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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Looks like Bundy is a racist on: April 24, 2014, 07:20:18 PM
http://www.glennbeck.com/2014/04/24/youve-got-to-distance-yourself-bundy-under-fire-for-racist-negro-comments/
2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / March Durable Goods on: April 24, 2014, 11:45:08 AM
Second post:

New Orders for Durable Goods Increased 2.6% in March
Brian S. Wesbury - Chief Economist
Bob Stein, CFA - Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 4/24/2014

New orders for durable goods increased 2.6% in March (2.5% including revisions to prior months), beating the consensus expected gain of 2.0%. Orders excluding transportation increased 2.0% in March, beating the consensus expected gain of 0.6%. Orders are up 9.1% from a year ago while orders excluding transportation are up 5.1%

The gain in overall orders was led by civilian aircraft and computers & electronic products, but every major category of orders increased.

The government calculates business investment for GDP purposes by using shipments of non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft. That measure increased 1.0% in March and was up at a 1.7% annual rate in Q1 versus the Q4 average.

Unfilled orders increased 0.6% in March and are up 7.5% from last year.

Implications: A very solid, well-rounded report on durable goods today. New orders for durable goods rose 2.6%, beating consensus expectations and the largest gain since November. Once again the transportation sector led the way, particularly orders for civilian aircraft. But, unlike last month, there was broad strength outside the transportation sector. Orders excluding transportation increased 2% in March, the largest gain since January 2013. The best news in today’s report was that shipments of “core” capital goods, which exclude defense and aircraft, increased 1% in March. Plugging these data into our GDP models suggests businesses increased “real” (inflation-adjusted) equipment investment at about a 5% annual rate in Q1. Business investment should accelerate over the next couple of years. Consumer purchasing power is growing and debt ratios are low, leaving room for an upswing in appliances. Meanwhile, businesses have record profits and balance sheet cash at the same time that capacity utilization is above long-term norms, leaving more room (and need) for business investment. Signaling future gains, unfilled orders for “core” capital goods rose 0.6% in March, hitting a new record high, and are up 10% from a year ago. In other news this morning, initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 24,000 last week to 329,000. Continuing claims declined 61,000 to 2.68 million. Plugging these figures into our payroll models suggests an April gain of roughly 210,000, both nonfarm and private. This forecast may change over the next week as we get more data, but it looks like another solid month for job growth.
3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Washington, Farewell Address, 1796 on foreign influence on: April 24, 2014, 11:28:58 AM
"Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence ... the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government." --George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796
4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Putin: From Vladivostok to Lisbon on: April 24, 2014, 10:16:45 AM
http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/04/a_unified_europe_from_lisbon_to_vladivostok.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook
5  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: April 24, 2014, 08:35:48 AM
This thread includes in its subject heading "the stock market".  We here have been predicting disaster as the DOW and the NAZ have more than doubled.  That is one helluva a move to have missed-- and if armaggedon (sp?) does not come, some of us are going to have a hard time explaining that.  If it does come, that does not mean it was good investing strategy to have sat on the sidelines in wait of proof of our prophecies.

 
6  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: April 24, 2014, 08:29:39 AM
For all his many shortcomings, essentially he was, and is, a good man who loves America, and could have been a good president of all of us.
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: April 23, 2014, 07:12:23 PM
The market will need to fall A LOT for what you say to be true.  For all our prophesy, he is far more profit-y, and IMHO we need to keep that in mind and be humble. 
8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury to DBMA forum "Nyah! Nyah!" on: April 23, 2014, 07:04:39 PM
Over the past five years, the pouting pundits of pessimism have focused on countless issues that would bring the economy down. Any growth, they argue, is the result of a Fed induced sugar high.

We don’t buy it.

Through it all, the plow horse keeps plodding ahead. The fundamental growth factors are still in place and, as the Fed tapers, banks are starting to pick up lending. We see upside surprise potential.

Click here to watch the latest Wesbury 101 – Upside Surprise Potential 
http://www.ftportfolios.com/Commentary/EconomicResearch/2014/4/23/upside-surprise-potential
9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Drones/UAV/UAS on: April 23, 2014, 07:01:45 PM
How would you feel if you were at the beach and spotted this thing eyeing you? It happened in Treasure Island, and it ended with police being called -- but they couldn't do anything about it.

STORY & VIDEO: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/25186701/2014/04/07/drone-seen-on-beach
10  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More voters than adult residents , , , what could go wrong? on: April 23, 2014, 06:59:47 PM
http://www.ijreview.com/2014/04/131680-triple-facepalm-four-counties-alabama-active-voters-adult-residents/
11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The new Democratic Socialism on: April 23, 2014, 06:31:39 PM
http://patriotpost.us/alexander/9235
12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Sam Adams on the vote, 1781; Paine on Moderation 1792 on: April 23, 2014, 06:27:09 PM

"Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual -- or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country." --Samuel Adams (1781)

"Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle, is a species of vice." --Thomas Paine, Letter Addressed to the Addressers on the Late Proclamation, 1792
13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Romney and Glenn Beck on: April 23, 2014, 06:10:43 PM
http://www.glennbeck.com/2014/04/23/glenn-receives-a-thank-you-note-from-mitt-romney/
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / FCC in Net Neutrality reversal on: April 23, 2014, 06:05:45 PM
F.C.C., in ‘Net Neutrality’ Turnaround, Plans to Allow Fast Lane
The Federal Communications Commission will propose new rules that allow Internet service providers to offer a faster lane through which to send video and other content to consumers, as long as a content company is willing to pay for it, according to people briefed on the proposals.
The proposed rules are a complete turnaround for the F.C.C. on the subject of so-called net neutrality, the principle that Internet users should have equal ability to see any content they choose, and that no content providers should be discriminated against in providing their offerings to consumers.
The F.C.C.’s previous rules governing net neutrality were thrown out by a federal appeals court this year. The court said those rules had essentially treated Internet service providers as public utilities, which violated a previous F.C.C. ruling that Internet links were not to be governed by the same strict regulation as telephone or electric service.
The new rules, according to the people briefed on them, will allow a company like Comcast or Verizon to negotiate separately with each content company – like Netflix, Amazon, Disney or Google – and charge different companies different amounts for priority service.
READ MORE »
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/technology/fcc-new-net-neutrality-rules.html?emc=edit_na_20140423

15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: McClintock challenged from the left on: April 23, 2014, 06:02:05 PM
McClintock first came to my attention via Top Dog who recommended him as a particularly good and savvy state legislator whose advise on the various state Propositions was always well-informed and sound.  Such was my experience.  He is now a Congressman in northern CA and I continue to send some money his way every campaign, and will do so again.

----------------------------------------------

AUBURN, Calif. — A moderate Republican trying to unseat a conservative congressman from his own party, Art Moore sat a little stiffly at a Sizzler restaurant here during the monthly meeting of the Auburn Area Republican Women Federated. Appearing after the meeting’s agenda was already set, Mr. Moore was not invited to speak before the group — not that it would have made much of a difference.

He knew that many local Republican officials did not look kindly at his recent decision to challenge Representative Tom McClintock, a Tea Party favorite. One of them, Bonnie McAdams, was blunt about it.

“Don’t run against other Republicans,” Ms. McAdams, a member of the Republican Party’s central committee in Placer County, told Mr. Moore. “Go get the other guys. They’re the enemies, not the Republicans.”

Mr. Moore’s challenge in California’s Fourth Congressional District is an unusual one, even against the backdrop of the Republican Party’s internecine battles. Contested Republican primaries for the House and Senate typically feature conservative challengers, backed by motivated and enthusiastic Tea Party members, against moderate incumbents.
Photo
Art Moore, a moderate, is challenging McClintock. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

But here in California, where a top-two primary system nearly guarantees that Mr. Moore will move past the primary to the general election, the challenge is coming from the left, with Mr. Moore arguing that Mr. McClintock is too conservative even for this strongly Republican district. Conservatives are gathering to protect Mr. McClintock, one of the few congressmen whose voting record is considered perfect by prominent conservative groups like Club for Growth and Freedom Works. In response, Mr. Moore has hired Rob Stutzman, a onetime aide to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — a moderate Republican himself — as a political consultant.

The two candidates have been busy taking jabs at each other. Mr. McClintock criticized Mr. Moore for failing to vote in past elections; Mr. Moore said he had not voted because of a belief that career military officers like him should not be involved in politics, adding that he is no longer in the military. Mr. Moore faulted Mr. McClintock for living in Elk Grove, outside his congressional district; Mr. McClintock said he would like to move into his district but could not sell his house until it regained the value it had lost during the housing crisis.

Mr. Moore, 35, and his campaign manager, Jeff Wyly, laid out the reasoning behind his run: unhappiness among typical voters at the gridlock in Washington and with conservatives like Mr. McClintock, who last fall voted to shut down the federal government to prevent financing for President Obama’s health care program. The primary is scheduled for June 3.

“It’s healthy for the party to have competition,” Mr. Moore said. “This shouldn’t be seen as destructive. It’s a win-win situation for the Republicans because if I win, I think I bring a much better brand and future to the party. If he wins, he’ll at least have gotten some competition that might make him rethink his role as a representative.”

Still, Mr. Moore is not likely to sway people like Ms. McAdams, who became politically active five years ago by joining the Tea Party. She said she was upset that Mr. Moore was targeting a conservative like Mr. McClintock, who “is standing up for the people” along with Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story
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Mr. McClintock said that his conservative principles would appeal to all Republicans and that his strong positions on civil liberties, including his stance against spying by the National Security Agency, would win over some Democrats. “I’m quite content to go toe to toe for every vote in this district,” he said.

Analysts said the race was difficult to handicap, in part because it does not fit the pattern of what has been going on around the country.

“Given the mood of the Republican base, it’s still more likely that a conservative challenger beats a moderate incumbent, rather than vice versa,” said David Wasserman, who follows House races for the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan newsletter.

Mr. Wasserman added, however, that most incumbents were likely to survive challenges from a fellow Republican. “The power of incumbency is very strong,” he said. “Local groups and organizations are very hesitant to get involved against an incumbent.”

The Fourth District occupies a large swath in central and Northern California, from the politically moderate suburbs of Sacramento to the conservative towns of the Central Valley and the rural communities of the Sierra Nevada foothills. Mr. McClintock, 57, who was first elected in 2008, won 61 percent of the votes in the 2012 general election against a little-known Democrat.

Allan Hoffenblum, who has worked for three decades as a Republican consultant and analyst in California, said many moderate Republicans in the district were displeased with Mr. McClintock, who, like many conservatives, favors spending cuts and smaller government. The district includes many farming communities, and Mr. McClintock voted against the recent farm bill, which he described as giving giant subsidies to agricultural businesses.

“There’s been unhappiness in that district because of McClintock’s rigid ideas. He’s not sending any money back to the district,” Mr. Hoffenblum said. “So if Moore can actually do well in the crossover vote, he can actually give McClintock a serious challenge.”

In California’s system, the two candidates who get the most votes in the June primary will move on to the general election, regardless of party affiliation. The third candidate is an independent; three Democrats who had considered running decided not to. So Mr. McClintock and Mr. Moore are almost guaranteed to face off in November.

Mr. Moore grew up here and returned to the area in December with a view toward running for Congress. A graduate of West Point, he served for 14 years in the National Guard, including 30 months of deployment overseas. He lived in Washington until December, working as a consultant in intelligence.

Mr. Moore hopes to succeed in November by drawing moderate Republicans away from Mr. McClintock and winning overwhelmingly among non-Republicans.

After a town-hall meeting in San Andreas, a small town in the district, Mr. McClintock dismissed the idea that the Republican rivalry here echoed the larger one within the party. Instead, he said, he sees a cynical attempt at exploiting California’s top-two primary system by Mr. Moore and the Democrats.

“It’s obvious that he coordinated closely with the Democrats to manipulate the new primary system in California to keep a Democrat off the ballot,” Mr. McClintock said. “When we watch one Democrat after another pull papers and then suddenly decide not to file, I think it’s a pretty good guess that there is coordination going on.”

Mr. Moore, who is seeking elected office for the first time, denied any coordination with Democrats. He said that about half a dozen Republican officials and businessmen in the district, as well as Democrats and independents, had encouraged him to run, and that friends from childhood and his Boy Scout days had introduced him to Republican operatives, including his consultant, Mr. Stutzman.

But as an indication of the difficulties in challenging an incumbent, Mr. Moore said his supporters were not ready yet to endorse him publicly, which Mr. McClintock pointed to as evidence of his challenger’s lack of credibility.

Mr. Moore said he hoped that the first of the endorsements would be made soon.

“I’m hoping it’ll come before the primary,” he said. “But I don’t have it solidified yet.”
16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Common Core in Chicago on: April 23, 2014, 05:57:11 PM


http://dailycaller.com/2014/04/21/see-what-theyll-be-teaching-in-the-chicago-public-schools/?onswipe_redirect=no
17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Eagles at golf club in Tenn on: April 22, 2014, 07:45:23 PM
http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/22/sport/golf/golf-eagle-cam-tennessee-earth-day/index.html?hpt=hp_c5

http://harrisonbayeaglecam.org/
18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Israel's new satellite on: April 22, 2014, 07:28:30 PM


New Israeli Satellite Eyes Iran Nuke Program, Terrorist Arms Smuggling
by Yaakov Lappin
Special to IPT News
April 22, 2014
http://www.investigativeproject.org/4357/new-israeli-satellite-eyes-iran-nuke-program

 
An advanced satellite with radar sensors Israel launched into space earlier this month which is expected to enhance surveillance of the two greatest threats to Israeli and international security: Iran's nuclear program, and the extensive Iranian terrorist arms smuggling network.

The SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellite, called Ofek (Horizon) 10, creates high definition, radar-generated images, that look as if they've been taken by an optical camera. As it circles the Earth every 90 minutes, it can hover over several targets, peering through all weather conditions to beam back data to Israel's Military Intelligence Directorate.

Once it becomes fully operational, it will assist Israeli efforts to catch any Iranian nuclear transgressions. This development comes as defense officials in Jerusalem continue to warily follow diplomatic negotiations between an Islamic Republic that has reached nuclear breakout status, and an international community that may, according to Israeli fears, lack the resolve to force Iran back from its nuclear advances.

The Ofek 10 spy satellite soared into orbit on board a Shavit (comet) rocket, produced by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI). The latest launch, which was overseen by the Israeli Defense Ministry's Space Administration, means that Israeli intelligence can now fall back on several spy satellites to create one rolling evaluation of targets of interest, Amnon Harari, who heads the Space Administration, said this month.

Israel designed the satellite to be able to maneuver easily over multiple targets, meaning that Military Intelligence operators can direct the radars not only at nuclear sites in Iran, but also at ongoing Iranian efforts to smuggle powerful weapons, including missiles and long-range rockets, to terrorist proxies such as Hizballah in Lebanon and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

Israel's intelligence agencies divide their time between watching the Iranian nuclear program and working to disrupt the arms smuggling network, in a covert campaign that sees frequent, yet classified, successes.

The nuclear program and the arms-to-terrorists program are interlinked threats. The former, if completed, would enable Iran to threaten Israel and Sunni states with mass destruction, and the latter already enables pro-Iranian terror groups to do Tehran's regional bidding and sow radicalism and instability. If Iran went nuclear, its terrorist arms program could serve as a potential delivery mechanism for a dirty bomb that could be deployed anywhere in the world.

As a result, Israel is heavily investing in upgrading intelligence capabilities.

Ofer Doron, who heads the IAI's Mabat Division, which develops space systems, said the new satellite has "an incredible ability to take photographs, and it is very small."

The Ofek 10 can provide very precise, high quality images under all conditions, he added.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon alluded to the satellite's future role against Iran's conventional and unconventional proliferation activities when he stated that it would enhance Israeli capabilities to deal with threats "near and far, at any time of the day, and in all types of weather."

"This is how we continue to consolidate our enormous qualitative and technological edge over our neighbors," Ya'alon said.

Although Israeli officials have decreased the number of public statements expressing concern over the Iranian nuclear program, the issue remains at the top of the national security ladder in the eyes of the military and government, and considerable resources are being invested quietly to cope with the program.

Those efforts include ongoing refinements to a military strike option in the event that Iran is caught making a secret effort to break out to the weaponization stage.

The Iranian arms network represents the largest known program of state sponsorship of terrorism. It reaches far beyond Gaza and Lebanon, and includes Shi'ite militias and pro-Iranian terror groups in Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Pakistan, the Far East, Afghanistan, and even Latin America, according to Israeli intelligence assessments.

Iran is also facilitating the arrival of thousands of Shi'ite foreign fighters into Syria, to fight on behalf of the Assad regime. Many of these militiamen may go on to form Quds Force cells when they return to their countries of origin, according to a report released in March by the Tel Aviv-based Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

Yaakov Lappin is the Jerusalem Post's military and national security affairs correspondent, and author of The Virtual Caliphate (Potomac Books), which proposes that jihadis on the internet have established a virtual Islamist state.
19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Israel's new satellite on: April 22, 2014, 07:26:25 PM
New Israeli Satellite Eyes Iran Nuke Program, Terrorist Arms Smuggling
by Yaakov Lappin
Special to IPT News
April 22, 2014
http://www.investigativeproject.org/4357/new-israeli-satellite-eyes-iran-nuke-program

 
An advanced satellite with radar sensors Israel launched into space earlier this month which is expected to enhance surveillance of the two greatest threats to Israeli and international security: Iran's nuclear program, and the extensive Iranian terrorist arms smuggling network.

The SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellite, called Ofek (Horizon) 10, creates high definition, radar-generated images, that look as if they've been taken by an optical camera. As it circles the Earth every 90 minutes, it can hover over several targets, peering through all weather conditions to beam back data to Israel's Military Intelligence Directorate.

Once it becomes fully operational, it will assist Israeli efforts to catch any Iranian nuclear transgressions. This development comes as defense officials in Jerusalem continue to warily follow diplomatic negotiations between an Islamic Republic that has reached nuclear breakout status, and an international community that may, according to Israeli fears, lack the resolve to force Iran back from its nuclear advances.

The Ofek 10 spy satellite soared into orbit on board a Shavit (comet) rocket, produced by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI). The latest launch, which was overseen by the Israeli Defense Ministry's Space Administration, means that Israeli intelligence can now fall back on several spy satellites to create one rolling evaluation of targets of interest, Amnon Harari, who heads the Space Administration, said this month.

Israel designed the satellite to be able to maneuver easily over multiple targets, meaning that Military Intelligence operators can direct the radars not only at nuclear sites in Iran, but also at ongoing Iranian efforts to smuggle powerful weapons, including missiles and long-range rockets, to terrorist proxies such as Hizballah in Lebanon and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

Israel's intelligence agencies divide their time between watching the Iranian nuclear program and working to disrupt the arms smuggling network, in a covert campaign that sees frequent, yet classified, successes.

The nuclear program and the arms-to-terrorists program are interlinked threats. The former, if completed, would enable Iran to threaten Israel and Sunni states with mass destruction, and the latter already enables pro-Iranian terror groups to do Tehran's regional bidding and sow radicalism and instability. If Iran went nuclear, its terrorist arms program could serve as a potential delivery mechanism for a dirty bomb that could be deployed anywhere in the world.

As a result, Israel is heavily investing in upgrading intelligence capabilities.

Ofer Doron, who heads the IAI's Mabat Division, which develops space systems, said the new satellite has "an incredible ability to take photographs, and it is very small." The Ofek 10 can provide very precise, high quality images under all conditions, he added.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon alluded to the satellite's future role against Iran's conventional and unconventional proliferation activities when he stated that it would enhance Israeli capabilities to deal with threats "near and far, at any time of the day, and in all types of weather."

"This is how we continue to consolidate our enormous qualitative and technological edge over our neighbors," Ya'alon said.

Although Israeli officials have decreased the number of public statements expressing concern over the Iranian nuclear program, the issue remains at the top of the national security ladder in the eyes of the military and government, and considerable resources are being invested quietly to cope with the program.

Those efforts include ongoing refinements to a military strike option in the event that Iran is caught making a secret effort to break out to the weaponization stage.
The Iranian arms network represents the largest known program of state sponsorship of terrorism. It reaches far beyond Gaza and Lebanon, and includes Shi'ite militias and pro-Iranian terror groups in Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Pakistan, the Far East, Afghanistan, and even Latin America, according to Israeli intelligence assessments.

Iran is also facilitating the arrival of thousands of Shi'ite foreign fighters into Syria, to fight on behalf of the Assad regime. Many of these militiamen may go on to form Quds Force cells when they return to their countries of origin, according to a report released in March by the Tel Aviv-based Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

Yaakov Lappin is the Jerusalem Post's military and national security affairs correspondent, and author of The Virtual Caliphate (Potomac Books), which proposes that jihadis on the internet have established a virtual Islamist state.
20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Scott Grannis: Tracking the Perfect Storm-- important read on: April 22, 2014, 06:55:07 PM
Posting this here as well as on the Scott Grannis thread:

http://scottgrannis.blogspot.com/2014/04/tracking-perfect-storm.html
21  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Food Ration Cards on: April 22, 2014, 06:53:00 PM


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/04/venezuela-queues-food-ration-cards
22  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Indigenous Peoples site on FB on: April 22, 2014, 06:44:31 PM
Posting this here for my future reference.  Have not really looked at it yet.

https://www.facebook.com/indigenouspeoplesissues
23  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Fire Hydrant: Howls from Crafty Dog, Rules of the Road, etc on: April 22, 2014, 01:45:22 PM
A nice ego boost came my well this morning in the email. See www.dogbrothers.com for details.
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Prager: From Greatness to Whiteness on: April 22, 2014, 11:44:52 AM


http://www.dennisprager.com/greatness-whiteness/
25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Ben Franklin: The End of the Republic; Jefferson on Honesty on: April 22, 2014, 11:24:30 AM
""When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."" - Ben Franklin.

"It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good disposition." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, 1785
26  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Scott Grannis: Tracking the Perfect Storm-- important read on: April 22, 2014, 11:11:45 AM
http://scottgrannis.blogspot.com/2014/04/tracking-perfect-storm.html
27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Yemen on: April 22, 2014, 11:06:59 AM
Yemen Confirms 55 Militants Killed in Joint Aerial Campaign
________________________________________
 
Yemen's interior ministry confirmed that 55 al Qaeda linked militants were killed in what a Yemeni official called an "unprecedented" joint aerial campaign between Yemen and the United States in the mountainous Abyan, Shabwa, and Bayda provinces from Saturday to Monday. Air strikes, possibly from U.S. drones, reportedly targeted a training camp as well as several vehicles in the region. Another Yemeni official estimated the number of dead in the 40s. According to the interior ministry, three senior members of al Qaeda were among the fatalities as well as three civilians. Additionally, reports suggest Ibrahim al-Asiri, al Qaeda's chief bomb maker, may have been killed in an ambush over the weekend by U.S. backed special forces. Since the weekend's strikes, gunmen have killed four senior security officers, according to Yemeni officials.
28  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Where is the money really going to go? CALPERS? on: April 22, 2014, 11:01:56 AM
http://capoliticalnews.com/2014/04/21/calpers-hikes-rate-459-million-funding-still-low/

In a related vein see  http://capoliticalnews.com/2014/04/21/pensions-still-cloud-stockton-bankruptcy-exit/
29  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / FBI spying claims on: April 22, 2014, 10:37:47 AM

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/22/911-prosecutor-asks-for-more-time-over-fbi-spying-claims
30  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Manipulating the data in Chicago on: April 21, 2014, 09:17:26 PM


http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/May-2014/Chicago-crime-rates/
31  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Armed and Unarmed Resistance? on: April 21, 2014, 09:11:14 PM
Woof GM:  I'm thinking the Sharpton stuff better belongs in the "Cog. Dis. of the Left" thread.
32  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Glenn Beck: Fresh Start on: April 21, 2014, 06:10:07 PM
http://www.glennbeck.com/content/blog/glenn/a-fresh-start/
33  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Interesting interview re Bundy Ranch on: April 21, 2014, 05:54:43 PM
http://prepperchimp.com/2014/04/19/awesome-video-bundy-ranch-supporter-crushes-nbc-news-host/
34  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Two lesbian mothers submit 8 year old boy to female hormone treatment on: April 21, 2014, 05:52:45 PM
http://nuevamentes.blogspot.com/2014/02/una-pareja-de-lesbianas-transforma-en.html

 angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry
35  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Guros Crafty and Lonely in France on: April 21, 2014, 05:04:48 PM
http://www.protegor.net/blog/2014/04/protegor-le-magazine-de-la-self-defense-%E2%80%93-episode-7/
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 12 Tribes on: April 21, 2014, 12:50:07 PM
‘Grotesque’ fliers warn Jews in Ukraine

 


Click here to watch: ‘Grotesque’ fliers warn Jews in Ukraine
U.S. officials Thursday denounced what one called a "grotesque" leaflet ordering Jews in one eastern Ukrainian city to register with a government office, but the Jewish community there dismissed it as a "provocation. The fliers were handed out by masked men in front the main synagogue in Donetsk, where pro-Russian protesters have declared a "People's Republic," Jewish leaders there said. The document warned the city's Jews to register and document their property or face deportation, according to a CNN translation of one of the leaflets. Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" that a respected Jewish leader in Ukraine showed him a photograph of one of the leaflets. He called the document "chilling." And in Geneva, where diplomats held emergency talks on the Ukrainian crisis, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the leaflets "grotesque" and "beyond unacceptable."
Watch Here
But the Jewish community statement said relations between the Jews of Donetsk and their neighbors were amicable, and the self-proclaimed head of the "People's Republic," Denis Pushilin, denied any connection to the fliers. Pushilin told CNN the handwriting on the flier wasn't his, and the title attached to his name was not one he uses. It wasn't clear who had distributed the leaflets, but the chief rabbi of nearby Dnipropetrovsk said, "Everything must be done to catch them." "It's important for everyone to know its not true," said the rabbi, Shmuel Kaminezki. "The Jews of Donetsk will not do what the letter says. The reports come as Ukraine's Western-backed interim government has been struggling to contain uprisings by pro-Russian political movements in several eastern cities, with both sides invoking the historical horror of Nazism in their disputes. Pyatt told CNN that radical groups may be trying to stir up historic fears or create a provocation to justify further violence. "It's chilling. I was disgusted by these leaflets," Pyatt said. "Especially in Ukraine, a country that suffered so terribly under the Nazis, that was one of the sites of the worst violence of the Holocaust. To drag up this kind of rhetoric is almost beyond belief." The leaflets were handed out on Tuesday, during the Jewish holiday of Passover, the Jewish community statement said. They stated that registration was required because Jewish leaders had supported the "nationalists and bandits" in Kiev, where a popular revolt ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February.
Source: CNN


37  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Krugman: Sadomonetarism in Sweden screwing things up on: April 21, 2014, 11:17:49 AM


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/21/opinion/krugman-sweden-turns-japanese.html?emc=edit_th_20140421&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193
38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / John Adams, inferiors and superiors 1776 on: April 21, 2014, 11:13:25 AM
"It already appears, that there must be in every society of men superiors and inferiors, because God has laid in the constitution and course of nature the foundations of the distinction." --John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776
39  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / OTOH, here's this: on: April 21, 2014, 11:11:04 AM
OTOH  http://jpfo.org/
40  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / So much for the secrecy of the vote , , , on: April 21, 2014, 10:19:59 AM
http://dailycaller.com/2014/04/21/obama-admin-wants-to-require-companies-to-give-workers-numbers-addresses-to-unions-before-labor-elections/
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Armed and Unarmed Resistance? on: April 21, 2014, 08:27:21 AM
Haven't had a chance to look at this yet (clip is 37 minutes!) but it alleges to have found proof of Dingy Harry having direct financial interest in the land around Bundy.

Anyone care to take a look at this?

http://prepperchimp.com/2014/04/20/must-see-video-blm-whistleblower-reid-bunkerville-llc-owns-land-around-the-bundy-ranch/
42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Maybe AQAP shouldn't have been so cocky on: April 21, 2014, 08:20:52 AM
Our side was making some noise the other day when AQAP released a video of a big open air meeting.   Maybe we were premature.  It now looks like AQAP got a bit too cocky.

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Air strikes in southern Yemen have killed more than 40 suspected al Qaeda militants as well as three civilians over the past three days. According to the defense ministry strikes on Saturday and Sunday were launched as part of the government's efforts to combat terrorism. A source from the High Security Committee said Sunday's strikes targeted a southern mountainous region between Abyan, Shabwa, and Bayda provinces and were based on information that "terrorist elements were planning to target vital civilian and military installations." A government official said the operation was conducted in collaboration with the United States but did not reference drone strikes, however local sources said drones had been seen circling the target areas prior to the strikes. According to the New America Foundation, the United States has carried out over 100 drone strikes in Yemen since 2002.
43  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Roger Waters of Pink Floyd on: April 21, 2014, 08:06:08 AM
http://observer.com/2013/12/the-anti-semitic-stench-of-pink-floyd/
44  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Brazil on: April 21, 2014, 08:00:02 AM
Opening here a thread for Brazil/Abriendo aqui un hilo por Brazil.


45  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / But she has lots of frequent flyer miles , , , on: April 21, 2014, 07:54:30 AM


http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/20/usaid-documents-cite-hillary-clinton-in-chaos-of-a/
46  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Politica on: April 21, 2014, 07:51:49 AM
!Es verdad!  cheesy

Acabo de fijarme de la gran numero de "reads" que ha logrado este hilo.  Esto se debe a la alta calidad de tus contribuciones aqui' y quiero felicitarte y darte las gracias por ello.
47  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / A Nicolas; WSJ: SCOTUS case on Argentina's default on: April 21, 2014, 07:49:16 AM
Nicolas:

Por favor disculpe la tardanza en mi respuesta, pero yo estaba en Brazil y luego con fuerzas especiales de nuestro ejercito.

Quiero felicitarte el buen trabajo que tu gente y tu estan mostrando aqui'.

Mi comentario mas detallado se encuentrara' en el foro de la DBMA Association.

Guro Crafty

PD:  Me alegra muchisimo que Uds tuvieran la experiencia de entrenar con Lazy Dog.

==================================================

How Argentina's Default Could Be New York's Loss
The commercial capital depends on U.S. courts to hold governments to their promises.
By Jonathan Macey
April 20, 2014 5:25 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court on Monday hears arguments in Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital. It is a simple case. But the decision will have far-reaching implications for international finance, sovereign debt and even the position of New York City as the financial capital of the world.

The controversy began in 2001 when, amid a severe domestic economic crisis, Argentina defaulted on $80 billion in debt. The government tried to make a deal with its bondholders twice, in 2005 and again in 2010, offering them new debt worth 25 cents to 29 cents for each dollar of the bonds in default.

Many bondholders took the deal but others declined. Argentina tried to coerce the holdouts by enacting its so-called Lock Law, which prohibits the Argentine government from making any better offer to the non-tendering bondholders or complying with any U.S. court ruling requiring holdouts to be repaid.

The original debt was sold to investors with an explicit term that disputes would be resolved in New York under New York law. And in the continuing litigation, the holdouts are relying on U.S. courts to enforce a clause in the bond covenant that requires Argentina to treat all bondholders equally. This clause, known to lawyers as a pari passu clause, means Argentina cannot pick and choose among its creditors with laws like the Lock Law.

In early 2012, federal Judge Thomas P. Griesa of the Southern District of New York barred Argentina from making payments on the subsequently issued debt without paying what it owes to the holdouts. If Argentina pays the owners of the new debt 5% of what it owes them, it must also pay 5% of what is owed to the holdouts. When the new bonds are paid in full, the holdouts would be paid in full as well.


To enforce the court's judgment, Judge Griesa also allowed investors in Argentina's defaulted bonds to subpoena information from banks, including Bank of America Corp. BAC +0.12% and Banco de la Nacion Argentina, about where Argentina is stashing its assets around the world. Judge Griesa rightfully said that his decision rested upon "the public interest of enforcing contracts and upholding the rule of law," and he was upheld on appeal.

Argentina has appealed to the Supreme Court, and the Obama administration has taken its side. The U.S. Justice Department has argued that enforcing the terms of the agreement will make future debt restructurings more difficult and undermine the U.S.'s interest "in promoting reciprocal international principles of central bank immunity." Academics have also argued that enforcing Argentina's own contracts against it might undercut debt restructurings.

These arguments are bogus. Any country that wants to restructure in the way that Argentina is trying to do simply can decline to put equal-treatment clauses in their contracts.

The way to help sovereigns is by upholding the contracts they sign. By siding with Argentina's holdout creditors, U.S. courts are helping all borrowers achieve access to credit markets on competitive terms. If courts won't enforce the promises made by borrowers, investors won't lend to them or will insist on higher rates of interest as compensation for their increased risk in case of default.

History is littered with examples of governments that renege on their promises to investors. Holding them to their promises should be regarded as a victory for international law and norms.

In support of Judge Griesa, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has said that "in New York, a bond is a contract" and the parties' dispute "presents a simple question of contract interpretation." In the world of business, actually enforcing the terms of contracts is the way to nurture markets and generate economic growth. The claim that sovereigns are not subject to the rule of law fails to recognize that if U.S. courts decline to enforce contracts, sovereign nations and corporate borrowers will be motivated to enter into contracts in places that will enforce them.

New York City remains the commercial capital of the world. Sophisticated parties around the world routinely specify that New York law as construed by New York judges should govern disputes in international agreements, even when no U.S. party is involved in the deal. It is the willingness of courts to hold people—and governments—to their promises that enables the city to retain its dominance. Indeed, that enables a free economy to operate. We can only hope the Supreme Court keeps that in mind.

Mr. Macey is a professor at the Yale Law School.

48  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: China's growth struggles on: April 21, 2014, 07:19:12 AM
Addresses themes I have discussed here for years, but comes to a more optimistic sense of things.  I can't this this is wrong though , , ,

China's Growth Struggles
Market reform is crucial to avoiding the middle-income trap.
Updated April 20, 2014 5:16 p.m. ET

China's first quarter growth of 7.4% beat expectations last week, but it was a six-quarter low and below Beijing's 2014 target of 7.5%. Some analysts worry the country is vulnerable to a property market collapse and explosion of bad bank loans. So is the main engine of global growth about to stall?

One thing most everyone agrees on: China is in transition from a go-go phase driven by abundant capital and labor (think of the U.S. in the late 19th century) to a more mature development track in which growth depends on productivity gains. At this point other countries such as Brazil and Malaysia fell into the "middle-income trap" and stagnated, while South Korea and Taiwan powered through to become wealthy, although not without crises along the way.

Through the 2000s, Beijing struggled to rein in growth to avoid inflation, and any time the economy looked to be slowing it simply eased restrictions on investment and was off to the races again. Now gross capital formation, which averaged 15% from 2000-10, is around 10% as costs rise and profits are squeezed. The economy is overleveraged, with total debt (government and private) exceeding 200% of GDP. Negative purchaser managers index (PMI) indicators reflect the realization that companies can't rely on high GDP growth to repay loans.

Beijing's new leaders seem to recognize that financial reform and a period of deleveraging are needed to meet this challenge. Since slower growth is a necessary part of this program, the current slowdown could be read as a positive sign that the days of growth at any cost are over. The announcement last month that deposit rates will be liberalized over the next two years signals an end to financial repression, by which interest paid on savings was kept low to make borrowing cheaper. That suppressed consumption and led to the most lopsided economy the world has ever seen, with investment accounting for about 50% of GDP.

Like many of China's past reforms, de facto deposit-rate liberalization started well before the official announcement, in the form of what's been called the shadow banking system. While dangerous risks may be hidden here, there is a considerable upside: The state banks created entities to attract deposits at market rates of interest.

This "reform" came about because banks found that profit margins were shrinking on traditional loans to state-owned companies and local governments. So they sold high-return "wealth-management products" (WMPs) to investors and used the money to lend at still higher rates to private companies. By pricing risk, WMPs make the allocation of capital more efficient.

Another piece of good news is that access by private companies to bank loans has grown dramatically, surpassing the loans to state enterprises in 2012. This would have happened even faster if Beijing's post-2008 stimulus hadn't given a big boost to state firms. Private firms now account for two-thirds of investment, up from 40% a decade ago.

Over the last decade, demographic trends have pushed wages up faster than productivity growth. You wouldn't know it with all the angst about high inequality, but this trend has put pressure on managers to find efficiency gains. And it will help force Beijing to sell off state-owned enterprises that can't keep up. All of this suggests that China may follow South Korea and Taiwan and avoid the middle-income trap.

But it doesn't say whether a crisis is brewing in the next few years. Most crisis scenarios concern the property market, which accounts for almost a quarter of the economy. The problem is not so much high prices, since the average cost of an apartment has tracked rising urban incomes. Nor is it leverage, since regulations restrict mortgages and many buyers pay with cash. It is simply volume.

A side-effect of China's low bank-deposit rates and dysfunctional stock market is that many households have put their savings into empty apartments, which are so numerous they have spawned "ghost cities." When prices begin to fall, most owners will likely hold on and wait for a rebound. That means a long period of stagnation as the excess supply gradually comes onto the market.

The loss of such a big driver of growth will be painful, but by itself it shouldn't trigger the kind of financial crisis the U.S. saw in 2008. Chinese firms, ever flexible, will seek out new opportunities, and that could pay some surprising dividends. One reason China has been slow to produce innovative firms or global brands is that much of the country's talent and capital have been sucked into the production of empty buildings.
***

China's economic slowdown recalls Adam Smith's remark, often quoted by Milton Friedman : "There is much ruin in a nation." It is a reminder that even though many things go wrong, market forces, if allowed to operate, generally bring about a positive outcome. We can't rule out that there is so much malinvestment on balance sheets that a crisis is coming. But the fact that China's leaders still have the courage to expand the market's role gives hope that this slowdown doesn't herald the end of its growth story.
49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How to energize the economy on: April 21, 2014, 07:13:41 AM
How to Energize a Lackluster Recovery
Allowing the full and immediate deductibility of capital investment would spur growth and raise wages.
By Edward P. Lazear
April 20, 2014 5:35 p.m. ET

April always brings complaints about the pain of paying taxes—and the complaints are justified. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, over 30% of U.S. gross domestic product is taxed away to fund federal, state and local governments. Tax compliance costs are also large, estimated to be around 1% of GDP.

The hidden cost of the tax system is the biggest of all—namely, the slower economic growth that results from taxing investment, which impedes the formation of capital and hinders productivity and wage growth. An easy way to remove the impediment to growth is to move toward a consumption tax by allowing the full and immediate deductibility of capital investment.

The argument rests on two points. First, consumption taxes are better for economic growth than are income taxes. Second, allowing full expensing (immediate deductibility) of investment turns the current tax system into a consumption tax.

Consumption taxes are better for economic growth because they create stronger incentives to save and invest than do income taxes. Under an income tax, a person who consumes what he earns immediately is taxed once, specifically on the earnings that he receives in that year. If instead he invests what he earns, the interest on that investment, which is compensation for deferring consumption, is also taxed. This pushes him toward consuming more now and saving less.


The reduced incentive to save that results from taxing returns drives up interest rates and retards investment. Incentives to invest would be improved if the returns were untaxed. By contrast, a consumption tax does not tax the returns to investment. It taxes only once, at the time that actual consumption occurs. Moving to a consumption tax eliminates the tax on returns to investment and improves investment incentives.

Allowing investment expenses to be fully and immediately deductible turns an income tax into a consumption tax, but the logic is subtle. All of an economy's output is used to produce either current consumption or investment goods. If all income, which must equal output, is taxed, then both consumption and investment are taxed. But if we tax only the part of output that is not investment by allowing investment expenditures to be deductible, all that remains is consumption so only consumption is taxed.

There is no need for any complicated new tax laws or bureaucracies to make this change. Investments in plants, equipment, R&D and even human capital would be deductible from profits when paying taxes, and the deduction could be used now or against future or past tax liabilities.

The potential benefits of moving away from taxing investment to a consumption tax are well documented. A 2005 Tax Advisory Panel appointed by President George W. Bush estimated from Treasury data that moving to a consumption tax by removing taxes on investment would result in a 5%-7% increase in GDP. (Its scoring included lower and flatter individual and corporate rates, though expensing accounted for most of the gain.) A 2001 study in the American Economic Review by David Altig, Alan J. Auerbach and others estimates that GDP would rise more than 9% by moving to full expensing of investment spending (with a flat tax).

Taxing investment reduces after-tax returns to investing. Investors care about after-tax returns and a tax policy that lowers investment returns is especially harmful to long-term economic growth. For example, a 2001 report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, "Tax Policy Reform and Economic Growth," found that corporate taxes are the most harmful type of tax for economic growth, followed by personal income taxes and then consumption taxes, with recurrent taxes on immovable property being the least harmful tax.

Capital taxation introduces the most distortions because capital can move across international borders easily. If one country overtaxes investment, the marginal investor will move money to a country that treats investment more favorably. It is more difficult for labor to move so taxing labor has fewer adverse incentives. Finally, land is truly locked in and land taxes are the least problematic from an economic efficiency standpoint.

Lower corporate tax rates is a move in the right direction, but it is not as effective in stimulating investment as is full-expensing. The bang-for-the-buck was estimated by Treasury to be about four times as high for full-expensing than for lowering rates. The reason? Lowering corporate rates reduces taxes for all capital, old and new alike. An investment that was made 10 years ago gets the benefit of lower rates as does one that is made tomorrow. But full expensing applies only to new investment because it is only investment going forward that is deductible. As a result, all of the power of reducing taxes works for new investment in the case of full expensing.

Full expensing will likely be labeled a "trickle down" policy that will not help the working American. This is unfortunate because labor would benefit greatly. Investment is crucial for increasing labor productivity and higher productivity is necessary for higher wages. Productivity and wages move together. Without productivity increases wages cannot grow.

There are many changes that would improve the efficiency of the tax code, but cutting the tax on investment heads the list.

Mr. Lazear, chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 2006-09, is a professor at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and a Hoover Institution fellow.
50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: The costs of Crimea to Russia on: April 21, 2014, 07:11:02 AM
What Putin Is Costing Russia
Former finance minister Alexi Kudrin projects up to $160 billion in capital will flee this year.
By Ilan Berman
April 20, 2014 5:24 p.m. ET

Just how much is Vladimir Putin's Ukrainian adventure actually costing Russia? Quite a lot, it turns out.

New statistics from the Central Bank of Russia indicate that almost $51 billion in capital exited the country in the first quarter of 2014. The exodus, says financial website Quartz.com, is largely the result of investor jitters over Russia's intervention in Ukraine and subsequent annexation of Crimea.

As Quartz notes, this was the highest quarterly outflow of capital from the Russian Federation since the fourth quarter of 2008. While Russia can mitigate some of the damage because of its extensive foreign-currency reserves—estimated at more than $400 billion—the new Central Bank statistics signal that worse is still to come.

Russia's economic development ministry has downgraded the country's forecast to less than 1% growth this year; an earlier estimate had been 2.5%. The World Bank projects that the Russian economy could shrink nearly 2% in 2014. That would cost Russia in the neighborhood of $30 billion in lost economic output.

Meanwhile, the Russian government's bid to pressure Ukraine could end up backfiring. The state-controlled natural-gas giant, Gazprom, OGZPY +5.53% recently jacked up the price of gas to Ukraine by 80% and levied an $11.4 billion bill on Kiev for previously discounted energy sales. But observers say that the price hike could lead to a reduction in purchases as Kiev diversifies away from Russia toward friendlier European suppliers. This may already be happening. On April 9 the Ukrainian government retaliated by temporarily ceasing purchases of Russian gas, pending resolution of the pricing dispute.
Enlarge Image

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussing the country's economy, April 8. Getty Images

Moscow's international standing is becoming increasingly tenuous. Russia has already been ejected from the G-8 and its path to accession in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has been halted, at least temporarily. In the latest development, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe stripped Russia of its voting rights in protest over its interference in Ukraine.

Russia's annexation of Crimea it is turning into a costly boondoggle. The Kremlin has already earmarked nearly $7 billion in economic aid for the peninsula this year, funds that will be spent on everything from infrastructure to beefed-up pensions for local residents. Even when balanced against anticipated gains from Crimea's energy resources and savings on naval basing arrangements, among other factors, that's a cost Russia's sluggish economy can ill afford.

The situation could become even more dire if Western economic pressure, which is still minimal, is ratcheted up. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has threatened additional sanctions against Moscow in response to its instigation of pro-Russian protests in the Ukrainian cities of Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk. Such measures, Mr. Kerry has indicated, could include broad restrictions against Russia's energy, banking and mining. These sanctions could have significant, far-reaching effects on the country's long-term economic fortunes.

President Putin is currently riding a surge of popularity at home, propelled in no small measure by his assertive moves in Ukraine. When tallied in mid-March by state polling group VTsIOM, Mr. Putin's approval stood at nearly 72%, a gain of almost 10 percentage points from earlier in the year.

But the longer the crisis over Ukraine lasts, the higher the economic costs to Russia are likely to be. Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, for example, has projected that Moscow's maneuvers in Ukraine could result in up to $160 billion in capital flight this year, and he concluded that the Russian economy will stagnate as a result.

Sometime in the not too distant future, it might become considerably more difficult for the Kremlin to continue to ignore the real-world price that is associated with its policies.

Mr. Berman is vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, D.C.
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