Sunday, November 13, 2011

Political Digest for November 14, 2011

Free PDF Copy of The Coming Collapse of the American Republic.

Some good news: Iran loses its top missile expert in explosions sparked by failed bid to fit nuclear warhead on Shahab-3
Brig. Hassan Moghadam, head of Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) missile development and sections of its nuclear program, was killed in one of the two consecutive explosions that hit two IRGC bases 46 kilometers west of Tehran Saturday, Nov. 12. The official fatality figure is 32. Fourteen hours after explosions blasts could still be heard and fires raged. DEBKAfile's exclusive sources report the bases are located in Malard, a town in the Shahryar district. The Moadarres facility was the first to be hit, while the second and bigger blast occurred at Amir-al-Mo'menin.

17 killed in Iranian base blast
Excerpt: At least 17 people, including a general, died as a result of an explosion on a military base near Tehran, Iranian state media reported Saturday.

Excerpt: Of all the Obamavilles in all the towns in all the world, the one in Oakland, Calif., seems to be the most violent. Last week Oakland Obamavillians called a "general strike" to express their rage over an earlier incident in which the founder of was accidentally injured when police fired nonlethal rounds after Obamavillians ignored orders to disperse.

A $600 trillion problem for planet earth
As I wrote to my cousin today, a big part of our current economic problem is that the banking regs aren't being enforced. But another HUGE problem is that the repeal of Glass-Seagall made it possible for banks to generate Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) and other derivatives that eventually were worth next to nothing, but with a total notional value of hundreds of trillions. The total notional value of all derivatives (not just MBSs) is estimated at about $600 trillion:
That is almost 10 times the entire world GDP! In other words, they do not represent actual value at all, because there is nothing on earth that can pay for them in real money. That is called leverage and in its current embodiment, it is a horrible scourge equivalent economically to the Bubonic plague. If the banks holding these (only about 4 major ones) ever are required to sell, guess what? There will not be enough money on THIS planet to bail even ONE of them out. At that point, the Fed or IMF may go on a printing binge, but if God is merciful, the banks will simply crash and we will be rid of the Frankenstein created by our government in tandem with its greedy cronies in the corporate world. ---Don Hank

60% Favor Considering Spending Cuts in Every Government Program
Excerpt: Most Americans continue to believe everything should be on the table when it comes to federal spending cuts. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 60% of Likely Voters say thoughtful spending cuts should be considered in every program of the federal government as the nation searches for solutions to the federal budget crises.

Islam Was Not For Me by Amil Imani
Excerpt: My breach with Islam started as far back as I could discern things. More to the point, I never embraced Islam in the first place, although I was born and raised in a Muslim family. For one thing, I had a very difficult time following a so-called religion whose founder and followers had butchered my ancestors, raped and sold our women, burned our libraries, and destroyed our magnificent culture. Islam was forced down the throats of Iranians with the sword of Allah. In my heart, I never considered myself a Muslim. However, I didn’t reveal this until later in life for fear of retribution by radical Muslims.

ABC and NBC Spike Eric Holder’s 'Fast and Furious' Testimony
Excerpt: NBC and ABC in their evening and morning newscasts completely ignored the grilling Eric Holder received on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, over his role in the Fast and Furious scandal. Senate Republicans forced Holder to admit his initial statements to Congress about his department’s role in gunwalking were "inaccurate," and that he never apologized to the family of a Border Agent killed by a Mexican drug cartel that used guns from the Fast and Furious operation. Only Sharyl Attkisson, in two full reports aired on Tuesday’s Evening News and Wednesday’s The Early Show, relayed the testimony that ABC and NBC blacked out on their broadcasts.

US Marine base for Darwin
Excerpt: BARACK OBAMA is to announce that the US will begin rotating Marines through an Australian base in Darwin in a permanent new military presence, intensifying the alliance in a sign of heightened concern about China. He is scheduled to make the announcement with the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, when they visit Darwin next Thursday during Mr Obama's first visit to Australia as president. The 26-hour visit will mark the 60th anniversary of the ANZUS alliance. The Marines are the chief US ground combat force in the Pacific theatre, the so-called ''tip of the spear''.

Young women face forced marriage in Germany
Excerpt: More than 3,000 women and girls in Germany, most from Muslim families and many of them minors, faced forced marriage in the course of a year, official research released this week indicates. The first federal study of its kind found 3,443 recorded cases in 2008 - the most recent year with sufficient data - in which people living in Germany were forced to wed or threatened with a forced marriage. Most were between the ages of 18 and 21, although nearly a third of them were under the age of 17.

A company controlled by a longtime political donor gets a no-bid contract to supply an experimental remedy for a threat that may not exist.
So this was the new kind of politics the idiots were hoping for in 2008. But it's just the Chicago way. ~Bob. Excerpt: Over the last year, the Obama administration has aggressively pushed a $433-million plan to buy an experimental smallpox drug, despite uncertainty over whether it is needed or will work. Senior officials have taken unusual steps to secure the contract for New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, one of the world's richest men and a longtime Democratic Party donor. When Siga complained that contracting specialists at the Department of Health and Human Services were resisting the company's financial demands, senior officials replaced the government's lead negotiator for the deal, interviews and documents show.

Excerpt: Left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore has been touring Occupy Wall Street demonstrations across the country–including some of the most violent, such as Occupy Oakland–urging activists to continue their fight against the wealthy “one percent” of Americans. Initially, Moore tried to deny that his massive wealth made him a member of that one percent. Even when forced to admit the obvious, Moore suggested that he was not always among the one percent, based on his income:

The States Doing The Most (And Least) To Spread The Wealth:
24/7 Wall St
Excerpt: Income inequality measures how evenly wealth is distributed among residents of an area. Income inequality is high when a few people make a great deal and many make far less. Six of the ten states that are most generous are in the top 15 states for highest rates of income inequality. The three states with the greatest inequality in the country — New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts — are among the most generous. Many of the states giving the least, such as Idaho and Indiana, fall on the other end of the spectrum for income inequality. It also happens that the states that spend the most on their residents have particularly high costs of living. (Notice this article is from Huffington Post, not a right-wing extremist think-tank. What a surprise! Who might have thought high taxes would create higher costs of living? Who could have guessed that when you pay folks to be poor within your borders, you get more poor people within your borders? I added emphasis. Frankly, I’m more surprised at the exceptions. In late 1979, Fitchburg, Massachusetts accepted a Federal grant that had to be used to “revitalize” the downtown area. So, they backed reconstruction of many of the downtown buildings—most of which were already rented and being used by small businesses—into office spaces the state leased for five years, elderly housing, rehabilitation centers for released offenders, halfway houses for recently released mental patients, shelters for the homeless—of which Fitchburg then had about a dozen, all with severe mental and/or drug problems—and a couple of “clubs” and “safe places” for the mentally disadvantaged to go "hang out with their peers." Four blocks of
Main Street
in the very center of town were torn up and closed to all traffic, yes, including deliveries to the local merchants which meant deliveries had to be hand carted at least one block (the only exceptions were emergency vehicles). Not only did they encourage the impoverished and/or in-capacitated to come downtown, they made it inconvenient for everyone who didn’t fit that description to get there. The In-Town Merchants’ Association fought this until the street was actually shut off. We pointed out our customers wouldn’t be able to get to us, and the ambiance of the area would change for the worse with the changing character of the people now encouraged to be on the street. As prophets, we were unhappy but accurate. When you make it more pleasant for customers to stay away, they will. By 1986, 80% of the downtown businesses had closed or moved away, the state had closed its offices citing the unpleasant surroundings and “lack of use”—with the closest parking spot two blocks or more away—and that state employees didn’t always feel safe walking to and from their cars. I drove through Fitchburg yesterday. Between 50% and 60% of the retail spaces are still vacant 25 years later; even most of the banks have moved out of downtown. But, there are still plenty of impoverished elders and street people. Ron P. )

The FDIC Fights Back Against BofA's Attempt To Put The Taxpayer On The Hook For Trillions Of Dollars Of Derivatives
Excerpt: Regulators may keep Bank of America from shifting derivatives from its Merrill Lynch unit to its consumer retail division, Bloomberg reports. The Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation are discussing whether to allow further transfers between the two units. Bank of America Corp., the holding company of BofA's retail and institutional services units, had moved the derivatives to take advantage of a higher debt rating in its consumer division, which allowed it to post lower collateral levels. (The fact that the FDIC and Fed are willing to even weigh this case at all may be a sign of a change. Or they may be playing the usual game of pretending to care and making a token effort. --Don Hank)

Excerpt: Where did green-energy cash go? Straight to campaign donors. When President-elect Obama came to Washington in late 2008, he was outspoken about the need for an economic stimulus to revive a struggling economy. He wanted billions of dollars spent on “shovel-ready projects” to build roads; billions more for developing alternative-energy projects; and additional billions for expanding broadband Internet access and creating a “smart grid” for energy consumption. After he was sworn in as president, he proclaimed that taxpayer money would assuredly not be doled out to political friends.

Staring into the Abyss: Europe and its Currency
Excerpt: The euro zone still has the capacity to stop this run on its banks and governments. As a block, it is less indebted than America and its public-sector deficit is lower. It has the money to fortify its banks against the default of Greece—and Portugal and Ireland, if need be. And it is minded by the European Central Bank (ECB), which can in principle stand behind those vulnerable governments by buying their debt in unlimited quantities on the secondary market.

Joe Paterno's Code
Excerpt: In the end, the old coach could not live up to his own ideal. In a moment that called for courage, Joe Paterno was all too human. He lost his nerve. I wish I knew what he was thinking, but I don't. All I know is that what he did wasn't enough. I have struggled for days to put words to my emotions. I stared in disbelief as the camera crews and commentators laid siege to the glittering vision Paterno had created brick by brick in the forty-six years that he walked the Penn State sidelines in those black shoes. He was no longer just a football coach.

Happy Valley Now the Heart of Darkness
Excerpt: For those whose sympathies fall mostly with Paterno, I would simply say to them: Read this. It is a sickening, 23-page Grand Jury report which documents, in clinically gruesome detail, the wicked acts of Sandusky, as well as the extraordinary irresponsibility of top officials at Penn State, including “Joe Pa.” It will transform one’s initial sense of deep sadness to one of burning rage.

Mark Steyn: Deficit-Reduction Fever
Excerpt: Have you been following this so-called Supercommittee? They’re the new superhero group of Superfriends from the Supercongress who are going to save America from plummeting over the cliff and into the multi-trillion-dollar abyss. There’s Spender Woman (Patty Murray), Incumbent Boy (Max Baucus), Kept Man (John Kerry), and many other warriors for truth, justice, and the American way of debt. The Supercommittee is supposed to report back by the day before Thanksgiving on how to carve out $1.2 trillion dollars of deficit reduction and thereby save the republic.

The President, the Constitution and National Security
Position One: The president has the authority to launch war unilaterally — without any authorization from Congress — in the absence of an attack, or even a threat of aggression, against the United States; and he may do so by invading a country with which the United States is not only at peace but in alliance — a counterterrorism alliance subsidized by American taxpayers. Position Two (and this one is worth quoting): “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Ninety-Two Years: Veterans' Day
Excerpt: We never do see it coming, at least not in the outlines visible in hindsight. War was in the air in 1914, but no one foresaw what that war would actually turn into. A quarter century later Europeans were as steeped in complacent certainties as ever, even after Germany remilitarized the Rhineland, occupied the Sudetenland, and invaded Austria. As Clare Booth Luce recorded in her incandescent Europe in the Spring, the political class of France, England, and the Low Countries spent the “Phony War” period of late 1939 and early 1940 reassuring itself that Hitler wasn’t going to invade them.

VIDEO: "The Silent Majority" - Directors' Statement
Excerpt: Consisting of rare footage filmed by President Richard M. Nixon’s aides, this experimental [four-minute] documentary revisits Nixon’s campaign to win an elusive majority.

Staffordshire Gold Hoard
Excerpt: Enticed by reports of the richness of the land and the "slackness of the Britons," the soldiers in the first three ships were followed by more, and soon, Bede noted, "hordes of these peoples eagerly crowded into the island and the number of foreigners began to increase to such an extent that they became a source of terror to the natives." The British monk Gildas, whose sixth-century treatise On the Ruin of Britain is the earliest surviving account of this murky period, describes the ensuing island wide bloodshed and scorched-earth tactics at the hands of the invaders.

Washington Nationals' Wilson Ramos Found: 'God Sent Me a Miracle'
Excerpt: Venezuelan police commandos rescued Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos and arrested three of his abductors on Friday, two days after he was kidnapped. Ramos said he was happy and thankful to be alive, and that the final moments had been hair-raising as police and the kidnappers exchanged heavy fire in the remote mountainous area of Montalban in central Carabobo state where he was being held.

Daniel Hannan: Who Speaks for the Majority in Europe?
Excerpt: I’ve spent the past two days at the first full conference of the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists, of which I’m Secretary-General. One hundred and twenty Centre-Right MPs from 26 countries gathered in the City of London to reaffirm the essential principles of conservatism: personal responsibility, property rights, limited government, free enterprise, parliamentary sovereignty, sound money, open competition, tax cuts, national independence, individual liberty.

Protecting Muslim Honour at the Price of Freedom of Speech
Excerpt: If we can’t find Muslims to whom we can say: “this [is] part of modern civil society, and your learning to get past the implied/imagined insult constitutes minimal adherence to principles of reciprocity,” then what does it mean to carry on about “moderate Muslims”? This reciprocity is especially significant given how virulently critical of infidels many of the most vocal Muslims are.

Barack Obama is facing an anti-big government revolution
Excerpt: While liberalism is in retreat, the United States is becoming an increasingly conservative nation, rejecting interventionist solutions to economic problems, from endless bailouts to suffocating business regulations. As I noted in an earlier piece, Barack Obama could end up being America’s last Big Government president, with future leaders wary of going down the same path of heavy borrowing coupled with excessive spending, that has fuelled spiraling budget deficits.

Occupy Wall Street Starts to Crumble: Inevitable Divisions Arise in Zuccotti Park
Excerpt: A fistfight broke out yesterday on the testy northeastern side of the camp, when one protester fashioned and displayed a cardboard sign that read, “Food is for OWS only!” This, said some of those camped nearby, was “fascism.” “No, no,” came the rejoinder, “it’s only fair! We paid for it; it’s for us! You can’t just walk in and take our stuff!” (So is this another way of saying they've been Taxed Enough Already? - Kate in LA.)

U.S. magnet: Illegal immigrants paid $4.2 billion
Excerpt: According to President Obama's own Treasury Department, 2.3 million illegal immigrants who paid no income taxes in 2010 nevertheless received $4.2 billion in tax refunds. That's four times the tax refunds that were paid to illegal immigrants who paid no taxes in 2005, and is increasing exponentially as more illegal immigrants find out about the program.

Afghanistan mother and daughter stoned and shot dead
Excerpt: A group of armed men have stoned and shot dead a woman and her daughter in Afghanistan's Ghazni province, security officials have told the BBC. The officials blamed the Taliban, who they said had accused the women of "moral deviation and adultery".

Canadian pipeline to Texas on hold until 2013
Excerpt: Citing environmental fears, the State Department on Thursday ordered a new review of a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, effectively delaying a final decision until after the 2012 elections and prompting a wave of criticism from businesses, unions and congressional Republicans, who called the move a “job killer.”

Occupy Wall Street: a Declaration of Dependence
Excerpt: As a Tea Party Patriot, I have been asked by the media to explain the differences between the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters and modern-day Tea Partiers. The first answer I give is: the Occupy Wall Street protesters have been around for about 50 days, compared to about 1,000 days for the Tea Party Patriots—and so far 2,500 “Occupy” protesters have been arrested (compared to zero Tea Party arrests), there have been 4 rapes at Occupy Wall Street protests (and no rapes at Tea Parties) and the OWS folks have caused about $2.4 million in property damage, whereas the Tea Party Patriots have actually been a source of revenue for the cities in which we protest because we pay permit fees for our protests and we leave the city spaces cleaner than when we arrived.

Occupy SLC protesters ordered out of park following death
Excerpt: Hours after a man was found dead inside a tent at Pioneer Park, Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank announced Friday he could no longer allow camping in the park or anywhere in the city. "We can no longer have individuals camping on our streets," Burbank said. "We as a city just cannot tolerate this going on."

Fifty Percent Welfare Nation
Excerpt: It has become all too easy today to receive government assistance. Half of all babies born in the U.S. today receive food assistance, and half of all children live in a home that will use food assistance at some point during their childhood. 40 percent of the population in Washington, D.C. is on welfare.

Flags for ‘the Duke’
Excerpt: Thanks to the work of these two Algonquin veterans, there hasn’t been a single Memorial Day or Veterans Day in more than 40 years when the soldiers laid to rest in the Algonquin Cemetery on Route 31 and Cary Road have not been honored with small American flags next to their markers.

Obama Unbound: The paradoxes of presidential politics give him complete freedom abroad.
Excerpt: Richard Nixon went to Red China with political impunity. Had a Democrat tried that, he would have been branded a Commie appeaser. To this day, liberals cannot conceive that during the two world wars, progressives like Woodrow Wilson, Earl Warren, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt trampled on civil liberties in a way unimagined by Dick Cheney.

Obama's Virginia Defeat by Kimberly Strassel
Excerpt: Democrats were trounced in Tuesday's state legislature election, despite the president's heavy investment of time in the state. Of all the noise of this week's state election results, what mattered most for Election 2012 came out of Virginia. It was the sound of the air leaking out of the Plouffe plan.

Worth reading: Michael Moore Salutes Our Hispanic Veterans
Excerpt: “Wimps!” sneers Michael Moore about Bay of Pigs veterans in his book “Downsize This.” “Ex-Cubans with a yellow stripe down their backs– and crybabies too!”

Facing Eurocollapse: An end to Europhoria
Excerpt: As the world financial crisis deepens, it is unlikely that it can be alleviated without carefully reviewing the infelicitous confluence of mistakes in Europe and the United States that has brought it to its present extreme state. The European Monetary Union, involving 17 countries, was based on a number of generally admirable premises, but also on a couple of false assumptions. All civilized people were grateful at the extension of European cooperation to this new level of intimacy, as ancient foes led by France and Germany reached an ever-closer community of national interest.

The End of the Light Bulb as We Know It
Excerpt: Soon I was at Home Depot making a beeline for the light bulb aisle. Why? Because the end of days is drawing nigh. Not in the Biblical sense, but in the Environmental Protection Agency sense: there were only a scant eight weeks (now only seven) before the end of the light bulb as we know it. As of January 1, 2012, Americans will have their freedom of light bulb choice snuffed out by an omnibus 2007 law requiring that general-purpose bulbs be 25% more energy-efficient than the current, justly-beloved, incandescent bulb.

Excerpt: Former Speaker of the House–and current Minority Leader–Nancy Pelosi apparently bought $1 million to $5 million of Visa stock in one of the most sought-after and profitable initial public offerings (IPO) in American history, thwarted serious credit card reform for two years, and then watched her investment skyrocket 203%.

The Week That Was: 2011-11-12 (November 12, 2011)
Excerpt: Often presidents of universities are chosen more for the business acumen than other qualities. They may treat certain programs as profit centers and may prefer to ignore issues arising within these programs. This week, the President of Penn State University was fired for failure to properly supervise one highly successful program, its football program. Steve McIntyre and Andrew Montford suggest that the highly successful revenue generation of certain research programs may have resulted in the failure to conduct proper inquiries into the Climategate emails, and related issues. The source of the leak is immaterial; the propriety of the contents is what was important. (Two important articles are in this week’s TWTW, one about possible “climate blackmail” by China under the heading “Problems within the Orthodoxy” and the next article down, under the heading “Seeking a Common Ground” called Planet Intolerance. Both are worth reading. The excerpted comment is from Ken Haapala’s introductory overview. Ron P.  )

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