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This week on Truthdig Radio in association with KPFK: The great Internet switch-off; the ACLU vs jailhouse abuse; S&P's downgrade mania; Robert Scheer on the election, and Chris Hedges discusses his lawsuit against the presidentThis week on Truthdig Radio: The great Internet switch-off; the ACLU vs jailhouse abuse; S&P's downgrade mania; Robert Scheer on the election, and Chris Hedges sues the president.

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The markets weren’t shocked by last week’s wave of pre-broadcast S&P sovereign debt downgrades. For months, the question wasn’t “if” but “when.” And true to form, just as with the U.S. downgrade, S&P’s reasoning skated the surface of prevailing wisdom.Standard & Poor’s likes moving on Friday nights after the markets are closed.

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Traditionally, the holiday season brings good tidings for the stock market, too. There's even something called "the Santa rally," we learned from this Wall Street Journal article. Neat! But this year, with trouble on the European front and the ongoing recession (yes, that reads "recession") at home, there may be less to look forward to, or so market forecasters fear.

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The same ratings firm that held the United States hostage to its debt demands and gave the thumbs up to toxic mortgage assets is again in the news for bungling things. Standard & Poor's accidentally announced a downgrade Thursday of France's AAA credit rating.

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Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is disturbed by the monopolistic power of the ratings agencies -- and still determined to curb their abuses, as he tried to do last year with an amendment to the Dodd-Frank banking reform bill.

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There is one good reason to downgrade the United States' credit rating, but S&P, whose credibility was already spent after the housing meltdown, gave a host of largely bogus explanations for its actions.

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Standard & Poor's, one of those ratings agencies that made a living signing off on toxic assets, has once again thrust itself into the spotlight by downgrading Uncle Sam's credit outlook from "stable" to "negative." As a consolation prize, S&P let us keep our AAA rating.

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