Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 02, 2015, 05:43:51 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
87881 Posts in 2282 Topics by 1070 Members
Latest Member: Nexquietus
* Home Help Search Login Register
  Show Posts
Pages: 1 ... 198 199 [200] 201 202 ... 254
9951  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: May 30, 2009, 09:27:12 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/05/30/administration-now-north-korea-is-a-threat-again/

Administration: Now North Korea is a threat again
POSTED AT 12:04 PM ON MAY 30, 2009 BY ED MORRISSEY   


Sometimes, we need a scorecard to keep up with the Obama administration’s positions on foreign policy and national security.  The latest case of whiplash comes from the ping-pong position shifts on North Korea.  When Pyongyang tested a long-range missile in April, Barack Obama called the DPRK a “regional threat” to security.  Last weekend, he upgraded North Korea to a threat to global peace.  Wednesday, though, Obama’s national security adviser James Jones dismissed Kim Jong-Il almost entirely, claiming that he poses no imminent threat to the US.

Today, Defense Secretary William Robert Gates goes back to Square One (via Flopping Aces):

The United States will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Saturday at an international conference. …

His comments came amid growing concern across the globe over North Korea’s latest nuclear test and test-firings of short-range missiles.

On Friday, two Defense Department officials said the latest U.S. satellite imagery has spotted “vehicle activity” at a North Korean ballistic missile facility.

“North Korea’s nuclear program and actions constitute a threat to regional peace and security. We unequivocally reaffirm our commitment to the defense of our allies in the region,” Gates said in Singapore.

Gates sounded a lot less concerned on Thursday:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, en route to an annual security summit in Singapore Friday, signaled as much, saying North Korea’s actions so far do not warrant sending more US troops to the region.

“I don’t think that anybody in the [Obama] administration thinks there is a crisis,” Mr. Gates told reporters aboard his military jet early Friday morning, still Thursday night in Washington.

Anyone playing Pyongyang Bingo should note that the Obama administration has covered almost all of the positions on the card.
9952  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 29, 2009, 10:58:57 PM
moved to US Foreign Policy thread
9953  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North Korea on: May 29, 2009, 10:50:41 PM
http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-6448-Norfolk-Military-Affairs-Examiner~y2009m5d29-No-crisis

What crisis?
May 29, 9:07 PM

Over the past five days, North Korea has detonated its second nuclear device; test-fired at least six missiles of various types, announced it is no longer bound by the armistice that ended the Korean War, and threatened more "defensive measures" against the U.S. and South Korea. 
But don't worry, there's no "crisis" on the Korean peninsula.  If you don't believe us, just ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
En route to a meeting of Pacific region defense chiefs, Mr. Gates told reporters on Friday that the situation in Korea hasn't reached the crisis stage, at least not yet.   
Glad he cleared that one up.  Of course, Mr. Gates' assessment begs a rather obvious question: if this isn't a crisis, then pray tell, what is.  Tensions on the peninsula are at their highest level since the infamous, 1976 "tree-cutting" incident--which resulted in the murder of two U.S. Army officers by North Korean troops--and the capture of the USS Pueblo in 1968. 
And North Korea is doing everything it can to exacerbate the situation.  In the hours since Secretary Gates' made his comments, Pyongyang has test-fired a long-range surface-to-air missile (the same type that could be used to engage U.S. reconnaissance aircraft), and intelligence analysts have detected vehicle movement at a missile complex--the same one where the DPRK launched a crude ICBM in early April.     
Oh, and did we mention that Chinese fishing boats have vacated Korean waters in the middle of the lucrative crab season?  U.S. officials aren't sure if the departure was ordered by Beijing, or simply a decision by Chinese captains.  Apparently, the folks at Foggy Bottom have never watched an episode of The Deadliest Catch.  Chinese skippers devote the same effort to the Yellow Sea season that American captains put into their crabbing expeditions in the Bering Sea.  Put another way, it would take a cataclysmic event--and a directive from Beijing--to prompt a mass exodus by the Chinese crab fleet.
In the meantime, U.S. and South Korean units have moved to WATCHCON 2, the second-highest readiness level for surveillance and intelligence-gathering activity.  That means that virtually every available ISR asset is focused on North Korea, in an effort to glean additional information on Pyongyang's intentions. 
Even General George Casey, the Army Chief of Staff, felt compelled to tell reporters that our ground forces could handle a sudden attack from North Korea, despite the on-going demands of Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Army's 2nd Infantry Division has been based on the peninsula for more than 50 years, and currently backs up the South Korean units that man forward defensive positions along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). 
Readers will note that General Casey didn't speculate as to whether 2 ID will be called into combat.  Fact is, Casey--and everyone else in the Pentagon--simply don't know.  Most of North Korea's combat power, roughly two-thirds of its army, is located within 60 miles of the DMZ.  That means that first and second-echelon invasion forces are located at their jumping-off points for a push against the south.  As the Defense Intelligence Agency cautioned a few years ago, North Korea has the ability to mount a limited invasion against the ROK, and the warning time would be measured in hours, not days. 
But it's not a crisis. 
In fairness to Mr. Gates, he is merely following the administration party line.  Despite the gravity of recent events, President Obama--and his national security team--have barely mentioned the situation in Korea, trying to deny Kim Jong-il the attention he craves.  But it's a little hard to ignore a nuclear test, given Pyongyang's propensity for sharing nuclear and missile technology with other rogue states.   That's why North Korea is still the top story for most papers and TV news programs, despite the administration's best efforts to manage our response and how it is covered. 
Indeed, it could argued that the DPRK's continuing belligerence has made a mockery of Mr. Obama and his policy.  In reaction to the nuclear test and recent missile launches, the President has turned to the United Nations, imploring the Security Council to pass another toothless resolution.  That sort of timid reply didn't exactly send shivers down Mr. Kim's spine, so the North Korean dictator has decided to continue his challenge.  If recently-detected activity is any indication, Pyongyang may be preparing for another ICBM test, literally challenging the U.S. to do something about it. 
Clearly, no one wants another Korean War, but there are steps the administration could take, short of conflict, that could deter North Korea.  For starters, the U.S. (along with South Korea, Japan and other regional partners) need to reimpose strict financial sanctions against Pyongyang.  Targeting the private bank accounts of the DPRK regime produced a burst of cooperation two years ago, because it denied Kim Jong-il of the cash needed to buy consumer goods and luxuries for his allies, ensuring their continued support. 
Additionally, the United States should tighten the maritime inspection regime imposed on North Korea.  Not only would it limit Pyongyang's WMD export activities, it would also complicate other activities that support the regime.  Keeping North Korean mother ships in port would curtail drug smuggling and counterfeiting, denying other sources of revenue for the DPRK.  The naval inspection program--make it a full-fledged quarantine--would also reduce the infiltration of North Korean agents into South Korea, reducing intelligence collection and potential sabotage efforts. 
Unfortunately, the current inspection program has a serious deficiency--it doesn't cover air routes.  Mr. Obama should lean hard on China (and other countries) to deny overflight and landing rights for cargo aircraft that travel between North Korean and its customers in the Middle East.  Elimination of the "air option"--coupled with the naval quarantine--would make it almost impossible for Kim Jong-il to ship his most important products to his most valuable customers.
Of course, China can (and should) do much more to bring Pyongyang into line.  If Beijing continues to balk, there are other steps that the administration must take, including greater military aid to our allies; bolstering U.S. military forces in the region, moving our own tactical nukes back into South Korea, and encouraging both Seoul and Tokyo to pursue their own nuclear deterrents.  Collectively, those measures should convince Kim Jong-il (and his supporters in Beijing) that all options are on the table in dealing with the North Korean threat.                                       
Sadly, the chances that Mr. Obama will "get tough" with the DPRK are somewhere between "slim" and "none."  Pyongyang has judged the president to be weak, and will continue its program of provocation and confrontation, hoping to undermine the current ROK government, and strain our alliances with South Korea and Japan.   Kim Jong-il hasn't achieved those goals (yet), but he's making progress, thanks to a new administration that is failing its first, major foreign policy crisis.       
9954  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: May 29, 2009, 04:31:30 PM
moved to Electoral/ACORN thread:

9955  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sotomayor on: May 29, 2009, 08:58:42 AM
Oh ye of little faith. There is always a reason for everything I post.
 grin

9956  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sotomayor on: May 29, 2009, 08:37:30 AM
Sonia Sotomayor 'La Raza member'
American Bar Association lists Obama choice as part of group
Posted: May 27, 2009
11:20 pm Eastern

By Joe Kovacs
© 2009 WorldNetDaily



As President Obama's Supreme Court nominee comes under heavy fire for allegedly being a "racist," Judge Sonia Sotomayor is listed as a member of the National Council of La Raza, a group that's promoted driver's licenses for illegal aliens, amnesty programs, and no immigration law enforcement by local and state police.

According the American Bar Association, Sotomayor is a member of the NCLR, which bills itself as the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S.

Meaning "the Race," La Raza also has connections to groups that advocate the separation of several southwestern states from the rest of America.

Over the past two days, Sotomayor has been heavily criticized for her racially charged statement: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

The remark was actually made during a 2001 speech at the University of California's Berkeley School of Law. The lecture was published the following year in the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal.

Could Mexico retake the southwestern United States? Get the DVD that says the invasion is already happening!

The comment is being zeroed in on by voices from the political right.

"I'm not saying she's a racist, but the statement sure is," columnist Ann Coulter said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a latina woman,'" blogged former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga. "Wouldn't they have to withdraw? New racism is no better than old racism. A white man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw." 

Radio's Rush Limbaugh noted, "And the libs of course say that minorities cannot be racists because they don't have the power to implement their racism. Well, those days are gone because reverse racists certainly do have the power to implement their power. Obama is the greatest living example of a reverse racist, and now he's appointed one. ..."

But others are suggesting Sotomayor's racial views will have little impact on her confirmation to the bench.

"She's gonna get confirmed. Get out of the way of the truck," political analyst Dick Morris said tonight on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor."

Host Bill O'Reilly responded, "The core conservative person ... does not understand that the GOP is shrinking and needs to expand."

The NCLR is applauding the Obama for his selection of Sotomayor.

"Today is a monumental day for Latinos. Finally, we see ourselves represented on the highest court in the land," said Janet Murguia, NCLR's president and CEO.

La Raza also praised former President George W. Bush for nominating Alberto Gonzales to succeed John Ashcroft as attorney general.

As WND previously reported, La Raza was condemned in 2007 by former U.S. Rep. Charles Norwood, R-Ga., as a radical "pro-illegal immigration lobbying organization that supports racist groups calling for the secession of the western United States as a Hispanic-only homeland."

Norwood urged La Raza to renounce its support of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan – which sees "the Race" as part of an ethnic group that one day will reclaim Aztlan, the mythical birthplace of the Aztecs. In Chicano folklore, Aztlan includes California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Texas.
9957  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sotomayor on: May 29, 2009, 08:28:03 AM
Sotomayor is a member of "La Raza" and these are her politics.
9958  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sotomayor on: May 28, 2009, 11:07:24 PM
http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=13863

Exclusive: The Truth About 'La Raza'
by  Rep. Charlie Norwood
04/07/2006


The nation's television screens many days recently have been filled with scenes of huge crowds carrying the colorful green and red flag of Mexico viewers could well have thought it was a national holiday in Mexico City.

It was instead, downtown Los Angeles, Calif., although the scene was recreated in numerous other cities around the country with substantial Mexican populations. Hordes of Mexican expatriates, many here illegally, were protesting the very U.S. immigration laws they were violating with impunity. They found it offensive and a violation of their rights that the U.S. dared to have immigration laws to begin with.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa mounted the podium, but any hopes that he would quiet the crowds and defend the law were soon dashed. Villaraigosa, himself, has spent a lifetime opposing U.S. immigration law.



For law-abiding Americans without knowledge of the dark side of our current illegal immigration crisis, all this is unfathomable. For those who know the truth about the "La Raza" movement, these demonstrations were a prophecy fulfilled.

It is past time for all Americans to know what is at the root of this outrageous behavior, and the extent to which the nation is at risk because of "La Raza" -- The Race.

There are many immigrant groups joined in the overall "La Raza" movement. The most prominent and mainstream organization is the National Council de La Raza -- the Council of "The Race".

To most of the mainstream media, most members of Congress, and even many of their own members, the National Council of La Raza is no more than a Hispanic Rotary Club.

But the National Council of La Raza succeeded in raking in over $15.2 million in federal grants last year alone, of which $7.9 million was in U.S. Department of Education grants for Charter Schools, and undisclosed amounts were for get-out-the-vote efforts supporting La Raza political positions.

The Council of La Raza succeeded in having itself added to congressional hearings by Republican House and Senate leaders. And an anonymous senator even gave the Council of La Raza an extra $4 million in earmarked taxpayer money, supposedly for "housing reform," while La Raza continues to lobby the Senate for virtual open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens.


The Mexican flag flew over a crowd of pro-amnesty marchers in New York. Marches like this across the U.S. have been supported by the “La Raza” movement. (Reuters/Seth Wenig)
Radical 'Reconquista' Agenda

Behind the respectable front of the National Council of La Raza lies the real agenda of the La Raza movement, the agenda that led to those thousands of illegal immigrants in the streets of American cities, waving Mexican flags, brazenly defying our laws, and demanding concessions.

Key among the secondary organizations is the radical racist group Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, or Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan (MEChA), one of the most anti-American groups in the country, which has permeated U.S. campuses since the 1960s, and continues its push to carve a racist nation out of the American West.

One of America's greatest strengths has always been taking in immigrants from cultures around the world, and assimilating them into our country as Americans. By being citizens of the U.S. we are Americans first, and only, in our national loyalties.

This is totally opposed by MEChA for the hordes of illegal immigrants pouring across our borders, to whom they say:

"Chicano is our identity; it defines who we are as people. It rejects the notion that we...should assimilate into the Anglo-American melting pot...Aztlan was the legendary homeland of the Aztecas ... It became synonymous with the vast territories of the Southwest, brutally stolen from a Mexican people marginalized and betrayed by the hostile custodians of the Manifest Destiny." (Statement on University of Oregon MEChA Website, Jan. 3, 2006)

MEChA isn't at all shy about their goals, or their views of other races. Their founding principles are contained in these words in "El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan" (The Spiritual Plan for Aztlan):

"In the spirit of a new people that is conscious not only of its proud historical heritage but also of the brutal gringo invasion of our territories, we, the Chicano inhabitants and civilizers of the northern land of Aztlan from whence came our forefathers, reclaiming the land of their birth and consecrating the determination of our people of the sun, declare that the call of our blood is our power, our responsibility, and our inevitable destiny. ... Aztlan belongs to those who plant the seeds, water the fields, and gather the crops and not to the foreign Europeans. ... We are a bronze people with a bronze culture. Before the world, before all of North America, before all our brothers in the bronze continent, we are a nation, we are a union of free pueblos, we are Aztlan. For La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada."

That closing two-sentence motto is chilling to everyone who values equal rights for all. It says: "For The Race everything. Outside The Race, nothing."

If these morally sickening MEChA quotes were coming from some fringe website, Americans could at least console themselves that it was just a small group of nuts behind it. Nearly every racial and ethnic group has some shady characters and positions in its past and some unbalanced individuals today claiming racial superiority and demanding separatism. But this is coming straight from the official MEChA sites at Georgetown University, the University of Texas, UCLA, University of Michigan, University of Colorado, University of Oregon, and many other colleges and universities around the country.

MEChA was in fact reported to be one of the main organizers of those street demonstrations we witnessed over the past weeks. That helps explain why those hordes of illegal immigrants weren't asking for amnesty -- they were demanding an end to U.S. law, period. Unlike past waves of immigrants who sought to become responsible members of American society, these protesters reject American society altogether, because they have been taught that America rightfully belongs to them.

MEChA and the La Raza movement teach that Colorado, California, Arizona, Texas, Utah, New Mexico, Oregon and parts of Washington State make up an area known as "Aztlan" -- a fictional ancestral homeland of the Aztecs before Europeans arrived in North America. As such, it belongs to the followers of MEChA. These are all areas America should surrender to "La Raza" once enough immigrants, legal or illegal, enter to claim a majority, as in Los Angeles. The current borders of the United States will simply be extinguished.

This plan is what is referred to as the "Reconquista" or reconquest, of the Western U.S.

But it won't end with territorial occupation and secession. The final plan for the La Raza movement includes the ethnic cleansing of Americans of European, African, and Asian descent out of "Aztlan."

As Miguel Perez of Cal State-Northridge's MEChA chapter has been quoted as saying: "The ultimate ideology is the liberation of Aztlan. Communism would be closest [to it]. Once Aztlan is established, ethnic cleansing would commence: Non-Chicanos would have to be expelled -- opposition groups would be quashed because you have to keep power."

MEChA Plants

Members of these radical, anti-American, racist organizations are frequently smoothly polished into public respectability by the National Council of La Raza.

Former MEChA members include Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was officially endorsed by La Raza for mayor and was awarded La Raza's Graciela Olivarez Award. Now we know why he refuses to condemn a sea of foreign flags in his city. California Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante is also a former MEChA member. He delivered the keynote address at La Raza's 2002 Annual Convention.

The National Council of La Raza and its allies in public office make no repudiation of the radical MEChA and its positions. In fact, as recently as 2003, La Raza was actively funding MEChA, according to federal tax records.

Imagine Robert Byrd's refusing to disavow the views of the KKK, or if Strom Thurmond had failed to admit segregation was wrong. Imagine Heritage or Brookings Foundation making grants to the American Nazi Party.

Is the National Council of La Raza itself a racist organization? Regardless of the organization's suspect ties, the majority of its members are not. When one examines all the organization's activities, they are commendable non-profit projects, such as education and housing programs.

But even these defensible efforts raise the question of whether education and housing programs funded with federal tax dollars should be used in programs specifically targeted to benefit just one ethnic group.

La Raza defenders usually respond by calling anyone making these allegations "a racist" for having called attention to La Raza's racist links. All the groups and public officials with ties to the La Raza movement can take a big step towards disproving these allegations by simply following the examples of Senators Byrd and Thurmond and repenting of their past ways.

If they are unwilling to admit past misdeeds, they can at least state -- unequivocally -- that they officially oppose the racist and anti-American positions of MEChA, and any other groups that espouse similar views.

Through public appearances, written statements, and on their respective websites, La Raza groups and allies must:

1. Denounce the motto "For La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada," as repugnant, racist, and totally incompatible with American society or citizenship.

2. Acknowledge the right of all Americans to live wherever they choose in the U.S. without segregation.

3. Commit to sponsorship of nationwide educational programs to combat racism and anti-Semitism in the Hispanic community.

4. Denounce and sever all ties with MEChA and any other organizations with which they have ever been associated which held to the racist doctrines held by MEChA.

5. Acknowledge the internationally recognized borders of the U.S., the right of the citizens of the U.S. to determine immigration policy through the democratic process, and the right of the U.S. to undertake any and all necessary steps to effectively enforce immigration law and defend its border against unauthorized entry.

6. Repudiate all claims that current American territory rightfully belongs to Mexico.

If the National Council of La Raza, other La Raza groups, and local and national political leaders with past ties and associations with the radical elements of the La Raza movement can publicly issue such a statement and live by every one of these principles, they should be welcomed into the American public policy arena, with past sins -- real or imaginary -- forgiven.

If they cannot publicly and fully support these principles, Congress needs to take appropriate steps and immediately bar any group refusing to comply from receiving any future federal funds. Both the House and Senate should strike these groups from testifying before any committees, and the White House should sever all ties. Both political parties should disengage from any further contact with these groups and individuals.

There are plenty of decent, patriotic Hispanic organizations and elected officials to provide Congress with necessary feedback on specific issues confronting Americans of Latino heritage. Any group or individual who can agree with the simple six points should be welcomed into that fold.

If not, the American people will know there's a wolf in their midst, and take the necessary precautions to defend our Republic against an enemy.

Mr. Norwood, a Republican, represents the 9th District of Georgia.
9959  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 28, 2009, 06:47:49 PM
http://bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aIeLg1djbBps&refer=home

U.S. Inflation to Approach Zimbabwe Level, Faber Says (Update2)


By Chen Shiyin and Bernard Lo


May 27 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. economy will enter “hyperinflation” approaching the levels in Zimbabwe because the Federal Reserve will be reluctant to raise interest rates, investor Marc Faber said.

Prices may increase at rates “close to” Zimbabwe’s gains, Faber said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Hong Kong. Zimbabwe’s inflation rate reached 231 million percent in July, the last annual rate published by the statistics office.

“I am 100 percent sure that the U.S. will go into hyperinflation,” Faber said. “The problem with government debt growing so much is that when the time will come and the Fed should increase interest rates, they will be very reluctant to do so and so inflation will start to accelerate.”

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Charles Plosser said on May 21 inflation may rise to 2.5 percent in 2011. That exceeds the central bank officials’ long-run preferred range of 1.7 percent to 2 percent and contrasts with the concerns of some officials and economists that the economic slump may provoke a broad decline in prices.

“There are some concerns of a risk from inflation from all the liquidity injected into the banking system but it’s not an immediate threat right now given all the excess capacity in the U.S. economy,” said David Cohen, head of Asian economic forecasting at Action Economics in Singapore. “I have a little more confidence that the Fed has an exit strategy for draining all the liquidity at the appropriate time.”

Action Economics is predicting inflation of minus 0.4 percent in the U.S. this year, with prices increasing by 1.8 percent and 2 percent in 2010 and 2011, respectively, Cohen said.

Near Zero

The U.S.’s main interest rate may need to stay near zero for several years given the recession’s depth and forecasts that unemployment will reach 9 percent or higher, Glenn Rudebusch, associate director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, said yesterday.

Members of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee have held the federal funds rate, the overnight lending rate between banks, in a range of zero to 0.25 percent since December to revive lending and end the worst recession in 50 years.

The global economy won’t return to the “prosperity” of 2006 and 2007 even as it rebounds from a recession, Faber said.

Equities in the U.S. won’t fall to new lows, helped by increased money supply, he said. Still, global stocks are “rather overbought” and are “not cheap,” Faber added.

Faber still favors Asian stocks relative to U.S. government bonds and said Japanese equities may outperform many other markets over a five-year period. “Of all the regions in the world, Asia is still the most attractive by far,” he said.

Gloom, Doom

Faber, the publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom report, said on April 7 stocks could fall as much as 10 percent before resuming gains. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has since climbed 9 percent.

Faber, who said he’s adding to his gold investments, advised buying the precious metal at the start of its eight-year rally, when it traded for less than $300 an ounce. The metal topped $1,000 last year and traded at $949.85 an ounce at 12:50 p.m. Hong Kong time. He also told investors to bail out of U.S. stocks a week before the so-called Black Monday crash in 1987, according to his Web site.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chen Shiyin in Singapore at schen37@bloomberg.net; Bernard Lo in Hong Kong at blo2@bloombeg.net

Last Updated: May 27, 2009 00:54 EDT

9960  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North Korea on: May 28, 2009, 03:42:34 PM
http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-6448-Norfolk-Military-Affairs-Examiner~y2009m5d27-Fasttrack-to-failure

Fast-track to failure
May 27, 5:44 PM

It's not often that we beat John Bolton to the punch on North Korea.  But in this column on April 26th--about three weeks ahead of Dr. Bolton's Wall Street Journal op-ed--we predicted more trouble with Pyongyang: 
From the moment Mr. Obama entered the presidency, it has been clear that Pyongyang planned to test him.  By late February. intelligence agencies in the U.S., Japan and South Korea were detecting suspicious activity at Musudan-ri, North Korea's long-range missile test facility.  Preparations for a launch of a Tapeodong-2 ICBM were underway. 
"...In response, Washington (once again) turned the other cheek, seeking only mild punishment for North Korea's violation of existing U.N. resolutions.  American officials have also urged the DPRK to return to the Six Party nuclear talks, which have been stalled for months. 
 [snip]
Not surprisingly, Pyongyang was undeterred.  The missile test went off as scheduled on April 5th, but a satellite never reached orbit.  Intelligence analysts report that the TD-2's third stage failed, although its unclear if the missile actually carried a satellite payload.  Many experts remain convinced that the launch was nothing more than a missile test. 
In response, Washington vowed to seek new sanctions against North Korea.  Meanwhile, Kim Jong-il's regime was moving on to other, equally outrageous acts.  Less than a year after (supposedly) shuttering its nuclear efforts, Pyongyang promised to restart the program.
 
Of course, North Korea did more that restart its nuclear efforts.  Earlier this week, the DPRK conducted its second, underground nuclear test, a blast in the 10-20 kiloton range.  That's roughly the size of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II, and demonstrates that Pyongyang has completely mastered the nuclear weapons cycle.  North Korea's first nuclear test (in 2006) was a dud, raising questions about the reliability of Kim's nuclear technology. 
To be fair, Ambassador Bolton deserves credit for predicting the recent test, noting that the military and scientific imperatives made it all-but-inevitable.  We thought the next nuclear test would be later this year, but clearly, Kim Jong-il is on an accelerated timetable. 
Consider the events that have followed the nuclear blast.  The hours that followed saw a series of short-range missile launches, affirming  North Korea's ability to build nuclear weapons and (eventually) mate them to various delivery platforms.   And, if that's not enough, Pyongyang has announced that it is no longer bound by the armistice that ended the Korean war, and has threatened to attack allied vessels that try to inspect North Korean merchant ships. 
The reaction from Washington?  Nothing but sharply-worded statements, pleas for U.N. action and invitations for North Korea to return to the bargaining table.  No wonder Kim Jong-il is feeling his oats. 
In fact, our "evolving" policy toward Pyongyang is rather remarkable, given the recent, dangerous turn of events in northeastern Asia.  In less than two months, North Korea has demonstrated its ability to launch a crude ICBM, detonated a nuclear weapon that will (one day) be carried by that missile, and promised additional provocations unless the U.S., South Korea and Japan play ball with Kim's regime.  Put another way, Washington and its allies better cough up more aid--and avoid new sanctions--or the DPRK will raise the ante again. 
The Obama Administration seems to believe that Pyongyang has already played its trump card with Monday's nuclear test.  At some point, the thinking goes, North Korea will be desperate for food and fuel and meekly return to negotiations.  That will allow everyone to forget about the recent unpleasantness, and get back to the diplomatic " Rope-a-Dope" that passes for bargaining with North Korea.
Unfortunately, there are a few problems with that theory.  Truth is, Mr. Kim can create more havoc, exacerbating the crisis that now engulfs the Korean peninsula.  The crab fishing season is now underway along the Northern Limit Line (the maritime extension of the DMZ), an area that saw pitched battles between DPRK and South Korean gunboats a few years ago.  Given the current tensions in Korea, the potential for new battles is growing.  How would Mr. Obama respond to a naval "war" that quickly spreads to land? 
Or, how would the commander-in-chief react if North Korean MiGs or surface-to-air missiles begin firing on U.S. reconnaissance aircraft over the Sea of Japan, or south of the DMZ?  Would he order attacks on the DPRK missile sites, or beg the U.N. to take action?  And, what about a repeat of Pyongyang's commando attack on the South Korean presidential mansion (the Blue House) in the 1970s?  Or the terrorist bombings in the 80s that brought down a RIK airliner, killing hundreds of passengers, or a decapitation strike against South Korean leaders during a state visit to Burma?  All of these options remain a part of Kim Jong-il's playbook, and history demonstrates that the North Korean leader is not afraid to raise the stakes, in pursuit of his goals. 
Carried to their extreme, Kim's plans could (ultimately) include a general attack against South Korea, though most "experts" have long discounted that possibility.  Still, that scenario cannot be completely ruled out.  Sixty percent of the North Korean Army is located within 60 miles of the DMZ, meaning that Kim Jong-il could launch a limited invasion with virtually no intelligence warning.  Did we mention that he now has nukes? 
Against this deteriorating backdrop, how should the U.S. respond?  While the time for diplomatic carrots and U.N. resolutions has clearly passed, Mr. Obama remains wedded to that approach, with little regard for wider, long-term  consequences.  Consider the examples of South Korea and Japan.  Over the past three months, both have been threatened by their enemy's long-range missiles, and now that same regime has detonated a nuclear weapon.
That leaves Tokyo and Seoul with a sobering choice.  Remain under the American umbrella (which Washington appears reluctant to use), or consider building their own nukes.  With their advanced technological and industrial bases, both Tokyo and Seoul could have nuclear weapons in a little over a year, a development that would likely spur all-out arms race in the region.   And rest assured, the nuclear option is being quietly discussed in both capitals, as confidence in American (read" the Obama Administration) sinks like a rock.         
At the very least, this should be an interesting summer on the Korean peninsula.  Borrowing John Bolton's crystal ball, we can easily envision naval clashes between North and South Korea, and American involvement is almost assured.  Ditto for some sort of ambush involving a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft over the Sea of Japan or the Yellow Sea.  Beyond that, the situation grows even dicier.   
Clearly, no one wants another Korean War, but there are steps the Obama Administration should be taking now, to deter Pyongyang's aggression.  For starters, how about re-imposing some of the financial sanctions that (among other things) froze the assets of North Korean leaders stashed in a Macau bank.  The amount of the money was rather small, but it got the attention of Kim Jong-il.  Moreover, it spurred a rare stretch of "good" behavior from the DPRK, until the U.S. released the assets. 
Additionally, Washington should press ahead with naval exercises involving South Korea vessels along the Northern Limit Line, as a show of resolve against Pyongyang.   Potential attacks by DPRK vessels should bring an immediate response by both navies, aimed at neutralizing the maritime threat.    On the political front, Mr. Obama needs to lean on China--hard.  Not only can Beijing put additional pressure on Pyongyang, it can help in more practical ways, too.
At the top of that list is barring over-flights and landings by transports that routinely ferry arms to Iran and Syria.  Deprived of that aerial route--and with allied warships stopping North Korean merchant vessels--Pyongyang will feel the pressure rather quickly and reconsider its actions.
Regrettably, there are no indications that the Obama Administration is prepared to adopt--and maintain--a tougher line against North Korea.  Indeed, the president's policies for dealing with the DPRK are on a fast track to failure, following the precedent set by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush--with one exception.  Neither Mr. Clinton nor Mr. Bush had to deal with a North Korean regime that was nuclear-capable.  Now, Mr. Obama is facing one with nukes, but he has no realistic plan for handling the situation, beyond myopic diplomacy.                                         
9961  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North Korea on: May 27, 2009, 07:51:26 PM
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again,
Stop, or I'll say stop again....
9962  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 27, 2009, 03:15:07 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/05/27/irs-revenues-dropping-rapidly/

Giant sucking sound.
9963  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 26, 2009, 11:10:18 PM
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/71520770-4a2c-11de-8e7e-00144feabdc0.html

Exploding debt threatens America
John Taylor
Published: May 26 2009 20:48 | Last updated: May 26 2009 20:48

Standard and Poor’s decision to downgrade its outlook for British sovereign debt from “stable” to “negative” should be a wake-up call for the US Congress and administration. Let us hope they wake up.

Under President Barack Obama’s budget plan, the federal debt is exploding. To be precise, it is rising – and will continue to rise – much faster than gross domestic product, a measure of America’s ability to service it. The federal debt was equivalent to 41 per cent of GDP at the end of 2008; the Congressional Budget Office projects it will increase to 82 per cent of GDP in 10 years. With no change in policy, it could hit 100 per cent of GDP in just another five years.

“A government debt burden of that [100 per cent] level, if sustained, would in Standard & Poor’s view be incompatible with a triple A rating,” as the risk rating agency stated last week.

I believe the risk posed by this debt is systemic and could do more damage to the economy than the recent financial crisis. To understand the size of the risk, take a look at the numbers that Standard and Poor’s considers. The deficit in 2019 is expected by the CBO to be $1,200bn (€859bn, £754bn). Income tax revenues are expected to be about $2,000bn that year, so a permanent 60 per cent across-the-board tax increase would be required to balance the budget. Clearly this will not and should not happen. So how else can debt service payments be brought down as a share of GDP?

Inflation will do it. But how much? To bring the debt-to-GDP ratio down to the same level as at the end of 2008 would take a doubling of prices. That 100 per cent increase would make nominal GDP twice as high and thus cut the debt-to-GDP ratio in half, back to 41 from 82 per cent. A 100 per cent increase in the price level means about 10 per cent inflation for 10 years. But it would not be that smooth – probably more like the great inflation of the late 1960s and 1970s with boom followed by bust and recession every three or four years, and a successively higher inflation rate after each recession.

The fact that the Federal Reserve is now buying longer-term Treasuries in an effort to keep Treasury yields low adds credibility to this scary story, because it suggests that the debt will be monetised. That the Fed may have a difficult task reducing its own ballooning balance sheet to prevent inflation increases the risks considerably. And 100 per cent inflation would, of course, mean a 100 per cent depreciation of the dollar. Americans would have to pay $2.80 for a euro; the Japanese could buy a dollar for Y50; and gold would be $2,000 per ounce. This is not a forecast, because policy can change; rather it is an indication of how much systemic risk the government is now creating.

Why might Washington sleep through this wake-up call? You can already hear the excuses.

“We have an unprecedented financial crisis and we must run unprecedented deficits.” While there is debate about whether a large deficit today provides economic stimulus, there is no economic theory or evidence that shows that deficits in five or 10 years will help to get us out of this recession. Such thinking is irresponsible. If you believe deficits are good in bad times, then the responsible policy is to try to balance the budget in good times. The CBO projects that the economy will be back to delivering on its potential growth by 2014. A responsible budget would lay out proposals for balancing the budget by then rather than aim for trillion-dollar deficits.

“But we will cut the deficit in half.” CBO analysts project that the deficit will be the same in 2019 as the administration estimates for 2010, a zero per cent cut.

“We inherited this mess.” The debt was 41 per cent of GDP at the end of 1988, President Ronald Reagan’s last year in office, the same as at the end of 2008, President George W. Bush’s last year in office. If one thinks policies from Reagan to Bush were mistakes does it make any sense to double down on those mistakes, as with the 80 per cent debt-to-GDP level projected when Mr Obama leaves office?

The time for such excuses is over. They paint a picture of a government that is not working, one that creates risks rather than reduces them. Good government should be a nonpartisan issue. I have written that government actions and interventions in the past several years caused, prolonged and worsened the financial crisis. The problem is that policy is getting worse not better. Top government officials, including the heads of the US Treasury, the Fed, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Securities and Exchange Commission are calling for the creation of a powerful systemic risk regulator to reign in systemic risk in the private sector. But their government is now the most serious source of systemic risk.

The good news is that it is not too late. There is time to wake up, to make a mid-course correction, to get back on track. Many blame the rating agencies for not telling us about systemic risks in the private sector that lead to this crisis. Let us not ignore them when they try to tell us about the risks in the government sector that will lead to the next one.

The writer, a professor of economics at Stanford and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, is the author of ‘Getting Off Track: How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged, and Worsened the Financial Crisis’
9964  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: May 26, 2009, 07:20:33 PM
Power Line Blog: John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson, Paul Mirengoff
http://www.powerlineblog.com

HOW WILL THE SOTOMAYOR NOMINATION PLAY OUT?

May 26, 2009 Posted by Paul at 12:13 PM

From Judge Sotomayor's point of view the answer to this question seems apparent -- in all likelihood she will be confirmed. The interesting questions center around how Republicans will conduct themselves, and how they should.

In addressing the prescriptive question, I take the following propositions as axiomatic:

First, Republicans are free to follow existing standards for considering Supreme Court nominees -- i.e., those set by the Democrats during the Roberts and Alito confirmation processes. I exclude from this rule only matters of demeanor; Republicans should act with far more courtesy and respect towards Sotomayor than the Dems did towards President Bush's nominees. But when it comes to "discovery," substantive questioning, voting up or down, and deciding whether to filibuster, Republicans are free to follow existing standard. Indeed, the presumption should be in favor of doing so, since it clearly will not do to have different standards depending on which party nominates a potential Justice.

Second, Repubilcans should not raise the bar. During the Roberts and Alito proceedings, the Democrats raised the bar considerably as compared to where it had been set for Ginsburg and Breyer. But Republicans should not follow suit. The higher the bar, the more likely the Senate will confirm only wishy-washy centrists or stealth nominees. The Supreme Court would suffer as a result.

It's premature fully to apply these rules to Judge Sotomayor other than to say that she should be subjected to a high degree of scrutiny -- including production of potentially relevant documents and extensive questioning -- as Roberts and Alito were.

From what we already know, however, I submit that Republican Senators should feel free to vote against Sotomayor. Half of the Senate Democrats voted against Roberts and a strong majority voted against Alito. They did this for no other reason than their desire not to have another "conservative" on the Supreme Court. There is substantial evidence that Sotomayor is a "liberal." Thus, non-liberal Senators have every right to vote against her for that reason.

Some Republican Senators may be reluctant to do so given her ethnicity and the power of the Hispanic vote. Depending on how the confirmation process goes and what state a given Senator represent, voting "yes" may be a sensible option. There is no imperative that Senators jeopardize their political future by voting against Sotomayor if the cause is lost.

The existing practice on filibusters is ambiguous. However, the "Gang of 14" approach -- that filibusters should occur only under "extraordinary circumstances" -- probably can pass for a rough description of the current state of play.

So far, I'm aware of no extraordinary circumstance that would justify a filibuster against Sotomayor. Her attempt to "fly under the radar screen" while upholding racial discrimination against non-black firefighters was deplorable, but probably not sufficiently so.

Sotomayor's suggestion that, other things being equal, Latina judges can decide cases better than their white male counterparts hints at a special circumstance, since it entails a view of judging that arguably is antithetical to existing norms. Sotomayor should be examined carefully on this question. If she does not walk away from her prior statement, then (coupled with her positions on race-based preferences) the Republicans may have (a) a basis for asserting the existence of an extraordinary circumstance and (b) a tenable political basis for obstructing this nominee.
9965  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: May 26, 2009, 06:57:03 PM
Howabout selecting a legitimate legal scholar instead of selecting on gender and ethnicity? I know, that's just crazy talk.....
9966  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 26, 2009, 02:43:01 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124329265169452457.html

Korea's Obama Test
Pyongyang's blast and White House 'engagement.'
 
North Korea's test of a second nuclear device Monday didn't surprise readers who saw John Bolton's recent prediction on these pages. But it does once again put in sharp relief the world's failure to counter dictator Kim Jong Il's challenge to global security. If history is any guide, Kim's strategy is to keep escalating until he extorts more money, aid and global recognition. This time in particular he's testing President Obama and his vow to "engage" the world's rogues.


AP
South Koreans react to news that Pyongyang tested another nuclear device.

By early accounts, yesterday's underground test outside the northeastern city of Kilju was successful. If the initial reports of a 10 to 20 kiloton blast are true, then North Korea's scientists have come a long way since their first test in October 2006. That blast registered less than a kiloton and was widely considered a failure abroad, if not in the North, where Kim used it to bolster his prestige.

In response to that test, the Bush Administration and China at first increased sanctions and diplomatic pressure. But they quickly turned to strike a deal offering Pyongyang aid and recognition in return for the North's promise to dismantle its nuclear programs. The North and the U.S. later made a public-relations show of blowing up the cooling towers at the Yongbyon reactor, but the deal foundered over the North's refusal to allow adequate inspections, turn over its plutonium or acknowledge its clandestine uranium program. President Bush nonetheless removed North Korea from the U.S. list of terror-sponsoring nations.

Kim is returning to this playbook now that Mr. Obama is in the White House, and Kim can't be displeased with the reaction so far. After the North launched a long-range ballistic missile in April, Mr. Obama declared that "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something. The world must stand together to prevent the spread of these weapons. Now is the time for a strong international response." But the U.S. couldn't even get a Security Council resolution at the U.N. and had to settle for a nonbinding "presidential statement" of rebuke.

After Pyongyang said it would put two American journalists on trial in June, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said there was an "open door" to talks. And when the North refused to return to the six-party nuclear talks, Presidential envoy Stephen Bosworth said the U.S. is "committed to dialogue." Monday's test brought more global tut-tutting, with the White House saying that "such provocations will only serve to deepen North Korea's isolation." But Kim Jong Il can be forgiven for concluding that his multiple violations will sooner be rewarded than punished.

We can already hear the response in world capitals that there is "no alternative" to this kind of policy accommodation. That's what senior Bush State Department officials like Philip Zelikow, Christopher Hill and Condoleezza Rice asserted to win over Mr. Bush. But a concerted effort to squeeze North Korea economically was making a difference before Mr. Bush pulled the plug in 2007.

In 2005, the U.S. Treasury took action against a bank in Macau that did business with North Korea, and Japan cracked down on illegal businesses sending cash to the North. Those financial sanctions could be resumed, and if backed by energy sanctions from China would get the North's attention in a way that U.N. resolutions never will. The U.S. also has a reliable South Korean ally in President Lee Myung-bak, who has cut off aid to the North amid its recent provocations.

The stakes here go beyond the ambitions of one nasty regime. North Korea has shown in the past it is willing to sell its missile and other technology around the world, not least to Iran and Syria. The mullahs in Tehran and other rogues are carefully watching the response of the new American President as they contemplate the costs of their own WMD ambitions.

Mr. Obama won the White House while promising that his brand of kinder, gentler diplomacy would better rally the world against bad actors. Now would be a good time, and North Korea the right place, to prove it.
9967  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 26, 2009, 02:21:47 PM
Let's see, it looks like Barry-O has decided to vote present on North Korean nukes and missile launches. Who's surprised?
9968  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 25, 2009, 09:14:30 PM
http://www.newsmax.com/morris/nuclear_iran_israel/2009/05/24/217793.html

The Death of Israel

Sunday, May 24, 2009 5:31 PM

By: Dick Morris & Eileen McGann   

From Caroline Glick, deputy editor and op-ed writer for the Jerusalem Post, comes alarming news. An expert on Arab-Israeli relations with excellent sources deep inside Netanyahu's government, she reports that CIA chief Leon Panetta recently took time out from his day job (feuding with Nancy Pelosi) to travel to Israel to "read the riot act" to the government warning against an attack on Iran.

More ominously, Glick reports (likely from sources high up in the Israeli government) that the Obama administration has all but accepted as irreversible and unavoidable fact that Iran will soon develop nuclear weapons. She writes, "...we have learned that the [Obama] administration has made its peace with Iran's nuclear aspirations. Senior administration officials acknowledge as much in off-record briefings. It is true, they say, that Iran may exploit its future talks with the US to run down the clock before they test a nuclear weapon. But, they add, if that happens, the U.S. will simply have to live with a nuclear-armed mullocracy."

She goes on to write that the Obama administration is desperate to stop Israel from attacking Iran writing that "as far as the [Obama] administration is concerned, if Israel could just leave Iran's nuclear installations alone, Iran would behave itself." She notes that American officials would regard any harm to American interests that flowed from an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities as Israel's doing, not Iran's.

In classic Stockholm Syndrome fashion, the Obama administration is empathizing more with the Iranian leaders who are holding Israel hostage than with the nation that may be wiped off the map if Iran acquires the bomb.

Obama's end-of-the-year deadline for Iranian talks aimed at stopping its progress toward nuclear weapons is just window dressing without the threat of military action. As Metternich wrote, "diplomacy without force is like music without instruments." By warning only of possible strengthening of economic sanctions if the talks do not progress, Obama is making an empty threat. The sanctions will likely have no effect because Russia and China will not let the United Nations act as it must if it is to deter Iranian nuclear weapons.

All this means is that Israel's life is in danger. If Iran gets the bomb, it will use it to kill six million Jews. No threat of retaliation will make the slightest difference. One cannot deter a suicide bomber with the threat of death. Nor can one deter a theocracy bent on meriting admission to heaven and its virgins by one glorious act of violence. Iran would probably not launch the bomb itself, anyway, but would give it to its puppet terrorists to send to Israel so it could deny responsibility. Obama, bent on appeasement, would likely not retaliate with nuclear weapons. And Israel will be dead and gone.

Those sunshine Jewish patriots who voted for Obama must realize that we, as Jews, are witnessing the possible end of Israel. We are in the same moral position as our ancestors were as they watched Hitler’s rise but did nothing to pressure their favorite liberal Democratic president, FDR, to take any real action to save them or even to let Jewish refugees into the country. If we remain complacent, we will have the same anguish at watching the destruction of Israel that our forebears had in witnessing the Holocaust.

Because one thing is increasingly clear: Barack Obama is not about to lift a finger to stop Iran from developing the bomb. And neither is Hillary Clinton.

Obama may have held the first White House seder, but he's not planning to spend next year in Jerusalem.
9969  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 25, 2009, 01:46:34 PM
http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-6448-Norfolk-Military-Affairs-Examiner~y2009m5d20-A-turn-for-the-dangerous

A turn for the dangerous
May 20, 6:42 PM ·

The standoff between Israel and Iran became even more dangerous today, with Tehran's successful test of a medium-range, solid-fueled missile. 
Iranian officials and state media announced the launch of the Sajjil-2 rocket, which was fired from the Semnan test range, located east of Tehran.  Footage of the launch showed a two-stage missile, lifting off from a mobile launcher.   Iranian radio quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying the missile "landed precisely on its target."  Ahmadinejad made the comments during a visit to the city of Semnan, near the test complex, and there was some speculation that the Iranian leader attended the test launch.
With a maximum range of 1,200 miles, the Sajjil-2 is capable of hitting striking Israel, much of the Middle East and some locations in southeastern Europe.  Tehran says that the missile has an advanced navigation system, making it  more accurate than its predecessors. 
While the navigation claim has not been verified, western experts have confirmed that the new missile is a solid-fueled system, giving Iran improved capabilities to strike distant targets.  Until now, Iran's long-range strike capabilities have been largely based on liquid-fueled systems like the Shahab-3.  Missiles that utilize liquid propellant are more dangerous to operate and their launch preparation time is considerably longer.
Why is that significant?  With the Shahab-3 (and shorter-range SCUD variants), it was more difficult for Iran to conceal missile activity.  Fueling a Shahab-3 in the field can take almost a hour--even longer under certain conditions.  During that time, the missile and its crew are vulnerable to detection and attack by enemy intelligence and air assets.
Additionally, the presence of fuel trucks and support vehicles increases the "signature" of deployed missile units, giving surveillance crews another indicator of pending launch activity.  The problem is also compounded by the design of some Iran's older transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicles, which cannot elevate a fully-fueled missile to firing position.  Under that scenario, the liquid-fueled missile must be raised vertically before fueling, making it easier to spot, from the air or on the ground.
Deployment of the Sajjil-2 will eventually eliminate those problems.  Solid-fuel is far less volatile and can be stored in the missile airframe for longer periods of time.  Elimination of fuel trucks and other support vehicles reduces the operational signature, making it easier for the missile crew to remain undetected.  And, most importantly, a solid-fueled system has a much shorter response time, making it ideally-suited for a surprise attack. 
Consider this possibility:  A fully-fueled (and armed) Sajjil-2 emerges from its underground bunker near Bakhtaran, some 200 miles southwest of Tehran.  Moving to a pre-surveyed launch site, the missile crew quickly raises the Sajjil-2 to firing position, and launches the missile.  Within seconds, Defense Support Program (DSP) satellites detect the sold-fueled missile, which is already in flight.  A warning is instantly transmitted to Israeli leaders--and their missile defense forces--but the reaction time is already measured in seconds, rather than minutes. 
Iran has long claimed that its missile and nuclear programs are for "peaceful" purposes, but the capabilities of the Sajjil-2 suggest otherwise.  Put another way, the missile tested today is an ideal weapon for a "bolt from the blue" attack, a fact that isn't lost on the Israelis, or Iran's neighbors in the Persian Gulf.  The successful test of the solid-fueled medium-range missile will only accelerate regional attempts to acquire advanced air defense systems (with anti-missile capabilities) and a potential nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
Some analysts down-played today's launch, noting that Iran has had medium-range missiles--and the ability to strike Israel--for roughly a decade.  But the successful test of the Sajjil-2 (and its pending deployment) affirm Tehran's plans to upgrade its missile arsenal, and develop a true, first-strike capability.  Those developments will only further destabilize the Middle East, and raise prospects for a preemptive, Israeli attack. 
For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the implications of today's test couldn't be more clear.  The same missile that can now deliver chemical or biological weapons with minimal warning will some day be outfitted with a nuclear warhead.  Meanwhile, President Obama has stated that he will give Iran "until the end of this year" to change its ways, or face the possibility of new sanctions.  The Iranian missile test had been planned for several months, but it offered a dramatic retort to Mr. Obama's plan. 
As for Mr. Netanyahu, he doesn't have the luxury of time--or geography. 
9970  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: May 24, 2009, 09:23:33 PM
- Chesler Chronicles - http://pajamasmedia.com/phyllischesler -

Homegrown Islamic Jihad in the Bronx: Now We Are All Israelis
Posted By Phyllis Chesler On May 21, 2009 @ 11:06 am In Uncategorized | 108 Comments

Riverdale, in the Bronx, is a gloriously leafy, hilly, and peaceful suburb. I have visited its extraordinary gardens and gracious homes which overlook the Hudson river. More often, I’ve visited a close friend and her family who live there. I have studied, dined, and prayed with them. I have attended lectures at Riverdale synagogues. Riverdale is as close to me, both personally, psychologically, and geographically, as was the World Trade Center.

In response to a gruesome series of Islamic-Palestinian synagogue bombings in Europe, police officers guarded Europe’s synagogues and Jewish Centers. Now, synagogues all over New York City, tend to have barricades or some kind of police presence outside. We are now all Israelis: Not just the Jews, but the world’s civilians.

And thus, four African-American converts to Islam, all of whom converted to Islam in prison, have been arrested by the FBI just as they attempted to bomb two Riverdale synagogues, (the Riverdale Jewish Center and the Riverdale Temple), in the Bronx and a New York National Guard air base in Newburgh, New York where they lived and attended a mosque.

Why do I begin by clearly stating the race and religion of the terrorists? Because the liberal mainstream media refuses to do so, or buries such facts on its back pages. For example, see the New York Times coverage [1] HERE. What starts as a bland, front page story continues on page 33 where, laughably, the Times writes “some of the men were of Arabic descent, and one is of Haitian descent.” Only the New York Post [2] HERE mentions these important facts up front and clearly. (And, by the way: One of the arrested men is quoted as saying that his parents once lived in Afghanistan; if this is true, let’s note that Afghanistan is not an Arab country. It is totally unclear whether his parents are Afghans or not).

A friend has just told me that NPR’s coverage earlier today of this attempted terrorist bombing failed to mention that the perpetrators are African-Americans or Muslims. I am sure that in a matter of days, perhaps hours, these men will have civil rights and left-oriented lawyers prepared to argue that the FBI “played” them, enticed them, preyed on their…jihadic bitterness.

No, I am not in favor of “profiling,” i.e. discriminating against or persecuting people because of their skin-color or religious beliefs. However, what is one to do when these facts are crucial to the matter at hand?

According to my esteemed colleague, [3] Frank Gaffney, the Saudis have been funding Wahabi-style political-religious conversions among marginalized men in prison in the West for a long time. The Islamic Society of North America has allegedly placed many imams and mullahs in the American prison system where they prey mainly upon men of color, (they are over-represented in the American prison system), whose lives have already been shattered by poverty, racism, drugs, mental illness, gang life, and a long history of criminality. (And, as a reader, David Thomson, has just pointed out, their lives have also been “severely harmed by widespread illegitimacy, vile rap music that denigrates women and traditional values, feelings of victimization, self-pity, and the politically correct nonsense that asserts that all their problems are the result of white imperialism.”)

Islam may be presented to these inmates as a religion of many colors, as especially friendly to men of African descent. Jihad may also be presented as a way to overcome “oppression.”

Islam is probably not presented as an imperialist, colonialist force or as a religion whose leaders practice genocidal jihad, slavery, and both gender and religious apartheid; whose leaders were instrumentally involved in the African slave trade to America; and who, today, keep slaves, and persecute black Africans in Darfur. A formal, radical doctrine which preaches hatred of “white racist America,” the very country that has jailed them, might be balm to their shamed spirits. Perhaps jailed men of color are also attracted by the possibility of polygamy, or by female co-religionists who are, voila!, subservient to men on American soil.

Perhaps James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams, and Laguerre Payen, (the Bronx Four), were inspired by the late, great Malcolm X, a.k.a. Malik Shabazz, a criminal turned Muslim leader—who was, arguably, assassinated by The Nation of Islam who found his preaching ultimately too…peaceful, too color-blind, too charismatic.

Or, perhaps these latest homegrown terrorist-wannabees were inspired by the ability of the Nation of Islam, (which emerged in 1930 America), to offer African-American prisoners protection and an identity in jail, and more than that: to help them remain sober, and to give dignity, meaning, and purpose to their lives. To the extent to which this “hate Whitey, hate the Jews” version of political Islam could and still does, indeed, uplift and console the spirits of the disenfranchised…..we are all in grave trouble.

Perhaps men also convert simply because they want to receive the perks that Muslims receive in prison: a better quality halal food, incense, prayer rugs.

But really, why am I not surprised by this latest thwarted terrorist attack in the Bronx? Jihad went global a long time ago. The Bronx synagogue car bomb and military airplane explosion scenario immediately reminds us of other, exploding, Muslim-detonated car and truck bombs outside American embassies and Marine Barracks in Africa and the Middle East; and exploding Muslim human as well as car bombs which blow up civilians, (most are Muslim civilians), in Israel, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

If we did not and now cannot stop it “over there,” it is only a matter of minutes before we inherit it “over here.” True, some say that if we bury our heads in the sand and build a high, isolationist wall, that the troubles abroad need not affect us in America, that we have endangered ourselves precisely by invading Afghanistan and Iraq and by supporting Israel.

Obviously, I disagree. But I do not know how America and Israel can effecitvely win a non-traditional Islamic, jihadic war which uses Muslim civilians, including children as hostages and as human bombs–and which has the support of the world’s media.

The Bronx Four should immediately remind us of some other examples that are closer to home and which we continue to forget at our peril.

For example, in 2005, in Los Angeles, another group of African-American prison converts to Islam planned to blow up American military facilities, Israeli facilities, and synagogues. The group’s leader was Kevin Lamar James; his most ardent follower was Levar Haney Washington who, once released from Folsom State Prison, recruited other potential terrorists to the cause. According to Frank Gaffney,

“Despite all the warnings, (about Saudi Wahabi infiltration of America’s prisons), the alleged New Folsom State plot was not foiled by intensive surveillance of prison incitement and recruitment by Wahhabi clerics – let alone by keeping such Islamofascists out of the U.S. penal system. Rather, according to the Associated Press, it came on 5 July when Levar Washington, a convicted thief and street gang member, was arrested after his release from the New Folsom Prison, along with an accomplice suspected of perpetrating a string of gas station robberies.”

America at the Crossroads aired a film about this: “[4] Homegrown: Islam in Prison,” which explores Washington’s troubled background and conversion to Islam. The film asks, (but does not answer), important questions such as:

Can prison officials restrict an “inmate’s access to religious teachings and services without violating the inmate’s Constitutional right to freedom of religion? Do the allegations in this (terrorist) case outweigh the many instances of positive Islamic conversion in prison? And should prison reform — so long neglected at all levels of government — become integral to overall U.S. national security policy?”

These are questions that cry out for answers and for action. According to Gaffney, writing in August of 2005, (four years ago!):

“The cumulative effects of Islamist recruitment in the U.S. penal system are as stunning as they are ominous. Currently, there are said to be roughly 350,000 inmates in federal, state and local prisons who identify themselves as Muslims. Some 30,000-40,000 more are being added to that population each year. Official estimates suggest that roughly 80% of prisoners who “find faith” while in prison convert to Islam and that the percentage of the prison population that is “Muslim” today is somewhere between 15-20%. In fact, prison conversion alone is a major contributor to the rapid growth of Islam in the United States. “

I wonder what those estimates are today? According the the website of the [5] Federal Bureau of Prisons, these statistics seem to come out every five years. Thus, there are no more current national estimates. A [6] New York City estimate tells us that the majority of inmates at Rykers Island, the largest jail complex in the county, are Muslim.

There are other, perhaps forgotten examples of homegrown and foreign-born Muslims and/or prison converts to Islam who have attempted acts of terrorism in America. Jose Padilla, a.k.a. Abdullah al Muhajir, also converted to Islam in prison and, in 2002 was arrested for attempting to explode a “dirty bomb” and for wanting to join the forces of jihad in Afghanistan.

Onta Williams of the Bronx Four is quoted as saying: “They (the United States military) are killing Muslim brothers and sisters in Muslim countries, so if we kill them here (in the United States) with IEDs (improved explosive devices) and Stingers, it is equal.” James Cromitie, a.k.a. Abdul Rahman, stated that he was part of a Pakistani-based terror group and wanted to kill Jews and Americans. According to the [2] New York Post, “Cromitie pointed to people walking on the street in the vicinity of a Jewish community center and said that if he had a gun, he would shoot each one in the head.”

It is crucial that we see the larger patterns and even more crucial that we act: To stop Saudi Wahabi funding of Islamic conversions in America, beginning recruitment in our prison system. But we must also reform our prison system, including a reform of our drug laws, so that we jail fewer inmates and do not provide such a fertile breeding ground for anti-American and anti-Jewish Islamic terrorism.

Article printed from Chesler Chronicles: http://pajamasmedia.com/phyllischesler

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/phyllischesler/2009/05/21/homegrown-islamic-jihad-in-the-bronx-now-we-are-all-israelis/

URLs in this post:
[1] HERE: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/22/nyregion/22terror.html?hp
[2] HERE: http://www.nypost.com/seven/05212009/news/regionalnews/chilling_terror_plot_thwarted_170280.htm
[3] Frank Gaffney: http://www.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=7541
[4] Homegrown: Islam in Prison: http://www.pbs.org/weta/crossroads/about/show_homegrown.html
[5] Federal Bureau of Prisons: http://www.bop.gov/
[6] New York City estimate : http://www.religionlink.com/tip_031009b.php
9971  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 24, 2009, 04:59:23 PM
Odd, most of the world's general public accepts the World Health Organization statistics except you BbyG.
And nearly every health organization in the world utilizes their statistics and findings.
But then I forgot you are an MD and a world famous Epidemiologist.    rolleyes

**I guess BBG should follow your example and only comment on things he has expertise in, right?**


9972  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: May 24, 2009, 04:57:03 PM
Rachel,

Notice how Fatemeh Fakhraie glosses over the brutal oppression of women across the muslim world then plays the "colonialism" card. Colonialism can, and was/is a force for good in some cases, especially for women. Part of the impact the Brits had on India was putting an end to "Suttee", where the living wife was thrown onto the deceased husband's funeral pyre. The Brits started hanging those responsible.

Western influence, along with many christian missionaries helped end foot binding in China. Tragic? No.

Slavery and then Jim Crow laws were part of the southern culture. Military and legal "imperialism" was used to end those things. So how would ending the sharia based oppression of women in "dar al islam" be different?
9973  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: May 24, 2009, 04:27:58 PM
Crafty,

Thats the expansion of the leftist academic holy trinity of race, class and gender.
9974  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word on: May 24, 2009, 09:21:37 AM
http://www.amazon.com/Dancing-Healers-Doctors-Journey-Americans/dp/0062503952

You might like this book, Rachel. I liked it when I read it many years ago. I was interested to find the aspects of Jewish spirituality that meshed with Native American spirituality.
9975  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 23, 2009, 11:32:27 PM
**Yeah, we can't afford medicare now. This program is already a looming disaster. So let's spend more?**

Unsustainable Medicare
Fixes for the program's funding will be needed soon.
Saturday, May 5, 2007; Page A16

THE RELEASE last week of the annual report of the Medicare trustees underscores an unavoidable fact that too many politicians have nonetheless been avoiding for too long: Of all the entitlement programs, Medicare is on the most dangerously unsustainable financial course, squeezed simultaneously by rising health-care costs and an aging population.

When Congress passed the Medicare prescription drug bill four years ago, it included a mechanism designed to call attention to runaway spending in the health care program for seniors and the disabled. Medicare is funded by a combination of payroll taxes (hospital costs) and general revenue (doctor's visits and prescription drug costs). Bureaucratic alarms sound if the Medicare trustees project that the share of funds to be drawn from the general Treasury is set to exceed 45 percent in the near future. That alarm sounded for the first time last year and was repeated again last week. The second warning requires that the president -- in the budget he will submit early next year -- propose changes to reduce Medicare's drain on the Treasury. Under the law, Congress must quickly consider those remedies, though it doesn't have to act.

This is an especially blunt instrument to deal with an especially large problem, and the Bush administration's proposed solution, to require automatic cuts, is too crude. The challenge facing Medicare isn't how it's funded, it's how much it costs. Indeed, the program was designed to be financed in a hybrid fashion, and the very prescription drug bill that included the arbitrary 45 percent trigger tilted the mix more toward general revenue.

President Bush, to his credit, has proposed some ways of taming the Medicare monster. In this year's budget, he calls for $66 billion in Medicare cuts over the next five years. Of this, $10 billion would come from requiring higher-income beneficiaries -- $80,000 in annual income, $160,000 for a couple -- to pay higher premiums for prescription drug coverage, as they do now for their basic coverage, and by ending the indexing of this income test. The income ceiling may require adjustment, but for now this is a sensible proposal; in any event, higher premiums for the better-off should have been part of the plan from the start. Also worth discussing are the administration's proposals to cut payments to hospitals, nursing homes and other providers. But Democrats have greeted the proposals with more hostility than interest.

The administration can be faulted for insisting on retaining an expensive, lopsided payment scheme by which private insurance plans "competing" with traditional Medicare receive a government subsidy for doing so. These private plans have been growing rapidly, and they now cover one in five beneficiaries. That would be fine if such "Medicare Advantage" plans were competing on a level playing field, but they're not: The government is paying them on average 12 percent more than traditional fee-for-service providers. The Medicare policy board that advises Congress has endorsed leveling this playing field. The higher payments, according to the Congressional Budget Office, amount to $65 billion over five years, and $160 billion over 10. No wonder the companies that market these plans are lobbying so furiously to keep their undue Medicare advantage.
9976  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 23, 2009, 09:42:06 PM
Well, didn't Sweden just let Saab go under? cheesy 



However, the subject at hand is mortality; they simply live longer...
Maybe (?) because they, like most of the countries high on the list have a national health care plan?




**Yeah, generations of government healthcare has done wonders for American Indians. Let's give everyone this level of care!**

http://info.ihs.gov/Disparities.asp

INDIAN HEALTH DISPARITIES

Members of 562 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes and their descendants are eligible for services provided by the Indian Health Service (IHS). The IHS is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services that provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for approximately 1.9 million of the nation’s estimated 3.3 million American Indians and Alaska Natives (American Indian and Alaska Native alone; bridged 2000 census ) . Its annual appropriation is approximately $3.35 billion. The IHS strives for maximum Tribal involvement in meeting the health needs of its service population, who live mainly on or near reservations and in rural communities in 35 states, mostly in the western United States and Alaska.

Approximately 57% of American Indians and Alaska Natives living in the United States rely on the IHS to provide access to health care services in 46 hospitals and over 600 other facilities operated by the IHS, Tribes, and Alaska Native corporations, or purchased from private providers.
The American Indian and Alaska Native people have long experienced lower health status when compared with other Americans. Lower life expectancy and the disproportionate disease burden exist perhaps because of inadequate education, disproportionate poverty, discrimination in the delivery of health services, and cultural differences. These are broad quality of life issues rooted in economic adversity and poor social conditions.
American Indians and Alaska Natives born today have a life expectancy that is 4.6 years less than the U.S. all races population (72.3 years to 76.9 years, respectively; 1999-2001 rates), and American Indian and Alaska Native infants die at a rate of nearly 12 per every 1,000 live births, as compared to 7 per 1,000 for the U.S. all races population (2002-2004 rates).
American Indians and Alaska Natives die at higher rates than other Americans from tuberculosis (750% higher), alcoholism (550% higher), diabetes (190% higher), unintentional injuries (150% higher), homicide (100% higher) and suicide (70% higher). (Rates adjusted for misreporting of Indian race on state death certificates; 2002-2004 rates. )
Given the higher health status enjoyed by most Americans, the lingering health disparities of American Indians and Alaska Natives are troubling. In trying to account for the disparities, health care experts, policymakers, and Tribal Leaders are looking at many factors that impact upon the health of Indian people, including the adequacy of funding for the Indian health care delivery system.
The American Indian and Alaska Native population has several characteristics different from the U.S. all races population that would impact upon assessing the cost for providing similar health services enjoyed by most Americans. The Indian population is younger, because of higher mortality, than the U.S. all races. The IHS service population is predominately rural, which should suggest lower costs; however, the disproportionate incidence of disease and medical conditions experienced by the Indian population raises the costs, which almost obliterates the lower cost offsets.
9977  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: May 23, 2009, 06:55:50 PM
http://blog.gretchenpeters.org/

Looks interesting, at first glance.
9978  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Reality Toys on: May 23, 2009, 05:16:23 PM
SG,

Take a look at this:

http://www.survivalistsoutfitter.com/shop/itemdetail/catalogID/24694/Cold-Steel-Cutlery---Accessories/

I like them myself. It is a functional sharpie type pen that could be used for additional purposes.
9979  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Horror on: May 23, 2009, 05:07:00 PM
Palm Beach County school bus attendant convicted of child neglect for doing nothing while toddler was raped

By CHRISTINA DeNARDO

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Thursday, May 21, 2009

WEST PALM BEACH — A former Palm Beach County school bus attendant who stood by as a pre-schooler was raped by a teenager on her bus was convicted of child neglect on Thursday.

The incident happened in January 2007 on a bus filled with Gladeview Elementary and Pahokee Middle/Senior High students.



Post your comments on this story below

More local news
Latest breaking news, photos and all of today's Post stories.


On the beat, behind the agenda: Post reporters cover your area in City Pulse.

Share This Story
The attendant, Grenisha Williams, saw a boy kneeling on the bus floor and kissing a 3 1/2 year old girl's neck and asked the student what he was doing. The student responded he was not doing anything, and Williams told him to go to another seat. When the student refused, Williams walked away but told police she kept an eye on the boy. The boy was not questioned further, and he was allowed to get off at his stop.

After the boy left, the girl was questioned and said that the boy touched her. When bus supervisors reviewed a tape of the incident, they saw the boy, who was 14, sexually assaulting the little girl. The content of the tape was so disturbing, it was sealed from public disclosure.

In an interview with police, Williams said she "just panicked" and did not know what to do. The driver, Laverne Sellers, told police she was unaware of the incident until she was later told by Williams.

Williams and Sellers were fired in May 2008.

Since the incident, the school district no longer allows older students to ride with elementary or preschool children.

The boy, who admitted to police that he sexually assaulted the girl, was charged with felony sexual battery. His case is pending.

~'christina_denardo@pbpost.com

 

 
 
Find this article at:
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localnews/content/local_news/epaper/2009/05/21/0521neglect.html?cxntlid=inform_artr
9980  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 23, 2009, 04:53:30 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/05/23/obama-hey-were-out-of-money/comment-page-1/#comments

"We're out of money......so let's really dig ourselves a hole with socialized medicine"!
9981  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 22, 2009, 09:22:03 PM
Rachel,

The Doctor may or may not be complicit in the deaths of his daughters, but as I stated before, the jihadis are well known to place innocents in harm's way in the hopes that US or Israeli troops return fire and inflict civ. casualties so the global jihad's propaganda machine can wave the bloody shirts.

As far as any "palestinian" tragedy, I personally could give a rat's ass. Why? See below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrM0dAFsZ8k
PA Muslims celebrating fall of the twin towers on 9/11
Fox News

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJ0bWEnW_WU
PA Muslims Celebrate 9-11-2001
CNN

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buzRV-t5fLM&feature=related
PA Muslims CHEERING deaths of Americans on 9/11

US/EU/UK governments must explain why they finance, arm, and train international PA/PLO terrorists in the global jihad war against Israel, America, Britain and the Free World.

The Palestinian Authority seeks global Islamic conquest:
Friday sermon, Palestinian Authority TV. May 13, 2005. Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris:
“The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world…” http://memritv.org/Transcript.asp?P1=669

9982  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 22, 2009, 08:30:41 PM
http://www.seconddraft.org/history_pallywood.php

Hooray for Pallywood!
9983  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 22, 2009, 08:26:04 PM
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/lynn-davidson/2008/03/03/expert-idf-didnt-shoot-intifada-icon-mohammad-al-dura-media-yawn

Pallywood propaganda, aided and abetted by the global media.
9984  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 22, 2009, 08:20:58 PM
http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/poller/1011

The al-Dura Hoax
NIDRA POLLER - 10.02.2007 - 5:40 PM

Daniel Seaman, chairman of Israel’s Government Press Office, declared today that the al-Dura news report was staged. This was the report filmed on September 30, 2000 at Netzarim Junction in the Gaza Strip by a Palestinian cameraman employed by state-owned French channel France 2, which purported to show the death of a Palestinian boy at the hands of the Israeli army. The news broke in the Israeli media this morning, is spreading in the United States, but has not pierced the firewall of mainstream media in France.

In the voice-over to the footage, France 2 Jerusalem bureau chief Charles Enderlin dramatically described the “death” of the twelve-year-old Palestinian boy, Muhammad al-Dura, “target of gunfire from the Israeli position.” The 55-second video was immediately broadcast worldwide and assimilated by unsuspecting viewers. It functioned as a blood libel, justifying atrocities against Israelis and Jews.

For seven years investigators and analysts have labored relentlessly to counter that unfounded accusation. For seven years Charles Enderlin and France 2, protected by the Chirac government and upheld by mainstream media, have stifled criticism and discredited these investigators. The Israeli government, pursuing a “let sleeping dogs lie” policy, discouraged efforts to expose the hoax. Jewish organizations shied away from the controversy.

The al-Dura affair is a smudge on the face of coverage of the “Middle East conflict”; every attempt to wipe it away spreads and deepens the stain. In 2005, France 2 and Enderlin, apparently confident that they could wipe away the smudge, brought defamation lawsuits against three French-based websites that had posted material questioning the authenticity of the al-Dura video. The cases were heard in the autumn and winter of 2006-2007. France 2 lost one on a technicality, and won the other two. Suddenly mainstream media in France discovered the affair . . . long enough to report that the al-Dura scene was not staged!

But one of the defendants, Philippe Karsenty, director of the French news watchdog site Media-Ratings, appealed his conviction and has achieved a major victory—the Appellate Court asked France 2 to produce the 27 minutes of raw footage from which the 55-second “news” video was excerpted. If France 2 has not turned over the document by tomorrow, the Court will order them to do so. The raw footage will be projected at a hearing scheduled for November 14, and the case will be heard in full on February 27, 2008.

The Palestinian cameraman, Tala Abu Rahma, testified under oath that Muhammad al-Dura and his father Jamal were pinned down by uninterrupted gunfire from the Israeli position for 45 minutes. Rahma claims he filmed the incident off and on from beginning to end for a total of 27 minutes, from which Charles Enderlin excerpted 55 seconds for the news report. Enderlin, backed by his hierarchy, insists that the raw footage confirms the authenticity of the news report . . . but has refused to make it available for public scrutiny.

Four reliable witnesses who have viewed the footage testify that it is composed of staged scenes, faked injuries, and falsified ambulance evacuations. There are no images of the al-Duras.

If the raw footage is projected in the courtroom, the battle will be half won, no matter how the court rules on Karsenty’s appeal. If a dozen world-class journalists attend the November 14 hearing, the al-Dura affair will be brought out of its dark alley and into the agora of democratic societies, where it should receive its final judgment.
9985  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 22, 2009, 08:02:14 PM
I don't even watch the BBC (Heck I don't even have cable; I read books, but I'm not happy the Lakers are on
ESPN only).  sad

Don't look to me to defend the BBC; choose another reporting newspaper. 

**If you'll recall, you cited the BBC.**

They seem to ALL carry the story.

**Yes, the same story from the wire service. BFD.**

It's being talked about around the world AND in Israel.
Israeli Tank kills......  So it's your choice of a multitude of respected reporting versus a blog out of Jerusalem.

**Again, what "respected" reporting? The global media machine has time and time again unquestioningly swallowed jihadist propaganda and then never followed through when the truth emerged.**

Not my job to argue your position,  smiley but I would focus on if the attack was justified.  Perhaps it was...
But you've got to admit, even the Hamas Film Institute couldn't have written a better story to support
their side. 

**This may have well been a constructed story, just as there have been plenty in the past.**

Wrong or right, this fight is being fought on the battlefield AND in the press.

Yes, and you and your leftist ilk are queuing up to act as the global jihads' Tokyo Roses. Shame.
9986  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 22, 2009, 07:47:15 PM
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/SendMail.aspx?print=print&type=0&item=129471

Guns or Love? IDF, Gaza Doctor Trade Blame on Clash at his Home
Tevet 22, 5769, 18 January 09 12:07by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

(IsraelNN.com) The IDF and a Gaza doctor who works in Israel traded charges on whether people in his Jabalya home were armed with guns or love. The IDF shelled the building, killing three of his daughters and wounding three others.

Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish, who formerly worked at Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva and now works at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, protested the army shelling at a press conference at the Tel Aviv hospital.

Levana Stern, whose sons are serving in Gaza, interrupted the media event to protest, "Why is he engaging in propaganda? He is talking against Israel at the Sheba hospital. You should all be ashamed. All my children are serving in Gaza. Who knows what he had at his home?"

The IDF said his home was the source of gunfire at soldiers. The doctor told reporters, "Were they armed when they were killed? They were not armed with weapons, but rather, with love; love for others. They planned to travel to Canada; I got a job in Canada and they wanted to come with me."

After he was interrupted by Stern, Dr. Al-Aish replied, "They don't want to see the other side; they only want to see one side. They don’t want to see the others."

Stern said her heart aches over his children's deaths but added, "I don't understand why the people of Israel give him a platform at the hospital while our soldiers are lying here wounded. He needs to tell the story, but tell it once, and that's it."
9987  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 22, 2009, 07:35:36 PM
The Israelmatzav blog.  Now there is an impartial influential report.  I believe I've read,

**I'll put it's credibility up against any left wing bilge you unquestioningly swallow.**

"Israel right wing under pressure".  Maybe a meteor hit the house?

**Maybe, as is the well documented haji M.O.,  the jihadist used a civillian dwelling filled with innocents as a military site in the hope that any return fire will result in propaganda fodder to feed to the world's useful idiots.**

Versus a very long list (BBC et al) of reputable neutral reporting?  Maybe I should check out what the
Hamas Daily Gazette had to say?

**You've already been repeating HAMAS' propaganda, like a good leftist.**


It was Israeli tank fire.  The guy was a hero.  Even the public in Israel is upset.

**Please cite your source for this assertion.**


9988  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 22, 2009, 07:27:30 PM
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-451138/Report-BBCs-anti-Israel-bias-stay-secret.html#

Report on BBC's anti-Israel bias will stay secret

By PAUL REVOIR

Last updated at 17:55 27 April 2007



BBC chairman Sir Michael Lyons
The BBC has won its legal battle to block the publication of a report into alleged bias in its reporting of Middle East affairs.

A ruling obtained under freedom of information legislation had obliged the corporation to make the internal audit public.

But that decision was overturned by the High Court.

The BBC's decision to spend an estimated £200,000 of licence feepayers' money to keep the Balen Report secret has been widely condemned.

The corporation was accused of hypocrisy because it has regularly used freedom of information legislation to break news stories.

The attempt to force the BBC to publish the report - compiled in 2004 by its editorial adviser Malcolm Balen - was led by lawyer Steven Sugar, who represented himself in court.

The ruling will disappoint the Jewish community which would have wanted to know whether the 20,000-word document had found any evidence of anti-Israeli bias in news programming.

Mr Justice Davis, sitting at the High Court in London, said last August's decision by the Information Tribunal for the report to be published was flawed.

He said: "I conclude that the BBC's submissions are well founded. The tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain any appeal."

The judge said the document was exempt from inspection under freedom of information laws because it was held by the BBC "for the purposes of journalism, art or literature".

After the verdict, Mr Sugar said: "It is a technical win by the BBC which has the result desired by the BBC of weighting the Freedom of Information Act in its favour.

"Perhaps the BBC Trust under its new chairman, Sir Michael Lyons, will take a different view to the BBC management and conclude that it is in the public interest for Mr Balen's report to

be published."

Mr Sugar called on ministers to review the journalistic exemption.

"The exception was drafted in general terms which has allowed its use to prevent the public gaining access to much material which I am sure the Government intended should be publicly available," he said.

"I hope Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, who is a supporter of freedom of information, will consider clarifying the journalism exception. This would not require primary legislation."

Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley and a member of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, said: "This seems to be outrageous. If the BBC are embarrassed about what they are doing they should not be doing it.

"If they are not embarrassed they should release the information. It is a sad day when they have spent so much money to keep it secret -people think this is a colossal waste of money."

The BBC has faced repeated claims that its reporting of the Arab-Israeli conflict has been skewed towards the Palestinian cause.

Its critics cite the revelation from Middle East correspondent Barbara Plett that she cried when Yasser Arafat was close to death in 2004.

A BBC spokesman said: "The BBC has always maintained that the Balen Report is held for purposes of journalism and, therefore, outside the scope of the Freedom of Information Act.

"We believe that programme makers must have the space to be able to freely discuss and reflect on editorial issues in support of independent journalism.

"It was always intended as an internal review of programme content, to inform future output. It was never intended for publication.

"The BBC's action in this case had nothing to do with the fact that the Balen Report was about the Middle East - the same approach would have been taken whatever area of news output was covered.
9989  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 22, 2009, 07:16:52 PM
The BBC is a neutral reporting party? Bwahahahahahahahahaha!
9990  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Buh-bye AAA rating on: May 22, 2009, 06:02:49 PM
Geithner Vows to Cut U.S. Deficit on Rating Concern (Update2)


By Robert Schmidt


May 22 (Bloomberg) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner committed to cutting the budget deficit as concern about deteriorating U.S. creditworthiness deepened, and ascribed a sell-off in Treasuries to prospects for an economic recovery.

“It’s very important that this Congress and this president put in place policies that will bring those deficits down to a sustainable level over the medium term,” Geithner said in an interview with Bloomberg Television yesterday. He added that the target is reducing the gap to about 3 percent of gross domestic product, from a projected 12.9 percent this year.

The dollar extended declines today after Treasuries and American stocks slumped on concern the U.S. government’s debt rating may at some point be lowered. Bill Gross, the co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., said the U.S. “eventually” will lose its AAA grade.

Geithner, 47, also said that the rise in yields on Treasury securities this year “is a sign that things are improving” and that “there is a little less acute concern about the depth of the recession.”

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield jumped 17 basis points to 3.36 percent yesterday and was unchanged as of 12:18 p.m. in London. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index fell 1.7 percent to 888.33 yesterday. The dollar tumbled 0.5 percent today to $1.3957 per euro after a 0.8 percent drop yesterday.

Gross’s Warning

Gross said in an interview yesterday on Bloomberg Television that while a U.S. sovereign rating cut is “certainly nothing that’s going to happen overnight,” markets are “beginning to anticipate the possibility.” Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, speaking in Hong Kong today, nevertheless argues it’s “hard to believe” the U.S. would ever default.

Britain’s AAA rating was endangered when Standard & Poor’s yesterday lowered its outlook on the nation’s grade to “negative” from “stable,” citing a debt level approaching 100 percent of U.K. GDP.

It’s “critically important” to bring down the American deficit, Geithner said.

In its latest budget request, the administration said it expects the deficit to drop to 8.5 percent of GDP next year, then to 6 percent in 2011. Ultimately, it forecasts deficits that fluctuate between 2.7 percent and 3.4 percent between 2012 and 2019.

Early Stages

Ten-year Treasury yields have climbed about 1 percentage point so far this year, in part after U.S. economic figures indicated that the worst of the deepest recession in half a century has passed. The yield on 30-year bonds has jumped to 4.31 percent, from 2.68 percent at the beginning of the year.

The Treasury chief said it’s still “possible” that the unemployment rate may reach 10 percent or higher, cautioning that the economic recovery is still in the “early stages.”

“The important thing to recognize is that growth will stabilize and start to increase first before unemployment peaks and starts to come down,” he said. While “these early signs of stability are very important” this is “still a very challenging period for businesses and families across the United States,” he said.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell by 12,000 in the week ended May 16 to 631,000, according to Labor Department statistics released yesterday. Still, the number of workers collecting unemployment checks rose to a record of more than 6.6 million in the week ended May 9.

As of April, the unemployment rate was 8.9 percent, the highest level since 1983. The economy has lost 5.7 million jobs since the recession started in December 2007.

Municipal Bonds

Also yesterday, Geithner said the U.S.’s $700 billion financial rescue package can’t be used to aid cities and states facing budget crises.

The law “does not appear to us to provide a viable way of responding to that challenge,” Geithner told a House Appropriations subcommittee in Washington. Among the hurdles: money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program was designed for financial companies, he said.

Geithner said he will work with Congress to help states such as California that have been battered by the credit crunch and are struggling to arrange backing for municipal bonds and short-term debt.

The municipal bond markets are “starting to find some new balance and equilibrium,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Schmidt in Washington at rschmidt5@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: May 22, 2009 07:20 EDT

9991  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 22, 2009, 04:48:12 PM
http://israelmatzav.blogspot.com/2009/01/palestinian-doctors-daughter-may-have.html

Hmmmmm
9992  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 22, 2009, 04:15:16 PM
"Saving human lives is the main purpose of my work. There is a Palestinian nation and an Israeli nation, and I care about both sides. Words are stronger than thousands of bullets. I want others here to feel the Palestinian suffering and to open their eyes to the Palestinian suffering. I fully believe our humanity brings Jews and Arabs together."

"Now we have to learn to prevent this sort of thing from happening again. Both sides should focus on saving lives. If we make mistakes, we should learn from our mistakes and not repeat them, not continue all our lives, Israelis and Palestinians, making mistakes. It's not mistakes, it's craziness."


Hardly anti-American or anti-Israeli....

Given what happened I think the good doctor is rather magnanimous.  I am not sure I would be so forgiving given the circumstances.

Done any due dilligence to see if there is any truth to this story? It sounds like a pallywood psy-op to me. If the "palestinians" don't like getting hit by the Israelis, they should stop starting wars.
9993  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: May 22, 2009, 08:58:27 AM
Feminists Betray Muslim Women
By: Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, May 21, 2009


A feminist professor has once again passed up an opportunity to stand up for the human rights of Muslim women. Recently Dr. Laura Briggs, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and Head of the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona, welcomed new Ph.D. students to the department. 

In the course of her address, Briggs, author of Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science, and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico, praised the work of other professors, including that of Saba Mahmood, Associate Professor of Social Cultural Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley. Mahmood, said Briggs, “confronted one of the legacies of a long history of orientalism and the recent wars in the Middle East: the way we are invited to see Muslim women as hopelessly, painfully oppressed, without their own autonomy, will, or individual rights.” So apparently the oppression of Muslim women has nothing to do with Islamic law or culture; it is merely a byproduct of “orientalism and the recent wars in the Middle East” – in other words, it is the West’s fault. “If we sometimes notice other Middle Eastern women—women’s rights activists, for example,” Briggs continued, “it is only to reinforce the notion that the great mass of Muslim women are terribly oppressed by the rise of conservative religiosity, by their husbands, by the ways they are compelled to dress.”

Briggs has good news: Mahmood spent two years – two years! – in Egypt and discovered that that oppression is just a mirage: “But after two years of fieldwork in the women’s mosque movement in Egypt, Mahmood asks us to consider a new question: what if community, as much as or more than the notions of individual rights, is a route to living meaningfully? Perhaps we ought to rethink the idea that women’s agency and personhood spring from resistance to subjection, and attend to the ways that in conservative religious communities, the cultivation of virtue and of closeness to God, of certain emotions and of forms of embodiment, are challenging but hardly one-dimensional ways of producing the self.”

Clearing away the pseudo-intellectual gobbledygook, Briggs is apparently saying that if women feel fulfilled in being subjugated as inferiors under Sharia law, then their good feelings outweigh their oppression and subjection. One wonders what Betty Friedan or Gloria Steinem might have said in the 1960s if this same argument-from-fulfillment had been posed to them regarding American women. But aside from being inconsistent with what has been the feminist view of women’s oppression for decades, Briggs’s words also represent a betrayal of the Muslim women whose suffering is objective, ongoing, and largely unnoticed. 

To take just one of many available examples, wife-beating is largely tolerated, and even encouraged, in many Muslim cultures – largely due to the deleterious influence of Qur’an 4:34, which directs men to beat disobedient women. It is accordingly no surprise that the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences has determined that over ninety percent of Pakistani wives have been struck, beaten, or abused sexually — for offenses on the order of cooking an unsatisfactory meal. Others were punished for failing to give birth to a male child. Dominating their women by violence is a prerogative Muslim men cling to tenaciously. In Spring 2005, when the East African nation of Chad tried to institute a new family law that would outlaw wife beating, Muslim clerics led resistance to the measure as un-Islamic.

But to this – and to genital mutilation, honor killing, polygamy, and so much more that is sanctioned or tolerated by Islamic law – Briggs and Mahmood would apparently turn a blind eye, as long as the women involved were “living meaningfully.” And our concern for them? “Orientalism”!

 

Ironically, in her address Briggs also praised Saidiya Hartman, a professor of English and Comparative Literature and Women’s and Gender Studies at Columbia University. Hartman, according to Briggs, “sees everywhere around us and in us the legacies of slavery.” Briggs asks: “Can we exorcise these ghosts by calling into memory the Middle Passage, the rapes, the slave raids, the fortresses of the Gold Coast and the betrayals of the obruni, the stranger, that made the commerce of slavery possible?” And she concludes: “In her books, Scenes of Subjection and Lose Your Mother, Women’s Studies scholar Hartman writes brilliant prose that is full of heart and embodied, because she thinks that we as individuals and communities are not better off when we try to forget these things.”

Fair enough. But if we are not better off when we try to forget slavery, why are we better off when we try to forget the oppression of women in Islam?

It’s a question that Linda Briggs, and other feminists, would do well to consider.

Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of eight books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs, is available now from Regnery Publishing.
9994  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 22, 2009, 08:52:38 AM
As usual, JDN is happy to propagandize for anything anti-American or Anti-Israeli.

Yawn.
9995  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: May 21, 2009, 04:08:56 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVMc4g3ybnI&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Ffrontpagemag%2Ecom%2F&feature=player_embedded

Jimmy Carter's war against the Jews.
9996  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Has Obama given up on halting Iran? on: May 20, 2009, 03:15:19 PM
**No, he never meant to in the first place.**

Has Obama given up on halting Iran?
May. 20, 2009
Yaakov Lappin , THE JERUSALEM POST
There are growing indications that the US has come to terms with a nuclear-armed Teheran, two analysts told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

"The Americans are in a state of mind according to which Iran has already gone nuclear," said Dr. Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan's Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

Kedar, who served in Military Intelligence for 25 years, said US President Barack Obama was "at peace" with the idea of a nuclear Iran.

"You can tell from how the Americans talk. Look at how [US special envoy] George Mitchell talks, or how Obama talks. I don't see them being pressured by this threat. They have shown no urgent desire to change this reality," he added.

"Obama has given up," Kedar said.

The result is that the US and Israel have only "small things to talk about," mainly the Palestinian track.

"Netanyahu doesn't want to talk about the Palestinians. He wants to talk about Iran. But Obama does not see the bigger problem," Kedar said.

The June 7 legislative vote in Lebanon could serve as a "wake-up call" for Obama, he added, since "after these elections, the Hizbullah coalition could be the largest in the country. Very quickly, Hizbullah could change the constitution to turn Lebanon into a Hizbullah state" - a development Kedar said might cause Lebanon to split off into smaller polities as other sects opt out of the country.

This would be an unmistakable sign of Iran's growing influence in the region.

"If this happens, the Americans could wake up," he said.

Emily Landau, director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies, also believes there are a growing number of "hints" suggesting that Washington has come to terms with a nuclear Iran.

"There are implicit indications that it might be going in that direction," she said. "Even at the official level, [US Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton is on record as saying that the chances of success for negotiations with Iran are very small. If you're going into negotiations which you say ahead of time will likely fail, you're giving the sense that you might not be doing everything possible [to stop the Iranian nuclear program]," Landau said.

"The US administration is projecting some kind of sense that they're not taking these negotiations seriously enough. If they just go through the motions, but they don't believe talks will succeed, that is worrisome," she said.

Landau said she was disturbed that Obama appeared to view negotiations and sanctions as alternative policies, when in fact they needed to go together.

"In order to get Iran to be serious, you have to pressure it, and it must feel that the status quo is not more valuable than a negotiated settlement," she said. "I don't see that understanding in the Obama administration."

A source close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took a more optimistic view, citing a recent interview with Obama in Newsweek that quoted him as saying he was not taking any options off the table on Iran, as a hopeful sign.

"Before Sunday's meeting between Obama and Netanyahu, Obama would not put a time limit on talks with the Iranians. But what he said in effect on Sunday was that he was giving the talks six months. That's not so terrible," the source said.

However, he acknowledged that Obama's deadline was double that of Israel's requested deadline of three months.

Asked if America had come to terms with a nuclear Iran, the source said, "I don't think that appraisal is right."

He added that those who "held too high an expectation for Sunday's meeting were disappointed. Those who thought Obama would change all his stances and give a two-month time limit were disappointed. But there was a change in Obama's stance - he has given the talks a deadline, until the end of the year."

This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1242212418402&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
9997  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 19, 2009, 12:39:15 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/05/19/california-tax-revolt-what-next/

California tax revolt: What next?
POSTED AT 8:40 AM ON MAY 19, 2009 BY KARL   


The Los Angeles Times claims that the campaign over six state budget propositions on today’s ballot in California ended with a whimper, and seeks to downplay the expected result by predicting a low turnout. But yesterday was more like the calm before the storm.

Tonight’s results will gauge what polls suggest is voter fury over the failure of the Republican governor and the Democratic-controlled Legislature to balance the state’s books.

As Californians struggle with joblessness, home foreclosures and sharp losses in the stock market, the state has raised taxes, cut spending and borrowed to fix a $42-billion shortfall — and still remains more than $15 billion shy of a balanced budget.

If voters reject Propositions 1C, 1D and 1E — the three chief money-raisers on Tuesday’s special election ballot — the shortfall will grow to $21 billion.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his Democratic allies trotted out the usual human shields in this fight — kindergarteners, firefighters and policemen, nurses, etc. They outspent their opponents by seven-to-one. None of it worked. Although the opposing sides here did not always follow partisan lines (e.g., the SEIU opposes the initiatives), a recent Field Poll showed 72% of voters agreeing that rejecting the measures “would send a message to the governor and the state legislature that voters are tired of more government spending and higher taxes.”

In the face of expected defeat, Schwarzenegger has fled cross-country to Washington, DC, to listen to Pres. Obama talk about new federal tailpipe emissions. There is even more of a metaphor in the trip than the obvious punchline, as California’s future is likely to be found in DC. California Treasurer Bill Lockyer has already asked Treasury Secretary Timmy Geithner to backstop a wave of short-term borrowing California will need to undertake this summer. Indeed, the Busness Insider notes that the yield on California debt has already been shrinking:

We’d say that the market is probably also pricing in the possibility that Barney Frank will get his way and we’ll have a federal backstop of all muni debt soon enough. Even without a formal backstop, we think it’s unlikely that the Obama administration and a Democrat controlled Capitol Hill would let California default.

This is another way that we’ve broken the signalling function of the credit markets, which no longer provide clear indications of expected economic performance thanks to the numerous and varied government interventions.

This is more of the uncertainty that undermines economic recovery. But an administration running auto companies for the benefit of the UAW and its political viability in the Rust Belt undoubtedly considers the Golden State “too big to fail.” After all, the New York Daily News headline would write itself: “Obama to California: Drop Dead.”

However, bailouts are unpopular. Many Americans will chafe just as much at the prospect of paying to bail out California’s decades of inept govenment as they do at paying to bail out GM’s decades of inept management. Obama would bail out California to hold onto those electoral votes, but he will have to worry about how many he loses in the process.
9998  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: May 18, 2009, 10:16:07 PM
I continue to learn on this forum.  I don't always agree, but I definitely learn.

Often, I find I learn more from a debate or disagreement than a love-in of
like minds always agreeing.  Give me the dissenting opinion anytime.

As for you, while we do not always agree, (I think we do more often than you appreciate)
I do admire the effort and passion.  And the honesty; you make no bones about your
opinions and beliefs, and are willing to follow them blindly  smiley  I mean that as a compliment,
don't take offense.



I would say that I have a core set of values shaped by my life's experiences that I strive to adhere to.
9999  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Asian Geopolitics on: May 18, 2009, 09:40:59 PM
Waiting for the streets to fill with anti-China protesters.......

**Crickets**
10000  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 18, 2009, 09:36:56 PM
http://www.forbes.com/2007/02/07/worlds-fattest-countries-forbeslife-cx_ls_0208worldfat_2.html

Rank   Country   %
1.   Nauru   94.5
2.   Micronesia, Federated States of   91.1
3.   Cook Islands   90.9
4.   Tonga   90.8
5.   Niue   81.7
6.   Samoa   80.4
7.   Palau   78.4
8.   Kuwait   74.2
9.   United States   74.1
10.   Kiribati   73.6
11.   Dominica   71.0
12.   Barbados   69.7
13.   Argentina   69.4
14.   Egypt   69.4
15.   Malta   68.7
16.   Greece   68.5
17.   New Zealand   68.4
18.   United Arab Emirates   68.3
19.   Mexico   68.1
20.   Trinidad and Tobago   67.9
21.   Australia   67.4
22.   Belarus   66.8
23.   Chile   65.3
24.   Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)   65.2
25.   Seychelles   64.6
26.   Bahrain   64.1
27.   Andorra   63.8
28.   United Kingdom   63.8
29.   Saudi Arabia   63.5
30.   Monaco   62.4
31.   Bolivia   62.2
32.   San Marino   62.1
33.   Guatemala   61.2
34.   Mongolia   61.2
35.   Canada   61.1
36.   Qatar   61.0
37.   Uruguay   60.9
38.   Jordan   60.5
39.   Bahamas   60.4
40.   Iceland   60.4
41.   Nicaragua   60.4
42.   Cuba   60.1
43.   Germany   60.1
44.   Brunei Darussalam   59.8
45.   Slovenia   59.8
46.   Peru   59.6
47.   Vanuatu   59.6
48.   Finland   58.7
49.   Jamaica   57.4
Pages: 1 ... 198 199 [200] 201 202 ... 254
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!