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Jan 13, 2010

The Economist : Debates Series

The Economist online


Motion: "This house believes that the world would be safer if Iran's nuclear facilities were bombed."
Enter this debate

Is it time to strike Iran?

Live dates: January 11th-18th

Current round: Rebuttals

Dear Reader,

Our snap debate on Iran is proving extremely lively. Our speakers have posted their rebuttals today, but have you spoken your mind yet? Join in now.

Moderator's comments
As General Wald presents it, military action looks more and more like the start of a war with Iran that will never end. Is it conceivable, in today's Middle East, to sustain a weeks-long air campaign, followed by a years-long surveillance operation with repeat strikes? Who in the region would agree to act as a base for such an "Operation Iran Watch"? Dr Landau accepts the need for a "credible threat of eventual force", even though acting on this threat would not resolve the problem. If so, must the world learn to live with a nuclear-armed Iran in the same way as it has accepted a nuclear-armed India and Pakistan? And from the floor comes the question of Israel's nuclear weapons. Is it hypocritical to worry about Iran's potential nukes while ignoring Israel's existing (though undeclared) arsenal?

What do you think? Log on now and vote. Read more

Pro: General Chuck F. Wald
"A military strike may well be the last option available to us to prevent a truly dangerous world." Read more

Con: Dr Emily Landau
"Smart diplomacy needs to be attempted before the approach can be determined to have failed." Read more

Don't forget, this debate is running for just one week, so vote now. You can also debate the issue with friends on our Facebook page and follow updates on Twitter.

Anton La Guardia
Debate Moderator
Defence and Security Correspondent
The Economist

Anton La Guardia
Moderator Block
Anton La Guardia
Defence and Security Correspondent
General Chuck F. Wald
Moderator Block
Defending the motion
General Chuck F. Wald
Director and senior adviser to the aerospace and defence industry for Deloitte
Dr Emily Landau
Moderator Block
Opposing the motion
Dr Emily Landau
Senior research associate at the Institute for National Security Studies

Current voting


Debate Schedule
January 13th
Rebuttal arguments and post from Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council
January 14th
Post from His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Chairman of the Board of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies
January 15th
Closing arguments
January 18th
Winner announcement


Press Release
The Independent Bankersbank, Irving, Texas, Purchases the Deposits and Certain Assets of Independent Bankers' Bank Bridge Bank, Springfield, Illinois

January 8, 2010
Media Contact:
Greg Hernandez (202) 898-6984
Cell: (202) 340-4922

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) entered into a purchase and assumption agreement for the assets and deposits of the recently created Independent Bankers' Bank Bridge Bank, National Association (IBBBB). The bridge bank was created by the FDIC on December 18, 2009, to take over the operations of Independent Bankers' Bank, Springfield, Illinois, when the bank was closed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation—Division of Banking.
TIB—The Independent BankersBank, Irving, Texas, will assume the deposits and purchase some of the assets of IBBBB. In a separate transaction, Empire Advisory Group, Inc., Springfield, Illinois, a financial services firm, will purchase the corporate trust department of the failed bank.
TIB will provide correspondent banking services to IBBBB's client banks.
As of December 31, 2009, IBBBB had approximately $269.3 million in total assets and $285.3 million in total deposits.
TIB will purchase approximately $111.8 million of IBBBB's assets and pay a premium of 0.32 percent to assume all of the deposits. Empire Advisory Group, Inc. will pay $119,000 for IBBBB's corporate trust department relating to client banks. The FDIC will dispose of the remaining assets at a later date.
Customers who would like more information about today's transaction also can visit the FDIC's Web site at:
# # #
Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933 to restore public confidence in the nation's banking system. The FDIC insures deposits at the nation's 8,099 banks and savings associations and it promotes the safety and soundness of these institutions by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to which they are exposed. The FDIC receives no federal tax dollars – insured financial institutions fund its operations.
FDIC press releases and other information are available on the Internet at, by subscription electronically (go to and may also be obtained through the FDIC's Public Information Center (877-275-3342 or 703-562-2200). PR-6-2010

Forbes Newsletter, January 13, 2010

IBM's Advice To CIOs
January 12, 2010
Quentin Hardy

Kerrie Holley discusses Big Blue's ''sustained agility'' initiative.

Move The U.N. To Dubai
January 11, 2010
Joel Kotkin and Robert J. Cristiano

The tiny emirate is the global capital of the future.

Germs That Are Good For You
January 11, 2010
Matthew Herper

How the trillions of bacteria inside your body protect against obesity, diabetes and other diseases

Japan's 40 Richest
January 12, 2010
Tim Kelly

There were big winners and losers. Among the notable gainers is a 32-year-old techie, now Asia's youngest self-made billionaire.

Charting My Own Course
September 16, 2009
Moira Forbes

My husband lives in Australia. I live in the U.S. As far as long distance goes, even I have to admit it's extreme.

Women-Owned Businesses: America's New Job Creation Engine
January 12, 2010
Mark D. Wolf

Female small business owners are expected to create millions of U.S. jobs while transforming the workplace environment.

Home Is Where The House Is
January 12, 2010
Morgan Brennan

Cheaper prices, tax breaks and low mortgage rates lure first-time homebuyers to settle down.

Why Lean And Agile Go Together
January 11, 2010
Dan Woods

To succeed at the largest scale, Agile software development should use Lean manufacturing principles.


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Money Morning

January 13, 2010
Shareholders - Not Obama - Should Be Curbing Wall Street Bonuses

By Martin Hutchinson, Contributing Editor, Money Morning

Wall Street bonuses are back in the news again, as the Obama administration scores cheap political points by bashing bankers.

Wall Street's investment-banking houses correctly claim that they are paying out a much-lower-than-usual percentage of their profits in the form of bonuses - in some cases, less than 50%.

So what's the problem?

After all, Wall Street earned the money legitimately (aided and abetted by foolishly lax monetary policy, which will come back to bite us). So these firms should have the right to pay out lots of those profits as bonuses - so long as shareholders don't object.

The problem is that shareholders ought to be objecting - and objecting loudly.

You see, the money that Wall Street is using to pay those big bonuses rightfully belongs to the shareholders.

For more on how Wall Street should be run...

Hutchinson on...
- With His Rebuke of Kraft, Buffett Reminds Wall Street That Shareholders Come First

- A Note to Bernanke: Sorry Ben, More Bureaucracy Isn't the Answer

This man predicts stock the penny

"No one can predict the market." Right? Wrong! Over the past four months, Keith Fitz-Gerald has proven he can predict stock prices with stunning accuracy. Turns out, conventional analysts can't predict the market because their methods miss about 85% of the data driving prices-they treat it as "noise." Keith spent ten years and gobs of his own money developing a strategy that captures ALL price data. Result? He has a perfect win record: 14 picks. 14 wins. Zero losses. He explains it all here.

Sponsored content

Wall Street Scrambles its "Contango Convoy" to Capitalize on Higher Oil Demand

By Don Miller, Associate Editor, Money Morning

A 26-mile-long line of idled oil tankers, enough to blockade the English Channel, are firing up their engines and jockeying for position in a race to cash in on the bone-chilling deep-freeze plaguing the North America, Europe, and Asia.

The supertankers, each of which can hold over 2 million barrels of oil, are steaming "all ahead full" to deliver their stores of crude, heating oil and other distillates to the United States.

Their clients - which include several huge Wall Street investment firms - are eager to unwind what's become known as the oil storage trade.

Since late 2008, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and other investors have been accumulating oil and putting it in storage on huge tanker ships.

The tankers were then docked at locations around the world, mostly in the Gulf of Mexico and in Europe, according to a Bloomberg News report, and waited for demand, and oil prices, to go up.

Read full article...

Obama Bank Tax No Reason to Flee Financials

By Jason Simpkins, Managing Editor, Money Morning

U.S. President Barack Obama plans to implement a tax on financial institutions to offset taxpayer losses stemming from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and help reduce the deficit. But Obama's new bank tax is no reason to turn bearish on financials, which staged an impressive comeback last year.

At a time when many financial companies are gearing up to announce fourth-quarter and full-year earnings, as well as details regarding employee compensation and bonus payments for 2009, the government is considering charging banks fees to recover as much as $120 billion in lost taxpayer money.

While most of the big banks have started paying back their TARP investments, the government has yet to recoup large swathes of money that went to American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG), General Motors Corp., and Chrysler LLC. Last month, the Treasury estimated that the net cost of TARP to taxpayers would be $41.4 billion.

However, a person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that it's unlikely the new tax will apply to auto companies or AIG, all of which are still struggling. Taxing these companies would make little sense, anyway, because the government owns such large stakes in each company that it would, in effect, be taxing itself.

The details of the new tax will be contained in the fiscal 2011 budget that the president will submit to Congress next month. What banks will be charged, how much those banks will have to pay, and when will they be required to pay are all questions that have so far been left unanswered.