Docudharma Times Thursday November 13

The Bailout Money

Everyone Wants Some: Corporations And Lobbyists

So When Are The People Going To Get Help?    

Thursday’s Headlines:

Congress isn’t waiting for Obama

UN to send 3,000 more troops to east Congo

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir’s ceasefire call rejected by Darfur rebels

Robert Fisk: Double agents, car bombs and antics worthy of James Bond

Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Pakisan

Victims of Philippines dirty war

North Korea hits back at balloon activism from South

Vladimir Putin closes in on presidency

German economy now in recession

Among Latin leftists, Brazil’s moderate Lula leads the way

G.M.’s Troubles Stir Question of Bankruptcy vs. a Bailout



Published: November 12, 2008

DETROIT – Momentum is building in Washington for a rescue package for the auto industry to head off a possible bankruptcy filing by General Motors, which is rapidly running low on cash.

But not everyone agrees that a Chapter 11 filing by G.M. would be the disaster that many fear. Some experts note that while bankruptcy would be painful, it may be preferable to a government bailout that may only delay, at considerable cost, the wrenching but necessary steps G.M. needs to take to become a stronger, leaner company.

Although G.M.’s labor contracts would be at risk of termination in a bankruptcy, setting up a potential confrontation with its unions, the company says its pension obligations are largely financed for its 479,000 retirees and their spouses.

A Mystery Glows On Saturn  


 Scientists say the northern lights on Saturn are unlike anything they’ve ever seen, on Earth or elsewhere in the solar system. Infrared imagery from the Cassini orbiter, released today to accompany research published in the journal Nature, only adds to the mystery at the top of the ringed planet.

Saturn’s north pole is already home to a bizarre six-sided cyclone that planetary scientists haven’t yet figured out. That observation marked the first time a hexagon had been seen in atmospheric patterns. The northern auroral displays, monitored by Cassini’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer, also go against the conventional wisdom.



Bailout Lacks Oversight Despite Billions Pledged

Watchdog Panel Is Empty; Report Is Unfinished

By Amit R. Paley

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, November 13, 2008; Page A01

In the six weeks since lawmakers approved the Treasury’s massive bailout of financial firms, the government has poured money into the country’s largest banks, recruited smaller banks into the program and repeatedly widened its scope to cover yet other types of businesses, from insurers to consumer lenders.

Along the way, the Bush administration has committed $290 billion of the $700 billion rescue package.

Yet for all this activity, no formal action has been taken to fill the independent oversight posts established by Congress when it approved the bailout to prevent corruption and government waste. Nor has the first monitoring report required by lawmakers been completed, though the initial deadline has passed.


Congress isn’t waiting for Obama

Lawmakers are unveiling plans to expand health coverage and curb global warming. And Democratic leaders have called a lame-duck session next week to discuss an auto industry bailout.

By Janet Hook, Noam N. Levey and Peter Nicholas

November 13, 2008

Reporting from Washington — More than two months before he is sworn in, Barack Obama already is facing a Congress busily asserting itself on the timing and details of the president-elect’s agenda, including major issues like healthcare and economic policy.

Committee chairmen are unveiling legislation to expand health insurance coverage and curb global warming. Democratic leaders have called a lame-duck session next week to consider an auto industry bailout. And other economic stimulus measures may be enacted even before Obama is inaugurated.

The activity is in part a measure of the pent-up demand among Democrats who have had little legislative power for more than a decade. Obama, by contrast, has been constrained in an awkward limbo by his assertion that the country has “only one president at a time.”

But the congressional clamor raises a question that will loom larger after inauguration day: Will Congress be leading or following the Obama administration as it gets its sea legs?


UN to send 3,000 more troops to east Congo

Chris McGreal in Kigali, Thursday November 13 2008 00.01 GMT

The UN is poised to send 3,000 more troops to the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, bolstering the world’s largest peacekeeping mission as reports emerged of looting and rape by government troops fleeing a rebel advance.

Meanwhile, Angola yesterday said it would respond to a Congolese government request to send its forces to block, and possibly reverse, advances by the Tutsi rebel leader, Laurent Nkunda, in the east. A small number of Angolan troops have already been seen fighting to defend the regional capital, Goma.

Nkunda earlier this week warned that he would attack any foreign troops that entered the conflict.

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir’s ceasefire call rejected by Darfur rebels

From The Times

November 13, 2008

Tristan McConnell

A unilateral and immediate ceasefire in Darfur, including a call for the disarming of militias in the region, was announced by President Omar al-Bashir yesterday – a move rejected by antigovernment rebel groups as a propaganda stunt.

“I announce our immediate, unconditional ceasefire between the armed forces and warring factions provided that an effective monitoring mechanism be put into action and be observed by all involved parties,” Mr al-Bashir said.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is considering whether to issue an indictment against the President for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Mr al-Bashir was speaking after hearing the recommendations of a peace initiative that his Government sponsors but which has excluded Darfur’s rebel factions.

Middle East

Robert Fisk: Double agents, car bombs and antics worthy of James Bond

A mystery visitor leads our man in Beirut to wonder what Syria was up to when it aired a mass confession on state TV

Thursday, 13 November 2008

When it comes to spy stories, Ian Fleming couldn’t match Lebanon – and Sister Syria – for the kind of head-spinning espionage and murder mystery now engulfing the Levant. The contents page must include the murder of a prominent pro-Iranian kidnapper and guerrilla leader in Damascus, Israeli Mossad spies, bomb explosions in both Lebanon and Syria, claims that the pro-American son of an assassinated ex-prime minister in Beirut funds an Islamist killer group – not to mention an intriguing connection to the Lebanese hijacker of United Flight 93 on 11 September 2001. If the tale is even half-true – and I’ve had a visitation from a Syrian suggesting his countrymen believe quite a lot of it – there has to be a bid for the film rights.

On 14 February 2005, the former prime minister and billionaire Rafik Hariri – along with 21 others – was liquidated by a massive bomb on the Beirut Corniche.

Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Pakisan

From Times Online

November 13, 2008

Zahid Hussain in Islamabad

Gunmen kidnapped an Iranian diplomat after killing his guard in Peshawar this morning, the latest incident in the wave of violence gripping north-western Pakistan.

Hashmatullah Atharzadeh, the commercial attache, was driving to the consulate when unidentified gunmen opened fire forcing his car to stop. His police guard was killed and the assailants took away the diplomat in their own vehicle.

Security officials said Mr Atharzadeh was driving from his home in Peshawar’s upmarket Hayatbad neighbourhood. Gunmen kidnapped the Afghan ambassador at the same place in September

The Iranian consulate in Peshawar confirmed that Mr Atharzadeh had been kidnapped


Victims of Philippines dirty war

Unarmed students, farmers, even priests are being executed in a brutal campaign to silence opposition. Evan Williams reports

?Thursday, 13 November 2008

It was 2am when Karen Empeno, 24, and Sherlyn Kadapan, 23, were dragged from their beds by armed men. They were tied up and thrown into the back of a jeep. That was on 26 June 2006. The girls’ families have not seen them since.

Karen and Sherlyn were university students who had been interviewing peasant farmers for a thesis on social conditions. They had also been campaigning against government corruption. Witnesses have testified in court that the men who abducted them were Filipino soldiers.

Their families believe the girls are among the 199 people who have been “disappeared” and the 933 who have been killed in extrajudicial executions over the past seven years in a secret war.

North Korea hits back at balloon activism from South>

It threatened Wednesday to shut its border with South Korea, where activists have been launching giant balloons carrying leaflets.

By Donald Kirk | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the November 13, 2008 edition

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – Relations between North and South Korea appear to have suffered their worst reversal in more than a decade with the North’s decision Wednesday to close its borders to South Korean commerce and tourism by Dec. 1.

Climaxing months of bitter confrontation, the North Korean military announced its plan to “strictly restrict and cut off” traffic across the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas.

The decision would mean the suspension of activity at the industrial zone of Kaesong, where 35,000 North Koreans work at more than 80 South Korean factories.

The immediate reason appears to have been South Korea’s refusal to stop activists from launching balloons that wafted over the North, dropping leaflets denouncing the North Korean regime and exposing the prison system there.

“North Korea regards the balloons as South Korea’s effort to force regime change in North Korea,” says Paik Hak Soon, senior fellow at the Sejong Institute here


Vladimir Putin closes in on presidency

 Russia’s parliament announced it would rush through a constitutional amendment that could see Vladimir Putin return to the presidency within weeks.

By Adrian Blomfield in Moscow

Last Updated: 8:30AM GMT 13 Nov 2008

Amid growing signs of panic in the Kremlin, the State Duma said it would meet on Friday to pass legislation that could allow Mr Putin to return to the Kremlin for 12 years.

Giving short shrift to the supposed inviolability of Russia’s 1993 constitution, all three readings of the bill will be compressed into a single sitting, rather than dragged out over several weeks or months as convention normally dictates.

The proposal to extend the length of time a president can serve from two consecutive terms of four years to two consecutive terms of six was made by Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian leader, just last week.

Mr Medvedev’s declaration marked a watershed in Russian politics. Ever since it was drafted 14 years ago, the idea of changing the country’s constitution has been considered taboo.

German economy now in recession

Germany has entered a recession after government figures showed that the country’s economy contracted by 0.5% in the third quarter


This is the second consecutive quarter that the economy has shrunk after a 0.4% contraction in the second quarter.

The fall in economic output was greater than the 0.2% fall that many analysts had expected.

Last week, official figures showed that German industrial output fell 3.6% in September compared with August.

“A negative effect on gross domestic product came from foreign trade, with a strong increase in imports and weakening exports,” the Federal Statistics Office said.

The last time that the German economy was in recession was the first half of 2003.

Latin America

Among Latin leftists, Brazil’s moderate Lula leads the way

While President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – a former union firebrand – effortlessly bands together with Latin America’s left, he just as easily peels away.

By Sara Miller Llana

from the November 13, 2008 edition

MANAUS, BRAZIL – On a recent day, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met in this Amazonian city, signed seven cooperation agreements ranging from energy to housing, and then lunched with Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and Bolivian President Evo Morales.

The four leftists, as usual, were not quiet in their condemnation of the US – this time for the financial crisis wreaking havoc worldwide.

But while Lula, a former union firebrand, effortlessly bands together with Latin America’s left, he just as easily peels away, overseeing a market orthodoxy at home that pleases Washington, defies categorization, and has propelled him forward as the true, if understated, leader of Latin America’s underclass today.


    • RiaD on November 13, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    thank you!!

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