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Donnerstag, 9. April 2009

Neues von der Welt und der Krise

Lawrow berät mit US-Botschafter über angekündigte Oppositionsproteste in Georgien
MOSKAU, 08. April (RIA Novosti). Russlands stellvertretender Außenminister Grigori Karassin und der US-Botschafter in Moskau, John Byerly, haben bei einem Telefonat am Mittwoch die Lage in Georgien mit Blick auf die bevorstehenden Oppositionsproteste erörtert.
Sie berieten unter anderem über die Gewährleistung der Sicherheit an der Grenze Georgiens mit Südossetien und Abchasien, teilte das russische Außenamt mit.
Die georgische Opposition hatte für den morgigen Donnerstag Massenproteste in der Hauptstadt Tiflis angekündigt. Ihre einzige Forderung ist der Rücktritt von Staatspräsident Michail Saakaschwili. Die Organisatoren rechnen mit mindestens 150 000 Demonstranten und wollen die Proteste fortsetzen, bis Saakaschwili neue Präsidentenwahlen ausschreibt.
Iran Six invites Tehran to continue nuclear dialogue
LONDON, April 8 (RIA Novosti) - The six nations involved in talks with Iran over its nuclear program urged Tehran on Wednesday to engage in further dialogue "in a spirit of mutual respect."
The Iran Six, which brings together Russia, the United States, China, France, Britain and Germany, met in London at the level of political directors and welcomed the new direction of U.S. policy towards Iran, particularly Washington's decision "to join in any future meetings with representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran."
"To that end, we shall ask Dr Javier Solana, the European Union's high representative for common foreign and security policy, to extend an invitation to the Iranian government to meet representatives of the E3+3 [Iran Six], so that together we may find a diplomatic solution to this critical issue," the participants said in a statement. ....
Eurasian Crossroads: The Caucasus In US-NATO War Plans
The South Caucasus is rapidly becoming a critical strategic crossroads in 21st century geopolitics, encompassing the most ambitious energy transit projects in history and the consolidation of a military corridor reaching from Western Europe to East Asia, one whose command centers are in Washington and Brussels.
The culmination of eighteen years of post-Cold War Western designs is on the near horizon as oil and gas are intended to be moved from the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea to Central Europe and beyond and US and NATO troops and equipment are scheduled to be deployed from Europe and the Persian Gulf to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
Nothing less is at stake than control of world energy resources and their transportation routes on one hand and the establishment of a global army under NATO auspices fanning out in South and Central Asia and ultimately Eurasia as a whole on the other.
The Largest Military Budget in World History
By David Swanson
Global Research, April 8, 2009
Up Is Down: The Military Budget

The largest military budget in the history of the world is being increased. Certain weapons are being cut back, others expanded. But the overall budget is going UP. However, you don't need me to tell you that. You've learned it from these fine news sources:
"With Defense Secretary Robert Gates proposing broad cuts in Pentagon spending, a new war over the president's budget has begun. While critics already are warning that the plan could compromise U.S. security, the greater resistance appears to be coming from lawmakers worried that the cuts threaten thousands of jobs in their states."
There really are cuts and critics and chicken littles, but nowhere does Fox tell you that the overall budget is INCREASING. Then again, if Fox didn't lie, how would we know what was true?

Rachel Maddow:
"Defense Secretary Robert Gates today proposed a massive overhaul of Pentagon spending. Since the year 2000 the already huge defense budget has risen 72 percent. Gates' new budget would pry the Pentagon away from its preparations for big conventional you-line-up-here we'll-line-up-here wars ... Anticipating criticism that he is making too big a change away from things that the Pentagon has traditionally LOVED spending money on, Mr. Gates said this: 'Every defense dollar spent to to overinsure against a remote or diminishing risk ... is a dollar not available to take care of our people.' ... And that was the head of the Pentagon acknowledging that there isn't infinite money available for his department, that there have to be tradeoffs. And that thump-thump-thump sound that you heard in the distance as he was talking was the sound of executives at all the big defense contractors passing out."

Love ya three-quarters of the time, Rachel, but you really should have waved blue pom-poms for this one. As noted below, many "defense" contractors are cheering for Gates' budget. .....
US Economy: Unemployment in Seven States May Have Exceeded 20%
By Washington's Blog
Global Research, April 7, 2009
Washington's Blog
As I have previously pointed out, unemployment may actually be higher than during the same phase of the Great Depression. Specifically, as of 1930 - the year after the 1929 crash - the unemployment rate was 8.7 percent.
As of December 2008, U-6 unemployment was
13.5 percent. (U-6 is actually more accurate, because it includes those who would like full-time work, but can only find part-time work, or have given up looking for work altogether). And PhD economists John Williams and Paul Craig Roberts - former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and former editor of the Wall Street Journal - both say that if the unemployment rate was calculated as it was during the Great Depression, today's figure would actually be 17.5% nationally.
Yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics published a
report showing that 7 states had unemployment rates above 10% in February. Ranked from largest to smallest, they are:
Michigan: 12.5 %
Rhode Island: 11.4 %
South Carolina: 10.9 %
Oregon: 10.9 %
California: 10.6%
North Carolina: 10.3%
Nevada: 10.2%
There are also numerous states with 9% unemployment.
Remember, that these figures are calculated using U-3. The U-6 unemployment numbers for some of these states probably exceeds 20%, which is substantially higher than the numbers for the comparable period of 1930 (today is comparable to 1930 because we are one year or less into the current financial crisis).
Indeed, unemployment is accelerating, and so by the end of this year, unemployment could be even higher.
Clinton: U.S. to join direct talks with Iran on nuclear program
By News Agencies
Last update - 22:54 08/04/2009

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday the United States would be a "full participant" in talks by major powers with Iran over its nuclear program.
"Obviously we believe that pursuing very careful engagement on a range of issues that affect our interests and the interests of the world with Iran makes sense. There is nothing more important than trying to convince Iran to cease its efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon," Clinton told reporters.
Clinton's statement mark another significant shift from former President George W. Bush's policy toward a nation he labeled a member of the Axis of Evil.
The State Department said the United States would be at the table from now on when senior diplomats from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany meet with Iranian officials to discuss the nuclear issue. .................

April 8, 2009
Gates’s Cuts to an Array of Weapons Bring a Fight
WASHINGTON — Members of Congress and advocates for the armed services pushed back on Tuesday against Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’s plans to pare billions of dollars from a variety of Pentagon weapons systems, but others said that the cuts were prudent and that fights over them would be limited to several leading programs.
Military analysts said the biggest lobbying campaigns would be focused on Mr. Gates’s proposed cutbacks in the F-22, the advanced stealth fighter that critics call a relic of the cold war, as well as his trimming of the Army’s $160 billion modernization project, called the Future Combat Systems. .....
April 8, 2009
Obama Pushes for Mideast Accord
ISTANBUL, Turkey — President Obama continued to use his bully pulpit on Tuesday to call for Israelis and Palestinians to make the compromises necessary to reach a Middle East peace accord.
During a question-and-answer session with university students here, Mr. Obama said that he still believes that “peace in the Middle East is possible. I think it will be based on two states side by side,” he said.
“What we need,” Mr. Obama said, “is political will and courage on the part of the leadership.”
His comments come a day after he publicly repudiated statements from Israel’s hawkish new foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, that agreements reached at an American-sponsored peace conference in Annapolis, Md., in 2007 have “no validity.” .....