Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Political Digest for September 28, 2011

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

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Worth Reading: Superman vs. Warm Body By Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: One of the problems in trying to select a leader for any large organization or institution is the tendency to start out looking for Superman, passing up many good people who fail to meet that standard, and eventually ending up settling for a warm body. Some Republicans seem to be longing for another Ronald Reagan. Good luck on that one, unless you are prepared to wait for several generations. Moreover, even Ronald Reagan himself did not always act like Ronald Reagan. The current outbreak of "gotcha" attacks on Texas Governor Rick Perry show one of the other pitfalls for those who are trying to pick a national leader. The three big sound-bite issues used against him during the TV "debates" have involved Social Security, immigration and a vaccine against cervical cancer.

Records show R.I. Rep. Gordon didn’t serve in Gulf, as claimed
Excerpt: State Rep. Daniel P. Gordon, who blamed alcohol and legal problems on combat stress sustained in the 1991 Gulf War, never served in the Gulf, according to his military records. Gordon also claims that he suffered a shrapnel injury to his leg; however, his records do not list a Purple Heart, ordinarily awarded for injury sustained in combat. “There appears to be no listing of combat tour of duty in the Middle East,” said Maj. Stewart T. Upton, head of media operations in the public affairs office for the Marine Corps at the Pentagon. “I don’t see a Kuwait Service Medal or any combat action or Purple Heart,” Upton said. Excepting any inaccuracies, “obviously we’re saying the information in front of us doesn’t have these tours of duty that he’s talking about.” (If this article is true, it seems having an “R” after your name on a ballot doesn’t mean you’re an angel. After three and one third years on active duty in the USMC, Rep. Gordon had already attained the exalted rank of PFC (just for comparison, both your editor, Bob Hall, and I made PFC at about the 6 month mark and were both promoted twice more within three years). He also seems to have a business registered in Connecticut that requires its owner to be a resident of Connecticut, not Rhode Island where he lives and got elected from. And, he seems to have a criminal record—and an outstanding warrant for DUI—in Massachusetts. Rascal gets around, doesn’t he? Ron P. Alas, slimeballitis admits of no restrictions of age, gender, race, religion, ethnicity or political party. ~Bob.)

Inspector general: Bush-era Pentagon officials cleared of wrongdoing
Excerpt: A three-year government investigation has found no wrongdoing by Bush-era Pentagon officials when they gave war briefings to retired military analysts who served as TV and radio commentators. The probe by the Pentagon inspector general was in response to a 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning article in the New York Times that implied the former military officers, some of whom worked for or were defense contractors, received financial favors in return for their commentary and were tools in a propaganda campaign. Sources familiar with the IG’s final report said it will say officials broke no rules or laws when they provided information briefings, some from Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The IG also found no evidence that any analyst or his defense contractor employer received favorable treatment or procurement contracts because of his work as an on-air commentator, according to the sources. “The report basically says the Pentagon activities were in compliance with [Department of Defense] directives and instructions,” a government official familiar with the findings told The Washington Times. In terms of financial favors, “they didn’t find any evidence of that,” the source said. (Not many years ago, a fine and gifted runner won some events at the Olympics. Later, it was determined she had cheated by using illegal substances. As a result, her medals were stripped from her and the records were rewritten to show the revised winners. I don’t believe this is the first time a Pulitzer Prize has been awarded for an article/story that has later proven false. But, I’ve never heard of a Pulitzer being cancelled, recalled, or revoked. Are Olympic sports that much more honest than the Pulitzer Committee? Unless you placed a bet on the Olympic race and lost, that misadventure cost no one anything. This has cost three years of work by well-paid government attorneys and inconvenienced hundreds of people AND, at the time, fed a false political picture favorable to a particular party’s claims of “corruption.” Notice also, we read about this in the WASHINGTON Times, not the New York Times. Not even an apology in the NYT. No, I don’t think they DO have any shame. Ron P. )

It was all over CNBC this morning, among other places. The common mantra: The way out of this problem is economic growth. My blunt response: Here’s the problem from a historical perspective, looking at GDP growth .vs. debt growth: (Stupid is really the only word for it. I have said before that most Keynesian "economists" like most US politicians on both sides of the aisle and like the Fed, actually believe in this hocus pocus. If Obama didn’t believe that spending on stimulus would work, he sure as heck wouldn't try this trick this close to elections. Despite all you may have heard, he is not a bit intelligent. Don Hank. I think Obama's problem is that he is a captive of a magical belief system, like primitives who believed their chants would make them bullet-proof. Those who were killed, well, they didn't believe enough, and the rest went on chanting. Those who worship at the alter of statist government control of the economy and sharing the wealth to make the non-productive level with the productive will never learn. ~Bob.)

Interesting: Who IS Herman Cain? 11 Things You Never Knew About The 2012 Republican Wild Card
Excerpt: Since its inception in 1982, no Republican presidential candidate has won the nomination without winning Florida's Presidency 5 straw poll. By that measure, Georgia businessman Herman Cain will be the GOP's 2012 nominee. That seems unlikely, given that Cain has built up virtually no campaign organization and his name recognition among likely Republican primary voters remains at 50%, below Sen. Rick Santorum and just about former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. His support has plateaued between 10% and 5% in recent polls.  But Cain has undoubtedly made a splash in the 2012 Republican presidential race. While other longshot candidates like Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman have faded in the debates, Cain has stood out, in spite (or perhaps because) of his bizarre calls to overhaul Social Security with the "Chilean model." Cain now rivals Ron Paul as the fan favorite among the Tea Party set. But few outside of the movement know much about the "The Hermanator," other than that he is black and likes pizza. We did a little digging to find out more — and as it turns out, Cain has a fascinating background that includes stints as a scientist, CEO, and an economist.

Is COIN Fantasy Worth the Real-World Cost?
Excerpt: Only the U.S. military could build a defensive wall of words -- "dismounted complex blast injury" (DCBI) -- around the bare fact that single, double, triple, even quadruple amputations are up sharply among U.S. forces on foot patrol in Afghanistan. So are associated pelvic, abdominal and genital injuries, according to a newly released report. But even the antiseptic language of the report is excruciating, as when it calls for "further refinement" of "aggressive pain management at the POI (point of injury)," or highlights the need to train more military urologists in "phallic reconstruction surgery."

Headcam footage of bomb being defused
Yikes. ~Bob.

California Democratic Party among Solyndra’s creditors
Excerpt: Out of the hundreds of out-of-work employees, vendors, investors and other creditors in the bankruptcy of government-backed solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC, one name stands out: the California Democratic Party. Why California Democrats would be creditor to a company that received more than a half-billion dollars in federal loans to build a solar-panel plant isn’t clear. Even party officials say they’re not sure. The California Democratic Party’s communications director, Tenoch Flores, said the organization was not owed “any funds in any form” by the California-based company. He said he was unclear why the party would be listed as a creditor in Solyndra’s bankruptcy filing. According to campaign-finance records, Solyndra donated $7,500 to the California Democratic Party in October 2010. It’s legal in California for corporations to make donations. But that doesn’t explain why the company would identify the Democratic Party as a creditor in its bankruptcy filing a year later. A Solyndra spokesman did not respond to messages seeking more details about the filing. (Simple. They probably pledged on-going contributions to the Democrats as payback for the loans, now can’t pay, thus are on the hook as creditors for their promise. Be interesting if the Dems get any money from the taxpayer-guaranteed loans. Dumb if they do. ~Bob.)

UK terror sweep uncovers suicide bomb plot
Didn’t get the memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Six British men who were detained during raids in Birmingham last week have been linked to an al Qaeda cell in Pakistan, and were planning to carry out suicide attacks. One additional suspect is being questioned by British authorities in connection with the plot. Last week, six British men of Pakistani origin and a woman were arrested during an intelligence-driven counterterrorism operation led by the UK's West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit [see Threat Matrix report, UK terror sweep nets 7 suspects]. Few details were known about the suspects or the terror plot at the time of the arrests, but as the suspects are scheduled to appear in West London Magistrates Court on Monday, more information has become available. The purported terror cell is believed by security sources to be a part of an al Qaeda suicide bomb plot under the direction of terrorist leaders in Pakistan, according the BBC. Prior to the arrests, the suspects had been under MI5 surveillance for "several weeks," and phone conversations were recorded that led officials to believe the cell was moving toward executing the plan but had "not yet reached the goal line." Ashik Ali, 26, and Irfan Nasser, 30, are accused of orchestrating a bombing campaign in which Ali had stated his intention to carry out a suicide attack. Along with Irfan Khalid, 26, Irfan Nasser has also been accused of preparing for an act of terrorism, and the two men are alleged to have traveled to Pakistan for terror training and received guidance on bomb making. They are also said to have made a martyrdom film in connection with the plot.

270 Million Murdered Since 610 AD, I Wonder By Whom?
In 270 million non-Muslims were murdered, the toll of Muslims murdered by Muslims is probably higher, as they have killed each other over doctrine and power since before Mohammad’s body grew cold. Pretty much in historical line, given estimates of 20M and 40M dead in WWI & WWII. Plus Mao’s & Stalin’s efforts (30M & 17M by some estimates) which made Hitler look like a piker. And we should talk—how many millions of black, brown and yellow people, mostly kids have died of Malaria in the Third World since we banned DDT to supposedly save the birds and make leftists feel warm and fuzzy. ~Bob.

City of Chicago Considers Death Blow… City Income Tax & Road Tolls
Excerpt: Illinois is beating out New York and California as the shining light for complete failure to understand how to keep business thriving. Illinois lawmakers promised us that a crushing tax hike of 66% on income tax and a 45% increase on corporate income would get us out of the mess we’re in, but now we’re finding it was all for not.

Shaken by increase in attacks since 2001, many Pakistanis fault U.S.
Excerpt: Muhammad Irfan Malik is a banker, and he relies on numbers to tell the story of his daughter’s death. She was 17 years and 2 months old, a college student who had scored 800 out of 850 on high school graduation exams. On Oct. 20, 2009, she was with classmates in her university cafeteria when a suicide bomber detonated explosives that launched 46 ball bearings into her body. She died 43 days later, leaving her family to suffer incalculable grief. But when casting blame, Malik turns to an equation that is common here — one that Pakistani officials often cite to explain why their country remains reluctant to fully confront Islamist militants despite acute pressure from the United States. Since 2001, when Islamabad partnered with Washington to combat the Taliban and al-Qaeda, there have been 335 suicide bombings in Pakistan. Before 2001, there was one. If Pakistan had never allied with the United States, Malik surmised, bombings such as the one that killed his daughter might never have occurred. (Maybe if they didn’t help the Taliban take over Afghanistan and attack us? Nah, that’s what the Religion of Peace does. ~Bob.)

Thought it couldn't get any worse than Solyndra?: Obama Commerce pick awarded $1.37 billion in 'stimulus funds' for another risky solar plant
Quick, Tim, print more money. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama's nominee for Commerce secretary served as chairman of the board of a solar energy company that recently received a $1.37 billion federal loan guarantee – the largest the Department of Energy has ever given for a solar power project. Now that company, BrightSource Energy, is attempting to build the world's largest solar power plant amid concerns such ventures may be too risky an investment for the federal government. In June, BrightSource Chairman John Bryson was nominated by Obama to head the Commerce Department. WND reported in June that Bryson co-founded an environmental activist group that is a member and funder of the controversial Apollo Alliance.

A pattern of disappointment emerges in the Republican presidential primary
Excerpt: It’s been the recurring theme in the race for the GOP presidential nomination: A candidate enters with a splash, then quickly fizzles, leaving Republicans clamoring for a new white knight to hurtle them into the White House. It happened with former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. It happened with Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.). Now it’s happening with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is fending off freefall after a meteoric rise to frontrunner status. (Are any of the GOP current or potential candidates perfect? No. Are any of them better than Obama for the country? All of them, perhaps except Trump. Can any of them be elected? Depends on too many factors to predict. ~Bob.)

LightSquared doubles size of its lobbying team in 2011
Excerpt: LightSquared, the wireless telecom firm facing Republican complaints that it has benefited from political ties to the White House, has significantly boosted its lobbying this year. The company has more than doubled the number of lobbying firms on its payroll, from four to
nine K Street
shops, in the first half of 2011. LightSquared has already spent $830,000 on lobbying in the first six months of year, and is on pace to more than double its
K Street
expenditures of $695,000 in 2010, according to lobbying disclosure records.

Worth Reading: 'Buffett Rule' a bust in California: The state's over-reliance on taxing the rich has been a disaster during bad times
From the liberal LA Times. ~Bob. Excerpt: If President Obama really wants to see the "Buffett Rule" in action, he should look at California's tax system. The state has been plagued by it for years. The revenue stream is unstable and the state budget has been a deficit disaster. Soaking the rich — relying heavily on them for income taxes — has resulted in a precarious revenue roller coaster ride. It's either boom or bust in Sacramento, depending on how the wealthy are faring in the stock market and their other investments. … The top 1% earned 18% of California's income but paid 37% of the income tax. Illustrating the volatility of the California income tax, however, the top 1% paid 48% of the total take in 2007 before the stock market collapsed. In the next two years, the state's income tax revenue fell 25%.

Teacher Calls Local Tea Party President a Nazi
Excerpt: Tempers flared during a town hall meeting on the Dream Act Tuesday night. During the meeting a high school government teacher from John F. Kennedy called the local Tea Party president a Nazi. (He should be fired for incompetence. The Nazis believed in an all-powerful government. The Tea Party believes that government has grown too powerful. ~Bob.)

Stage Set for High Court to Review Health-Care Law
Excerpt: The Supreme Court, it appears, likely will consider the constitutionality of the federal health-care overhaul. That is the upshot of an announcement today from the Justice Department that it will not ask the 11th Circuit to reconsider its August ruling that the law’s requirement that individuals carry health insurance or pay a penalty is unconstitutional, WSJ reports. By not seeking an 11th Circuit review, the DOJ has increased the chances that the Supreme Court will consider the health-care law during this coming term and issue a ruling before the 2012 presidential election, WSJ reports.

Germany at war over eurozone bail-out
Excerpt: European officials have confirmed that discussions are afoot to boost the eurozone bail-out fund's firepower as part of a grand plan to contain the region's sovereign debt crisis in Greece. Confirmation of the talks, however, sparked outrage in Germany, where opposition politicians threatened to derail the plans by voting against a key amendment to the bail-out fund this Thursday. The head of Germany's constitutional court also piled on the pressure by warning the government not to circumvent the law "by the back door". Despite the wrangling in Germany, markets across Europe staggered back to life on hopes that the crisis could be contained and the recovery restored. (Huh. German workers don’t want to plug away until 65 so Greeks can retire at 58 or whatever. Go figure. ~Bob.)

Scores of sailors from Libya campaign to be axed
The Queen sends her gratitude for a job well done. Now go away. Comments are good. ~Bob. Excerpt: Several dozen out of the 250 sailors from the frigate Cumberland which helped evacuate British citizens and played a key role early in the operation will be told on Friday that they no longer have jobs in the Royal Navy. Crew from eight of the 10 other warships that took part in the campaign will also be in line to be sacked, it can be disclosed. It is understood that the Government will issue compulsory redundancy notices for up to 400 Navy officers and ratings out of its first tranche of 1,100 Navy personnel to be axed. Cumberland, a Type 23 frigate, was the first warship to be on station enforcing the blockade on Libya.

'Racists' for Cain
Excerpt: Do not suppose for a minute that Herman Cain's victory in the Florida straw poll will alter the liberal narrative about the Tea Party and Republicans. No, we will continue to be instructed by the Congressional Black Caucus, the Today Show and The New York Times that the eruption of the Tea Parties is a reflection of the dark id of American conservatism; that it is primarily racist and xenophobic; and that the Tea Party movement is radical and extremist. Waving the "bloody shirt" of racism has been the most reliable workhorse of Democratic politics for at least a generation. Remember the wall-to-wall coverage of the "epidemic" of black church fires in the 1990s? Remember George W. Bush's "insensitivity" regarding the ghastly lynching of James Byrd? The epidemic turned out to be imaginary and Bush was happy to sign the death warrant for one of Byrd's murderers, but the tactic is too precious for Democrats to abandon. It will take some imagination to explain away Herman Cain's success. Among the very voters Democrats demonize, Cain achieved a resounding victory with 37.1 percent of the vote -- more than twice the percentage of his next, nearest competitor Rick Perry, who received 15.4 percent. And it wasn't that Republicans and conservatives were acting upon an affirmative action spirit -- trying to prove that they too could pull the lever for a black guy. It's that Herman Cain delivers a great speech, is willing to propose solutions commensurate with our problems and is possessed of a remarkably sunny personality. As the Washington Examiner's Byron York reported, "It's not an exaggeration to say that his power as an orator sealed the deal for hundreds of delegates. They believed Cain was speaking to them from the heart, and they were carried away by it."

71% Favor Term Limits for Congress
Excerpt: Voters strongly support term limits for all members of Congress but don’t think it’s very likely the national legislators will vote to limit how long they can serve. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 71% of Likely U.S. Voters favor establishing term limits for all members of Congress. Just 14% oppose setting such limits, and 15% are undecided about them.

60% Still Favor Death Penalty
Excerpt: The execution of Troy Davis last week for murdering a Georgia policeman prompted controversy here and abroad, but it did little to shift opinions on the death penalty. Still, a sizable majority of Americans worries that people may be executed for crimes they didn't commit. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that 60% favor the death penalty, while 28% oppose it. Another 12% are undecided.

The Truth About Who Fights for Us: In 2007, only 11% of enlisted military recruits came from the poorest U.S. neighborhoods.
Excerpt: It should no more be necessary to write this article than to prove that there were Jews killed in the World Trade Center on 9/11. And yet the mythology refuses to die. Just last week, two well-educated and well-known writer acquaintances of mine remarked in passing on the "fact" that those who serve in the U.S. military typically have no other career options. America's soldiers, they said, were poor and black. They don't mean this to denigrate their service—no, they mean it as a critique of American society, which turns its unemployed into cannon fodder. Especially today with high unemployment, the charge goes, hapless youths we fail to educate are embarking on a one-way trip to Afghanistan. These allegations—most frequently leveled at the Army, the military's biggest service and the one with the highest casualty rate—are false. In 2008, using data provided by the Defense Department, the Heritage Foundation found that only 11% of enlisted military recruits in 2007 came from the poorest one-fifth, or quintile, of American neighborhoods (as of the 2000 Census), while 25% came from the wealthiest quintile.

How Harry Reid Manufactured a Crisis Over Disaster Aid
Excerpt: Yesterday, with Reid on the brink of forcing a government shutdown, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced things aren't so dire. The agency has $114 million on hand for the remainder of the week, enough to get through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. So the agenda of the tax-and-spend crowd is now clear. President Obama created the problem by overusing FEMA on disasters a record 222 times so far this year where federal aid was not essential. Then liberals manufactured a crisis and exploited disaster relief victims in order to keep expanding the size of government. What's worse is that the some members of the media played along with it.

Libyagate: Yunis’ tribe has turned on NATO’s NTC. CIA – Algeria in a year, Iran in three
BO’s peace-loving Libyan democrats will come back to bite us, but maybe after he’s earning millions on the speaking circuit. ~Bob. Excerpt: Yunis’ powerful clan Obeidi threatened the NTC to avenge the assassination of general Abd al-Fatah Yunis. The general who commanded the rebel forces fell victim to unknown assassins on July 28. As reported by clan elders in an interview to BBC, they will find and punish the murderers, if the new government of Libya is not able to do it. In addition, the clan has accused the National Council of conspiring with Islamic extremists to kill the general. Corpses Younis and his two aides were found in the vicinity of Benghazi. General charred body bore the traces of torture and abuse – killers cut off his fingers, knocked out one eye and cut open his stomach. Council chief Mustafa Abd al-Jalilof the new authorities categorically denies any involvement in the murder, but the elders think otherwise.

Conviction of Al Jazeera Afghanistan Bureau Chief Samer Allawi
Excerpt: Allawi's investigation shows that Al Jazeera is exploited by Hamas, which makes use its journalists in order to advance its goals. Samer Farik Muhammad Allawi, born in 1966, from Sebastia, who resides in Pakistan and serves as Al Jazeera's Afghanistan bureau chief, was arrested on 9.8.11 at the Allenby Crossing, on suspicion of involvement in Hamas activities. During his investigation by the Israel Security Agency, Allawi admitted that was recruited in 1993, while in Pakistan, to Hamas. Until 2004, he served there as a member of the "Supreme Palestine Committee", which supervises and directs Hamas institutions. He also collected donations for Hamas-affiliated organizations such as "Al-Aqsa Association" and the "Palestinian Information and Media Center." (Media there is almost as biased as ours. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: No, I am not making this up. Fox News has the basic story, which goes as follows: an agent of the BATFE was ordered to go and buy six Draco semi-automatic pistols from gun shops. Those guns were then resold to “known illegal buyers:” i.e., people known to resell guns illegally. So far, this is not actually bad, because this would be how standard sting operations go… except that they didn’t arrest the buyers immediately. Which makes… sense, right, because Dracos are legal-to-own guns in the USA; so the BATFE would just have to keep a constant watch on the guns to make sure that they didn’t miss it when the bad guys tried to smuggle the guns out of the country – no, wait, it’s reported that ATF group supervisor David Voth ordered that there be no 24 hour surveillance. Well. Good thing that Agent John Dodson ignored that order and did a personal stakeout of the bad guys for six days, huh? Because he was there when they moved out with the guns! He was able to call in a request for an interdiction team! …Which was refused.

Six remanded over 'suicide bomb plot'
Didn’t get the “Islam is a religion of peace” memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Mr Nasser and Mr Khalid are accused of preparing for an act of terrorism, including travelling to Pakistan for training in terrorism, making a martyrdom video and planning a bombing campaign. They are accused of "being concerned in constructing" a home-made explosive device for terrorist acts and stating an intention to be a suicide bomber. Ashik Ali is accused of preparing for an act of terrorism, which involved planning a bombing campaign, providing premises for the planning of terrorist attack and stating an intention to be a suicide bomber. Mr Ahmed is accused of helping fund terrorist acts, collecting money for terrorism and helping others travel to Pakistan for training in terrorism.

Sarah Palin Lawsuit? Ex-Governor Threatens To Sue Book Publisher, ABC Reports
Excerpt: According to ABC, Palin family attorney John Tiemessen wrote a letter to Maya Mavjee, the publisher of the Crown Publishing Group (a division of Random House) in which he spelled out the family's legal grievances against McGinnniss. Tiemessen also makes reference to an email in which McGinnis describes Random House lawyers expressing concern that his reporting amounted to little more than "tawdry gossip." “The final work that was published contains most of the stories that Mr. McGinniss complains were nothing more than ‘tawdry gossip’ that amounted to the wishful fantasies of disturbed individuals,” Tiemessen writes. “Since both your company, and the author, clearly knew the statements were false, admitted they had no basis in fact or reality, but decided to publish in order to harm Governor Palin’s family, you and Mr. McGinniss have defamed the Palins.” (Good for her. I hope she get them for many millions. Ron P. He relied on the fact that the courts have generally held public figures to be fair game. ~Bob.)

There’s No Way in Hell We’re Making it to Nov 2012
This guy makes me look like an optimist. I don’t have the knowledge to judge this. ~Bob. Excerpt: Adding to last night’s BBC spot of Mr. Rastani’s truth-telling, we have yet another experienced market trader telling the full-monty of truth: Here is a piece from that hopefully will make you all understand, once and for all, that this ain’t the 1930′s, and that there is absolutely no way in hell that this Republic is going to make it to November 2012. Five Banks Account For 96% Of The $250 Trillion In Outstanding US Derivative Exposure; Is Morgan Stanley Sitting On An FX Derivative Time Bomb? Summary: The five largest banks in the U.S. (JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and HSBC) are carrying $238 TRILLION dollars in derivative exposure. JP Morgan alone is carrying $78 TRILLION in derivative exposure BY ITSELF. Okay, what the hell is derivative exposure? What this is referring to are over-the-counter non-exchange traded forward delivery (or “futures”) contracts of various kinds. I am a futures broker, but I only execute futures contracts on the futures exchanges, namely the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the New York Mercantile Exchange. About ten years ago a new “novelty” emerged in the futures business – the so-called “over-the-counter” contracts. There was a kid in the office I worked in who got wind of this and had all kinds of stars in his eyes about making a killing off of these “OTC” contracts because the brokers’ commissions were not a flat fee but a percent of the contract value. Here’s the problem with OTC contracts: there is no exchange standing between the buyer and seller as a guarantor.

Saudi Arabia: Woman Driving Brought To Trial
Excerpt: Saudi activist will stand trial for defying the kingdom's ban on female drivers, a lawyer and rights advocates said Monday, revealing clear limits on how far the conservative Muslim land is willing to go to grant women greater rights. Just a day earlier, King Abdullah, who is regarded as a reformer by Saudi standards, decreed that women would be allowed for the first time to vote and run as candidates in elections for municipal councils starting in 2015. He also promised to appoint women after two years to the Shura Council, the currently all-male consultative body with no legislative powers. Activists in Saudi Arabia and abroad welcomed the changes as a step in the right direction, while urging the kingdom to end all discrimination against women. (AOL/Huffpo must be unhappy with the Saudis about something. It’s very rare for liberal media to point out lack of women’s rights in the Islamic world. Ron P. Maybe they think they can pin it on Bush? ~Bob.)

Former White House Adviser Warren Looking for Blue-Collar Connection in Massachusetts Senate Race
Excerpt: Warren’s ability to range beyond her Harvard Law professor profile is the central question in the race. Can she make a convincing case that she cares less about the algorithms of regulatory policy than about doggedly delivering constituent services, the way that legendary Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy used to and that Brown has since emulated? Recruited by party heavyweights inside the Beltway, the former White House adviser risks coming across as an elitist disengaged from the middle-class voters who swung the 2010 special election to Brown. “She’s got to get out of Cambridge and out of Washington and to these streets,” said Melrose Mayor Rob Dolan, a Democrat. “Because this election isn’t going to be won in Cambridge. It’s going to be won in Melrose and Reading and Stoneham and Chelmsford. Because every election in Massachusetts is. And Scott Brown has the high ground there.” In the special election to succeed Kennedy after his death from cancer, the town of Melrose went for Republican Brown over Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley by just under than 2 percentage points, a nearly 11-point drop in Democratic support from Barack Obama’s share there in 2008. Brown lost Cordes’s hometown of Bedford by just 1 percentage point. (Although everyone outside the 128/I-95 corridor hates to admit it, most statewide elections are decided solely by those inside that belt plus the cities of Worcester and Springfield. Next year’s election will have no statewide office other than US Senator on the ballot. It’s going to be a very tough fight from both sides. We already have an occasional negative TV ad against Brown, paid for by various groups with vague-sounding names. Warren appears to be the choice of the Dem leaders at both state and national levels, so even though Brown has almost $10M in the war chest, she won’t have much trouble fund raising to match. And, the unions are looking to get revenge for what they see as receiving a black eye in the special election that sent Brown to Washington. It going to be a tough next 14 months and the outcome is in doubt. Ron P. all the Conservatives complaining that Brown is a RINO, because he can’t vote like a Senator from SC or OK, should ask themselves how they will like Sen. Warren. Brown votes Republican to organize—we need him if Harry Reid isn’t to be in charge in February of 2013. If it still matters then who is in charge. ~Bob.)

Analysis: Russia's Kudrin pays price for going off script
Excerpt: Vladimir Putin's strategy for a smooth return to the Kremlin appears to have gone off script with the departure of Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin. The removal of such a trusted ally on Monday is unlikely to have been part of Putin's plan when he announced on Saturday that he wanted to reclaim the presidency in an election next March after nearly four years as prime minister. Although nothing can be taken for granted in Russia's Byzantine political system, feuds like the one that broke out between Kudrin and President Dmitry Medvedev are rare at such a high level, pointing to personal rivalries as much as the differences they cited over policy.

Human skin strengthened with spider silk can stop a bullet
huh. Took me three months at Parris Island to think I was bullet proof. ~Bob. Excerpt: A Dutch artist has blended spider silk with human skin to produce a super-strong material that can stop a bullet at half its regular speed. Jalila Essaïdi collaborated with cell biologist Abdoelwaheb El Ghalbzouri to produce the material which is three times tougher than Kevlar.

Obama’s strained symbolism at an Ohio River bridge
Excerpt: And then, in a campaign-style rally last week in Cincinnati, he upped the ante, suggesting that Boehner and McConnell, by opposing his bill, were preventing the bridge from being rebuilt. “Mr. Boehner, Mr. McConnell, help us rebuild this bridge,” he shouted. “Help us rebuild America. Help us put construction workers back to work. Pass this bill.” So Carney’s comment — “could speed up the process” — amounted to a very large asterisk on the president’s words. We dug a little deeper, and no money in the jobs bill is intended for the bridge. But administration officials argue that the act would provide additional funding for the Federal Highway Administration, and some of that money could be used to speed up environmental and other approvals. “This means that the environmental work could finish by February ’12. A contract could be awarded late in ’12, and the workers could begin construction on the approaches to the bridge, which is a big part of the project, in ’13,” one administration official said. Another official said the money could speed up other required steps. We get a little wary when we hear “could” in every sentence of administration talking points. … This is symbolism run amok. The president certainly could have used the bridge to highlight the infrastructure crisis facing the United States. But he went a bridge too far by repeatedly suggesting that his jobs bill would immediately bring construction crews to this particular project — and that Republican lawmakers who long have pleaded for federal help on the bridge are now callously thwarting its repair. Three Pinocchios.

Excerpt: The great green culprit is back, and this time it’s setting Texas on fire! At least that’s what President Obama wants you to believe. At a fundraiser in California Sunday (from which he apparently excluded the press), he seized the opportunity of one of the worst catastrophes in Texas history to score some political points. If George Bush didn’t care about black people, Barack Obama certainly seems to have his issues with Texans. “You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change,” Obama told donors referring to Perry. As we all know, Climate Change is incontrovertible despite many reputable scientists’ claims to the contrary. But can the President’s claim hold water even amongst believers?

Obama and Science
So we are told Obama, unlike Republicans, believes in science. And the leading “warmist” scientist, Phil Jones, says there has been no warming since 1995. But still Obama believes that warming before 1995 caused wildfires in Texas in 2011? Who is the anti-science guy here?

Dick Morris and Other Questionable Characters
Excerpt: It’s bad enough having those well-spoken, snazzy-dressed, spokesmen for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), getting all huffy over opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque, but what makes them particularly unbearable is the silence they maintain over the way their brethren burn churches, bibles and Christians, in the Middle East. In a way, it reminds me of the way that Barack Obama chastises Republicans for being uncivil, but never utters a word when his various stooges refer to Republicans as hostage-taking terrorists and when Rep. Andre Carson calls the Tea Party a lynch mob.

EPA To Shut Down 20% of Coal Plants in 2012
Excerpt: This article is a few days old, but it is worth a mention nonetheless. Susan Kraemer at CleanTechnica can barely contain her excitement at the prospect of environmental regulations. In an article titled "Obama's EPA Cues 130 Billion Race to Cut Pollution By 2015", she reports that the EPA will shut down 20 percent of coal plants through the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. She acknowledges the cost of these regulations ($130 billion), but insists that this is actually good for the economy. How, pray tell, does $130 billion in regulatory expenses transform into a $130 billion boon? Because it will push coal plants out of the way and free up energy production for green technology, of course! (Pushing us towards fiscal collapse. These idiots love the poor. In 10-20 years everyone will be poor. Or dead. ~Bob.)

Wind Power's Political Payoff
Taxpayers who voted for Obama: “Please, Sir, May I have another?” ~Bob. Excerpt: Our ever-campaigning president heads off to a fundraiser held by a politically connected businessman whose company took a $100 million stimulus tax credit. Solyndra didn't stop pay-for-play the "Chicago Way." Tone-deaf somehow does not seem adequate to describe President Obama's silent indifference to the Solyndra scandal of his making as he rushes off to another fundraiser, a $25,000 per person affair in Missouri on Oct. 4 organized by another beneficiary of our stimulus tax dollars. Tom Carnahan, of the Missouri Carnahans, arguably that state's most prominent political family, is listed on President Obama's campaign website as a host of the St. Louis fundraising extravaganza amid widespread unemployment and tanking markets. Coincidentally, of course, Carnahan's energy development firm, Wind Capital Group, is the recipient of a $107 million federal tax credit to develop a wind power facility in his state.

Rick Perry’s Border Problem: If he won’t use E-Verify, he can’t complain about lax immigration enforcement.
excerpt: Rick Perry stumbled through much of the last Republican debate, but not when speaking about immigration. He issued a clarion condemnation of critics of his state’s policy of giving the children of illegal immigrants in-state tuition to college. Such naysayers, Perry declared, lack “a heart.” The Texas governor prides himself on his distinctness from George W. Bush, yet on this issue he sounds just like him: scolding his party for its lack of compassion for immigrants coming here to make a go of it. If Perry had wanted to avoid raising the hackles of Republicans with the imputation of heartlessness, he could have borrowed the staple Bush line: “Family values don’t stop at the Rio Grande.” Neither, more relevantly, does the desire to find a job. What Perry portrays as the great American job machine in his state has mostly benefited people who aren’t Americans, according to a new study by the Center for Immigration Studies. This significant caveat to the Texas Miracle raises the larger question of why the country has continued to welcome millions of new immigrants during the past few years while shedding millions of jobs. In Texas, the study finds, 81 percent of the jobs created since 2007 have gone to immigrants who arrived in the United States since 2007. Ninety-three percent of these immigrants aren’t citizens. An estimated 50 percent are illegal immigrants. All of this may be further testament to the status of Texas as a jobs magnet, but Perry won’t be bragging about this indication of its drawing power. In this same period, the native-born accounted for almost 70 percent of the population growth in Texas. They didn’t experience the same gains in employment, though. “The share of working-age natives holding a job in Texas declined significantly,” the study finds, “from 71 percent in 2007 to 67 percent in 2011.” In the second quarter of this year, the unemployment rate for natives in Texas, 8.1 percent, ranked 22nd in the country, and the share of natives holding a job, 66.6 percent, ranked 29th.

Compassionately weaning people off government
Excerpt: What's the common thread between Europe's financial mess, particularly among the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain), and the financial mess in the U.S.? That question could be more easily answered if we asked instead: What's necessary to cure the financial mess in Europe and the U.S.? If European governments and the U.S. Congress ceased the practice of giving people what they have not earned, budgets would be more than balanced. For government to guarantee a person a right to goods and services he has not earned, it must diminish someone else's right to what he has earned, simply because governments have no resources of their very own. The first order of business in reaching a solution to the financial mess in Europe and the U.S. must be the recognition that governments have been doing a class of unsustainable things, mostly giving people special privileges and things that they have not earned. It's a matter of not simply what's good or bad for the beneficiaries but what its effect is on society at large and the welfare of a nation. Take the understandably humane motivation to provide health care services for the medically indigent. If one is concerned about the health needs of a person, why shouldn't the government also provide him with resources for nutrition? Good health is not just medical services and food but a decent place to live. Furthermore, good health is a matter of not just physical well-being but mental well-being as well, so why not have government-sponsored vacations? That's not such a far-fetched idea as one might imagine. Antonio Tajani, the European commissioner for industry and entrepreneurship, has declared vacationing to be a "human right."

Chicago on the Potomac: White House reportedly takes Ford to woodshed over anti-bailout ad; Update: Detroit News reporter stands by story; Ford denies pressure
Excerpt: Your Chicago Way read of the day comes from the Detroit News, where columnist Daniel Howes brings news that a few calls from the White House have led to Ford Motor Company yanking ads that spotlighted its refusal to take government auto bailout money. Nice car company ya got there, fellas. Would be a shame if anything happened to it

Why Herman Cain resonates with voters
Excerpt: His tea party support is solid and growing. He won the Florida straw poll on September 24, receiving 37% of the vote, more than double that of runner-up Rick Perry. And the latest IBOPE Zogby poll revealed that “Rick Perry has tumbled by more than 20 percentage points over the past month among Republican presidential primary voters and is now second to Herman Cain, who leads the field with 28%.” Herman Cain possesses two ingredients that are resonating with voters quite powerfully: executive experience and no-nonsense candor. A resume that includes regional vice president of Pillsbury’s Burger King division, president and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and president of the National Restaurant Association attracts voters who are tired of politicians with zero business experience lecturing them about free-market economics. But it’s the latter trait — his candor — that I believe has caught voters’ attention more than anything.

House GOP wants to cash out dollar bill
Excerpt: Several House Republicans have introduced legislation to retire the dollar bill and replace it with a mandated dollar coin. A couple of senators, however, have introduced a competing measure to protect the paper dollar from, as they say, the "unpopular one dollar coin." Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and two other House Republicans — including supercommittee co-chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) — introduced legislation last week aimed at retiring the paper dollar. Schweikert said his bill would save $184 million a year and $5.5 billion over 30 years by transitioning to a dollar coin in four years, or as soon as $600 million worth of dollar coins are in circulation. (And take the Penny with it. A nickel doesn’t buy what a penny did when I was a kid and we didn’t need 1/5 cent coins. A dollar doesn’t buy what a quarter did when I was a kid and we didn’t need 25 cent bills. Waste of tax dollars. But folks will complain. ~Bob.)

Quote on GretaWire
“Someone needs to talk our President down off of this rhetoric about good vs. evil; about two classes and math” – Ted Leonsis (owner of Washington Capitols and much more!)

Despotism Breeds Federal Paranoia
Excerpt: Any environment where secrecy and social and political control are the operating parameters can breed paranoia. Mere intellectual curiosity can be seen dangerous and treasonous. It does not have to be the extreme behavior of the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia or the angry jealousy of Soviet Russia. During the summer of 2009, we saw this with the White House healthcare "snitch site" ( where citizens were encouraged to turn in information -- or people -- who were reporting "lies" about ObamaCare. Eventually -- largely due to public outcry and immense amount of deliberately false and frankly riotous commentary rammed into the site -- it was pulled down. To date there is not a general feeling of comfort about what the government has done with the data that was presented to them. Not learning from their earlier mistake, recently Team Obama launched If you follow the link, you will notice the address is "" How touching, how personal, and how very, very creepy. It quickly became a laughingstock, derided even by the Washington Post. So far the result seems to be more embarrassing exposure, leading to a truck load of deliberately false information being sent into the site. I have reported several attacks, mostly involving rumors being spread by animals during a trip to the zoo. Strangely, each time I report a rumor, I get directed to a donation screen and a paid for by Obama for America logo. It seems that they value the information a whole lot less than my money, which I will not give up freely.

(Man) has 20 kids by 11 different women makes minimum wage
Sorry they put “black” in the headline. This is wrong if he’s white, red, yellow or green. Our problems are not race, but culture. ~Bob.

Obama Tells Townhall We're In A "Deep Recession"
Obama’s “recovery summer” is so last year. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama, in answering a question from a woman about her unemployed mother who is near retirement, said that is a tough position to be in, especially "in this kind of deep recession."

A tale of two states: PA booms while NY suffers
Not to worry, NY, Obama’s EPA will shut PA down. ~Bob. Excerpt: Excerpt: ‘If it wasn’t for the gas business, none of these people would be working right now,” David Dalrymple said, pointing to one of his crews building a road in Athens Township, Pa. By “gas business,” he meant drilling made possible by “fracking” -- a process for extracting natural gas that’s legal in Pennsylvania but not yet in New York.

Allen West Schools on Palestinian Statehood

Excerpt: I’d missed that Christian Schneider post on in-state tuition rates for illegal aliens, which is probably just as well given the vein-popping it caused. But, if that’s the – or even a – “conservative” position, the republic might as well hold its going-out-of-business sale this weekend. To reprise the Schneider justification: By the time an undocumented [sic!] child makes it from first grade to graduating high school, taxpayers have already sunk over $100,000 into that child’s education. To pull the plug on those children because of the actions of their parents would be unfair, and would nullify the investment taxpayers have already made in the kid. … So while they’re here, our state would be better off giving these kids the chance to make our country better, rather than sentencing them to a second-class existence. … Good grief. First, the fact that 12 years of American education costs over a hundred grand ought to be an outrage, not an initial down-payment: We spend more per pupil than any advanced nation other than Luxembourg, and at least the Luxembourgers have something to show for it. Second, the idea that government spending is an “investment” as opposed to prudent budgeting for necessary responsibilities is a classic all-purpose leftist euphemism for statism without end that no conservative should have any truck with: Why, to end our “investment” in “these kids” after a mere 12 years is to “sentence” people to a “second-class existence”!

Calif. Hells Angels Boss Dead in Shootout
Excerpt: The city canceled its part in an annual multi-city motorcycle festival on Saturday and neighboring Reno increased police patrol amid fears of retaliation over the shooting death of a prominent Hells Angels boss by a rival gang. Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew, the 51-year-old head of the motorcycle gang's San Jose chapter, was killed late Friday in a shootout that sent hotel guests and gamblers diving under tables at John Ascuaga's Nugget hotel-casino, police said. Two California members of the Vagos Motorcycle Club also were wounded.

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