World View: Egyptians Return to Tahrir Square as Election Results Postponed

This morning's key headlines from
  • Fighting escalates between Turkey and PKK in northern Iraq
  • Attorney General Eric Holder threatened with Contempt of Congress
  • Federal Reserve extends 'Operation Twist' to end of year
  • Antonis Samaras becomes Greece's Prime Minister, seeks relief from austerity
  • Egyptians return to Tahrir Square as election results are postponed

Fighting escalates between Turkey and PKK in northern Iraq

A long-simmering battle between Turkey's army and the terrorists from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is flaring up into greater violence, after eight soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack on a military output in southeastern Turkey on Tuesday. In the early morning hours on Tuesday, a group of around 200 PKK terrorists attacked the Yesiltas Military Outpost with rocket launchers and rifles, killing eight soldiers and wounding 16 others. In subsequent clashes, troops killed at least 24 PKK terrorists. The terrorists were believed to have crossed the border from northern Iraq to carry out the attack and then retreated across the border. Turkish warplanes "effectively hit" PKK targets in northern Iraq. Several thousand PKK rebels are believed to be based in hideouts in northern Iraq. Zaman (Istanbul) and BBC

Attorney General Eric Holder threatened with Contempt of Congress

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress on Wednesday, for many months of refusal to turn subpoenaed documents over to Congress. The vote followed an announcement that President Obama was invoking executive privilege. The issue was the congressional investigation of the "Fast and Furious" operation, where federal agents allowed Mexican drug cartels to take possession of tens of thousands of guns. The objective was to track the guns and arrest the people in the cartels, but the agents botched the whole operation, and the guns ended up killing people, including another federal agent. 

The larger picture is that, once again, Attorney General Holder is adamantly hiding the perpetrators from prosecutors. This is part of the same Generation-X culture of fraud and extortion that I've been writing about for years with regard to the financial crisis. Holder and Obama refuse to investigate and prosecute anyone in the financial industry, despite the fact that it's provable that widespread fraud was committed, leading to the financial crisis. I've heard Gen-Xers complain that the reason they don't want to send anyone to jail is because in the 1980s they became the most incarcerated generation in history. I don't know if that's true, but if it is, then it's because they committed the most crimes of any generation in history. When the Boomers were in charge, in the 1980s, if you committed a crime, you had a good chance of going to jail. Today if you commit a crime, then chances are you'll be free to go on committing crimes, with no fear of investigation, especially if your crimes provide campaign contributions to politicians. CS Monitor

Federal Reserve extends 'Operation Twist' to end of year

The Federal Reserve's current bailout program, "Operation Twist," which was due to expire this month, will be extended until the end of the year, according to Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. Operation Twist is almost a stealth bailout program. The Fed sells short-term (1-3 years) Treasuries, and purchases an equivalent amount of long-term (10 year) Treasuries. The result is that the Fed's balance sheet is unchanged, and by purchasing 10-year Treasuries, their market price goes up and their yields (interest rates) go down, causing mortgage loan rates and certain other rates to go down. Bernanke is being heavily pressured to start a new full-scale quantitative easing program, where the Fed "prints" money and purchases toxic assets with it, but there is considerable public opposition to a new QE scheme. Operation Twist is not as expensive as full-scale QE, but it's the safest course in an election year. Bloomberg

Antonis Samaras becomes Greece's Prime Minister, seeks relief from austerity

Antonis Samaras was sworn in as Prime Minister of Greece on Wednesday, after he formed a governing coalition with his New Democracy Party, combined with the PASOK party led by Evangelos Venizelos, and the Democratic Left party, led by Fotis Kouvelis. PASOK governed the country last year under George Papandreou, but their popularity plummeted because of their support of the EU bailout program and austerity measures. In this new governing coalition, PASOK and Democratic Left are will to form a national unity government, but they will not provide any MPs for cabinet positions in the new government, because they don't want to get burned when the government has to implement a new round of austerity measures. Samaras has promised to renegotiate part of the austerity program. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has adamantly refused to budge, but Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has indicated that it might be possible to stretch out some of the dates. The "Kick the Can Theory" is alive and well. Kathimerini

Egyptians return to Tahrir Square as election results are postponed

Egypt's Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission announced on Wednesday that the final results of Sunday's presidential election will not be announced on Thursday, as previously scheduled, but will be postponed for a few days. Each of the candidates, former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, and Mohamed Mursi, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood's political party, are claiming that he's won. Recent actions by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to assume complete legislative and budgetary control of the government have infuriated protesters, who filled Cairo's Tahrir Square for the last two days. The postponement of the election results announcement will add to suspicions that the army is stacking results in favor of their candidate, Shafiq, and if Shafiq wins, it's expected that there will be even larger crowds of protesters. Al-Ahram (Cairo)


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