Dispatches > News

Obama's (other) war

"Obama's (other) war" Continued...

Issue: "Focus on Mitt Romney," July 16, 2011

Avoiding collapse

Facing rioters in the streets but even more daunting balance sheets, Greek lawmakers on June 29 voted for a $40 billion package of tax hikes, spending cuts, and asset sales. "We must avoid the country's collapse at all costs," said Prime Minister George Papandreou prior to the vote. "Now is not the time to step back."

Christine Lagarde, who took over as managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on June 28, had insisted that passage of the "austerity" package was necessary for the near-bankrupt Greece to receive new emergency loans. The agency's board reportedly selected Lagarde, 55, a lawyer who had been the finance minister of France, because of her reputation as a skilled negotiator and the perceived need for a European to lead the IMF as it deals with debt crises in Europe. A poll for the Ethnos newspaper suggests that, despite the sound and fury in Greek streets, most Greeks agree with Lagarde that austerity measures are inevitable.

Pay up

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a controversial organization that federal prosecutors have linked to the terrorist group Hamas, lost its tax-exempt status with the IRS after failing to file tax forms (990s) for three years in a row. CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper called the loss of tax-exempt status a "technical paperwork issue" that "should be resolved shortly." But CAIR has not been able to produce current financial reports, documents that are supposed to be publicly available. About 275,000 nonprofits lost their tax-exempt status for failing to file 990s, but Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., in a letter to the IRS, cited concern that CAIR "may be soliciting-and receiving-funds from state sponsors of terror." The FBI cut ties with CAIR in 2009 after the trial that convicted U.S. fundraisers for Hamas listed CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator.


Violence against prominent Chinese human-rights activist Chen Guangcheng didn't end with his release from prison last year. Now under house arrest, the blind attorney-who spent four years in prison in part for drawing attention to forced late-term abortions in Shandong Province-has been beaten to unconsciousness. ChinaAid published a letter in June from Guangcheng's wife describing a ruthless attack by security forces guarding their home: "Because Guangcheng is weak after suffering diarrhea for a long time, he lacked the strength to struggle, and after this continued for over two hours Guangcheng blacked out." News of the attack follows months of intense government crackdown against human-rights activists and Christians.


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