-and-true Roman proverb: Time reveals all things (tempus omnia revelat).
With yesterday’s announcement of the most massive federal bailout of all time, it’s now official: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest mortgage lenders on Earth, are bankrupt.
Some Washington bigwigs and bureaucrats will inevitably try to spin it. They’ll avoid the “b” word with vengeance. They’ll push the “c” word (conservatorship) with passion. And in the newspeak of 21st century bailouts, they’ll tell you “it all depends on what the definition of solvency is.”
The truth: Without their accounting smoke and mirrors, Fannie and Freddie have no capital. The government is seizing control of their operations. Their chief executives are getting fired. Common shareholders will be virtually wiped out. Preferred shareholders will get pennies. If that’s not wholesale bankruptcy, what is?
BEIJING, Sept 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury’s takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is good news in the short term for China, the biggest holder of the giant mortgage lenders’ debt, but Beijing’s huge U.S. exposure still poses a serious risk, a prominent government researcher said on Monday.
China owned $376 billion of debt issued by U.S. government agencies, principally Fannie and Freddie, as of mid-2007.
The seizure of the two firms, prompted by worries over their shrinking capital, was the latest in a series of emergency steps taken by U.S. authorities to quell a year-long credit crisis that has helped push many economies toward recession. [ID:nN07479172]
“China has bought a lot of asset-backed securities, and there might be short-term improvement in price,” said He Fan, an economist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
But, taking a longer view, he said the bailout posed a problem: if the Treasury issues new debt to fund the rescue, should China be a buyer or not?
“For China, whether or not you buy the new treasuries, there will be losses: if you buy them, you’re getting deeper in the hole; if you don’t buy, your existing holdings will lose value,” He said.
Estate agents are recording the lowest level of sales since 1978. Photo: Getty
Estate agents are selling an average of just one home a week as the number of sales hits a 30-year low, according to a report today.
The latest monthly snapshot of the housing market by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said it had stalled in August as a result of a continued lack of finance for mortgages and uncertainty over stamp duty.
Edvige, which is also a woman’s name, has been dubbed Sarkozy’s “Big Sister” in France
President Nicolas Sarkozy faced an embarrassing split in his Cabinet today over a computer system that a new French internal intelligence service will use to spy on the private lives of millions of law-abiding citizens.
Hervé Morin, the Defence Minister, broke government ranks to side with a growing revolt against Edvige, an acronym for a police database that will store personal details including opinions, the social circle and even sexual preferences of more or less anyone who interests the State.
Edvige, which is also a woman’s name, was created by decree in July to store data on anyone aged 13 or above who is “likely to breach public order”.
“Sarkozy’s Big Sister”, as it has been dubbed, will also track anyone active in politics or trade unions and in a significant role in business, the media, entertainment or social or religious institutions. Listed people will have limited rights to consult their files.
As the doctor walks between rows of bodies, people lift funeral shrouds to reveal the faces of children and babies, some with severe head injuries.
Women are heard wailing in the background. “Oh God, this is just a child,” shouts one villager. Another cries: “My mother, my mother.”
The grainy video eight-minute footage, seen exclusively by The Times, is the most compelling evidence to emerge of what may be the biggest loss of civilian life during the Afghanistan war.
These are the images that have forced the Pentagon into a rare U-turn. Until yesterday the US military had insisted that only seven civilians were killed in Nawabad on the night of August 21.
THE events of the weekend begin the greatest intervention in the US economy by the Federal Government since the Great Depression, with the Bear Stearns rescue but a splutter on this road we must now travel.
If you were wondering what all the flag-waving at the Republican convention has been about, it is now clear. Americans are waving goodbye to the prosperity the nation has enjoyed since the Great Depression and a final goodbye to democracy. But while preparation for the most important decision made in the nation’s post-depression financial history towered above the conventions, I don’t think the fate of Freddie and Fannie and the remaining government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) was mentioned during either convention.
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And the politicians. President Bush has long authorised the Treasury to open its purse strings and, naturally, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said he did not expect the line of endless taxpayer credit to be used. This is like signing an authority to go to war and saying we don’t expect to go to war. Once the authority is given, it will happen. It was always laughable to expect otherwise. Paulson “briefed” John McCain and Barack Obama on the “plan”. The fact is that while America, and the world, wait to see who will govern, Mr Paulson has decided to take matters out of the politicians’ hands.
They willingly agreed. The ultimate political power, to spend taxpayers’ money, has been tossed away. Obviously the economy is too important to be left to the politicians. Instead it is to be put into “conservatorship”. It has come to this.
USA TODAY WASHINGTON – The unprecedented federal takeover of mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae announced on Sunday is a bold attempt to stabilize financial markets and restore the faltering housing market, but it thrusts trillions of dollars of risk directly onto taxpayers’ shoulders.
“You can call it a bailout, you can call it a safety net or you can call it a rescue package, but the bottom line is the American taxpayer is left footing the bill,” says Richard Yamarone, director of economic research at Argus Research.