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Saturday, February 20, 2010

I wouldn't hold my breath!!!!!

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced on Friday afternoon that he would work with other Democrats and the White House to pass a public option through reconciliation if that's the legislative path the party chooses.
"Senator Reid has always and continues to support the public option as a way to drive down costs and create competition," said Reid aide Rodell Mollineau in a statement provided to the Huffington Post. "That is why he included the measure in his original health care proposal. If a decision is made to use reconciliation to advance health care, Senator Reid will work with the White House, the House, and members of his caucus in an effort to craft a public option that can overcome procedural obstacles and secure enough votes."
This represents a major breakthrough for those Senators and activists who are pushing to get a public option considered via an up or down vote.
Reid has always been a proponent of the provision. But he has deflected questions about using reconciliation to get it into law citing a potential lack of votes needed for passage.
His promise to work with others to include it in reconciliation hardly means the public option is a done deal. The House, in all likelihood, will still have to vote on the Senate's health care bill with the promises of changes to come via reconciliation. Whether that obstacle can be overcome isn't entirely clear. Nor is it certain that the 51 votes are there to get the public option passed using reconciliation or, for that matter, what that public option will look like. LinkHere
Poll: Do You Agree That Most Americans Support The Public Option?
The "Public Option" is seemingly supported by a large majority of Americans. Yet one party only tentatively supports it and the other steadfastly opposes it. Why the confusion with our representation? Who are they listening to?
The critical issue is one of affordability and cost controls. An accessible "public option" within the exchange model would provide an independent minimum level of premium cost and coverage and real competition to private plans. Further, it would also provide the naturally desired capitalist effect of driving down costs and potentially improving services.
The "Public Option" within the exchange model is a pragmatic and solution oriented idea that seemingly enjoys broad popular support among "All Americans" regardless of party or background. Efforts to pass this legislation should be strongly supported.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Homeland Terrorism

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Question marks in the Senate on reform

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Piecing together story of Austin suicide crasher

Puleeese, Dumb Uneducated Sickos.

CPAC speakers forego fact for fanfare

BREAKING NEWS — Amerithrax case closed: Ivins 'perpetrated the anthrax letter attacks'

By Adam Behsudi News-Post Staff
Federal investigators have closed the case on this country’s first major act of bioterrorism, sealing their findings that Bruce Ivins, a former Frederick resident and Fort Detrick scientist, acted alone in the 2001 anthrax letter attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others in the weeks after Sept. 11.
The FBI issued a summary report on its six-year investigation which concluded Ivins, a senior researcher at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, was eventually identified as the only person suspected of mailing the deadly letters to the offices of U.S. senators and news organizations.
Ivins died from an apparent suicide in July 2008, one week before the FBI announced their findings. He had swallowed enough Tylenol to poison himself before any charges were filed.
“Earlier today, representatives of the FBI and Justice Department provided a 92-page investigative summary along with attachments to victims of the attacks, relatives of the victims and appropriate committees of Congress,” a Department of Justice news release states.
”This document sets forth a summary of the evidence developed in the ‘Amerithrax’ investigation, the largest investigation into a bio-weapons attack in U.S. history. As disclosed previously, the Amerithrax investigation found that the late Dr. Bruce Ivins acted alone in planning and executing these attacks.” LinkHere

'Family Guy' actress with Down syndrome fires back (at Palin)

My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes."


Point, set, and match to Family Guy.

Source: Star Tribune
According to an e-mail, Andrea Fay Friedman, who voiced a character with Down syndrome on last Sunday's episode of "The Family Guy" who ticked off Sarah Palin, thinks "laughing is good."

Friedman, a familiar TV face due to guest roles on such popular shows as "Law and Order: SVU," plays a young woman who goes out on a date with "Family Guy" character Chris. At one point she says, "My dad's an accountant, and my mom's the former governor of Alaska."

Friedman sent an email to the New York Times and other media outlets after Palin called the episode "a kick in the gut" on her Facebook page and her daughter Bristol called the show's writers "heartless jerks." But the Times only printed an innocuous excerpt of that email. Here it is in full:

"My name is Andrea Fay Friedman. I was born with Down syndrome. I played the role of Ellen on the 'Extra Large Medium' episode of Family Guy that was broadcast on Valentine's Day. Although they gave me red hair on the show, I am really a blonde. I also wore a red wig for my role in 'Smudge' but I was a blonde in "Life Goes On." I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor. I thought the line "I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska" was very funny. I think the word is "sarcasm."

In my family we think laughing is good. My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life. My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes."

Bush Official Criticizes Obama For Killing Too Many Terrorists

One way to proclaim mission accomplish is to kill the terrorists. The other way is of course to display banners on aircraft carriers for photo ops.

Just how unpopular are President Barack Obama's anti-terrorism policies with his Republican critics? Even when he's killing terrorists they find flaws.
At a panel on national security policy at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, a prominent lawyer from the Bush administration's Department of Justice said he was concerned that the higher number of terrorist executions taking place under Obama was compromising U.S. intelligence operations.
"Why have executions increased?" asked Viet Dinh, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and one of the authors of the USA Patriot Act. Dinh complained that "the president and vice president expound this fact as a fact that they are actually successful in war."
"That doesn't mean I think they are not illegitimate," he added. "No, we have every right to kill the other side's warriors. But at what cost? When we do not have an effective detention policy the only option we have is to kill them before we can detain them. And if we don't detain them, we don't know what they know and what they are up to."
The crowd applauded. Though, it should be noted, Dinh got a scattering of hisses and boos when he defended the Patriot Act. LinkHere

US Marines seize Taliban headquarters, IDs, photos

By ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU, Associated Press Writer Alfred De Montesquiou, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 4 mins ago
MARJAH, Afghanistan – After a fierce gunfight, U.S. Marines seized a strongly defended compound Friday that appears to have been a Taliban headquarters — complete with photos of fighters posing with their weapons, dozens of Taliban-issued ID cards and graduation diplomas from a training camp in Pakistan. LinkHere

The Republican Strategy: Covert Destruction at all Costs

"Rule By Fear". Just picture Cheney and Rove laughing behind the scenes.
It takes awhile to make sense of the entrails of the Republican Party, partly because they are just so toxic, but also because it's actually difficult to comprehend that an American political party can so deliberately sabotage its own government and nation.
But after observing their behavior and their policy of, "Just Say No" -- sometimes to their own suggestions, one can only surmise that they long ago left the business of governing and have instead agreed to a covert game plan of destruction while simultaneously playing an overt game of seduction with the American public. The seductive part of their plan is the one more familiar to the public -- constantly talk about what the people want to hear. No more taxes. Defend the country. Go Conservatives. Minimal government.
Meanwhile, the depth, width, and long range planning of the Republicans' dark strategy should have every American shaking with terror, especially since it is picking up momentum once again. As I observe the constant aggressive and non-cooperative behavior of the Republican Senators that is so outlandish as to border on choreographed (if not near-treasonous), it's blatantly obvious that the long term Republican agenda is to sabotage this Democratic administration so successfully as to make it appear responsible for all the failures of the Bush administration while simultaneously preventing this administration from accomplishing anything on its own merit, even to the detriment of the good of this nation.
If their plan succeeds -- and it's certainly gaining ground, unfortunately -- the Republicans have a good chance of returning to the White House. How tragic for this nation to find itself returning to the dark days of "rule by fear". Just picture Cheney and Rove laughing behind the scenes. That one image alone should be enough of a reminder as to why the American people should wake up and recognize these political spell-casters for what they really are -- corporate loyalists with Fascist leanings.
That Republicans honor corporate loyalties over their loyalties to the Constitution are beyond question and these policies became publically official with the passing of the recent Supreme Court ruling last month. With that ruling, Republicans have succeeded in outsourcing our own government, as corporate interests are international as well as national. That ruling alone makes their Tea Party gatherings a real head scratcher, as the last folks in line for any Republican benefits are the common folk, which largely comprise their army of modern day Brown Shirt Tea Party hysterics.
If these people could only see through the real agenda of the Republicans, they would realize that they are merely being used as upstart noisemakers, no more than public distractions to create havoc for the Democrats. They actually believe that the Republicans are on their side, listening to their issues and protests when all the Republicans want them to do is make noise. Listening is not part of the Republican bargain. Don't they get that? Why don't these people remember the Bush/Cheney administration?
Bush and Cheney were the closest Americans ever came to being ruled by dictators. Don't these people get that the Republicans are against health care because they are fundamentally against any and all forms of assistance? If they could take away Social Security and Medicare, in all likelihood, they would. How is it possible that these Tea Party Brown Shirts do not understand that in supporting the Republicans, they are in fact supporting their own demise?
How soon these people forget that they have lost their jobs and homes and are continuing to lose both because of Republican de-regulation policies (among other policies) that the Republican House and Senate could have stopped - but didn't. Why? Because common folk do not and never will matter to the Republican Party any more than the Constitution does. Just review what the Bush/Cheney administration did to our Constitution for proof. They took a weedwacker to it. One more Republican administration and the coup will be complete. Wait until these Tea Party Brown Shirts gather and try protesting if -- God forbid -- the Republicans get back into office. They'll be met with police armed with weapons and the Patriot Act and that will be the end of those little social gatherings, or would they be called "uprisings" then?
Certainly the Clinton administration added to the deregulation debacle but let's face it, the inspiration and fuel behind these policies picked up steam under the Bush/Cheney administration. The Democrats have their own list of sins against the American system, to be sure, which is long and historic, without a doubt. But by comparison to the present agenda of the Republicans, the greatest crime that the Democrats are presently committing is that they are not doing the job that they were sent to Washington to do - which was to represent the Democratic agenda and take on those Republican bullies.
Next, we have Sarah Palin, one of the more covert schemes of the Republican agendas. What makes Sarah part of Republican covert strategy? Simple-Sarah doesn't even realize that she is being used by the Republican brain trust as their Vamp distraction - the poor thing. She actually thinks she has something to offer this country when, in fact, even her own party is probably laughing at her behind the scenes. She is the Republican Court Fool, an idiot mouthpiece who writes notes on her hands in order to get through an appearance and lacks the insight due to an over abundance of vanity and ambition to realize that her own party intends to toss her to the wolves as soon as her usefulness as a Vamp distraction is done. Anyone who doubts this has only to wait and see.
Now that the Republicans have good looking, smooth talking Scott Brown, they are not going to risk their money on Palin again. No way. As soon as they no longer need someone to make outlandish, ridiculous, uneducated, near-illiterate statements that cause controversy, they'll ship her back to the big A. Republicans are known for being ruthless but when it comes to Sarah, ruthless is fine with me.
That the Republican tactics are working is not surprising, though it is unfortunate. Given that the Democrats had the majority in both Houses and the White House, they still have acted like the minority party since Obama's swearing in, bullied by the Republicans, unable to get their policies and agendas passed. Compromise is one thing but the Democrats have turned compromise into an act of apology for winning this past election. As for those so-called Blue-Dog Democrats, why don't they just admit they lack the backbone to be anything at all? Lieberman certainly comes to mind. LinkHere

Another 8 years of Republican Rule?

Jeb Bush Calls Washington 'Incompetent,' Predicts Conservative 'Tsunami' in November

The populist rage sweeping the nation is being fueled by a dysfunctional government in Washington and could morph into a "tsunami" that overwhelms incumbent lawmakers in this year's midterm elections, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Thursday.The populist rage sweeping the nation is being fueled by a dysfunctional government in Washington and could morph into a "tsunami" that overwhelms incumbent lawmakers in this year's midterm elections, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Thursday.
"I think we're living in such a complex world and our federal government just appears -- and not just appears -- is pretty incompetent," Bush said on Fox & Friends in a rare interview before the 10th annual celebration of a reading gala that he co-hosts with his wife in Florida.
Bush, the brother of former President George W. Bush, said the anger directed at Washington lawmakers doesn't surprise him, "because what we asked them to do, things aren't being done properly. And the things that we would hope they do, they don't do. So we're in for a heck of an election year. This could be a tsunami."
Populist anger swept Republicans to victory in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races last year, and it culminated last month with Republican Scott Brown's stunning capture of the Massachusetts Senate seat previously held by the late Ted Kennedy, ending the Democrats' 60-vote supermajority.
But Bush said the setback hasn't affected President Obama in the way he imagined.

The top earmarkers in both the House and Senate are Republicans, even after the GOP has spent much of the past year making fiscal restraint and runaway government spending the centerpiece of its political message.
Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) — both atop defense spending panels — led their respective bodies in securing earmarks, according to an analysis by the nonprofit Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Young, the ranking member on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, helped secure 63 earmarks worth $128 million. Cochran, his counterpart in the Senate, had his hand in 242 earmarks worth nearly $498 million. In the House, Young was followed by Reps. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) with $121 million, Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) with $116 million and Jim Moran (D-Va.) with $107 million. After Cochran, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) was No. 2 in earmarks with $392 million, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) received $368 million in earmarks and Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) grabbed $292 million for his home state.
Democrats changed earmarking rules when they took control of Congress after the 2006 election, making earmark requests part of the public record. And in appropriations bills, lawmakers were forced to put their names next to their projects in the bill.
But the move hasn’t dramatically curtailed the number of earmarks. Congress spent $16 billion on pork-barrel spending in fiscal 2010 spending bills — a slight increase over fiscal 2009, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Hawaii — represented by Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) — had the most earmarks per capita: $412 million for its nearly 1.3 million citizens. Wyoming had the least per capita and overall — $5.76 million. LinkHere

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The public option is dead, long live the public option.

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Republicans unwilling to put money where their rhetoric is

On House GOP Website, Republican Leadership Takes Credit For Successful Stimulus Project
Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the historic American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus. Despite being called a success by most economists and independent analysts, Republicans have mocked the stimulus, calling it a boondoggle that has “failed to create a single job.” Essentially, the GOP has lied about the stimulus in order to justify their unified opposition to its passage.
Yesterday, GOP.gov, the official website for the House Republican caucus, continued the anti-stimulus drumbeat, blaring press releases calling the stimulus a failure. Ironically, posted just above two releases attacking the stimulus, the website features a release from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) taking credit for $35 million dollars in stimulus highway money. Below is a screen shot:

The $35 million in TIGER highway funds were provided by the stimulus McMorris Rodgers tried to kill. McMorris Rodger’s press release, however, claims she was a “champion” in gaining the funding.
Yesterday, ThinkProgress released a report detailing how over half of the GOP caucus, 110 lawmakers — from the House and Senate — have either taken credit for its success or requested more money from the stimulus. As part of the GOP leadership team, McMorris Rodgers helped corral every single House Republican in voting against the stimulus. She is simply the next lawmaker hypocritically trying to “trash and cash” the bill. LinkHere

British Authorities Summon Israeli Ambassador to Talk About Dubai Hit-Team Probe

Mark Hosenball Feb 17, 2010 05:41 PM
Britain’s Foreign Office announced that it has asked for a meeting tomorrow with Israel’s Ambassador to the U.K. to discuss a delicate subject: the growing international uproar over the mysterious team of assassins that used fraudulent British passports last month in a plot to murder a senior Hamas official.Dubai officials have released pictures, names, and passport numbers of 11 foreigners they say were members of a hit squad that killed Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in his Dubai hotel room on January 19. Six of the passports are British, three Irish, and one each are German and French. More

Latest Drone Strike Targets Haqqani: Officials Say It's Not Clear if Powerful Taliban Leader Was Hit

Newsweek Feb 18, 2010 02:22 PM
By Sami Yousafzai, Mark Hosenball, and Michael HirshIn the latest of a flurry of moves against top Taliban leaders in recent weeks, U.S. unmanned aircraft launched a strike Thursday against a convoy of vehicles believed to be carrying Sirajuddin Haqqani, the powerful leader of Pakistani Taliban forces in eastern Afghanistan, where American casualties have been highest.U.S. and Pakistani officials say they don’t have confirmation that Haqqani was actually in one of the vehicles that was struck, but initial intelligence reports indicate that he might have been. “He was targeted as part of a strike, and we think he might have been hit, but I’m waiting for the DNA tests. We’ve been trying to kill him for a long time, and he’s escaped before,” a senior Pakistani official told NEWSWEEK. A Taliban official in the region said he too believes that Haqqani was the target of the strike, but “whether or not he was in the car is not clear yet.” There were reports that two missiles had been fired; one at a compound, another at a vehicle. More

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Glenn Beck runs without ads in UK — for four straight days, activists say

An American political advocacy group aimed at empowering black voices in politics announced Tuesday that the British broadcast of Fox News' Glenn Beck show was forced to run without any paid advertisers last week after the last of the program's corporate sponsors bailed.
"With the latest group of defections from Beck's overseas broadcast, Fox News Channel was forced to fill commercial breaks with news headlines and local weather updates from its U.K.-based sister network, Sky News, instead of paid advertisements," the website StopBeck.com announced. The site is a project of ColorOfChange.org.
Beck's broadcast has been beset by advertising woes since the controversial Fox host declared that President Barack Obama was a "racist," a remark that set off a flurry of protests. Critics said that Beck's comment was itself racist.
Link Here

Poll: Large majority opposes Supreme Court's decision on campaign financing

Americans of both parties overwhelmingly oppose a Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations and unions to spend as much as they want on political campaigns, and most favor new limits on such spending, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Eight in 10 poll respondents say they oppose the high court's Jan. 21 decision to allow unfettered corporate political spending, with 65 percent "strongly" opposed. Nearly as many backed congressional action to curb the ruling, with 72 percent in favor of reinstating limits.
The poll reveals relatively little difference of opinion on the issue among Democrats (85 percent opposed to the ruling), Republicans (76 percent) and independents (81 percent).
The results suggest a strong reservoir of bipartisan support on the issue for President Obama and congressional Democrats, who are in the midst of crafting legislation aimed at limiting the impact of the high court's decision.
"If there's one thing that Americans from the left, right and center can all agree on, it's that they don't want more special interests in our politics," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is spearheading the legislative effort, said in a statement after the poll was released Wednesday.

Counterterrorism Advisor Slams Congress.

Exclusive: Another Taliban Leader Captured in Pakistan

Newsweek Feb 17, 2010 12:35 PM
By Sami Yousafzai and Mark Hosenball
Another leader of the Afghan Taliban has been captured by authorities in Pakistan working in partnership with U.S. intelligence officials. Taliban sources in the region and a counterterrorism official in Washington have identified the detained insurgent leader as Mullah Abdul Salam, described as the Taliban movement's "shadow governor" of Afghanistan's Kunduz province.
Taliban sources told NEWSWEEK's Sami Yousafzai that Salam was grabbed by Pakistani security forces in the city of Faisalabad about a week ago—close to the same time that Pakistani forces, again with American support, captured the Afghan Taliban's No.2 leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in Karachi. The Taliban sources said that Mullah Salam was arrested with three other militants.

Taliban Promotion Scorecard: Who Will Replace Mullah Baradar?

Newsweek Feb 16, 2010 05:34 PM
By Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff
The capture last week of Mullah Baradar Akhund, the Taliban's No. 2 leader, is expected to spark a leadership reshuffle within the organization's Afghan branch. One jihadist who could step up to take Baradar's place: Mullah Abdul Qayam Zakir, a ruthless former Guantánamo detainee released back to Afghanistan by the Bush administration.
According to two U.S. counterterrorism officials, who asked for anonymity when speaking about sensitive information, the early assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies is that Baradar is likely to be succeeded not by Zakir but by Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansur. An Afghan aviation minister when the Taliban controlled the country prior to 2001, Mansur was listed in official U.S. intelligence files last year as a principal deputy to Mullah Baradar.

GOP Recovery Act Hypocrits

Today marks the one year anniversary of President Obama signing into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus. As the economy continued to crater after President Bush left office, Obama’s stimulus sought to provide tax cuts for 95% of working Americans, funds to buoy cash-strapped state governments, new construction and infrastructure projects, and other programs to create jobs, retrain workers, and promote economic activity throughout the country. In December, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the stimulus had successfully created up to 1.6 million jobs, and today, a report shows the Recovery Act will ultimately create 2.5 million jobs. Even the conservative American Enterprise Institute found that the stimulus had boosted the U.S. economy by 4 percent.
House Republican leaders have fought to maintain partisan unity in their effort to kill the stimulus. And they were largely successful. Every single Republican in the House and every single Republican in the Senate — with the exception of Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), and then-Republican Sen. Arlen Specter — voted against the Recovery Act. By drawing a sharp distinction between Obama and the GOP, Republican leaders gambled on casting the stimulus as a failure in order to win elections in 2010. In a coordinated effort, Republicans have used every opportunity to attack the stimulus for allegedly failing to create “a single job.”
Last month, President Obama admonished Republicans for going to “ribbon cuttings for the same projects that you voted against.” It’s true: Last year, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) appeared at a ribbon cutting event for GetAbout Columbia’s MKT Plaza, a pedestrian walking and recreation area funded by the stimulus. (See picture at top right.)
ThinkProgress has investigated opponents of the Recovery Act, reporting throughout the year that many of the lawmakers who tried to kill the legislation have been returning to their home states to claim credit for popular stimulus programs. In a new research report, ThinkProgress finds that over half of the GOP caucus, 110 lawmakers — from the House and Senate — are guilty of stimulus hypocrisy.
Among some of the key findings:

Stimulus Skirmish

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DNC Chair Tim Kaine on 2010

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Legslative Tyranny

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Knee-Jerk Obama Hypocracy

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wall St. Helped to Mask Debts Shaking Europe

Source: NYT
Wall Street tactics akin to the ones that fostered subprime mortgages in America have worsened the financial crisis shaking Greece and undermining the euro by enabling European governments to hide their mounting debts.

As worries over Greece rattle world markets, records and interviews show that with Wall Street’s help, the nation engaged in a decade-long effort to skirt European debt limits. One deal created by Goldman Sachs helped obscure billions in debt from the budget overseers in Brussels.
Even as the crisis was nearing the flashpoint, banks were searching for ways to help Greece forestall the day of reckoning. In early November — three months before Athens became the epicenter of global financial anxiety — a team from Goldman Sachs arrived in the ancient city with a very modern proposition for a government struggling to pay its bills, according to two people who were briefed on the meeting.

It had worked before. In 2001, just after Greece was admitted to Europe’s monetary union, Goldman helped the government quietly borrow billions, people familiar with the transaction said. That deal, hidden from public view because it was treated as a currency trade rather than a loan, helped Athens to meet Europe’s deficit rules while continuing to spend beyond its means.

We Do Not Torture

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