“The Need For Alternative News & Views”

October 19, 2008





“Follow The Money”

October 26, 2008

“Why Does GM want to merge with Chrysler?”

The real prize for GM might, however, be something much more tangible. In August Cerberus claimed that Chrysler still had $11 billion in cash from loans raised earlier. There is speculation that it might be willing to throw that in, and add some more, in exchange for a stake in the merged entity. GM, which is currently burning through more than $1 billion a month, had access to $21 billion in cash and $5 billion in credit at the end of June. Brian Johnson, an analyst at Barclays Capital, thinks that the carmaker needs a further $10.3 billion to get it through to the end of next year, when cost savings and recovering demand should start to kick in. As one of GM’s rivals observed this week: “We think it’s cash that’s driving this pony.”


October 26, 2008

“A John McCain Presidential upset?”

The most reliable surveys put McCain five to seven points behind Obama as we enter the last week of this interminable campaign. But in a race that will be famous for years afterwards for its volatility, it is not too late for the Republican to pull out a victory.

“Campaign Finance Gets New Scrutiny”

October 26, 2008

“Noticed how Obama and McCain have been mute about campaign finance reform?”

Sen. Barack Obama’s record-breaking $150 million fundraising performance in September has for the first time prompted questions about whether presidential candidates should be permitted to collect huge sums of money through faceless credit card transactions over the Internet.

“McCain Best Choice For Uncertain Times”

October 25, 2008

“John McCain the best choice for uncertain times?”

The Republican presidential candidate has the character, pragmatism and independence necessary to lead a united America past our poisonous partisan divisions and into a more civil and productive future.

We readily acknowledge that McCain has run a distressingly ineffective presidential campaign. He has failed to find his voice on the campaign trail, rarely revealing the appealing personal characteristics and refreshing political views that caused us to endorse him in Michigan’s Republican primary in January.

His selection of Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin as his running-mate also gives us pause. Palin is a promising governor and has excited the Republican base, but she is clearly not prepared for the role she was chosen to play and is costing McCain support he might have expected from undecided voters who harbor doubts about the seasoning of Democrat Barack Obama.

“Flashback: The 545 People Responsible For All Of U.S. Woes”

October 25, 2008

“Who ultimately is to blame for all of America’s woes?”

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices – 545 human beings out of the 235 million – are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

“The Rise Of The Obamacons”

October 25, 2008

“What do conservative Republicans see in Barack Obama?”

Much of Mr Obama’s rhetoric is strikingly conservative, even Reaganesque. He preaches the virtues of personal responsibility and family values, and practises them too. He talks in uplifting terms about the promise of American life. His story also appeals to conservatives: it holds the possibility of freeing America from its racial demons, proving that the country is a race-blind meritocracy and, in the process, bankrupting a race-grievance industry that has produced the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

How much do these Obamacons matter? More than Mr McCain would like to think. The Obamacons are manifestations of a deeper turmoil in the Republican rank-and-file, as the old coalition of small-government activists, social conservatives and business Republicans falls apart. They also influence opinion. This is obvious in the case of Mr Powell: Mr Obama is making liberal use of his endorsement to refute the latest Republican criticism that he is a “socialist”. But it is also true of lesser-known scribblers. At least 27 newspapers that backed Mr Bush in 2004 have endorsed Mr Obama.

“How Big Is Too Big?

October 25, 2008

“How much longer will foreign investors buy US debt?”

America has long borrowed without fear of a backlash, thanks to lenders’ lack of attractive alternatives. And it may for a while yet: much of the private sector either can’t borrow or doesn’t want to, and other countries also face yawning deficits, making them far from attractive. The national debt, at 38% of GDP, is well below its 1990s peak of 49%. But much of the deficit is still financed by foreigners, and global capital flows are now being rocked by the financial crisis. The next president will no doubt find deficits at 7% or more of GDP sobering enough. Without a plan for cutting that high figure back once the financial crisis and the recession pass—and with the inexorable climb in Medicare and Social Security costs as the baby-boomers retire now under way—investors may need to be compensated much more than they are now to keep on buying America’s debt.

“Ban Seeks Crisis Shield For Poor”

October 25, 2008

“What do greedy Wall Street investors have to do with the poor in developing counties?”

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for drastic measures to protect developing countries against the global financial crisis.

He said central banks and the IMF might have to set up substantial credit lines to give banks in developing nations adequate funds to meet emergencies.

“New York Times Endorsements Through the Ages”

October 25, 2008

“Who has the NY Times endorsed since 1860?”

(This is a great interactive of past NY Times Presidential endorsements)

“The Philippines: America’s Other War On Terrorism”

October 24, 2008

“A US covert war in the Philipines?”

The conflict is filled with other head-spinning contradictions.

U.S. soldiers here are barred from combat, except in self-defense. They maintain a low profile by operating from inside Filipino military bases. During August’s clashes, they were confined to their enclaves at the request of the Manila government, to avoid any perception that Americans were involved in the fighting — which could be a propaganda coup for the insurgents.

Secret military hardware shares cargo space on helicopters with gifts of plastic sandals emblazoned “Honor in Peace.” The Filipino military uses U.S. intelligence from unmanned drones and other devices to pinpoint the enemy in a land of mountainside jungles and vast flooded marshes. Sometimes it holds its fire to avoid civilian casualties that would undermine the effort.