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Iran has frozen bank accounts belonging to a former Afghan warlord suspected of joining forces with Taleban and al-Qaeda militants, the UN says. The chairman of one of the UN's sanction committees says Iran has frozen "considerable assets" under the control of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. His Hezb-e-Islami group is suspected of carrying out attacks on foreign and Afghan forces in Afghanistan. Iran has also apprehended a number of al-Qaeda operatives, Mr. Munoz says. However, he did not give the names of those arrested or the amount of assets frozen. [More>>BBC.co.uk]
This story involves the question whether a foreign nation's courts can preside over the domestic courts of another nation. Daniel Guilleau, a prominent French legal expert, says the Houston court blatantly interfered in Russian domestic affairs with its verdict on the Yukos case. The Houston verdict has no legal force in Russia, but there are concerns that the decision can enable seizure of Yukos assets in the US (if there are any) and may foster a reluctance in future American investment in Russian companies. Guilleau says the Houston verdict does not comply with International legal norms and encroaches on Russia's sovereignty. [More>>rian.ru]
12.18.04 War crimes trials begin with Chemical Ali
BAGHDAD, Dec. 18 War crimes trials against Saddam Hussein and his closest lieutenants moved forward on Saturday when his feared cousin known as "Chemical Ali" was the first to face a formal interview with the chief investigating magistrate. The trial is in its investigative phase, after which it will proceed to the formal hearing. [More>>Reuters]
12.18.04 Gaddafi waiting for Bush to fulfill promise
The Jerusalem Post obtained a copy of an interview to be aired on Italian TV of Libya's Col. Muammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi complains that he gave up his nuclear weapons program in exchange for forthcoming rewards promised by President Bush that never came. "What kind of example does this set for Korea and Iran?" he asks. He addresses the issue of Palestine and Israel, saying that the land between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea is not big enough to support two countries even if they are friends. He argues that they have to learn to live together as one country. He'd like to be leader of Italy. He says the Italians deserve a true democracy where there are no middlemen, etc. [More>>Jerusalem Post]
12.18.04 Gulf states hold their annual summit next week
The oil-rich Gulf states hold their annual summit next week amid a persistent threat from Islamic militants and growing differences between regional giant Saudi Arabia and its smaller neighbors. Leaders of the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, who will convene in Bahrain Dec. 20-21, are also expected to focus on developments in Iraq where landmark elections next month are set to empower the country's long oppressed Shiite majority, reinforcing the influence of Shiite Iran.
Kaleem Omar reports that the Bush administration spent $65 million to fund presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko's campaign. The money, according to US officials, is part of the $1 billion the State Department spends each year trying "to build democracy worldwide." An Associated Press news agency report quotes US officials as saying that no US money was sent directly to Ukrainian political parties. In most cases it was funneled through organizations like the Carnegie Foundation or through groups aligned with Republicans or Democrats that organized election training, with human rights forums or with independent news outlets, the report says.
GENEVA, Dec. 17 The United Nations said on Friday it recently found a bugging device at its European headquarters in Geneva. The device was about 3 to 4 years old and contained parts of Russian and/or Eastern European origin. It was found in the Salon Français (French Hall). The spacious room, with a high ceiling and fancy mirror on one wall, was used by a French delegation during a meeting of foreign ministers in September 2003 from Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States to discuss Iraq, the diplomat said. Franceıs President Jacques Chirac also used the room, which is next door to the main Council Chamber where top-level discussions are held, in January when he met his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to discuss famine. The French diplomat, however, dismissed the notion that France had been the target of the listening device, noting that whoever put it there had probably been more interested in UN discussions between New York and Geneva. The Salon Français is often reserved for bilateral meetings between all of the countries because it is the most beautiful room in the "Palais des Nations" the name of the UNıs Geneva headquarters the diplomat said. [More>>jang.com.pk]
Dec. 17 Amy Goodman and Juan Ganzalez interview Aidan Delgado, an army reservist who was enlisting on 9/11, at the moment planes were crashing into the World Trade Center. After arriving in Iraq he filed for Conscientious Objector status and then was reassigned to Abu Ghraib in the Motor Pool. At Abu Ghraib he was also assigned communications duties, through which he came to witness abuse and killings. This is a portion of the interview:
The interview is well worth reading and is at democracynow.org.
BEIJING, Dec 16 China assured Pakistan on Thursday of greater defence cooperation, especially in the supply of military hardware. Briefing newsmen on his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Great Hall of the People , Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said he also had an important meeting with the Chinese defence minister.
12.17.04 Turkey agrees to recognize Cyprus' Greek-led government
Mark Oliver reports: "EU and Turkish leaders struck a deal today on the vexed question of Turkish recognition of Cyprus that had threatened to derail its membership talks. The Turkish prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, said Ankara would sign an accord extending its existing trade agreement with the EU to the bloc's 10 newest members, including Cyprus.
WASHINGTON. Dec. 17 President Bush signed legislation today overhauling the nation's intelligence operations and warned that the United States continues to face new threats from terrorists of "stateless networks" and "killers who hide in our own cities."
12.17.04 Crystal Cathedral conductor kills himself
GARDEN GROVE, Calif., Dec. 17 (AP) The Crystal Cathedral, a huge, sprawling structure of glass and steel not far from Disneyland, is home to the Rev. Robert Schuller's international Crystal Cathedral Ministries and claims a congregation of more than 10,000 members. The internationally televised "Hour of Power" is broadcast from there. As the congregation prepared for a Christmas pageant, Conductor Johnnie Carl, 57, had barricaded himself in a bathroom and shot himself. Four shots were fired at the end of a nine-hour standoff between him and police. No one was hit from his gunfire. [More>>http://www.abcnews.go.com]
12.17.04 23 year-old mother murdered, fetus removed from her body
SKIDMORE, Mo. Dec. 17 Authorities looking for an infant cut from the womb of its mother expanded their search outside of Missouri on Friday as they maintained hope the baby might still be alive. The search for the baby started after a 23-year-old woman who was eight months pregnant was killed Thursday and the fetus was taken from her body, authorities said. Sheriff's deputies were investigating the afternoon killing of Bobbie Jo Stinnett and they were searching for the baby, who they believe could have survived. [More>>thebostonchannel.com via topix.net]
12.17.04 Antigovernment feeling running high in Uzbekistan
ANKARA, 17 December (IRIN) - This week in Central Asia the BBC reported that anti-government feeling is still running high in Uzbekistan's markets and bazaars after an unprecedented outbreak of violence in the republic last month. In early November, merchants in the Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan's most populous region, set fire to cars and chased customs police out of bazaars after officials tried to impose a series of new trading restrictions.
MOSCOW, Dec. 17 The auction of Yukos' major production unit Yuganskneftegaz will go ahead as scheduled despite a US court ruling imposing a temporary injunction to block the sale, an official with the Russian Federal Property Fund said Friday. "We are a specialized state agency and act according to Russian law," Alexander Komarov said, adding that the sale would be held on Sunday as planned, the Itar-Tass news agency reported. "We follow decisions made to this day by Russian authorities," he stressed.
Kommersant reports: "Yesterday it was learned that the consortium of creditor banks refused to sign a €10 billion loan agreement with Gazprom for participating in the auction to sell Yuganskneftegaz. The banks, especially the American J.P. Morgan Bank, are awaiting the verdict of the Houston court where YUKOS, the owner of Yuganskneftegaz, has filed for bankruptcy. If the situation with the creditors is not settled today, Gazprom will have to take its chances: it will go to the December 19 auction without guarantees of financing for the future purchase." [More>>kommersant.com]
Jim Lobe collates recent media reports on a possible invasion of Damascus, Syria by the Bush hawks. Bush's Bible-toting saviors of Fallujah seem intent in spreading their message of peace to Damascus. Lobe begins, "Just when it appeared that Syria was complying in earnest with US demands to secure its border with Iraq, and even making unprecedented peace overtures to Israel, key neoconservative opinion shapers are calling on President George W. Bush to take stronger measures against Damascus, possibly including military action. [Article at atimes.com]
The Syrian Foreign Ministry on Thursday dismissed Shaalan's accusations as "baseless." "Syria sees the repeat of fabricated accusations as reflecting the wish of some people to hide the real reasons behind the deterioration of the situation in Iraq, and to mislead the public opinion," the ministry said in Damascus. The ministry said Syria wanted "to work within our capabilities to control the [Syrian-Iraqi] borders" against foreigners trying to infiltrate into Iraq. "We have already declared our readiness to cooperate and coordinate with the interim Iraqi government in this regard and in other security aspects," it said. Iraq's stability is not only in Iraq's interest, "but also in the interest of Syria and the entire region," it said.
Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan Wednesday accused neighboring Iran and Syria of supporting terrorist activities in Iraq ahead of legislative elections. Shaalan, who already accused Tehran of interfering in Iraq's affairs, described Iran as the biggest enemy of Iraq and all the Arabs. [More>>bignewsnetwork] U.S. President George W. Bush warned Iran and Syria Wednesday against "meddling" in Iraq after that country's defense minister accused them of helping insurgents and terrorists spread deadly chaos. [More>>dailystar.com]
Note to file: Subsequent to Shaalan's announcement, President Bush made a similar announcement, and that announcement was replayed 12.19.04 on George Steffanopolis' program.
Washington, Dec. 16 President Bush pledged Wednesday to work with Congress to reduce the governmentıs huge budget deficit as a key step in assuring the world that his administration supports a strong dollar. ³Weıll do everything we can in the upcoming legislative session to send a signal to the markets that weıll deal with our deficit, which, hopefully, will cause people to want to buy dollars,² Bush told reporters. [More>>denverpost.com via topix.net]
HARTFORD, Connecticut, Dec. 16 (AP) A New York City businessman admitted Wednesday to participating in an arms-smuggling ring that shipped missile and fighter jet components from the United States to Israel and possibly on to Iran. Leib Kohn pleaded guilty to conspiracy, admitting only that he knew the weapons parts were bound for Israel. Investigators allege an Israeli arms dealer may have been relaying the equipment to Iran. "At least some of the parts were ultimately destined for Iran," U.S. Attorney Kevin O'Connor said. "We're not in a position to say definitely which parts or whether the parts ultimately made it there." [More>>haaretzdaily.com]
12.16.04 North Korea threatens Japan with war
North Korea provided false information to the Japanese government concerning Japanese kidnapped by North Korea during the Cold War. The Japanese have responded with the threat of sanctions. North Korea responded that if Japan attempts to apply any kind of sanctions it will regard them as acts of war and answer with an effective physical response. The North Korean Foreign Ministry also threatened to try to exclude Japan from six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear arms programs if a provocative campaign under way in Japan against the communist country continued. [More>>bignewsnetwork; see also economist.com]
12.16.04 Pakistan-India nuclear arms talks end with no resolution
ISLAMABAD, Dec. 15 Indo-Pakistan talks on nuclear and conventional confidence-building measures (CBMs) ended here on Tuesday without any tangible outcome despite exhaustive negotiations on formalizing an agreement on pre-notification of missile flight-testing.
Dec. 16 Detaining foreigners without trial under emergency anti-terror powers breaks European human rights legislation, law lords ruled today. A specially-convened committee of nine law lords upheld an appeal by nine foreigners who have been detained without charge or trial, most of them in Belmarsh prison, south-east London, for around three years. [More>>guardian.co.uk]
Howard Kurtz writes: "If Don Rumsfeld has lost Bill Kristol, he's losing his conservative base. Kristol, after all, is a leading foreign-policy hawk. Editor of the Weekly Standard and Fox talking head. Former Republican strategist and White House chief of staff for Dan Quayle. Major backer of the war in Iraq. Which is why the town is buzzing about Kristol's Washington Post op-ed yesterday, in which he called for Rummy to be thrown overboard." [More>>washingtonpost.com]
WASHINGTON (AP) Dec. 16 President Bush said Thursday that "now is the time to confront Social Security" to deal with a projected $3.7 trillion, 75-year shortfall and give younger workers the ability to invest some of their contributions. Bush also promised to send Congress "a tough budget" early next year to hold the line on federal spending. "You will see fiscal discipline exercised inside the Oval Office this coming budget cycle," the president told a White House economic conference. [More>>Freep/AP]
CAIRO, Egypt, Dec. 16 (AP) A man identified as Osama bin Laden, speaking on an audiotape posted on an Islamic Web site today, praised an attack earlier this month on a U.S. consulate in Saudi Arabia and criticized the Saudi regime as weak and controlled by the United States. The voice sounded like the al-Qaida terror chief's, and the tape, which was more than an hour, was posted on a site known as a clearinghouse for militant Islamic comment. The identity of the voice, however, could not be independently confirmed. [More>>latimes.com]
12.16.04 Saddam Hussein visits with lawyer for 4 hours
Saddam Hussein had a four-hour meeting with a lawyer Thursday after judges confirmed that trials of his lieutenants are to open next week, his defence counsel said. [jang.com.pk]
12.16.04 Putin sends President of Finland in circles
In a long-awaited meeting on the Russian-Finnish border, the President of Finland, Tarja Halonen, was kept waiting in the air. Her plane was instructed to land after the President of Russia's plane had landed, and while this would not have been too much of a problem, the fact is Helsinki, Finland and St. Petersberg, Russia are only a few minutes flight-time apart. Russia's President Putin was running about 40 minutes late and thus the protocol required the Finnish president to wait in the air for 40 minutes until Putin's plane had landed. Halonen was more concerned, however, about Putin's future visit to her country. It had been such a long time since he visited Finland. The Finns aren't that excited about Russians, however, and discussions in the Putin-Halonen meeting moved to the subject of the discrimination towards Russians living in the Baltic states. [More>>kommersant.com]
WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 (AFP) The US trade deficit exploded unexpectedly to a record 55.5 billion dollars in October, sparked by the soaring cost of oil imports, the government said Tuesday. The gap grew from 50.9 billion dollars in September. Wall Street analysts had predicted an October shortfall of about 53 billion dollars. Over the first 10 months of 2004, the US trade deficit amounted to 500.5 billion dollars, already surpassing the entire annual deficit for the previous year. [More>>inq7.net]
BRUSSELS In a statement coinciding with the 10th annual UN climate change conference in Buenos Aires, Friends of the Earuth Europe said the EU should "get rough" over the US rejection of the Kyoto Protocol. "Substantially deeper (greenhouse gas) emission cuts are necessary to avert a catastrophe," Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Jan Kowalzig said. "Yet the United States, as the world's largest emitter contributing a quarter of all emissions, still refuses to act," he said.
12.14.04 Former security chief of Taleban captured
Afghan security forces have captured fugitive Taleban leader Mullah Omar's former security chief, officials say. Mullah Naqibullah Toor is reported to have been picked up with another Taleban commander on Monday in the southern city of Kandahar. Provincial government spokesman Khalid Pashtun confirmed the arrests. Officials hope documents found on the men could help find Mullah Omar or Osama Bin Laden, but some observers doubt the significance of the arrests. [More>>BBCNews.com via tajikistannews.net/]
Paul Mooney reports the Chinese government's latest attempt to gag intellectuals.: "On Monday, authorities in Beijing detained at least three prominent intellectuals: Yu Jie, Liu Xiaobo, and Zhang Zhuhua. They were held for questioning, presumably about alleged anti-state activities, then released on Tuesday. The message was clear; the media recently were directed not to give publicity to Yu Jie, a well-known writer, and several other intellectuals who published critical views. Liu Xiaobo is a longtime campaigner for democracy and Zhang Zhuhua is a former official of the Communist Youth League. Their detention and release were reported by the international media. The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said Yu was told to stop posting articles on the Internet.
12.14.04 Israel and Egypt sign trade accord
CAIRO, Dec. 14 Nearly twenty years after signing their peace treaty at Camp David, Israel and Egypt entered an agreement to establish trade zones in Egypt with duty-free import status in the US on articles produced through their partnership. [More>>Jerusalem Post]
The crown prince of the Gulf emirate of Dubai warned Arab rulers they risk losing power if they fail to introduce wide-ranging reforms in their countries. Speaking at the opening of the three day Arab Strategy Forum in Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed al-Maktoum said: "I say to my fellow Arabs in [power]: if you do not change, you will be changed."
12.14.04 Demonstrations planned against Saudi monarchy
Anti-monarchy protest marches planned for Riyadh and Jedda are expected to draw tens of thousands of supporters, according to their Saudi dissident organiser. Saad al-Faqih told Aljazeera.net on Tuesday that his radio stations that reach over two thirds of the Saudi population - have been preparing for the demonstrations for over six weeks. "The Saudi regime is unreformable. This event will involve a series of civil activities whose purpose is clear to remove the current regime," al-Faqih told Aljazeera.net. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
12.14.04 Google to scan libraries for internet
Google announced Tuesday that it had entered into agreements with some of the nation's leading research libraries and Oxford University to begin converting their holdings into digital files that would be freely searchable over the Web. [More>>New York Times]
12.14.04 Trains collide in India, 34 dead
MUKERIAN, INDIA, Dec. 14 In the second major train accident in six months, 34 people, including 11 women and a child, were today killed and about 50 injured, 16 of them seriously, when Ahmedabad-bound Jammu Tawi Express collided head-on with a local train here, about 40 kms from Jalandhar. Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, who visited the accident site, termed the collision as a "murder" and said station masters of Chak Kalan and Bangara would be charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder under IPC on the charge of allowing the two trains to travel on the same track. [More>>Press Times of India via CRI online]
12.14.04 Six bird species with avian flu found in Thailand
Six species of birds have contracted avian influenza, the Livestock Department said Monday. The six are pigeons, Asian hornbills, a dove known as ³nok khao fai², and three local species: ³nok kratib khee moo², ³ka nam lek² (small cormorant) and ³sang seao² (drongo). Wire reports on Tuesday, however, said there were at least nine bird species that contacted the deadly strains. The reports quoted an unnamed source. [More>>asianewsnet.net]
12.14.04 Aide to Zaqawi killed, 2 arrested
The U.S. Defense Department reportedly held simulations to determine the effectiveness of an attack on Iran, the Middle East Newsline reported Sunday. The Atlantic Monthly revealed the Pentagon held simulations of a U.S. military strike on Iranian bases and nuclear facilities. The war games also included a ground invasion. [Middle East Newsline via bignewsnetwork.com]
1500 experts and politicians from 189 countries are meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina to discuss global warming. The conference will proceed through December 17. This follows the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by Russia. The Kyoto Protocol which President George W. Bush refused to sign will take effect February 16, 2005. The United States the worst polluter on earth is being sharply criticized by attendees. Argentina has been experiencing unusual rains as well as increased solar radiation, and in protest of Global Warming. Environmentalists have installed a Noah's Ark in the center of Buenos Aires. Demonstrating against Washington environmentalists scheduled a "singing in the rain" characterization of George W. Bush, reminding Argentineans that most of the heavy rains they are suffering are related to climate change due to global warming. The focus of the conference will be to reduce gas emissions by 60 percent, and support from developing nations will be necessary to achieve that goal. Attendees have complained that efforts to cut pollution by participants in the Kyoto Protocol are undermined by the US. [More>>pravda.ru]
12.13.04 Vladimir Sivkovich commission to investigate Yushchenko poisoning
An ad hoc parliamentary commission to investigate the poisoning of Victor Yuschenko is scheduled to gather in Kiev, Ukraine Tuesday, said the press service of MP Vladimir Sivkovich, the commission chair. [More>>rian.ru]
12.13.04 Chinese workers trapped in Chinese mine
Thirty-six workers have been trapped in a flooded mine in southwestern China's Guizhou province with rescuers pumping water out of the shaft in an effort to save them, officials said.
In Tuesday's meeting of the Federal Reserve interest rates are expected to be raised for a fifth time this year. Although the ongoing rhetoric from Greenspan would be expected to be something on the order of "to reduce the possibility of inflation," the real need for the rate hikes is to finance the out-of-control debt under which President Bush has buried this nation. To pay off bond-holders on the US debt, when the bonds are redeemed, the Treasury has to print and sell more bonds. The higher the debt the more bonds needed to be sold in the market. The problem is the debt is so high the size of the lots of bonds offered for sale overwhelms the bond market. The number of buyers of US bonds is limited (half of them being foreign banks, including China, Japan and South Korea). To attract the buyers interest rates on the bonds need to be jacked up. But, Japan is in a recession that has been going on for several years, South Korea is in an economic slump, Japan is cutting off financial aid to China, and China is evaluating what to do with the yuan. Record declines in the US dollar, caused by international fears of excessive US debt and trade imbalance, don't make it more encouraging for buyers to rush to buy American bonds to continue financing failed US policies. Why Greenspan did not at least put a verbal sanction on Bush for his spendthrift economics running a government on a credit card, believing creditors will always be there to loan more money is something historians may ponder for years. Greenspan's lack of diligence with regard to the US economy is the current cause of declining economies around the world. Expect more hikes, for there is no way out of this one for Greenspan except up: higher rates. Can he hike up interest rates enough to offset declines in the value of the dollar? [Click here to view a chart on the US debt; for the report: Reuters]
12.10.04 Japan ends decades-old ban on military exports
American troops volunteer for military duty that is open-ended. The contract they sign says that the term of the contract may be extended indefinitely in times of war. Copy of the contract: enlistment.pdf.
Scott Pelley's report Wednesday, CBS 60 Minutes "Deserters:..," dealt with the issue of about 5,500 American deserters, some of whom are in Canada and filing for asylum. The situation recalls the sequence of the Vietnam War, where soldiers becoming more informed about the war began to object to the war on principals involving "non participation in an illegal war."[More>>]
12.08.04 Rumsfeld says, "You go to war with what you have."
Based upon TV broadcasts Wednesday, apparently the need to go to war in Iraq was so urgent President Bush could not plan on supplying the troops with necessary equipment and resources. The strategy revealed Wednesday in an appearance before our troops at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld now is, "You go to war with what you have." He said this in answer to a soldier's complaint at the briefing, having to do with soldiers still not having armor and forced to raid rusted debris to add armor to their vehicles and equipment. Although March will be the second anniversary of Bush's invasion, troops still don't have proper equipment. Rumsfeld explained that it is a matter of logistics. With reference to supplying armored Humvees Rumsfeld said America can't build them fast enough. Let's face it, the 250 tons of ammunition that came up missing after Bush's army rushed by Saddam Hussein's unguarded armories heading to Baghdad to secure the oil ministry might possibly be the reason why America can't keep up with the demand for armored Humvees.
US DEBT & ECONOMICS
12.07.04 Interest for 2004 exceeded outlays for essential Bush administration departments
12.10.04 Ex-CIA agent says sacked for not faking Iraq WMD reports
PALESTINE AND KASHMIR SOLUTION
12.12.04 Latest talks on Kashmir hold promise
12.13.04 UN atomic watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei says Iran's nuclear program not a threat
12.12.04 Cold War being revisited by Bush administration?
12.12.04 China miffed over Japan's new military focus; 32 years of Sino-Japanese relations at stake
12.13.04 FBI in disorder
This is an ongoing article. We received a response from Senator Diane Fienstein which we cuddled midst a general review of the historic repeat of Deficits from father to son: Bush I to Bush II.
The US deficit, being the source of the declining dollar, perpetuates further debt and increases interest rates and inflation. About half of the US $6 Trillion debt is owned by foreign investors (primarily banks). When investors redeem their bonds in a period when the dollar is declining, as is the case in the two Bush administrations, they lose money on their investment in US bonds. This causes potential buyers of US bonds to back out of the US bond market. When buyers back away from the US bond market, the US has to raise interest rates to draw them back into the market. Following the increase in the prime rate, mortgages and other loan rates increase.
The National Debt is an exponential debt. The adding of interest, plus continued borrowing / sales of US Bonds, compounds the debt. The debt takes on the form of a "J" curve. President Bush claims that he will "halve the debt," presumably in the next four years. The Clinton years, 1993-2000, represented the most fiscally responsible administration since Nixon (see "Running a government with a credit card" below). During Clinton's term Congress had adapted and applied a "pay as you go" process, preventing further borrowing to fund the government and actually paid down the National debt through their diligence. The dedication of Congress and the President during the Clinton years is not present in the current administration of Bush II, and reducing the deficit, let alone the National Debt, would seem improbable. It appears that the National Debt has reached a point of no return, where interest on the debt alone will consume any efforts to retire the debt. The debt from 1974 through 2009 (the data are current as of 11.22.04, from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); the years 2004 - 2009 are OMB estimates) look like this:
The National Debt data are as follows: US Office of Budget & Management National Debt
A forty-year amortization table on a loan of $5 trillion (double everything for a loan of $10 trillion) at 7% interest:
Actual interest on the US debt since 1996 averages just short of $1 billion per day. While in the administration of Bush I, the deficit each year was essentially the same amount as the interest on the debt (they were borrowing to pay the interest on the debt), under Bush II the $400 billion + yearly deficits exceed the interest on the debt.
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