Friday, October 30, 2009

Consumer confidence slips unexpectedly

Americans still worried about jobs; home prices rise for third month

CHICAGO - Americans' confidence about the U.S. economy fell unexpectedly in October as job prospects remained bleak, a private research group said Tuesday, fueling speculation that an already gloomy holiday shopping forecast could worsen.

The Consumer Confidence Index, released by The Conference Board, sank unexpectedly to 47.7 in October — its second-lowest reading since May.

Forecasters predicted a higher reading of 53.1.

A reading above 90 means the economy is on solid footing. Above 100 signals strong growth.

The index has seesawed since reaching a historic low of 25.3 in February and climbed to 53.4 in September.

Economists watch consumer confidence because spending on goods and services by Americans accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity by federal measures. While the reading doesn't always predict short-term spending, it's a helpful barometer of spending levels over time, especially for expensive, big-ticket items.

Recent economic data, from housing to manufacturing, has offered mixed signals but some evidence that an economic recovery might be slow.

But on Tuesday, the figures showed that shoppers have a grim outlook for the future, The Conference Board said, expecting a worsening business climate, fewer jobs and lower salaries. That's particularly bad news for retailers who depend on the holiday shopping season for a hefty share of their annual revenue.

"Consumers also remain quite pessimistic about their future earnings, a sentiment that will likely constrain spending during the holidays," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center.

Economists expect holiday sales to be at best flat from a year ago, which saw the biggest declines since at least 1967 when the Commerce Department started collecting the data.

The Consumer Confidence Index survey, which was sent to 5,000 households, had a cutoff date of Oct. 21.

The news came on the heels of rosier data about the nation's housing market.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index, which studies real estate transactions in 20 major cities, showed home prices rose in August, the third straight monthly increase and a sign that a housing recovery might be taking hold.

The measure showed the home price index climbed 1 percent from July to a seasonally adjusted reading of 144.5. While prices are down 11.4 percent from August a year ago, the annual declines have slowed since February.

Prices are at levels not seen since August 2003 and have fallen almost 30 percent from the peak in May 2006.

The latest index shows a widespread turnaround with prices rising month-over-month in 15 metro areas since June.

The Dow Jones industrials wavered on the dueling reports, but the index was up 65 points to 9,933 in midmorning trading.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

New jobless claims climb more than expected

WASHINGTON - The number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week, after falling in five of the past six weeks, as employers remain reluctant to hire even with the economy showing signs of recovery.

The Labor Department said Thursday that new jobless claims rose to a seasonally adjusted 531,000 last week, from an upwardly revised 520,000 the previous week. Wall Street economists had expected only a slight increase, according to Thomson Reuters.

Economists closely watch initial claims, which are considered a gauge of layoffs and an indication of companies' willingness to hire new workers.

The four-week average of claims, which smooths out fluctuations, fell slightly to 532,250, the lowest since mid-January and about 125,000 below the peak for the recession, reached this spring. But claims remain well above the 325,000 that economists say is consistent with a healthy economy.

The number of people continuing to claim benefits did drop for the fifth straight week to 5.9 million, from just over 6 million. The figures on continuing claims lag initial claims by a week.

Many recipients are moving onto extended benefit programs approved by Congress in response to the recession, which began in December 2007 and is the worst since the 1930s. Those extensions add up to 53 weeks of benefits on top of the 26 typically provided by the states.

When those programs are included, the total number of recipients dropped to 8.8 million in the week ending Oct. 3, the latest data available, down about 50,000 from the previous week. That decline is likely due to recipients running out of benefits, rather than finding jobs, economists say.

Many analysts expect the economy grew as much as 3 percent in the July-September quarter, but employers are reluctant to hire as they wait to see if such growth can be maintained.

The unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent in September from 9.7 percent, the department said earlier this month, as employers cut 263,000 jobs. The recession has eliminated a net total of 7.2 million jobs.

More job cuts were announced this week. Sun Microsystems Inc. said it plans to eliminate up to 3,000 jobs, or 10 percent of its worldwide work force, as it awaits a takeover by Oracle Corp., a deal being held up by antitrust regulators in Europe.

Among the states, Florida had the largest increase in claims, with 9,976, which it attributed to layoffs in the construction, service, manufacturing and agriculture industries. New York, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Arkansas had the next largest increases. The state data lag initial claims by one week.

California reported the largest drop in claims, down 7,062, which it attributed to fewer layoffs in the construction, service, and manufacturing industries. Tennessee, Maine and Nebraska also reported decreases.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

New home sales take surprise tumble

Effect of the soon-to-expire, first-time buyer tax credit begins to fade

WASHINGTON - Sales of new homes dropped unexpectedly last month as the effects of a temporary tax credit for first-time owners started to wane.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that sales fell 3.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 402,000 from a downwardly revised 417,000 in August. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected a pace of 440,000.

It was the first decline since March. Sales in September were off 7.8 percent from a year ago. Despite the surprising decline, the market is up 22 percent from the bottom in January, though down more than 70 percent from the peak in July 2005.

The median sales price of $204,800 was off 9.1 percent from $225,200 a year earlier, but up 2.5 percent from August's $199,900.

The drop in sales was driven by a nearly 11 percent decline in the West and a 10 percent drop in the South. Sales rose 35 percent in the Midwest and were unchanged in the Northeast.

The report reflects contracts to buy homes, not completed sales. It has been taking longer to close a transaction this year because it's taking longer to get approved for a mortgage and to have a property appraised.

Those time lags could make buyers nervous they won't be able to complete the deal before the Nov. 30 deadline to take advantage of a tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time buyers.

The report "demonstrates the power of the first-time homebuyers tax credit," said Bernard Markstein, senior economist with the National Association of Home Builders, which has been lobbying Congress to extend and expand the tax incentive. "We just haven't gotten the economy back to the point where we can step back and say the housing market doesn't need any more support."

Congress is considering extending the tax credit through March 31 and gradually phasing it out over the rest of next year. "If they don't extend it, then I think the pullback could be quite significant," said Brad Hunter, chief economist with Metrostudy, a real estate research firm.

Critics, however, say many buyers would have entered the market anyway and call the credit an unnecessary subsidy for people who don't need it.

Low mortgage rates, the tax credit and more affordably priced homes have provided a big lift to the housing market this year. Sales of previously occupied homes, for example, jumped more than 9 percent in September. That report measures completed sales rather than sales agreements.

There were 251,000 new homes for sale at the end of September, down almost 4 percent from August and the lowest inventory in nearly 27 years. At the current sales pace, that represents 7.5 months of supply.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No jobs= No recovery

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Turkey to use national currencies in trade with Iran, China

ANKARA, October 28 (RIA Novosti) - Turkey is switching to national currencies in trade with Iran and China, ending dependence on the U.S. dollar and the euro for about 20% of its commodity turnover, local media reported on Wednesday.

Turkey has already switched to settlements in national currencies with Russia amid weakening confidence in the greenback as the world's major reserve currency. The move was initiated by Turkish President Abdullah Gul during his visit to Moscow in February.

Turkey's decision to make settlements with Iran and China in national currencies was announced during a visit to Iran by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish premier told a Turkish-Iranian business forum on Tuesday that the countries had prepared a legal framework for transition to settlements in national currencies.

"We have adopted a necessary legislative act and are prepared for the transition," the Turkish newspaper Milliyet quoted Erdogan as saying.

According to the paper, Turkey's trade with Russia, Iran and China exceeds $65 billion a year. Russia is Turkey's largest trade partner, with $37.8 billion commodity turnover registered last year.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on October 14 that Russia was ready to consider using the Russian and Chinese national currencies instead of the dollar in bilateral oil and gas dealings.

"We are ready to examine the possibility of selling energy resources for rubles, but our Chinese partners need rubles for that. We are also ready to sell for yuans," Putin said.

Britain's Independent newspaper reported in early October that Russian officials had held "secret meetings" with Arab states, China and France on ending the use of the U.S. dollar in international oil trade.

The countries are reportedly seeking to switch from the dollar to a basket of currencies including the euro, Japanese yen, Chinese yuan, gold, and a new unified currency of leading Arab oil producing countries.

The Independent said the meetings have been confirmed by Chinese and Arab banking sources, although Russian officials said they had no knowledge of the talks.

"Money Multipliers Have Collapsed Everywhere...Confidence Is Missing. I Don't See Any Way To Stabilise M3 In Such Circumstances"

Former officials are often more honest than current ones, since they aren't under pressure to spread happy talk.

Former European Central Bank chief economist Otmar Issing recently said what current officials aren't addressing:

Nobody can be sure that we have a self-sustaining recovery. The challenges facing the ECB are tremendous. "Money multipliers have collapsed everywhere. What M3 is telling us is that confidence is missing. I don't see any way to stabilise M3 in such circumstances.

As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard notes:

Data from the European Central Bank shows that the M3 broad money supply has contracted over the last six months, confounding expectations that ultra-low interest rates would soon boost monetary growth. Loans to the private sector fell 0.3pc from a year earlier, the first such decline since the data started in 1983.

The M3 figures include a wide range of bank accounts...

The picture is even starker in America where M3 has shrunk at an annual rate of 6.5pc over the last three months, a pace of contraction not seen since the 1930s. US bank loans have plummeted since May.
(While the Fed stopped reporting M3 in 2006, people are still tracking it).

How can M3 have collapsed when governments world-wide are printing money faster than IHOP can cook pancakes?

Well, professor Tim Congdon from International Monetary Research says:
A key reason for credit contraction is pressure on banks to raise their capital ratios... "The current drive to make banks less leveraged and safer is having the perverse consequence of destroying money balances," he said. "It strengthens the deflationary forces in the world economy. That increases the risks of a double-dip recession in 2010."
But isn't it good that governments are requiring banks to raise their capital rations?

Sure, but unless they force the banks to write off their bad debts, they will remain giant black holes, and will never be adequately capitalized. If they are never adequately capitalized, they will never release money out into the economy through loans and other economic activity which increases M3.

As just one example, remember that the nominative amount of outsanding derivatives dwarfs the size of the global economy. As another example, remember that several of the too big to fails have close to a trillion dollars each in toxic assets in off-book SIVs.

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn says that the history of financial crises shows that "speedy recovery" depends on "cleansing banks' balance sheets of toxic assets". "The message of all financial crises is that policy-makers' priority must be to stop the quantity of money falling and, ideally, to get it rising again," he said.

As many people have repeatedly written (including me), the world's governments must restore sound economic fundamentals - which includes forcing banks to write down their bad assets - instead of cranking up the printing presses and trying to paper over all of the problems.

Moreover, as Mish, Michael Rivero, and many others have pointed out, governments can create all the credit they want, but if people do not have jobs, they will not borrow that money.

In addition, the amount of credit and wealth destroyed exceeds the amount of money pumped into the system.

When will the politicians listen? Will they wait until after the next huge market crash? When there are tent cities everywhere? After their governments default and they essentially lose sovereignty under "austerity measures" imposed by the IMF, World Bank or other agency?










(美國)加州州長阿諾舒華辛力加早前去信民主黨州議員安米亞諾,否決他提出的法案。但信中暗藏密碼,只要把左邊每行第一個字母打直讀,竟然是粗口“I Fxxx You”。



























































Death stats for US

Check this link .....

Cluster Bomb Trade Funded by World's Biggest Banks

HSBC earned more than £650m in fees from work for Textron, US manufacturer of cluster weapons

The deadly trade in cluster bombs is funded by the world's biggest banks who have loaned or arranged finance worth $20bn (£12.5bn) to firms producing the controversial weapons, despite growing international efforts to ban them.

HSBC, led by ordained Anglican priest Stephen Green, has profited more than any other institution from companies that manufacture cluster bombs. The British bank, based at Canary Wharf, has earned a total of £657.3m in fees arranging bonds and share offerings for Textron, which makes cluster munitions described by the US company as "leaving a clean battlefield".

Campaigners maintain the deadly weapons can explode years after combat, killing or maiming innocent people.

HSBC will face protests outside its London headquarters today. Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan and UK-based Barclays Bank are also named among the worst banks in a detailed 126-page report by Dutch and Belgian campaign groups IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen.

Goldman Sachs, the US bank which made £3.19bn proft in just three months, earned $588.82m for bank services and lent $250m to Alliant Techsystems and Textron.

Of the banks named, only Barclays was prepared to comment. It said: "Barclays group provides financial services to the defence sector within a specific policy framework. It is our policy not to finance trade in nuclear, chemical, biological or other weapons of mass destruction.

"Our policy also explicitly prohibits financing trade in landmines, cluster bombs or any equipment designed to be used as an instrument of torture." A spokeswoman added that Barclays had supplied money to Textron, which makes cluster bombs, but that the US firm was a broad-based weapons manufacturer.

Last December 90 countries, including the UK, committed themselves to banning cluster bombs by next year. But the US was not one of them. So far 23 countries have ratified the convention. The UK has yet to do so, but the Foreign Office confirmed that it would form part of the government's legislative programme before the next election.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the tightest export control order had been placed on cluster bombs, which extended to banks supplying money to manufacturers. The government was aware the control order was not working and "is working on it".

Esther Vandenbroucke, of Netwerk Vlaanderen and one of the report's authors, said: "The responsibility to ban cluster munitions is a shared responsibility. It requires courage, and it requires an effort. We are just months away from an international treaty entering into force and it is time for signatory states to the Convention on Cluster Munitions for non-signatory states and for financial institutions to act now."

Last December, the New Zealand government's pension fund sold shares in Lockheed Martin because of its link to the manufacture of cluster bombs. Similar actions have been taken by the Irish and Dutch governments.

Millions of people will be endangered by up to tens of millions of cluster bomblets that have not yet exploded, causing lasting economic and social harm to communities in more than 20 countries for decades to come, campaigners have warned. The vast majority of cluster bomb casualties occur while victims are carrying on their daily lives.

On Monday, a Lebanese 20-year-old man had his leg amputated after a cluster bomb exploded in southern Lebanon Houla village. A security source said he was collecting wood in his border village when the explosion occurred.

The Israeli army made extensisve use of cluster bombs during the war in south Lebanon three years ago. Cluster bombs were most recently used by both the Georgians and the Russians in the dispute over South Ossetia. They were also used in the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions.

by Nick Mathiason

Shot Fired Into Home of Lou Dobbs of CNN!

Check this link ......

Merck Scientist Admits Cancer & AIDS Came From Vaccines

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Ron Paul - Sanctions on Iran are an Act of War!

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Cash for Clunkers: Good for dealers, automakers, bad for taxpayers

Car sales and research site estimated today that each new car sold under the Cash for Clunkers government subsidy program cost the American taxpayers more than $24,000.

Edmunds estimated that 82 percent of vehicle sales during the program would have happened anyway (then or at some point in the near future), so the program only enticed about 18 percent of the buyers who participated in the program, which moved 690,000 new vehicles off the lots of very relieved dealers.

This means that the much-touted government program only got 125,000 new vehicles on the road than already would have gotten there without a government subsidy.

Edmunds' math goes like this: 690,000 vehicles sold with the $4,500 subsidy during the program divided by 125,000 new vehicles equals more than $24,000 for each new vehicle, or the amount ponied up by the American taxpayer.

So, if you bought a new vehicle during the program, go to each of your neighbors and thank them. Even though they didn't know they were helping you.

'Hummer Rabbi' who tortured kids expelling demons extradited

Check this link ........

China TV centre 'safe' after fire

A landmark building in central Beijing will not have to be pulled down following a fire earlier this year, according to the architect.

The hotel, part of the new headquarters for China's national broadcaster, CCTV, was severely damaged in a blaze started by fireworks.

Rumours suggested the fire could have undermined the whole 5bn yuan ($730m, £450m) broadcast centre project.

But the man in charge of the scheme said the luxury hotel can be repaired.

Unapproved fireworks

The project is being built by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, based in the Netherlands, for China Central Television (CCTV).

It consists of two main buildings, one housing the hotel, the other will become CCTV's new production and broadcast centre.

Firefighters try to put out the fire at the unfinished Mandarin Hotel in Beijing
The fireworks party at CCTV quickly got out of control

"The preliminary findings are that the building can be repaired," said architect Ole Scheeren, the building project's leader.

"It's still intact and safe. There will mainly be a repair effort, but not a complete rebuilding."

He also said rumours that the hotel shared the same foundations as the broadcast centre were false.

"I think it's very important to dispel this kind of story that the two buildings are connected and one depends on the other. That's absolutely not true," he said.

The 241-room hotel, which was due to be run by the Mandarin Oriental group, was set alight by an unapproved fireworks display in February.

CCTV had hired a company to set off hundreds of top -grade fireworks outside the hotel to mark the end of the Chinese New Year.

Shows using these types of fireworks are banned in Beijing without police approval. CCTV did not get approval, and even ignored official warnings to cancel the show.

The fire lit up the night sky over Beijing and one firefighter died trying to put it out.

Twelve people, including the former head of CCTV's construction office, were arrested in connection with the fire.

The project was due to be completed by 2010.

By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing

Passport with 9/11 suspect's name found in Pakistan

Sherwangei, Pakistan (CNN) -- A passport bearing the name of Said Bahaji, a suspect linked to the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, has been found in a town captured by the Pakistani military.

The passport was found in South Waziristan, where the Pakistani military has been battling to wrest territory from the Taliban in Pakistan. It contained a Pakistani visa issued in August 2001 showing that the bearer entered Pakistan on September 4, 2001, and appeared unusually new for a document eight years old.

CNN has not independently confirmed its authenticity.

Bahaji is suspected of having fled Germany for Pakistan on September 3, 2001, after receiving a tip that the attacks were imminent.

The photo in the passport resembles images of Bahaji posted on Interpol's Web site. It shows a clean-cut man wearing a red sweater.

Bahaji, 34, is alleged to have been a member of the Hamburg, Germany-based cell that provided money to the hijackers who carried out the September 11 attacks, which killed about 3,000 people.

He is wanted in Germany and Spain on terrorism charges, according to Interpol.

A U.S. counterterrorism official said only that Bahaji is a senior propagandist for al Qaeda who had ties to some of the September 11 hijackers and is very much of interest to the United States.

He lived with one of the leaders of the hijackers, Mohammed Atta, in Germany before the attacks, according to the September 11 report. He is a German citizen of Moroccan descent.

CNN's Reza Sayah saw the passport and another one from Spain along with other documents during a trip to South Waziristan for journalists run by the Pakistani military. It was the first time the army had taken journalists to the region since the offensive against the Taliban began on October 17th, he said.

The army showed journalists a pile of documents that they said they had seized.

Among the papers was the German passport in Bahaji's name, which included his signature and a photo of him in a red shirt.

Pakistani military spokesman Gen. Athar Abbas was not aware of the passport until reporters asked him about it.

300 days

Palestinian equal rights joins the progressive agenda on ‘The Daily Show’

Exclusive – Anna Baltzer & Mustafa Barghouti Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show
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The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive – Anna Baltzer & Mustafa Barghouti Extended Interview Pt. 2
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As I entered the television studio, Aerosmith was blaring over speakers and the familiar set of The Daily Show stood empty. As can be expected, it looked much smaller in person, but everyone was excited regardless. A mixture of tourists, students and others filed in around an hour before shooting was to start. I noticed there were a few keffiyeh’s wrapped around some shoulders, a couple "Shalom" pins, and one cowboy hat covered in a huge Code Pink anti-war sticker. This was because of tonight’s guests – Dr. Mustafa Barghouti and Anna Baltzer. We were there to watch the struggle for Palestinian equal rights go prime time.

Throughout the day I had been hearing through the grapevine that The Daily Show was having second thoughts about doing the show as they had been getting pressure to cancel it. I sat towards the front, all the way to the left of the stage. In front of me was a pretty glamourous trio of three young people. The man directly in front of me wore his hair slicked back and a tailored black suit, while the woman he came in with was wrapped in a faux fur jacket that they promised wouldn’t bite. The third guy in their party had a shaved head and I noticed his jeans had a patch with an Israeli flag on it. In the pre-show tension it stood out, but it was the kind of thing you see everyday.

Slowly the studio filled up, and a warm up comedian came out to get the crowd going. Soon thereafter, Jon Stewart came out himself to take some pre-show questions. He seems to be as naturally funny as he appears on the show, and he answered questions about whether he had ever done the show stoned (no answer), or if Comedy Central ever exerts editorial control over the show (answer: Have you seen the things they show on this network?). Then the last question: "Jon, what do you think about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict?" He kind of rolled his eyes, as if to say here we go, and said that this show had been different than shows in the past because they usually have to wait until after the show to get calls complaining, but this time the calls started beforehand. He said whenever he gets calls about Israel/Palestine, from either side, he treats them like calls from his grandmother (and he mimicked holding the phone away from his ear as he went about his business). The crowd laughed. It was time to start the show.

The first two segments of the show were classic Daily Show. The first dealt with the health care debate and how the single payer option refuses to die. The crowd went wild as Stewart eviscerated Fox’s slanted coverage, and the Democrats mealy response to the progressive groundswell. The bit ended with an extended joke at Joe Lieberman’s expense where the crowd booed his name and the howled at Stewart’s droopy dog impersonation. The second segment featured contributor John Hodgeman (of mac/pc commercial fame) doing a parody of a corporate idea man who is looking to rehabilitate the country’s CEO’s as their popularity continues to plummet during the recession. Pitchforks were out as corporations continue to avoid accountability and get one over on taxpayers through government bailouts. All in all, both were a near perfect reflection of a progressive base in the US frustrated by Obama and raring for a fight.

Finally, it was time for the Barghouti/Baltzer interview. Until I saw them walking on stage I expected that it would be canceled and we’d get some last minute fill in instead, but there they were. The interview ran nearly 15 minutes and it was clear it would have to be edited down to air it. The full interview is posted above, and it is well worth watching the whole thing. Right off the bat it was clear this would be a historic moment:

Baltzer: "We’re part of a large movement of Palestinian and Jews working together. This is not new or novel."

Barghouti: "Jewish Americans have been in the avant garde struggling for justice, in this country at least, and for democracy and in this particular case it is just normal that people like Anna are with us because we are struggling for liberty, we’re struggling for freedom, we’re struggling for justice."

Then, as Dr. Barghouti said that Palestinians have been subjected to a system of segregation, the man with slicked back hair sitting directly in front of me pulled a Joe Wilson and yelled "Liar!" (it’s at 1:49 of the first part of the interview).

Dr. Barghouti was unfazed and explained his reason for working with Anna – "It’s just natural to have an alliance of people who believe in the same values." He returned to this theme of values several times and applause grew every time. He finally made it clear what the Palestinians are calling for – equal rights.

Over the next few minutes he mentioned the names of leaders in whose footsteps he’s following – Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. With each passing mention the trio in front of me squirmed in their seats, and most of the rest of the audience grew more excited.

I think Stewart did a reasonable job with the interview. Although the version that ran on air made it look like he dominated the conversation, in fact he gave the speakers plenty of time to make their points. When he gave them the obligatory question on Israel’s security, Baltzer hit it out of the park:

There is nothing defensive about denying Palestinians water. There is nothing defensive about preventing people from having materials to build their homes. So many of the institutions that I understood to be defensive cannot be justified by security anymore. Building a wall between Palestinians and Palestinians?

This was too much for "Slick" in front of me to take, and he burst out again. You can hear him in the background at 7:47 of the first clip. He was escorted from the studio at 8:11 where he was belittled by Stewart ("Bye sir, you can, uh, certainly visit our sedar"). The crowd laughed and cheered as he was led away, and his faux fur clad friend was truly perplexed both by what Baltzer was saying ("Why is she saying that? What is she saying?"), as well as the crowd’s overwhelming support for the speakers.

I don’t want to recount the whole interview, you can watch it. I have to say, I was blown away. Although I was laughing out loud for the first two segments, I was on the verge of tears throughout the interview. Here was a Palestinian leader demanding equal rights and an anti-Zionist Jew calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel towards peace on The Daily Show and they were being applauded, while the traditional pro-Israel hasbara was being shown the door.

Palestinian equal rights was placed directly next to health care and the economy on The Daily Show’s progressive agenda and the audience was totally along for the ride. I could hardly believe my eyes, and yet it made perfect sense at the same time. Who can argue that it is necessary to deny people water? Who can argue against equal rights? The answer is increasingly no one, and if The Daily Show’s audience is any indication, the next generation will be leading this fight in a much different direction.