Friday, April 30, 2010

Have Conservatives Gone Mad?

Serious thinkers on the right have finally gotten around to a full and open debate on the epistemic closure problem that's plaguing the conservative movement. The issue, to put it in terms that even I can understand, because I didn't study philosophy much in college: has the conservative base gone mad?

This matters to journalists, because I really do want to take Republicans seriously. Mainstream conservative voices are embracing theories that are, to use Julian Sanchez's phrase, "untethered" to the real world.

Can anyone deny that the most trenchant and effective criticism of President Obama today comes not from the right but from the left? Rachel Maddow's grilling of administration economic officials. Keith Olbermann's hectoring of Democratic leaders on the public option. Glenn Greenwald's criticisms of Elena Kagan. Ezra Klein and Jonathan Cohn's keepin'-them-honest perspectives on health care. The civil libertarian left on detainees and Gitmo. The Huffington Post on derivatives.

I want to find Republicans to take seriously, but it is hard. Not because they don't exist -- serious Republicans -- but because, as Sanchez and others seem to recognize, they are marginalized, even self-marginalizing, and the base itself seems to have developed a notion that bromides are equivalent to policy-thinking, and that therapy is a substitute for thinking.

It is absolutely a condition of the age of the triumph of conservative personality politics, where entertainers shouting slogans are taken seriously as political actors, and where the incentive structures exist to stomp on dissent and nuance, causing experimental voices to retrench and allowing a lot of people to pretend that the world around them is not changing. The obsession with ACORN, Climategate, death panels, the militarization of rhetoric, Saul Alinsky, Chicago-style politics, that TAXPAYERS will fund the bailout of banks -- these aren't meaningful or interesting or even relevant things to focus on. (The banks will fund their own bailouts.)

Conor Friedersdorf thinks the problem lies with the conservative movement's major spokespeople -- its radio/net news nexus -- and the "overwhelming evidence that their very existence as popular entertainers hinges on an ability to persuade listeners that they are "'worth taking seriously as political and intellectual actors.'" That is why the constant failures of these men to live up to their billing is so offensive, destructive, and ruinous to conservatives. There are plenty of women, too, is all I'll say.

I think this sensibility is pervasive throughout the smart media -- old and new. I think it's one reason why, say, Jake Tapper and other good reporters are very keen about direct fact-challenging -- why the media is reasserting itself as gatekeepers. (CNN might want to think about branding themselves here, even at the risk -- well, the reality -- of calling out Republicans more.) I think it's because there's so much misinformation out there -- most of it spread by the conservative echo-chamber. With the advent of Fox News and the power of that echo-chamber, complaints about liberal media bias are quite irrelevant -- the reaction to it being like lupus's reaction to the body, as Jon Stewart correctly noted.
Marfk Ambinder, Atlantic

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Reprieve for banks; Foreclosure for homeowners

Its first attempt at foreclosure relief--dubbed Making Home Affordable--having proven a dismal failure, the Obama administration recently implemented a new program called the Housing Finance Agency (HFA) Hardest Hit Fund. According to Bloomberg News, the new program "[gives] bankers a reprieve."1

Is this some kind of joke? Another reprieve for bankers? The total spent so far on mortgage relief is $75 billion. Meanwhile, Neil Barofsky, the inspector general charged with overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), estimates that the total cost of the Wall Street bailouts could eventually reach $23.7 trillion!2

Foreclosures are at a record high. According to RealtyTrac, filings topped 367,000 last month, the highest monthly total since the reporting began. Nearly 260,000 homes and other properties were repossessed in the first quarter of the fiscal year. That's an all-time record and a 35 percent jump from the previous year. 10,000 homes are going into foreclosure daily.3

The Congressional Oversight Panel headed by Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren announced last week that the Obama program has helped just one borrower for every ten that have lost their homes. According to Warren, "The Treasury Department's response is lagging behind the pace of the crisis... [its] programs will not reach the overwhelming majority of homeowners in trouble." Permanent loan modifications have been made for fewer than 200,000 borrowers nationwide, leaving a growing backlog of distressed borrowers awaiting help.4

Another article on the Bloomberg site contains a breathtaking Deutsche Bank prediction that the number of ‘underwater' loans in the US may rise to 48 percent or 25 million homes by 2011!



On February 19, President Obama announced the first HFA Hardest Hit Fund with $1.5 billion in funding for "innovative measures to help families" in five states with home price declines greater than 20 percent. On March 29, the president announced the second HFA Hardest Hit Fund with $600 million in funding for five states in which the unemployment rate exceeded 12 percent in 2009.5

Unexplained on the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website is the rationale for changing strategies over a mere 40 days-from targeting states in which the price of the real estate has slumped to states where unemployment has soared.

Regardless, it's revealing that at the same time the administration is committing paltry sums to foreclosure relief for homeowners, it announced spending $200 billion in taxpayer funds to soak up preferred stock in both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, twice what was previously pledged.6 Of course, both Fannie and Freddie are stockholder-owned corporations whose principal raison d'être is not rescuing drowning homeowners.

Where will dispossessed homeowners and their families go to get a roof over their heads? Will multiple families be forced to cram into apartments or converted motels? Will they go to shelters? Live in their cars or on the streets? And what will be the consequences of such massive dislocation? Could expectation of civil unrest resulting from economic calamity be a reason that for "the first time an active unit of the US military has been given a domestic assignment"?7 In a nation that already has by far the highest incarceration rates in the world, a new prison opens every week. How many of our soon-to-homeless fellow citizens will wind up inhabiting these cells?

Over the past year, even casual observers have witnessed an unmistakable pattern in this administration's approach to our national economic malaise-pennies for the poor and largesse for the wealthy. This pattern holds with respect to the debate on "cramdown" legislation. (A cramdown is a court-ordered reduction of the secured balance due on a home mortgage loan, granted to a homeowner who has filed for personal bankruptcy.8) Seven of the nine largest national banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, oppose the legislation,9 calling cramdown "a dangerous concept."10 Only Citigroup and Bank of America, both of which have taken billions in handouts and "backstops" through the TARP, have maintained public silence.

Well, leave it to a bunch of pin-striped banksters to recognize a "dangerous concept" when they see one. Aren't these the same guys who recently brought the world economy to its knees with their financial legerdemain?

It's doubtful that the meager Obamite sprinklings of help to beleaguered homeowners will do much good. Eligibility requirements are strict. In order to participate, a homeowner cannot have missed more than three payments. The homeowner must be receiving without a job and receiving unemployment benefits. The home in question must be worth 115% less than the value of the mortgage. The homeowner must also have a credit score above 500.11

Soon after the meltdown in the fall of 2008, former Fed chairman and Obama advisor Paul Volcker had a better idea for keeping people in their homes rather being thrown out on the streets. He pushed for the creation of a government entity mimicking the Resolution Trust Corporation of the late 1980s and early 1990s. According to Volcker, "this new governmental body would be able to buy up the troubled paper at fair market values, where possible keeping people in their homes..."12

A northern California realtor recently told us that banks are looking much more favorably on foreclosures than on "short sales." This indicates that banks are actually more interested in taking people's property than they are in any kind of "work outs" that might save a homeowner from bankruptcy. The realtor we spoke with didn't know why this was the case but ventured an educated guess that it's simply more profitable for the banks to take and hold property at this time.

Maybe this is what Bloomberg.com's Elizabeth Hester meant in writing that the Obama foreclosure relief program is really "a reprieve for bankers" rather than for homeowners.

The prevailing logic of our politics seems to be "what's good for bankers is good for America". With a quarter of American homeowners underwater, and a government too stingy or too cozy with industry to seriously address the problem, the stability of both the banking system and the social fabric of the country are threatened.
Addendum: What would happen if people across the country sent their notices of foreclosure to Washington, DC as a reminder of just how serious this crisis has become? We recommend sending notices to President Obama with an accompanying letter. A sample letter is at www.voiceoftheenvironment.org.


***
1 Elizabeth Hester, “Obama’s $75 Billion Foreclosure Plan Spells Relief for Bankers”, Bloomberg.com, April 19, 2010.
2 Matt Taibbi, “Obama’s Big Sellout”, Rolling Stone, December 10, 2010.
3 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now, April 15, 2010.
4 Renae Merle & Dina ElBoghdady, “Obama readies steps to fight foreclosures, particularly for unemployed”, Washington Post, March 26, 2010.
5 “Administration Announces Second Round of Assistance for Hardest-Hit Housing Markets”, makinghousingaffordable.gov, March 29. 2010.
6 Hester, op. cit.
7 Gina Cavallaro, “Brigade homeland tours start October 1”, Army Times, Sept. 30, 2008
8 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/cramdown
9 op. cit., Hester
10 www.makinghousingaffordable.gov
11 Paul A. Volcker, Nicholas A. Brady & Eugene A. Ludwig, “Resurrect the Resolution Trust Corporation”, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 17, 2010.

Lewis Seiler is president of Voice of the Environment. Dan Hamburg, a former US congressman, is executive director.

commondreams.org

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Iran's Sex Slave Markets Move to Iraq

http://farsiposts.blogspot.com/2010/04/blog-post.html

Although the FIRST video narration is in Persian, the visuals of this palatial restaurant is worth the look.

It cost millions and several years to build and the likelihood of ownership by one of the top Mullahs, who have invested so heavily in property and luxury hotels on the other side of the Persian that they are the main land owners. Perhaps in partnerships with the ruling Sheikhs.

While on this subject, the human slave/sex trade auctions that used to take place nightly in the Mullah owned Dubai luxury hotel basements seem to have moved to Iraq into brothels!

Orphans, abandoned women forced into the streets without any means of earning a living or girls sent by their indigent families into the care of deceiving Mullah clerics promising to care for them, who used to be kidnapped and sold in the Dubai hotels are now being simply shipped to Iraq into bordellos or for enslaved prostitution by the Iranian Mullahs in partnership with Shia Iraqis (mostly under Moqtada al-Sadr's initial control) and shipped throughout the country. Including Sunni Kurdish areas, where Turkey has a strong presence.

The level of misleading superstition of Iran's totaly totally uneducated Shia mullahs (except in reciting the Koran and preaching death to everyone but themselves) has recently appeared with a formal edict by one of the SENIOR Mullahs in Iran saying that earthquakes are caused "women failing to wear their hejabs/scarves to cover their hair appropriately". Seriously, not a joke.

This was too much even for the most hardline Ayatollah Janati, who mocked the religious edict as an emotional reaction!

Meanwhile, President AhmadiNutjob is floating his idea of moving FIVE MILLION people (out of Tehran's 12 or so million population) out of the city BECAUSE of earthquake danger.

Which five million would he select? Is he worried about saving his pals from an earthquake or an attack by Israel and/or the West on nuclear facilities built under population centers, many under government office buildings?

And here comes a clue. To prevent a sudden elimination of governance should a major attack take place on Tehran, he has already moved one government ministry (US Department equivalence) some 40 miles west to Karadj and built a small town with residential sections for employees.

The five million would firstly, probably be a removal of central government to distant suburbs. While Karadj is a separate city, population expansion has almost joiuned it to Tehran.

Then, speculating (intel take note), moving the population located above underground nuclear sites. (Sorry if I have just condemned them to now reconceal this possible original motivation).

In closing, Oba-Hussein's almost frantic efforts to please his Moslem backers all over the world with PRO-ISLAM edicts and actions and official high level administration appointments including - or specially - in Homeland Security policy levels, are inviting the Islamic fanatical aspects into our daily lives. Based on equally superstitious, violent - not peaceful - aspects of Mohammadanism.

Imagine havng to follow Sharia edicts like in Somalia, where musin has been banned from the airwaves and as of a few days ago, rfadioj stations are forbidden to have ANY music - nor can music be played anywhere in the country without the risk of death. As is the case with en tertainment movies

Note: music CD's have been banned in Islamic Iran for decades but the freedom seeking populace has resisted the laws.

Meanwhile in Moslem Pakistan, a Pakistani Christian couple has been condemned to 25-years in prison for touching a Koran with unwashed hands!!! And have been sent to prison and have started serving their sentences.

This is what Oba-Hussein is promoting and encouraging in the USA with his import of tens of thousands of Palestians with your tax money and unlinking, ever more unrealisticaly and defiantly, Islam and terrorism - despite every piece of evidence to the contrary .

AND in a "reverse profiling" policy where it is forbidden to accuse Islam of ANYTHING - ignoring live video evidence - or any evidence that does not suit Islam's promoters.

Fine examples of Islamic Sharia law infiltrating our society and justice system under Oba-Hussein, the usurper of the White House and in my opinion increasingly clearly a Moslem himself with Marxist-Islamist mindsets, which are being intentionally used (not just moronic ignorance) to destroy America.

You may not be there yet but will be when the effect of the loony-tunes Bills and policies being passed without being read or really knowing what is in them come into force and ouch! They will hurt. Perhaps fatally to your well being and ability to survive in his vefsion of Communist America. Nor were you in Iran and totally in the loop around the time of the Khomeini/Soviet take over of power to see what is happening to us here today, with Marxist-Islamist Oba-Hussein-Khomeini is a replay of Ayatollah Khomeini's tactics and strategy.

You are all watching Oba-Hussein's powergrab of civilian and soon enough military America (with his million person Civilian Security Force reporting DIRECTLY to him) but apparently unable to recognize what you are seeing - for the first time ever in your lifetime of in the USA ever.

Talk about sedition! It's not Glenn Beck who deserves that accusation.

Perhaps as a larger segment of America wakes up and takes an interest in their own future, evaluates and analyzes just what is being done to them and the consequences, cases like Blagoyevich's will be allowed to go forward and elicit sworn testimoney nobody has been permitted to even approach.

Let's also see what convicted felon Reznik has testified to the FBI on Obama matters. And will it count as he is a convicted felon and can be ruled to be unreliable legally.

By the way: did anyone see an Illinois Congressman today ask for the National guard to be called up in Chicago to help police fight crime in a city suburb?

This is the breeding ground for the whole senior Oba-Hussein administration and their mayor Daley thuggery is part and parcel of their mindsets and tactics. With additional radical, weird philosophies added-on.

As an ironic commentary, Voice of America (VOA), despite being labeled Mullah Voice by Iranians, has been jammed by the regime inside Islamic Iran, so not even pro-Mullah messages are getting through and Hotbird satellite, used by Persian radio and TV broadcasts, initially lost picture capability and as of late April 23rd night audio also disappeared.

Wake Up America and listen to Rick's suggestion:
Anti-Mullah

Surface to Air Missiles to Syria from Russia


A report in the London-based pan-Arabic daily al-Hayat claims that Russia has supplied Syria with the S-300 air defense system.

The London daily Al-Hayat reports, citing a Russian source, that Russian President Vladimir Medvedev is to visit Syria on May 11 to discuss promoting Syria-Russia military and other cooperation.

According to the paper, in accordance with contracts signed between the two, Russia has supplied Syria with S-300 and Iskander missile defense systems, and there are contacts between the sides for the provision of new models of MiG aircraft and air defense systems.

I find it hard to believe that the IAF would have allowed Syria to get the S-300 unimpeded. Hmmm.

posted by Carl in Jerusalem, Israel Matzav

Goldman Sachs, Obama, and Wall Street reform: newyorker.com

Goldman Sachs, Obama, and Wall Street reform: newyorker.com

Monday, April 26, 2010

Thousands at Pro-Israel Rally in NYC


Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch was one of many speakers to rally with thousands of pro-Israel supporters in the pouring rain in New York yesterday. The rally was organized to show solidarity with Israel and to speak up against the Obama Administrations unconscionable position towards Israel. From the irrepressible indispensable Atlas Shrugs:

The rain was fitting as Obama's anti-Israel policies cast a dark cloud on the free world.

But that didn't stop thousands and thousands of Jews, Christians, Hindus and freedom loving peoples from coming out against Obama.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

War Zone NYC - but do not insult Islam



If you close your eyes and listen to the jihadist convicted yesterday in his role in unleashing a bomb in the NYC subway system on the anniversary of the 911 Islamic attacks on America, you would swear it was Obama and his dhimmi administration talking: "I strongly urge the American people to stop supporting the war against Islam. And this will be in their own interest."

Ahmedzay's narrative reflects Obama's policy on Islamic jihad. He urges America to stop defending herself against the global jihad. Like Obama and his silly DoD Gates, he suggests that fighting jihad will only ...... create jihad. As for all of the jihadi attacks before Iraq and Afghanistan operations, well.... that's irrelevant, an inconvenient truth. The left never lets logic and evidence get in the way of their anti-American narrative.

The day this plot was foiled, Obama was in New York addressing the UN. His speech was about the greatest threat posed to man: global warming. I kid you not.

Obama's strategy to Islam is the very definition of Islam -- submission. His cover-up of the Fort Hood jihad massacre, the largest attack on a military base on American history, will go down in history as the most blatant act of subversion by a US president.

Like Obama points to Israel as the problem, this WMD would-be killer blames the zionists as well. No jihadist rant is complete without full-on Islamic Jew-hatred. Zarein Ahmedzay, the Muslim guilty of planning to bomb NYC on September 11th, said:

"Your Honor, I would like to quote from the Qur’an."

"Quote, Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their wealth for the price of Paradise, to fight in the way of Allah, to kill and get killed. It is a promise binding on the truth in the Torah, the Gospel and the Qur’an, end of quote.

[....]

"Yes. Um, Your Honor, I strongly urge the American people to stop supporting the war against Islam. And this will be in their own interest.

[...]

"And I believe that the real enemies of this country are the ones destroying this country from within. And I believe these are the special group, the Zionist Jews, I believe, who want a permanent shadow government within the government of the United States of America."

Sounds like Ahmedzay is describing the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood at the senior levels of all branches of the US government.

Who knew how iconic and metaphorical this image of the Pentagon would become 9 years after 911:

Atlas Shrugs

Busted Burqa Woman, Polygamous Husband, 3 other Wives 12 Chil on Welfare


From French reader Kate (google translation): Atlas Shrugs

Hello Pamela and friends, in fact the case even stronger stimulus debate on the burka with us! Nicolas Sarkozy said he wanted a law on the burka and the French Total approve! (We must not forget that Barack Obama has said about it here, that people should be free to dress as they want) but, Nicolas Sarkozy will not be the dog of Barack 0bama. In addition, after investigating the veiled woman, it turned out it was one of four women who have 12 children of her husband, Algerian naturalized by marriage, which is part a radical Islamic group! They have defrauded them by saying they were "single mothers" to reach more benefits! So the husband will be prosecuted for fraud, bigamy, and Mr Hortefeux asked whether stripped of his French nationality, I hope it will, it will make some noise! Those people we poison our lives and it is important not to show low be with them! is a gangrene that must be quickly eradicated if the world will be lost!

Immigration as a Tool to Impose Islam

Al-Hijra: The Islamic Doctrine of Immigration – Accepting Freedom or imposing Islam? By Sam Solomon & E Al Maqdisi

The Hijra: Little do they realize that this strategic pattern of demands is part of an insidious, 1,400-year-old proscription for Muslims that originates in the Koran and the Sunnah, the deeds of Mohammed. It is the Hijra or doctrine of immigration. Modeled by Mohammed's migration from Mecca to Medina, this immigration is not to a romanticized melting pot wherein newcomers gratefully search for opportunities for a better life in liberty and freely offer their talents and loyalty to benefit their new homeland. This is immigration for Islamic expansionism employing ethnic separatism to gain special status and privileges within the host country. Hijra is immigration designed to subvert and subdue non-Muslim societies and pave the way for eventual, total Islamization.

In their compelling book, "Modern Day Trojan Horse: The Islamic Doctrine of Immigration," authors Sam Solomon, a former professor of shari'ah law and convert to Christianity, and Elias Al Maqdisi, an expert on Islamic teachings, explain the migration of Muslims to the Dar-al-Harb, the "land of war," as a religious edict with a basis in Islamic doctrine. They delineate the step-by-step process of this 1,400-year-old strategy of conquest. It is a transitional strategy which they characterize as the most important step in spreading Islam and preparing for jihad. From their carefully delineated treatise on Hijra, it is clear that migration in concert with military conquest comprise the bookends of Islamic expansionism.

Solomon and Al Maqdisi review the phases of the Hijra and its juristic or legal basis in Islamic doctrine. Under the cover of taquiya or deception, the step-by-step methodology of the migration process is designed to subdue, then, subjugate the host culture, culminating in implementation of shari'ah law.

The beginning phase of Islamization usually includes activities pivotal to building a physical presence. It consists of public calls to prayer; founding of schools, libraries and research centers; and the teaching of Arabic -- actions that appear to be reasonable and respectable infrastructure requirements necessary to support the presence of a faith. At this point in the Hijra, it is permissible for Muslims to engage in haram, or forbidden actions, out of necessity to establish and empower the umma or Muslim community. Koranic rules such as the prohibition against friendships with infidels are suspended while the objectives of future Islamization are systematically put into place. In its initial phase, the Hijra passes scrutiny by the West whose citizens erroneously view the migration as mainly economic -- a pilgrimage for a better life.

Solomon and Maqdisi examine the comprehensive strategy that begins with the establishment of the umma or Muslim community. The mosque becomes the locus of power, a strategic base and the center of all activities. They explain how in this embryonic phase, a top priority is the scouting for new arrivals to expand and empower the existing Muslim community. Muslim leaders offer solicitous assistance and helpful suggestions for schools, housing, mosque worship, halal markets and other services to ingratiate themselves with new arrivals and bring them into the local Muslim community. Agents of local mosques, ever alert for new immigrants and potential converts, engage in subtle forms of indoctrination and police local Muslims.

Free Speech Against Muslims Prohibited

When SCOTUS permits women in high heels to stomp defenseless little animals on film, it should allow a man to mock Muhammad with cartoons.

"Hearing set for man who posted anti-Islam drawings," by David Unze for the St. Cloud Times, April 23:

A June 1 hearing has been scheduled for the Waite Park man who admitted posting anti-Islam drawings at various locations in St. Cloud.

The hearing is an opportunity for Sidney Allen Elyea to dispute a civil charge that he violated a city ordinance prohibiting posting materials on fixtures. Elyea faces two civil charges that each carry a maximum fine of $250.

Elyea has admitted posting the drawings and said he did so to educate others about Islam. The city charged Elyea through the civil process after county attorneys in Benton and Stearns counties declined to file criminal charges of obscenity or defamation against him, saying that what he posted was protected speech.

So two county attorneys thought that Elyea was exercising his freedom of speech, and yet the city pressed forward with a case anyway. Why is that? Why are Muslims being set up in this country as a protected class that must not be criticized or offended? Who else enjoys such protection? Why, no one, of course. And no one should.

Elyea's attorney has echoed that opinion, adding previously that Elyea was protesting in a nonviolent manner and that the city's ordinance encourages arbitrary enforcement and is void because it's vague.

"Given what our Supreme Court has done to protect the right to free speech, it baffles me that the government has not dismissed this case," Attorney Ryan Garry said Friday. "The city attorney's office should be charging and citing residents for the crimes they commit, not for the opinions they have."...

The drawings that Elyea posted contained explicit depictions of bestiality and sodomy, contained images of the Prophet Muhammad in derogatory positions and contained pictures and words offensive to Muslims in particular.

One set of the drawings was found posted to a telephone pole outside a Somali-owned business in East St. Cloud. Other copies were found in other parts of the city.

So he may be a jerk. He may be a provocateur. He may be a lout. But is it illegal now to be those things, when a certain hypersensitive group is the recipient of the loutish behavior?

GM Pays off TARP Debt with More TARP Debt

The Treasury Department's press office also disagreed with Mr. Barofsky's characterization that GM paid off one credit line with another credit line. The watchdog, however, won't budge. When asked how to tell whether the $4.7 billion used to pay off the government loan came from TARP funds and not some other source, a spokesman for the Special Inspector General's Office explained: "We have a letter from General Motors requesting that they take the money out of escrow and pay the other debt down. And the money in the escrow was clearly TARP funding." That letter has been released by the Special Inspector General's Office.

Despite misleadingly rosy propaganda fed to the press, the sad saga of General Motors' transformation into Government Motors continues. As a ward of the state, GM has to do the bidding of its Washington masters and stay in lock step with the Democrats' claims about the company's condition. The truth is that GM's condition remains poor.

The only reason the company has been able to pay off its government loan is because the Obama administration has given GM more money than it has been able to spend. Hence, proceeds from one loan are sitting around to be used to pay down another loan. That's hardly evidence that GM has been a good investment. To the contrary, the shell game makes clear that the Obama administration is wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on a carmaker that is careening toward a cliff.
Posted by Alan Peters at 8:51 PM

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bernie Goldberg Admits: Jon Stewart Was Right About Fox News (VIDEO)

Bernie Goldberg Admits: Jon Stewart Was Right About Fox News (VIDEO)

Posted using ShareThis

Have Conservatives Gone Mad?


Serious thinkers on the right have finally gotten around to a full and open debate on the epistemic closure problem that's plaguing the conservative movement. The issue, to put it in terms that even I can understand, because I didn't study philosophy much in college: has the conservative base gone mad?

This matters to journalists, because I really do want to take Republicans seriously. Mainstream conservative voices are embracing theories that are, to use Julian Sanchez's phrase, "untethered" to the real world.

Can anyone deny that the most trenchant and effective criticism of President Obama today comes not from the right but from the left? Rachel Maddow's grilling of administration economic officials. Keith Olbermann's hectoring of Democratic leaders on the public option. Glenn Greenwald's criticisms of Elena Kagan. Ezra Klein and Jonathan Cohn's keepin'-them-honest perspectives on health care. The civil libertarian left on detainees and Gitmo. The Huffington Post on derivatives.

Mark Armbinder, The Atlantic
Most Republicans face long prison sentences and they know it.

Hate and Slander from Facebook


Fan photos from DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN

BDSM Trumps Vital Derivatives Crisis Conference

Nitin Gulabani, the global head of rates at Standard Chartered Bank, said during a panel discussion, “As an industry, we just have to accept the moral obligation of what we are doing and how we do things.” As for dialing things back a bit given the widespread scrutiny surrounding the derivatives industry, well, that did not quite happen. HuffPo
At the finish, the participants adjourned to a night of debauchery at a SFO BDSM club.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Shar'ia Law Conquers Comedy Central


Muhammad and the Danish cartoons

Sharia law enforcement -- self policing. Do not say the word Muhammad. Comedy Central, which is so not funny these days, has banned the word Muahmmad. Is everyone in a coma?

And O'Reilly submitted to Islamic law here. This story is bigger than the Icelandic volcano -- a pillar of this great country has cracked clear through. Which is why the SIOA"free speech" bus victory is such a huge story.

Remember when the Nazis marched in Skokie back in the 70s? And what a big story that was? People were outraged, but free speech was (and is) the holy grail (and rightly so), no matter how despicable the idea.

This is the slipperyist of slopes - right off a cliff and into the stone age.
Atlas Shrugs
SCOTUS has extended free speech to film makers showing women killing puppies by stomping them with high heels.

Guns and Butter 2010


The LA Times offers an eye-opening example of just how far our mission in Afghanistan has "creeped," describing the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff telling an Afghan leader that the goals of the upcoming surge in Kandahar include "providing jobs." Is that really why we are still fighting a war there nine years later, spending American blood and treasure? The Bush-era rationale for these overseas misadventures was always: We'll fight 'em over there, so we don't have to fight 'em over here. Today, it seems, we're fighting to create jobs for 'em over there, while we don't have enough jobs for our people over here. At a time when so many hardworking middle class families are reeling from the economic crisis that seems like the most perverted of priorities.
Arianna Huffington, HuffPo

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Conservatives on reform: "Slow Down"

Are the Gods Angry in Iceland?



Bob Markoff, The New Yorker

Big Kiss-off From Obama



John G. Is 63 years old and owns a small business. He's a life-long Republican and sees his dream of retiring next year has all but evaporated. With the stock market crashing and new taxes coming his way, John assumes now that he will work to his dying day.

John has a granddaughter.. Ashley is a recent college grad. She drives a flashy hybrid car, wears all the latest fashions, and loves to go out to nightclubs and restaurants. Ashley campaigned hard for Barack Obama. After the election she made sure her grandfather (and all other Republican family members) received a big I told-you-so earful on how the world is going to be a much better place now that her party is taking over.

Having lost both roommates, Ashley recently ran short of cash and cannot pay the rent (again) on her 3 bedroom townhouse.. Like she has done many times in the past, she e-mailed her grandfather asking for some financial help.

Here is his reply:


Sweetheart, I received your request for assistance.

Ashley, you know I love you dearly and I 'm sympathetic to your financial plight. Unfortunately, times have changed. With the election of President Obama, your grandmother and I have had to set forth a bold new economic plan of our own..."The Ashley Economic Empowerment Plan." Let me explain.

Your grandmother and I are life-long, wage-earning tax payers. We have lived a comfortable life, as you know, but we have never had the fancier things like European vacations, luxury cars, etc.. We have worked hard and were looking forward to retiring soon. But the plan has changed. Your president is raising our personal and business taxes significantly. He says it is so he can give our hard earned money to other people. Do you know what this means, Ashley? It means less for us, and we must cut back on many business and personal expenses.

You know the wonderful receptionist who worked in my office for more than 23 years? The one who always gave you candy when you came over to visit? I had to let her go last week. I can't afford to pay her salary and all of the government mandated taxes that go with having employees. Your grandmother will now work 4 days a week to answer phones, take orders and handle the books. We will be closed on Fridays and will lose even more income to the Wal-Mart.

I'm also very sorry to report that your cousin Frank will no longer be working summers in the warehouse. I called him at school this morning.. He already knows about it and he's upset because he will have to give up skydiving and his yearly trip to Greenland to survey the polar bears.

That's just the business side of things. Some personal economic effects of Obama's new taxation policies include none other than you You know very well that over the years your grandmother and I have given you thousands of dollars in cash, tuition assistance, food, housing, clothing, gifts, etc.., etc. But by your vote, you have chosen to help others -- not at your expense -- but at our expense.

If you need money now sweetheart, I recommend you call 202-456-1111. That is the direct phone number for the White House.. You can also contact the White House here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/CONTACT/ .

You yourself told me how foolish it is to vote Republican. You said Mr Obama is going to be the People's President, and is going to help every American live a better life. Based on everything you've told me, along with all the promises we heard during the campaign, I'm sure Mr. Obama will be happy to transfer some stimulus money into your bank account. Have him call me for the account number which I memorized years ago..

Perhaps you can now understand what I've been saying all my life: those who vote for a president should consider the impact on the nation as a whole, and not be just concerned with what they can get for themselves. What Obama supporters don't seem to realize is all of the money he is redistributing to illegal aliens and non-taxpaying Americans (the so-called "less fortunate") comes from tax-paying families.

Remember how you told me, "Only the richest of the rich will be affected"? Well guess what, honey? Because we own a business, your grandmother and I are now considered to be the richest of the rich. On paper, it might look that way, but in the real world, we are far from it.

As you said while campaigning for Obama, some people will have to carry more of the burden so all of America can prosper.. You understand what that means, right? It means that raising taxes on productive people results in them having less money; less money for everything, including granddaughters.

I'm sorry, Ashley, but the well has run dry.. The free lunches are over.. I have no money to give you now. So, congratulations on your choice for "change." For future reference, I encourage you to try and add up the total value of the gifts and cash you have received from us, just since you went off to college, and compare it to what you expect to get from Mr. Obama over the next 4 (or 8) years. I have not kept track of it, Ashley. It has all truly been the gift of our hearts.

Remember, we love you dearly....but from now on you'll need to call the number mentioned above. Your "Savior" has the money we would have given to you. Just try and get it from him.

Good luck, sweetheart.

Love, Grandpa
Source: Anti-Mullah

Tuesday, April 20, 2010



Once again the global jihad plainly states their goal of worldwide domination as demanded and prescribed by Islamic teaching and the Koran.

But Obama and his leftraitors insist Timothy McVeigh is the problem -- got that?

Top Ranked Islamic Site Calls for the Final Jihad! By Logan's Warning
While we Western non-Muslims are arguing amongst ourselves, as to whether there really is an Islamic threat, Muslims are uniting against us. Today the top ranked Islamic site Khalifah Institute, put out the call for the final jihad. The site had 184,800 visitors recorded today. They call it the final jihad, because the Western and Islamic worlds, have been down this road before.

Posted by Atlas Shrugs

A Teaparty Officer [ret] Speaks Out

But why is it that the tea party has drawn so much attention, negative mostly, from media sources and political operatives? One word, it is fear.

Today is the 15th anniversary of a tragic and terrible day in America, the Oklahoma City bombing. What should be a day of remembrance and mourning was used by another Democrat President, Bill Clinton, to launch a despicable attack against the tea party movement. Clinton made the comparison of what resulted in the deaths of 168 Americans to Americans seeking to “redress their grievances to government”, highly disgusting and dishonorable. In accordance with such we have Time magazine writer Joe Klein accusing Sarah Palin and others of sedition, a felony crime.

What we are witnessing is the imagined fear of the liberal progressives in America. They are attempting to create a sense of intimidation and violence where no such thing exists. The constant stoking and probing for the smoking gun that will solidify their claim comes up empty time and time again.

The real fear of the liberal progressives is that the silent majority is no longer silent and is rejecting their collectivist, big government agenda centered on nationalizing production and expansion of the entitlement class. Americans are rejecting the notion of the nanny-state where we find 47% of Americans are not paying taxes. We are rejecting the liberal progressive objective of having a majority of Americans wedded to government either by subsistence checks or by employment.

The real fear is that since 2006 the Democrat party has laid ruin to our fundamental principles upon which America was built, namely our Constitution. They realize that there is a true danger for them in the mid-term elections of 2010, that means you too Ron Klein! And that is not intimidation, just means we will defeat you in the Congressional race for Florida district 22./

If one really wants a lesson in political intimidation you need only look to the history of the Democrat party. It is the party which created the Ku Klux Klan as its terrorist arm. It is the party of segregation, Jim Crow laws, poll taxes, and lynching, among other forms of violence. It is the party that reversed much of the Reconstruction era civil rights legislation and would have blocked the Civil Rights Act of the early 1960’s, save not for Republican Senator Everett Dirksen.

Today the Democrat party maintains its intimidation mantra through the thugs of ACORN, SEIU, New Black Panther Party, Code Pink, and anarchist groups. See if any political party recognizes violence and intimidation in America, it is the Democrat party. Now with the media in tow, they have expanded their means by which to attack simple Americans yearning for their freedom and liberty. Let us never forget the heinous treatment of former President George W Bush and the last American President to be shot……a Republican, Ronald Reagan.

It is beyond contempt and belief that the party who promoted slavery and segregation is now attempting to call anyone racist. I find it absolutely humorous when the left attacks me as a; radical, racist, uncle tom, oreo, sellout, and token. The actions of the left media who interviewed a black Gentleman at a tea party trying to coach him into condemning the tea party as racist is reprehensible, but indicative of the MSM. The real racists in America are liberal progressives. Their dishonest tyranny which promotes failing social welfare policies centers on enslavement, not empowerment. They have created a new 21st century plantation and utilize such people as Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the Congressional black caucus as their plantation overseer’s.

The duplicitous hypocrisy of a Senator Harry Reid making statements about “light-skinned” and “non-negro dialect” as being acceptable to him is the essence of racism. How funny, that the mindless lemming lap dogs who refer to themselves as black leaders gave him a pass. Therefore, I am proud to stand with my American Brothers and Sisters, and their children, at TEA Party events and rallies. I would rather stand with them than live in shame and submission to the party of slavery, secession, segregation, and now socialism.

It is amazing to me that President Obama and his cronies find it hard to address our real enemies; Islamic terrorists, muslim extremists, and jihadists. Instead he seeks to ridicule and demonize Americans exercising their Constitutional rights, truly Alinsky style. The TEA Party movement is about the rejection of his policies, not his skin color. The TEA Party movement is about rejecting ruling class elitism and career politicians that feel Americans should say thank you and in submission, “Kiss the Ring”. Americans have no issue with being justly governed, but we will reject being ruled, ask the last fella who tried, King George III.

We are having a TEA Party across the land, time for true Americans to make a stand. Steadfast and Loyal!

LTC A B West (USA, Ret), Atlas Shrugged

Monday, April 19, 2010

Freedom"s Unfinished Revolution


A textbook designed for high school classrooms, Freedom’s Unfinished Revolution: An Inquiry into the Civil War and Reconstruction, examines one of the most contested periods in America’s history where social conflict and change shaped the national landscape for generations to come.

Freedom’s Unfinished Revolution links the Civil War to the problems and promises of the Reconstruction era, providing a broader historical context to the racial injustice and social upheavals that followed. Filled with rich primary sources—letters, speeches, photographs, engravings, novel excerpts, among others—this textbook uses critical thinking exercises and supplementary resources to help students construct historical narratives. Freedom’s Unfinished Revolution was produced by ASHP/CML, written by William Friedheim with Ronald Jackson, and published by The New Press.

Kyrgyzstan: Aftermath of Uprising

'Kyrgyzstan: The aftermath of public uprising'
by Chris Rickleton, Global Voices

Another user, optimist summed up the mixture of emotions that accompany a revolution in a brief, multi-coloured post [ru]:

"There is so much I want to write about the recent "events" in my country. But the words won't come together as a sentence: Chaos, demonstrations, looting, murder, provocation, press conferences, toadying, lying, patriotism, blood, violence, tears, drunkenness, robbery, guard, the crowd screams, photographer, the area, fear, shots, money, slander, soldiers, flag, smoke, rain, Twitter, border, night, uncertainty, hope ..."

Hope is indeed a running theme as bloggers attempt to come to terms with life under the newly installed provisional government of the country.

But other bloggers are more critical of the state of politics in Kyrgyzstan. Theseabiscuit accuses the provisional government of direct involvement with the attacks and looting that dissolved all sense of order in Kyrgyzstan [ru]:

"The people should probably not be blamed for these acts," theseabiscuit judges. "In any case, the driving lever of the revolution is always the elite. Until the elite alter, in both form and substance, nothing anywhere will work."

In a post titled 'My Soul aches for my native kyrgyzstan", Adilets charts [ru] the downfall of the Bakiev regime as beginning in the second half of 2009, and attributes it to their 'growing confidence' after this period. Adilets also celebrates the scrapping of the 60 tiyin (USD 0.01) charge for mobile connections, an unpopular trademark of the ousted President's reign.

English language blog thespektator writes of the bizarre link between the Bakievs and English football club Blackpool F.C, while aidea manages to salvage some humour from a tragic situation, adapting an old soviet idiom and considering revolution as a rite of passage in the country:

"Every Kyrgyz man," the user writes, "should, over the course of his life, build a house, plant a tree, raise a son and break into the White House."



You may view the latest post at
http://globalvoicesonline.org/2010/04/19/kyrgyzstan-the-aftermath-of-public-uprising/

Glenn Beck Fail: Best Of Beck Clips

Two Day Old Girl Victim of Honor Killing

They killed a two day old newborn to uphold their honor. They have .......uh, different priorities. But don't slam them, it's an islamic cultural thing, and we must respect our Islamic overlords. Have the feminists come out, tongues flapping, saying it was a "late term abortion"?

OT but related: Why is it that the term "muslim mother" doesn't evoke the same imagery and warmth as "Jewish mother"? Just sayin. And yet society increasingly chooses to give more respect to the former -- another giant step backwards for mankind and the West.

Two-day-old girl killed in 'honour killing'
Turkish police on Friday detained an unmarried mother and six other people near Istanbul for their suspected role in the so-called "honour killing" of a 2-day-old baby girl, state news agency Anatolian said.

The baby was suffocated by her grandmother after the family learned the 25-year-old mother became pregnant out of wedlock, Anatolian said.

"My family decided to kill my baby," the mother told the police, according to Anatolian. "My 55-year-old mother choked the baby with a cloth. Then, my brothers buried the baby in a hole in the garden and covered the hole with cement."

Police found the body after receiving an anonymous phone call.

Among those detained were also a doctor and the doctor's secretary, They allegedly had agreed not to register the baby's birth in return for an undisclosed amount of money.

The baby's father is doing his military service and was not involved in the incident.

"Honour killings," or crimes carried out against women seen to have tainted the family's name, are not uncommon in mainly Muslim Turkey, particularly in poor and rural areas.

The European Union, which Turkey has applied to join, has repeatedly urged Ankara to take a tougher stance against such crimes.

Was Timothy McVeigh Working for Bin Laden & Al Qaeda?


FOX News

BRITAIN TODAY

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Syria Has Earned a Place in the Next War



Noah Pollak explains how President Assad's actions this week have ensured him a place in the next Middle East war.

Syria is in fact now in more danger than the Israelis. The IDF’s Arrow missile-defense system can knock Scuds out of the sky with great reliability, so they don’t pose a tremendous a threat. What they do provide to Israel is an opportunity — and they impose a requirement. The fact that they were transferred to Hezbollah in violation of tacit but well-understood red lines gives Israel clear and credible casus belli, should hostilities break out, to expand any conflict to Syria.

The crossing of the Scud-missile red line carries its own inexorable logic: since Syria has chosen to become a provider of military-grade weapons to Hezbollah, Israel has little choice but to include Syria in any future war with Hezbollah. And if Israel goes to war with Syria, there will be little rationale, given the risks involved and the immense reward of ridding the region of Iran’s only ally, from going for regime change.
Israel Matzav

Happy Chahar Shanbeh Soori by FREE Iran ActivistChat Pots and Pans Movement

US Won't Share Fort Hood Evidence with Senate

Two U.S. senators vowed on Thursday to subpoena the Obama administration next week unless it produces information sought in a congressional investigation of last year’s rampage at the Texas military base in which 13 soldiers were killed.

They said the Justice and Defense departments had until Monday to provide the information or face legal action.

Gates, speaking to reporters after attending a Caribbean security conference in Barbados, said the U.S. government had no interest in hiding information from Congress but the legal case against Major Nidal Malik Hasan had to take priority.

“Anything that does not have any impact on that prosecution, we are more than willing to share,” Gates said.

“But what’s most important is this prosecution. And we will cooperate with the committee in every way — with that single caveat, that whatever we provide doesn’t compromise the prosecution.”

Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, an independent, and Susan Collins, the panel’s top Republican, have been trying for months to obtain specific information about the rampage, which also left many wounded.

Responding to Gates’ statements, Lieberman and Collins said, “There are many examples for allowing Congress to interview FBI agents, even while a criminal prosecution was in progress for which they could be witnesses, so we view that argument as baseless.”

Earlier, Lieberman and Collins said their committee wanted access to documents and witnesses regarding what the FBI and Defense Department knew about Hasan before the shootings. They have rejected administration claims that the information could compromise the pending prosecution of Hasan.

Gates suggested that the Obama administration was unwilling to reconsider its position ahead of the threatened deadline.

The subpoena could be an unwanted distraction for a White House already under pressure to cut unemployment, nominate a new Supreme Court justice, pass climate change legislation and regulate the financial industry.
Source: Atlas Shrugs

Lionesses of Iran Boil Offensive Husbands' Genitals

A relatively new organization "shir zanaan-eh Iran" = Lionesses of Iran has formed to help and guide Iran's browbeaten, suppressed and oppressed women in the face of the horrible servitude into which they find themselves thrown - as are many of their children.

Divorce in the Mullah regime is a matter of throwing the woman out of the house with a thrice stated "I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you" and her belongings thrown into the street behind her! NO! This is not an exaggeration.

Meanwhile the husband dotes on his new young wife,who replaced her. Or on his third or fourth wife he has introduced into his home to pleasure and serve him.

Just the capital city of Tehran has over 300,000 homeless street women who have nowhere to go, no jobs and join some 700,000 homeless children who also live on the streets.

Orphanages that existed under the late Shah were all closed down decades ago as a useless expense.

The Lionesses are an activist/feminist group which wants to return some power to Iran's women, who traditionally have been the "power behind the throne" but are now abused sex objects/property of the husband.

One directive the Lionesses are suggesting to frighten Iranian men into behaving in a more "civilized" fashion is to suggest that if the husband decides to take a second or third or fourth wife or abuses his first wife, for her/them to boil a large pan of water and pour it on his genitals when he is asleep.

They propose that this only be done if the pouring person/team has somewhere to which to flee as retribution, including a severe beating or even being killed could follow this act.

However, the uncivilized husband will either remember the lesson for life or even be physically "emasculated" forever.

The Lionesses are gathering funds/donations and offering shelter and living costs inside Iran to women who fight back in this way and are structuring helping them out of Iran and into host countries, which will give them amnesty.

Last year, AntiMullah suggested to abused wives add saltpeter to the food of husbands who go gadding around with other women or remarry younger wives.

Within two weeks you could not buy saltpeter in Tehran stores! The shelves had been cleared by women but mostly by the male dominated government trying to prevent this mode of retaliation being available to women.
Source: Anti-Mullah

Friday, April 16, 2010

Can US dollar remain world's currency?

Can US dollar remain world's currency?

Source: The Real News Network

Transcript

Jane D'Arista Interview (Part 1 of 6)

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Washington. Between 1983 and 1990, the Reagan era, the total US debt—and by total US debt we mean households and businesses big and small, governments state, local, and federal. Under Reagan the debt grew from $5 trillion to $10 trillion. This has all been pointed out by Jane D'Arista in some of her recent writing. And she also points out it took 200 years to get to $5 trillion, so that move from 5 to 10 is rather significant. Jane also writes: now there's a possibility that a monetary collapse could engulf the entire global economy, that a loss in the value of the key currency, which means the US dollar, could precipitate a worldwide shrinkage in credit that would deepen the financial and economic crisis already underway. Now joining us is Jane D'Arista. She's an economist at the Political Economy Research Institute, known as PERI, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she's also a cofounder of the Committee of Economists for Financial Reform, called SAFER, for Stable, Accountable, Fair and Efficient Reform. Thanks for joining us, Jane.

JANE D'ARISTA, ECONOMISTS FOR FINANCIAL REFORM: Thank you for having me.

JAY: So if I understand your basic point is that the global economic system, based on the US dollar as the reserve currency of all international transactions, is actually exacerbating the crisis. Why and how?

D'ARISTA: Well, very much so, because it has played out its ability to perform the function that was in place before, namely, the US was the banker to the world and was in effect doing the transactions that allowed the global trade and investment regime to work. Now that we are so much in debt, and that it began, as you point out, with the Reagan administration and has run up precipitously over time, we are now at historic levels in terms of debt. And the household sector in this country, which we shifted to when in the Clinton administration we took down the federal deficit, the household sector has played out. As you know, unemployment is high. People are losing their houses. They cannot borrow money to continue to buy. And the whole global system came to be based on the idea that the American consumer was the engine for the global economy, and it is no longer.

JAY: So if I understand it correctly, your argument is that in '71, when Nixon decouples the dollar from gold, more or less institutionalized something that had already been happening anyway, 'cause there essentially wasn't enough gold to fuel the amount of international global trade, so people had kind of already began relying on the dollar as the main means of exchange. They institutionalized it in '71. But by everyone needing the US dollar to participate in global trade, it means everybody has to do something to get dollars. So what do they do, and what's the effect of that?

D'ARISTA: Well, the effect of it is, as you say, that they have to export, they have to sell into the United States in order to earn those dollars. The alternative is to borrow them, and if they borrow them, they go into debt, and then they have to service the debt. Where do they get the dollars to service the debt? Exports to the US. And that has been the regime as it grew up. In 1971 you had a situation where the US was running out of gold. It had agreed among the central banks that if they needed to exchange their dollars for gold, the US would give them gold at $35 for an ounce of gold. The US reserves got much too low. And when some of the countries asked for gold at that time, 'cause they were in trouble, Nixon closed the gold window. And what he did was to take the monetary system, the payment system, out of the hands of central banks and put in the hands of the private sector, the private international banks, the big ones, the ones whose names we know—Citibank, etc. And they began to be able to speculate on changes in the value of currencies over that period of time. Now, we got into a situation in 1970s where there was a good deal of inflation, and by the end of the 1970s the dollar did collapse. Paul Volcker came in and rushed up interest rates to 20 percent and absolutely flattened the country. That was the worst recession we had had since the 1930s.

JAY: And flattened a lot of other countries, because a lot of countries, like Brazil and others, have been pushed into getting these loans from the IMF and World Bank and other places at what was supposedly practically zero interest rates, except they were floating interest rates.

D'ARISTA: Exactly.

JAY: So when they go from 1 or 2 percent up to 20 percent, it could completely transform many of these economies.

D'ARISTA: It was a disaster. There were 15 middle-income countries that were so highly indebted at that point that they did collapse, and we had what is called the lost generation in the '80s for those countries. Meanwhile, the US get back on its feet. Why? The value of the dollar went up with those high interest rates. The privatized system now saw the virtue of investing in the dollar—you got all that currency appreciation with high interest rates.

JAY: Because most of this money that Brazil and others are doing is they're using it to pay back debt back into the United States.

D'ARISTA: That is correct.

JAY: So this becomes this vacuum cleaner sucking back up all the dollars.

D'ARISTA: Right. So how could we get so much debt, $5 trillion national debt in the 1970s? Foreign savings—not our own savings, not our own wealth that we had created in our own economy. But the fact that the dollar was at the center of the monetary system, and if you put that interest rate up high enough, everybody wants more dollars. So they come into the US; they flood the markets; there's a lot more credit.

JAY: Flood the markets with cheap products.

D'ARISTA: Well, no. Flood the markets with cheap money, and everybody then can buy. Remember, we had a housing crisis at the end of the '80s because, again, housing prices had gone up as a result. I mean, we had a sort of a preview of what we have just now experienced at that time. And indeed, beginning in 2000, we had a similar episode of enormous increase in credit in every sector over a decade of time. Household sector debt went from 66 percent to 114 percent, and the most dramatic of all was the rise in the debt of the financial sector. So the financial sector has been running a casino, and it has put everybody into a very difficult situation. Meanwhile, of course, our problem is—and Nicolas Caldor pointed this out in 1971—that we necessarily are a country that will lose its ability to compete in the world if we continue to be the key currency country. People must sell us goods in order to earn the dollars that they need to conduct their international transactions—buy oil, buy food, whatever it is they need to buy in the world—and therefore, in selling to us, putting us into a situation where the cheap goods undermine the wages of our own workers.

JAY: But doesn't it depend on how you define "us"? Because it hasn't been so bad if you happen to own a bank.

D'ARISTA: It's been great if you own a bank. What we have to say is: why was the decision to keep the US dollar the key currency? It doesn't do a thing for Main Street.

JAY: Okay. So in the next segment of our interview, let's go back and answer the question.

D'ARISTA: Okay.

JAY: Please join us for the next segment of our interview with Jane D'Arista on The Real News Network.

END OF TRANSCRIPT

Anatomy of Casino Capitalism Can US dollar remain world's currency? Pt.3

Can US dollar remain world's currency? Pt.3

Casino Capitalism

Can US dollar remain world's currency? Pt.2

Source: The Real News Network

Transcript

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome back to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Washington. In a recent article, economist Jane D'Arista quotes another economist, whose name is Nicholas Kaldor. Here's what he had to say: "as the products of American industry are increasingly displaced by others, both in American and foreign markets, maintaining prosperity requires ever-rising budgetary and balance of payments deficits, which makes it steadily less attractive as a method of economic management. If continued long enough it would involve transforming a nation of creative producers into a community of rentiers increasingly living on others, seeking gratification in ever more useless consumption, with all the debilitating effects of the bread and circuses of Imperial Rome." Now joining us to explain all of this is Jane D'Arista. She's an economist with the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she's co-founder of a committee of economists called SAFER, for stable, accountable, fair, and efficient financial reform. Thanks for joining us, Jane.

JANE D'ARISTA, ECONOMISTS FOR FINANCIAL REFORM: Thank you for having me.

JAY: So at the end of the last segment we left off with the question: so who is this good for? If Kaldor in 1971—I don't think I mentioned that Kaldor's quote isn't recent. Kaldor's quote's from 1971.

D'ARISTA: No. He wrote that in The London Times in September 1971.

JAY: So it was pretty clear then where this would all lead.

D'ARISTA: Exactly.

JAY: So they do it anyway. So who are they doing it for?

D'ARISTA: Well, the question there is one that put many progressive economists and others on the side of the National Association of Manufacturers, who complained: you've driven up the value of the dollar in the 1980s to a point where we can sell nothing abroad and we can't sell anything in our own country. And there was no real response. They tried to bring down the value of the dollar toward the middle of the 1980s, but not sufficiently.

JAY: So who's benefiting from this?

D'ARISTA: Well, so then what happened was the manufacturers of this country said, we can't lick 'em, we'll join them, meaning the banks, and went offshore. So they were then manufacturing offshore in a cheap currency with cheap labor and selling back into the home market. So whose benefit? The financial sector.

JAY: So they go—by "cheap currency" meaning a cheap Chinese currency wherever they're—.

D'ARISTA: Yes, right, wherever they're manufacturing.

JAY: And they sell back into the market, where there's a high dollar.

D'ARISTA: Mexico and then China. Yeah. And they make a larger profit doing so.

JAY: But the problem is is the high dollar's based on what, other than the fact that it's the world's reserve currency? Because the more this happens, the less purchasing power people have.

D'ARISTA: That's exactly right, unless you put them on credit. How do you make—?

JAY: Or you could have done one other thing. You could have let wages come up in the United States. But that was a no-no.

D'ARISTA: You couldn't, because what were you producing?

JAY: Well, there was still a big manufacturing sector. It wasn't [inaudible] nothing.

D'ARISTA: It has really shrunk, and over time it really did shrink. And the issue was constantly no, no, you can't raise wages because (A) we'll go from England to Virginia, we'll go from Virginia to Mexico, we'll go from Mexico—etc. Even the Mexicos began—.

JAY: Which is sort of the point, is there's deliberate measures taken, including Reagan's breaking of the Air Traffic Controllers strike.

D'ARISTA: Exactly.

JAY: And there's a real effort made to make sure wages didn't go up, and push people into debt instead.

D'ARISTA: Precisely so. You really did sort of have to push them into debt in order to maintain a middle-class lifestyle, which people were accustomed to—they had houses, they had, you know, children in school, etc. So this is then what happened in that period in the 1980s. We got into a recession in the 1990s, and we came out of it only because Greenspan in March 1994 raised interest rates, so we see this dynamic then. How do you maintain the value of the dollar? You keep the difference between the US interest rate and all imported, foreign interest rates at a level that favors the dollar, so that everybody wants to be in dollars 'cause you earn more money in dollars. That keeps it very strong. And that's wonderful for Wall Street and the major banks. They have access to the dollar, and they make money on the transactions.

JAY: And I guess the point that needs to be repeated over and over again is that they know they're creating a bubble, they know the bubble's going to burst someday, but it doesn't matter because the guys that are doing all this are cashing out at every step of the way, either through bonuses or other ways. They actually don't care if the bubble bursts. In fact, once the bubble did burst, they didn't lose anyway, 'cause the federal government comes in and saves their behinds anyway.

D'ARISTA: Yes, but there is also another mentality in that, which we hear constantly about the financial crisis in this country. People really do think the present will go on forever, and what I'm saying is: not necessarily.

JAY: So explain, go into that, because that's really the key thing here is that this doesn't keep going if at some point the dollar really collapses and people completely lose faith in it. And you're saying we're getting closer to that than a lot of people think.

D'ARISTA: We're getting closer to that because we have an economy that has now come to the end of its rope, playing that role that Kaldor described, in the sense that we do not have a household sector that can continue to buy. They've lost their jobs; they've lost their homes. And so what is—they've been replaced by the government sector, in a sense, as the borrower in the global economy. And now we have, with the example of Greece, and with Bernanke himself making these statements, a problem. Governments are going into debt. They have to. Nobody else can spend. And at the same time, the market says, well, we don't like that.

JAY: But we still see people, every time there's a crisis, they still run to the dollar. And we understand—if you're in the business news, at any rate, we're told that even surreptitiously the Chinese are buying more long-term US bonds and seem to still believe in all of this, I mean, and I guess partly 'cause they have to. So, I mean, to what extent can this be allowed to fall?

D'ARISTA: It is a very difficult situation should it fall, but we're in a cliff-like situation. Here is the problem. First of all, as far as China is concerned, they are trying to diversify. They are still buying dollars, yes, but at the same time they're also buying soybean fields in Brazil and oil in Africa, etc. They are buying real economic value, if you will, rather than pieces of paper. That's what they want to do with their savings, and they're doing it in terms of what are the needs of their economy. Other countries with high reserves may follow in that path as well. The Chinese, of course, as we know, have over $1 trillion of US assets. If they pull the plug on us, I mean, our interest rates would go 30 percent overnight. That's not going to happen, 'cause the Chinese are too responsible.

JAY: And, of course, it makes sense for them to let the business press report on how they're buying some long-term bonds, 'cause they need to stop any sense of panic.

D'ARISTA: That's right, and they also know that the world has to continue, and they have to moderate their behavior. But at the same time, the private sector is not the Chinese government. The private sector is fickle. I mean, you know, you look at the stock markets, you look at any of it, if US interest rates stay low, if there's no hope that they will rise, if it looks to them that the US government debt is getting too large and they want more and more interest rates on US government debt, they may then decide to either flee the dollar or push up the interest rate in the US to an extent in which we are in difficulty.

JAY: But flee the dollar to what?

D'ARISTA: Gold. Platinum. Have you noticed platinum prices have gone up? Bet on oil in the markets. I mean, remember, we got to $147 a barrel in 2008. There are opportunities to speculate. The commodities we did back in 2008, there are opportunities out there. There are the things to do. Speculate on land and other parts of the world, etc.

JAY: Although there's a lot less real things to speculate on, so they're creating these casino markets, which essentially is like horseracing. We did an interview recently about the speculation on food. They're creating these, where you don't have to own and hoard rice anymore; you can just bet on what's going to happen to rice. And it's exactly like a horserace.

D'ARISTA: Precisely so. Yeah. And so you've got it.

JAY: You don't have to own the horses; you can just sit there and you can bet on the horses.

D'ARISTA: Right. So, I mean, when they do this, of course, this means that the value of the dollar does go down. In the process, the value of the vast savings of many countries also begins to shrink, and those savings are terribly important to those countries. They back—they are held, as it were, by the central banks, and they back domestic credit. So if we have an implosion of the reserves of most of the countries of the world, especially the emerging-market countries, then we will have a contraction of credit.

JAY: Okay. In the next segment, let's talk a little bit more about why this might crash. I mean, a lot of this is in the hands of the Chinese and Japanese, I would think, who own most of the US securities. And, I mean, as long as they keep believing, why would it fall? But let's answer that in the next segment of our interview. Please join us with Jane D'Arista on The Real News Network.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

“They Killed the Wounded and Drove Over Their Bodies”: Iraqis Speak About WikiLeaks Video, But Who Is Listening? « SpeakEasy

“They Killed the Wounded and Drove Over Their Bodies”: Iraqis Speak About WikiLeaks Video, But Who Is Listening? « SpeakEasy

Sixteen Years Later Rwandan Genocide Remembered

Posted by Lova Rakotomalala , Global Voices
The project Voices of Rwanda records the life stories of Rwandans - not just stories about the genocide, but about their lives as whole. This testimony from a survivors explain why she feels compelled to remember and provide her testimony:

” If I die without telling my story here, my lineage will be snuffed out”

(For more details on Voices of Rwanda, read the article on The Hub at Witness)

Blogger Mamadou Kouyate posts an article on the recollection of a group of Australian soldiers from the UN peacekeeping team of the Kibeho massacre:

“Many of the vets have a lot of guilt about what happened because they were not able to do the best they could do to save lives. They could not do anything to defend those who couldn't defend themselves.”[..] “All that seemed to remain was the stench of genocide and children abandoned by war pathetically wandering the streets, traumatised by the death and destruction they had witnessed.”

The commemoration in Amohoro (Peace) Stadium were followed by 20,000 people in a calm and uplifting atmosphere. Sara Strawczynski provides a description of the Walk to Remember in the streets of Kigali:

During my months living and working as a Kiva Fellow in Rwanda, I’ve had a hard time reconciling what I know to have taken place with what I experience day-to-day. Kigali is a safe, clean and beautiful city. The countryside is lush and stunning. [..] That said, signs of Rwanda’s genocide are never far beneath the surface [..] we passed two groups of prisoners, easily identifiable in their pink, orange and blue jumpsuits. Rwanda’s prisons are filled with people accused and convicted of genocide and war crimes, and its incarceration rate is among the highest in the world.

Jenny Clover attended a commemoration at the Church of Nyamata where 10,000 people were killed:

The church at Nyamata is filled with the clothes of all 10,000 people who died there – thousands and thousands of shirts, dresses, socks and trousers piled on church pews. They start to blur into one after a while – just a muddy pile of tatty clothes, pulled from a mass grave where the murderers tried to cover up what they had done. [..] There's a lot more to say about the memorial at Nyamata: the rows and rows of skulls neatly lined up in the cold underground crypt, some with clean machete cuts right though them..

This is the second time that Jina Moore is in Rwanda during Memorial Day. She is torn between “the obligation to attend and the urge to stay away“:

Many are marking something they know from memory; others are remembering the loss of family, even if they were abroad and did not face genocide themselves. But this is not my memory. Without a doubt, I will spend the better part of today thinking of my friends who are survivors, and thinking of the family they lost who, through my friends' stories, feel almost like people I knew, too. Perhaps I will mark some part of the day with those friends. Perhaps not. There is often discussion among the mzungus here of whether it's intrusive of us to go to these programs, or on the other hand whether it's disrespectful not to. I don't think there's a rule.

Many local bloggers have also reacted to the complex relations between Rwanda and the international community.

Stephane Ballong explains that the relation between Rwanda and France is still a bit tense (fr):

En août 2008, Kigali qui a rompu ces relations diplomatiques avec Paris, avait menacé de traduire en justice 33 personnalités françaises. Dans un rapport de 500 pages, les autorités rwandaises ont dénoncé l’implication du gouvernement français dans le génocide. Le document confirmait les responsabilités directes de treize politiciens et vingt militaires français dans ces tueries.

In August 2008, Kigali severed diplomatic ties with Paris and threaten to pursue in court 33 French personalities. In a 500-pages long report, the Rwandan authority denounced the involvement of France in the genocide. The document confirmed the direct ties of 13 politicians and 20 French army personnel in the killings.

Christophe Ayad goes into more details about these allegations that will be published in a dossier called ” «La France au Rwanda» (fr):

Dans «Là haut, sur la colline de Bisesero», Jean-François Dupaquier fait le récit des premiers jours de l'opération Turquoise -opération militaro-humanitaire controversée et destinée à «stopper les massacres»- à travers le témoignage long et détaillé de l'adjudant-chef Thierry Prungnaud, gendarme du GIGN. Il est envoyé en élément précurseur sous le commandement du COS (Commandement des opérations spéciales). Pendant plusieurs jours, il ne comprend rien à la situation. Et pour cause. Voici le tableau de la situation qu'on lui a dressé avant sa mission: «Les Tutsis exterminent les Hutus. Nous sommes venus pour les protéger, mettre fin aux massacres (…) Votre rôle est de vous informer de la situation sur le terrain, de voir où en sont les rebelles du FPR». C'est exactement le contraire de la réalité: les Tutsis sont massacrés par les Hutus et le Front Patriotique Rwandais (FPR) n'est en rien impliqué dans le génocide, qu'il cherche plutôt à stopper.

In “Up in the Bisesero Hill”, Jean-François Dupaquier tells the story of the first day of l'opération Turquoise- a semi-humanitarian military operation destined to stop the massacres- through the testimony of Thierry Prungnaud, member of GIGN armed forces. Prungnaud is sent on a reconnaissance mission under the command of the COS ( Special Operation Command). For days, he cannot make sense of the situation. Indeed, he was told before his mission that: Tutsis were exterminating Hutus. We are here to protect them and end the massacre (..) your role is to stay informed about the situation on site and to determine the location of the FPR rebels. It is quite the opposite of reality: The Tutsis were being massacred by the Hutus and the FPR (Rwandan Patriotic Front) had nothing to do with the genocide, instead they were trying to stop it

France is not the only country being accused of involvement in Rwanda's tragedy. Mamadou Kouyate posts on his blog an article by Michel Chossudovsky at Global Research that claims that the war in Rwanda and the ethnic massacres were part of US foreign policy.

All these allegations and the still palpable trauma from the tragedy make for a very complex diplomatic and political scene in Rwanda. Local bloggers are weary that a few months away from the elections ( scheduled in august 2010), political tensions might rise again. Jean-Marie Vianney Ndagijimana writes that the opposition party, Les Forces Démocratiques Unifiées-Inkingi (FDU-Inkingi) has been under duress on several occasions, namely by being denied passports, being subject to arbitrary police investigations and physical threats.

=================================================================================
(Global Voices in French author Abdoulaye Bah contributed to this article with links. For bloggers' reactions to last year's Genocide Memorial Day, please read Elia Varela Serra's compelling article).

Andy Warhol Good for the Jews



Written and Performed by Josh Kornbluth

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sarkozy Questions Obama's Sanity


Sarkozy "Appalled" by "Insane" Obama

I've been wondering how the rest of the world, sans our constitutional viewpoint, views Obama. Now at least we know how French President Sarkozy sees him.

While our media still touts him as brilliant, articulate, and persuasive, the EU Times is reporting adjectives like "dangerous" and "insane," along with concerns that he is unwilling to listen to reason or logic. Sounds to me like Sarkozy is getting to know Barry pretty well.

French Leader Sarkozy Slams Obama, Warns He Might Be Insane


A new report circulating in the Kremlin today authored by France’s Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) and recently“obtained” by the FSB shockingly quotes French President Nicolas Sarkozy [photo top right with Obama] as stating that President Barack Obama is “a dangerous[ly] aliéné”, which translates into his, Obama, being a“mad lunatic”, or in the American vernacular,“insane”.


According to this report, Sarkozy was“appalled” at Obama’s “vision” of what the World should be under his “guidance” and“amazed” at the American Presidents unwillingness to listen to either “reason” or “logic”.

Sarkozy’s meeting where these impressions of Obama were formed took place nearly a fortnight ago at the White House in Washington D.C., and upon his leaving he“scolded” Obama and the US for not listening closely enough to what the rest of the World has to say.
Anti-Mullah

The EU has made gross errors in their treatment of Muslims. The Europeans maintained their Crusader attitude as they exploited Arabs through a colonial network through most of the last century.
Muslims gained jobs during the post-war recovery, but they avoided acculturation. The Europeans failed to absorb the newcomers as full citizens and lost the opportunity to expand their cultural horizons. The Arabs were caught in nowhere apart from the great civilizations.

Media's Mixed Reaction to Nuclear Treaty - Video - FoxNews.com

Media's Mixed Reaction to Nuclear Treaty - Video - FoxNews.com

The GOP reacts to the nuclear treaty with a big yawn. They should not politicize the treaty for cheap political gain.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Palestinians Use Threats to Silence Peace Singers


The woman who sang for Israel at the last Eurovision Song Contest, has pulled out of the ZF Israel Independence Day Concert in London following death threats.

Mira Awad, is an Arab-Israeli and one half of a duo with Achinoam Nini, otherwise known as NOA, with whom she performs to sell-out internationally audiences, promoting a message of peace and co-existence.

The ZF who have organised annual Israel Independence Day events in Britain for years invited them to headline the show on April 19.

Ms Awad now has round-the-clock security at her home in Tel Aviv. Her family, who live in Kfar Rameh, a small Arab Village in the north of Israel, is also under close watch.

Her Manager, Ofer Pesenzon, said: “Mira and NOA’s message is about finding a peaceful way forward. It is tragic that when both sides try to come together by any means possible to build a better future for Israel and its citizens, there are those prepared to use violence and intimidation to destroy it.”

Pamela, Atlas Shrugs

Friday, April 9, 2010

Defund Afghan War



Defund Afghan War $33 billions on the horizon.
We are inflicting horrible suffering on the people of Afghanistan, making our own nation less safe, and spending resources we badly need.

Tell congress members we need them to publicly commit to voting No, and to urge their colleagues to do the same. Call your Representative at (202) 224-3121.
AfterDowningStreet.org

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Difference between Politics and Sedition

The administration may see a connection. But it’s a big leap from that to the president saying, “Let the Iranians have the bomb, because I don’t like what the Israeli government is doing about the Palestinian conflict.” It’s inconceivable.
Relationship with US
It’s very important; there’s no question about it. But the independence of the state of Israel is more important. To Israelis, anyway.
Now, the issues of settlements in Judea and Samaria, of Israel’s ability to defend itself, and of the conditions under which it can reach an accommodation with the Palestinians are of vital importance to the state of Israel. So I would expect that, if Israel and the U.S. are unable to resolve the disagreement on these issues, the US would defer to the Israeli point of view. But clearly that is not the position of this administration.
Moishe Ahrens
Hossein Askari believes that the Obama administration could impose sanctions on Iran that would bring the regime down within a year if it wanted to. The problem is that Obama doesn't want to bring down Iran's clerical regime.
Few banks would choose Iran over the US and any that did would charge so much to do business with Iranians that regime insiders would have a heart attack!
Cutting off the central bank and all Iranian financial institutions would basically increase the cost of Iranian imports because Tehran could not use letters of credit—instead, it would either have to resort to cash, literally in suitcases, to buy what it needs or rely on barter. The cost of trade would soar in time, crippling the Iranian economy and demonizing the regime.
The Obama administration could spark a panic by motivating Iranians, as well as expatriates residing in the United States and overseas, to liquidate their assets in Iran and to withdraw their money from the country.
Israel Matzav
Sedition: Crime of creating a revolt, disturbance, or violence against lawful civil authority with the intent to cause its overthrow or destruction -- Brittanica Concise Dictionary
When the indictments against the Hutaree were unsealed last week, the S-word was right there, front and center, in Count One. The Justice Department accused them of "seditious conspiracy," charging that the defendants "did knowingly conspire, confederate, and agree with each other and other persons known and unknown...to levy war against the United States, and to prevent, hinder, and delay by force the execution of any United States law."
This is very serious stuff. But the Hutaree are getting nailed for sedition only because they crossed the line with inches to spare. They're by no means the only ones. Advocating, encouraging, and sanctioning sedition is the new norm on the conservative side.
We saw it again last Thursday, when the Guardians of the Free Republics -- a Sovereign Citizen group that believes that the oath of office taken by state governors is invalid under their twisted Bizarroland interpretation of the Constitution -- sent letters to most or all sitting state governors telling them to either a) take what they consider to be a legitimate oath of office; b) stand down; or c) or be removed "non-violently" within three days. The FBI, rightly, regards this as a potentially seditious threat against the governors.
These two events are a wake-up call for progressives. They're telling us that it's time to openly confront the fact that conservatives have spent the past 40 years systematically delegitimizing the very idea of US government.
AlterNet