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23251  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: November 23, 2011, 05:26:10 PM
BD:

Back during the summer I worked for the anti-trust division of the Federal Trade Commission (what a long strange trip my life has been!  cheesy ) I remember there was a case I had to research where Section 7 of the Clayton Act was used to undo a merger that had been accomplished some 50 or 60 years earlier (Dupont? GM?  I forget).  The key phrase was that "laches does not run against the government" or something like that.

I bring this up in light of your pointing out that the urban camping was not unknown previously and that therefore the government(s) in question could have passed legislation prior to OWS activities.  Be this as it may, this does not convert recent legislation into laws of attainder.  Yes?
23252  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: November 23, 2011, 05:20:25 PM
That's a lot of meter maid! cheesy
23253  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: November 23, 2011, 05:15:34 PM
Lacking GM's extraordinary google fu skills I am unable to lay my hands on the data (NO sarcasm here whatsoever!) but I do have a clear sense of having seen data in a variety of sources that seemed reliable to me concerning the remarkable % of net GDP profits that came from the financial sector in the 1990s and 2000s.
23254  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude on: November 23, 2011, 05:10:04 PM
"O great Creator of being! Grant us this our to perform our Art and perfect our lives!"

Jim Morrison
23255  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Euro data on the EU crisis on: November 23, 2011, 11:31:41 AM


From our Slovenian friend Andraz

http://www.voxeu.org/
 
hi Marc,
 
this is the website of the leading european financial think tank. It is quite technical at times, but basically covers everything EU at the moment of crisis.
23256  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: November 23, 2011, 11:18:01 AM
Surrounding police and blocking their free movement is a big no no.
23257  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Morris on the debate: Newt won! on: November 23, 2011, 11:16:10 AM
Great debate last night-- great format, great questions, great performances by most of the candidates.  Perry is clearly in way over his head.

http://www.dickmorris.com/blog/
23258  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Armed illegals stalked Border Patrol on: November 23, 2011, 11:04:53 AM
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/nov/22/armed-illegals-stalked-border-patrol/?page=all#pagebreak
Armed illegals stalked Border Patrol
Mexicans were ‘patrolling’ when agent was slain, indictment says
By Jerry Seper
The Washington Times
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

SLAIN: Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry called out, “I’m hit,” after a bullet pierced his aorta. He died at the scene. (Associated Press)


 
Five illegal immigrants armed with at least two AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifles were hunting for U.S. Border Patrol agents near a desert watering hole known as Mesquite Seep just north of the Arizona-Mexico border when a firefight erupted and one U.S. agent was killed, records show.

A now-sealed federal grand jury indictmentin the death of Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terrysays the Mexican nationals were “patrolling” the rugged desert area of Peck Canyon at about 11:15 p.m. on Dec. 14 with the intent to “intentionally and forcibly assault” Border Patrol agents.

At least two of the Mexicans carried their assault rifles “at the ready position,” one of several details about the attack showing that Mexican smugglers are becoming more aggressive on the U.S. side of the border.

According to the indictment, the Mexicans were “patrolling the area in single-file formation” a dozen miles northwest of the border town of Nogales and — in the darkness of the Arizona night — opened fire on four Border Patrol agents after the agents identified themselves in Spanish as police officers.

Two AK-47 assault rifles found at the scene came from the failed Fast and Furious operation.

Using thermal binoculars, one of the agents determined that at least two of the Mexicans were carrying rifles, but according to an affidavit in the case by FBI agent Scott Hunter, when the Mexicans did not drop their weapons as ordered, two agents used their shotguns to fire “less than lethal” beanbags at them.

At least one of the Mexicans opened fire and, according to the affidavit, Terry, a 40-year-old former U.S. Marine, was shot in the back. A Border Patrol shooting-incident report said that Terry called out, “I’m hit,” and then fell to the ground, a bullet having pierced his aorta. “I can’t feel my legs,” Terry told one of the agents who cradled him. “I think I’m paralyzed.”

Bleeding profusely, he died at the scene.

After the initial shots, two agents returned fire, hitting Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, 33, in the abdomen and leg. The others fled. The FBI affidavit said Osorio-Arellanes admitted during an interview that all five of the Mexicans were armed.

Peck Canyon is a notorious drug-smuggling corridor.

Osorio-Arellanes initially was charged with illegal entry, but that case was dismissed when the indictment was handed up. It named Osorio-Arellanes on a charge of second-degree murder, but did not identify him as the likely shooter, saying only that Osorio-Arellanes and others whose names were blacked out “did unlawfully kill with malice aforethought United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry while Agent Terry was engaged in … his official duties.”

The indictment also noted that Osorio-Arellanes had been convicted in Phoenix in 2006 of felony aggravated assault, had been detained twice in 2010 as an illegal immigrant, and had been returned to Mexico repeatedly.

Bill Brooks, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s acting southwest border field branch chief, referred inquiries to the FBI, which is conducting the investigation. The FBI declined to comment.

The case against Osorio-Arellanes and others involved in the shooting has since been sealed, meaning that neither the public nor the media has access to any evidence, filings, rulings or arguments.

The U.S. attorney’s office in San Diego, which is prosecuting the case, would confirm only that it was sealed. Also sealed was the judge’s reason for sealing the case.

The indictment lists the names of other suspects in the shooting, but they are redacted.

In the Terry killing, two Romanian-built AK-47 assault rifles found at the scene were identified as having been purchased in a Glendale, Ariz., gun shop as part of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) failed Fast and Furious investigation.

A number of rank-and-file Border Patrol agents have questioned why the case has not gone to trial, nearly a year after Terry’s killing. Several also have concerns about the lack of transparency in the investigation, compounded now by the fact that the court case has been sealed.

Shawn P. Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents all 17,000 nonsupervisory agents, said it is rare for illegal immigrants or drug smugglers to engage agents in the desert, saying they usually “drop their loads and take off south.”

“The Brian Terry murder was a real wake-up call,” Mr. Moran said. “It emphasizes the failed state of security on the U.S. border, which poses more of a threat to us than either Iraq or Afghanistan. We have terrorism going on right on the other side of the fence, and we’re arming the drug cartels.

“My biggest fear is that someday a cartel member is going to go berserk, stick a rifle through the fence and kill as many Border Patrol agents as he can,” he said.

Mr. Moran said he understood the “rationale of working things up the food chain,” as suggested in the Fast and Furious probe, but had no idea how ATF planned to arrest cartel members who ultimately purchased the weapons since the agency lacks jurisdiction south of the border and never advised Mexican authorities about the operation.

“It was a ridiculous idea from the beginning, and it baffles us on how it was ever approved,” he said.

Mr. Moran also challenged the use of less-than-lethal s in the shooting incident, saying field agents have been “strong-armed” by the agency’s leadership to use nonlethal weapons. He said they were not appropriate for the incident in which Terry was killed.

“That was no place for beanbag rounds,” he said, noting that the encounter was at least 12 miles inside the U.S. and was carried out by armed men looking specifically to target Border Patrol agents.

CBP has said Terry and the agents with him carried fully loaded sidearms, along with two additional magazines, and were not under orders to use nonlethal ammunition first.

Mr. Moran, himself a veteran Border Patrol agent, said he also was “surprised” that the suspected Mexican gunmen were carrying their weapons at the ready position, meaning that the butts of the weapons were placed firmly in the pocket of the shoulder with the barrels pointed down at a 45-degree angle. He said this probably meant they had some level of military training.

More than 250 incursions by Mexican military personnel into the United States have been documented over the past several years.

The Border Patrol has warned agents in Arizona that many of the intruders were “trained to escape, evade and counter-ambush” if detected. The agency cautioned agents to keep “a low profile,” to use “cover and concealment” in approaching the Mexican units, to employ “shadows and camouflage” to conceal themselves and to “stay as quiet as possible.”

Several of the incursions occurred in the same area where Terry was killed, including a 2005 incident in which two agents were shot and wounded by assailants dressed in black commando-type clothing in what law-enforcement authorities said was a planned ambush. More than 50 rounds were fired at the agents after they spotted the suspected gunmen.

Many of the Mexican drug cartels use former Mexican soldiers, police and federal agents to protect drug loads headed into the U.S. Many cartel leaders also have targeted U.S. Border Patrol agents and state and local police, sometimes offering bounties of up to $50,000.
23259  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Armed illegals stalked Border Patrol on: November 23, 2011, 11:03:56 AM

Pasting this here from the Gun thread. 

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/nov/22/armed-illegals-stalked-border-patrol/?page=all#pagebreak

Armed illegals stalked Border Patrol

Mexicans were ‘patrolling’ when agent was slain, indictment says


 By Jerry Seper

-

The Washington Times

 Tuesday, November 22, 2011



SLAIN: Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry called out, “I’m hit,” after a bullet pierced his aorta. He died at the scene. (Associated Press)


 
Five illegal immigrants armed with at least two AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifles were hunting for U.S. Border Patrol agents near a desert watering hole known as Mesquite Seep just north of the Arizona-Mexico border when a firefight erupted and one U.S. agent was killed, records show.

A now-sealed federal grand jury indictmentin the death of Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terrysays the Mexican nationals were “patrolling” the rugged desert area of Peck Canyon at about 11:15 p.m. on Dec. 14 with the intent to “intentionally and forcibly assault” Border Patrol agents.

At least two of the Mexicans carried their assault rifles “at the ready position,” one of several details about the attack showing that Mexican smugglers are becoming more aggressive on the U.S. side of the border.

According to the indictment, the Mexicans were “patrolling the area in single-file formation” a dozen miles northwest of the border town of Nogales and — in the darkness of the Arizona night — opened fire on four Border Patrol agents after the agents identified themselves in Spanish as police officers.

Two AK-47 assault rifles found at the scene came from the failed Fast and Furious operation.

Using thermal binoculars, one of the agents determined that at least two of the Mexicans were carrying rifles, but according to an affidavit in the case by FBI agent Scott Hunter, when the Mexicans did not drop their weapons as ordered, two agents used their shotguns to fire “less than lethal” beanbags at them.

At least one of the Mexicans opened fire and, according to the affidavit, Terry, a 40-year-old former U.S. Marine, was shot in the back. A Border Patrol shooting-incident report said that Terry called out, “I’m hit,” and then fell to the ground, a bullet having pierced his aorta. “I can’t feel my legs,” Terry told one of the agents who cradled him. “I think I’m paralyzed.”

Bleeding profusely, he died at the scene.

After the initial shots, two agents returned fire, hitting Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, 33, in the abdomen and leg. The others fled. The FBI affidavit said Osorio-Arellanes admitted during an interview that all five of the Mexicans were armed.

Peck Canyon is a notorious drug-smuggling corridor.

Osorio-Arellanes initially was charged with illegal entry, but that case was dismissed when the indictment was handed up. It named Osorio-Arellanes on a charge of second-degree murder, but did not identify him as the likely shooter, saying only that Osorio-Arellanes and others whose names were blacked out “did unlawfully kill with malice aforethought United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry while Agent Terry was engaged in … his official duties.”

The indictment also noted that Osorio-Arellanes had been convicted in Phoenix in 2006 of felony aggravated assault, had been detained twice in 2010 as an illegal immigrant, and had been returned to Mexico repeatedly.

Bill Brooks, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s acting southwest border field branch chief, referred inquiries to the FBI, which is conducting the investigation. The FBI declined to comment.

The case against Osorio-Arellanes and others involved in the shooting has since been sealed, meaning that neither the public nor the media has access to any evidence, filings, rulings or arguments.

The U.S. attorney’s office in San Diego, which is prosecuting the case, would confirm only that it was sealed. Also sealed was the judge’s reason for sealing the case.

The indictment lists the names of other suspects in the shooting, but they are redacted.

In the Terry killing, two Romanian-built AK-47 assault rifles found at the scene were identified as having been purchased in a Glendale, Ariz., gun shop as part of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) failed Fast and Furious investigation.

A number of rank-and-file Border Patrol agents have questioned why the case has not gone to trial, nearly a year after Terry’s killing. Several also have concerns about the lack of transparency in the investigation, compounded now by the fact that the court case has been sealed.

Shawn P. Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents all 17,000 nonsupervisory agents, said it is rare for illegal immigrants or drug smugglers to engage agents in the desert, saying they usually “drop their loads and take off south.”

“The Brian Terry murder was a real wake-up call,” Mr. Moran said. “It emphasizes the failed state of security on the U.S. border, which poses more of a threat to us than either Iraq or Afghanistan. We have terrorism going on right on the other side of the fence, and we’re arming the drug cartels.

“My biggest fear is that someday a cartel member is going to go berserk, stick a rifle through the fence and kill as many Border Patrol agents as he can,” he said.

Mr. Moran said he understood the “rationale of working things up the food chain,” as suggested in the Fast and Furious probe, but had no idea how ATF planned to arrest cartel members who ultimately purchased the weapons since the agency lacks jurisdiction south of the border and never advised Mexican authorities about the operation.

“It was a ridiculous idea from the beginning, and it baffles us on how it was ever approved,” he said.

Mr. Moran also challenged the use of less-than-lethal s in the shooting incident, saying field agents have been “strong-armed” by the agency’s leadership to use nonlethal weapons. He said they were not appropriate for the incident in which Terry was killed.

“That was no place for beanbag rounds,” he said, noting that the encounter was at least 12 miles inside the U.S. and was carried out by armed men looking specifically to target Border Patrol agents.

CBP has said Terry and the agents with him carried fully loaded sidearms, along with two additional magazines, and were not under orders to use nonlethal ammunition first.

Mr. Moran, himself a veteran Border Patrol agent, said he also was “surprised” that the suspected Mexican gunmen were carrying their weapons at the ready position, meaning that the butts of the weapons were placed firmly in the pocket of the shoulder with the barrels pointed down at a 45-degree angle. He said this probably meant they had some level of military training.

More than 250 incursions by Mexican military personnel into the United States have been documented over the past several years.

The Border Patrol has warned agents in Arizona that many of the intruders were “trained to escape, evade and counter-ambush” if detected. The agency cautioned agents to keep “a low profile,” to use “cover and concealment” in approaching the Mexican units, to employ “shadows and camouflage” to conceal themselves and to “stay as quiet as possible.”

Several of the incursions occurred in the same area where Terry was killed, including a 2005 incident in which two agents were shot and wounded by assailants dressed in black commando-type clothing in what law-enforcement authorities said was a planned ambush. More than 50 rounds were fired at the agents after they spotted the suspected gunmen.

Many of the Mexican drug cartels use former Mexican soldiers, police and federal agents to protect drug loads headed into the U.S. Many cartel leaders also have targeted U.S. Border Patrol agents and state and local police, sometimes offering bounties of up to $50,000.

23260  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / KT version of the Dog Catcher on: November 23, 2011, 10:50:55 AM
A fine time was head this past weekend with Carlos and Pete in Chicago, and for those playing hooky from work, on Monday too.  Amongst the material taught was the unveiling of the Dog Catcher Game for Kali Tudo.  Up to now I have shown the DC only in the context of it as an anti-knife pick up.  The idea that it was also part of our Kali Tudo has always been there, but this is the first seminar where I have actually shown it.
23261  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: November 23, 2011, 09:56:26 AM
a) I have seen apparently substantiated reports that the students had the police SURROUNDED and refused to budge.  Pepper spray seems like a pretty fg reasonable response to me!

b) As for the school president apologizing, , ,  any chance politics and cowardice played a role there?
23262  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 22, 2011, 05:33:54 PM
Ummm , , , nothing in there that I can see addressing the fact that after helping them drive out the Russian Empire and then leaving them alone that they gave sanctuary to AQ to attack us.  Nor is there anything about Pakistan or the greater realities of Afpakia.

Other than that , , ,
23263  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: November 22, 2011, 05:16:31 PM
As best as I can tell in this case the question presented if whether the Campus Police needed to get permission from the President to follow the standard posted by GM.
23264  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / New flash! I disagree with the WSJ! on: November 22, 2011, 05:07:53 PM
Frankly I disagree with the snark of the following piece from the WSJ.

IMHO EPA's Jackson is correct that there is a proper function for government in bringing a calculus of the external diseconomies of pollution into business decisions.

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



Psychoanalysis is usually the wrong way to understand politics, but the Obama Administration may be reviving the field with its Freudian slips. The latest to land on the couch is Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson, who gave an unintentionally candid interview this weekend with Thalia Assuras of Energy Now News.

Ms. Jackson was asked about the EPA's regulatory boom and the resulting mass retirements of coal-fired power plants. She responded by claiming that "First off, EPA doesn't require shutting down of any plant," which is technically true: The EPA merely writes rules so stringent that those plants are no longer economic to operate.

When pressed, Ms. Jackson went on to say that "No, I can't say what a business will decide to do. Some businesses are investing in nuclear, some are looking at natural gas. There are states that are leading the way on solar or wind. . . . What EPA's role is to do is to level the playing field so that pollution costs are not exported to the population but rather companies have to look at the pollution potential of any fuel or any process or any plant or any utility when they're making their investment decisions." (Our emphasis.)

In fact, when Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1970, its goal was clean air, not the industrial planning that Ms. Jackson's comments about "levelling the playing field" reveal. Under the law, the EPA is required to set source-specific standards depending on where the emissions come from—natural gas, coal or something else. It certainly doesn't contain a roving mandate for Ms. Jackson to guide investment decisions.

What Ms. Jackson really means is that she is trying to make coal—the workhorse of U.S. electric power—artificially more expensive. This is to serve her anticarbon goals, if not the consumers who will bear the costs and may suffer if the U.S. electric grid is compromised. But at least the EPA chief is finally admitting what she's up to.

23265  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Destapo de la corrupcion on: November 22, 2011, 04:55:59 PM
No tengo ningun opinion sobre lo siguiente.  

http://www.zetatijuana.com/2011/11/14/destapo-la-corrupcion/

Cabe mencionar que segun el episodio del momento de la revista "Proceso", la cual yo estaba leyendo durante mi reciente visita al DF, el recien fallado Secretaria de Gobernacion, Blake Mora, quien venia de BC, no buscaba subir a la presidencia sino regresar a ser Gobernador de BC. 

Dado las circunstancias de su muerte, la curiosa muerte de otro Secretaria de Gobernacion hace tres anos, y el despedido de dos Secretarias mas durante este sexenio, esa estrategica de Blake Mora es muy curiosa.

23266  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: November 22, 2011, 04:52:00 PM
Agreed.
23267  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hey ho! Hey ho! Holder has got to go! on: November 22, 2011, 04:51:08 PM
51 congressmen to Eric Holder: You must resign immediately

By Matthew Boyle - The Daily Caller 12:40 AM 11/18/2011


The surge in congressional calls for Attorney General Eric Holder’s immediate resignation has reached a new milestone: More than 50 members of Congress are now demanding Holder step down in the wake of Operation Fast and Furious.

The number of congressmen calling for Holder’s immediate resignation is now 51. New additions to that list include Republican Reps. Todd Akin and Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri, Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, Steven Palazzo of Mississippi and Jeff Duncan of South Carolina.

Rep. Westmoreland said Operation Fast and Furious was a disgrace to the American people and that Holder needs to resign immediately.

“Fast and Furious played fast and loose with the American public’s safety, leaving a U.S. Border patrol agent dead and DOJ-purchased guns in the hands of Mexican drug lords,” Westmoreland told The Daily Caller. “To say this program was a failure and an embarrassment to the U.S. justice system is an understatement.”

“No matter how many times the attorney general’s statement of when he was aware of Operation Fast and Furious changes — and it has changed almost daily — at the end of the day, he is the head of the Department of Justice and the buck stops with him,” said Westmoreland.

“It’s time for Mr. Holder to hold himself accountable,” he added.

On Thursday morning there were 46 congressmen demanding Holder’s resignation. Holder is currently on a taxpayer-subsidized junket in the Caribbean with his spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler, who has repeatedly declined to answer questions about the increasing congressional disapproval of Holder’s job performance.

Akin and Luetkemeyer had not previously called for Holder’s immediate resignation, but cast doubts on the truthfulness of the attorney general’s testimony before Congress.

“Given Mr. Holder’s inconsistencies and general lack of compelling testimony before the Judiciary Committee on such a serious matter as the ‘fast and furious’ gun walking debacle, his resignation would go a long way to restoring credibility to the office he now holds,” Akin told TheDC.

The recent surge in calls for Holder’s resignation can be attributed to two factors. First, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, the third congressman to demand Holder step down, hosted a press conference on Tuesday to amplify calls for Holder’s resignation. Second, Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois is currently circulating a letter on Capitol Hill asking for Holder to resign or for Obama to fire him.

The Walsh letter, addressed to Obama, urges him to “hold attorney general Eric Holder accountable for Operation Fast and Furious” and “ask for his immediate resignation.”

The new congressmen demanding Holder step down now are also signatories to Walsh’s letter — which currently has 39 co-signers.

The White House and the Justice Department remain silent as pressure for Holder’s immediate resignation builds, which may be a sign that the Obama administration is prepared to force Holder out if it is politically necessary.
23268  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Conspiratorial tangent on: November 22, 2011, 11:37:46 AM
All the world over, Red is the color of the Left (as in Communist, as in deficit, as in losses) and Blue is the color of the Right.  When Reagan won the presidency, the states he won were shown in Blue.  When and why, and by whom was it decided to reverse this?
23269  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury on the downward revision to GDP growth on: November 22, 2011, 11:33:18 AM
Hard to argue with that!!!  shocked shocked shocked

On a much more mundane level, , ,

Real GDP was revised to a 2.0% annual growth rate in Q3 To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury - Chief Economist
Robert Stein, CFA - Senior Economist
Date: 11/22/2011
Real GDP was revised to a 2.0% annual growth rate in Q3 from a prior estimate of 2.5%.  The consensus had expected GDP growth to remain unchanged at 2.5%.                             
Inventories were revised down the most, while net exports were revised up.
 
The largest positive contributions to the real GDP growth rate in Q3 were personal consumption and business investment in equipment/software.  By far the weakest component was inventories.
 
The GDP price index was unchanged at a 2.5% annual rate of change.  Nominal GDP growth – real GDP plus inflation – was revised down to a 4.6% annual rate from a prior estimate of 5.0%.   
 
Implications:  Real GDP growth in the third quarter was revised down, coming in at a 2% annual rate versus a consensus expected 2.5% rate.   Most major categories were only revised slightly, for example, revisions to personal consumption subtracted a tenth from GDP while trade added two tenths, but it was inventories that subtracted 0.5% from the original GDP estimate (now -1.6% versus -1.1% originally).  The composition of growth was more promising for the economy going forward. Inventories are at rock bottom levels.  Any boost will add to GDP in the quarters ahead.  If we exclude inventories, final sales grew at a robust 3.6% annual rate.  Net exports were revised up in Q3.  Business investment grew at a 14.8% rate in Q3, the fastest pace so far this year.  In other words, consumer and business spending is growing much faster than those who watch consumer and business confidence data think it will.  Nominal GDP (real growth plus inflation) grew at a 4.6% annual rate in Q3 and is up at a 4.4% rate in the past two years.  The Federal Reserve faces an uphill battle trying to justify another round of quantitative easing based on the growth rate of nominal GDP.  Even zero percent interest rates are inappropriate when nominal GDP growth is this high.  The most newsworthy part of today’s report is that corporate profits increased at an 8.5% annual rate in Q3 and are up 7.9% versus a year ago.  Most of the increase was due to domestic firms, not the rest of the world.  Profits are at an all-time record high and are the highest share of GDP since 1950.  The worst part of today’s report was an unexpected downward revision in wages and salaries in Q2 and Q3.  Slow growth in personal income probably reflects weak economic growth in the first half of the year, but bears watching if it persists into the fourth quarter.  In other news this morning, data on chain store sales show no let up by consumers.  Sales are up 2.8% from a year ago according to the International Council of Shopping Centers and 3.7% according to Redbook Research.  The Richmond Fed index, a measure of manufacturing in the mid-Atlantic increased to 0 in November from -6 in October.
23270  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: November 22, 2011, 11:24:02 AM
I just gave another $25 to Newt.
23271  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Estudio: ?Que paso' aqui? on: November 22, 2011, 11:20:37 AM
a) Tengo entendido que eso tuvo lugar en Francia, y que el problema era que los ataquantes fueron muselmanes enojada con ella, tambien muselman, por estar con el, un cristiano.

b) Yo tambien me fijo en lo que se ve en los primeros segundos del clip.  Se ve que ese problema ya habia comenzado antes del clip.  Es posible que hubiera sido mejor que en vez de da la espalda y permitir que los malos perserguieran a la "pareja" haber tomado una actitud de defender su burbuja, posiblemente gritando por ayuda, que alguien lllamara a la policia, etc.
23272  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: November 22, 2011, 11:14:50 AM
You crack me up GM.

I would add that urban campers (a.k.a. the homeless) have presented similar issues when they settle in to a particular area.  The complexity of the human realities can be considerable.  What to tell a person who has no place to call his own?  OTOH a concentration of such people tends to establish a sense of territorial rights that utterly conflicts with the concept of public rights in the public space which they inhabit AND presents serious sanitation issues.  For example I remember reading in the LA Times (NOT a hardass right wing publication by any means!) that hosing down the homeless areas of the excrement etc. led to the detectable presence of human viruses in the ocean in the LA River, indeed well out into the ocean.  Imagine the health issues of the bacteria and viruses in the areas of their encampments.

OTOH OWS presents a much simpler questions in that the "urban camping" is entirely voluntary and these people DO have places of their own. 
23273  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word on: November 22, 2011, 11:07:47 AM
This idea of the "yetzer hara" reminds me a bit of Carl Jung's concept of "The Shadow"-- i.e. those parts of our self which we do our best to keep hidden from the light of day- and the view of others.  Indeed Jung's words open the first video/DVD we ever did "The idea is not to imagine figures of light, but to make the darkness conscious."
23274  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Energy issues on: November 22, 2011, 11:00:20 AM
There's a witticism about minds being made up despite the facts that comes to mind , , ,
23275  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Corrections and Prison on: November 22, 2011, 10:56:25 AM
That must be very disconcerting!

Sounds like she should have a gun and training with it.
23276  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA SP seminar in Chicago 3/30-4/1 on: November 22, 2011, 10:50:38 AM
At Pete Juska's school of course.

Details to follow.
23277  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in Mexico City Nov 12-13 on: November 22, 2011, 10:49:42 AM
Seminar was held in a police station with pill boxes at the front door.  About 1/3 of the 40 in attendance were LEOs and private security.  Good times!

As always, thank you to Mauricio for making it all possible.  His students are coming along nicely.  He is doing good work for DBMA.
23278  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in Chicago Nov 19-21 on: November 22, 2011, 10:47:32 AM
An outstanding time for three days of training with a really nice group of people in Chicago AND I got to visit my sister, brother-in-law, and three nephews.  Gratitude to Carlos and Pete for everything.
23279  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: O'Hanlon & Wolfowitz offer a strategy on: November 22, 2011, 10:41:25 AM
YA et al:

Thoughts on this?

Marc
======================

By MICHAEL O'HANLON AND PAUL WOLFOWITZ
The American debate on Afghanistan seems to be framed by two diametrically opposed definitions of success. One says that we have effectively won the war already—that the death of Osama bin Laden and the increase in targeted drone attacks have achieved the goal of preventing transnational terrorists from once again using sanctuaries in Afghanistan to attack the United States. The other view holds that success is impossible—that the goal of a stable Afghan government in control of its own territory is beyond our reach.

Both views lead to the same result: a premature abandonment of Afghanistan that could return it to the control of the Taliban and allow al Qaeda and other extremists to regain sanctuaries. Even targeted drone strikes would be much less effective without the human intelligence needed to support them.

But there is an alternative: the"Colombia standard" of success. It's probably unrealistic to think that the Afghan government can completely control Afghan territory by 2014 or even some later date. But, like the Colombian government, it could achieve success short of complete victory.

After decades of struggle against its armed insurgency, Colombia has substantially reduced the territory held by the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Fatality rates and kidnappings have been cut roughly in half over roughly a decade, and key FARC leaders have been killed. Assassinations of judges and other government officials were once frequent but now are much less so.

Crucially, nearly all of the fighting has been done by Colombian armed forces, with the U.S. providing advisers, intelligence and military equipment. Even today the homicide rate in Colombia remains high—much higher than violent civilian deaths in Afghanistan. But 10 years after Colombia seemed headed to collapse, it has achieved something that is widely regarded as a victory.

In Colombia's jungles as in Afghanistan's mountains, the guerillas can always find sanctuaries. Both countries' guerillas also enjoy sanctuaries across the border—and Pakistan probably gives more support to the Taliban than Venezuela gives the FARC. Guerilla movements that enjoy sanctuaries can never be completely defeated. But the important thing, from an American point of view, is that in Colombia it is Colombians, not Americans, who are fighting for their own country.

In Afghanistan our goal should be an Afghan government and security forces able to control the country's major cities and most of its territory with only modest outside help. Substantial territory, mostly in the rural South and East, would remain contested or even partly insurgent-controlled. But any large concentrations of extremists would be vulnerable to drone strikes or commando raids by Afghan and American forces. And over time, Afghan government forces could gradually reduce the remaining enemy strength.

A Colombia standard of success cannot be taken as an excuse for hasty withdrawal. For one thing, Afghanistan's security forces are two years away from being fully built. And while enemy-initiated violence is down about 25% from a year ago, and progress has been made in Helmand and Kandahar, additional American and NATO effort in the more densely populated East—as planned for 2012 and 2013—is needed before the Afghan army can take over primary responsibility. This may require keeping 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through the 2013 fighting season, before cutting forces further.

While Colombians deserve most of the credit for success, they depended on a long-term U.S. commitment that was limited in scale but not in time. Afghanistan will need that even more. With a desperately poor economy (one-sixteenth the size of Colombia's), Afghanistan cannot sustain the army it needs without help. The country will need some $3 billion annually in foreign military assistance for an extended period after 2014, as well as a continuing military presence in the range of 10,000 U.S. and other NATO troops in a supporting role.

A U.S.-led commitment to provide that funding in the future would help the current situation. Making clear that we will not abandon the country the way that we did after the defeat of the Soviets in 1989 would reassure our friends, discourage our enemies, and induce the Pakistanis to cooperate.


It would also give the U.S. valuable leverage in the current Afghan debate about post-2014 security arrangements. Instead of appearing as the supplicant—seeking to use Afghan territory for our own purposes—and allowing Afghan President Hamid Karzai to burnish his nationalist credentials by imposing conditions, we should make it clear that the help the Afghans need will be forthcoming, provided our conditions are met. One condition should be a process of consultation that extends beyond Mr. Karzai's hand-picked loya jirga.

We should certainly ask other countries to share the burden in both military and economic assistance, but the annual cost of this commitment would be roughly 10% of what we are currently expending—and Afghanistan's neighborhood remains central to American national security.

Even these costs would be too high if the cause were indeed lost. But success is possible if we think in terms of Colombia. Giving up now—or declaring victory prematurely—would be a grave mistake when, despite the challenges, three-fourths of Afghanistan is now reasonably secure and the Afghan armed forces are well over halfway toward achieving the capabilities they will need.

Our current exit strategy of reducing American troops to 68,000 by the end of next summer and transferring full security responsibility to Afghan forces by 2014 is working. In a war where the U.S. has demonstrated remarkable strategic patience, we need to stay patient and resolute.

Mr. O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is co-author of its Afghanistan Index and author of "The Wounded Giant: America's Armed Forces in an Age of Austerity" (Penguin, 2011). Mr. Wolfowitz, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is a former U.S. deputy secretary of defense.
23280  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: November 20, 2011, 11:21:53 PM
These are the sort of points that Stratford makes too, though I take a less sanguine view; not only are broke and slashing our military, but our interest payments to China are paying for its military expansion.
23281  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: November 20, 2011, 11:16:45 PM
On an iPad in Chicag; difficult to type.  JDN, IMHO you have been deceived.  lots of folks wated us to stay in Iraq, but none are wiling to say s because for four years now Baraqv has made it clear he wants us out.


23282  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: November 20, 2011, 11:11:01 PM
Very good piece by VDH.
23283  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude on: November 20, 2011, 11:01:05 PM
Grateful for a wonderful weekend teachings for Pete and Carlos. And for the time with my sister and nephews.sq. one more day to go!
23284  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: November 18, 2011, 10:55:18 AM
Off to Chicago.  Back Monday night or Tuesday.
23285  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rove on: November 18, 2011, 10:53:59 AM
y KARL ROVE
My nine hunting companions last weekend in South Texas didn't look particularly special. Ranging from early-30s to mid-40s, they could be mistaken for the young doctor down the street, the general manager of the car dealership, the guy who builds custom motorcycles.

But they are extraordinary. Among them, they had a Navy Cross, four Silver Stars, 26 Bronze Stars for valor and four Purple Hearts. These were Navy SEALs with a combined 150 years of service and more than 67 overseas deployments in the war against terror.

The men had taken leave time to spend Veterans Day hunting quail and deer with friends of the Navy SEAL Foundation at Loralee and Al West's San Rafael Ranch just north of the Rio Grande River. It was their way of expressing thanks for all the foundation does to support their families and teammates. For the rest of us, it was an extraordinary honor to share the pleasures of their company.

At a Saturday luncheon, a SEAL no longer on active duty spoke to the group about his last mission, which took place in 2007. (I withhold his identity, as SEALS are generally not publicly named.) Seven days before his deployment in Iraq's Anbar province was to end, his unit received intelligence about the presence of 16 to 20 al Qaeda combatants in a remote compound. In the dark of night, helicopters dropped his SEAL team and Iraqi scouts 3.5 kilometers from their target. After surrounding the building, they assaulted it by blowing the main door.

Inside, the SEAL found himself in a foyer with doors leading to two interior rooms. He and another SEAL kicked in one door and were confronted by four al Qaeda, two armed with AK-47s, one with an M4, and the final one with a pistol. In the darkened room, both sides immediately opened fire. The second SEAL and an Iraqi scout were killed almost immediately.

The rifle of the remaining SEAL, our speaker, was shot out of his hand. He drew his pistol and returned fire, killing two al Qaeda fighters. He was then knocked to the ground as a grenade that one of them was preparing to throw instead exploded in the room.

When he regained consciousness, he realized the two remaining al Qaeda had driven off his assault team and were still firing at the retiring Americans and Iraqi scouts. He discarded his momentary impulse to play dead and instead re-engaged, emptying first one pistol magazine and then another as he shot it out with the two terrorists, killing both.

Staggering to his feet, he found his dead SEAL comrade and then two dead Iraqi scouts. He attempted to communicate with his unit before realizing his radio had been shot away. He recovered his dead teammate's radio to communicate with the rest of the assault team, which was about to have the compound pulverized by a C-130 gunship orbiting overhead, assuming since their calls had gone unanswered that none of their comrades in the building was still alive.

About Karl Rove
Karl Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007 and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004–2007. At the White House he oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, coordinating the White House policy-making process.

Before Karl became known as "The Architect" of President Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns, he was president of Karl Rove + Company, an Austin-based public affairs firm that worked for Republican candidates, nonpartisan causes, and nonprofit groups. His clients included over 75 Republican U.S. Senate, Congressional and gubernatorial candidates in 24 states, as well as the Moderate Party of Sweden.

Karl writes a weekly op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, is a Fox News Contributor and is the author of the book "Courage and Consequence" (Threshold Editions).

Email the author atKarl@Rove.comor visit him on the web atRove.com. Or, you can send a Tweet to @karlrove.

Click here to order his new book,Courage and Consequence.
.Despite grievous wounds, the SEAL explored the rest of the house, collected three Iraqi scouts and two terrorists they detained, and then moved his people outside to link up with the assault team. He refused to be carried to the evacuation chopper: He hurt so badly he felt he'd be further injured. Once on board, an airlift medic cut away all his clothes, stabilizing him as best as he could.

When the chopper landed at base, airfield personnel had difficulty assembling a litter. Spotting a nearby golf cart, the SEAL walked off the chopper and across the strip, wearing only his boots.

Driven to the base hospital, he was found to have 16 gunshot and shrapnel wounds. An additional 11 rounds had slammed into his body armor. Within 48 hours, he was airlifted to Bethesda Naval Hospital and 16 days later he talked his way out and went home to convalesce.

On Veterans Day 2011, in a south Texas pasture, this former SEAL said he'd learned from this experience the importance of empathy. He now works as an advocate for wounded warriors.

Some warn that America's freedom, like all things human, may crumble into dust. The reason it doesn't is because in times of trial our country produces men and women of courage and fortitude, honor and sacrifice. Which is another way of saying America produces self-effacing heroes like last weekend's hunting companions.

Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

23286  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Noonan on Cain on: November 18, 2011, 09:43:00 AM
There is an arresting moment in Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs in which Jobs speaks at length about his philosophy of business. He's at the end of his life and is summing things up. His mission, he says, was plain: to "build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products." Then he turned to the rise and fall of various businesses. He has a theory about "why decline happens" at great companies: "The company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The company starts valuing the great salesman, because they're the ones who can move the needle on revenues." So salesmen are put in charge, and product engineers and designers feel demoted: Their efforts are no longer at the white-hot center of the company's daily life. They "turn off." IBM and Xerox, Jobs said, faltered in precisely this way. The salesmen who led the companies were smart and eloquent, but "they didn't know anything about the product." In the end this can doom a great company, because what consumers want is good products.

Jobs's theory of decline was elegant and simple as an iPad, and when I asked business leaders about it the past few weeks, they agreed, some with the kind of engagement that suggested maybe their own companies had experienced such troubles.

The theory applies also to our politics. America is in political decline in part because we've elevated salesmen—people good on the hustings and good in the room, facile creatures with good people skills—above people who love the product, which is sound and coherent government—"good government," as they used to say. To make that product you need a certain depth of experience. You need to know the facts, the history, how the system works, what the people want, what the moment demands.

You might say the rise of Barack Obama was the triumph of a certain sort of salesman. He didn't know the product, but he was good at selling an image of the product, at least for a while. In time even his salesmanship came to seem hollow. One of the most penetrating criticisms of Mr. Obama came again from Jobs, who supported him but was frustrated by him. He met with the president last year and urged him to move forward on visas for foreign students who earned an engineering degree in the U.S. Mr. Obama blandly replied that this was covered in his comprehensive immigration bill, which Republicans were holding up. Jobs told Mr. Isaacson: "The president is very smart, but he kept explaining to us reasons why things can't get done."

He does do that a lot. Nothing is ever shovel-ready with him. But leaders tell us how things will get done, how we can move forward. They can tease a small element out of a large bill, and get it passed.

Enlarge Image

CloseChad Crowe
 .Mr. Obama is a very dignified and even somber man, but he never seems to get the seriousness of the moment, the sense that we're in a gathering crisis.

But then a lot of his would-be contenders seem unserious and unresponsive, don't they? Which gets us briefly to Herman Cain, who thought he was engaged in a yearlong branding experiment and wound up a serious contender for the GOP presidential nomination.

Mr. Cain's famous version of the brain freeze this week wasn't really that, a brain freeze. It was more like a public service. Because he was showing us a candidate for the presidency of the United States desperately trying to retrieve a soundbite and not even trying to hide the fact that he was trying to retrieve a soundbite. Because we're kind of all in on the game, and it is a game, right?

The reporter asked him if he agreed, in retrospect, with President Obama's decisions on Libya. Mr. Cain said, "OK, Libya." Ten seconds of now famous silence ensued. Then: "I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reasons." Another pause, and then: "Um, no, that's a different one."

He was saying: That's a different soundbite.

Later, with an almost beautiful defiance, Mr. Cain told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "I'm not supposed to know anything about foreign policy." That's what staffers are for. "I want to talk to commanders on the ground. Because you run for president [people say] you need to have the answer. No you don't! No you don't!"

More Peggy Noonan
Read Peggy Noonan's previous columns

click here to order her new book, Patriotic Grace
.Yes you do. It was as if history itself were unknown to him, as if Harry Truman told Douglas MacArthur, "Do what you want, cross the Yalu, but remember to tell me if we invade China."

As for the commanders on the ground, Mr. Cain clearly doesn't know something crucially important about modern American generals: that they tend to be the last to want to go to war and the last to want to leave. They're the last to want to go to war because they know what war is—chaos, destruction, always "a close-run thing." And they know the politicians who direct them to go to war often don't know this, or know it fully. But once action has been taken—once they've fought, seen their men die, planned, executed, taken and held territory—generals tend to counsel against leaving. Because they've worked with the good guys and seen the bad guys, and know what they'll do on our departure.

A candidate for president ought to be at least aware of this dynamic, and many other dynamics, too. To know little and to be proud of knowing little is disrespectful of the democratic process, and of the moment we're in.

The purpose here isn't to slam Mr. Cain but to point out that when Republicans talk like this—no, when GOP voters cheer Republicans who talk like this—it leads their opponents to smile in smug satisfaction.

A central line of Democratic attack against Republicans is that they're not really for anything, they just hate government. That, Democrats say, is why Republicans speak so disrespectfully of government as an institution, that's why they blithely dismiss the baseline requirements of a public office, as Mr. Cain does.

The charge that Republicans just hate government carries other implications—that they're stupid, that they're haters by nature, that they're cynical and merely strategic, that they enjoy having phantom foes around whom to coalesce, like cavemen warming themselves around a fire.

Republicans don't hate government, but they're alive to what human beings are tempted and even inclined to do with governmental power, which is abuse it. And so they want that power limited. It's not really that complicated. Democrats may try to paint it one way, but when they do, Republicans shouldn't help them. They should show respect for the moment. They shouldn't be unserious.

23287  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Palin: How Congress occupied Wall Street on: November 18, 2011, 09:35:33 AM


By SARAH PALIN

Mark Twain famously wrote, "There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress." Peter Schweizer's new book, "Throw Them All Out," reveals this permanent political class in all its arrogant glory. (Full disclosure: Mr. Schweizer is employed by my political action committee as a foreign-policy adviser.)

Mr. Schweizer answers the questions so many of us have asked. I addressed this in a speech in Iowa last Labor Day weekend. How do politicians who arrive in Washington, D.C. as men and women of modest means leave as millionaires? How do they miraculously accumulate wealth at a rate faster than the rest of us? How do politicians' stock portfolios outperform even the best hedge-fund managers'? I answered the question in that speech: Politicians derive power from the authority of their office and their access to our tax dollars, and they use that power to enrich and shield themselves.

The money-making opportunities for politicians are myriad, and Mr. Schweizer details the most lucrative methods: accepting sweetheart gifts of IPO stock from companies seeking to influence legislation, practicing insider trading with nonpublic government information, earmarking projects that benefit personal real estate holdings, and even subtly extorting campaign donations through the threat of legislation unfavorable to an industry. The list goes on and on, and it's sickening.

Astonishingly, none of this is technically illegal, at least not for Congress. Members of Congress exempt themselves from the laws they apply to the rest of us. That includes laws that protect whistleblowers (nothing prevents members of Congress from retaliating against staffers who shine light on corruption) and Freedom of Information Act requests (it's easier to get classified documents from the CIA than from a congressional office).

The corruption isn't confined to one political party or just a few bad apples. It's an endemic problem encompassing leadership on both sides of the aisle. It's an entire system of public servants feathering their own nests.

None of this surprises me. I've been fighting this type of corruption and cronyism my entire political career. For years Alaskans suspected that our lawmakers and state administrators were in the pockets of the big oil companies to the detriment of ordinary Alaskans. We knew we were being taken for a ride, but it took FBI wiretaps to finally capture lawmakers in the act of selling their votes. In the wake of politicos being carted off to prison, my administration enacted reforms based on transparency and accountability to prevent this from happening again.

We were successful because we had the righteous indignation of Alaskan citizens on our side. Our good ol' boy political class in Juneau was definitely not with us. Business was good for them, so why would they want to end "business as usual"?

The moment you threaten to strip politicians of their legal graft, they'll moan that they can't govern effectively without it. Perhaps they'll gravitate toward reform, but often their idea of reform is to limit the right of "We the people" to exercise our freedom of speech in the political process.

I've learned from local, state and national political experience that the only solution to entrenched corruption is sudden and relentless reform. Sudden because our permanent political class is adept at changing the subject to divert the public's attention—and we can no longer afford to be indifferent to this system of graft when our country is going bankrupt. Reform must be relentless because fighting corruption is like a game of whack-a-mole. You knock it down in one area only to see it pop up in another.

What are the solutions? We need reform that provides real transparency. Congress should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act like everyone else. We need more detailed financial disclosure reports, and members should submit reports much more often than once a year. All stock transactions above $5,000 should be disclosed within five days.

We need equality under the law. From now on, laws that apply to the private sector must apply to Congress, including whistleblower, conflict-of-interest and insider-trading laws. Trading on nonpublic government information should be illegal both for those who pass on the information and those who trade on it. (This should close the loophole of the blind trusts that aren't really blind because they're managed by family members or friends.)

No more sweetheart land deals with campaign contributors. No gifts of IPO shares. No trading of stocks related to committee assignments. No earmarks where the congressman receives a direct benefit. No accepting campaign contributions while Congress is in session. No lobbyists as family members, and no transitioning into a lobbying career after leaving office. No more revolving door, ever.

This call for real reform must transcend political parties. The grass-roots movements of the right and the left should embrace this. The tea party's mission has always been opposition to waste and crony capitalism, and the Occupy protesters must realize that Washington politicians have been "Occupying Wall Street" long before anyone pitched a tent in Zuccotti Park.

Ms. Palin, a former governor of Alaska, was the Republican nominee for vice president in 2008.

23288  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Soros at work on: November 18, 2011, 09:17:10 AM


How George Soros benefitted from the 2009 Stimulous Package

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

PICKET: New book shows how Soros set up and financially benefited from '09 stimulus


Peter Schweizer, a Hoover Institution fellow, explores in his new book, "Throw Them All Out" how Capitol Hill lawmakers financially benefit from their own legislation and manage to sidestep insider information laws. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is under fire for allegedly buying $1 million to $5 million of Visa stock during the credit card company's initial public offering (IPO) phase and later blocked credit card legislation reform two years later. As a result, her investment took off 203 percent. Big Government's Wynton Hall writes:


Despite Pelosi’s consistent railing against credit card companies, on March 18, 2008, the Pelosis bought between $1 million and $5 million (politicians do not have to report the exact amounts, only ranges) worth of Visa stock at the IPO price of $44 per share. Two days later, the stock price rocketed to $65 per share, yielding a 50% profit. The Pelosis then bought Visa twice more. By their third purchase on June 4, 2008, Visa was worth $85 per share.

How did Nancy Pelosi snag one of the most coveted initial public offerings in history? The facts are still emerging. Yet according to Schweizer, corporations that wish to build congressional allies will sometimes hand-pick members of Congress to receive IPOs. Pelosi received her Visa IPO almost two weeks after a potentially damaging piece of legislation for Visa, the Credit Card Fair Fee Act, had been introduced in the House.

If passed, the bill would have cut into Visa’s profits substantially by lowering so-called “interchange fees,” the 1% to 3% charge retailers pay Visa when customers use Visa cards for purchases. Interchange fees are a critical source of revenue for the four credit card companies–$48 billion in 2008, to be exact.If the Credit Card Fair Fee Act had been passed into effect, it would have amended antitrust laws to require credit card companies to enter negotiations with merchants over interchange fees, and it would have given the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission the power to arbitrate if the two sides failed to come to an agreement. For that reason, Visa and the other credit card companies strongly opposed the bill.

It is not just the lawmakers on Capitol Hill who can make a killing. Their rich and powerful cronies can also financially benefit from intel they receive from Washington D.C. politicians. According to Schweizer's book, George Soros made his way into the Obama White House by becoming one of candidate Obama's "first big catches."

Mr. Soros donated more than $60,000 to Obama's 2004 Senate campaign and helped build the Obama 2008 war chest substantially. Soros gained amazing access to the president and the president's economic agenda immediately after the 2008 election, according to Schweizer, who writes in his book:


"Days after President Obama was elected, Soros was helping to set the agenda. Soros had regular meetings with senior White House officials. He met with Obama’s top economist, Larry Summers,on February 25, 2009. He also had meetings in the Old Executive Office Building with senior officials on March 24 and 25 asthe stimulus was being forged. He was later involved in private discussions concerning widespread financial reform."

"Soros was also a financial backer of the Center for American Progress, which functioned as Obama’s think tank. John Podesta,who headed CAP, was Obama’s transition director. Several CAP policy ideas became part of Obama’s agenda. Soros said at the time, 'I think we need a large stimulus package, which will provide funds for state and local government to maintain their budgets, because they are not allowed by the constitution to run a deficit. For such a program to be successful, the federal government would need to provide hundreds of billions of dollars. In addition, another infrastructure program is necessary. In total, the cost would be in the 300 to 600 billion dollar range.'”

Schweizer found that after "tens of billions" of tax payer dollars were invested in the Democrat backed 2009 stimulus package, in the first quarter of 2009, Soros made a financial windfall by investing in stimulus winners like: Hologic, a maker of diagnostic equipment, which gained from federal funding of medical systems, Emulex, a government contractor that designs fiber channels and software products, and EMC, a data storage company.

I spoke with Schweizer on Sunday night about his book and asked about how the rich and powerful can legally obtain insider information from insider Capitol Hill activity and financially benefit.

Schweizer calls the scheme that Steve Eisman, Warren Buffett, and Soros use the "Baptist and bootlegger strategy."

"What a lot of these guys do like Buffett and Soros or Eisman, in the case of for-profit education, is present themselves as reformers. They present these grand ideas and they're sort of statesman who are just interested in improving the situation in our country, but the reality is, as I point out in the book, at the same time, they're often aggressively trading stocks," Schweizer said.

As I have covered in previous Water Cooler posts, Steve Eisman, a New York hedge fund manager, was brought forth to Capitol Hill to testify before Senator Tom Harkin’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to support the Department of Education's Gainful Employment (GOE) rule.

Supporters of the GOE rule and of Eisman will say he was needed at the hearings, because Eisman provided valuable warnings and insight about the mortgage crisis. Many said Mr. Eisman was only trying to help the country stave off another financial crisis that would stem from the student loan defaults in the for profit school industry.

His participation in the hearings have been severely questioned, though, as the education regulation would financially cripple for profit schools. Evidence that the D.C. based organization CREW found showed that Mr. Eisman was short-selling for-profit schools.

If these schools failed he would financially profit. Congressman Darrell Issa, California Republican, and Senator Mike Enzi, Wyoming Republican, urged the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to probe into whether or not there were any laws broken, but the SEC has yet to act.

"The Senate confirms the SEC commissioner and they set the budgets for the SEC," says Schweizer who thinks the model of having the SEC investigate such matters is unworkable.

"Warren Buffett, for example during the financial crisis, helped establish the public-private partnership and at the same time, that was going to bail out banks and he helped design it. As he was doing it, he was buying billions of shares in bank stocks," Schweizer added.

Schweizer also explained that Buffett financially profited off the bank stock investments, and it was completely legal, "because for some reason if you do this with government money or with government institutions it's okay. But were he to do that in a scenario with a merger taking place, he would face insider trading laws."












http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/...nd-financiall/
23289  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: November 18, 2011, 09:16:11 AM
Interesting questions presented.

I wonder how the impairment of contract issues interface with bankruptcy reorganization law?
23290  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word on: November 18, 2011, 09:04:27 AM
Our blessing #101:  Rachel  grin
23291  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Same Sex Adoption is not a game on: November 18, 2011, 08:13:44 AM


Same sex adoption is not a game
Allowing same sex couples to adopt children deprives them of a mother or a father and subjects them to a dangerous social experiment.




Moves by legislators and homosexual activists to endorse same sex adoption are misguided. Their intentions may be good, but they are ignoring the rights of children and important social and psychological research into the homosexual lifestyle.

The recent decision of Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois to separate from the Church and place children in same sex unions occurred after Illinois followed the lead set by other states and enacted legislation to protect so-called rights for homosexual unions. This legislation, the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, denied funding to social service agencies that refuse to permit same sex adoption.

Experimenting on children by permitting adoption by same sex couples poses serious problems. Children have a right to and a need for parenting by both a father and a mother. This need should be recognized by the state and by professional groups as far more important than an adult’s supposed right to adopt.

The views presented here are based on extensive social science research and scholarship, on my clinical experience as a psychiatrist that includes consulting with adoptive and foster children for several years, treating adoptive children for almost 35 years, writing about their treatment in a textbook for the American Psychological Association (1) and as the father of three adopted daughters.

The risks in same sex unions

Same sex relationships do not provide an ideal environment in which to raise children for several reasons.

First, same sex couples tend to be promiscuous. One of the largest studies of same sex couples revealed that only seven of 156 couples had a sexual relationship which was totally monogamous. Most of these relationships lasted less than five years. Couples whose relationship lasted longer incorporated some provision for outside sexual activity: “The single most important factor that keeps couples together past the 10-year mark is the lack of possessiveness,” observed two scholars who were also partners, David McWhirter and Andrew Mattison. “Many couples learn very early in their relationship that ownership of each other sexually can be the greatest internal threat to their staying together.” (2)

Second, the unions are very fragile. The probability of breakup is high for lesbian couples. In a 2010 report, the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, 40 percent of the couples who had conceived a child by artificial insemination had broken up.(3) Lisa Diamond reported in her book, Sexual Fluidity, that “more than two-thirds of the women in my sample had changed their identity labels at least once after the first interview. The women who kept the same identity for the whole ten years proved to be the smallest and most atypical group.” If a woman in a same-sex relationship changes her identity label, the relationship breaks up.

And third, the couple may not necessarily be physically healthy. Dutch research has found that most new HIV infections in Amsterdam occurred among homosexual men who were in steady relationships. The researcher concluded that: “Prevention measures should address risky behavior, especially with steady partners, and the promotion of HIV testing.” (4) Research shows that same sex unions suffer a significantly higher prevalence of domestic abuse, depression, substance-abuse disorders, and sexually transmitted diseases.(5) Should adopted children be placed with a couple at risk of a serious and emotionally draining illness?

Children need a mother and a father

The most important issue is the welfare of the child. Social science research has repeatedly demonstrated the vital importance of both a father and a mother for the healthy development of children and the serious risks that they face if they are raised without a mother or a father. Mothers and fathers bring unique gifts that are essential to the health of a child.

Among the many distinctive talents that mothers bring to the parenting enterprise, three stand out: their capacity to breastfeed, their ability to understand infants and children, and their ability to offer nurture and comfort.

Social science studies confirm this. Numerous reports indicate that infants and toddlers prefer mothers to fathers when they are hungry, afraid or sick. Mothers tend to be more soothing. Mothers are more responsive to the distinctive cries of infants; they are better able than fathers, for instance, to distinguish between a cry of hunger and a cry of pain. They are also better than fathers at detecting the emotions of their children by looking at their faces, postures, and gestures.

Children who were deprived of maternal care during extended periods in their early lives “lacked feeling, had superficial relationships, and exhibited hostile or antisocial tendencies” as they developed into adulthood.(6) Clinical experience suggests that deliberately depriving a child of its mother, motherlessness, causes severe damage because mothers are crucial in establishing a child’s ability to trust and to feel safe in relationships. All cultures recognize the essential role of the mother.

Fathers also have distinctive talents.(7) Fathers excel when it comes to providing discipline, play, and challenging children to embrace life’s challenges. They also provide essential role models for boys. Their presence in the home protects a child from fear and strengthens a child’s ability to feel safe. The extensive research on the serious psychological, academic and social problems among youth raised in fatherless families demonstrates the importance of the presence of the father in the home for healthy child development.

The rights and needs of children to a mother and a father should be protected by the state. Adults do not have a right to deprive children of a father or a mother.

The children do suffer

There are strong indications that children raised by same sex couples fare less well than children raised in stable homes with a mother and a father.

In 1996 a well-designed study of 174 primary school children in Australia -- 58 children in married families, 58 in families headed by cohabitating heterosexuals and 58 in home with homosexual unions – suggested that married couples offered the best environment for a child’s social and education environment. Cohabiting couples were second best and homosexual couples came last.(Cool

The results of a 2009 study of women in New York, Boston, and San Francisco are similar. Researchers interviewed 68 women with gay or bisexual fathers and 68 women with heterosexual fathers. The women (average age 29 in both groups) with gay or bisexual fathers had difficulty with adult attachment issues in three areas: they were less comfortable with closeness and intimacy; they were less able to trust and depend on others; and they experienced more anxiety in relationships compared to the women raised by heterosexual fathers.(9)

Flawed studies with positive results

Not surprisingly, there are scholars who oppose this weighty evidence. Two major studies published in 2010 are often cited by homosexual activists and the media. Nanette Gartrell and Henry Bos (10) and Timothy Biblarz and Judith Stacey (11) claim that children who were deliberately deprived of the benefits of gender complementarity in a home with a father and a mother suffer no psychological damage.

However, all data in the Gartell and Bos article are self-reports by the mother and the child. The mothers were aware of the political agenda of the research and this must have skewed the results. This defect in methodology severely weakens the report.

In the meta-study by Biblarz and Stacey, in 31 of the 33 studies of two parent families, it was the parents who provided the data, which consisted of subjective judgments. Once again, this created a social desirability bias because the homosexual parents knew the political agenda behind the study. Furthermore, of the 33 studies in two-person families, only two studies included men, although the title, “How does the gender of parents matter?” suggests that both men and women were fully represented.

Much of the research on same-sex couples tends to have serious methodological flaws. It is often argued that there is no evidence that children are harmed if they are raised by homosexual men. This is true, but the absence of evidence does not prove the case. It means that there is no evidence. Studies of children raised by homosexual men are rare. No studies have examined the long-term effects on adult males raised by homosexual men.

A grave injustice for adopted children

An adopted child has been separated from his or her biological parents. The child feels this loss. For this reason adoption agencies historically have sought the best possible placement -- a sensitive and stable father and mother. A same-sex couple is by definition a second-class placement, since a parent of the opposite sex is missing.

A grave injustice to adoptive children is occurring as growing numbers of Catholic social service adoption agencies that have provided outstanding help to children, parents and families for decades are being denied the right to continue. Legislatures are placing the rights of homosexual unions to adopt above the needs and rights of children to a mother and a father.

Deliberately depriving a child of a father or a mother harms the child.(12) Social science research supports this view. Adoptive children have experienced early-life abandonment trauma and should be protected from the additional trauma of being exposed to a cruel social experiment. Will no one step forward to protect these children?

Rick Fitzgibbons is the director of Comprehensive Counseling Services in West Conshohocken PA. He has practiced psychiatry for 35 years with a specialty in the treatment of excessive anger.

Notes

(1) Enright, R. & Fitzgibbons, R. (2000). Helping Clients Forgive: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Books ,p. 187-89.

(2) McWhirter, D. and Mattison, A. 1985. The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop. Prentice Hall.

(3) Gartrell, N. & Bos, H. (2010) US national Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Psychological Adjustment of 17-year-old Adolescents, Pediatrics, Volume 126, Number 1, July 2010, 28-36.

(4) Xiridou, M. et al. (2003). The contribution of steady and casual partnerships to the incidence of HIV infection among homosexual men in Amsterdam. AIDS 17: 1029-38.

(5) D. O’Leary. (2007) One Man, One Woman: A Catholic’s Guide to Defending Marriage Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 149-68.

(6) Kobak, R. (1999). "The emotional dynamics of disruptions in attachment relationships: Implications for theory, research, and clinical intervention". In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver. (Eds.), Handbook of Attachment (pp. 21-43). New York: The Guilford Press.

(7) http://www.pbs.org/newshour/gergen/july-dec99/fisher_8-16.html.

(Cool Sarantakos, S. (1996) Children in three contexts. Children Australia, 21(3), 23-31.

(9) Sirota, T, (2009) Adult Attachment Style Dimensions in Women with Gay or Bisexual Fathers. Arch. Psych Nursing, 23, 289-297.

(10) Gartrell, N. & Bos, H. (2010) US national Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Psychological Adjustment of 17-year-old Adolescents, Pediatrics, Volume 126, Number 1, July 2010 p. 28-36.

(11) Biblarz, T. J. & Stacey, J. (2010). How does the gender of parents matter? Journal of Marriage and Family. 72, 3-22.

(12) Kobak, R. (1999). "The emotional dynamics of disruptions in attachment relationships: Implications for theory, research, and clinical intervention". In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver. (Eds.), Handbook of Attachment (pp. 21-43). New York: The Guilford Press.; Popenoe,D. (1996) Life Without Father, New York: Free Press, P. 176; Golombok, S. et al (1997) Children raised in fatherless families from infancy: Family relationships and the socioeconomic development of children of lesbian and single heterosexual mothers. J. Child Psychology and Psychiatry 38: 783-791; Gallagher M. & Baker, J.K. (2004) Do Mom and Dads Matter: Evidence from the social sciences on family structure and at the best interests of the child. Margins 161(4):161-180.

Want to read more articles by Rick Fitzgibbons? Click on the links below

23292  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Michael Yon in Afghanistan on: November 18, 2011, 07:53:30 AM
MY's idea about Mexico is VERY interesting.

GM, my blessings if you wish to post here on this thread regularly about MY and his doings, be they in Afpakia or Mexico.
23293  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: November 18, 2011, 07:46:37 AM
Beijing and Washington's Contrasting Interests in East Asia
U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Bali, Indonesia, Thursday for the East Asia Summit (EAS) — the first time an American president has attended the annual summit, now in its sixth year. He arrived from Australia, where he had just formalized an agreement with Canberra to expand U.S. military activity in and cooperation with Australia. That visit followed the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Hawaii the previous week, which Obama hosted. This has all the signs of a meticulously orchestrated political itinerary, but reflects a much deeper and more fundamental shift in the region.
“The United States cannot ignore the enormity and the long-term trajectory of Asian economic activity.”
EAS has expanded in its short existence to include almost every country in the region. Washington has not only reversed its longstanding wariness of multilateral East Asian forums, but it has embraced EAS specifically and deliberately. The United States wants EAS to serve as a decision-making body for policy in the region. Obama’s attendance is emblematic of an American strategy to address significant geopolitical realities.
The United States, which has depended heavily on maritime commerce since before its founding and which now controls long stretches of coast on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, is drawn to Asian affairs by geography and economic interest. In 1980, the volume of trade across the Pacific matched for the first time in history that of trade across the Atlantic — and by 1990, had increased over transatlantic trade by half. The economic crises that followed, in Japan and in wider Asia, slowed this trend but did not reverse it. The United States cannot ignore the enormity and the long-term trajectory of Asian economic activity.
In fact, it is really the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks that has been the anomaly. The United States obviously never left the region, but its attention was drawn elsewhere. With Washington focused on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, China found a vacuum in which it could maneuver just as Russia did in its own periphery, without drawing American attention commensurate with the strategic value of the region. But the United States is now in the process of extracting itself from entanglements that have consumed its attention and resources for a decade. And just as for Russia, that window of opportunity is beginning to close for China.
Essentially, the United States is signaling to everyone that it is turning its attention back to the region: rebalancing and rationalizing its military presence while strengthening its engagement and involvement with longstanding partners and allies.
China and its potential response are impossible to ignore, regardless of Washington’s intentions.  Obama’s formal address to the Australian parliament in Canberra was dominated by the topic of China. And as the power that has taken full advantage of the decade of American distraction — more so than any other country in the region — China is preparing to counter the United States’ intentions as Washington returns to the scene.
Many countries in the region — particularly those that have been on the receiving end of China’s more assertive behavior (particularly in the South China Sea) — have begun to find the idea of an increased American presence in the region desirable as a counterbalance to China.
China perceives itself as acting within its rights, as the region’s natural power, to carve out its own space. More simply, China views itself as acting in defense of its own national interests. The United States perceives itself as returning to a region filled with key trading partners and longstanding allies to continue to advocate for specific interests — its own and those of its allies and partners. And while the Pacific Ocean is enormous, East Asia is becoming an increasingly crowded place.
23294  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: November 17, 2011, 07:48:40 PM
It already may be too late for Israel.  Iran's program is dispersed and dug in.  As I mentioned Iran has the capability to strike hard at the Israeli homeland and the wrath that would be aimed Israel's way for getting 40% of the world's oil supply shut down would be massive-- including here in the US.
23295  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: November 17, 2011, 07:45:07 PM
Some additional thoughts on the debate:

*Major division between Huntsman and Romney on China.  Romney got the better of it I thought.

*Though the conversation about Afpakia was serious, I don't think anyone really came to grips with the idea that we are on a trajectory to leave Afg (with pretense at continuing to train) and that the place on the planet where AQ is closest to acquiring nukes is by snatching the ones the Paks are driving down the street.

Not saying I have any better ideas, just saying , , ,
23296  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: November 17, 2011, 07:33:38 PM
I saw this the other night and was rolling on the floor. 
23297  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: November 17, 2011, 06:53:26 PM
My understanding is that our military has VERY little enthusiasm for taking on Iran.  While certainly the dubious qualities of the current CiC may have more than a little to do with that, simple military options do not exist. 

As I have pointed out several times in the last few years, Iran now has some 50,000+ rockets on Israel's northern border; and Egypt's military might well be tempted to end-run its own domestic issues with a popular war on Israel's southern border at the same time.

As Stratfor has pointed out, the Iranians are not stupid and have been working asymetric options for the Gulf and the Straights of Hormuz.  How happy do you think the world is going to be when 40% of the world's supply suddenly gets shut off?  What lessons might China, which relies HEAVILY on Iran for its energy, take from the experience?  What might be the response of the US electorate? 

I'm not calling for doing nothing-- and I was glad to see a flash of testosterone from Mitt-- but let us not be glib here.

BTW I saw a report today that some new humongous bunder busters (35,000 pounds?!?) are being delivered to our military.
23298  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: November 17, 2011, 06:41:28 PM
For the record, I am nowhere near the level where the higher tax rates would affect me directly!

However, I am still quite opposed to such increases because indirectly I think such increases would be bad for everyone.
23299  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ catches up with this forum re Chinese bookkeeping on: November 17, 2011, 06:39:16 PM
Email Print Save ↓ More .
.smaller Larger  By JOSEPH STERNBERG
With a thud akin to a tree falling in a Chinese woodland, a new report on doings at scandal-plagued Sino-Forest hit the street this week. The Toronto-listed company fell from grace in June when a short-selling research firm accused it of shady accounting. Now an independent committee of the company's board says that's all bunkum. The shorts are sticking to their story.

Does any of this matter? No.

We mean that in a broader sense. As regards the particulars of this alleged fraud story, the board's report is informative. If it turns out to be true (Canadian authorities are conducting an investigation of their own), it also stands as corroboration of a theory offered in this space in June that Sino-Forest could be a "real" company and still be unsuitable for listing on a Western exchange.

The crux of the charges leveled by short-sellers at Muddy Waters Research was that Sino-Forest had far overstated its forest holdings in China, and that it engaged in a complex tangle of related-party transactions that obscured the true nature and scope of its business. The charges spooked markets and the stock plunged some 74% before it was suspended in August. Regulators launched a probe.

The board committee offers a different story. It purports to have secured copies of much of the local-government documentation that it says proves Sino-Forest's rights to the timber assets it claims, although it notes that China's regulatory system doesn't churn out the sort of comprehensive property records auditors would expect of a Western firm. The report also offers a plausible explanation for a key gotcha passage in the shorts' research, the fact that various financial data reported to shareholders by Sino-Forest and associated companies don't jibe with data submitted to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC).

The explanation? That's just the way things are done in China—the numbers often don't match up. Tellingly in this regard, the committee notes that some suppliers and other companies associated with Sino-Forest declined to speak with board investigators for fear that the government would get wind of any information disclosed.

Enlarge Image

CloseAssociated Press
 ."[M]any third parties explained their reluctance to provide requested documentation and information as being 'for tax reasons' but declined to elaborate," the report says. As we noted in June, it's likely that Sino-Forest's complex corporate structure and relationships with third parties stem in large part from attempts to manage its tax liabilities and those of its partners.

This report raises a question for Western investors: Even assuming there was no fraud, do you really want to put your money in a company that says it has no choice given China's regulatory environment but to conduct business through an astonishing array of offshore subsidiaries and hazy related parties, without normal proof of asset ownership?

That question, in turn, gets at the nub of the recent misadventures of Chinese firms listed abroad. Ultimately Sino-Forest has not only fallen victim to short-sellers or any fraud that might be proven to have occurred. It is also a victim, and a sign, of the changing zeitgeist—that is, of the willingness of foreigners to tolerate the risks of investing in Chinese firms.

When China's economy was the wonder of the world, companies like Sino-Forest made a lot of sense. It is a land and resources company in a country where both were booming so much that one could expect an enticing return despite some nagging concerns about corporate governance.

As broader skepticism mounts about China's economy and the quality of Chinese companies, investors suddenly are more receptive to those nattering nabobs of negativism on the short side. The genius of Muddy Waters—and perhaps of all short sellers—is timing, not research savvy. This is not to say that investors will uniformly spurn Chinese shares in the West; initial offerings are showing some signs of reviving. But gone will be the heedless enthusiasm, and investors will demand greater clarity.

This is bad news for Sino-Forest, since it means that whatever a special board committee reports and whatever the outcome of the legal wrangles, investor confidence is unlikely to return to a company forced to operate under the conditions in which any legitimate forestry company in China must.

Such has been the case at other Muddy Waters targets to emerge from special investigations, such as Orient Paper (down more than 50% despite repeated avowals that it's on the level). A company can defend itself against an accusation. But there's no defense against a mood.

Mr. Sternberg, an editorial page writer for The Wall Street Journal Asia, edits the Business Asia column.
23300  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Strat: Significance of US-Australia on: November 17, 2011, 02:18:08 PM


Dispatch: The Broader Significance of U.S.-Australian Military Cooperation
November 17, 2011 | 1909 GMT
Click on image below to watch video:
 

Director of Military Analysis Nathan Hughes discusses the political nature of the timing of the announced military cooperation deal between the United States and Australia and the broader realignment of U.S. military expansion and wider governmental efforts in the region.
Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.
Related Links
•   Washington’s Deal with Australia Highlights Growing Competition with Beijing
During his visit to Australia, U.S. President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard formally announced a significant expansion of American military activity in, and cooperation with, Australia set to begin as early as 2012. Though the timing of the announcement itself is clearly political, the agreement is part of a wider realignment of U.S. military forces, as well as broader national efforts that span the entire region.
It was no accident that Obama and Gillard chose to formally announce the new deal during the American president’s stopover in Australia which fell between the APEC summit in Hawaii last weekend and the 2011 East Asian Summit in Indonesia this coming weekend, where he will meet with regional leaders. After years of focus on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States is not only in the process of rebalancing its global posture, but it is now resuming its reorientation towards the Pacific and East Asia that began with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In this most recent deal, increasing contingents of American Marines will train on large Australian proving grounds with 2,500-strong task forces expected to start rotating through by 2016. Royal Australian Air Force bases in the north and west of Australia will host American fighters, bombers, tankers and transport aircraft while Royal Australian Navy bases in Darwin and near Perth, already regular ports of call for American warships, will expand their capacity to host and support U.S. ships and submarines. Of particular significance here, is the more established presence and support capacity that there Australian facilities provide so close to the strategic Strait of Malacca.
Overall, this is a process that has been underway since the collapse of the Soviet Union but that was in many ways sidelined by the American response to the Sept. 11 attacks. The U.S. Navy, in particular, has continued the reorientation of its forces to the Pacific, but that process is intensifying across all services and across the American government. This includes updating the American military’s posture for post-Cold War realities and also responding to increasingly assertive and aggressive Chinese military efforts, particularly in the South China Sea and with anti-access and area denial capabilities. Indeed, the relevance and value of the distance of Australia and the further dispersal of facilities on which American forces rely is particularly relevant in this regard.
But from Washington’s perspective, this is all about returning to a more balanced global posture, prioritizing East Asia and the Pacific and rationalizing its presence and efforts there. But to Beijing this looks a lot like the United States essentially doubling down with its closest allies and partners in what China can only assume is a potential attempt at encirclement.
At stake is everything in-between. The American relationship with Australia, the Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan is settled by comparison, though the United States appears to be making a big push in the region for reassuring these allies and partners. What really concerns China is the foundation this creates for the U.S. to expand engagement with countries like Indonesia, Vietnam and India and others in the years ahead.
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