Sunday, July 31, 2011

Going Over The Cliff On Socialism's Wings?

U.S. city demographics. Interesting. (See 1 below.)
Anti-Semitism is not a new phenomena. It has been around as long as contemporary history.

What I find most interesting is that when the world is stressed it tends to rise, as now is the case. Even more interesting is that anti-Semitism is spreading to Scandinavian Countries that, heretofore, had not been afflicted. As Muslim population increases in western nations the consequence is a rise in anti-Semitism.

However, what is generally lost is it is also only a matter of time before strife increases for the entire population. That is the recent story of what happened in Norway. History shows strict adherence to the Muslim culture does not leave a lot of wiggle room for tolerance of other cultures.

Coptic Christians are being wiped out so anti-culturalism is a growing threat regardless of whether it be against Jews and/or Christians. Welcome to the 21st Century. (See 2 and 2a below.)
If one reads the first two paragraphs of The Declaration of Independence and first ten amendments to the Constitution, it appears to me it was crafted by those who had streaks of liberalism, conservatism and libertarianism coursing through their veins.

But above all,several overriding thoughts jump out. It was designed to offer unalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness which Constitutionalists interpreted as both God given and to be protected from an oppressive government.

This, I submit, is what the debt limit debate is really all about and that is what the core of The Tea Party argument as well as Republican conservatism returning to its philosophical roots, is all about. Yes, fringe elements always attach to any movement - right or left and the press , media and Naysayers focus on the fringe in order to demonize that which they oppose.

I submit years from now, we will look back and find Obamaism was a watershed as we recapture the lost roots of our individualism because we simply can no longer afford the insanity of wanton spending whether by the right or left, assuming we wish to retain any vestige of what our founders intended.

And that is why I believe we re-elect Obama at our peril.
One can view the debt ceiling bill from a myriad of viewpoints.

Obviously, default was never really and option so it was only a matter of time and strategy before a bill was crafted that would pass. This one probably will.

Politically speaking, from my perspective, it fell short of a half-loaf and borders on a slice because it took the onus of Obama's spending off the table until after 2012 and basically gave him a pass. The argument for doing so was anything shorter would not calm the markets but I believe the Republicans, strategically, shot themselves in the foot and pulled Obama's chest nut out of the fire.

From an economic standpoint, I suspect rating agencies will have to downgrade in order to avoid the abuse heaped upon them for not recognizing the housing debacle. They will not get the $4 trillion in cuts, deficit spending will continue.

Therefore, I expect interest rate will creep upward over time.

The trigger mechanism is similar to the up and down vote on closing defense bases and whether it will be successful or not remains to be seen. One thing for sure, as noted previously, Liberals will now shift their rhetoric from fat cats flying planes to gutting the Pentagon in order to save those on the dole of ever expanding government and Republicans will be accused of whacking the poor. Back to square one on that score.

From a philosophical standpoint, the real issue is does the right to pursue happiness have teeth anymore in the face of a bloated wasteful government needing to continue taxing the labor of citizens in order to sustain its ability to redistribute wealth.

Government needs a level of income to protect us and to establish a system of courts to enforce contracts for the purpose of commerce and after that it is all about affirmative action, ie. transference from one's pocket to another for the purpose of social betterment. This eventually boils down to vote buying and enslavement because when government can tax productivity it has the power to make you less free. Socialism is the "Road To Serfdom" that Hayek wrote about and that is what Obamaism is all about - fairness (whatever that means), redistribution of wealth through government and encroaching on one's freedom of choice by reason of their own productivity.

America was founded to avoid that trap but starting with President Wilson we began walking down the road to Socialism, sped up with Roosevelt and are going over the cliff will Obama.
1)If U.S. Cities Were Countries, How Would They Rank?
By Richard Florida

San Francisco's metropolitan area contains an economy the size of Thailand. Chicago's GDP rivals Switzerland. If the largest U.S. cities were countries, where would they rank?

Kenichi Ohmae, the Japanese management guru, once noted that growing city-states were coming to replace nation-states in the global economy.
The map above confirms it, showing the economic output of America's largest metropolitan areas rivals countries as large as Argentina and Canada. Prepared by Zara Matheson of the Martin Prosperity Institute, it's based on data compiled for the U.S. Conference of Mayors and The Council for the New American City annual U.S. Metro Economies Report.

Even in crisis, our strongest cities perform the economic function of small (or sometimes, not so small) nations. If they were countries, U.S. metros would represent 37 of the world's largest economies, as I noted in an earlier post. This slideshow lists the largest U.S. metros and the countries to which they best compare.

New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA
At $1.28 trillion, the NY metro is equivalent to the 13th largest nation in the world, close in scale to Canada ($1.57 trillion). Its gross metropolitan product is bigger than Australia's $1.23 trillion GDP and South Korea's $1 trillion, and just under India's ($1.6 trillion).
2 INN Exclusive: Shocking Report of Norway's Anti-Semitismby Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

In the past few years, foreign interest in the widespread anti-Israelism among the Norwegian elite and the corresponding anti-Semitism in Norwegian society have increased. Up until last month, there were no official statistics to back this information up.

This enabled the Norwegian government and media to deny the hate-inciting reality, while trying to demonize those who dared to tell the truth. Last month’s publication of a study ordered by the Oslo municipality on racism and anti-Semitism among students of the 8th through 10th grades in the town’s schools came as a shock. The study found that 33 percent of the Jewish students regularly experience bullying at school. According to the definition used, this means that at least two or three incidents of verbal or physical abuse target these Jewish students per month.

It would be hard to find similarly extreme data anywhere else in Western Europe. The study also rendered it difficult to blame anti-Semitism exclusively on Muslim children, as it became evident that autochthonous Norwegians are also heavily involved.

After Jews, the next most pestered group was Buddhists, with 10 percent experiencing bullying; “Others” were at 7 percent and Muslims at slightly over 5 percent. Fifty-one percent of all students believe that the term “Jew” is used pejoratively, 41percent had heard ethnic jokes about Jews and 35 percent heard insulting comments. Close to 5 percent had been present when the Holocaust was denied in class. Only 25 percent of the students never witnessed anything negative about Jews in school.[1]

All this happens in a country where among a general population of about 5 million, the membership of the organized Jewish community is only 800. The total number of Jews in the country which includes Israelis, who often leave after a few years, is estimated at 2,000.

For those who desired to know the truth, the findings came as no surprise. Already in 2002, Martin Bodd, a representative of the Jewish community in Oslo reported at an international conference of the Anti-Defamation League, that there had been more harassment of Jews in the preceding two years than at any time since 1945.

Bodd mentioned that “most of the incitement and harassment against Jews has not been reported. Hardly any of the children or the adults offended by anti-Semitic statements or the like are willing to come forward publicly.” He said that there were approximately 15 incidents in which 10 children had been harassed.[2]

A year later in an interview, Irene Levin, Professor of Social Work at Oslo University College said: “Some Jewish children were told they would not be allowed to attend a birthday party because of Israeli actions. When there were anti-Semitic incidents at school, Jewish parents discussed this with some school principals, who supported the aggression. One told a Jewish girl to remove her ‘provocative’ Magen David. These incidents are important, but at present remain exceptions.”[3]

Last year, a courageous TV journalist Tormod Strand, succeeded in convincing the state TV NRK to broadcast a program about anti-Semitism in primary and other schools. This broadcast focused mainly on bullying of Jews by Muslims.[4]The teachers who discussed the ugly facts did so under the condition of anonymity. This was another indication of the Norwegian reality.
Kristin Halvorsen, Minister of Education and Leader of the Left Socialist Party reacted with surprise and said that this information was all new to her.

A few weeks later, the publisher of my book in Norwegian, "Anti-Semitism in Norway; Behind the Humanitarian Mask," arranged a press conference in Oslo. This gave me an opportunity to ask the journalists present how it was possible that I, who lived far away and did not speak their language, have been aware of this problem in Norwegian schools for a long time, while their own minister did not. There was no reply.

I then felt as if I had to console them. I told them that this did not mean that I wanted to become minister of education in their country.

After the broadcast, Halvorsen ordered a national study on racism in schools, which is still underway. After the study of the Oslo municipality was made public, Halvorsen announced that she will provide more than $1,000,000 to familiarize teachers with the issue and how it should be handled in schools.

This effort is unlikely to be very successful. Halvorsen and her party colleagues are extremist anti-Israeli hate mongers. In 2006, she promoted a consumer boycott of Israeli goods. The Norwegian government had to distance itself from her statements after the then U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice threatened Norway with serious political consequences.[5]

In 2009, when Halvorsen was Minister of Finance, she announced that the Norwegian government had decided that the state pension plan should divest from the Israeli company Elbit because it was involved in the construction of Israel’s security barrier.[6]This was considered incompatible with the so-called investment ethics which had been laid down for the pension fund. At the same time however, the fund continued to hold shares in companies in other countries involved in highly unethical activities.

In 2009 during the Cast Lead war in Gaza, Halvorsen was the only Western minister to participate in an anti-Israeli demonstration. She was photographed standing close to someone holding a poster saying: U.S. and Israel – the Axis of the Greatest Evil.[7]At the demonstration, shouts of “Death to the Jews” could also be heard.

The main question concerning the actions to be taken is: Can a minister with a continuing arsonist record become a fireman at the same time?

It is obvious to those who do not wish to close their eyes that widespread anti-Semitism in Oslo schools is directly linked to the extreme anti-Israel hate mongering in Norway expressed by government ministers, politicians, media, trade unions, academics, certain Church leaders and others.

One important subject not being investigated in the Oslo study is how many teachers discuss the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in class and to what extent their remarks are biased. This will probably serve to be another example of how arsonists may now simultaneously be taught to become firemen.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is Chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

[1]“Religious racism shocks officials,” 8 June 2011.

[2] Martin Bodd, “Country Reports: Norway,”Anti-Defamation League Conference on Global Anti-Semitism, 2002,

[3]Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Irene Levin, “Norway: The Courage of a Small Jewish Community; Holocaust Restitution and Anti-Semitism,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 10, 1 July 2003..

[4]Katharina Schmidt-Hirschfelder, “So verbreitet ist die Angst,” Judische Allgemeine, 10 June 2010. [German]

[5]“USA Threats after Boycott Support,” Aftenposten, 12 January 2006.

[6]Maayana Miskin, “Norway Boycotts Israeli Security Firm Elbit,” Israel National News, 3 September 2009.

[7], 31 March 2009.

2a)Is Terrorism Against Israel Really More Justified Than Terrorism Against Norway?
By Alan M. Dershowitz

In a recent interview, Norway's Ambassador to Israel has suggested that Hamas terrorism against Israel is more justified than the recent terrorist attack against Norway. His reasoning is that, "We Norwegians consider the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel." In other words terrorism against Israeli citizens is the fault of Israel. The terrorism against Norway, on the other hand, was based on "an ideology that said that Norway, particularly the Labor Party, is foregoing Norwegian culture." It is hard to imagine that he would make such a provocative statement without express approval from the Norwegian government.
I can't remember many other examples of so much nonsense compressed in such short an interview. First of all, terrorism against Israel began well before there was any "occupation". The first major terrorist attack against Jews who had long lived in Jerusalem and Hebron began in 1929, when the leader of the Palestinian people, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, ordered a religiously-motivated terrorist attack that killed hundreds of religious Jews—many old, some quite young. Terrorism against Jews continued through the 1930s. Once Israel was established as a state, but well before it captured the West Bank, terrorism became the primary means of attacking Israel across the Jordanian, Egyptian and Lebanese borders. If the occupation is the cause of the terror against Israel, what was the cause of all the terror that preceded any occupation?

I was not surprised to hear such ahistorical bigotry from a Norwegian Ambassador. Norway is the most anti-Semitic and anti-Israel country in Europe today. I know, because I experienced both personally during a recent visit and tour of universities. No university would invite me to lecture, unless I promised not to discuss Israel. Norway forbids Jewish ritual slaughter, but not Islamic ritual slaughter. Its political and academic leaders openly make statements that cross the line from anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism, such as when Norway's Foreign Minister condemned Barak Obama for appointing a Jew as his Chief of Staff. No other European leader would make such a statement and get away with it. In Norway, this bigoted statement was praised, as were similar statements made by a leading academic.
The very camp that was attacked by the lone terrorist was engaged in an orgy of anti-Israel hatred the day before the shooting. Yet I would not ever claim that it was Norway's anti-Semitism that "caused" the horrible act of terrorism against young Norwegians.

The causes of terrorism are multifaceted but at bottom they have a common cause: namely a belief that violence is the proper response to policies that the terrorists disagree with. The other common cause is that terrorism has often been rewarded. Norway, for example, has repeatedly rewarded Palestinian terrorism against Israel, while punishing Israel for its efforts to protect its civilians. While purporting to condemn all terrorist acts, the Norwegian government has sought to justify Palestinian terrorism as having a legitimate cause. This clearly is an invitation to continued terrorism.

It is important for the world never to reward terrorism by supporting the policies of those who employ it as an alternative to reason discourse, diplomatic resolution or political compromise.

I know of no reasonable person who has tried to justify the terrorist attacks against Norway. Yet there are many Norwegians who not only justify terrorist attacks against Israel, but praise them, support them, help finance them, and legitimate them.

The world must unite in condemning and punishing all terrorist attacks against innocent civilians, regardless of the motive or purported cause of the terrorism. Norway, as a nation, has failed to do this. It wants us all to condemn the terrorist attack on its civilians, and we should all do that, but it refuses to live by a single standard.

Nothing good ever comes from terrorism, so don't expect the Norwegians to learn any lessons from its own victimization. As the Ambassador made clear in his benighted interview, "those of us who believe [the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel] will not change their minds because of the attack in Oslo." In other words, they will persist in their bigoted view that Israel is the cause of the terrorism directed at it, and that if only Israel were to end the occupation (as it offered to do in 2000-2001 and again in 2007), the terrorism will end. Even Hamas, which Norway supports in many ways, has made clear that it will not end its terrorism as long as Israel continues to exist. Hamas believes that Israel's very existence is the cause of the terrorism against it. That sounds a lot like the ranting of the man who engaged in the act of terrorism against Norway.

The time is long overdue for Norwegians to do some deep soul searching about their sordid history of complicity with all forms of bigotry ranging from the anti-Semitic Nazis to the anti-Semitic Hamas. There seems to be a common thread.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Running Out of Pinatas!!

Victor Hanson suggests Obama's shift to being fiscally responsible is politically motivated simply because the pubic has rejected his spendthrift ways, 2012 looms ahead and he is scrambling to get re-elected.

Yes, the leopard is changing his spots but only til after his re-election, should that occur. Then it will be four more years of continuing the destruction of our nation, our currency and our ability to defend ourselves.(See 1 below.)
al Qaeda blows up Egyptian-Israeli gas pipeline again and prove they are capable of handling Egyptian troops. The Sinai is now in play and, once again, Egypt, America and the Israelis are caught flat footed by al Qaeda's bold exploits and military capability. (See 2 below.)
By any evaluation Obamanomics has proven a failed experiment in Keynesian theory.

Obama has brought the nation to the point of insolvency, employment is up not down, hundreds of thousands have been added to government 'benefit' programs, government employment is up and the nation's confidence in itself is shrinking.

On the diplomatic front the picture is equally miserable. We have lost status throughout the world and most particularly in The Middle East.

The media and press cannot admit the truth because they feel compelled to support their anointed ruler but statistics do not lie - only Obama and his devotees do.

For 2 1/2 years, Obama has been in charge, all the while reminding us what a mess he inherited, that it was GW and Cheney's fault, Tea Partyers are un-American, those who disagree with his policies are racists, the rich are greedy and fly around in planes while the poor starve and all we need do to solve these problems is send more money to be squandered by Washington.

Obama can keep blaming everyone else but at some point it will become evident he has run out of pinatas. How much longer will/can the press and media shield Obama, is anyone's guess but it has become obvious to more and more voters he is out in left field and out of his element as if he ever had the ability to run anything besides his mouth. Polls increasingly reflect this fact.

Re-elect Obama at the peril of what is left of our Republic. (See 3,3a and 3b below.)
1)"Can President Recover From Deficit Binge?"

President Obama does not care much about deficits — other than worrying that big debt might matter in his re-election campaign.

In his first three budgets, Obama borrowed nearly $5 trillion. Currently, the government is borrowing about 45% of everything it spends. Obama's projected 10-year plan would add nearly $10 trillion to existing U.S. debt.

This spring he proposed the largest annual deficit in U.S. peacetime history, which is why his $3.7 trillion budget for 2012 was rejected in the Senate by a 97-0 vote.

In other words, under Obama, the government during the last three years has borrowed on average about $4 billion each day. That staggering sum is far in excess of the $1.6 billion per day during the eight-year tenure of George W. Bush, who until Obama's presidency had borrowed more than any peacetime president.

Apparently in Obama's worldview there are advantages to deficits that explain his fondness for unprecedented borrowing. In Keynesian terms, massive government red ink is supposed to foster economic prosperity by creating goods and services that a purportedly less-efficient private sector cannot.

The administration certainly has added an additional 100,000 federal jobs and expanded food stamps to nearly 50 million recipients ( from 28 million in 2007 and cost has more than doubled from $33 Bil to $77 Bil) — and in the process enlarged the pool of potentially grateful constituents. This belief in the superior wisdom of the state explains why almost all the Cabinet secretaries in the Obama administration came out of state or federal government, not from private enterprise.
Massive deficits not only empower more federal hiring and entitlements, but at some point lead to higher taxes. This gorge-the-beast notion is the flip-side of the Reagan-era idea of "starving the beast" of big government by cutting federal revenue through reduced tax rates.
igher taxes to Obama are not necessarily bad if they serve to redistribute income from the affluent to the less well off — a sort of "spread the wealth" government way of addressing the supposedly inherent unfairness of private-sector compensation.
So why, then, has Obama suddenly turned to deficit reduction?

In a word, politics: The downside of massive borrowing finally outweighed the upside of bigger government. The Tea Party-inspired midterm election brought Republicans to power in the House of Representatives and scared congressional Democrats silly.
That's why Democrats in the Senate voted unanimously to reject Obama's record-deficit 2012 budget — the sort of intervention that is the fiscal equivalent of a concerned family forcing a bingeing relative into rehab.

That political anxiety explains why suddenly Obama is now referencing his long-neglected Bowles-Simpson commission on fiscal responsibility and reform — as if the former public relations move is suddenly welcome proof of the president's long-held fiscal sobriety and sincerity.

The megaborrowing also did not lead to the robust economic recovery of the cyclical sort that usually follows a steep recession. Unemployment is still at 9.2%. GDP remains anemic. Energy prices are still sky-high. The housing market continues to be depressed. Consumer and business confidence is flat.

Finally, it is almost impossible to find any major economist who still argues for greater deficits. Those who once advocated printing our way out of the doldrums — Austan Goolsbee, Peter Orszag, Christina Romer and Larry Summers — have all left the administration, or intend to, about midway through its first term. They seem more likely to assign the administration's 2009-2011 economic record to others than claim it proudly as their own.

Note that there is no current example that might suggest big deficit spending leads to national prosperity. The unsustainable debts of Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain have nearly wrecked the European Union. Most consider a fiscally prudent Texas or Utah to be a better job creator than debt-ridden blue states such as California, Illinois and New York.

Scholars who analyzed the 2008 financial meltdown see its origins not just in Wall Street greed, but also in massive government intervention into the subprime mortgage markets and in misdirected federal efforts to ensure capital for bankers to lend to unqualified buyers.

So opposition to the president's budget proposals amounts to more than just a know-nothing rant about no taxes, period. The unease reflects genuine puzzlement — and, yes, anger — over a president addicted to debt, who suddenly wants to preach to others about their responsibility to pay back what he once so zealously advocated that we should borrow.

In short, those in recovery rarely make good puritans.
2)Al Qaeda blows up Egyptian-Israeli gas pipeline after killing 7 in El Arish raid

The day after their El Arish rampage, Al Qaeda gunmen Saturday, July 30, blasted the al Shulaq terminal of the Egyptian-Israeli gas pipeline on the Mediterranean sea shore north of the Sinai town, halting supply for the fifth time since February and the third time this month.

This time was different. The saboteurs fired rockets at the terminal until it caught fire, the same tactics they used to raid the El Arish police station Friday. Egyptian forces confronted the assailants but could not save the terminal. This was al Qaeda's first attack on a strategic Israeli installation.

In a Taliban-style raid, at least 150 masked, uniformed al Qaeda gunmen rode into the Sinai capital of El Arish on pickups and motorcycles Friday, July 29, shooting up the desert town with heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and automatic rifles. Before they rode out six hours later, at least seven people were killed, and upward of 30 injured.

Egyptian police and troops pulled back to their fortified station as terrified citizens of this desert town of 150,000 inhabitants fled the rampage. At least two of the dead were Egyptian civilians, a man of 70 and a 13-year old boy shot while take a cell phone picture.

Military sources report around 18:00 hours, the assailants split into two groups, one keeping up the street attacks, the other heading for the police station.

Witnesses said the masked gunmen were not local because they lost their way several times and asked for directions to the police station. They then attacked the building with rockets and a battery of five mortars - the first time al Qaeda in Sinai is known have procured mortars, setting a police armored truck and other vehicles on fire. Rather than capturing the police station, the gunmen appeared concerned to keep the police pinned down in a shootout to prevent them from interfering with the deliberate occupation of the town.

The Egyptian news agency reported an Egyptian lieutenant colonel and captain died in the shootout . The number of dead and injured may be higher than reported. Two military planes were sent out from Cairo to evacuate the casualties.
After nightfall the gang withdrew to central Sinai.

El Arish townsmen are convinced the black-uniformed jihadis, having demonstrated they can't be stopped, will be back and next time, stay to proclaim Sinai a Muslim caliphate.

El Gorah, 20 kilometers to the west, houses the international MFO established nearly three decades ago to monitor the Sinai demilitarization provisions of the Israel-Egyptian peace treaty. Attached to the force are 1,000 troops, most of them American and Canadian marines.

This command center has been on supreme alert for an al Qaeda threat for seven months. Since President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown, Hamas, al Qaeda and Bedouin gunmen have been running riot through Sinai, while Egyptian security officers stay holed up in their bases.

Israeli forces deployed the length of the Egyptian border likewise stood aside while El Arish was occupied and terrorized by al Qaeda. According to counter-terror sources, none of the Egyptian, Israeli or American intelligence agencies monitoring the desert peninsula were prepared for al Qaeda to raise a force of hundreds of men, oufit them with uniforms, heavy arms and vehicles and train them in the military skills and disciplines required for capturing a complete town two and-a-half hours drive from Tel Aviv and five hours from Cairo.

Until July 29, al Qaeda in Sinai was believed to be no more than a handful of cells mostly working with local Bedouin dope and arms smuggling rings. None suspected them of acquiring quasi-military competence.

This evaluation will have to be urgently revised now that the Egyptian authorities have lost their grip on Sinai. The lawlessness reigning today in this strategic territory, which abuts on Israel, the Red Sea and Suez Canal, is cause for Israeli and US alarm.
3)What Expansion?

Obamanomics: In case you thought the economy was doing better, Friday's report on gross domestic product likely disabused you of that notion. It shows the last two years of economic policymaking have been an utter failure.

New data show that the economy has been expanding far less robustly over the past two and a half years than initially claimed.

According to the Commerce Department, first-quarter GDP growth was 0.4%, not 1.9% as first reported. In the second quarter, it grew at a tepid 1.3% pace.

A recent problem? Hardly. Fourth-quarter 2010 growth was also revised down, from 3.1%to 2.3%.

In fact, all told, from the end of 2008 to this year, the government estimates U.S. GDP was $314 billion less than first estimated, not including this year's revisions.

Digging down into the data shows an even gloomier picture. Per capita GDP, the ultimate measure of both well-being and productivity for a nation, today remains lower in real terms than it was in 2007.

In the second quarter of this year, average annual real output per person stood at $42,499 — still 3.3% below its peak of $43,956 in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Looked at yet another way, the Commerce Department also estimates "potential" GDP — the size the economy would be with all resources used efficiently.

Listen to the Podcast
Subscribe through iTunesIn the second quarter of this year, real GDP stood at a real annual rate of $13.33 trillion. But our potential, the government says, is $14.25 trillion. So we're missing $920 billion in GDP, and Obama's first term isn't over.

Call this lost potential the Obamanomics tax.

That pretty much explains why unemployment remains stuck at more than 9%, with an estimated 27 million Americans unable to find full-time employment.

Our growth is insufficient. At best, we are in a growth recession — an economy whose slow expansion can't create enough jobs to hire everyone who wants one.

As U.S. Chamber of Commerce economist Martin Regalia warned Friday, Obama's increased regulation and uncertainty for small businesses "have made it extremely difficult for the economy to grow and create jobs."

Tough to disagree with that. Yet under Obamanomics, these aren't bugs in the system — they're features. Businesses have $2 trillion in cash to invest, but are so frightened and intimidated by the Democrats' bullying, threats and demonization of wealth they're sitting on it.

As President Obama entered office in early 2009, his top economic advisers promised stimulus would deliver fast growth. Unemployment, they said, would top out at 8% — and 3.5 million new jobs would be created.

After spending $830 billion on stimulus, $700 billion on TARP, with unknown trillions more to be spent on ObamaCare and welfare, the nation's not better off.

The Keynesian stimulus put in place by the Democrats two years ago has been an economic disaster. Sadly, these latest data prove it. Our budget deficit is bad enough. But our growth deficit is devastating.

3a)A Tale of Two Signs: "Hiring Now!" or "Going Out of Business"?
By Wynton C. Hall

The 2012 equivalent of Ronald Reagan’s famous “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” will be: “In your hometown, which do you see more of: ‘Hiring Now!’ signs or ‘Going Out of Business’ signs?”

Those trapped in the grip of the disastrous Obama economy already know the answer, and it terrifies David Axelord, David Plouffe, and President Barack Obama. The presidential candidate who frames the debate this way will win.


Because the sad and tragic economic facts are now undeniable, and they have absolutely nothing to do with ideology or party affiliation:

Every fifth man you pass on the sidewalk does not work.

Every seventh person you pass on the sidewalk is now on food stamps.

The average time an unemployed America remains out of work is now a jaw-dropping nine months (36 weeks). The pre-Obama average: just three months (13 weeks).

The price for a gallon of gas has risen 104% from the time of Mr. Obama’s inauguration to today.

Unemployment has risen from 7.8% to 9.2% since Mr. Obama’s inauguration.

Incredibly, black Americans—who voted some 98% for Mr. Obama’s election—are now suffering their lowest levels of economic prosperity since the civil rights era of the 1960s; the black middle class is vanishing and setting back black economic gains at least a generation if not more.

Recent college graduates are now experiencing record unemployment—all but ensuring that their freshly minted skills will rust and grow stale as they struggle to find work. In 2006 and 2007, 90% of all college graduates found a job. In 2010, just 56% of college graduates were able to find a job.

Mr. Obama has added more to the national debt than all U.S. presidents from George Washington to Ronald Reagan—combined.

These facts will not change before Election Day. Sadly, they are set in cement for the time being, as small business owners—the engines of job hiring—wisely refuse to expand hiring with so much fear and uncertainty in the air.

And all this doesn’t even take into account the economic outlook once the 2,000+ pages of Obamacare take full effect. Moreover, each week, businesses of all sizes learn of new and more onerous regulations being concocted by Mr. Obama’s administration.

Mr. Obama’s common rejoinder that the economic catastrophe before us is the result of his predecessor will not work. Mr. Obama’s party, of which he is the head, had control of 100% of the U.S. government for his first two years in office. Presently, Mr. Obama controls 66% of the government. As Bill Clinton used to say, “That dog simply won’t hunt.”

The presidential contender who will prevail must present the economic fork in the road before the American people thusly: In the last three decades, our great nation has undergone two economic experiments to solve similar economic difficulties.

The first of these experiments was performed by President Ronald Reagan. He let Americans keep more of the money they earned and helped small, medium, and large businesses hire more people by cutting red tape. The result: the greatest peacetime economic expansion in American history and a gain of 18 million new jobs.

The second economic experiment is the one we’re presently trapped in, performed by President Barack Obama. He has spent more of your money than all U.S. presidents—combined, seized 17% of the U.S. economy with the introduction of Obamacare, and is in the process of raising taxes even higher. The result: 16.2% of your neighbors can’t find enough work to make ends meet, food and gas prices are skyrocketing, and the country is broke and on the verge of total economic collapse.

In short, Mr. Reagan’s economic experiment created “Hiring Now!” signs. Mr. Obama’s economic experiment has created “Going Out of Business” signs.

The candidate who can clearly and plainly communicate this tale of two signs will be America’s next president.

Wynton C. Hall is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the owner of Wynton Hall & Co., a celebrity ghostwriting and speechwriting agency. He is the author, most recently, of The Right Words: Great Republican Speeches that Shaped History

3b)Obama’s approval numbers hit all-time low
By Alexis Levinson

President Barack Obama’s approval rating sank to a new low Friday, according to Gallup’s daily presidential tracking poll.

Just 40 percent of Americans say they approve of Obama’s performance as president. That is down three percentage points from Thursday. Fifty percent say they do not approve of the job he is doing.

The poor rating comes amidst an increasingly chaotic debate over raising the debt ceiling, as the deadline looms to raise it or risk the government defaulting on its debts.

Just 41 percent of the public said they approved of the way Obama was handling the debt-ceiling negotiations, while 52 percent disapproved, according to another Gallup poll released Thursday. Nonetheless, Obama still polls better than congressional leadership. Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid both received even lower approval rates.

The president’s 40 percent approval rating follows a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press poll released Thursday that found Obama’s support among independents has eroded a great deal. Fully 54 percent of independents disapprove of Obama’s performance as president, according to the Pew poll, the most during his time in office. Just 36 percent approve of the job he is doing.

Obama has also lost ground against a generic Republican challenger, attracting 41 percent of the vote when matched with an unnamed Republican, who polled 40 percent.

Obama’s approval rating is below that of former President Bill Clinton’s lowest approval rating during the government shutdowns of 1995. At the very end of the shutdown, Clinton’s approval rating was 42 percent, but quickly rebounded back to over 50 percent. His lowest approval rating ever was 37 percent in June 1993

Friday, July 29, 2011

Bigger Loaf Better Than Half or None! Pray For Cancer's Cure

Yesterday was World Cancer Day:Friday is world cancer day - A small request.. Just one line.

Dear God, I pray for a cure for cancer. Amen
Does new NASA Data blow a hole in the Global Warming argument which, in many solid minds, has always been based on specious science and was simply a way for Gore to make millions and keep his name in the news?

Perhaps Tipper also concluded Gore was a nut case and left before she got overheated living with that pompous ass. (See 1 below.)
A bright Atlanta attorney offers his thinking on presidential re-nominations. (See 2 below)
I agree ,U.S. debt will likely lose its top rating even if there is a debt ceiling agreement. In fact, raising the debt ceiling is a signal that our deficits will continue to grow. What conservatives are trying to do is add some lead to Obama's balloon

However, I do not believe U.S. Treasury short term paper is toxic because the world has no alternative to the dollar remaining the world reserve currency - at least for now. In time, if we continue re-electing spending presidents and Congress cannot come together with respect to arresting their appetite for bankrupting The Republic, a basket of other currencies will supplant the dollar. It is inevitable.(See 3 below.)

Advice from Porter Stansberry on how to protect yourself against America's coming debt downgrade. (See 3a below.)
Now that intransigent Tea Partyers helped force Boehner to pull away from a deal with Obama, which would have been tantamount to giving away the store once again, Kim Strassel points out why Republicans, through Boehner's renewed efforts, have every reason to vote for his new plan.

As Kim knows, I adore her as a person, I respect her for her brightness but I would suggest, in this article, she should give more credit to those who held Boehner's feet to the fire thereby, assisting in his being able to craft a "bigger loaf" deal.

That said, 'a bigger loaf is better than even a half loaf and no loaf at all.

If Reid and Obama would rather continue eating cake then they will eventually have it all over their face. (See 4 below.)
Ironic that our State Department is located in that D.C area called 'Foggy Bottom' because that department seldom has a foggy notion about what is happening to them.

Hillary is probably the foggiest of all. (See 5 below.)
The story of Libya's Jewish population.

It is the story, in varying degrees, of all Jews living in Arab nations, is the current story of Christians living in Arab nations and it will only worsen.

Arabs, because of their tribal culture, tend to hate each other and Muslims, because of their religion, seem to hate everyone.

That may be overreach but about sums it up to my ignorant mind.(See 6 below.)

And this about sums it up as well and sort of reinforces my previous point. (See 6a below.)
1)New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism
By James Taylor

NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth's atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.

Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA's Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA's Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.

"The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show," Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. "There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."

In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.

The new findings are extremely important and should dramatically alter the global warming debate.

Scientists on all sides of the global warming debate are in general agreement about how much heat is being directly trapped by human emissions of carbon dioxide (the answer is "not much"). However, the single most important issue in the global warming debate is whether carbon dioxide emissions will indirectly trap far more heat by causing large increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds. Alarmist computer models assume human carbon dioxide emissions indirectly cause substantial increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds (each of which are very effective at trapping heat), but real-world data have long shown that carbon dioxide emissions are not causing as much atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds as the alarmist computer models have predicted.

The new NASA Terra satellite data are consistent with long-term NOAA and NASA data indicating atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds are not increasing in the manner predicted by alarmist computer models. The Terra satellite data also support data collected by NASA's ERBS satellite showing far more longwave radiation (and thus, heat) escaped into space between 1985 and 1999 than alarmist computer models had predicted. Together, the NASA ERBS and Terra satellite data show that for 25 years and counting, carbon dioxide emissions have directly and indirectly trapped far less heat than alarmist computer models have predicted.

In short, the central premise of alarmist global warming theory is that carbon dioxide emissions should be directly and indirectly trapping a certain amount of heat in the earth's atmosphere and preventing it from escaping into space. Real-world measurements, however, show far less heat is being trapped in the earth's atmosphere than the alarmist computer models predict, and far more heat is escaping into space than the alarmist computer models predict.

When objective NASA satellite data, reported in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, show a "huge discrepancy" between alarmist climate models and real-world facts, climate scientists, the media and our elected officials would be wise to take notice. Whether or not they do so will tell us a great deal about how honest the purveyors of global warming alarmism truly are.

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
2)Fwd: Randy Evans Column No. 1079
The 2012 Democratic Nominee - Maybe
J. Randolph Evans

No one knows just how the current federal debt crisis is going to play
out. Anyone who says they do, probably knows the least.

The polling numbers for everyone involved are horrible. Sixty-seven
percent of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong
direction. Forty-eight percent of Americans disapprove of President
Barack Obama's performance as President. Seventy-three percent
disapprove of the job Congress is doing. And, all of those numbers are
before another fifteen months of high unemployment.

Meanwhile, most 2012 GOP Presidential hopefuls are left watching
helplessly from the political sidelines. The GOP field struggles to be
relevant as the test of wills plays out between House Speaker John
Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and President Barack Obama.

Of those in the fray, President Obama clearly has the most to lose.
More often than not, it is the President who pays the political costs of
failure - especially when the economy flounders.

Yet, most incumbent Presidents sail toward re-nomination by their
political party even when things are not going so well. President Jimmy
Carter was re-nominated in 1980, only to lose to President Ronald
Reagan. And, President George Bush was re-nominated in 1992, only to
lose to President Bill Clinton. But it is only most incumbent
Presidents who get re-nominated, not every incumbent President.

Admittedly, most insiders expect that with $1 billion to spend, the
Obama re-nomination machine will be on cruise control until the
Republicans figure out who their nominee will be.

Maybe - maybe not.

So here is a little history. During the 1800s, it was actually common
for political parties to dump a sitting President as their party's
nominee. The first was President John Tyler in 1844. Yes, he had not
been elected as President (moving up when President William Henry
Harrison died). But, he was the incumbent. That did not help him.
When his reelection rolled around, the Whigs dumped him and nominated
Henry Clay. The Democrats nominated President James Knox Polk (who won)
and President Tyler was out of a job.

It became a trend. The Whigs again dumped their incumbent President in
1852. When President Zachary Taylor died, President Millard Fillmore
moved up. When his reelection came along, the Whigs denied him the
party's nomination and opted for Winfield Scott. He promptly lost to
President Franklin Pierce.

In 1856, Democrats refused to re-nominate incumbent President Pierce and
in 1860, Democrats did not even really consider incumbent President
James Buchanan.

Notably, political parties often had good reason to dump their nominees.
Presidents Pierce and Buchanan are consistently listed as two of the
worst Presidents in U. S. history. Indeed, as the Democratic nominee in
1852, President Pierce had no credible credentials to serve as
President. But he was bold. At his inauguration, President Franklin
Pierce (the youngest President at the time at age 48) chose to 'affirm'
his oath of office (rather than swear to it) on a law book (rather than
the Bible). It was all downhill from there.

Sometimes, Presidents are dumped because they simply cannot get anything
done (through no fault of their own). As a result of a midterm election
in 1858, President Buchanan faced partisan gridlock. House Republicans
blocked President Buchanan at almost every turn. By the time the
Democratic convention rolled around, President Buchanan was not even a
factor (and as a result not re-nominated.)

But, what about the 20th century? Twice, incumbent Democratic Presidents
decided to abandon their bid for the Democratic nomination after the
handwriting became clear on the wall. In 1952, Democratic President
Harry Truman sought reelection. After losing the Democratic Primary in
New Hampshire, he abandoned his bid for the Democratic nomination.
Adlai Stevenson got the Democratic nomination and Republican President
Dwight Eisenhower won.

In 1968, Democratic President Lyndon Johnson ran for reelection. Once
again, New Hampshire proved to be pivotal. Initially, no Democrats in
1968 wanted to challenge President Johnson who was a sitting Democratic

Only Senator Eugene McCarthy ran against President Johnson in 1968.
But, in the New Hampshire Democratic Primary, Senator McCarthy won 42%
of New Hampshire Democrats (against President Johnson's 49%). It was
over. President Johnson shocked the world when he added this sentence
to the end of a speech shortly afterward: "I shall not seek, and I will
not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your

It actually was not his choice. His support collapsed and he would not
have won re-nomination as the Democratic nominee even if he had stayed
in the contest. The rest is history. President Richard Nixon won the

Both Truman and Johnson confirm that when things start to falter for a
sitting President, things do move fast. So what does all this have to do
with 2012? Maybe nothing - maybe everything. Anyone seen Hillary
Clinton lately?
3)Wiedemer: US Treasurys Now a ‘Toxic Asset,’ Debt Deal Won’t Fix It
By Forrest Jones and Ashley Martella

The United States may lose its AAA rating by defaulting on its debt and it will be very hard to get that rating back, says Robert Wiedemer, financial commentator and best-selling author of "Aftershock."

Lawmakers are at an impasse on agreeing on terms to lift the government's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and avoid an Aug. 2 default.

Republicans and Democrats want to lift the ceiling but disagree on how to reduce the deficit in exchange for lifting the White House's borrowing limit.

They will probably strike a deal and lift the ceiling, Wiedemer says, but they may not do it in time, and credit ratings agencies may strip the country of its AAA ratings.

You don't get those back that easily, says Wiedemer, managing director of Absolute Investment Manager.

"I don't think we are going to work our way back to AAA," Wiedemer tells Newsmax.TV.

"Any downgrade I think is ultimately going to be based more on fundamental issues. We have a huge debt now almost eight times our tax revenues. That's massive. It's fundamentally a toxic asset."

A downgrade won't mean the end of the world for the financial system, says Wiedemer, who recently released an updated edition of his best-selling book, "Aftershock."

Economists at the ratings agencies themselves have said that much.

But Americans will feel the pinch when investors demand higher interest rates in U.S. debt auctions, which will trickle down to loans like mortgages and student loans.

"Any kind of nick does do long-term harm to our credibility, but is the immediate impact catastrophic? No, of course not. But is the long-term blow to our reputation a problem especially if our economy sees more inflation and other problems? It just piles on," Wiedemer says.

"If it was the only problem, I wouldn't worry about it. But it's indicative of a much larger problem."

After default, the United States enjoys the unique position in that the Federal Reserve can print money and buy U.S. Treasurys to keep them as affordable for the government as possible.

The problem with such a move is that it would threaten to pump up inflation rates even if it does prevent ratings from falling too far below AAA.

"If we have any real trouble selling our bonds, Ben [Bernanke] will just step in and buy them with printed money. And there's really no limit to that other than when he does that, that's going to create inflation."

"But in the short term, that limits the amount of downgrades you can get. The longer-term problem is more insidious, and that's inflation."

China to Take a Hit

Political parties may suffer fresh beatings in popularity polls after the debt-ceiling impasse, and those that elected them will suffer as well in the form of a sluggish economy threatened by high debt levels and rising inflation rates.

The Chinese, meanwhile, may also take it across the chin if default occurs.

China has invested heavily in U.S. debt but has also manipulated its currency in such a way that it has gained an edge in global trade.

A weak Chinese yuan makes its exports more competitive.

But a disruption in global markets stemming from a U.S. default could mess up Beijing's plans.

"Anybody who invests in something that defaults, they get hit and they take a big loss. I think the Chinese could be in for a really big hit by betting so heavily on manipulating the dollar. It's not a smart bet, fundamentally, to manipulate foreign exchange," Wiedemer says.

"That's why few countries do it. Certainly our largest trading partner Canada doesn't do it. I think it's a dumb bet, and I think they are going to lose heavily on it."

Standard and Poor's, meanwhile, says it would like to see the country shave $4 trillion off of its deficits over the long term. "$4 trillion would be a good down payment," says John Chambers, chairman of the company’s sovereign rating committee, according to Bloomberg.

"A grand bargain of that nature would signal the seriousness of policy makers to address the fiscal situation in the U.S."

About Robert Wiedemer
Robert Wiedemer is a managing director of Absolute Investment Management, an investment-advisory firm for individuals with more than $120 million under management. He is a regular contributor to Financial Intelligence Report, the flagship investment newsletter of Newsmax Media. Click Here to read more of his articles. Discover more about his latest book, "Aftershock."

© Moneynews. All rights reserved

3a) The crisis arrives – finally… Why a downgrade is inevitable… What it all means… Glad we shorted financial stocks… Doc's Retirement Trader… The best ways to profit from volatility…

Yes, it's for real. We've been wondering when the markets would wake up to the reality of the sovereign debt crisis. Today is the day…

The action in the fixed-income markets this morning verged on collapse. Yields on the world's benchmark sovereign debt – the U.S. 10-year Treasury bond – plummeted. Investors panicked and moved into the market, which is the world's most liquid market. Meanwhile, just about everything else in fixed income got killed. Mortgage REITs were briefly "no bid," for example. Annaly – the blue-chip mortgage REIT – was down more than 15% at the open. (I'll explain why in a moment.)

It was as if the world's fixed-income investors finally woke up and realized the world's economy has serious problems… which our politicians seem unable to address, let alone repair.

As longtime subscribers know… on Fridays, I take on the thankless task of trying to teach our clients something about finance, investing, or economics. It's a fool's errand because most of our clients have no interest in learning. They cancel in droves on Mondays.

Nevertheless, I'm stubborn. I feel an obligation to give you the information I would want if our roles were reversed. Given the crisis at hand, today's Digest will focus on the mechanics of what a U.S. sovereign downgrade would mean to the world's markets – both on paper and in reality. This is a critically important topic – one that most people know nothing about…

The credit-ratings agency Standard & Poor's says there's a 50% chance it will downgrade America's credit rating from triple-A within the next 90 days. That's the same credit rating ol' Timmy Geithner said the U.S. would "never" lose just a few months ago. Most people believe these downgrades and the resulting problems (which we'll discuss in detail below) are being caused by the debt ceiling issue. They're not.

The downgrades, as S&P explains, are due to the funding needs of the U.S. government, combined with the growing size of our annual deficits relative to the growth of our economy, which remains moribund. I've written about these issues extensively in my newsletter, most recently in the May issue called, "The Day the Dollar Dies"…

… 61% of all the marketable Treasury debt held by the public will mature within four years . Thus, over the next four years, the U.S. Treasury must either repay or refinance more than $1 trillion in existing debt each year – not to mention additional deficit spending of at least $1.5 trillion. For us to avoid a default, the U.S. Treasury may have to borrow or refinance as much as $10 trillion in the next four years. That would double the amount of U.S. Treasury bonds currently trading in the world's markets.

Looking just at these numbers and considering America's total debt load (public and private debts total nearly 400% of GDP), there's no question our sovereign debt rating should be cut… I'm not sure the U.S. is even an investment-grade credit.

That analysis includes a huge "but"… because thanks to the dollar's standing as the world's reserve currency, it is actually impossible for the U.S. to default unless it chooses to do so, through debt ceiling limits, etc. The real question, in my mind, isn't the sovereign rating. (And yes, I believe we will be downgraded whether or not the debt limit is increased.) The real question is, how long will our creditors and our trading partners continue to allow the dollar to dominate the world's banking system and commodity markets?

My answer is, not for long. Not if the U.S. government continues to print money to pay for its own profligate spending. But how else will it finance a doubling of outstanding Treasury bonds in the next decade?

Over the next few months, I expect to see a repeat of the crisis of 2008 – but on a much bigger scale. This time, the credit problems coming to the surface aren't in the banks and the brokers. They're in the sovereigns – both in the U.S. and Europe. The only palatable political solution to this problem is to print more money – colossal amounts of it. For now, investors remain willing to pile into U.S. Treasurys. But this crisis will only get worse until that trend reverses. The only way the U.S. government can avoid an actual default is to destroy the dollar. So that's what's going to happen. A downgrade is only the first step. But let me show you what that first step will mean…

Here's the critical thing to understand. All around the world, the U.S. 10-year Treasury bond establishes the "risk-free" rate. That is, in just about any kind of fixed-income vehicle, market rates of interest are established by the current price and yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond. Yes, matching duration bonds are normally used. If you're pricing a five-year mortgage, you'll use the five-year U.S. Treasury. But the fact is, the market is pricing the five-year Treasury bond by using the 10-year Treasury bond as the reference. The entire financial system uses the U.S. Treasury bond market as its foundation.

That's why whenever trouble arises and panic spreads, everyone buys Treasurys. If these bonds are no longer rated triple-A, the pricing of all other forms of financial instruments will suffer. Credit, in general, should become harder to get and more expensive because the entire system just got riskier. Think about it this way, if the safest part of the world's financial system is no longer safe, how much riskier did a bond that's three rungs down the ladder just become? We don't know, precisely. We only know "more risky" is the only logical answer.

We saw what this means for leveraged financial holding companies this morning when mortgage REITs got killed. Bloomberg's index of 32 mortgage REITs fell about 8.5% at the open because their cost of funding rose as investors abandoned the "repo" market and bought U.S. Treasurys. Investors are demanding higher prices to finance these mortgage books because many of the mortgages these companies hold are insured against principal loss by the U.S. Treasury. If those guarantees aren't triple-A anymore, funding those investments is going to cost more. (By the way, these risks are exactly why I urged my subscribers to sell Annaly at $17.82 for a 77% gain in May, and why we've added short positions in four major global financial firms – all of which are showing a profit.)

When you apply the same kind of thinking across the financial system, you begin to get an idea of why the world's economy is probably heading for trouble. The cost of financing is going up – for corporations, homebuyers, and governments. Sooner or later, this will spark renewed efforts at the Federal Reserve to monetize our debts. But when it turns on the presses this time, we expect our creditors and trading partners to revolt. Gold and silver will soar. Financial stocks will plummet. You've been warned…

As you probably know, I've been warning about a collapse in sovereign debts since at least December 2008. I call these problems "the End of America," because I believe the inevitable outcome will be the loss of the U.S. dollar's status as the world's reserve currency. (That clearly hasn't happened yet – investors are still flocking to the Treasury market in this crisis.)

The stage for this crisis was set during the financial crisis of 2008. And I don't believe it will be over until these debts are either written off or monetized away by the Fed through inflation. Until that happens, we'll be dealing with a world of far greater financial uncertainty. Your primary goal as an investor right now should be to simply retain your purchasing power. How can you do that?

The basic ways to defend yourself from the government's efforts to monetize our debt are pretty simple: Hold 10%-20% of your assets in the form of gold and/or silver. That's your best protection against the government. Holding your liquid (cash) savings in better currencies – like the Swiss franc, the Canadian dollar, etc. – is a good idea, too. (Everbank can help you do this, by the way.)

Investing in hard commodities is also a good bet. But you have to buy these stocks during periods when the market becomes temporarily convinced the Fed won't print any more money. We might reach a good point for these purchases in three or four months, as the U.S. economy will continue to slow, stoking fears of deflation.
4)Boehner's Moment of Truth The speaker has positioned his party to take credit for a bill that averts a crisis.
By KIMBERLEY A. Strassel

It isn't easy to turn Washington around on a dime. If nothing else, give Republican House Speaker John Boehner marks for trying.

It wasn't a week ago that Mr. Boehner was plodding through White House deliberations, grasping for GOP support, facing the growing likelihood his party would be saddled with either a flawed debt bargain or blame for causing a default. By last night, Mr. Boehner was on the precipice of passing the only workable debt plan in town and shifting responsibility for further debt fallout across the aisle. Whatever the final result, Mr. Boehner's week-long struggle to pull his party behind him is worthy of some study.

That struggle began with the Ohio Republican's willingness to pack in a losing strategy. He'd invested valuable time and capital in his White House talks, and the pressure from the president, the press and the bipartisan crowd to grab a "big deal" was enormous. He looked very near to succumbing to the seductive pull of a grand Washington "compromise."

Instead, he realized that this White House had no intention of agreeing to serious debt reduction and that it cared primarily about tax hikes. His decision to call off the talks earned him some catcalls, but it reset the political dynamic.

For weeks, House Republicans had feared their only choice would be between a problematic Boehner-Obama deal or their principles. Many had chosen to risk default in the name of the latter. By outing the White House and pushing a legitimate Republican alternative, Mr. Boehner gave his members a new choice: They could rally behind their leader for a deal that was good (if not perfect), or they could hand victory to President Obama.

President Obama took it from there. His week of lashing out at the GOP—in a press conference, in a national address, in a veto threat—only clarified the stakes for members and began earning Mr. Boehner standing ovations. The desperate quality of the Democratic attacks confirmed for House Republicans that the speaker was on to something. His blunt warnings about the political fallout of default helped further focus minds, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's support for the Boehner plan reassured House members that he'd back them in the Senate.

Also helping was the House leadership's deft handling of the bill itself. Instead of legislation to thrill hard-liners, Mr. Boehner stuck to a framework already agreed upon by most Democrats—thereby robbing them of an easy excuse for rejecting it.

He simultaneously inserted enough provisions—such as a promise for a future vote on a balanced budget amendment—to allow some cut-cap-balance members to feel confident they were holding to their own promises. His willingness this week to retool the bill, so that Congressional Budget Office analysts would confirm it lived up to its goal of $900 billion in savings, began reassuring conservative members that they were voting for something real.

He got a final boost from the unrealistic wing of the conservative movement, which overplayed its hand. Conservative bloggers and Washington pressure groups love to complain about the GOP "establishment," never acknowledging that they've become an establishment all their own. Without asking voter permission, they've fashioned themselves the heavies of the tea party movement, issuing diktats and punishing deviations—according to their whims. Witness this week's leaked emails from a staffer for the conservative Republican Study Committee encouraging activists to tell freshmen Republicans to vote against the Boehner bill, and to "target" any who did not.

Those Republican freshmen—many sporting sterling conservative credentials—are getting a bit hacked off that the Club for Growth or House staffers are dictating the positions they must take. Many rightly saw Mr. Boehner's plan as a credible first step toward deficit reduction—one that denies Democrats the ability to hang default on the GOP, and that also positions Republicans for the 2012 election and real reform. They began to wonder who made Heritage Action the arbiter of all things conservative, and some broke for Mr. Boehner.

By Thursday evening, Mr. Boehner had moved a significant portion of his conference, though he proved unable to net the final few votes. Some remained wedded to their vow to never vote for a debt-ceiling hike. Some, like presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, continued to insist, ludicrously, that a failed deal wouldn't be a problem. It is an open question if Mr. Boehner could have ever won these votes, no matter how big, deep and dramatic a budget-cutting deal he presented.

What he did do this week is position his party to take credit for a bill that averts a crisis, cuts more spending than any Democrat ever thought possible, and exposes the White House's insincerity on the deficit and economic prosperity. The Republicans who yesterday undermined bill now bear sole responsibility for whatever political fallout comes next.
5) Al Qaeda in Iran
The U.S. finally acknowledges the terror connection.

That there have long been links between al Qaeda and the government of Iran isn't exactly news.

In 2003, the Washington Post reported on a "decade-old relationship" between al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri and Ahmad Vahidi, now Iran's minister of defense. In 2004, the 9/11 Commission wrote that "there is strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers." Throughout the war in Iraq, there was extensive intelligence that Iran was supporting the Mesopotamian branch of al Qaeda, never mind that they were terrorizing the country's Shiite population.

Yet it was only yesterday that the U.S. government formally acknowledged the connection between the world's most dangerous terrorist group and the leading state sponsor of terrorism. In a move by the Treasury Department, six members of a terrorist network based in Iran were sanctioned for serving as "the core pipeline through which al Qaeda moves money, facilitators and operatives from across the Middle East to South Asia," principally meaning Pakistan and Afghanistan. The leader of the group, Ezedin Abdul Aziz Khalil, is a Syrian who has been operating from Iran under an agreement signed in 2005.

The sanctions will likely have little effect on the terror network, at least so long as its members remain in the Islamic Republic. But at least it ought to put to rest the idea that doctrinal differences all but forbid radical Sunnis to make common cause with radical Shiites. As in politics, terrorism can make strange bedfellows, especially when there's a shared hatred of the United States.

The Obama Administration has come a long way since the days when it thought it could strike a "grand bargain" with Iran's mullahs, and yesterday's move is another good step. Above all, it's a reminder of why a regime that has no qualms serving as al Qaeda's facilitator can on no account be permitted to build a nuclear bomb.
6)Message body


What was once the most beautiful synagogue in Libya’s capital city can now be entered only by sneaking through a hole smashed in a back wall, climbing over dusty trash and crossing a stairwell strewn with abandoned shoes to a space occupied by cooing pigeons.

The synagogue, Dar al-Bishi, was once the center of a prosperous Jewish community, one whose last remnants were expelled decades ago in the early days of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

Inside Libya, little trace of them remains. Abroad, however, surviving members and descendants of the community are very much alive, watching with fascination from afar as Gaddafi’s forces and a NATO-backed rebel insurgency battle for control of a country some of them still see as home.

“I have somewhat mixed feelings. I am sympathetic to people who want him out,” said Libya-born Gina Bublil-Waldman, referring to the embattled dictator.
But Bublil-Waldman, who heads an organization of Jews from Arab countries in San Francisco, said she was still angry and hurt by the memory of her family’s expulsion from Libya. Those feelings remained strong, she said, and at this point she “would be afraid to go.

Navit Barel, a 34-year-old Israeli of Libyan descent, said the upheaval made her want to visit the country where her parents were born. Her mother and father, now deceased, both grew up near the Dar al-Bishi synagogue.

“I feel like it brought back my yearning to talk to my father,” she said.
Libyan Jews seem proud of their heritage and even nostalgic for their ancestral home. But they are also bitter at the mistreatment they suffered at the hands of Libyan Muslims and at the eventual elimination of an ancient native community in a wave of anti-Jewish violence linked to the rise of the Zionist movement and the creation of Israel.

Today, most of the community’s few crumbling remains lie in Hara Kabira, a sandy slum that was once Tripoli’s Jewish quarter.

Inside the Dar al-Bishi synagogue, faded Hebrew above an empty ark where Torah scrolls were once kept reads “Shema Israel”—“Hear, O Israel”—the beginning of a Jewish prayer. The floor is strewn with decades of garbage.

What was once a ritual bath next to the synagogue now houses impoverished Libyan families. In a nearby alley, three arched doorways in a yellow facade are decorated with Jewish stars of David. The building was once the Ben Yehuda Jewish youth club, said Maurice Roumani, a Libyan-born Israeli and Libyan Jewry expert. Barel’s father, Eliyahu, taught Hebrew there.

The government now owns it.

Jews first arrived in what is now Libya some 2,300 years ago. They settled mostly in coastal towns like Tripoli and Benghazi and lived under a shifting string of rulers, including Romans, Ottoman Turks, Italians and ultimately the independent Arab state that has now descended into civil war.

Some prospered as merchants, physicians and jewelers. Under Muslim rule, they saw periods of relative tolerance and bursts of hostility. Italy took over in 1911, and eventually the fascist government of Benito Mussolini issued discriminatory laws against Jews, dismissing some from government jobs and ordering them to work on Saturdays, the Jewish day of rest.

In the 1940s, thousands were sent to concentration camps in North Africa where hundreds died. Some were deported to concentration camps in Germany and Austria.
Their troubles didn’t end with the war. Across the Arab world, anger about the Zionist project in Palestine turned Jewish neighbors into perceived enemies. In November 1945, mobs throughout Libya went on a three-day rampage, burning down Jewish shops and homes and killing at least 130 Jews, among them three dozen children.

After Israel was founded in 1948, it became a refuge for Jews of ancient Middle Eastern communities, including those of Libya. Barel’s father fled in 1949, and her mother soon after. Most were gone by the time Gaddafi seized power in 1969. The new dictator expelled the rest, who were ordered to leave with one suitcase and a small amount of cash.

Jewish properties were confiscated. There was no way to determine how many. Debts to Jews were officially erased. Jewish cemeteries were turned into dumping grounds or built over, and most of the dozens of synagogues around the country were either demolished or put to different use. Some became mosques. A community that numbered about 37,000 at its peak vanished.

Inside Libya, the memory of Jews is fading. Elderly Muslim residents who remember their neighbors stay silent, worried they’ll be accused of being Jewish sympathizers.
“There were Jews here once, but they left,” said one Muslim resident of Tripoli’s old Jewish quarter. He nervously shrugged when asked of their fate.
Still, the Libyan Jewish community left small legacies behind.

Their famous fish stew, known as hraimeh, is widely eaten in Libya today. Recently, a government official accompanying international reporters to a seafood restaurant in Tripoli called it “Jewish food” as he hungrily scooped it up. Muslims who defy their faith’s ban on alcohol imbibe homemade bocha, a fig-based spirit once made by local Jews.

Today, Libyan Jews and their descendants number around 110,000. Most live in Israel, with others in Italy and elsewhere. None, if any, have any desire to return as residents, but Moussa Ibrahim, a spokesman for the embattled Gaddafi government, said they would be allowed back—if they first disavowed their Israeli citizenship. “They cannot have both,” Ibrahim said.

The Benghazi-based rebel government would not comment on whether it had any intention of mending relations with the country’s old Jewish community. Spokesman Jalal al-Gallal would say only that there would be “freedom of religion” in a future Libya.

Roumani, the Libyan Jewry expert, said he has a yearning to return, but knows that the places he knew are long gone.

Roumani described a memory of himself as a child in Benghazi: He is walking to synagogue with his father, listening to a chanted recitation of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, coming from a radio in a nearby cafe.
The synagogue is now a Coptic Christian church. His father’s grave was lost when Gaddafi’s regime built over the cemetery.

6a)Hamas leader: Palestinian UN bid a 'scam'

'We are not going to recognize Israel. That is very simple. And we are not going to accept Israel as the owner of one square centimeter,' says Mahmoud al-Zahar.By DPA Tags: Hamas Gaza Middle East peace (process) Palestinian state

Hamas has the Gaza Strip firmly under its control. Although Israel's blockade of the salient is aimed at weakening it, money laundering and revenue from the smuggling tunnels under the border with Egypt has kept the radical Islamist movement afloat.
The movement's charter calls for an Islamic state to be established in all of historical Palestine (including Israel).

Hamas leaders have firm views on the attempt by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to get the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders, before Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan.

"Just nonsense," says Mahmoud al-Zahar, a prominent Hamas member in Gaza. "A Palestinian state means land, people and authority. And now, what is the border of Israel? Israel has had many borders in the last 30, 40 years. What border are we going to speak about?'"

The approach to the UN, he says, is a 'political scam.' He is equally unequivocal on the so-called two-state solution, which aims at an Israeli state and a Palestinian state existing side by side.

"We are not going to recognize Israel. That is very simple. And we are not going to accept Israel as the owner of one square centimeter because it is a fabricated state."

"On what moral basis was Israel established? On the right of return (of the Jews) after 4,000 years? It's just imagination."
He says accepting Israel's right to exist would "cost 10 million Palestinians their right to Palestine. Who can pay that price? Who will go to the refugee camps and tell the people you have no right on Palestine?"
Al-Zahar and Hamas are also uncompromising regarding Palestinian unity with Abbas' Fatah party.

After years of bitter, and at times violent conflict, which erupted after Hamas chased security personnel loyal to Abbas and the Palestinian Authority out of the Gaza Strip, the two movements signed a reconciliation agreement in May.
But talks over the formation of a unity government, a clause in the deal, have floundered, as the two groups fail to agree on who should be the new Palestinian prime minister.

Abbas wants Salam Fayyad, the current prime minister of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, to continue in the post. Hamas rejects this outright.
"This man is not acceptable to us," al-Zahar states flatly.
He says the pro-Western Fayyad, an internationally respected economist, "is not a nationalist, he is a collaborator."

Al-Zahar differs from other Hamas leaders regarding the efforts of a German official trying to mediate a deal which would see Hamas release an Israeli soldier it has been holding since 2006, in return for Palestinian prisoners freed from Israeli jails.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri described the mediator, an official of the German Intelligence Service BND, as being "not a fair negotiator" and rejected all future cooperation.

But al-Zahar says the mediator "is not on the side of Israel. He is neutral."
"The problem is not the German mediator," he says, blaming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the impasse in the swap deal and accusing him of "public relations."

And what of the so-called Arab spring, the revolutions sweeping Middle East countries, which have overthrown the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and threaten two more, in Libya, and in Syria, where the political headquarters of Hamas is located?
Hamas spokesman Abu Zuhri dismisses speculation - at least publicly - that the movement would have to up and leave Damascus if its patron, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is overthrown.

"We are guests in Syria and Lebanon as refugees. And also very important: We are not part of what is going on in Syria. We have no intention of leaving Damascus. We see no reason to leave Syria," he says.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How Sweet It Is - Sweet Tammy's New Facility!

After two years of a lot of hard work, little sleep and 'one thing after the other' days end on end, Sweet Tammy's begins baking out of their new facility.

From this point forward, after additional new baking equipment from Italy is delivered, their customer expansion should begin in an aggressive fashion. ST is being pressed by several of their grocery chain customers to place their products in more stores and come up with new sku's.

Message from our son: "We ran our first 'bake' out of the new facility. Lots of exciting times ahead.....Exhausted but powering through....a great day all in all. Still working out the kinks, finding places for everything and getting "settled in" but its nice to be in our new home."

Go kids!

The most open White House ever seems to shut down when their hand is caught in the cookie jar. Obama and Holder only lie when they are talking. (See 1 below.)

And why is Wall Street shocked by GDP figures? All you have to do is read the Wall Street Journal or some comparable paper like Investor's Business Daily and you would know the economy is stalling out and the only growth in corporate earnings is from their foreign operations.

The media and press want to hide reality to protect their 'anointed one' who, along with his advisers, is afraid to let the "free' market clear the air and do what it always does - more effectively allocate. than government bureaucrats

I have written repeatedly, I believed we were going to experience the backside of the hurricane , admittedly having been in the eye much longer than I would have thought, but Bernanke spent billions keeping us there. (See 1a below.)
Don't know whether you will read about this in the traditional drive by media. What this says to me is that Libyan rebels are also thuggish and our support of them might backfire because we may be trading the devil we know for the one we don't.

Once again, I suspect our State Department is going to be caught flatfooted. (See 2 below.)
Kevin Jackson gives a hurrah to The Tea Party which, he claims, Obama keeps trying to mug. Obama's only recourse is to keep on his demagogy. (See 3 below.)

Krauthammer and the debt ceiling debate.

K explains what is going on, why and what he believes is the best solution until the final philosophical battle is won, if it can be won: "Given this reality, trying to force the issue — trying to turn a blocking minority into a governing authority — is not just counter-constitutional in spirit but self-destructive in practice."

K concludes, until conservatives control government, go with the Boehner plan. He explains explains why and why the other proposals are either unworkable and/or a smokescreen for doing nothing.(See 3a below.)

Meanwhile, Mitch believes the 'glitch' is that there is no Obama plan. Ah, but that is the Obama plan - Criticize the opposition for their plan and then you do not have to reveal that you have none of your own. (See 3b below.)
Have a great weekend.
1)ATF: The White House Knew

Scandal: A former ATF special agent tells Congress a National Security Council staffer was informed about Operation Fast and Furious before guns allowed into Mexico wound up at the murder scene of a U.S. agent.

The latest evidence that both the White House and attorney general knew and approved of Project Gunrunner and its deadly offshoot, Operation Fast and Furious, came this week in the testimony of William Newell, ATF special agent in charge of the Phoenix office, before Rep. Darrell Issa's House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

That the "stench of cover-up," as Fox News analyst Brit Hume described the administration's handling of the matter, may reach even into the Oval Office itself was evidenced by Newell's testimony that he communicated with Kevin O'Reilly, a staffer on President Obama's National Security Council, about Operation Fast and Furious in September 2010.

O'Reilly was national security director for North America tasked with monitoring the activities of Mexican drug cartels. We are asked to believe he inquired about a program that was providing the cartels with guns but kept what he found out to himself.

That date, by the way, is three months before weapons permitted to "walk" into Mexico were found at the scene in Arizona were U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered. Newell said O'Reilly had inquired about the status of Project Gunrunner to brief administration officials before a trip to Mexico.

Newell sent O'Reilly the requested information with the caveat, "You didn't get this from me."

Why was a National Security Council staffer asking about an operation that no one in the upper echelons of the administration was supposed to be aware of? We find it hard to believe it was for O'Reilly's personal amusement. Why would Newell request that he not be acknowledged as the source?

Certainly the whole area of drug cartels, cross-border violence and gun trafficking are matters of national security. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made a cause celebre of blaming the easy access to U.S. weapons for Mexican violence.

Subscribe to the IBD Editorials Podcast Are we to believe neither the White House nor the Department of Justice knew about a program that made that access even easier?

Administration officials have taken the Sgt. Schultz "we knew nothing" approach to any inquiries, only to be tripped up by their own words and actions.

Newell's email to O'Reilly is evidence that at least one person in the White House did.

Attorney General Eric Holder told the House Judiciary Committee in May that he learned about the operation in the "last few weeks." In fact, as we've noted, Holder himself gave a speech to Mexican authorities in Cuernavaca, Mexico, on April 2, 2009, taking credit for Gunrunner as well as Fast and Furious for himself and the Obama administration.

Holder told the audience: "Last week, our administration launched a major new effort to break the backs of the cartels. My department is committing 100 new ATF personnel to the southwest border in the next 100 days to supplement our ongoing Project Gunrunner."

At a June 29 press conference, President Obama told reporters, "As you know, my attorney general has made clear he certainly would not have ordered gun-running to pass through into Mexico."

Yet a video shows former Deputy Attorney General David Ogden telling reporters at a Department of Justice briefing of steps to expand Gunrunner "as part of the administration's comprehensive plan" and as the "president has directed us."

ATF agents have testified that they were ordered not to interdict guns before they passed into Mexico under this operation and evidence has surfaced that the FBI averted its eyes when an instant background check should have alerted them to two convicted felons transferring more than 300 guns.

The "stench of cover-up" grows stronger even as the mainstream media put a clothespin on their collective nostrils.

1a)Economy Grew Only 1.3% in Spring After Nearly Stalling in Winter

The U.S. economy grew less than forecast in the second quarter, after almost coming to a halt at the start of the year, as consumers retrenched.

Gross domestic product rose at a 1.3 percent annual rate following a 0.4 percent gain in the prior quarter that was less than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 1.8 percent increase. Household purchases, about 70 percent of the economy, climbed 0.1 percent.

Slower job and income gains raise the risk that a pickup in purchases during the remainder of 2011 will fail to materialize. The faltering economy will probably complicate the debt-ceiling negotiations in Congress and is one reason why Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has said policy makers need to keep all options open.

“The transition into the second half is on rocky footing,” Guy LeBas, chief fixed-income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia, said before the report. “Consumers are just refusing to increase their spending, which sets the stage for a stagnant economy. We’re in economic doldrums right now.”

Forecasts of 85 economists in the survey ranged from 0.9 percent to 2.9 percent. At $13.27 trillion in the second quarter, GDP has yet to surpass the pre-recession peak.

Advance Estimate

The GDP estimate is the first of three for the quarter, with the other releases scheduled for August and September when more information becomes available.

The Commerce Department today issued GDP revisions going back to 2003.

The 2007-2009 recession took a bigger bite out of the world’s largest economy than previously estimated and the recovery lost momentum throughout 2010, the report showed. GDP shrank 5.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the second quarter of 2009, compared with the previously reported 4.1 percent drop. The second-worst contraction in the post-World War II era was a 3.7 percent decline in 1957-58.

Consumer spending from April through June showed the smallest gain since the second quarter of 2009, when the economy was in recession. The slump reflected a 4.4 percent plunge in purchases of durable goods like automobiles.

Higher expenses for necessities like food and energy may have curtailed spending on less essential items. The cost of a gallon of regular gasoline climbed in May to about $4 a gallon, the highest in almost three years, according to AAA, the nation’s biggest auto group.

Mounting Joblessness

The absence of faster job growth is also discouraging shoppers. The unemployment rate climbed to 9.2 percent in June while payrolls grew by 18,000, the fewest in nine months, Labor Department figures showed on July 8.

Purchase, New York-based PepsiCo Inc., the world’s largest snack-food maker, said profit this year will increase more slowly than it previously projected because of rising commodity costs and cooling customer demand.

“It’s the consumer and competitive picture that has become more difficult than we expected,” Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi said on a July 21 conference call.

Much of the growth in the second quarter came from business investment and trade. Spending on commercial structures, including factories and office building, and equipment contributed 0.6 percentage point to growth. The improvement in the difference between imports and exports added another 0.6 point.

Trade Gains

Overseas sales will remain a backstop for factories. Dow Chemical Co. (DOW), the largest U.S. chemical maker, said demand is “strong” in markets abroad.

“We captured strong growth in Latin America, and the emerging geographies more broadly, while North America experienced moderate growth,” Andrew Liveris, chief executive officer, said on a July 27 conference call with analysts.

Inventories grew in the second quarter at about the same pace as in the prior three months, adding 0.2 percentage point to GDP.

A slump in government spending added to the economy’s woes last quarter. Outlays by state and local agencies dropped at a 3.4 percent annual pace, and non-military spending by the federal government slumped 7.3 percent, the most since 2006.

Bernanke’s View

“In the very near term, the recovery is rather fragile,” Fed Chairman Bernanke told lawmakers on July 14. “We just want to make sure that we have the options when they become necessary” to stimulate the economy.

One area of weakness last quarter was auto purchases. Cars and light trucks sold at an average 12.1 annual rate in the April to June period, down from a 13 million pace in the first three months of the year, according to industry data.

A shortage of Japanese-made parts after the earthquake and tsunami in March slowed production at U.S. manufacturers. The shortage of components is projected to ease this quarter.

At the same time, the government’s inability to agree on a budget and debt-limit increase may be making companies reluctant to order new equipment and hire in the second half.

The employment outlook remains dim, based on company announcements this month. San Jose, California-based Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), the world’s largest networking-equipment maker, plans to cut about 6,500 jobs worldwide. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will reduce staff by about 1,000, and Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) will offer a voluntary separation plan to 6,500 employees.
‘Still Struggling’

“Recent economic data are clear — the U.S. economy is still struggling to emerge from the Great Recession and unable to move to a path of vibrant and sustainable growth,” Dan DiMicco, chairman and chief executive officer at steelmaker Nucor Corp., said on a July 21 teleconference with analysts.

The Fed’s preferred price gauge, which is tied to consumer spending and strips out food and energy costs, climbed at a 2.1 percent annual pace, the most since the last three months of 2009, compared with a 1.6 percent in the first quarter, as higher oil and food costs pushed up the prices of other goods and services. The central bank’s longer term projection is a range of 1.7 percent to 2 percent.

© Copyright 2011 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
2)Libyan rebels killed their commander for secret parley on war's end with Qaddafi

Abdel Fatah Younis, commander of the Libyan rebel forces fighting Muammar Qaddafi, was put to death on the orders of Mustapha Abdul Jalil, head of the rebel Transitional National Council, who wanted him out of the way before the start of peace negotiations, debkafile's intelligence and military sources report.

His execution was set up by TNC officers who first abducted him and the two colonels who never left his side. After they were removed to a point 20 kilometers east of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, all three were shot in the head. The killers brought the bodies back to Benghazi to prove the TNC chief's orders had been carried out and collect their payment.

Younis, a former interior minister, defected to the rebel side in February after working with Qaddafi for 40 years. The circumstances of his death were deliberately confused by Benghazi.

The TNC chief Jalil aparently wanted the powerful Younis out of the way for good before negotiations for the transition of government in Tripoli began. Jalil is a weak figure who enjoys scant respect – even among the Libyan tribes supporting the insurgency. He was clearly concerned that at some point in the negotiations, Gen. Younis's name would be put forward as the most suitable candidate for leading rebel representation in the post-war government in Tripoli, Qaddafi would then appoint his son Saif al-Islam as his successor and the two would run the future government as a team.

the plan was already taking shape at the highest levels in Washington, Paris, Moscow and Berlin when it was derailed by the death of Younis. French foreign minister Alain Juppe brought the plan to London on Tuesday, July 26 to help the British government climb down from the demand to keep the war going until Qaddafi quit and departed Libya.

And indeed, the Cameron government agreed to line up behind Washington, Moscow and Berlin and conceded that the Libyan ruler would stay in the country after he stepped down.

But then, on Thursday, the TNC announced the death of the rebels' military chief. It was followed by a claim that pro-Qaddafi loyalists had shot him to impair rebel military capabilities and punish him for defecting. Jalil claimed that Younis had been called to the Benghazi headquarters for questioning but never arrived, tacitly encouraging the rumors that he had been a double agent who secretly served Qaddafi after his defection and made sure the rebels lost the war.

Those rumors were disseminated as a smokescreen to cover Gen. Younis' warning to the rebel administration in closed meetings - starting four months ago - that they would never defeat Qaddafi's army in battle and they would do well to stop the bloodshed and sit down to work out a power-sharing deal.

The general explained that were it not for the NATO air umbrella and Qaddafi's fear of the losses air strikes would inflict on his army he would have trounced rebel forces in eastern and western Libya and retaken Benghazi in less than a week.

When the TNC leader Jalil refused to heed these warnings and cut rebel losses, Younis gave his field commanders a free hand to negotiate a ceasefire with their opposite numbers on the pro-Qaddafi side. As a result, from the second week of May, an informal truce descended on the main battle fields of Misrata and Brega.

From time to time, rebel headquarters in Benghazi sent out officers with orders to tackle Qaddafi forces in defiance of the truce. But they were no match for the superior strength of government troops and were forced back - proving Gen. Younis had got it right.

When negotiations for ending the conflict hove in sight, Jalil suspected Gen. Younis of planning to beat his own path to Qaddafi and bypassing both the TNC delegation and the NATO powers. The TNC leader resolved to protect his own standing and bid for power by scotching the threat posed by the general.
3)Tea Party Crashes Washington Orgy
By Kevin Jackson

For Obama, the Tea Party fits in Washington like nuns at a swingers' convention. The fiscal orgy at Club Fed just can't continue unless the Tea Party gets the hell out. Unfortunately for Obama, we just won't leave. How could we? We can't afford to refuel our corporate jets.

So in order to give the Tea Party the "change we need," Obama is pulling out all the stops. He continues his War on Productivity against the "rich." Like the preacher said to the congregation, "I have good news and bad news. The good news is we have the money for the new building. The bad news is it's out there in your pockets."

When Obama can't just get taxpayers to hand over their booty at knifepoint, he threatens to "Katrina" America and unleash Mother Nature on us. His timing was impeccable, as he delivered his Mother Nature threat in the wake of the worse tornado season in decades -- let no crisis go to waste!

But somebody must have whispered in Obama's ear that on people's list of concerns, more tornadoes a hundred years from now can't measure up to the need to eat every day until then.

This prompted Obama to threaten our food, as not allowing Obama to create more debt might force him to cut the FDA. How horrible a death would it be to die from E. coli?

Has this guy ever experienced cuisine in Mexico, where merely handling a mango can get you Montezuma's revenge? You'd think that being African, Obama realizes that the bugs you can get in the Motherland from eating the wrong foods make salmonella feel like slight indigestion.

We weren't fooled. So when the food scare didn't work, Obama pulled the entitlement card out. Obama tried to mug old people -- gank them like a purse-snatching, wallet-lifting thief in the street -- by suggesting that they wouldn't receive their Social Security checks.

However, even the old "old people will lose their benefits" trick didn't persuade conservatives to allow Obama to pick their pocket, thus victory was delayed for the battle-worn wannabe hero of the left.

Time for yet another escalation within the Democrat Rules of Destruction of America manual, with willing Democrat Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee pulling out her well-worn but now laminated race card.

According to Lee, there exist racists in Congress who do not want to raise the debt ceiling for this president as they have for all "other" presidents. Lee points out that there is only one glaring difference between this president and all "others." I originally guessed that this president is the only idiot we've ever elected, but then I was reminded of Jimmy Carter, who presided during the Peanut Era.

Congressman Lee's beehive is obviously wrapped too tight, as she apparently forgot that the debt ceiling has already been raised three times for this president, putting Obama ahead of Bush in the "Race to Continually Raise the Debt Ceiling."

Obama was left with only one possibility, one move -- one gambit, as it were: Obama would have to "talk tough."

Things are serious when Obama talks tough. Reminiscent of the battle between the African king Ramses and the Jewish Prince Moses, Obama warned Republican Eric Cantor: "Don't try Yutz!"

Unfazed by Obama's threat, Cantor challenged, "Game on...Boyee!"

At a press conference, Obama unleashed tough talk on Cantor, the Republicans and the Tea Party, and anybody else who would dare try to live the American Dream unfettered. The raw-meat supporters of Obama's tough talk were treated to Obama's poll-tested new tough words: "balanced approach."

In his call for a balanced approach to allow himself the ability to run up even more massive debt, Obama used the historical, heretofore automatic raising of the debt ceiling to defend his actions. Apparently the "change we need" did not involve turning off the money spigot or the Treasury printing presses.

Ironically, it was Obama who in the campaign of 2008 sold half of America on the idea that he was going to Washington to stop the status quo. I can only surmise that Obama didn't think Washington was spending America into oblivion fast enough. He's not exactly "reining in Washington," is he?

So we find ourselves fighting the same battle with liberals yet again, and pretty much in the same old ways. Democrats bluster that if taxpayers don't keep forking over the big bucks, we will all die, and Republicans allow us to be pecked to death by chickens.

The only way to rein in Washington is to take away our money. Not raising the debt ceiling is the only way to force America to cut government, something liberals abhor.

Liberals love spending orgies. Unfortunately for them, the Tea Party movement brought a fiscal religion revival to the continuing party at Club Fed Hedonism 2008+. And we ain't going nowhere.

That's my rant!

Kevin Jackson is author of the Amazon bestseller The BIG Black Lie and The Black Sphere blog.

3a) The Debt-Ceiling Divide
By Charles Krauthammer

We’re in the midst of a great four-year national debate on the size and reach of government, the future of the welfare state, indeed, the nature of the social contract between citizen and state. The distinctive visions of the two parties — social-democratic versus limited-government — have underlain every debate on every issue since Barack Obama’s inauguration: the stimulus, the auto bailouts, health-care reform, financial regulation, deficit spending. Everything. The debt ceiling is but the latest focus of this fundamental divide.

The sausage-making may be unsightly, but the problem is not that Washington is broken, that ridiculous, ubiquitous cliché. The problem is that these two visions are in competition, and the definitive popular verdict has not yet been rendered.

We’re only at the midpoint. Obama won a great victory in 2008 that he took as a mandate to transform America toward European-style social democracy. The subsequent counterrevolution delivered to that project a staggering rebuke in November 2010. Under our incremental system, however, a rebuke delivered is not a mandate conferred. That awaits definitive resolution, the rubber match of November 2012.

I have every sympathy with the conservative counterrevolutionaries. Their containment of the Obama experiment has been remarkable. But reversal — rollback, in Cold War parlance — is simply not achievable until conservatives receive a mandate to govern from the White House.

Lincoln is reputed to have said: I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky. I don’t know whether conservatives have God on their side (I keep getting sent to His voicemail), but I do know that they don’t have Kentucky — they don’t have the Senate, they don’t have the White House. And under our constitutional system, you cannot govern from one house alone. Today’s resurgent conservatism, with its fidelity to constitutionalism, should be particularly attuned to this constraint, imposed as it is by a system of deliberately separated — and mutually limiting — powers.

Given this reality, trying to force the issue — trying to turn a blocking minority into a governing authority — is not just counter-constitutional in spirit but self-destructive in practice.

Consider the Boehner plan for debt reduction. The Heritage Foundation’s advocacy arm calls it “regrettably insufficient.” Of course it is. That’s what happens when you control only half a branch. But the plan’s achievements are significant. It is all cuts, no taxes. It establishes the precedent that debt-ceiling increases must be accompanied by equal spending cuts. And it provides half a year to both negotiate more fundamental reform (tax and entitlement) and keep the issue of debt reduction constantly in the public eye.

I am somewhat biased about the Boehner plan because for weeks I’ve been arguing (in this column and elsewhere) for precisely such a solution: a two-stage debt-ceiling hike consisting of a half-year extension with dollar-for-dollar spending cuts, followed by intensive negotiations on entitlement and tax reform. It’s clean. It’s understandable. It’s veto-proof. (Obama won’t dare.) The Republican House should have passed it weeks ago.

After all, what is the alternative? The Reid plan with its purported $2 trillion of debt reduction? More than half of that comes from not continuing surge-level spending in Iraq and Afghanistan for the next ten years. Ten years? We’re out of Iraq in 150 days. It’s all a preposterous “saving” from an entirely fictional expenditure.

The Congressional Budget Office has found that Harry Reid’s other discretionary savings were overestimated by $400 billion. Not to worry, I am told. Reid has completely plugged that gap. There will be no invasion of Canada next year, no bicentennial this-time-we-really-mean-it 1812 do-over. Huge savings. Huge.

The Obama plan? There is no Obama plan. And the McConnell plan, a final resort that punts the debt issue to Election Day, would likely yield no cuts at all.

Obama faces two massive problems — jobs and debt. They’re both the result of his spectacularly failed Keynesian gamble: massive spending that left us a stagnant economy with high and chronic unemployment — and a staggering debt burden. Obama is desperate to share ownership of this failure. Economic dislocation from a debt-ceiling crisis precisely serves that purpose — if the Republicans play along. The perfect out: Those crazy tea partiers ruined the recovery!

Why would any conservative collaborate with that ploy? November 2012 constitutes the new conservatism’s one chance to restructure government and change the ideological course of the country. Why risk forfeiting that outcome by offering to share ownership of Obama’s wreckage?

3b)McConnell To Dems: Where Is Your Plan?
“Let me just explain what’s been going on in Congress this week.

“The American people have been waiting on us to do something to prevent default. They want us to end this crisis now. And over in the House of Representatives, you’ve got the Speaker of the House doing his job. Speaker Boehner’s been doing the hard work of governing, working day and night to put together a bill that can actually pass the House of Representatives and end this crisis now. And he should be commended for his efforts.

“And what about here in the Senate? Well the contrast couldn’t be starker. Rather than working these last few days towards a solution to this crisis the way the Republican Majority in the House has, the Democratic Majority here in the Senate has been wasting precious time rounding up `no’ votes to keep this crisis alive. Rather than being responsible and doing their duty and come up with a bill that can pass, they’ve been busy signing people up for the `not good enough’ caucus and ginning up opposition to everything else.

“Lawmakers should be working a solution to this crisis, not a blocking strategy. Our Democrat friends here in the Senate have offered no solutions to this crisis that could pass either chamber. Not one. Instead, all day long yesterday, we got chest-thumping comments about how they’re going to kill any piece of legislation that comes over here from the House, that it’s dead on arrival.

“Democrats are out bragging about how they’re going to prolong this crisis instead of doing the hard work of trying to solve it.

“And that includes the President.

“Look: If the President hadn’t decided to blow up the bipartisan solution that members of Congress worked so hard to produce last weekend, we’d be voting to end this crisis today.

“Instead, Democrats in Congress are still talking about blocking a solution to this crisis. And the President’s rolling out new mileage standards.

“How about this: how about a plan from Democrats in Washington that can pass both chambers, prevent this crisis and protect Americans from a worsening economy?

“I would suggest to my friends on the other side this morning that they start taking their responsibilities as a majority party a little more seriously, because at this point, the only people who are disregarding the consequences of default are Senate Democrats — not the Republicans in the House — but them.

“Republicans have been doing the hard work of governing this week. It’s about time Democrats join us.”