Sunday, June 30, 2013

Military Time and Making America Worthy of All The Other Nations!


Never too young to start them on the path to Conservatism!

Tonight I just felt light hearted!!!!

How to make America and Americans becoming  more PC!

"America and Americans are not perfect like the rest of the world.  Therefore, I propose, in the pursuit of perfection, all citizens be brought, either at the risk of a tax audit or point of a gun, to The IRS for sensitivity training.

This would accomplish three worthy goals:

First, we would become a more PC population and we would gain the respect and love of the U.N. 

Second, it would provide gainful employment for the 16,000 new IRS agents who are to be hired to enforce the 25,000 pages of rules and regulations of "Obamascare."

Third, it would send a message to the warring factions throughout the world, America is a nation worthy of being invaded by illegal immigrants and might cause terrorists to re-think the trauma inflicted by attacking us since we are a most welcoming country.

In order to avoid accusations of discrimination, I submit the 50 states and assorted territories be forced to come to D.C. in alphabetical order.

Finally, from an economic viewpoint, think of the upsurge in travel this would produce but then The Greens might object because this bump in travel could have significant and negative climate implications.

Alas,even when applying the 'Obama Fairness Doctrine' some people will continue to have their nose out of joint.
It is all about military time: " NO SEX SINCE 1955:

A crusty old Army Sergeant Major found himself at a gala event hosted by a local liberal arts college. There was no shortage of extremely young idealistic ladies in attendance, one of whom approached the Sergeant Major for conversation. "Excuse me, Sergeant Major, but you seem to be a very serious man. Is something bothering you?"

"Negative, ma'am. Just serious by nature." The young lady looked at his awards and decorations and said, "It looks like you have seen a lot of action." "Yes, ma'am, a lot of action." The young lady, tiring of trying to start up a conversation, said, "You know, you should lighten up a little. Relax and enjoy yourself."

The Sergeant Major just stared at her in his serious manner. Finally the young lady said, "You know, I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but when is the last time you had sex?"

"1955, ma'am." "Well, there you are. No wonder you're so serious. You really need to chill out! I mean, no sex since 1955!" She took his hand and led him to a private room where she proceeded to 'relax' him several times. Afterwards, panting for breath, she leaned against his bare chest and said, "Wow, you sure didn't forget much since 1955."

The Sergeant Major said in his serious voice, after glancing at his watch, "I hope not; it's only 2130 Now."

Friday, June 28, 2013

Clean Air or Dirty Politics? Snowden and The Supreme Monarch!


Clean air and/or dirty politics? (See 1 below.)
Obama to Snowden - 'How dare you make life difficult for the supreme monarch!' 

Meanwhile, Obama tries to 'snow' the nation! (See 2 below.)
It's all about attitude and lying and the long knives are out for Deen as well.  It is get back at whitey time. 

Blacks have a right to have a chip on their shoulder but carrying logs around can be a weighty matter. 

My people decided humor was a better way of lifting the slings and arrows of prejudice. (See 3 and 3a below.)
Pipes believes Obama will bomb Iran to save his presidency.  He suggested as much once before but Obama did not heed his advice.  Now Pipes believes he will.

Time will tell whether Pipes has something in his pipe! (See 4 below.)
Gold's decline and what it means to The Fed.  (See 5 below.)
Unlike Obama, Lerner to learn she cannot have it both ways.  (See 6 below.)
The Senate passed the Gang of Eight's immigration bill, but is comprehensive reform a done deal? How should Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans handle the bill? How will this legislation change America, especially with its ObamaCare exemption for illegal immigrants?

From PJTV.Com - left click on next generation beat then click on blue link.




'Carbon Pollution' and Wealth Redistribution

No crisis should go to waste, an eternal truth highlighted in bold by a purported climate change apocalypse that is now the target of actions newly proposed by President Obama. This so-called “crisis” will flood not various coastlines, but instead the front pages, replacing other, less flattering political headlines for the administration.

And if the proposed actions offer the potential of sizeable wealth transfers to political allies? That is far more than mere icing on the cake. Whatever the weakness of the evidence on greenhouse gases (GHG) and climate effects, the real goal of carbon policy is a regional redistribution of wealth, a reality that explains the inability of Congress to enact such policies since the Clinton administration, when a “Sense of the Senate” resolution rejecting the Kyoto Protocol was approved by a margin of 95-0. President Obama too was unable to convince even a fully Democratic Congress to adopt such policies, and so he now proposes that his Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy implement regulations reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG).
The President’s Plan
Let us begin with a summary discussion of the president’s three broad proposals: the imposition of a GHG emissions standards on both new and existing electric generating plants; expansion and tightening of energy-efficiency standards for buildings, appliances, and some vehicles; and an increase in (subsidized) renewable power generation from federal lands. The first proposal, the imposition of a GHG emissions standard on power plants, means in a nutshell that no new coal-fired plants will be built, and that some existing coal-fired capacity will be shut down. The cost data from the EIA suggests that future competition between new coal and natural gas power plants will be driven heavily by the relative costs of coal and natural gas, both of which are uncertain. For the government to impose such a solution in place of market forces requires a rationale — the purported effects on climate change — that is very far from obviously correct, as discussed below. With respect to the substitution of gas-fired generation in place of existing coal-fired plants, much hinges on how the regulations are written and implemented; but the EIA data suggest increases in operating costs alone of up to 60 percent.
The president’s speech seems to imply that 'energy efficiency' somehow is free.
The president’s speech seems to imply that “energy efficiency” is somehow free. That is, that it's easy to achieve reductions in energy use without causing a reduction in the benefits from energy use. Were that the case, one wonders why market forces do not lead to such outcomes themselves. In reality, energy efficiency requires the substitution of capital, or the acceptance of less safety and comfort, or other adjustments, the net virtues of which government officials and experts simply are not in the best positions to evaluate. There is also the “rebound” effect: if vehicles and appliances use less energy per unit of output, a natural market response is to use more of them and to use them more intensively. The net result: far less energy savings than usually are asserted, and thus a lower economic return to the investments made in efficiency.
With respect to the proposed expansion of renewable energy production: wind and solar power receive subsidies per kilowatt-hour vastly larger than those purportedly received by conventional generation, and it remains the case that renewables simply are uncompetitive, in substantial part because the energy content of wind and sunlight is too diffused to be useful without massive capital investment. For a discussion of the economics of renewable power and the weakness of the arguments in support of policies subsidizing it, see this AEI report. 
Reviewing the Climate Change Evidence
Let us turn now to the recent evidence on whether an anthropogenic climate crisis indeed looms large. There has been notemperature trend over the last 15 or so years despite increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other GHG. This record has belied the predictions of the climate change models, yielding some uneasiness among the proponents of the conventional view. More generally, the earth has been emerging from the Little Ice Age since roughly 1850. Accordingly, there has been an upward long-term temperature trend: temperatures increased from about 1910 through about 1940, were roughly constant through about 1980, increased until 1998 (a year with a strong El Niño), and have exhibited no trend since then. How much of this long-term upward trend is anthropogenic? No one knows, and those who claim to know… don’t.
The past 12 months have set a record for the fewest tornadoes ever in a similar period, and there has been no trend since 1950 in the frequency of strong (F3 to F5) tornadoes in the United States. The number of wildfires is in a long-term decline; it is our misguided refusal to thin underbrush in government forests that has exacerbated the large-scale fire problem. As of June 1 (the outset of the Atlantic hurricane season), it has been over seven and a half years since a Category 3 or higher hurricanelanded on the U.S. coast; such a long period devoid of an intense hurricane landfall has not been observed since 1900. With respect to the worldwide data on hurricane basins, there has been no trend in the frequency or intensity of tropical cyclones over the last 70 years. A widely accepted and documented measure of tropical cyclone energy is near its lowest level since reliable measurements began by satellite in the 1970s. An increase in such hurricane activity in coming decades is far more likely to reflect a reversion toward the mean rather than the effects of GHG concentrations. There is no long-term trend in sea level increases despite rising atmospheric concentrations of GHG. The record of changes in the size of the Arctic ice cover is far more ambiguous than generally asserted. The Palmer Drought Severity Index shows no trend over the record period beginning in 1895 in terms of drought; more areas in the United States have experienced an increase in soil moisture than a decline. Flooding in the United States over the last 85-127 years is not related statistically to increases in carbon dioxide concentrations.
Like the environment, our institutions also can be 'polluted.'
There is the further matter that U.S. emissions of GHG are about 17 percent of global GHG emissions, a proportion that is declining steadily. And so it is unsurprising that nowhere in the president’s speech did he offer an estimate or even an assertion about the climate benefits to be expected from his policy proposals. If we apply the widely accepted MAGICC climate model developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and if we assume the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) midrange emissions path, an immediate cut in U.S. emissions by half would yield a reduction in global temperatures of 0.1 degrees Celsius 100 years from now. Because annual temperature variability is greater than that figure, the predicted effect cannot be measured reliably. Note that a 50 percent reduction in U.S. emissions could be achieved only in the face of massive economic dislocation. 
More crudely, the IPCC’s “best estimate” is about 3 degrees Celsius for the temperature effect by the year 2100 of a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations. (A growing body of peer-reviewed literature suggests that that estimate might be too high). The U.S. contribution of 17 percent suggests, roughly, that the United States would contribute about 0.5 degrees. Suppose that the president’s new policies were to reduce our emissions by half. The reduction in the U.S. temperature contribution would be about 0.2-0.3 degrees, any effects of which would not be measurable. Surely even President Obama would not suggest that his proposals will be costless; if there are no measurable benefits, then there is no justification for implementing them unless one believes that an international agreement remains a plausible goal. The record of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change should be sufficient proof that such an agreement remains a mirage, in substantial part because increased energy use — and emissions of GHG — is the sine qua non of economic growth and the third world’s escape from grinding poverty.
Science is the application of data to the predictions made by scientists using analytic tools or models. Because the evidence in support of the conventional view is so weak, proponents of climate policies have been reduced to the invocation of anecdotes, and the predictions made by various computer models. The models, however, are far less useful than commonly assumed. None can explain, for example, the warming that occurred around a millennium ago, or the Little Ice Age, or the subsequent patterns after 1850. All climate models predict that anthropogenic warming should create an enhanced heating effect in the tropical mid-troposphere; but neither the satellites nor the weather balloons can find it, a reality that raises serious questions about our understanding of the underlying atmospheric physics. In short, the climate models can explain neither the past nor the present. It is far from obvious that policymakers should have faith in their predictions about the future.  
The Central Motivation: Wealth Transfer
What is clear, on the other hand, is that government is an engine of wealth redistribution. Policies making some energy sources more expensive inexorably will create such redistribution because states and regions differ in the proportions of their energy use derived from alternative technologies. In particular, the president’s proposals will penalize areas and industries disproportionately dependent on coal-fired power. A recent MIT study concludes that under a policy to reduce GHG emissions "California, the Pacific Coast, New England, and New York generally experience the lowest cost…while the South Central [Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma], Texas, and Mountain States face the highest cost."
That conclusion is consistent with the data on average retail electricity prices reported by the EIA, as summarized in the following table:
                                             .Zycher Chart Obama Plan 2
The winners are states with high power costs or with significant inexpensive hydroelectric resources that would be unaffected by GHG policies. The losers are states with low power costs driven by disproportionate use of cheap, coal-fired power. By driving power costs up in the latter group of states, the GHG policies would reduce the competitive disadvantages of the former group.
The policies examined in the MIT study surely differ from those that will emerge from the regulatory processes given force by the president. But if the effect of the latter is some substantial reduction in GHG emissions, in particular from electric power generation, then it is difficult to see how the distributional impacts might differ substantially from those reported by MIT, and it also is difficult to believe that the basic red-to-blue transfer is accidental. Instead, given that the actual climate effects of reductions in U.S. emissions would be trivial, it is straightforward to hypothesize that the direction of the wealth transfer is the central motivating objective of this policy proposal.
The climate models can explain neither the past nor the present. It is far from obvious that policymakers should have faith in their predictions about the future.
Congressman Henry Waxman, the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, argued recently that “It's important for the president to act because the Congress is still denying the science and is not about to pass any legislation. The president has broad authority to accomplish many reductions through regulation on his own, without Congress.” Whether the president in reality has that authority is an issue that is certain to occupy the courts. But the implementation of policies and other measures not approved by Congress is deeply problematic in the context of the separation of powers and technicalities such as the consent of the governed. Like the environment, our institutions also can be “polluted,” an outcome to be resisted regardless of the assumed merits of the policies themselves.
In Hollywood, there’s no business like show business. Inside the Beltway, there’s no show like the business of sound-bite showboating. In the president’s speech there appears the phrase “carbon pollution” no fewer than 30 times. In the Orwellian language of the environmental left, “carbon pollution” is carbon dioxide — a natural substance that is not toxic to humans at many times greater than current ambient concentrations and that protects plants from various environmental stresses. It is unlike any other effluent regulated by the EPA for which less is better. Too little carbon dioxide would make life difficult, and in the extreme case, the Earth uninhabitable. That obviously will not be the result of the president’s proposals if implemented. But the large expansion of government power and centralized planning authority inherent in the proposals is not an end to be pursued.
Benjamin Zycher is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
2)Heritage Foundation's Brookes: Obama Trying to Downplay NSA Leaks
By Bill Hoffmann

President Barack Obama's dismissal of Edward Snowden as a "29-year-old hacker" not worth scrambling jets to capture is his way of downplaying the damage the young secrets-leaker has caused the nation's intelligence program, a former Defense Department official says.
"It’s three words: 'no drama Obama.' He doesn’t want to make this a big story and he wants to try to push it to the side," Peter Brookes told "The Steve Malzberg Show on Newsmax TV.

"[Snowden is] not a 29-year old hacker, he’s a 29-year-old spy. The government has charged him with espionage."

The U.S. has been attempting to convince Russia to hand over Snowden, who is reportedly holed up in Moscow, after leaving Hong Kong, where he fled following his leaking of classified information about the National Security Agency's collection of phone and email records.

There has been talk about the possibility the U.S. military could intercept any jet Snowden attempts to use to further elude capture.

But during a news conference in Senegal on Thursday, Obama told reporters, "I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker . . . In terms of U.S. interests, the damage was done with respect to the initial leaks."

That doesn't wash with Brookes, a deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs under President George W. Bush and now a senior fellow in national security affairs for The Heritage Foundation.

"[Obama] doesn’t want people to get excited about it because the U.S. has had its nose tweaked by both the Chinese and the Russians. So he’s just trying to work beyond it," Brooke said.

"The fact of the matter is we've had this tremendous exposure of American intelligence capabilities. We don’t even know the extent of it at this point."

Brookes believes that with Russia and China refusing to cooperate in bringing Snowden to justice, and Ecuador, where Snowden is seeking asylum also balking, the world is thumbing its nose at the U.S.

"This dissing by the international community is the latest example of the waning of our power and influence," he said.

"I mean you think about it, nobody seems to fear the United States anymore . . . The fact of the matter is people aren’t paying attention to our warnings and it’s bad news for us."

A witness in the George Zimmerman murder trial was forced to admit yesterday that she couldn’t read a letter she supposedly wrote to Trayvon Martin’s mom about his death.

Rachel Jeantel, Martin’s girlfriend, spent more than six hours on the stand, much of it in testy exchanges with defense lawyer Don West.

West asked her to read aloud a March 2012 letter — handwritten in script — that she supposedly wrote and signed with the printed nickname Diamond Eugene.

The letter, in which Jeantel described how she spoke on the phone with Martin, 17, moments before he was shot dead by Zimmerman, was sent to Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton.

“Are you able to read that at all?” West asked.

“Some, but not all. I don’t read cursive,” Jeantel said in a whisper, her head bowed.

The disclosure stunned the courtroom in Sanford, Fla.

In a sharper exchange, West suggested that Martin had attacked Zimmerman, a neighborhood-watch member.

“That’s real retarded, sir!” she said. “You don’t know the person.”

In crucial and often combative testimony Wednesday, Jeantel had said that Martin’s last words over the phone were, “Get off! Get off!” and that he had said he was being followed by a “creepy-ass cracker.”

Yesterday, she said she left that detail out of her earlier accounts because she wanted to spare Fulton’s feelings and because she hadn’t been directly questioned about them.

“Nobody asked me,” she said about why she hadn’t mentioned the racially charged “cracker” remark before.

West also asked if the reason Jeantel didn’t call police after Martin’s phone cut off was because she feared he had provoked the fatal confrontation with Zimmerman in a gated community.

“That’s why you didn’t do anything — because Trayvon Martin started the fight and you knew that,” West said.

“No, sir!” Jeantel shot back. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”With
Jeantel was not asked about reports that dozens of embarrassing postings were deleted from her Twitter account Tuesday night, the eve of her testimony.

The Smoking Gun Web site said the tweets included several references to getting high and drunk, a complaint about “jackass lawyers on my ass” and a photo of what was called her “court nails.”

Fulton left the courtroom late yesterday as the prosecution played a recorded 911 call from neighbor Jenna Lauer and questioned Lauer.

She testified she heard “yelling for help” and someone shout “What the hell are you doing?” But she couldn’t tell who was yelling.

3a)Going to Synagogue, With a Punch Line

Maybe Jewish humor is rooted in the incongruity of being chosen—by God and by oppressors.

    By Ruth R. Wisse

The fact that comedian Jackie Mason has begun talking about retiring only after nearly a half century in the business is a reminder of how conspicuously Jews have figured in modern comedy. A question also arises: What was a former rabbi doing in that showbiz job to begin with? Did Jackie think the comic was replacing the preacher? And why should Jewish-Americans, from Jack Benny to Jerry Seinfeld, have poured their soul into comedy the way African-Americans did into jazz?
Some Jews may use comedy as a means of reconciling their contradictory roles in history. According to the Hebrew Bible, the children of Israel agreed to be chosen by God of the universe as bearers of his civilizing law. Yet somehow the Jews' exalting and exalted mission resulted in their being targeted by some of the world's most determined aggressors—not once, but persistently, and with escalating intensity to the present day.

Since humor thrives on incongruity, it is perhaps no surprise that Jews should specialize in laughing at the fundamentally incongruous consequence of the divine promise. When a Jew encounters this phrase in the prayer book, "Thou hast chosen us from among the nations," he's likely to wonder: "What do you have against us Jews?" The sardonic query undercuts the pride without altogether erasing it.

Having just written a book on the subject of modern Jewish humor, I was asked by a rabbi whether I located its origins in Jewish theology. I said, "Funny you should ask"—and told him that I was actually beginning to wonder why rabbis seem to be turning to comedy. Following in Jackie Mason's path, Joseph Telushkin, Moshe Waldoks and Bob Alper are all rabbis who work in humor without surrendering their day jobs.

Some rabbis combine the two: My own longtime rabbi, the late Joshua Shmidman, brought down the house with his impersonation of Moses coming down from Sinai with good news and bad news about God's commandments: "The good news: I kept him down to ten. The bad news: adultery stays."

Theological joking is not limited to rabbis. The folk proverb, "God will provide—I just wish he would provide until he provides," juxtaposes encouraging liturgical assurance with discouraging earthly circumstance. The Talmud teaches: "The world rests on three things—learning, prayer, and acts of loving kindness." In my mother's rendition, "the world rests on three things—money, money, and money." This quip she may have picked up from the Yiddish master Sholem Aleichem or from the Yiddish folk repertoire where he originally found it. Nor are such maxims as cynical as you might think, because every deflation echoes the elevated original that remains firmly lodged in the mind of its adapter.
Of course, Jewish humor serves mundane functions as well, including plain old resentment and hostility.
Husband to wife: "When one of us dies, I'm going to move to the Land of Israel."
Borrower to creditor: "May you grow so rich that your widow's second husband won't have to work for a living."
Like any minority, ethnic or religious, Jews also worry about their staying power. The degree of anxiety in Jewish joking fluctuates with the nature and level of the threat against them.

Jewish joking in modern Europe went something like this: A Jew meets a friend who has been badly beaten up. "Who did it?" "A German." "What for?" "I forgot to ask him."

By way of contrast, in an American anecdote a wealthy Jewish widow decides she wants to move up into gentile society and takes coaching lessons in every aspect of decorum until she feels ready to register at a restricted hotel (in the days when such places were more common). On her first foray into the dining room, a waiter serving the martini she has ordered accidentally spills it into her lap. "Oy vey!" she cries—"whatever that means." Here the joke is on the Jew trying to pass in a society where, unlike in Europe, such ambitions have become relatively easy to realize.
In truth, if Jews stand out for their humor, this may be less for its quality, which coarsens wherever Jews grow less knowledgeable of their tradition and religiously less observant, than for its sheer quantity, which continues to reflect, in however attenuated a form, the disparity between confidence in their lofty ancient calling and the anxiety consequent upon the need of others to organize against them.
From the moment that Sarah laughed when told that she and Abraham will conceive a child in their old age, Jews have found humor in the faith and the realism that together define them as a people.
Ms. Wisse, a professor of Yiddish and comparative literature at Harvard, is the author of "No Joke: Making Jewish Humor" (Princeton, 2013).
4)Obama to Save Presidency by Bombing Iran? Round Two
By Daniel Pipes 

I wrote an article 3½ years ago, at a low moment in Obama's first term, when his ratings tanked and his party just lost Edward Kennedy's senate seat to a Republican, that usefully suggested that Obama could “salvage his tottering administration” by taking “dramatic gesture to change the public perception of him as a lightweight, bumbling ideologue, preferably in an arena where the stakes are high, where he can take charge, and where he can trump expectations.” He could do well and do good, I offered, by taking out the Iranian nuclear infrastructure.
Well, as the world knows, he did not follow my advice. But the time has come to crank it out again at a moment when Obama seems close to imploding. As the distinguished historian Andrew Roberts puts it in the July/August issue of the British magazine Standpoint, he is
credibly accused by the internal opposition of serious civil liberties violations, the secret seizure of journalists' phone and email records, the illegal use of the state tax authorities to harass citizens, a full-scale government cover-up over the circumstances of four murders and the “systematic targeting” of news organisations.
… this summer Barack Obama has no fewer than four separate scandals pending, which are collectively referred to as “Obamagate”. Astonishingly, less than a year after his re-election, we may be witnessing the unravelling of the Obama presidency.
Given this background, I propose that (updating my 2010 article) a strike on Iranian facilities would dispatch Obama's feckless fifth year down the memory hole and transform the domestic political scene. It would sideline immigration reform, prompt Republicans to work with Democrats, make netroots squeal, independents reconsider, and conservatives swoon. (June 27, 2013)

Rickards: Falling Gold Signals Fed's 'Worst Nightmare'

 Michelle Smith

Gold bugs should not be worried about the metal's falling price, but Federal Reserve officials should be very concerned, says Jim Rickards, author of "Currency Wars" and senior managing director of Tangent Capital.

While gold prices have dropped over 20 percent since the beginning of the year and gold is down 30 percent from its peak in August 2011, "the fundamental bull case for gold has not changed at all," Rickards told Yahoo. 

Rickards proclaimed that the decline in gold prices is more of problem for the Fed than it is for gold bugs.

If you hold the dollar constant, you see the price of gold is dropping, he explained, and when you reverse that, so gold is the constant factor, you see the dollar is getting a lot stronger.

"In other words, a lower dollar price for gold if gold is the constant means the dollar is getting really strong. That's deflationary. That's the Fed's worst nightmare," he told Yahoo.

Last year, the Fed made a historic move when it set an inflation target of 2 percent, but inflation is currently running below that level. 

The Fed has shaken up markets with talk of possibly tapering its stimulus programs, but Reuters said some experts wonder if sub-target inflation will actually force the Fed to take a more aggressive approach. 

Rickards believes it will, saying that the strong signs of deflation is one reason the Fed will likely have to back away from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's ruminations and either maintain or increase the level of asset purchases.

"If the Fed officials are reading market signals, if they even remember what those are, they should be very concerned about" declining gold prices, Rickards said. 

He warned that gold prices are confirmation that the Fed's nightmare is materializing. 

"The Fed would like real growth, but if they can't get it they will take nominal growth because debt is nominal," he noted.

"We have nominal debts and we need nominal growth and we're not getting it, or at least we're not getting enough of it," he added.

Not everyone agrees that investors shouldn't be worried about the drop in gold prices.

"You need to re-examine your expectations for the gold market if you're long — you need to stop thinking in terms of crisis and start thinking about where gold was pre-crisis," Tom Kendall, director and head of precious metals research at Credit Suisse, told CNBC.

He points back to the days before unlimited easing, and before rabid fears drove people to believe they needed to seek safety in metals. Back then, gold was trading at $1,100 or $1,150, he noted.
6)House Panel Says IRS' Lerner Waived Rights

The House Oversight Committee voted 22-17 on a resolution Friday stating that Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights when she made an opening statement while appearing before the committee in May. 

Lerner is the Internal Revenue Service official at the center of the agency's targeting of conservative and tea party groups applying for non-profit status. She began her testimony before the committee in May by making a statement and then invoking her Fifth Amendment rights.

The committee voted along party lines with Democrats saying the statement had not waived her rights.  

Committee chairman Darrell Issa said at the opening of the committee's meeting Friday that Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights when she testified before the committee in May.

"She did so when she delivered an opening statement," Issa said, Fox News reports.

"I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws," she said in her opening statement. "I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee."

Daniel Werfel, the IRS head, asked for Lerner's resignation after following her appearance before the committee. After refusing to resign, she was placed on administrative leave.

Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina concurred with the California Republican's conclusion.

"That's not how the Fifth Amendment works," Gowdy said. "You're not allowed to just say your side of the story . . . She could have sat there and said nothing."

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said that he does want to hear what Lerner knows about the IRS scandal, but he also wants to be careful to "respect the constitutional rights of every witness who comes before this committee," The Washington Times reports.

A Republican staff member who works for the Oversight committee told Politico that they are willing to negotiate with Lerner's attorneys other options such as granting her partial immunity so that her testimony won't be held against her in court. 

Politico notes that if Lerner refuses to testify, she could be held in contempt. 


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Logic Demands A Rational Policy Pertaining to Legal Immigration!

This economist sees The Fed between a rock and a hard place because of Obama's negative growth policies.

The Fed has had to carry the ball and the ball is not getting lighter.  (See 1 below.)
If the Immigration Bill is amnesty in disguise then the Republican Party has a death wish and you can thank McCain and his followers.  (See 2 below.)

We need a realistic overhaul with respect to our immigration policies but I suspect no the one The Senate passed.  (See 2a below.)
Another typical Obama appointment at The State Department represents a nail in Israel's coffin? (See 3 below.)

Analysis of Kerry's performance to date at State! (See 3a Below.)
Netanyahu right brass wrong when it comes to Iran!  Now a grudging admission comes too late. (See 4 below.)
1) Gross domestic product (GDP) growth was revised downward for the first quarter from 2.4 to 1.8 percent because: consumer spending, business investment and exports grew less than previously estimated.

Slack consumer and business spending raise questions about whether household balance sheets have strengthened enough to fuel more robust growth in the second half of 2013 as many forecasters — in particular bank economists who tend to wear rose colored glasses — are anticipating.

Also, businesses remain wary about the growth of future sales and Obama Care associated healthcare costs. They remain reluctant to invest in new equipment, expand and hire new employees.

Poorer export performance indicates the manufacturing renaissance continues to be held back by sluggish growth in Europe, and protectionism and undervalued currencies in China and Japan. American manufactures lack market opportunities abroad.

Low interests rates-low overnight rates facilitated by Fed Open Market Operations and low long-term rates facilitated by QE3 have: inspired speculators to rush into the housing market, pushing up prices; encouraged students to take on too much debt, portending weaker consumer spending in the future; instigated easy credit terms and high transactions values for auto sales; and pushed up prices for junk bonds and kept many marginal companies in business.

If the Fed pulls back, mortgage rates will rise-slowing the housing recovery; student borrowing will slow — raising unemployment among 18-to-30 year olds and dampening consumer spending; car loans will become tougher and more expensive to get — lowering transactions prices and sale volumes in the auto industry; and lower the prices for junk bonds-causing bankruptcies among weaker businesses.

The Fed is between a rock and hard place. Obama Administration policies have been antigrowth — for example, the failure to confront China on the yuan; failure to approve more offshore drilling; failure to properly regulate banks, causing both loan shortages for good businesses and too many bad loans for questionable enterprises; healthcare policies that raise benefits costs and slow hiring; and regulatory overreach elsewhere that stifles manufacturing investment.

This has forced the Fed to carry the ball, but Fed easy money policies are creating distortions in asset markets-for example, elevated prices for agricultural land, homes, stocks and bonds; and too many risky derivatives.

If the Fed slows QE3, it risks torpedoing a fragile recovery. If it continues easy money policies, distortions in asset markets continue to grow, and new bubbles will threaten another financial crisis.

Peter Morici is an economist and professor at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, and widely published columnist.
2)Republican Party Won't Survive Amnesty Bill and Neither will America
By Karin McQuillan

The Republican Party won't survive the passing of the Democrat's illegal immigration amnesty bill.  This shouldn't be too complex for the D.C. geniuses:  if you betray your party's base to pander to the opposition's base, they win, you lose.

If you screw the white working class to pander to the Hispanic vote, whites will stay home.
If you destroy your base's trust in government, by passing yet another 2000 page bill no one has read, Republicans will stay home.  Republicans are too busy working and raising a family to waste their time voting for a bunch of cynical, lying politicians.
President Bush let down his base by spending money like a drunken sailor.  They stayed home.   

Obama lost Democrat voters in 2012, but he won anyway because an estimated 6 million white voters stayed home compared to 2008.  Who were these election drop-outs?  Rural, working class Republicans.  What issues did these voters care about?  They are deficit hawks, and want to see government spending come under control - not a swelling of the welfare state to support illegals.  They hate illegal immigration.  They want good education and a solvent Medicare system.  They want to feel listened to by their own party.  And they will not vote for a party that betrays them, no matter how awful the other side is.

The Democrats want "comprehensive" immigration reform because it legalizes eleven (or is it twenty?) millionillegals, brings in their families and on top of that, doubles the number of legal immigrants.  Plus the CBO says 75% of illegal immigration would continue.  This will create a record number of foreign-born legals and illegals, mostly Spanish-speaking, mostly third world, mostly a net drain on taxpayers. We are talking about an estimated 56 million people within a decade.  According to the Center for Immigration studies, "There has never been a period in American history when the foreign-born share grew this fast."
The immigration bill will permanently wipe away America as we know it.  Democrats believe this will mean a permanent voting majority for their big government welfare state.  They are right.  We will become Republicans' worst nightmare: a nanny state with a permanent Democrat majority who feel entitled to live on taxpaying families.
Hopes for a good economic future for America's blacks and working class will be sunk, as they are forced to compete for low wage jobs.  Hopes for constitutionally limited government will be sunk, as we get an unassimilated influx of third world people who do not understand our republic and the principals for which it stands. 

Republican politicians, we are told, think the amnesty bill will be good for them personally.  They have business and agribusiness lobbyists who profit from illegals and new immigrants' low wages and no benefits.  The Republican leadership is willing to sell out America to fatten their own political coffers - and they think they can survive the voters' wrath?

The cost of illegal immigration to the taxpayers of Los Angeles County alone is $1 billion a year.  For the country's taxpayers, it is already well over $100 billion a year.  Most of the expense to support illegals is at the state and local government.  We hear about the taxes paid by illegals, but that covers 5%  of the local and state government spending on them, and only 30% of federal outlays.

Even low-skill, low-wage legal immigrants are a burden on their fellow citizens.  According to the Heritage Foundation:
In 2010, in the U.S. population as a whole, households headed by persons without a high school degree, on average, received $46,582 in government benefits while paying only $11,469 in taxes. ...Lawful immigrants receive significantly more welfare... than U.S.-born households...with the same education level.
For the 11 million illegals who are about to be given amnesty, it is far, far worse:
Amnesty would provide unlawful households with access to over 80 means-tested welfare programs, Obamacare, Social Security, and Medicare. ... The typical unlawful immigrant is 34 years old...If amnesty is enacted, the average adult unlawful immigrant would receive $592,000 more in government benefits over the course of his remaining lifetime than he would pay in taxes.
Over a lifetime, the former unlawful immigrants together would receive $9.4 trillion in government benefits and services and pay $3.1 trillion in taxes. They would generate a lifetime fiscal deficit (total benefits minus total taxes) of $6.3 trillion. (All figures are in constant 2010 dollars.) This ... understates real future costs because it undercounts the number of unlawful immigrants and dependents ... and underestimates significantly the future growth in welfare and medical benefits.
We are looking at crushing tax burden for Americans.

So why is the Republican leadership going along?  Do their voters want higher taxes, a bankrupt safety net, a bigger government?  Amnesty and an explosion of legal immigration betray every promise made during the election, and every interest of the majority of Republican voters. 

Read our lips:  we do not want amnesty.

2a) Immigrationists and the Death of America
By Selwyn Duke
Let's do a little thought exercise here.  Imagine that some force was flooding an indigenous people's lands with millions of unassimilable foreigners, and it was understood that this influx would irretrievably change that land's culture and replace the population.  What would anthropologists call this phenomenon?  Cultural genocide comes to mind.  
Of course, in America we call it "immigration policy."
Now, when King Edward I "Longshanks" said about dominating the Scots in the film Braveheart, "If we can't get them out, we'll breed them out," it was to be expected from an enemy of Scotland.  And how should we characterize America's immigrationists?
Before answering, let's first consider the testimony of Fredo Arias-King, ex-aide to former Mexican president-elect Vicente Fox (hat tip: Timothy Birdnow).  About how he and his colleagues spoke to 50 U.S. congressmen and senators back in 1999 and 2000, he writes:
Of those 50 legislators, 45 were unambiguously pro-immigration, even asking us at times to "send more." This was true of both Democrats and Republicans.
...[Moreover] [m]ost of them seemed to be aware of the negative or at least doubtful consequences of mass immigration from Latin America, while still advocating mass immigration.
... [The Democrat legislators] seemed more interested in those immigrants and their offspring as a tool to increase the role of the government in society and the economy. Several of them tended to see Latin American immigrants and even Latino constituents as both more dependent on and accepting of active government programs and the political class guaranteeing those programs, a point they emphasized more than the voting per se. Moreover, they saw Latinos as more loyal and "dependable" in supporting a patron-client system and in building reliable patronage networks to circumvent the exigencies of political life as devised by the Founding Fathers[.]
Republican lawmakers we spoke with knew ... that they may not now receive their [the naturalized Mexicans'] votes, [but] they believed that these immigrants are more malleable than the existing American: That with enough care, convincing, and "teaching," they could be converted, be grateful, and become dependent on them. Republicans seemed to idealize the patron-client relation with Hispanics as much as their Democraticcompetitors did.  
... Also curiously, the Republican enthusiasm for increased immigration also was not so much about voting in the end, even with "converted" Latinos. Instead, these legislators seemingly believed that they could weaken the restraining and frustrating straightjacket devised by the Founding Fathers and abetted by American norms. In that idealized "new" United States, political uncertainty, demanding constituents, difficult elections, and accountability in general would "go away" after tinkering with the People[.]
... I remember few instances when a legislator spoke well of his or her white constituents. One even called them "rednecks," and apologized to us on their behalf for their incorrect attitude on immigration. Most of them seemed to advocate changing the ethnic composition of the United States as an end in itself.
This isn't unusual in the West, either.  In fact, it was revealed in 2009 that the U.K.'s immigrationists sought to socially engineer a "multicultural" Britain because they wanted to "rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date" but didn't want to divulge the scheme lest they lose their "core working class vote."  With friends like that...
Now, what would you call people who visit such a thing upon their own culture solely to gain power?  And what fate do they deserve?
G.K. Chesterton's comment -- "It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged" -- comes to mind.
In fairness, Mr. Arias-King's experiences predate the Tea Party revolution, and the House GOP did defeat John McCain's shamnesty bill in 2007.  I also suspect that it was legislators partial to immigration who were inclined to meet with him in the first place.  And while I don't doubt that closeted culturally genocidal maniacs still exist (in abundance), there are also those who genuinely believe that diversity should be "an end in itself."  Unfortunately, bad policy is equally destructive whether implemented out of malice or stupidity.
Speaking of which, multiculturalism can only ever be what it is, an ideology; it can never be a workable reality.  Having many different cultures within the same borders is actually called balkanization, and its consequences have been repeatedly observed throughout history.  If the differences among the disparate peoples become great enough, the nation is partitioned, and they go their separate ways; the only possibility for avoiding this is if an iron fist of tyranny holds the competing cultures together, as Marshall Tito did in the former Yugoslavia (and we all know why it's "former").  Another possibility is that one group will prevail over and subsume the rest, as the Japanese have largely done with the Ainus, an aboriginal people who once dominated the island of Hokkaido.
This is absolutely the norm.  Do the names Saxons, Alans, Franks, Visigoths, Vandals, Avars, Alemanni, and Frisians sound at all familiar?  They were once distinct groups that occupied early medieval Europe, but they are no more, having been subsumed into a wider culture.  This may be a good thing if it's a superior culture, it may be a bad thing if beauty was lost, or it may be a mixed bag.  But it is an undeniable thing.
This brings us to the myth of diversity.  All it can ever be is a liability to, hopefully, be overcome; it can never be the "strength" it's billed as (without even a shred of evidence in support of the notion).  And, interestingly, here's what the Online Etymology Dictionary tells us about the origin of the term "diversity": "mid-14c., from O.Fr. diversité (12c.) 'difference, oddness, wickedness, perversity,' from L. diversitatem 'contrariety, disagreement, difference[.]'"  "Contrariety" and "disagreement" certainly worked out that way in Yugoslavia, in the Soviet Union, in Czechoslovakia, in India (when two regions broke away and became Pakistan and Bangladesh).  Why, even in Canada, where Quebecois and other Canadians are racially identical, there has often been talk of secession.
So how much more of a problem it is when a group not only has a different language, but is different racially, economically, culturally, and ideologically?  And what about when that group of diversifiers supposes it has a rightful claim to your territory (a poll showed a majority of Mexicans believing that the Southwest belongs to Mexico and that they have a "right to enter the U.S. without U.S. permission")?  What about when you try to teach these newcomers American history and they say, as a teacher respondent reported to me some years ago, "We don't care about this -- we're Mexican"?  When people have come to your land mainly to make money and have loyalty lying elsewhere, it doesn't bode well for assimilation.
The kicker here is that flooding a nation with unassimilable foreigners may do no more for diversity over the long term than pythons in the Everglades.  Sure, the swamp is currently more diverse -- with tens of thousands of fascinating non-indigenous creatures added to the mix -- but how diverse will the ecosystem be when they decimate native species?  Thus have Florida authorities decided that amnesty for the snakes probably isn't the best idea.
So it is with a cultural ecosystem.  Harking back to my earlier point, the introduction of new cultural elements isn't always just a matter of simple addition; subtraction and division can be factors as well.  When worlds collide, when there is an incongruence of cultural elements, there may be mixing, as with the wolf and coyote.  Or there may be an extinction, as with how the Dodo on Mauritius was wiped out by rats.  Of course, a new equilibrium is always established, but it may very well be less diverse.  And, for sure, it will be different.
The good news here, if one can call it that, is embedded within the bad.  The history of social engineers is that they possess no clearer a crystal ball than do futurists or science-fiction writers.  If the immigrationist traitors simply want to destroy America, they will certainly get their way.  But they will never have Mexico Norte, a republic they can comfortably rule as patrons of complacent clients.  Because nature -- in this case man's -- takes it course, and some people will likely realize that divided we stand.

3)Controversial Pick Circles Advisory Role at State
Robert Malley closing in on Syria advisory position


A controversial diplomat with a history of anti-Israel writings could be appointed as a high-level adviser on Syria at the State Department, according to multiple Jewish officials with ties to the White House.

Robert Malley, a career diplomat who was fired from the 2008 Obama campaign for negotiating with Hamas, could be hired for the job in the coming weeks, according to sources close to the issue.

Additionally, Malley was reportedly under consideration to be deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, where he would work on the Israel-Palestine peace process, which Kerry has made a top priority.

One source close to the White House confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon that Malley is “under serious consideration” by Secretary of State John Kerry for a top advisory role, while another source called it “a done deal.”

Both indicated that he would likely be responsible for working on the Syria portfolio, which would include future administration decisions to possibly arm rebel forces.

Both sources confirmed the Free Beacon’s earlier report about Kerry’s desire to tap Malley for a high-level posting. They spoke only on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the post.

Jewish insiders and some on Capitol Hill said Malley would be a troubling addition to the State Department no matter what roll he fills.

“He will sit at the table,” said one of the Jewish officials. “Once you have a seat at the table you can say whatever you want about anything you want, and nobody will tell him to shut up. That’s what this is about.”

A State Department spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
A longtime government insider who worked for former President Bill Clinton and advised then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008, Malley has a history of criticizing Israel while apologizing for terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
He currently serves as the Middle East director of the International Crisis Group (ICG), which did not respond to a request for comment about the possible posting.

“If you look at his writings and see what he’s said, … I don’t think he comes off well,” said one of the Jewish officials.

Another source with knowledge of the appointment confirmed to the Free Beacon last week that Malley has quietly been confirming that an earlier Al-Monitor report on the appointment is accurate.

While the position would not require Senate confirmation, sources on Capitol Hill expressed outrage over Kerry’s decision.

“Malley comes from a worldview that sees Israel as a transgressor, as an occupier and that Palestinians are the victims,” said one senior congressional aide. “He sees freedom fighters where the rest of the world sees terrorists.”

Malley found himself in hot water the 2008 Obama campaign after he entered into direct negotiations with the terror group Hamas.

He also has defended Hezbollah as well as other violent and illiberal Middle East factions in a series of writings and interviews over the years.

An adviser for the liberal fringe group J Street, Malley has repeatedly blamed Israel for the failure to achieve peace despite the Palestinian peoples’ continued support of terrorism.

“For the Palestinians, to accept today a cessation of hostilities while gaining only an end to the Israeli encirclement of their territory, that means that they fought four months to return to the preceding status quo,” he said in a 2001 interview.
Malley also has referred to Jewish homes in Israeli territory of the West Bank as “colonies.”

“A political opening (immediate concessions of Israel on the colonies or a transfer of the territories and resumption of the peace process) is essential,” he said.

Malley also has advocated in favor of containment when it comes to the Iranian nuclear issue.

Obama “took containment of a nuclear-armed Iran off the table—even before any serious discussion of this option has taken place and just as influential U.S. voices had begun making the case for it,” Malley wrote.

“He sees political groups, not terror groups, and political agendas that can be resolved through negotiations where we see hardened killers who need to be defeated,” said the congressional aide, suggesting that this could be problematic if Malley is responsible for dealing with Syria.

3a) Top diplomat Kerry battles to deliver on big ideas

Since taking office, the US secretary of state has addressed the most intractable international issues, but has shown few results

In four months as secretary of state, John Kerry has certainly promised great things. Now he has to deliver.
In the Middle East, he has raised hopes his solo diplomatic effort can produce a historic breakthrough ending six decades of Arab-Israeli conflict.

He has pledged to bring Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government to heel and to work with Russia to end Syria’s civil war.

He has suggested rolling back US missile defense in the Pacific if China can help rid North Korea of nuclear weapons. He has hinted at possible one-on-one talks between the US and the reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if it would help.
Since succeeding Hillary Rodham Clinton as America’s top diplomat, Kerry has issued several as yet undelivered — and perhaps undeliverable — pledges to allies and rivals alike, proving a source of concern for Obama’s policy team. It is trying to rein in Kerry somewhat, according to officials, which is difficult considering Kerry has spent almost half his tenure so far in the air or on the road, from where his most dissonant policy statements have come.
The White House quickly distanced itself from both Kerry’s North Korea remarks and has now, since President Barack Obama’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Northern Ireland this past week, seen up close the strength of Moscow’s resistance to Kerry’s Syria strategy.
All the officials interviewed for this story spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to evaluate Kerry’s performance publicly.
Reporting for work at the State Department in February, the former Democratic senator from Massachusetts quickly outlined his ambitions.
Clinton still harbored thoughts of a second potential presidential run when she arrived at the department. But aides say Kerry, a 69-year-old Vietnam veteran, is giving himself completely to a job that in many ways is the climax of his political career and the realization of a lifelong dream after years as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Now he wants to tackle head-on the world’s thorniest foreign policy conundrums.
Kerry, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “believes this difficult moment in the world requires a willingness to address complicated issues. He believes the risk of high-stakes, personal diplomacy are far less than the risk of leaving difficult situations to fester or spiral out of control. That’s why he has invigorated our efforts in critical areas — such as North Korea, Syria and the Middle East peace process — and has personally invested time and effort to move the ball forward.”
No challenge may now be bigger than Syria, where a two-year civil war has killed at least 93,000 people.
Signaling a shift from the cautious approach of Obama’s first term, Kerry announced his first trip abroad would focus on changing Assad’s belief that he could prevail militarily and on pushing him into eventually relinquishing power. Since then, however, the fighting has only gotten worse. Thousands more have died as Assad firmed his grip over much of the country and the US hasn’t even delivered all the nonlethal aid Kerry promised Syria’s rebels, let alone any of the weapons or ammunition that Obama recently authorized.
Having failed to reshape the war, Kerry changed strategy by going to Moscow to re-launch a peace process for Syria that Clinton engineered in June 2012 but had been all but forgotten in the months since. In Moscow, Kerry boasted that the former Cold War foes just accomplished “great things when the world needs it” by deciding to convene an international conference, perhaps by the end of May, that would include Syria’s government and opposition.
That conference has been delayed until at least July, and maybe August, and it might never come off at all given the opposition’s refusal to negotiate while it is losing land to Assad and getting so little help from the United States and other Western powers. That failure falls directly on Kerry, who as part of the US-Russian approach was tasked with delivering the opposition to the bargaining table.
Russia may have lived up to its end of the bargain by guaranteeing the Assad government’s attendance at any future peace conference. But Putin and the Kremlin also have been undermining peace efforts by sending more weapons to help the Syrian government’s counteroffensive.
Kerry’s one-man diplomacy in Syria is in some ways emblematic of his tenure.
Officials say he opted to revive the US-Russian strategy for a Syrian transitional government during his walk in the backyard of a Moscow guesthouse with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, informing aides only after of his decision. Afterward, he insisted he wasn’t simply rewinding the clock by a year because the US and Russia were now going to find ways to put the plan in place.
More than two months later, there has been no progress.
On Middle East peace, too, Kerry has put his credibility on the line.
Refusing to avoid one of the world’s most difficult conflicts, as Obama and Clinton largely did over the second two years of the first administration, Kerry has made four trips to the region to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and senior government members from both sides. Kerry will visit the region again this coming week to try to push the two sides back into talks, despite little to show so far for his efforts.
Kerry insists his quiet diplomacy is making headway, a claim that only he, Netanyahu and Abbas truly can substantiate because most of the discussions are one-on-one. Several senior Israeli and Palestinian officials have suggested otherwise in highly critical comments to local and international media. Few American officials, however, seem to know what is going on because they say Kerry rarely briefs even the most experienced US negotiators in that part of the world on his talks.
At times, the process has seemed ad hoc.
In Jordan last month, Kerry announced a sketchy $4 billion economic revitalization strategy for the West Bank that would accompany his peace plan. No details were provided, and US officials even sent reporters to aides of UN peace mediator Tony Blair for more information. Blair’s staff wouldn’t provide information or even confirm that the outline of an economic plan exists. Officials say Kerry’s friend, investor Tim Collins, is handling the portfolio, though it’s unclear if any money has been secured.
On Mideast peace, Kerry is largely fighting the battle alone. Since Obama’s visit to Israel in March, Kerry has gotten almost no public displays of support from the president, with the White House appearing reluctant to stake political capital in an endeavor that so often has proved a disappointment.
Some US officials have scoffed at the notion that Kerry is getting anywhere, though they allow that the White House has given him until roughly September to produce a resumption of negotiations.
Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, praised Kerry’s efforts thus far.
“None of these are issues that you can solve in a few months,” Rhodes said. “The fact that he is taking these on with the energy he has is a great asset to the administration. These are the toughest challenges we have.”
Kerry’s individualist approach to foreign policy is partly a matter of circumstances and partly intentional.
With few Senate-confirmed senior officials in place at the State Department, Kerry has been short of aides at the highest level who might act as envoys to drive forward his agenda in his absence. Among others, Clinton had George Mitchell to push Mideast peace and Richard Holbrooke in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kerry lacks any such high-profile figures at his side.
Those who’ve worked closely with Kerry say the approach also reflects the great stock he puts in his personal diplomacy and the belief, perhaps more widely shared in the rarefied air of the Senate, that leaning on his close relationships with foreign leaders and dignitaries can deliver more results than delegating authority to capable bureaucrats.
That has left Kerry doing much of the work himself, from ordering up policy papers to envisioning new initiatives, while traveling the world or publicly regaling foreign ministers in Washington with stories of their past encounters or meals in exotic capitals.
Kerry makes it a point to stress the long-standing friendships he maintains all over the world. And his network of contacts may have played a role in the only tangible concession he has gained so far in the Middle East: a decision by Arab countries to sweeten their comprehensive offer to Israel for peace with the Palestinians.
The Arab League’s proposal now allows Israel to keep some of the land it conquered in the 1967 Mideast war on condition that Israel agrees to cede territory on its side to a future Palestine. Kerry hasn’t been able to announce any commensurate move from Netanyahu, who brushed the Arab terms aside.
Some US officials wince at another legacy of Kerry’s Senate years: his penchant for loose or inaccurate talk.
On his very first day as secretary, he recounted his childhood bike rides in postwar Berlin past Adolf Hitler’s tomb. Hitler had no tomb. On more substantial issues of policy, he has made questionable claims over everything from US drone policy to climate change.
At other times officials have questioned his restraint, such as when he lauded America’s emerging “special relationship” with communist China. For one of the United States’ principal geopolitical foes, Kerry was using a diplomatic term generally reserved for ironclad US allies such as Britain and Israel.
He also seemingly ad-libbed unauthorized offers of a softened military posture to China and engagement to North Korea in a bid to calm tensions, which aides believe his engagement helped achieve.
On a trip to Turkey, he irritated advocates of Israel by appearing to compare the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing with the Turks killed in a 2010 Israeli commando operation on a ship trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Days later, in Brussels, he raised eyebrows by suggesting that one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects became radicalized while on a trip to Russia, something investigators had not concluded.
For all his idiosyncratic style, Kerry has not dodged any diplomatic fight. He has even spoken privately of taking on Cyprus’ four-decade deadlock between ethnic Greeks in the south and Turkish Cypriots in the north. He sought to re-engage the US with post-Hugo Chavez Venezuela on a trip to Guatemala this month, helping secure the release of an American filmmaker jailed for alleged espionage.
Officials say other governments Washington has long seen as rogues — from Cuba to Zimbabwe — could get a fresh look.
With no election around the corner and few worries about his image, Kerry has shown a willingness to think big.
Soon, however, he’ll have to produce.
4)Ari Shavit: Netanyahu was right on Iran- brass and rest were wrong

An unlikely voice is sounding the alarm on a nuclear Iran—the liberal
Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, which is well known for its often diametrical
opposition to official government policy.

Columnist Ari Shavit, taking as his source a recent article in The Economist
that declares it will be impossible to stop Iran from going nuclear, warns
“We’re out of time. We’re really out of time.”

“Via the Economist, the mainstream of the international community admitted
that its campaign against Iran’s nuclearization has ended in failure. And
via this journal, the school that favors containing a nuclear Iran came out
of the closet,” Shavit writes.

He continues: “What the world promised would never happen is happening at
this very moment. What the top ranks of Israel’s defense establishment
promised would never happen is in fact happening. Iran is becoming a nuclear
power, while Israel (which is sunk in summer daydreams ) stands alone.”
Dividing into two camps those who advocate containment or reject the
severity Iran’s nuclear ambitions (the optimists), and those who warn of
Iran’s impending nuclear breakout (the pessimists), Shavit lands on the side
of the latter.

“The international optimists and the Israeli optimists were wrong, big time.
Surprise surprise: Benjamin Netanyahu was right,” he writes.
“While the optimists were misled by their illusions, the pessimist read
reality correctly. While the defense establishment and the media
establishment were smitten with weakness and apathy, the pessimist kept
sounding alarms,” Shavit writes, adding, “Wolf? Wolf? Wolf! A strategic wolf
with nuclear teeth is now at the gate.”

Meanwhile a former research fellow at the London School of Economics wrote
in Israeli daily Ma’ariv Thursday that Western sanctions against the Islamic
Republic were having little affect.

Moshe Efrat wrote that Iran’s foreign exchange reserves of roughly $96
billion, as well as other newly implemented economic policies such as
raising minimum wage, will keep the country afloat and the middle-classes
happy for the foreseeable future.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday the dispute
over his country’s nuclear program could easily be resolved if the West were
to stop being so stubborn.

“Some countries have organized a united front against Iran and are
misguiding the international community and with stubbornness do not want to
see the nuclear issue resolved,” Khamenei’s official web site quoted him as

“But if they put aside their stubbornness, resolving the nuclear issue would
be simple,” he said, without clarifying his demands of the Western nations.