Monday, January 31, 2011

Anti-government mass uprising? What anti-government mass uprising?

Corporate US Media’s Woeful, Sanitized Egypt Coverage Amounts To Censorship
Monday, Jan 31st, 2011
While the ailing dictatorship government in Egypt is busy rounding up and arresting Al Jazeera journalists in an attempt to control the release of footage and accounts of the mass uprising going on throughout the entirety of the country, the disgraceful corporate American media has once again shown itself to be just as strictly regulated in terms of the content it provides to viewers.
In Britain and Canada anyone interested in following the mass unrest in Egypt can simply turn on the television and tune into the English version of Al Jazeera, which has round the clock reports and uninterrupted live footage from journalists on the ground in Cairo and around the rest of the country.
The channel has been running and offering its content worldwide since 2006, yet unless you live in certain parts of Ohio, Vermont or Washington, D.C., you cannot even access the channel in the US, because the cable carriers are not interested in allowing you to see it.
Occasionally, if you are lucky, Fox News, CNN or MSNBC might break away from reporting on some mindless fluff to show you a short loop of some footage that appeared on Al Jazeera English a few hours previously.
This corporate censorship has resulted in a two-and-a-half thousand percent increase in web traffic to Al Jazeera’s website, where it is broadcasting a live stream.
This is the only place in America that you will see continuous live footage from Egypt – an utter disgrace, but no surprise whatsoever, given that the major US networks are all wholly or part owned by mega corporations comprising the military industrial complex.
As noted by Salon.com, during the time that President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling party headquarters was torched and set on fire, Al Jazeera had a live feed and an opposition party leader on the phone responding to the events. Meanwhile, Fox News waited to conclude an in depth feature on anchor babies, and then switched to an interview with John Bolton, who said words to the effect of “those darn muslims are up to no good again”.

“A bit earlier, Al Jazeera reported on what could be live ammunition fired by police outside the heavily guarded radio and television building. And Fox went live to Chicago, where two men tried to rob a Brink’s truck.” notes Alex Pareene.
MSNBC went one better by conducting an interview with Dan Senor of The Council on Foreign Relations live from a luxury elite hideout in Davos. There’s some straight up unbiased geopolitical analysis for you.
Any other reporting on Egypt that airs on US cable news consists of repeating loops of the same few minutes of footage with similar paid for and owned “analysis” slapped over the top.
Of course, in the past when Al Jazeera has covered the Iraq and Afghanistan wars a little too in depth for the liking of the US government, it has become the target of US bombs.
In the absence of having any actual facts, the written media has remarkably decided to defend the dictatorship in Egypt, with The LA Times noting that “Egypt and its President Hosni Mubarak are strong US allies in a region rife with anti-Americanism” and the New York Times adding that “the downfall of Mubarak could pave the way for Islamist radicals eager to increase their clout in Egypt”.
Once again, the “free press” at is hard at work keeping Americans in the dark.

10 Things That The Egypt Riots Can Teach Us About What Happens When Society Breaks Down


Some Wise Lessons to Consider

Jan 31, 2011
The rioting in Egypt is perhaps the biggest single news story so far in 2011. The pace at which Egyptian society has been transformed over the past week has been absolutely breathtaking. A few months ago, nobody would have ever dreamed that there would be huge riots in the streets of major Egyptian cities calling for the resignation of Hosni Mubarak. But it has happened, and now Egypt will never be the same again. So what does the future hold for Egypt? Well, many are hopeful that this revolution will bring about a better government in Egypt and a better way of life for average Egyptians. Personally, I am not nearly so optimistic. In fact, I believe that there is a great danger that an even more repressive government could take the place of the current regime. But in any event, there are important lessons that the Egypt riots can teach all of us about what happens when society breaks down. Societal collapse is often a very messy, very violent affair. Someday if the global economy completely implodes, we may see economic riots erupt all over the world (including inside the United States) and we all need to get prepared for that.
So far more than 100 people have died during the rioting that has rocked Egypt over the past week. Other reports put the true number of dead much higher. Scores of shops and businesses have been looted. There have been dozens of rapes. Groups of citizens have formed vigilante groups to protect their own homes. These are the kinds of things that happen when society breaks down.
But could such a thing happen in the United States? Of course it could. Just remember what happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Imagine what would happen in this country if a disaster on an even larger scale happened. What any of us be truly safe?
In a previous article, I detailed some of the things that all of us can do to get prepared for the collapse of society. Unfortunately many Americans will never start to prepare until it is far too late.
But for the rest of us that are willing to learn, there are some things that have happened during these Egypt riots that are important lessons for all of us….
#1 When society breaks down, people look for whatever weapons they can find. Over this past week, abandoned police stations throughout Egypt have been stripped of their arsenals by looters.
#2 When society breaks down, nobody is safe. Average Egyptians “armed with sticks and razors” have formed vigilante groups to protect their homes from the crazed looters that have emerged during the rioting.
#3 When society breaks down, you better protect your women and children. At least 60 rapes have been officially reported since the rioting began. The unofficial number is surely far higher than that.
#4 When society breaks down, criminals do not fear the law. There are reports that at least 4 prisons have been attacked and that thousands of convicts have escaped into the streets.
#5 When society breaks down, authoritarian governments begin hoarding food. The Telegraph is reporting that governments throughout the Middle East and North Africa have started stockpiling huge amounts of food in response to all the rioting that has been going on.
#6 When society breaks down, food shortages can happen shockingly fast. As commerce has been brought to a standstill in Egypt, serious shortages of some of the most important basic food staples are starting to be reported. Many families in Egypt only have enough food to be able to survive for a couple more days.
#7 When society breaks down, respect for personal property goes out the window. All over Egypt shops and businesses are being broken into and totally looted.
#8 When society breaks down, mobs will start doing some of the most stupid things imaginable. According to Egypt’s top archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, looters broke into the Egyptian Museum during the rioting “and destroyed two pharaonic mummies”.
#9 When society breaks down, it always creates a “power void”. The Obama administration is calling for an “orderly transition of power” in Egypt, but there is absolutely no guarantee that is going to happen – especially in a nation that has no history of legitimate democracy.
#10 When society breaks down, often outside influences are involved. The individual being touted as the new “leader” of the protest movement in Egypt is Mohamed ElBaradei.
So exactly who is Mohamed ElBaradei?
Well, Paul Joseph Watson of prisonplanet.com describes him this way….
ElBaradei serves on the Board of Trustees of the International Crisis Group, who today issued a press release protesting the decision on behalf of Egyptian authorities to place ElBaradei under house arrest.
International Crisis Group is a shadowy NGO (non-governmental organization) that enjoys an annual budget of over $15 million and is bankrolled by the likes of Carnegie, the Ford Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as George Soros’ Open Society Institute. Soros himself serves as a member of the organization’s Executive Committee. In other words, this is a major geopolitical steering group for the global elite.
Well isn’t that convenient?
Let us hope that the protests in Egypt result in some positive changes being made for the Egyptian people. But let us also understand that those with their hands on the levers of global power are going to try to direct events in a way that benefits them.
In any event, one of the main things that the rioting in Egypt has taught us is just how rapidly society can change. Will someday we end up seeing scenes in the United States similar to the ones that we have witnessed in Egypt over the past week?….

Nicely Said....................

"Jimmy Carter will go down in American history as `the president who lost Iran,' which during his term went from being a major strategic ally of the United States to being the revolutionary Islamic republic. Barack Obama will be remembered as the president who `lost' Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt, and during whose tenure America's alliances in the Middle East crumbled."- Aluf Benn in the daily Haaretz

Why Paul Krugman Is Still Wrong About the Austrians


The Austrians on Capital

In contrast to mainstream macro models, which either do not possess capital at all or at best denote it as a homogenous stock of size “K,” Austrian theory explicitly treats the capital structure of the economy as a complex assortment of different tools, equipment, machinery, inventories, and other goods in process. Much of the Austrian perspective is dependent on this rich view of the economy’s capital structure, and mainstream economists miss out on many of the Austrian insights when they make the “convenient” assumption that the economy has one good. (Krugman will be glad to know that yes, I can spell all this out in a formal model — and one that referee Paul Samuelson grudgingly signed off on.)Krugman and other Keynesians stress the primacy of demand: they keep pointing out that the owner of an electronics store, say, won’t have the incentive to hire more workers, and buy more inventory, if he doesn’t expect consumers will show up with money to spend on new TVs or laptops.


But Austrians point out that demand per se is hardly the whole story: Regardless of how many green pieces of paper the customers have, or how much credit the store can get from the bank, it will be physically impossible for the electronics store to fill the shelves with new TVs and laptops unless the manufacturers of those items have already produced them. And in turn, the manufacturers can’t magically create TVs and laptops merely because the demand for their products picks up; they rely on other sectors in the economy having done the prior preparation as well, such as mining the necessary metals, assembling the proper amount of tractor trailers needed to ship the goods from the factory, and so on. These observations may strike some as trivial, not worthy of the consideration of serious economists. But that’s only because normally, a market economy “spontaneously” solves this tremendous coordination problem through prices and the corresponding signals of profit and loss. If someone had to centrally plan an entire economy from scratch, there would be all sorts of bottlenecks and waste — as actual experience has shown.Without the guidance of market prices, we wouldn’t observe a smoothly functioning economy, where natural resources move down the chain of production — from mining to processing to manufacturing to wholesale to retail — as neatly depicted in macro textbooks. Instead, we would see a chaotic muddle where the various interlocking processes didn’t dovetail. There would be too many hammers and not enough nails, too much perishable food and not enough refrigerated railroad cars to deliver it, and so on.
The Austrians on Interest

When it comes to explaining the coordinating function of market prices, Austrians assign a very important role to interest rates, for they steer the deployment of resources over time. Loosely speaking, a high interest rate means that consumers are relatively impatient, and penalize entrepreneurs heavily when they tie up resources in long-term projects. In contrast, a low interest rate is the market’s green light to entrepreneurs that consumers are willing to wait longer for the finished product, and so it is acceptable to tie up resources in projects that will produce valuable goods and services at a much later date.In the Austrian conception, it is the interest rate that allows the financial decisions of households to interact with the physical capital structure, so that producers transform resources in the ways that best satisfy consumer preferences. Consider a simple example that I use for undergraduates: Suppose the economy is in an initial equilibrium where households save 5 percent of their income. Then the households decide that they want to have more for their retirement years, because they don’t want their standard of living to plummet once they stop working. So all the households in the community begin saving 10 percent of their income.In the Austrian view, the interest rate is the primary mechanism through which the economy adjusts to the change in preferences. (It’s not that people switched from buying hot dogs to hamburgers; instead they switched from buying “present consumption” to buying “future consumption.”) The increased household saving pushes down interest rates, and at the lower rates businesses can start long-term projects. From the individual entrepreneur’s point of view, the interest rate affects the profitability of longer projects more than shorter ones (as a simple “present-discounted-value” calculation shows). So a lower interest rate doesn’t merely stimulate “investment” but actually gives a greater inducement to investment in durable, long-term goods, as opposed to investment in nondurable, short-term goods.How is it possible that the community as a whole can have more income in, say, 30 years? Obviously the households think it is financially possible, because their bank balances rise exponentially with the higher savings rate. But technologically speaking, this is possible because the composition of physical output changes. The households have cut back on going out to dinner, buying iPods, and so on, in order to double their savings rate. This means that restaurants, Apple stores, and other businesses catering to consumption will have to lay off workers and scale back their operations. But that means labor and other resources are freed up to expand output in the sectors making drill presses, tractors, and new factories.In 30 years, the economy will be physically capable of much higher output (including the production of consumer goods), because at that time, workers will be using a larger accumulation of capital or investment goods made during the previous three decades. That is how everybody can have a higher standard of living, through savings.
The Austrians on the Business Cycle

Now that I’ve given a summary of the Austrian view of capital and interest, we get the reward: their explanation of the business cycle. When interest rates are pushed down below their market levels (by expansionary central-bank policy, for example), this sets in motion the same processes that would occur if there were an actual increase in savings. In other words, at the lower interest rate, entrepreneurs find it profitable to begin long-term projects; the capital-goods sectors of the economy begin hiring workers and increasing output.However, this expansion of the capital-goods sectors isn’t counterbalanced by a shrinking of the consumption-goods sectors, the way it would be if households actually started saving more. Instead, the households try to consume more too, because of the lower interest rates.An unsustainable boom sets in, a temporary period of illusory prosperity. Because every sector is expanding, there is a general feeling of euphoria; it seems every business is having a “great year,” and the unemployment rate falls below its “natural” level.Unfortunately, at some point reality rears its ugly head. The central bank hasn’t created more resources simply by buying assets and lowering interest rates. It is physically impossible for the economy to continue cranking out the higher volume of consumption goods as well as the increased output of capital goods. Eventually something has to give. The reckoning will come sooner rather than later if rising asset or even consumer prices makes the central bank reverse course and jack up interest rates. But even if the central bank keeps rates permanently down, eventually the physical realities will manifest themselves and the economy will suffer a crash.During the bust phase, entrepreneurs will reevaluate the situation. If the government and central bank don’t interfere, prices will give accurate signals about which enterprises should be salvaged and which should be scrapped. Those workers who are in unsustainable lines will be laid off. It will take time for them to search through the developing opportunities and find a niche that is suitable for their skills and is sustainable in the new economy.During this period of reevaluation and search, the measured unemployment rate will be unusually high. It’s not that workers are “idle,” or that their productivity has suddenly dropped to zero; rather, it’s that they need to be reallocated, and that takes time in a complex, modern economy. This delay can be due to simple search, where the workers have to look around to find the best spot that is already “out there,” or it can be due to the fact that they have to wait on other workers to “get things ready” before the unemployed workers can resume.


Answering Krugman

My reason for the lengthy summary is that I still get the sense that Krugman truly doesn’t understand the Austrian position. For example, he asks, “Why is there overwhelming evidence that when central banks decide to slow the economy, the economy does indeed slow?” But because the Austrian theory says the bust occurs when the central bank backs off and allows interest rates to rise toward their “correct” level, this is hardly a problem. In fact, if central banks couldn’t slow the economy, as an Austrian economist I would be worried about my theory.Krugman also poses questions concerning (price) inflation rates and the connection between nominal and real GDP. But I think he is conflating the Austrian theory with a purely “real” business-cycle theory. Austrians understand that monetary influences can have real effects. To repeat, that is the very essence of the Mises-Hayek theory. Although most of Krugman’s objections are due to his unfamiliarity with the actual Austrian theory, I think one source of confusion came from the particular illustration I used in my article.

First let’s set the context by quoting Krugman: So what is the essence of this Austrian story? Basically, it says that what we call an economic boom is actually something like China’s disastrous Great Leap Forward, which led to a temporary surge in consumption but only at the expense of degradation of the country’s underlying productive capacity. And the unemployment that follows is a result of that degradation: there’s simply nothing useful for the unemployed workers to do.

Rice Commodities Set To Rise


This is the fuse that could set off a global food crisis

Monday, January 31, 2011


U.S. farmers are planting the fewest acres with rice since 1989 just as global demand surpasses production for the first time in four years, driving prices as much as 12% higher by December. Plantings in the U.S., the third-biggest shipper, may drop 25% this year because growers can earn more from corn and soybeans, according to the median in a Bloomberg survey of nine analysts and farmers. Rice, the staple food for half the world, declined 4% last year, extending a 2.9% drop in 2009. The other crops jumped 34% or more. "Why would you want to take that risk to plant rice, knowing that your income is going to be way down?" said Terry Hatley, a farmer in Marked Tree, Arkansas, who may not plant any rice this year after growing the crop for more than three decades. "Farming is a business, and you've got to look at the economics of it. Now, the economics on rice are very dim." Bangladesh, South Asia's biggest buyer, doubled a target for imports in 2011 to curb prices, the Directorate General of Food said last week. The Philippines, the world's largest importer, will probably start buying next month, according to the National Food Authority. While global stockpiles are predicted to be 26% higher this year than in 2007, consumption will gain 3.4% and harvests 2.6%, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. The Thailand export price, the benchmark in Asia, may climb as high as $600 a metric ton by December from $534 on Jan. 26, a gain of 12%, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of eight traders, exporters and analysts. 'Acreage War' "The acreage war has begun," said Dennis Delaughter, the owner of Progressive Farm Marketing Inc. in Edna, Texas, who expects futures traded on the Chicago Board of Trade to advance as much as 20% to a three-year high of $18 per 100 pounds by November. "Of all the futures markets in the agricultural sector, rice is the sleeper," said Delaughter, who correctly predicted an 11% gain in prices last March. Rice represents almost 50% of the food expenses of the poorest across the developing world, and 20% of total household spending, according to the International Rice Research Institute, based in Los Banos, the Philippines. In the U.S., 6% of incomes are spent on groceries, data from Euromonitor International show. While the United Nations says global food prices climbed to a record in December, grain stockpiles have been replenished since 2007-2009, when the U.S. State Department estimates there were more than 60 food riots around the world. Chicago Futures Combined inventories of corn, wheat, rice and soybeans will end this year at 457.6 million tons, 21% more than in 2007, USDA data show. Rice futures in Chicago closed at $15.01 per 100 pounds on Jan. 28, up 1% for the week and 40% below the record $25.07 per 100 pounds reached in April 2008. Traders anticipate prices no higher than $15.87 through January 2012, Chicago Board of Trade data show. The price advanced as much as 3.2% to $15.485 per 100 pounds today. Hedge funds and money managers more than doubled their net- long positions, or wagers on rising prices, in the past two weeks, according to Commodity Futures Trading Commission data. Net-long positions were 3,403 contracts, the most in a year. U.S. farmers have little incentive to stick with rice. Prices in Texas, the sixth-largest producing state, are only enough to break even, according to Larry Falconer, an economist with Texas A&M University's AgriLife Extension in Corpus Christi. Switching to cotton, which has gained about 142% in 12 months in New York, would mean $200 an acre of profit, he said. Soybean Futures In Missouri, the fifth-largest U.S. producer, farmers can make about $50 more per acre on soybeans and $100 more on corn, said David Reinbott, an agriculture business specialist with the University of Missouri Extension in Benton. Corn and soybean futures climbed this month to the highest level since July 2008. Wheat, corn and soybean prices jumped last year because crops were ruined by Russia's worst drought in at least a half century, parched fields in Kazakhstan, Europe and South America and flooding in Canada. Rice prices fell because of ample supply. Output in the U.S. increased 7.6% to 7.44 million tons in the current marketing year, USDA data show. U.S. production in the year that begins Aug. 1 will drop because farmers will plant 2.73 million acres, down from 3.64 million acres in 2010, according to the Bloomberg survey. The USDA's first acreage estimate is scheduled for March 31. A rally may spur governments to curb exports to protect supply and contain inflation, said Milo Hamilton, a former buyer for Uncle Ben's, the rice unit of McLean, Virginia-based food and candy maker Mars Inc. Russia banned grain exports last year after its drought and Ukraine set quotas on shipments. Bangladesh, Philippines "The main problem, both now and in 2008, is whether countries will curb exports," said Hamilton, the president of Firstgrain.com, a rice advisory service in Austin, Texas. "Twenty or 30 countries produce and export wheat, but I can look at my fingers and count the rice exporters." When rice surged to a record in 2008, India and Egypt banned shipments, Vietnam barred speculators from its domestic market and China imposed export taxes. Global food prices rose 25% last year, according to the UN's index. Food inflation in China, home to about 1.3 billion people, reached 9.6% in December while in India it stayed above 15% for a fourth consecutive week in the period ended Jan. 15, government data show. Bangladesh doubled its rice import target to cool prices that surged to a record in December as consumers and farmers hoarded supplies, said Badrul Hasan, director for procurement at the Directorate General of Food in Dhaka. The goal was raised to 1.2 million tons for the year to June 30 from 600,000 tons. Rice Brokers The Philippines may import as early as next month, although probably less than last year, Lito Banayo, the head of the National Food Authority, told reporters on Jan. 11. "The trigger will be pulled when the Philippines' orders start coming in," said Mamadou Ciss, the chief executive officer of Singapore-based rice brokers Hermes Investments Pte, who correctly predicted in 2006 that prices would double. Thai 100% grade-B rice may jump 22% to $650, he said. Production in Thailand, the world's biggest exporter, will increase 0.4% to 20.35 million tons this year, according to USDA estimates. In Vietnam, the second-largest shipper, output will be little changed at 24.98 million, the data show. Vietnam will export about 6 million tons this year, compared with 6.75 million tons in 2010, Deputy Agriculture Minister Diep Kinh Tan said in an interview Jan. 4. La Nina, the weather pattern that brought heavier-than- usual rainfall to parts of Australia and Asia in the past year, may persist through the second quarter, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. "There are so many reasons for prices to move up," Dwight Roberts, president of the Houston-based U.S. Rice Producers Association, said by phone. "We sure are poised for a strong and upward movement in the market."

Chinese Buying US Energy Properties..........Great


The Chinese are also adding to their overseas oil and gas holdings… by adding more U.S. properties. CNOOC just struck its second deal with Chesapeake Energy in four months.This time, CNOOC will spend $1.3 billion for a 33% stake in Chesapeake’s shale properties in Wyoming and Colorado. That’s in addition to the $2.2 billion it’s spending for a similar stake in a Texas project.Hmmm… that’s $3.5 billion CNOOC has put up so far. Its total bid for Unocal in 2005 -- rejected by a xenophobic Congress -- totaled $18.5 billion. What the Chinese can’t get in one fell swoop, they’ll be content to get piecemeal.

So they Stopped Exporting Oil And The Crap Hit The Fan?


Every year, Washington sends $2 billion in aid to the regime of Hosni Mubarak; $1.3 billion of that is for his military. Egypt is the No. 2 recipient of foreign aid, after Israel. Right now, the return on investment doesn’t look very good.Rising food prices were the catalyst that set off long-simmering anger over repression and corruption. But what exactly set off the food prices? “I believe this depicts a major aspect of Egypt’s problem,” says our editor Ralph of the graph akin:
“As of 2010, Egypt began consuming all the oil that it extracts. Egypt no longer exports oil. Interesting timing for social unrest, don’t you think?“
Here’s what the numbers show. Egypt’s net oil exports have been falling each year since the mid-1990s. So for the past 15 years or so, Egypt’s government has been raising less and less income with which to offer food and fuel subsidies to the teeming masses in the country’s expansive slums.” Without those subsidies, huge numbers of people in Egypt -- population 85 million -- would not eat. As we mentioned last week, Egypt is the world’s biggest wheat importer.“In the past few years,” Ralph continues, “Egypt has imported about 40% of its food overall and 60% of its wheat. Egypt buys the food on world markets, paying world prices.“In the past year or so, as net oil exports shifted down to zero, the food problem became even worse for Egypt. World wheat production is down, and global export markets are tightening.” You know the story: drought in Russia, floods in Australia and so on. And at the very moment Egypt has less oil revenue, it’s shelling out more for food. And the subsidies go only so far.“The bottom line is that energy is a problem for Egypt, compounded by revenue shortfalls, compounded by large and growing population, compounded by the need for food imports.“It’s an explosive mix, and now the fuse has burnt down. I don’t doubt that this all is why we’re seeing riots in the streets.”[SOC.Ed. Note: Iran’s government is throwing its support behind the “revolution of the noble” in Egypt. “The start of this revolution has astonished the despotic regimes of the region,” says parliament speaker Ali Larijani. Will the support go beyond mere rhetoric?]

John Mauldin's 2-cents


Things that Really Matter in 2011 and Beyond for Investments and Real Life


~Resources running out, putting strong but intermittent pressure on commodity prices
• ~Global warming causing destabilized weather patterns, adding to agricultural price pressures • ~Declining American educational standards relative to competitors
• ~Extraordinary income disparities and a lack of progress of American hourly wages
• ~Everything else.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Been Paying Attention To Foreign-Type News?


America's Middle Eastern Puppet Regimes Are Falling Like Dominoes
The images from the protests in Cairo, Egypt today are stunning. See this, this and this.
President Mubarak's family has already fled the country.

Demonstrators calling for economic and political reforms broke through police barriers and began marching in Cairo's streets.
Protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court in downtown Cairo and held large signs that read "Tunisia is the solution" amid massive police deployment, an AFP correspondent said.
Chanting "Down with Mubarak" -- in reference to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who has been in power for three decades -- they broke through several police cordons and began marching towards Tahrir Square, in scenes seldom witnessed in Egypt.
Others shouted "Tunisia is not better than Egypt" as the crowds began to swell.
A security official told AFP that at least 20,000 to 30,000 police had been mobilized in the center of the capital alone, and that the area housing the interior ministry had been sealed off.
***
The protest, called by the pro-democracy youth group the April 6 Movement, coincided with a national holiday to mark Police Day.
The Christian Science Monitor reports:
The fact that the protests took place across the nation, and were not led by a particular political movement or opposition party, set them apart from demonstrations in the last decade, he says.
“This time it is really a national movement,” he says. “It’s quite remarkable that the slogans raised by the demonstrators were not typical of any political party. They were general slogans about democracy, ending the state of emergency, and lowering prices. This is the beginning of a process.… The government will not respond favorably so I think the continuation of the protests is almost certain.”
While some Americans assume this is a "Arab affair", the fact is that Egypt's president Mubarak is a yes-man to the U.S., and the fall of the Tunisian and now Egyptian leaders are really the ouster of U.S. puppet regimes in the Middle East.
As Eric Margolis wrote last week:
Oops! Something has gone terribly wrong with Washington’s plans for regime change in the Mideast. Wasn’t there supposed to be a US and British engineered revolution against Iran’s mullahs, followed by installation of a cooperative pro-western government and a bonanza for western oil companies?
The revolution came, all right, but in the wrong place. The explosion of popular fury in Tunisia that ousted its dictator of 23-years is sending shock waves across the Arab world and has alarm bells ringing in Washington.
Pay no attention to President Barack Obama’s pious bromides welcoming the revolution in Tunisia. The US, France and their Arab satraps are deeply worried that Tunisia’s popular revolution could spark similar uprising against the dictatorships or monarchies in other members of America’s Mideast Raj, notably Egypt.
It has come to light that Tunisia’s ruling elite had dinners and wine flown in from Paris at government expense for lavish parties in their beachside villas. Shades of the Iranian revolution, when women of the ruling elite in Tehran used to send their dirty laundry to Paris for hand washing, or fly to Paris to have their hair done for a soiree. ***
The US and France have always hailed Tunisia as a poster-boy for "moderation, stability, and democracy. "
Translation: 1. moderation: following orders from Washington and making nice to Israel; 2. stability: crushing all opposition, particularly Islamist-oriented parties, muzzling the media, and paving the way for US business; 3. democracy: holding fake elections every few years. The US media soft-soaped Ben Ali and gushed over Tunisia’s "moderate" virtues. They did the same for Egypt’s Anwar Sadat.
America’s other "moderate" Arab clients, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Oman and some of the Gulf states, followed precisely the same model of ersatz elections, ferocious internal oppression, and absolute obedience to Washington.
Tunisia closely resembled other Arab non-oil states in having very high unemployment, social and intellectual stagnation, lack of free speech or expression, and no hope for the future unless one had links to the rapacious, self-serving, western-backed ruling oligarchy. On top of this, in most Arab states, over 60% of the population is under 25. ***
Mainstream Islamist parties in the Mideast have nothing to do with al-Qaida (which barely exists any more) or anti-Western programs. Their primary concern is getting rid of the western-backed oligarchies that keep the Muslim world backwards and in thrall. Their platform is sharing resource wealth, social welfare, education, uprooting thieving oligarchies and fighting endemic corruption.
The big question now is will Tunisia’s dramatic events be a harbinger of other explosions across the volatile Arab world? All eyes are on Egypt, the home of a third of all Arabs. Egypt’s 83-year-old military ruler, Husni Mubarak, is a giant version of Tunisia’s Gen. Ben Ali.
Mubarak was engineered into power by the US after the killing of longtime CIA "asset" Anwar Sadat. Gen. Mubarak has ruled Egypt like a modern-day pharaoh ever since, crushing both violent extremist and legitimate political opposition. Mubarak’s rigged elections, winked at by Washington, are every bit as egregious as Tunisia’s.
So could the flames of Tunisia’s revolution spread to Egypt?
Today, we got the answer.
Hopefully, moderate Arab governments will replace the deposed regimes, and thus bring real stability to the region. Moderate regimes are those that are not fundamentalists of one type or another, not puppets of any superpower (the U.S. or China), and which focus on implementing sustainable economic and human rights policies which benefit the most of their people possible, instead of just the ruling elite.

China could unleash inflationary nightmare in U.S., warns Schiff


According to Peter Schiff, President of Euro Pacific Capital, “the only way China can stop its inflation problem is to stop importing it from us [the U.S.], which means … they have to let their currency rise”. If that happens, “the U.S. had better brace itself,” says Schiff


“It will unleash an inflationary nightmare here in the United States. As the Chinese currency increases in strength, the dollar must decrease. And, so Americans [would] experience higher prices, falling purchasing power and a lower standard of living.”

Big Trouble In Big China


China is barrelling toward a massive financial crisis
Global investors are bracing for the end of China's relentless economic growth, with 45% saying they expect a financial crisis there within five years. An additional 40% anticipate a Chinese crisis after 2016, according to a quarterly poll of 1,000 Bloomberg customers who are investors, traders or analysts. Only 7% are confident China will indefinitely escape turmoil. "There is no doubt that China is in the midst of a speculative credit-driven bubble that cannot be sustained," says Stanislav Panis, a currency strategist at TRIM Broker in Bratislava, Slovakia, and a participant in the Bloomberg Global Poll, which was conducted Jan. 21-24. Panis likens the expected fallout to the aftermath of the U.S. subprime-mortgage meltdown. On Jan. 20, China's National Bureau of Statistics reported that the economy grew 10.3% in 2010, the fastest pace in three years and up from 9.2% a year earlier. Gross domestic product rose to 39.8 trillion yuan ($6 trillion). Any Chinese financial emergency would reverberate around the world. The total value of the country's exports and imports last year was $3 trillion, with about 13% of that trade between China and the U.S. As of November, China also held $896 billion in U.S. Treasuries.


The trade and investment links between the two nations were underlined with Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit last week to the White House for meetings with President Barack Obama. Worried Neighbors Investors' concern contrasts with Chinese government statements on the outlook for the economy, which is poised to overtake Japan as the world's second biggest. The Politburo said last month that the nation had a "sound base" for stable and fast growth in 2011 after consolidating its recovery. In an interview in Davos yesterday, Li Daokui, an academic adviser to the central bank, said he doesn't expect any "hard landing" and the economy may expand about 9.5% this year. Fifty-three% of poll respondents say they believe China is a bubble, while 42% disagree. China's neighbors are the most concerned: 60% of Asia-based respondents identified a bubble in the world's second-largest economy.


Worries center on the danger that investment, which surged almost 24% in 2010, may be producing empty apartment blocks and unneeded factories. 'Major Dislocations' Jonathan Sadowsky, chief investment officer at Vaca Creek Asset Management in San Francisco, says he is "exceptionally worried" that the Chinese would eventually face "major dislocations within their banking system." Chinese authorities also raised interest rates twice in the fourth quarter in a bid to choke off inflation, a sensitive political issue since the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, which followed uncontrolled price increases. Food prices last year rose 7.2%, according to the National Bureau of statistics. Haroon Shaikh, an investment manager with GAM London Ltd., cited "rapid wage inflation" and soaring property prices as the financial markets' chief concern. Li said rising real estate prices are the "biggest danger" to the Chinese economy, in an interview with Bloomberg News in Davos, Switzerland. The People's Bank of China should "gradually increase rates in the first and second quarter," Li said. Since peaking on Nov. 8 at 3159.51, the Shanghai Composite Index has slid about 14%. "The market is right to be nervous," Michael Pettis, a finance professor at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management, wrote in his Jan. 26 financial newsletter. Worst Market Some investors remain unbowed. "China can continue to grow over 10% for the better part of the next five years," said Ardavan Mobasheri, head of AIG Global Economics in New York. Still, the poll found other signs of mounting investor caution toward China, where three decades of market-oriented reform has obliterated a legacy of Maoist impoverishment.

Asked to identify the worst market for investment over the next year, 20% of poll respondents say China versus 11% in the last poll in November. Almost half of those polled -- 48% -- say a significant slowing of growth was very or fairly likely within the next two years. Michael Martin, senior vice president of MDAvantage Insurance Company of New Jersey, says the Chinese government "has executed brilliantly" in managing the economy. The government's capacity will be tested as the economy grows and becomes more complex, he says. Export Reliance Chinese officials have said they intend to wean the economy off its reliance upon exports, the source of trade tensions with the U.S., in favor of greater domestic consumption. Peter Hurst, a broker with Sterling International Brokers in London, says he's concerned China will struggle to complete the transition. "Yes, there are 1.3 billion people in China," he says. "But are they rich enough to become consumers?"


If China stumbles, the global economy will feel the impact, says Suresh Raghavan, chief investment officer for Raghavan Financial Inc. in Houston. "If the PBOC is successful at lowering growth rates to 7%, it will still feel like a recession for a lot of people around the world," he says. Political Stability Most poll respondents remained confident of the Chinese government's ability to fend off demands for greater political liberalization. Just 1% expect a political crisis within the next year and 27% expect one within the next two to five years. And by a 60% to 30% margin, those surveyed say President Hu's policies were favorable to investors. Hu tied with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the poll's top spot. "The Chinese politicians are able to act on all necessary issues. That gives them a huge advantage compared to the Western economies," says Henry Littig, who heads his own global investment firm in Cologne, Germany. The poll was conducted by Des Moines, Iowa-based Selzer & Co. for Bloomberg and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Beware Them Black Birds


Watch out for the Black Swans

Wednesday, 26 January 2011
It is not my intention to ruin your day. But I may well do that if you read this piece. While traders pile on their longs with reckless abandon, and retail flows into equity mutual funds turn positive for the first time in two years, I am hearing a rising tide of negativity from the jungle telegraph. There are “black swans” circling out there everywhere, and the risk is that they alight upon us in great unexpected flocks, like a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film, The Birds.
Let me give you a list of things that can go wrong this year:
*The ten year Treasury bond spikes to 5% and money gets expensive.
*Crude soars to $120 a barrel and gasoline rises to $4 a gallon.
*Europe blows up again, sending the dollar through the roof.
*Seeing stock prices soar, Ben Bernanke ends QE2 early, paring it down to QE 1 ½.
*The high frequency traders and quants hungry for a mean reversion smell blood in the water and trigger another “flash crash.”
*Retails investors conclude they were right to stay away and bail on what they have remaining.

And here is the scariest thing of all. All of these black swans could hit at the same time and reinforce each other, possible around March or April, triggering the recurrent double dip fears. Could this be the third consecutive “sell in May and go away” year? This conjures up the vision of a “ground hog year”, where 2011 is a carbon copy of 2010. A strong first quarter is followed by two dead quarters, and then a strong year end finish. This is what “lost decades” look like. Look at the 20 year chart of the (SPY) below and tell me this isn’t happening.
Of course, this is just one of many possible scenarios that could play out this year. As for me, I’m booking my chalet in Zermatt in the Swiss Alps now to beat out the rest of you.

Obama As Herbert Hoover


David Rosenberg: A startling fact about Obama's State of the Union address

From David Rosenberg, Chief Economist & Strategist, Gluskin Sheff:A long-standing colleague and reader sent this to me yesterday and it blew me away. Read on:


Obama’s State of the Union:"Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again."


Herbert Hoover, May 1st 1930, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Meeting:"While the crash only took place six months ago, I am convinced we have now passed the worst and with continued unity of effort we shall rapidly recover."


Obama’s State of the Union:"Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans’ paychecks are a little bigger today. Every business can write off the full cost of the new investments they make this year. These steps, taken by Democrats and Republicans, will grow the economy and add to the more than one million private sector jobs created last year."


Herbert Hoover, October 22, 1932, campaign speech in Detroit:"It can be demonstrated that the tide has turned and that the gigantic forces of depression are today in retreat. Our measures and policies have demonstrated their effectiveness. They have preserved the American people from certain chaos. They have preserved a final fortress of stability in the world."


Obama’s State of the Union:"But now that the worst of the recession is over..."


Herbert Hoover, June 1930, to a delegation requesting a public works project:"Gentlemen, you have come sixty days too late. The depression is over."


Obama’s State of the Union:"The steps we’ve taken over the last two years may have broken the back of this recession…"


Herbert Hoover, State of the Union, December 6, 1932:"The unprecedented emergency measures enacted and policies adopted undoubtedly saved the country from economic disaster…"

Food Commodity Prices SOARING!


Wheat prices have hit a 29-month high of $8.60 a bushel, amid the following reports of stockpiling.


~Algeria bought 800,000 tons yesterday from an undisclosed seller
~Jordan bought 15,000 tons last week from the United States
~Saudi Arabia plans to double its reserves, to cover a year’s worth of demand.


Given the WikiLeaks revolution in Tunisia last week, you think autocrats across the region are getting nervous?
It was one thing for an American-backed strongman of 30 years standing to be chased out of a tiny holdout like Tunisia.But now they’re rioting in Yemen… where an American-backed strongman of 30 years standing is helping the CIA pursue terrorism suspects.
And in Egypt… where an American-backed strongman of 30 years standing rules over one-third of all Arabs. The Egyptian stock market fell 10% today.Everywhere the story’s the same… years of corruption and repression finally boiling over because of rising food prices. Thus, “panic buying” of grains, says the Financial Times. “Governments are reacting to growing social unrest about rising domestic prices.”
“Across the Middle East, we are waiting to see the downfall of America's friends,” writes veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk of the London Independent. “Could it be that we are going to see a new Arab world which is not controlled by the West?”And what would that do to oil prices? So far, the revolts are confined to Arab states that don’t have much oil. This morning, crude clings to $87 a barrel. Tomorrow? Who knows?

Hey, Social Security Ain't Gonna Be There For You!


Yesterday's report indicates Social Security will pay out $45 billion more in benefits this year than it will collect in taxes.With no changes to the program, CBO says Social Security will now run permanent deficits… and will drain all the Social Security trust funds by 2037.You may recall during much of 2010, we projected Social Security would go into the red on Sept. 30, 2010… the end of the federal fiscal year. Of course, the reality is worse than even the CBO admits because Congress already spent all the “trust fund” money, leaving IOUs in its place.

Riots Around The World


World Gripped By Anti-Government Riots; America Next?

Global unrest causing spiraling food prices as regimes are toppled
Thursday, January 27, 2011
The planet is in a never-ending cycle of anti-government revolt as riots that plagued Europe last year now spread like wildfire through the Middle East and beyond, threatening to accelerate bloody clashes and force the hand of authorities as the risk of a new Tiananmen Square-style massacre grows ever likelier. Is America next in line to experience unrest that has touched almost every corner of the globe?
Our prediction three years ago, based on UN documents, which was made six months before the collapse of Lehman brothers, that the world would be hit by massive food riots and anti-government unrest in the aftermath of an economic collapse, is now unfolding at an astonishing pace.
The latest countries to be enveloped by the chaos are Tunisia, Egypt, and now Yemen, whose population are demanding the ouster of 30-year President Ali Abdullah Saleh in a protest against poverty and lack of political freedom.
The unrest in Yemen was inspired by a popular uprising in Tunisia earlier this month that led to the ejection of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, figurehead of a government accused of abusing their power to enrich themselves while the poverty gripped the rest of the country. Ben Ali was forced to flee the country and the interim government has now issued an international arrest warrant for the President and his wife.
Riots in Tunisia were quickly followed by mass protests in Egypt demanding an end to President Mubarek’s regime. Four people have died as demonstrators engaged in violent clashes with police and set fire to government buildings.
Besides America there has barely been an area of the globe that hasn’t been hit by riots and unrest in the last six months, as the fallout from the economic collapse begins to be felt amongst the victims of the financial terrorists that launched an assault characterized by falling wages, high unemployment, spiraling inflation and food prices as well as crippling austerity cuts.
The cost of staples like wheat, corn and soybeans is going through the roof as countries increasingly rely on imports from the U.S. to offset the impact of global unrest.
“In emerging markets, it’s leading to rising inflation, to reduction in disposable income, it’s leading to riots, demonstrations and political instability,” New York University economist Nouriel Roubini said in an interview in Davos, Switzerland, today with Tom Keene on Bloomberg Television’s “The Pulse.” “It’s really something that can topple regimes, as we have seen in the Middle East.”

Back in early 2008, before the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the start of the financial crisis, we warned that inflation and economic uncertainty would cause inflation to skyrocket and food prices to explode, which would lead to riots globally.
In June of last year, shortly before mass unrest hit Europe in countries like France, Italy and the United Kingdom, we forecast that, “The imminent onset of so-called austerity measures, which in reality represent nothing more than an elevated phase of government-run looting of the taxpayer, would herald an “age of rage,” leading to “riots and even revolutions as people react with fury in response to their jobs, savings, basic public services, pensions and welfare money being seized by the financial terrorists who caused the economic collapse in the first place.”
That “age of rage” is now playing out across the planet, with governments being toppled left, right and center as economic turmoil forces desperate people to revolt in a bid to rescue any kind of decent living standard.
We didn’t have the privilege of a crystal ball when we made these predictions, we were merely reading what globalist bodies and the elite themselves were saying would be the consequences of their agenda to eviscerate any kind of middle class and re-impose an archaic caste system of haves and have nots.
The only question left to be answered is if and when similar scenes will unfold on the streets of America, as notoriously accurate trend forecaster Gerald Celente warned would happen several years ago. Celente put the time frame on “tax rebellions and food riots” sweeping the US by 2012.
With even the likes of Time Magazine seriously entertaining the probability of social dislocation as a backlash to the crumbling economy leading to “civil war” in the United States, we stand on the precipice of bedlam.
In November 2008, right as the economic implosion was unraveling, the U.S. Army War College released a white paper called Known Unknowns: Unconventional ‘Strategic Shocks’ in Defense Strategy Development. The report warned that the military must be prepared for a “violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States,” which could be provoked by “unforeseen economic collapse,” “purposeful domestic resistance,” “pervasive public health emergencies” or “loss of functioning political and legal order.” The “widespread civil violence,” the document said, “would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security.”
A British Ministry of Defence report struck a similar tone when it predicted that within 30 years, the growing gap between the super rich and the middle class, along with an urban underclass threatening social order would mean, “The world’s middle classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest,” and that, “The middle classes could become a revolutionary class.”
If the violent scenes we now witness unfolding across the planet are anything to go by, we won’t have to wait too long to find out whether or not the United States will become engulfed in the crisis, or whether the global elite will move to prevent such a scenario by coming to the realization that their war on the middle class and the poor threatens to provoke a reaction that even they may be unprepared to deal with.

But The Gov't Says There's No Inflation!


Grocery prices skyrocket faster than official inflation
Jan 27, 2011
Grocery prices increased at more than 50 percent the rate of inflation in 2010, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Food prices increased an average of 1.7 percent between November 2009 and November 2010, in comparison with a general inflation rate of only 1.1 percent. The greatest price increases were seen among meat, poultry, fish and eggs, which went up in cost by 5.8 percent. The price of sugar and sweets increased 1.2 percent, the price of fats and oils increased 3 percent and the price of dairy-based products increased 3.8 percent.
The only commodities to go up in price more than food were medical care and transportation.
“I noticed just this month that my grocery bill for the same old stuff — cereal, eggs, milk, orange juice, peanut butter, bread — spiked $25,” said Sue Perry, deputy editor of “ShopSmart” magazine. “It was a bit of sticker shock.”
The rises in price were caused in part by climate-related crop failures in several major food exporting countries. In addition, rising demand for corn from the biofuels industry has pushed up prices for animal feed, leading to higher meat, dairy and egg costs. Finally, rising fuel prices have increased food production and transportation costs as well.
Prices are only likely to keep rising. The Department of Agriculture has forecast a further 3 percent rise in food prices in 2011, but openly admits that the estimate is conservative.
“The USDA always plays it safe,” said Wells Fargo agricultural economist Michael Swanson. Swanson predicted price increases of 4 percent, the highest since the 5.5 percent increases that led to riots worldwide in 2008.
Major food producers including Kraft and General Mills have already announced plans to increase the prices of their products. Just how much of that increase will be passed along to consumers is uncertain, as retailers may try to force prices lower to keep shopper volume high.
“Food is a high-frequency driver,” Swanson said. “So if stores like Walmart and Kmart want to get shoppers in the door, it’s to their benefit to keep prices low.”

Oh Crap...................


Army base locked to solve ‘serious concern’
Jan 27, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY — The commander of an Army base in Utah, which works on how to protect troops against biological and chemical attacks, said it was on lockdown while trying to resolve a “serious concern.”
Military weapons are tested at Dugway Proving Grounds, located about 85 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. The base, which covers around 80,000 acres of desert, according to KSL.com, has a primary mission of defending troops against biological and chemical attacks.
Colonel William E. King did not provide any details in a statement, but said food and beverages were being brought in.
“As you know measures like these (lockdown of our gates) are not taken lightly,” he said, according to KSL.com. “No one is in immediate danger but these steps are required.”

Sarkozy says IMF should supervise global imbalances


The International Monetary Fund's mandate should be expanded to measure, monitor and enforce new rules on global economic imbalances,

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Thursday.
He told bankers and business leaders at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos the first task was to develop a set of relevant indicators to define and measure imbalances in trade, currencies, current accounts and other factors.
"In the view of the French G20 presidency, there is only one appropriate international organization which is in a position to do this, which is the IMF," he said.
"So i think it's worthwhile rethinking the IMF statutes to make it the organization in charge of economic, financial and monetary policy coordination and of enforcing the indicators."

Trying To Subdivide America


Do Not Let The Establishment Divide Us – We Are All Americans

Jan 27, 2011
Have you ever noticed how almost all the mainstream news stories carried on the major news networks are slanted in a way that is intended to divide Americans? The truth is that the “establishment” is constantly trying to divide us and get us fighting with one another. They pit the Republicans against the Democrats (even as though control both sides). They pit one race against another. They pit one gender against another. We are told that the rich are against the poor, the north is against the south, urban is against rural and that there are even “generational battles” going on. Frustration and hate are rapidly growing in the United States today, and a lot of that frustration and hate is unfortunately aimed at the targets that the mainstream media has programmed all of us to hate. Meanwhile, those at the top of the pyramid who are controlling the whole game love it when we are divided because we can never become united and challenge their control.
But the truth is that we are all Americans. If this country goes down, it is going to take all of us down with it. A house that is divided can never stand.
Unfortunately, America is more divided today than ever. Many Democrats have an absolutely explosive hatred for the Republican Party. Many Republicans can’t stop thinking about how much they hate Barack Obama and the Democrats. Meanwhile, those that control both parties at the highest levels are loving it.
Why do you think they call them “establishment Republicans” and “establishment Democrats”? It is because the “establishment” controls them both.
So just who is the “establishment”?
Well, they are headed by the ultra-wealthy international banking elite. They fund the campaigns of “establishment” candidates from both political parties. The shadowy “think tank” organizations that they have founded have provided the vast majority of the personnel for all presidential administrations since World War 2.

If you don’t believe this, just check it out for yourself. Do some research on past presidential administrations and take a look at just how many cabinet members belonged to organizations such as The Bilderberg Group, The Trilateral Commission and The Council on Foreign Relations. You will be absolutely astounded.
You see, the truth is that the “Republican Party” and the “Democratic Party” are simply two franchises that are controlled by the exact same owners.
For much more on who “the establishment” is, the following are a few good points to start….
*Bilderberg Owned Publication The Economist: Yes, Powerful “Globocrat” Elites Are Running Things, It’s Not A Conspiracy
*The Rise of the New Global Elite
*Only 23 Percent Of Americans Believe That The Federal Government Has The Consent Of The Governed
But you never hear much about the “anti-Bilderberg” movement or the “anti-Federal Reserve” movement on the nightly news.
Instead, we are constantly being programmed that the real “fight” is the Republicans vs. the Democrats.
The vast majority of Americans are imprisoned within this artificial left/right paradigm and they can’t seem to break out of it.
But even when the establishment does not have us fighting about politics they are dividing us in other ways.
For example, it seems like almost every issue becomes about “race” these days. The mainstream media loves to play up tensions between the races.
And so what are we seeing in America today? Sadly, our country is becoming more divided among racial lines than ever before.
Take the issue of illegal immigration. The media portrays those that are against illegal immigration as a bunch of “anti-Mexican” racists and those that are in favor of illegal immigration as “pro-Mexican” human rights activists.
But the truth is that many of those that are most against illegal immigration are Americans of Mexican descent that came to America legally and that have worked hard to build a great life in the United States. They resent all of the cheaters that are just hopping over the border and taking advantage of the system.
The other day I wrote an article entitled “Is Illegal Immigration Destroying The Southwest United States? 19 Immigration Facts That Very Few People Are Talking About“, and I quickly received some comments claiming that I was a racist and that I was full of hate.
Well, nothing could be further from the truth. I believe that all people are of equal value and deserve to be loved and respected. People on one side of a border are not more “valuable” than people on the other side of a border. I simply want everyone to come through the “front door” so that we can stop the endless parade of gang members and drug dealers that are constantly pouring into the United States unchecked.
So is wanting all immigrants to go through the same legal process an irrational demand?
Of course not.
But the establishment media wants to make every issue about hate and about division.
And if there are some voices that the establishment media does not control that makes them even more nervous.
Take the Tea Party movement for example. Now there are a lot of things about the Tea Party movement that are far from perfect, but in that movement there is just a hint of independence from the establishment.
So how has the mainstream media reacted to the Tea Party movement?
Well, they mock and demonize those in the movement every time they can.
Tea Party activists are called “crazy”, “loco”, “insane”, “wacky”, “kooky” and “extremists”. They are laughed at by network anchors while they are being interviewed. There were even several very highly publicized law enforcement documents that circulated around the Internet last year that referred to Tea Party activists as potential terrorists.
So why are Tea Party activists vilified by the mainstream media so much? Well, it is because that movement represents a sliver of a chance that the American people may take back control of the political process in this country.
The establishment cannot let that happen, because their whole system depends on control.
When this country was originally founded, we were not a divided nation. It was the founding fathers vs. the monarchy and the financial establishment of England. Our founders were mocked and ridiculed and very few people gave them any chance of succeeding. Fortunately our founding fathers won and they were able to establish this great nation.
Well, once again today those fighting against the “financial establishment” are being mocked and ridiculed. Politicians such as Ron Paul that point out that ultra-wealthy international bankers use the Federal Reserve to manipulate and control our financial system are marginalized by the mainstream media. But fortunately the American people are starting to wake up.
You just can’t keep truth down forever. Eventually it will rise.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One Of Ann Coulter's Best - By Far


Hope, change and invest

I missed the middle section of Obama's State of the Union address when I took a break to read "War and Peace," but I gather he never got around to what I was hoping he'd say, which is: "What was I thinking?"
The national debt is $14 trillion, the Democrats won't stop spending and President Nero gave us a long, gaseous speech about his Stradivarius.
I feel so Southern whenever I watch a Democrat give a State of the Union address – and not just because it makes me want to secede. Consternating the rest of the family, my Kentucky mother always talked back to the TV. I do it only when a Democrat is giving a speech.
And if liberals didn't like Samuel Alito mouthing the words "not true," they should be really happy I wasn't in the House chamber Tuesday night.
All I kept hearing was, "Ann pays more." That's all I ever I hear when Democrats start in with all that "investing."
Apparently the government will be "investing" in education, "investing" in technology, "investing" in roads and "investing" in lots and lots of government workers. Ann pays more, Ann pays more, Ann pays more.
Obama compared "investing" in education to our sending a man to the moon after the Russians launched Sputnik. Say, who was the president who recently gutted spending on NASA? Oh yes, that was Obama.
So he reminded us of the glory days of the space program, but now he's taking that money and funneling it to public-school teachers. As the Democrats say: "If we can put a man on the moon, why can't we hire another 10,000 public-school teachers?"
Also, solar panels. Obama said the government was already "investing" in solar panels! That's a total relief. This must be how the president who brought us "Recovery Summer" is going to dig us out of the second Great Depression.

But I do wonder why no private lender considered solar panels a wise investment, forcing solar-panel manufacturers to turn to the government for loans, followed by endless tax credits just to break even.
I guess people who work for the government are just smarter. We're so lucky to have them "investing" our money for us! Boy, egg must be on Warren Buffett's face!
Remember how massive government "investments" gave rise to the telephone, the light bulb, the automobile, the airplane, the personal computer ... OK, none of those.
But massive government expenditures did give us Amtrak and the TSA!
The only thing Obama vowed to cut were "earmarks." Yippee! The guy with the ears is against earmarks. Yes, the same president who quadrupled our deficit by giving money away to his UAW pals, Wall Street cronies and government workers is now lecturing us about earmarks. This is a bit like being scolded by Charlie Sheen for ordering a second wine cooler.
You knew it was bad when John McCain leapt up and enthusiastically applauded. The last time I saw McCain applaud Obama like that was when he debated him.
Obama said, "We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook."
And then the government outlawed Edison's great invention, made the Wright brothers' air travel insufferable, filed anti-trust charges against Microsoft and made cars too expensive to drive by prohibiting oil exploration, and right now – at this very minute – is desperately trying to regulate the Internet.
On the bright side, President Al Gore would have actually outlawed the cars in those driveways.
I especially enjoyed his pitch for high-speed trains where you "don't have to receive pat-downs." At least until one of those Muslims who is "part of our American family" blows one up – at which point they'll be staffed with armies of genital-fondling, unionized TSA agents on the public dime.
Still, I can't wait for Obama's America. An America where I can use lightning-fast, high-speed Internet to file electronically for my unemployment benefits. Or better yet, I can ditch my old "oil-powered" car and take a "sunlight and water"-powered high-speed train to the unemployment office for a change.
And I hear CalTech is working on biofuels to power "Recovery Summer 2011."
The big laugh line was when Nero said mockingly, "I heard rumors that a few of you still have concerns about the health-care law." That's called "60 percent of the American public." It's not a joke, and it's not funny.
Here's one: Hey, Obama! Guy walks into a bar in the Gaza Strip. The bartender says, "What'll you have?" But the guy is killed instantly when an Iranian-made CT-28 missile strikes the bar, also killing a woman and small child next door. Get it, Obama? Ha ha!
Synthesizing Karl Marx and Ronald Reagan, Obama said the government will soon be taking over every aspect of our lives, and Republicans can't stop him – but gosh, isn't America a great country! Teachers are great, we need to innovate, children are our future, we need paved roads, kids should do their homework, Labrador puppies are cute, I like apple pie, I (heart) Justin Bieber, and how about them Yankees! Now, here's your 2011 tax bill – how would you like to pay for that?
Actually, I was glad to hear him say that "there isn't a person here" – which presumably included Democrats – who would live anyplace else.
Then why are they always trying to turn us into Western Europe?

The State Of The Union Address Doesn't Add Up



FACT CHECK: Obama and his imbalanced ledger
WASHINGTON – The ledger did not appear to be adding up Tuesday night when President Barack Obama urged more spending on one hand and a spending freeze on the other.
Obama spoke ambitiously of putting money into roads, research, education, efficient cars, high-speed rail and other initiatives in his State of the Union speech. He pointed to the transportation and construction projects of the last two years and proposed "we redouble these efforts." He coupled this with a call to "freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years."
But Obama offered far more examples of where he would spend than where he would cut, and some of the areas he identified for savings are not certain to yield much if anything.
For example, he said he wants to eliminate "billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies." Yet he made a similar proposal last year that went nowhere. He sought $36.5 billion in tax increases on oil and gas companies over the next decade, but Congress largely ignored the request, even though Democrats were then in charge of both houses of Congress.
A look at some of Obama's statements Tuesday night and how they compare with the facts:
OBAMA: Tackling the deficit "means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. Health insurance reform will slow these rising costs, which is part of why nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit."
THE FACTS: The idea that Obama's health care law saves money for the government is based on some arguable assumptions.
To be sure, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated the law will slightly reduce red ink over 10 years. But the office's analysis assumes that steep cuts in Medicare spending, as called for in the law, will actually take place. Others in the government have concluded it is unrealistic to expect such savings from Medicare.
In recent years, for example, Congress has repeatedly overridden a law that would save the treasury billions by cutting deeply into Medicare pay for doctors. Just last month, the government once again put off the scheduled cuts for another year, at a cost of $19 billion. That money is being taken out of the health care overhaul. Congress has shown itself sensitive to pressure from seniors and their doctors, and there's little reason to think that will change.
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OBAMA: Vowed to veto any bills sent to him that include "earmarks," pet spending provisions pushed by individual lawmakers. "Both parties in Congress should know this: If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it."
THE FACTS: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has promised that no bill with earmarks will be sent to Obama in the first place. Republicans have taken the lead in battling earmarks while Obama signed plenty of earmark-laden spending bills when Democrats controlled both houses. As recently as last month, Obama was prepared to sign a catchall spending measure stuffed with earmarks, before it collapsed in the Senate after an outcry from conservatives over the bill's $8 billion-plus in home-state pet projects.
It's a turnabout for the president; in early 2009, Obama sounded like an apologist for the practice: "Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their districts, and that's why I've opposed their outright elimination," he said then.
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OBAMA: "I'm willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year: medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits."
THE FACTS: Republicans may be forgiven if this offer makes them feel like Charlie Brown running up to kick the football, only to have it pulled away, again.
Obama has expressed openness before to this prominent Republican proposal, but it has not come to much. It was one of several GOP ideas that were dropped or diminished in the health care law after Obama endorsed them in a televised bipartisan meeting at the height of the debate.
Republicans want federal action to limit jury awards in medical malpractice cases; what Obama appears to be offering, by supporting state efforts, falls short of that. The president has said he agrees that fear of being sued leads to unnecessary tests and procedures that drive up health care costs. So far the administration has provided grants to test ideas aimed at reducing medical mistakes and resolving malpractice cases by negotiation, but has recommended no change in federal law.
Trial lawyers, major political donors to Democratic candidates, are strongly opposed to caps on jury awards. But the administration has been reluctant to support other approaches, such as the creation of specialized courts where expert judges, not juries, would decide malpractice cases. In October 2009 the Congressional Budget Office estimated that government health care programs could save $41 billion over 10 years if nationwide limits on jury awards for pain and suffering and other similar curbs were enacted.
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OBAMA: "The bipartisan Fiscal Commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don't agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it — in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes."
THE FACTS: Obama's fiscal commission did not simply recommend cutting excessive spending; it proposed that the deficit could only be tamed by cutting $3 for every $1 of new revenue raised — in other words, a painful mix of spending cuts and tax increases. Instead, Obama proposed an overhaul of the corporate tax system that would eliminate loopholes and tax breaks but also reduce tax rates. The net effect would be neutral; it would not reduce or raise any revenue. Obama has yet to sign on to any of the ideas, even though he promised when creating the panel that it would not be "one of those Washington gimmicks."
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OBAMA: "To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations."
THE FACTS: With that comment, Obama missed another chance to embrace the tough medicine proposed by the commission for bringing down the deficit. For example, he ruled out slashing benefits or partially privatizing the program, and made no reference to raising the retirement age. That left listeners to guess how he plans to do anything to salvage the popular retirement program whose trust funds are expected to run out of money in 2037 without changes.
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OBAMA: As testament to the fruits of his administration's diplomatic efforts to control the spread of nuclear weapons, he said the Iranian government "faces tougher and tighter sanctions than ever before."
THE FACTS: That is true, and it reflects Obama's promise one year ago that Iran would face "growing consequences" if it failed to heed international demands to constrain its nuclear program. But what Obama didn't say was that U.S. diplomacy has failed to persuade Tehran to negotiate over U.N. demands that it take steps to prove it is not on the path toward a bomb. Preliminary talks with Iran earlier this month broke off after the Iranians demanded U.S. sanctions be lifted.
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Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, giving the GOP response: "Whether sold as 'stimulus' or repackaged as 'investment,' their actions show they want a federal government that controls too much, taxes too much and spends too much in order to do too much."
THE FACTS: The economic stimulus package passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress in February 2009 didn't raise taxes. Instead, about a third of the package — nearly $300 billion — was made up of temporary tax cuts. The biggest was Obama's Making Work Pay credit, which provided up $400 to individuals and $800 to married couples. There were dozens of other tax cuts, including a more generous child tax credit, a tax credit for buying a home and a sales tax deduction for buying a car. Many, but not all, of the tax cuts have since expired.
Obama's health care law imposed new taxes, including a penalty for some people who don't get qualified health insurance, starting in 2014. But Obama extended Bush-era tax cuts that were due to expire at the beginning of the year. He also enacted a new one-year cut in the payroll tax for 2011 for just about every wage earner.

Nicely Said................

"...either you oppose a lie, or you become a liar." - Franklin Sanders

England Taking It Hard


Bank of England: Standard of Living to Plunge at Fastest Rate Since 1920s
Jan 26, 2011

Households face the most dramatic squeeze in living standards since the 1920s, the Governor of the Bank of England warned, as he reacted to the shock disclosure that the economy was shrinking again.
Families will see their disposable income eaten up as they “pay the inevitable price” for the financial crisis, Mervyn King warned.
With wages failing to keep pace with rising inflation, workers’ take- home pay will end the year worth the same as in 2005 — the most prolonged fall in living standards for more than 80 years, he claimed.

Gee, We Guess Government Was To Blame.............


Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Slams Greenspan, Bernanke, Geithner, Paulson, Summers, SEC, Rating Agencies and Big Banks for Causing Crisis
Jan 26, 2011
The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission is releasing its report Thursday.
The New York Times has a preview of the report, which shows that the Commission will slam the right people for causing the financial crisis.
Barry Ritholtz gives a good summary of the Times’ article:
The many causal factors highlighted in the FCIC report:
• Alan Greenspan’s malfeasance — his refusal to perform his regulatory duties because he did not believe in them — allowed the credit bubble to expand, driving housing prices to dangerously unsustainable levels; Greenspan’s advocacy for financial deregulation was a “pivotal failure to stem the flow of toxic mortgages” and “the prime example” of government negligence;
• Ben S. Bernanke failed to foresee the crisis;
• The Bush administration’s “inconsistent response” — saving Bear, but allowing Lehman to crater — “added to the uncertainty and panic in the financial markets.”
• Bush Treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. wrongly predicted in 2007 that subprime meltdown would be contained.
• The Clinton White House, including then Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, made a crucial error in “shielding over-the-counter derivatives from regulation [CFMA]. This was “a key turning point in the march toward the financial crisis.”
• Then NY Fed President, now Treasury secretary Timothy F. Geithner failed to “clamp down on excesses by Citigroup in the lead-up to the crisis;” Further, a month before Lehman’s collapse, Geithner was still in the dark about Lehman’s derivative exposure;
• Low interest rates brought about by the Fed after the 2001 recession “created increased risks” but were not chiefly to blame, according to the FCIC (I place some more weight on Ultra-low rates than they do);
• The financial sector spent $2.7 billion on lobbying from 1999 to 2008, while individuals and committees affiliated with the industry made more than $1 billion in campaign contributions. The impact of which an incestuous relationship between bankers and regulators, Congress and bankers, and classic regulatory capture by the industry.
• The credit-rating agencies “cogs in the wheel of financial destruction.”
• The Securities and Exchange Commission allowed the 5 biggest banks to ramp up their leverage, hold insufficient capital, and engage in risky practices.
• Leverage at the nation’s five largest investment banks was wildly excessive: They kept only $1 in capital to cover losses for about every $40 in assets;
• The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency along with the Office of Thrift Supervision, “federally pre-empted” (blocked) state regulators from reining in lending abuses;
• The report documents “questionable practices by mortgage lenders and careless betting by banks;”
• The report portrays the “bumbling incompetence among corporate chieftains” as to the risk and operations of their own firms:
-Citigroup executives admitting that they paid little attention to the risks associated with mortgage securities.-AIG executives were blind to its $79 billion exposure to credit default swaps;-Merrill Lynch top managers were surprised when mortgage investments suddenly resulted in billions of dollars in losses;
I certainly agree with all of these points, and have criticized these same players in the past.
It should be noted that leading banking analyst Chris Whalen – who I greatly respect – agrees with FCIC Commissioner Peter Wallison (co-director of the American Enterprise Institute’s program on financial policy studies) that Freddie and Fannie were a leading cause for the crisis. This is the minority view of the FCIC.
Many people – including me – have criticized the FCIC for seeming to sidestep the massive fraud which was a core cause of the crisis. However, the Commission has indicated that it will make criminal referrals. We’ll have to wait and see if the referrals are for big or small fish.