Monday, May 31, 2010

Leaving Islam?



The headline is deceiving: "'Leaving Islam?' bus adverts draw anger in NYC." The only anger they drew was from unindicted co-conspirator, Hamas-linked, Muslim Brotherhood front CAIR. The rest of the article reads well.

They only cite Islamic supremacist group CAIR. When did journalism die? Why haven't they spoken to apostates? Opposing these ads is tantamount to advocating death to apostates.

We are human rights advocates dedicated to freedom of speech, religious freedom, freedom of conscience and equal rights for all. Period. We are anti-sharia (Islamic) law.

'Leaving Islam?' bus adverts draw anger in NYC Telegraph UK hat tip David

Advertisements on New York buses offering help to Muslims who wish to leave Islam have been denounced as a "smoke screen for anti-Muslim bigotry".

The advertisements - paid for by conservative activists - ask readers: "Leaving Islam? Fatwa on your head? Is your family threatening you?" The adverts point to a website called RefugefromIslam.com.

Pamela Geller, who leads an organisation called Stop Islamization of America, said the adverts were designed to help provide resources for Muslims who were fearful of leaving the faith. She said the adverts, which will run on 30 city buses for a month, cost $8,000 (£5,500), which was contributed by the readers of her blog, Atlas Shrugs, and other websites.

"It's not offensive to Muslims, it's religious freedom," she said. "It's not targeted at practising Muslims. It doesn't say 'leave,' it says 'leaving' with a question mark."

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said Ms Geller's advert had been reviewed and did not violate the agency's guidelines.

But Faiza Ali, of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the ads were based on a false premise that people face coercion to remain with Islam. She said Muslims believe faith that is forced is not true belief.

"Geller is free to say what she likes just as concerned community members are free to criticize her motives," Ali said.

Ms Geller has a history of speaking out against Muslims, and the ads are "a smoke screen to advance her long-standing history of anti-Muslim bigotry," Ms Ali said.

Similar posters have run on buses in Miami, and she said adverts were planned for other US cities.

Ms Geller said she had "no problem" with Muslims, but was working to "maintain the separation of mosque and state". She is also among those speaking out against the building of a mosque and cultural centre near Ground Zero in New York.

Pamela Geller, Atlas Shrugs

Updates & Multi-Week Round Up for May 31

Updates & Multi-Week Round Up for May 31

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Israel Attacks Six-ship International Flotilla



On Sunday, Huwaida Arraf, one of the organizers, said the six-ship flotilla began the journey from international waters off the coast of Cyprus on Sunday afternoon after two days of delays. She said they expected to reach Gaza, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) away, on Monday afternoon, and that two more ships would follow in "a second wave."

The flotilla was "fully prepared for the different scenarios" that might arise, and organizers were hopeful that Israeli authorities would "do what's right" and not stop the convoy, she said.

"We fully intend to go to Gaza regardless of any intimidation or threats of violence against us," she said. "They are going to have to forcefully stop us."

After nightfall Sunday, three Israeli navy missile boats left their base in Haifa, steaming out to sea to confront the activists' ships.

Two hours later, Israel Radio broadcast a recording of one of the missile boats warning the flotilla not to approach Gaza.

"If you ignore this order and enter the blockaded area, the Israeli navy will be forced to take all the necessary measures in order to enforce this blockade," the radio message continued.

Al-Jazeera also reported that the ships changed course to try to avoid a nighttime confrontation, preferring a daylight showdown for better publicity.

The flotilla, which includes three cargo ships and three passenger ships, is trying to draw attention to Israel's blockade of Gaza. The boats are carrying items that Israel bars from reaching Gaza, like cement and other building materials. The activists said they also were carrying hundreds of electric-powered wheelchairs, prefabricated homes and water purifiers.
Tia Goldenberg, AP

George Will on Joe Sestak Job Offer

Politics is a transactional business [he frequently notes this on This Week, by the way]. Candidates go to voters and say ‘you vote for me, I’ll do this for you’ that’s what we do in this business and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s called democracy and free government. Obama was seriously trying to act as the leader of his party to get what he thought — he was wrong — to get the strongest candidate in the race in Pennsylvania. Nothing the matter with this. And for Republicans of all people to try to resuscitate that Frankenstein monster the independent council is preposterous.
Mediaite

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Civil Rights Progress

* In 1958, fully 94 percent of respondents to a Gallup Poll opposed interracial marriages.

* In 1959, 53 percent said that the Brown decision “caused more trouble than it was worth.”

* By 1964, 62 percent supported a law to guarantee blacks "the right to be served in any retail store, restaurant, hotel or public accommodation," according to a Harris survey.

* Only one in five said they sided with Alabama authorities when police broke up a protest march in Selma in 1965.

* By 1964, a majority of the U.S. population said they supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act and opposed segregation laws.

* By 2003, 73 percent said they approved of interracial marriage and 90 percent said they would be willing to vote for a Black presidential candidate.

Sharon Smith, Counterpunch

The Origins of Jew Hatred

Seraphic Secret provides detail:

Egyptian cleric sheik Ahmad Al-Johainy soberly instructs his audience that if you want to learn how to properly and vigorously hate Jews, well, just study the Koran. It is the authoritative text.

Unlike others who claim that modern day Muslim Jew-hatred is derived from Nazi ideology, Seraphic Secret maintains that normative Islam is the source of Arab Muslim Jew-hatred. Nazi propaganda is just the icing on the cake.

The video is quite refreshing. The imam does not even try and pretend that he's “merely anti-Zionist.” He's wonderfully candid and proud of his Jew-hatred.

And make no mistake about it, the hatred of Jews has nothing to do with so-called occupation or so-called settlements, just as the Arab-Israeli conflict has nothing to do with national boundaries. It's codified Islamist intolerance that goes back to the times of Mohammed, a doctrine that sees the annihilation of the Jewish people as a religious duty.

Ironically, Egypt is considered a moderate Muslim country. If this is the face of moderation imagine the barbarism of Gaza, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Sudan, and Iran.

The racist views of this genocidal yearning imam are the norm in the Arab Muslim world. Arab TV is saturated in this kind of filth.

Finally, the so-called peace process is and will remain a dangerous delusion until the Arab Muslim world frees itself from the malignancy of Jew-hatred.

We must enlighten the younger generation about our cruel enemy. We must show them who the enemies are, who the Jews are.

Medical Groups wit hdraw Approval of Clitorectomies


Back on May 7, I reported the shocking news that the Academy of Pediatrics would sanction clitorectomies and begin to practice this barbaric mutilation in a multicultural, dhimmi effort -- a "nick," as it were.

In a stunning capitulation to the islamization of America, the medical profession seemed to have lost its moral compass and any semblance of goodness and morality -- in the name of "tolerance and multicultural" poison.

Of course, it would not have had the effect these nudnik do-gooders imagined. It would have just the opposite effect. Islamic misogyny will be given the seal of approval by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Whatever their twisted intention, such consideration was unfathomable to decent, reasoned human beings (let alone ...........doctors). These do-gooder butchers responded to public outrage (first do no harm!) and withdrew their decision.

Equality Now Welcomes Decision by American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to Withdraw its 2010 Policy Statement on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) that Endorsed Pediatricians' 'Nicking' of Girls' Genitalia (via Nancy Stanek ) hat tip Suki

International human rights organization Equality Now welcomes the AAP's decision to withdraw its ill-conceived revised policy statement on female genital mutilation issued on April 26, 2010....

The new policy statement essentially promoted Type IV FGM, as categorized by the World Health Organization, and suggested that federal and state laws might be more effective if they "enabled pediatricians to reach out to families by offering a 'ritual nick.'" In a release issued today, the AAP stated that it has "retired" its 2010 revised statement on FGM, is opposed to "all forms of female genital cutting" and "does not endorse the practice of offering a 'clitoral nick.'"

Immediately following the announcement about AAP's new policy statement on April 26, 2010, Equality Now launched a global campaign, which called on its membership of over 35,000 individuals and organizations from 160 countries to put pressure on the AAP to revoke its statement.

The outpouring of deep concern demonstrated by several women's rights advocates, human rights organizations, health care providers, and individual members around the world in response to this campaign has been inspiring and overwhelming.

A significant outcome of Equality Now's campaign was also a statement jointly signed by WHO and United Nations agencies, UNICEF, UNFPA, and UNIFEM, that challenged the AAP's contentions about FGM and the harm any of its forms, including 'nicking', cause girls and women. The WHO/UN statement also confirmed the importance of looking at all forms of FGM as a form of violence and discrimination against women and girls.

"This is a crucial step forward in the movement to continue raising awareness about FGM, especially in the U.S., where it is practiced by some immigrant communities. This campaign has brought to light the importance of identifying FGM as a harmful cultural practice that together we must and can end. The work of the African anti-FGM grassroots movement has finally reached our shores and we hope to move forward and ensure the protection of girls in the U.S. and elsewhere from the practice," says Taina Bien-Aime, Equality Now's Executive Director.

Ironically, news reports today indicate that the AAP is not isolated in its misunderstandings about FGM and the Royal Australian New Zealand College of Obstetricians is now planning to discuss backing "ritual nicks", a modified form of genital mutilation, next month.

Taina Bien-Aime further warned, "Before heading in the wrong direction on this issue, the Royal Australian New Zealand College of Obstetricians must learn from the experience of the international campaign against AAP, and from the resounding clarification provided in the WHO/UN joint statement."

Equality Now hopes that the momentum built around discussions about FGM continues in the US with the swift passage of The Girls Protection Act (H.R. 5137), a new bipartisan legislation introduced by Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) that would close the loophole in the federal law prohibiting FGM by making it illegal to transport a minor girl living in the U.S. out of the country for the purpose of FGM. The bill will hopefully also call for the launch of culturally sensitive outreach programs in FGM-practicing immigrant communities in the U.S. to educate parents about the lifelong harms of FGM.

Atlas Shrugs

The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Take Five (1961)

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and the Imam

Patriot Act Allows Obama to Arrest 14 Governors for Treason

A chilling report from the Foreign Military Intelligence Directorate (GRU) prepared for Prime Minister Putin warns today that United States President Barack Obama has had served on 14 US Governors National Security Letters (NSLs) warning that if their actions in attempting to form what are called State Defense Forces are not halted they will face "immediate" arrest for the crime of treason.


The use of NSLs in the United States was authorized by the Patriot Act law enacted after the September 11, 2001 attacks and forbids anyone receiving them from even acknowledging their existence, and was reauthorized by Obama's "rubberstamp" Congress this past February over the objections of both civil and human rights groups who warned they mimic similar type "government security notices" enacted under both the former German Nazi and Soviet Communist regimes.

From Alan Peters

America Appears to be Headed for a Breakdown

The records reflect a long-term trend accelerated by the recession and the federal stimulus program to counteract the downturn. The result is a major shift in the source of personal income from private wages to government programs."


And in an even worse move against his own people who are still struggling to survive the growing Global economic collapse, new reports from the United States are stating that a "secret" programme found hidden in Obama's socialist healthcare law called the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act (CLASS Act) is about to take from them another $150-$250 a month from their paychecks forcing tens of millions more of them into abject poverty and debt slavery.


To the final outcome of these events it is not in our knowing, other than to remind these Americans of Dr. Igor Panarin's 2008 prediction of the fate lying in store for them, and as we can read as reported by London's Telegraph News Service in their article titled "US will collapse and break up, Russian analyst predicts", and which says:


"Igor Panarin, a professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian foreign affairs ministry, said the economic turmoil in the US had confirmed his long-held belief that the country was heading for extinction in its present form.


In an interview with the Russian newspaper Izvestia, he outlined how the US would divide along ethnic and cultural lines.


They are: the Pacific coast with its growing Chinese population; the increasingly Hispanic South; independence-minded Texas; the Atlantic Coast; a central state with a large Native American population; and the northern states where - he maintains - Canadian influence is strong.


Alaska could be claimed by Russia, he said, claiming that the region was "only granted on lease, after all".


He said the country's break-up would be accelerated by rising unemployment and Americans losing their savings.


"The dollar isn't secured by anything. The country's foreign debt has grown like an avalanche; this is a pyramid, which has to collapse," said Prof Panarin."


And to those Americans believing they will be able to defend themselves against the fast approaching onslaught meant to destroy them they should think again, for even as these words are being written, Obama, through the United Nations, is preparing to disarm them all under the so called UN Treaty On Arms Control that he ordered his government to sign.

Excerpt from Alan Peters

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Roots The Club in Gaza

Some Fast Facts about CAIR

Nothing on CAIR’s background. Here are some fast CAIR facts:

* Several officials convicted of terror offenses — notably Ghassan Elashi, founder of CAIR’s Texas chapter, who was involved in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas funding case, and Randall Ismail Royer, CAIR’s former national communications director, who was one of the Virginia paintball jihadists training to fight in Afghanistan against us forces. There have been others.
* CAIR officials have repeatedly and consistently refused to condemn Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups.
* CAIR has opposed virtually every antiterror measure introduced since 9/11. It was involved in the flying imams case when the imams attempted to sue the passengers who reported them — an attempt which, if successful, would have intimidated people and made them afraid to report suspicious behavior by Muslims for fear of getting sued.
* CAIR’s cofounder and director, Nihad Awad, has declared his support for Hamas. Before CAIR he and the other cofounder, Omar Ahmad, were with the Islamic Association for Palestine, which has since been closed down as a Hamas front. CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation jihad charity case, which involved funding for Hamas.
* Omar Ahmad and CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper have both made Islamic supremacist statements about how they want to see the U.S. ruled by Islamic law, which denies free speech, the freedom of conscience, and equality of rights for women and non-Muslims.

Why did Erik Schelzig deem all this unfit to print? Why instead did he give a hearing to a deliberate smear on SOIC?

Atlas Shrugs

05 26 10 Pamela Geller's Ad Campaign

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Trial Begins for Ex-Chicago Police Lt. Accused of Torture 2 of 3

Beck Loses 50% of his viewers


Glenn Beck has been in denial about his ratings slide for weeks now. First, he claimed that there is no ratings decline for his Fox News show, and then he claimed that the weather was to blame for his 33% drop in viewership. However by attracting only 1.7 million viewers on Friday, Beck hit a new all time low which is now 50% off of his peak audience of 3.4 million.

On Friday, Beck pulled an all time low of 1.776 million viewers, and while this is good enough to handily win his time slot, this marked a new low which has quickly turned into a free fall since January. At the close of 2009, Beck was still averaging 3 million total viewers a day. At his peak, Beck could draw 3.4 million plus viewers a day. There was talk of him eventually supplanting cable news king Bill O’Reilly.

The story for Glenn Beck last week was the same as it has been for all of the other weeks over the past few months. He starts strong on Monday, but he loses viewers on each of the following days of the week. Last Monday, Beck had 2.3 million viewers. By Tuesday, he had 2.1 million viewers. On Wednesday and Thursday, he had 2 million viewers, and by Friday he was down to 1.77 million viewers. What should be most troubling to Fox News is that Beck did not have one below average day. He had three. Beck’s average number of viewers had fallen to 2.2 million viewers, but on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, he was under that.

Politicususa

Papantonio: Salazar, Another Industry Hack

Blanche Lincoln: Breaking News!

Rep Alan Grayson Introduces the War Is Making You Poor Act

Skirmish in Harlem -- birthers vs neighbors

Cowardice Will Take Us to War | Lubbock Online | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Cowardice Will Take Us to War | Lubbock Online | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Opposing Genital Mutilation in Denmark


To SIAD and SIOEs demonstration against the mosque in Aalborg and genital mutilation was Anders Gravers field demonstration was initiated attacked by Nazis.

A group of 8-9 pieces seemed as if they were a part of the demonstration but suddenly they tried to raise a Nazi banner. Anders Gravers so the flag that was before they came to fold it out and swung his feet up over the banner, so it was trampled and was then attacked by the Nazis shouting "Zionist pig". Battle did not develop further when Siad security men got control of the situation and the police detained the three most violent Nazis.

This was the first time we saw all three anti-democratic ideologies work together in Denmark.

Antifa, like the Nazis prepared to raw violence. They had filed a charge iron pipes in a backyard, but Siad security could tell police where they could get weapons. So it was only yelling and screaming when SIOE and SIAD passed the mosque. The Muslims were hanging out the windows in the mosque in several layers as SIAD and SIOE delivered their battle cry: "No mosques in our streets." "No genital mutilation in our country." Those who advocate genital mutilation to be out of our country."

As the demonstration moved away from Frederick's Square and up the bell-founder Street, jumped the Nazis in front of the demonstration and tried to grab Anders Gravers, but were again pushed to the wall and the demonstration continued up to its end point.

At Frederick's Square so we say so for the first time all three totalitarian forces in Denmark work together against SIAD and SIOE and democracy. Muslims Antifa (Communists) and the Nazis stood almost hand in hand, shouted slogans and threats after the demonstration.
It was a demonstration which obtained it would, focusing on the mosque and genital mutilation, and we can now see that there are politicians like the radical Councillor Daniel Nyboe Andersen, who advocate genital mutilation. He had referred to an organized counter-demonstrations against those who oppose genital mutilation and the simple logic may indeed be so that he is in favor of genital mutilation.

After the demonstration ran a few hundred Muslims and the Antifa around Cape Town and was looking for demonstration participants, but so far as is known they did not grab anyone. To police the benefit must be said they were good at helping demonstration participants safely from site. It is obviously necessary in today's Denmark with the totalitarian forces advance as not tolerate democracy and freedom and are prepared to resort to violence to stop the free vote.
Atlas Shrugs

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Oppose Funding of War - Alan Grayson

Dear Ron,

Next week, there is going to be a "debate" in Congress on yet another war funding bill. The bill is supposed to pass without debate, so no one will notice.

What George Orwell wrote about in "1984" has come true. What Eisenhower warned us about concerning the "military-industrial complex" has come true. War is a permanent feature of our societal landscape, so much so that no one notices it anymore.

But we're going to change this. Today, we're introducing a bill called 'The War Is Making You Poor Act'. The purpose of this bill is to connect the dots, and to show people in a real and concrete way the cost of these endless wars. We're working to get co-sponsors in Congress, but, we need citizen co-sponsors as well. Become a citizen cosponsor today at TheWarIsMakingYouPoor.com. Act Now.

http://www.TheWarIsMakingYouPoor.com

Next year's budget allocates $159,000,000,000 to perpetuate the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. That's enough money to eliminate federal income taxes for the first $35,000 of every American's income. Beyond that, leaves over $15 billion to cut the deficit.

And that's what this bill does. It eliminates separate funding for the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and eliminates federal income taxes for everyone's first $35,000 of income ($70,000 for couples). Plus it pays down the national debt. Does that sound good to you? Then please sign our petition in support of this bill, and help us build a movement to end our permanent state of war.

http://www.TheWarIsMakingYouPoor.com

The costs of the war have been rendered invisible. There's no draft. Instead, we take the most vulnerable elements of our population, and give them a choice between unemployment and missile fodder. Government deficits conceal the need to pay in cash for the war.

We put the cost of both guns and butter on our Chinese credit card. In fact, we don't even put these wars on budget; they are still passed using 'emergency supplemental'. A nine-year 'emergency'.

Let's show Congress the cost of these wars is too much for us.

http://www.TheWarIsMakingYouPoor.com

Tell Congress that you like 'The War Is Making You Poor Act'. No, tell Congress you love it.

http://www.TheWarIsMakingYouPoor.com

All we are saying is "give peace a chance." We will end these wars.

Together.

Courage,

Alan Grayson

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Iran's Nuclear Agreement with Turkey and Brazil


From left to right, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, joined hands after signing a nuclear fuel swap deal, in Tehran on Monday.

My money is on the little Jewish guy in Israel vs this army of knuckle headed barbarians (yes, that includes Obama.)

The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration's War on America. The back story to these terrible developments is well documented in my book coming out in July.

Iran is on the march. War is coming. Nothing happens for decades and decades happen in a day. This is a horror. Betrayed and routed by our own leadership.

"If this continues, it cuts the kneecaps off the administration's sanctions effort," said John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under the Bush administration. "I think it's a jujitsu move by the Iranians that undercuts the Obama policy."
Atlas Shrugs

Thursday, May 13, 2010

WHAT ISLAM IS NOT

Dr. Martin Luther King on Israel, Security and Zionism.

On March 25, 1968, less than two weeks before his tragic death, he spoke out with clarity and directness stating, “peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.”
[...]
“I solemnly pledge to do my utmost to uphold the fair name of the Jews-because bigotry in any form is an affront to us all.”

During an appearance at Harvard University shortly before his death, a student stood up and asked King to address himself to the issue of Zionism. The question was clearly hostile. King responded, “When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism.”

Gerald Celente on BILL MEYER 26 April 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Braley Continues Questioning on Gulf Oil Spill

Weathervane

The Arab Muslim Slave Trade Of Africans, The Untold Story


This video recites a new perspective on the African slave trade and Muslims. It also explains why the present number of slaves exceeds every other era in history.

We Beat the Fed

Dear Ron,

The Senate just voted, 96-0, to audit the Federal Reserve. Soon, we will know what the Federal Reserve did with the trillions of dollars that it handed out during the financial crisis.

A few months ago, such a vote would have been unthinkable. One senior Treasury official claimed he would fight to stop an audit 'at all costs'. Senator Chris Dodd predicted that an audit would spell economic doom, while Senator Judd Gregg attacked accountability for the Fed as "pandering populism".

Today, both the Treasury Department and Senator Dodd support this amendment. As for Judd Gregg, he was just on the floor of the Senate discussing -- of all people -- 19th century populist Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan.

What happened?

People Power is what happened. We built a coalition of people on the right and the left, ordinary citizens and economists, ex-regulators and politicians, all with one question for which we demanded an answer: "What happened to our money?"

No longer can Ben Bernanke get away with saying, "I don't know."

Now, we're going to know who got what, and why.

Releasing this information will show that the Federal Reserve's arguments for secrecy are -- and have always been -- a ruse, to cover up the handing out of hundreds of billions of dollars like party favors to the Wall Street favorites who brought the American economy to the brink of ruin.

But our work isn't quite done. The Senate audit provision isn't as strong as what we passed in the House. The Senate provision has only a one-time audit, whereas what we passed in the House would allow audits going forward. There will be a conference committee that will merge the provisions from the two bills.

The need for audits and oversight over Fed handouts going forward is great. The financial crisis isn't over, and neither are the Fed's secret bailouts. Earlier this week, the Federal Reserve announced it was going underwrite the Greek bailout by lending dollars to the central banks of Europe, England, and Japan. The loans may never be paid back, the Fed accepts the risk that the dollar will strengthen in the meantime, and the interest rate charged by the Fed is very likely at below-market rates. So such loans are in effect just a subsidy, to bail out foreigners.

The Fed has not been chastened. It is bolder and more of a rogue actor than ever. It's clear that without full audit authority going forward, the Fed will continue to give out "foreign aid" without Congressional or even Executive permission.

And it will do so in secret.

So we will be fighting on to get a full audit from the conference committee.

But let's not lose sight of what we have accomplished so far - real independent inquiry into the Fed, and its incestuous relationships with Wall Street banks. For the first time ever.

Our calls, emails, lobbying, blogging, and support really mattered. We made it happen.

Today, we beat the Fed.

Courage,

Alan Grayson

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thurgood Marshall



Landmark Triumph in 1954

His greatest legal victory came in 1954 with the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which declared an end to the "separate but equal" system of racial segregation then in effect in the public schools of 21states.

Despite the years of turmoil that followed the unanimous decision, the Court left no doubt that it was bringing an end to the era of official segregation in all public institutions. Many questions lingered after so monumental a transformation, and the Court continued to confront issues involving the legacy of segregation even after Justice Marshall retired.

As a civil rights lawyer, Mr. Marshall devised the legal strategy and headed the team that brought the school desegregation issue before the Court. An experienced Supreme Court advocate by that time, he argued the case himself in the straightforward, plain-spoken manner that was the hallmark of his courtroom style. Asked by Justice Felix Frankfurter during the argument what he meant by "equal," Mr. Marshall replied, "Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time, and in the same place."

He won many other important civil rights cases, including a challenge to the whites-only primary elections in Texas. This device was commonly used by white Southern politicians to disenfranchise blacks.

He also won a major Supreme Court case in which the Court declared that restrictive covenants that barred blacks from buying or renting homes could not be enforced in state courts.

'Heroic Imagination' In a Ruthless World

Mr. Marshall, who was born and reared in Baltimore, was excluded from the all-white law school at the University of Maryland. Later he brought successful lawsuits that integrated not only that school but also several other state university systems. He received his legal education at the law school of Howard University in Washington, D.C., the nation's pre-eminent black university, where he graduated first in his class in 1933 and made the personal and intellectual connections that shaped his future career.

Years later, the University of Maryland named its law library for him, and the City of Baltimore honored him by placing a bronze likeness, more than eight feet tall, outside the Federal courthouse.

"To do what he did required a heroic imagination," Paul Gewirtz, one of Justice Marshall's former law clerks, wrote in a tribute published after the Justice retired from the Court.

The article by Mr. Gewirtz, the Potter Stewart Professor of Constitutional Law at Yale Law School, continued: "He grew up in a ruthlessly discriminatory world -- a world in which segregation of the races was pervasive and taken for granted, where lynching was common, where the black man's inherent inferiority was proclaimed widely and wantonly. Thurgood Marshall had the capacity to imagine a radically different world, the imaginative capacity to believe that such a world was possible, the strength to sustain that image in the mind's eye and the heart's longing, and the courage and ability to make that imagined world real."

Yet Justice Marshall was not satisfied with what he had achieved, believing that the Constitution's promise of equality remained unfulfilled and that his work was therefore unfinished.

A Voice of Anger And Disappointment

For much of his Supreme Court career, as the Court's majority increasingly drew back from affirmative action and other remedies for discrimination that he believed were still necessary to combat the nation's legacy of racism, Justice Marshall used dissenting opinions to express his disappointment and anger.

In 1978, for example, in the Bakke case, in which the Court found it unconstitutional for a state-run medical school to reserve 16 of 100 places in the entering class for black and other minority students, Justice Marshall filed
a separate 16-page opinion tracing the black experience in America.

"In light of the sorry history of discrimination and its devastating impact on the lives of Negroes," he wrote, "bringing the Negro into the mainstream of American life should be a state interest of the highest order. To fail to do so is to insure that America will forever remain a divided society."

He dissented in City of Richmond v. Croson, a 1989 ruling in which the Court declared unconstitutional a municipal ordinance setting aside 30 percent of public contracting dollars for companies owned by blacks or members of other minorities. The Court majority called the program a form of state-sponsored racism that was no less offensive to the Constitution than a policy officially favoring whites.

In his dissenting opinion, Justice Marshall said that in reaching that conclusion "a majority of this Court signals that it regards racial discrimination as largely a phenomenon of the past, and that government bodies need no longer preoccupy themselves with rectifying racial injustice."

He added: "I, however, do not believe this nation is anywhere close to eradicating racial discrimination or its vestiges. In constitutionalizing its wishful thinking, the majority today does a grave disservice not only to those victims of past and present racial discrimination in this nation whom government has sought to assist, but also to this Court's long tradition of approaching issues of race with the utmost sensitivity."

'Great Dissenter' As Political Prophet

Although he wrote a number of important majority opinions for the Court, his most powerful voice was in dissent, and not only in the area of racial discrimination. Like his friend and closest ally, Justice William J. Brennan Jr., who retired the year before he did, Justice Marshall believed that the death penalty was unconstitutional under all circumstances. He dissented from all decisions in which the Court upheld application of the death penalty, and he wrote more than 150 dissenting opinions in cases in which the Court had refused to hear death penalty appeals.

In an article published after his retirement, Kathleen M. Sullivan, a Harvard Law School professor, called Justice Marshall "the great dissenter."

"We may read his eloquent admonitions in dissent as prophecies for another (perhaps distant) era when the political pendulum swings again," Professor Sullivan wrote. "With his departure goes part of the conscience of the Court -- a reminder of the human consequences of legal decisions."

While the phrase "first black Supreme Court Justice" was attached so often to his name that it appeared to be part of his official title, it was a partial definition at best, scarcely encompassing the unusual range of legal experience that Justice Marshall brought to the Court.

By the time President Lyndon B. Johnson named him to succeed Justice Tom C. Clark, who had retired, Mr. Marshall had argued 32 cases before the Supreme Court and won 29 of them. He argued 14 of those cases as a private lawyer and 18 as Solicitor General of the United States, the Federal Government's chief advocate in the Supreme Court. President Johnson had named him to that position in 1965, two years before nominating him to the Supreme Court.

From 1961 to 1965, Thurgood Marshall was a Federal appeals court judge, named by President John F. Kennedy to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan. He wrote 112 opinions on that court, none of which was overturned on appeal. Several of his dissenting opinions were eventually adopted as majority opinions by the Supreme Court.

He had at first been hesitant to accept President Kennedy's offer of a seat on the appeals court, fearing that his allies in the civil rights movement would think that he was deserting the struggle. "I had to fight it out with myself," he said in an interview some years ago. "But by then I had built up a staff -- a damned good staff -- an excellent board, and the backing that would let them go ahead. And when one has an opportunity to serve the Government, he should think twice before passing it up."

The Thurgood Marshall whom the public saw in his old age was a gruff, lumbering figure, his pace slowed by extra pounds and shortness of breath, his eyesight impaired by glaucoma. Outspoken and impolitic, he stirred up minor storms by making cutting remarks in public, highly unusual for a Supreme Court Justice, about major public figures.

"I wouldn't do the job of dogcatcher for Ronald Reagan," he said in an interview in 1989. The next year, referring to President Bush, he said in a televised interview: "It's said that if you can't say something good about a dead person, don't say it. Well, I consider him dead."

Behind the Mask, A Fine Storyteller

In the courtroom Justice Marshall's face was an inscrutable mask. He said little during the argument sessions, growling occasionally at lawyers who were struggling lamely through their arguments and sometimes training his sarcasm on his own colleagues. During a death penalty argument in 1981, William H. Rehnquist, then an Associate Justice, suggested that the inmate's repeated appeals had cost the taxpayers too much money. Justice Marshall interrupted, saying, "It would have been cheaper to shoot him right after he was arrested, wouldn't it?"

But those who knew him well said that behind the mask was a man with an earthy sense of humor, a spellbinding storyteller with an anecdote from his own long life for every occasion.

Justice Brennan, in a tribute to his friend published in the Harvard Law Review, wrote about Justice Marshall's storytelling abilities. "The locales are varied -- from dusty courtrooms in the Deep South, to a confrontation with General MacArthur in the Far East, to the drafting sessions for the Kenyan Constitution," Justice Brennan wrote. "They are brought to life by all the tricks of the storyteller's art: the fluid voice, the mobile eyebrows, the sidelong glance, the pregnant pause and the wry smile."

The stories were meant not only to entertain but also to serve "a deeper purpose," Justice Brennan said.

"They are his way of preserving the past while purging it of its bleakest moments," he said. "They are also a form of education for the rest of us. Surely, Justice Marshall recognized that the stories made us -- his colleagues -- confront walks of life we had never known."

Many of his stories recalled the hostility, the harassment and, not infrequently, the danger he had faced as a civil rights lawyer, traveling some 50,000 miles a year throughout the South representing black clients and unpopular causes. One story he told was of being arrested on a trumped-up charge of drunken driving while leaving a Tennessee town in which he and a colleague had just won an acquittal for a black defendant.

As Justice Marshall recounted the incident in an interview, he was brought before a magistrate, who told him: "If you're not drunk, will you take my test? Will you blow in my face? I'm a teetotaler and I can smell the least bit of whisky."

"He was a short man," recalled Justice Marshall, who was himself 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighed well over 200 pounds. "I put my hands on his shoulders and breathed just as hard as I could into the man's face." The case was dismissed.

"We drove to Nashville," the Justice added. "And then, boy, I really wanted a drink!"

Thurgood Marshall was born in Baltimore on July 2, 1908. His mother, the former Norma Williams, was a teacher. His father, William Marshall, had once worked as a Pullman car waiter and later became a steward at the exclusive, all-white Gibson Island Club on Chesapeake Bay. A great-grandfather had been taken as a slave from the Congo to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where the slaveholder eventually freed him.

Mr. Marshall was named for his paternal grandfather, who had chosen the name "Thoroughgood" when he enlisted as a private in the Union Army during the Civil War. His grandson later explained that he adopted the spelling
"Thurgood" in grade school because he "got tired of spelling all that out."

He described himself as a "hell-raiser" in school, a circumstance that gave him exposure to the Constitution and lifelong respect for it. "Instead of making us copy out stuff on the blackboard after school when we misbehaved, our
teacher sent us down into the basement to learn parts of the Constitution," he once recalled. "I made my way through every paragraph."

In high school years in Baltimore, he worked as a delivery boy for a women's clothing store after classes. He waited on tables to help pay the tuition at Lincoln University in Chester, Pa., where he said he "majored in hell-raising."
He was expelled once for hazing freshmen, but after being readmitted he became a star debater and graduated with honors in 1930.

His mother wanted him to become a dentist, a safe and lucrative career for a black professional in those days, but he was determined to become a lawyer. Enrolling at Howard University Law School meant a long daily commute from Baltimore because he could not afford housing at the school. His mother pawned her wedding and engagement rings to pay the law school's entrance fees.

At Howard he met a man who would influence the course of his life, Charles Hamilton Houston, then the law school's vice dean. Mr. Houston, a Harvard Law School graduate who later served as chief counsel to the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People and who became the first black lawyer to win a case before the Supreme Court, imbued his students with the goal of using the law to attack institutional racism.

"Charlie Houston insisted that we be social engineers rather than lawyers," Justice Marshall said in an interview published in the American Bar Association Journal in 1992.

The Justice often credited Mr. Houston, who died in 1950 at the age of 54, as his mentor. Referring to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, he said in the bar association interview: "The school case was really Charlie's victory. He just never got a chance to see it."

A Basic Strategy To End Segregation

After earning his law degree Mr. Marshall opened a law office in Baltimore. The nation was in the fourth year of the Depression. He found himself handling civil rights cases for impoverished clients and was soon $1,000 in debt. But his courtroom victories, including his successful challenge to segregation at the University of Maryland Law School, began to be noticed. In 1936 Mr. Houston, by then the chief counsel of the N.A.A.C.P., recruited him for a $2,600-a-year job on the organization's legal staff in New York. Two years later, when Mr. Houston returned to Washington, Mr. Marshall succeeded to the chief counsel's title but continued to work closely with his mentor.

Pursuing a long-range strategy to eradicate segregation, the two men concentrated first on graduate and professional schools, believing that white judges were most likely to be offended by segregation in that setting and to sympathize with the ambitious young black college graduates who were the plaintiffs in the cases. As successes mounted, the two turned their attention to segregation in public high schools and elementary schools.

"Under Marshall, the N.A.A.C.P.'s legal staff became the model for public interest law firms," Mark Tushnet, one of the Justice's biographers who was also one of his law clerks, wrote in the American Bar Association Journal. "Marshall was thus one of the first public interest lawyers. His commitment to racial justice led him and his staff to develop ways of thinking about constitutional litigation that have been enormously influential far beyond the areas of segregation and discrimination."

In its public school cases, the initial focus of the N.A.A.C.P., and later of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which became a separate entity in 1957, was to seek to equalize the resources available to the all-black schools in segregated systems. Mr. Marshall persuaded the organization's board to abandon that approach and to refuse to take on any cases that did not challenge the fact of segregation itself.

The new policy was controversial within the N.A.A.C.P. and prompted resignations by several black lawyers on whom the organization had relied to handle cases in the South. Mr. Marshall was not deterred, and took on many of the cases himself. He traveled constantly and was in charge of as many as 450 cases at a time. "I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown for a long time, but I never quite made the grade," he once said.

Robert L. Carter, an associate of Mr. Marshall's from those days who later became a Federal district judge in New York, recalled their travels through the South in an article published in The Harvard Law Review.

"Having grown up in Maryland, Marshall had a slight Southern accent," Mr. Carter wrote. "But when our opponents were Southern lawyers, which was virtually all the time, his accent would become much more pronounced. Before and after the case was called, Marshall would joke with the opposing counsel or exchange some pleasantry, all in a Southern accent so broad that he sounded as if he had lived all his life in the deep rural South. The practice irritated me at first. The very lawyers Marshall's Southern drawl would put at ease were defending a system we detested."

Mr. Carter wrote that he gradually understood that his friend "was attempting to communicate to these men that, although we were on opposite sides of an emotionally charged lawsuit, we were lawyers representing our clients and
had no personal quarrel with each other."

'The Right Man And the Right Place'

By 1961, when President Kennedy named him to the Federal appeals court, Thurgood Marshall was the best known black lawyer in the United States. A group of Southern senators held up his confirmation for months, and he served initially under a special appointment made during a Congressional recess. Six years later, President Johnson said that placing Judge Marshall on the Supreme Court was "the right thing to do, the right time to do it, the right man and the right place."

Liberals still dominated the Court in the closing years of Chief Justice Earl Warren's tenure, and Justice Marshall fit in comfortably with such colleagues as Justices Brennan and William O. Douglas. In his early years on the Court, Justice Marshall cast only a handful of dissenting votes.

Inexorably, the ideological landscape changed. By the time Justice Marshall announced his retirement, on June 27, 1991, he had served longer than all but one of the sitting Justices -- Byron R. White, who was named by President Kennedy in 1962 -- and was more liberal than any of them. In his final term he dissented in 25 of 112 cases.

Among Justice Marshall's important majority opinions for the Court was Amalgamated Food Employees Union v. Logan Valley Plaza, in 1968, which held that a shopping center was a "public forum" much like an old downtown
city street, from which the private owners could not exclude picketers.

His majority opinion in Stanley v. Georgia, in 1969, held that the private possession of pornography could not be subject to prosecution. "If the First Amendment means anything," he wrote in that case, "it means that a state has
no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch."

He wrote the majority opinion in Bounds v. Smith, a 1977 case holding that state prison systems are constitutionally obliged to provide inmates with "adequate law libraries or adequate assistance from persons trained in the law."

A Vigorous Dissent In a Schools Case

One of his best known dissents was a 63-page opinion in a 1973 case, San Antonio School District v. Rodriguez. The majority in that case held, by a 5-to-4 vote, that the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection was not violated by the property tax system used by Texas and most other states to finance public education. Under the system districts with generous tax bases can afford to provide better schools than less wealthy districts.

In his dissenting opinion, Justice Marshall accused the majority of an "unsupportable acquiescence in a system which deprives children in their earliest years of the chance to reach their full potential as citizens."

He argued that the right to an education should be regarded as a "fundamental" constitutional right, and that state policies that have the effect of discriminating on the basis of wealth should be subject to especially searching judicial scrutiny.

"In my judgment," he wrote, "the right of every American to an equal start in life, so far as the provision of a state service as important as education is concerned, is far too vital to permit state discrimination on grounds as tenuous as those presented by this record."

Justice Marshall had often said that he did not plan to retire, so his decision at the end of the 1990-91 term took both the Court and the country by surprise.

One person familiar with the Court recalled that when Justice Marshall informed his colleagues of his plan, at the Justices' final private conference of the term, even the members of the Court who had clashed with him long and often on matters of law and policy were deeply moved. Exclaiming "Oh, Thurgood!" Chief Justice Rehnquist embraced Justice Marshall in a bear hug. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wept.

Justice Marshall, a few days shy of his 83d birthday, gave health as the reason for his retirement. At a news conference the next day he was asked, "What's wrong with you, sir?"

"What's wrong with me?" Justice Marshall replied. "I'm old. I'm getting old and coming apart."

Justice Marshall's first wife, the former Vivien Burey, whom he married in 1929, died of cancer in February 1955. In December of that year he married Cecilia Suyat, known as Cissy. They had two sons, Thurgood Jr., legislative-affairs coordinator for the Office of the Vice President and previously a lawyer on the staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and John, a member of the Virginia state police.

Arlington National Cemetery Website

Gassing Girls for Denying God

NUCLEAR, BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS

May 10, 2010: Recently, 17 students at a Kabul, Afghanistan, girls high school fell ill and had to be hospitalized, along with several teachers. Doctors at the hospital agreed that it was some kind of poison, but have not been able to identify it yet. All the victims smelled something odd when they got to school, then fell ill, with some of the students losing consciousness. This is the second such incident at this school, and there was a similar attack at a girls high school further north. The Taliban have been known to attack girls schools, including injuring or killing students with gunfire, explosives and, in at least one case, acid thrown into the faces of students. Now it appears that poison gas has been added to the Taliban arsenal.

The Taliban do not believe in education for girls (which they believe is forbidden by Islam), but do believe in chemical weapons (which they do not believe is forbidden by Islam). When the Taliban ran Afghanistan in the late 1990s, they hosted al Qaeda, and al Qaeda set up a chemical warfare research facility. If the Taliban are using some kind of poisonous chemical for these attacks, they could have gotten them from their better educated friends in al Qaeda. American military personnel collected air and soil samples from the schools, but have not announced any results yet.
Atlas Shrugs

Monday, May 10, 2010

The PIIGS Brief by Timothy Madden

The PIIGS Brief
By Timothy Madden
Portugal, Iceland, Ireland, Greece and Spain can sue Canada for damages from global financial crisis
The PIIGS nations, scandalously so-called, of the European Union (EU) appear to have a genuine cause of action and means of remedy against the Canadian state and its commercial court system, secured in part by the aggregate bonds/liability-insurance of members of the various provincial and federal bar associations and law societies in Canada, as well as those of the courts themselves. Provable damages globally appear to be in the range of several trillions of dollars.
The underlying issue is malfeasance of office, gross negligence, reckless disregard and endangerment, and the proximate cause of the global financial crisis, with respect to damages experienced and yet to be experienced by the people and institutions of the PIIGS nations.
The means of remedy is/are either or both of an action in tort (equity) and/or in law pursuant to certain several international treaties referred to generally as anti-money-laundering and anti-financing-of-terrorism treaties, of which the PIIGS nations are common signatories with Canada, and under which Canada agreed not to do what it then did, and continues to do, which is to allow its courts to wilfully and knowingly enforce financial securities that constitute “enterprise crime/racketeering/RICO” offences under the Criminal Code of Canada. The specific anti-organized-crime sections at issue are expressly attached to the aforesaid treaties under which Canada agreed to treat any such civil action as laundering of proceeds of crime, and to seize whatever proceeds are within its jurisdiction.
Additional special, punitive, or exemplary damages are supported by the egregious nature of the means by which Canada violates the treaty or treaties directly, and of the means by which Canadian courts are converting financial securities contrary to the Criminal Code and in concealment (from international financial markets) of the known and admitted underlying criminality and vastly increased risk-in-fact.
Canada’s banks have escaped the global financial meltdown because Canada’s courts illegally granted them licence to operate, both in fact and in law, as “criminal organizations” within the meaning of domestic and international law. These same private banks used their criminal capacity to make themselves into de facto holding companies (and redirectors) for the illegal profits of the global system. They siphoned off the gravy and stuck the rest of the world with the bones.
Excerpt from Tim Madden's The PIIGS Brief

RON PAUL GREECE IS JUST THE BEGINNING MAY 6, 2010

RON PAUL GREECE IS JUST THE BEGINNING MAY 6, 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Can a Jew Be a Conservative? Israel. Matzav Asks



Somebody could explain to me why being Jewish precludes a belief in limited government, individual rights, free enterprise, traditional morals and manners, etc.
The real question is do conservatives behave according to the ideology they claim to follow.
In the main, they act for big government and unlimited military spending crushing human rights worldwide. There is no competition in their plutocratic state.
The behaviors described do not conform to any religious teachings anywhere.

Goldman's Dirty Customers


The shadiest player in the Goldman Sachs drama may be neither Goldman nor John Paulson, but the German bank that the SEC maintains was duped in the scheme. John Carney details how the bank itself engaged in a pattern of dirty trading tactics that caused billions in losses.

In Michael Lewis’ bestseller The Big Short, when Greg Lippman, one of the top traders dealing with the kind of derivatives that helped implode the world’s economy, was asked who was selling insurance on all the lousy subprime loans, he answered concisely: Dusseldorf. “Stupid Germans,” Lippman purportedly told wary hedge-fund investors, despite the fact that he worked at a Deutsche Bank. “They take the ratings agencies seriously. They believe in the rules.”

But the Germans selling the credit default swaps to Goldman Sachs—the very swaps at the heart of the SEC’s case against Goldman Sachs—weren’t stupid. In fact, they were wily and wealthy financial players. Nor did they necessarily play by the rules: Their dealings with Goldman seemed designed to evade regulatory and auditor supervision—something the SEC conveniently shoved down the memory hole in order to paint the Germans as just another victim of Goldman fraud.

In short order, Rhineland became one of the biggest buyers of the complex investment products puked out by the likes of Lippman at Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase—and Goldman.

Rather than suckers, a thorough study of the case indicates that Dusseldorf-based IKB Deutsche Industriebank—which seems to eerily resemble the “stupid Germans” Lippman was referring to when seeking buyers for his eventually toxic collateralized debt obligations—was playing the same game that Goldman was.

• John Carney: What Goldman’s ‘Victim’ Knew In a nutshell, the SEC is alleging that hedge-fund titan John Paulson approached Goldman with a list of mortgage-backed securities he wanted to bet against and, since it's generally not possible to bet directly against a mortgage-backed security, Goldman agreed to provide credit protection, before pawning off the mirror image of Paulson’s basket, named Abacus, to unsuspecting customers, while pocketing a profit on both sides of the transaction.

• A Primer on the Goldman Sachs Scandal

• Charlie Gasparino: Why Goldman Will Settle Enter Dusseldorf’s IKB. Beginning in 2001, CEO Stefan Ortseifen pursued a strategy to turn his modest operation that specialized in lending to small and midsize companies into an aggressive global player dealing in risky assets while, as detailed by financial reporter Nick Dunbar, getting around the prying eyes of his largest shareholder, a conservative, government-owned development bank. Specifically, he set up off-balance-sheet, offshore company called Rhineland Funding, The Wall Street Journal reported, that would buy risky securities, while escaping direct regulatory or auditor scrutiny. Since IKB controlled Rhineland, which was listed on the Irish stock exchange, and lent it money, it could siphon profits out via hefty management fees. Meanwhile, IKB remained at arm’s length, reducing its exposure by pawning off a portion of its dicey Rhineland loans to others.

It was a piece of regulatory arbitrage: In essence, IKB was investing in complex mortgage bonds without having to set aside regulatory capital or report the increase in risky assets to its regulators or auditors.

In short order, Rhineland became one of the biggest buyers of the complex investment products puked out by the likes of Lippman at Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase—and Goldman. One banker told Euroweek that IKB—through Rhineland and similar tactics—had become one of the five or six largest investors in Europe. Thus, Goldman found them a willing buyer for the junk piled into Abacus.

The crucial question in the SEC’s case against Goldman is whether Rhineland should have been told that Paulson was ultimately the short-seller in this deal or that he had played an important role in selecting the securities that went into Abacus. While it’s not clear that in 2007 anyone would have been worried about a little-known hedge fund being short a deal if they weren’t already worried about Goldman being short, Rhineland certainly should have asked how the portfolio was constructed.

So why didn’t Rhineland—or the managers who controlled it from Dusseldorf—make these inquiries? Most likely, because IKB was playing the game even more aggressively.

Because Rhineland was an off-balance-sheet entity, IKB’s exposure to Rhineland was limited by the size of its guarantees and credit lines. If a particular transaction lost money, the conduit, Rhineland, was on the hook, but the bank, IKB, was not. If Rhineland made money, on the other hand, the bank took a big share of the gains. In short, the profits were the bank’s and the losses were someone else’s problem. Financial engineering at its best—and worst.

Simultaneous with the Abacus deal, IKB executives were busy with another piece of financial chicanery, insulating their bank from losses at Rhineland courtesy of a French bank, Calyon, which agreed that, if requested, it would pay $2.5 billion for assets held by Rhineland. In exchange, the value of those assets would be guaranteed by IKB and a bond insurer named FGIC. The deal was known as Havenrock II.

But Abacus and similar deals were already sucking money out of Rhineland, according to a person familiar with the matter. The ratings agencies were threatening to downgrade a host of subprime bonds, scaring off other lenders. Deutsche Bank, which had bought a piece of the liquidity facility IKB provided Rhineland, alerted German authorities, according to Dunbar.

A closing dinner for Havenrock II was held in Dusseldorf in July 2007, according to Bloomberg News. Just three days later, IKB announced that it was failing and had to be rescued by the German government. Calyon was out $2.5 billion. IKB paid $625 million to Calyon. But FGIC refused to pay the remaining $1.875 billion. Calyon sued FGIC, FGIC sued IKB. FGIC wound up paying Calyon just $200 million in a settlement, according to reports.

When Calyon asked IKB to pay for the shortfall, IKB said that Calyon “failed to conduct any, or any adequate, appraisal of the risks,” according to a report from Bloomberg. Calyon wasn’t cheated or duped, IKB said. Rather, the bank entered into the agreement to “fulfill its ambitions to develop and diversify significantly its activities in securitization and structured credit,” IKB said in court filings quoted by Bloomberg.

In other words, IKB’s defense against Calyon anticipated in an eerily precise way Goldman’s defense: Everyone involved were big boys who knew—or should have known—what they were getting into.

IKB has taken a deserved pounding in Germany. Four members of the board of managing directors were forced to step down. The CFO was ousted, along with Ortseifen, who was charged with stock-market manipulation and embezzlement. (The charges were later dropped when investigators concluded they couldn’t establish an intent to harm the bank.) The assets—and losses—from Rhineland were brought onto IKB’s balance sheet.

The SEC omitted these facts from its complaint. It’s hard to make a case, after all, when the victim acts even more capriciously that than alleged wrongdoer.

John Carney is a financial writer and former editor of DealBreaker.com and Clusterstock.com.
The Daily Beast

Sherie Rene Scott - a Semi-Star on B'way



The Tony nominations came out this week, and despite some surprises, one that was a lock was Sherie Rene Scott for her performance in the musical Everyday Rapture, a story of a woman named, well, Sherie Rene Scott who travels from a small town in Kansas to Manhattan, where she becomes a “semi-star” on Broadway. Scott’s retelling of her life story, in which she worships both Jesus and Judy Garland, is quirky, touching, and clearly the performance of her career (she has been working on the musical with co-writer Dick Scanlan for several years). Scott shows that songs can be sweet ways to soundtrack one’s life story. In his review for The New York Times, Ben Brantley described the musical’s appeal best: “I can’t think of another production in recent years that captures and explains so affectingly the essence and allure of musicals, and why they’re such an indispensable part of the New York landscape.”

American Academy of Pediatrics Approves of Clitorectomies


In what can only be construed as a complete loss of any semblance of goodness and morality in the name of multi-cultural poison, the most advanced civilization on the world is sanctioning......clitorectomies.

It will not have the effect these nudnik do-gooders imagine. It will have just the opposite effect. Islamic misogyny will be given the seal of approval by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The have issued a policy statement suggesting that doctors in the US perform this act of sick barbarity on girls to keep their families from sending them overseas for it. What next? Wife-beating seminars and its unintended benefits. Or a strip in Vegas for child marriages so they won't go overseas for the nuptuals.

By G-d, these are our daughters. This is our culture these clueless dhimmi buffoons are throwing away with both hands. No matter how you couch this argument, and the NY Times is the master of velvet-tongued barbarity, this is grotesque. And this is not the first time the NY Times has given clitorectomies the its tacit approval -- go here.
Atlas Shrugs

Group Backs Ritual ‘Nick’ as Female Circumcision Option NY Times (hat tip Davida

Friday, May 7, 2010

China Makes New Energy Strides


China will take radical measures to increase the use of new energy in the 12th Five Year Plan , a move that reinforces the nation’s commitment to improve the energy mix and reduce pollution.

Tennessee Tea Party Coalition

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

American Empire Ends at Durand Line

Evidence of the strain facing America’s cold war-trained bureaucrats now appears regularly as the contradictions deepen. Defense Secretary Robert Gates crossed his own personal zero line in an address to the National Defense University in February when he criticized Europe’s growing anti-war sentiment as a dangerous threat to peace. The Obama administration rails at the Karzai government’s corruption but denies it the guidance and expertise necessary to make it effective at governance. The U.S. then diverts power and money to regional tribal leaders whom many fear (including U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry) will simply become a new class of warlord, once the U.S. departs.

Since January 2009, U.S. Predator Drone strikes are reported to have killed at least 529 people in the tribal areas of Pakistan of whom 20 percent may have been civilians. Considered to be a clear violation of international law by American legal scholars, the cross border strikes inflame Pakistani opinion against the U.S. Yet, the Pentagon praises their new anti-terror weapon while at the same time continuing to deny that the program even exists.

As the Obama administration struggles to reconcile Washington’s special interests with those posed by Iran, Pakistan, India, China and Russia, it should be remembered that the Soviet Union faced a similar challenge in Afghanistan. But in the end the biggest enemy the Soviets faced was not the Stinger missiles or the disunited Mujahideen Jihadis. The Soviet Union’s biggest enemy was the archaic cold war structure of the Soviet system itself, and that is a lesson that Washington refuses to accept.

The United States has fought on both the Pakistani and Afghan sides of the Durand line. In the 1980s it fought on the side of extremist-political Islam. Since September 11, 2001 it has fought against it. But the border separating the two seemingly incompatible behaviors remains largely a dark mystery. It is therefore appropriate to think of Zero line as the vanishing point for the American empire, the point beyond which its power and influence disappears; the line where 60 year’s worth of American policy in Eurasia confronts itself and ceases to exist. The Durand line separating the two countries is visible on a map. Zero line is not.
Sibel Edmonds, Boiling Frogs

Rev Franklin Graham Warns POTUS Imposing Sharia

Evangelical leader Rev. Franklin Graham issued his toughest remarks yet Monday on the administration's role in revoking his invitation to speak at the Pentagon's National Day of Prayer event, charging that President Obama is "giving Islam a pass" rather than speaking openly about the "horrific" treatment women and minorities receive in many Muslim countries.
In an exclusive telephone interview with Newsmax.TV, Graham called revoking his invitation to the prayer service "a slap at all evangelical Christians."

And he clearly placed the blame on the Obama administration, telling Newsmax that the Pentagon would never revoke such an invitation without first consulting with the White House.

"I'm being restricted from my religious rights, and from what I believe," Graham warned, as he complained of a growing “secularization” in the government.

He also warned Christians of “coming” persecution for believing in Jesus Christ.
Atlas Shrugs

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Less Engagement with POTUS, Please!



Bibi is a different story. Here the deliberate and sustained assault (from the fit over Jerusalem housing to the threats of an imposed peace plan and an abstention in the UN Security Council) suggests that more than personal ire or irritation is at play. Here Obama plainly intends — he’s told us as much — a change in American policy. The charm offensive is meant to quiet domestic Jewish opinion, not to repair or moderate its stance toward the Jewish state.

Diehl argues that a personal failing on Obama’s part is at the root of these conflicts. (”Public bullying won’t do it. Assurances of U.S. support and stroking by special envoys go only so far. What’s missing is personal chemistry and confidence, the construction of a bond between leaders that can persuade a U.S. ally to take a risk; in other words, presidential ‘engagement.’ Isn’t that what Obama promised?”) But with regard to Israel, there is something far more fundamental at issue. Despite the PR offensive, Obama’s goal is not to re-establish a more robust relationship with the Jewish state; it is merely to mask the animus that bubbled to the surface over the past two months. It is not through neglect that relations with Israel have been strained — it is by design. We therefore should not expect that increased presidential attention will result in an improved U.S.-Israel relationship. Frankly, the more Obama focuses on Israel, the more damage to the relationship is likely to occur. At this point, benign neglect would be a welcome development.

I'm with Jennifer on this. The less we see of Obama here, the happier we will all be.

posted by Carl in Jerusalem

Want to make President Obama's life miserable by buying a home in 'east' Jerusalem, Judea or Samaria? Here's how:

Jerusalem activist Aryeh King has launched the Israel Land Fund website (israellandfund.com) to keep the Land of Israel in Jewish hands. The new website offers properties and dwellings for sale in Eastern Jerusalem, Jaffa, the Galilee, Judea and Samaria and other locations.

According to the site "It is a fact. Israel has been confirmed the fastest growing real-estate market in the world. In a period of uncertainty, and economic weakness, one thing is assured - the value of property in Israel will prosper. What started more than 130 years ago continues today through the Israel Land Fund – that all Jews own a piece of Israel. The Israel Land Fund allows you to fulfill a religious obligation, share a dream and realize a vision. Join us today and watch as both the spiritual and physical benefits of possessing a stake in the land, keep on rising."

Or just click here.

posted by Carl in Jerusalem @ 10:26 PM






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1 Comments:

At 11:14 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Jews can begin illegally building in east Jerusalem. The state cannot even stop illegal Arab building on that side of the city. It might be in Netanyahu's interest to just order the government to turn a blind eye to unauthorized Jewish construction and plead ignorance or lack of means to stop it to Obama.


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Name: Carl in Jerusalem
Location: Jerusalem, Israel

I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for twenty-eight years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 5 to 26 years and three grandchildren. Our eldest daughter and eldest son are married! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com

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Maryland May Adopt Version of AZ SB1070


If Delegate Pat McDonough has any say in it the free ride that illegal aliens have been having in Maryland is over. McDonough, a fierce fighter for the residents of his state, plans to introduce a similar bill to SB1070 that was recently passed and made law in Arizona. The law allows state and local law enforcement to conduct immigration checks if someone stopped during a normal law enforcement action is suspected of being an illegal alien.

McDonough plans to introduce the legislation in the 2011 Maryland General Assembly session and has said that he has invited state representative Russell Pearce, the main force behind the Arizona law, to speak at a future event.

Go Maryland. Go McDonough!

Tipped by: Inside Charm City

by Digger

Wall Street Journal Using FOX TACTICS

Washington has never been held in lower esteem by Americans than it is today. Yet those in control of Washington—President Obama and congressional Democrats—are bent on enacting a series of sweeping domestic policy changes this year that have one thing in common: They are unpopular, in whole or in part.

This is unprecedented and a bit weird too. A revival of civility and an end to the ugly political polarization in Washington—goals stressed by Mr. Obama in his presidential campaign and again last Saturday in a speech at the University of Michigan—won't be furthered by passage of an unpopular agenda. A more likely result is years of partisan resentment and bitter fighting over efforts by Republicans to repeal the unwanted policies.

Fred Barnes, WSJ

The GOP strategy begins by obstructing or killing every part of the Democratic agenda. The Republicans rarely promote their own legislation. Any display of bipartisanship is a ruse meant to delay proceedings. They dismiss public sentiment or support for a measure arguing that the Tea Party beliefs are a better guide for policy makers. Since they advance no complete agenda, they waste legislative time to defeat measures through extended rancor.

The Republican tactics are beginning to unwind. They leave them with nothing to run on during the 2010 mid-terms.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bush Administration waited till 9/18/08 to Alert Congress



In little-noticed statements to reporters over the last few weeks, Pelosi has alleged that the Bush administration knew well in advance of its intervention that the financial crisis would hit, and that Congress would need to authorize a historic and unpopular bailout - but that top officials, including then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, told her that they had been barred from briefing Congress about true extent of the crisis.

If accurate, the allegation could constitute a major indictment of the Bush administration, which may have worsened the crisis and resulting economic fallout by delaying the call for congressional action. Pelosi says the admissions from Bush administration officials that they had kept Congress in the dark came in private conversations between her and those officials in person and by phone. None of the other parties to those conversations would comment for this story. Nor is it clear if the Administration's alleged decision not to brief Congress earlier was a calculated strategy to avoid spooking the already shaky financial markets thus hastening the crisis or, as Pelosi suggests, a political calculation in advance of the 2008 presidential elections, or a combination of the two.

During her weekly press conference on April 15, a reporter asked Pelosi a seemingly innocuous question about taxes. Pelosi prefaced her response with a fairly standard litany: explaining the dire state of the U.S. economy inherited by President Obama and setting the blame at the foot of the Bush administration. But she also added this: "When [then-Senator Obama] accepted the nomination in Colorado, the [Bush] Administration had kept from the public the idea that, in a matter of weeks, the financial community would be in crisis, and we would need to pass the TARP legislation."

Brian Beutler, TPM EXCLUSIVE

Dismayland in Brazil Artist Jeff GILLETTE

Explosive Device Disarmed Near Pittsburgh Marathon

Pittsburgh Marathon Course Altered by Bomb Scare FOXNews.com

Police say they have found an explosive device near the course of the Pittsburgh Marathon, forcing them to detour the final part of the race.

PITTSBURGH -- Police say they have found an explosive device near the course of the Pittsburgh Marathon, forcing them to detour the final part of the race.

Police say the device was found in a small microwave oven on the sidewalk after the leaders had finished the course Sunday morning. Several blocks were cordoned off near the original finish line for the marathon and half-marathon.

The bomb squad used a robot to disable the device. The all-clear was given for the area shortly before 11 a.m. About 5,000 people took part in the full marathon.

The disruption comes a day after a car-bomb scare in New York emptied Times Square.

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