Hat Tip: Jean Stoner
Hat Tip: Jean Stoner
Hat Tip: Jean Stoner
It was 5,000 birds, not 3,000…
By: Shaun Waterman
The Washington Times
The captain of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise has been removed from his command because of videos he made several years ago containing foul language, sexual innuendo and anti-gay slurs.
A statement from U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., said Tuesday that Capt. Owen P. Honors, 49, had been permanently relieved of his command of the Enterprise and assigned to administrative duties “for demonstrating poor judgment.”
The statement said the Navy would continue its investigation into what it called the “inappropriate videos” that Capt. Honors made while serving as the ship’s executive officer, or second in command, in 2006 and 2007. It said the investigation will “include the actions of other senior officers who knew of the videos and the actions they took in response.”
Capt. Honors’ “profound lack of good judgment and professionalism . calls into question his character and completely undermines his credibility to continue to serve effectively in command,” U.S. Fleet Command chief Adm. John C. Harvey Jr. said in the statement.
“The foundation of our success in the Navy lies in our ability to gain and hold the trust of our sailors, including through personal example. . After personally reviewing the videos . I have lost confidence in Capt. Honors’ ability to lead effectively, and he is being held accountable for poor judgment and the inappropriate actions demonstrated.”
Some former colleagues have defended Capt. Honors, saying the videos were intended to be humorous and praising his qualities as an officer.
Egypt minister reveals info on Alex church bombing:
Egypt was on high alert on Monday ahead of the Coptic Christmas holiday following a New Year’s Day church bombing that killed 21 people in Alexandria as investigators raced to identify those behind the attack.
Police canceled leave for top officers and were tightening surveillance of airports and ports to prevent suspects from leaving the country, as new checkpoints were set up across the nation.
Security was also to be beefed up at churches for Christmas which Copts celebrate on Jan. 7.
Foreign parties involved:
Egyptian Interior Minister Habib al-Adli revealed important information about the identity of the suspects in the bombing that hit the Saints Church in Alexandria on New Year’s Eve.
According to Adli, foreign parties are involved in the explosion, Egypt’s daily independent al-Masry al-Youm reported Monday.
“We identified some foreigners who entered Egypt before Christmas through the borders and with the help of Egyptians,” Adli was quoted as saying.
The paper reported that Egypt state security asked airports and harbors authorities to detect any suspects who arrived in Egypt during the past month. The search resulted in a list of 15 foreigners who entered Egypt in December 2010.
Meanwhile, the Traffic Department is currently preparing a report on 13 cars which were parked near the site of the explosion.
The prosecution interrogated a number of eye witnesses as well as several of the injured and got a description of the main suspect in the terrorist attack.
According to the description, the suspect had a fair complexion, his height was around 180 centimeters, and had his beard and mustache shaved. He was wearing eye glasses, a blue jacket and a light-colored shirt.
All eye witnesses agreed that there were two explosions: one at 12:15 pm and the other five minutes after.
One of the church’s security said that he noticed a Skoda car that had three people inside and which took a remarkably long time to park at the opposite side of the church even though the space was big enough for a bus.
He added that two of the people left while the one who was driving stayed in the car for a long time.
On the other hand, the Egyptian official al-Ahram newspaper reported that autopsy of the bodies revealed that the bomb was made of nails and other solid matters, which proves that the bomb was very primitive and local-made.
Forensic experts find it likely that the terrorists used large amounts of TNT explosives in addition to metal objects that come out at a great speed when the bomb explodes.
Celebrating the birth of Christ:
Coptic Christmas will fall on Friday — the weekly Muslim day of prayer and rest — and Coptic leader Pope Shenouda III said he intended to say mass as usual on Christmas Eve.
“Not praying would mean that terrorism has deprived us of celebrating the birth of Christ,” al-Ahram quoted him as saying.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which came two months after an al-Qaeda linked group which claimed responsibility for a deadly Baghdad church hostage-taking threatened Coptic Christians.
The group demanded the release of two women, Camelia Shehata and Wafa Constantine, both priests’ wives, it said the church was holding against their will after they converted to Islam.
Egypt, the most populous Arab country, witnessed a resurgence in attacks by militants in the last decade after the government battled a spate of attacks in the 1990s that included an attempt abroad to kill the president.
President Hosni Mubarak has vowed to find those responsible for the bombing which he said targeted all Egyptians, regardless of their faith and blamed “foreign hands.”
The bombing has further underscored the vulnerability of the Copts, who make up about 10 percent of the country’s 80-million population and complain of discrimination.
Some Coptic activists have accused the government of not doing enough to prevent incitement against the minority, especially after Islamists began staging regular demonstrations demanding the release of Shehata.
Shehata, like Constantine in 2004, had escaped her husband last year and reportedly wanted a divorce, something that is very difficult to obtain from the Coptic church.
The church has denied that either of the women converted. Women’s rights activists say Coptic women have been known to convert, either to Islam or another Christian denomination, to escape unhappy marriages.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid).
The National Inflation Association is pleased to announce its top 10 predictions for 2011.
1 ) The Dow/Gold and Gold/Silver ratios will continue to decline.
In NIA’s top 10 predictions for 2010, we predicted major declines in the Dow/Gold and Gold/Silver ratios. The Dow/Gold ratio was 9.3 at the time and finished 2010 down 15% to 8.1. The Gold/Silver ratio was 64 at the time and finished 2010 down 28% to 46. We expect to see the Dow/Gold ratio decline to 6.5 and the Gold/Silver ratio decline to 38 in 2011. Later this decade, we expect to see the Dow/Gold ratio bottom at 1 and the Gold/Silver ratio decline to below 16 and possibly as low as 10.
2 ) Colleges will begin to go bankrupt and close their doors.
We have a college education bubble in America that was made possible by the U.S. government’s willingness to give out cheap and easy student loans. With all of the technological advances that have been taking place worldwide, the cost for a college education in America should be getting cheaper. Instead, private four-year colleges have averaged 5.6% tuition inflation over the past six years.
College tuitions are the one thing in America that never declined in price during the panic of 2008. Despite collapsing stock market and Real Estate prices, college tuition costs surged to new highs as Americans instinctively sought to become better educated in order to better ride out and survive the economic crisis. Unfortunately, American students who overpaid for college educations are graduating and finding out that their degrees are worthless and no jobs are available for them. They would have been better off going straight into the work force and investing their money into gold and silver. That way, they would have real wealth today instead of debt and would already have valuable work place experience, which is much more important than any piece of paper.
Colleges and universities took on ambitious construction projects and built new libraries, gyms and sporting venues, that added no value to the education of students. These projects were intended for the sole purpose of impressing students and their families. The administrators of these colleges knew that no matter how high tuitions rose, students would be able to simply borrow more from the government in order to pay them.
Americans today can purchase just about any type of good on Amazon.com, cheaper than they can find it in retail stores. This is because Amazon.com is a lot more efficient and doesn’t have the overhead costs of brick and mortar retailers. NIA expects to see a new trend of Americans seeking to become educated cheaply over the Internet. There will be a huge drop off in demand for traditional college degrees. NIA expects to see many colleges default on their debts in 2011. These colleges will be forced to either downsize and educate students more cost effectively or close their doors for good.
3 ) U.S. retailers will report declines in profit margins and their stocks will decline.
Although most analysts on Wall Street believe retailers will report a major increase in holiday season sales over a year ago, NIA believes any top line growth retailers report will come at the expense of dismal bottom line profits. NIA expects many retailers to report large declines in their profit margins for the 4Q of 2010 and first half of 2011. Retailers have been selling goods at bargain basement prices in order to generate demand. Americans, being flush with newly printed dollars from the Federal Reserve, have been eager to buy up supplies of goods at artificially low prices. However, shareholders will likely sell off their retail stocks on this news. As share prices of retail stocks decline, retailers will begin to rapidly increase their prices by mid-2011.
4 ) The mainstream public will begin to buy gold.
Although the mainstream media continues to proclaim we have a gold bubble, it is impossible to have a gold bubble when mainstream America isn’t buying gold. The average American is more likely to be a seller of gold through companies like Cash4Gold, in order to raise enough dollars to put food on their table. Most Americans today don’t even know the price of gold. During the next 12 months, we expect to see a huge ramping up in the public’s knowledge about gold. More Americans than ever will know the current price of gold and understand that it is real money. By the end of 2011, we expect the general public to begin looking at gold as an investment, just like they began looking at Real Estate as an investment in 2003. Sometime during the next six months, we believe you will overhear a stranger at a restaurant talking about investing into gold. We believe the price of gold could surge to as high as $2,000 per ounce in 2011.
5 ) We will see a huge surge in municipal debt defaults.
In the closing months of 2010, we saw yields on municipal bonds rise to their highest levels since early 2009. After 29 consecutive weeks of inflows into municipal bond funds, investors are now pulling money out of municipal bond funds by record amounts, with $9 billion exiting municipal bond funds in the five weeks leading up to Christmas. NIA believes there could be a small dip in municipal bond yields over the next couple of months as investors realize that municipal debt defaults might not be imminent, but we expect municipal bond yields to begin rising again by mid-2011 with a huge surge in municipal debt defaults coming in the second half of 2011. Although the Federal Government has a printing press that it uses in order to pay its debts, cities and municipalities do not.
6 ) We will see a large decline in the crude oil/natural gas ratio.
When we released our top 10 predictions for 2010, crude oil was $73 per barrel and we predicted that oil prices would rise to $100 per barrel in 2010. Crude oil ended up rising by 26% in 2010 to $92 per barrel, coming short of our outlook. However, it is possible our $100 per barrel oil forecast might be off by just a month or two. We wouldn’t be surprised to see $100 per barrel oil within the first two months of 2011 and if so, we expect to see a huge movement in America this year towards natural gas.
The crude oil/natural gas ratio currently stands at 20. Historically, the crude oil/natural gas ratio has averaged 10 and based on an energy equivalent basis, crude oil and natural gas prices should have a 6 to 1 ratio. Brand new fracking technology has caused natural gas supplies in the U.S. to rise to record levels. Although our country might be flooded with natural gas, the natural gas fracking boom that is taking place across the U.S. today is causing ground water in the U.S. to become contaminated. Americans living near natural gas wells that use fracking, are finding that they can now light the water coming out of their faucets on fire. New government regulations are likely to crack down on natural gas fracking and this will come at the same time as American individuals and businesses begin to convert their automobiles and machinery to run off of natural gas. A large decline in the crude oil/natural gas ratio in 2011 is likely, possibly down to as low as 15.
7 ) The median U.S. home will decline sharply priced in silver.
For the past couple of years, being able to make ones mortgage payment has been the primary concern for the average American. In an attempt to support housing prices and keep mortgage interest rates at artificially low levels, the Federal Reserve has been implementing massive quantitative easing and buying mortgage backed securities. NIA believes the Federal Reserve will be successful at putting a nominal floor under Real Estate prices. NIA also believes that the Federal Reserve’s actions will cause a massive decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, which will allow Americans to more easily pay back their mortgages with depreciated U.S. dollars.
However, the Federal Reserve will not be successful at reinflating the Real Estate bubble. In fact, in terms of real money (gold and silver), NIA believes Real Estate prices will decline to record lows. The median U.S. home is currently priced at $170,600 or 5,500 ounces of silver. Priced in silver, the median U.S. home price is down 16% from one month ago and 45% from one year ago. After the inflationary crisis of the 1970s, silver rose to a high in 1980 of $49.45 per ounce. The median U.S. home price in 1980 was $47,200, which means the median U.S. home/silver ratio declined to a low of 954.
With the Federal Reserve printing money at an unprecedented rate and record amounts of new homes built during the recent Real Estate bubble, NIA believes it is inevitable that the median U.S. home will decline to a price of 1,000 ounces of silver this decade and possibly as low as 500 ounces of silver. In 2011, we believe a decline in the median U.S. home price to 4,000 ounces of silver is possible.
8 ) Food inflation will become America’s top crisis.
Starting a few decades ago and accelerating in recent years, America has seen a boom in non-productive service jobs, mainly in the financial sector. Most of these jobs were made possible by inflation. Without inflation, which steals from the purchasing power of the incomes and savings of goods producing workers, the majority of the jobs on Wall Street would not exist today and our country would be in much better financial shape because of it.
With most Americans in recent decades seeking non-productive jobs in the financial services sector because that is where they could access the Fed’s cheap and easy money, very a few Americans sought jobs in the farming and agriculture sector. In the 1930s, approximately 28% of the population was employed in the agriculture sector, but today this number is less than 2%. Agriculture currently makes up only 1.2% of U.S. GDP, compared to the services sector, which makes up 76.9% of U.S. GDP.
There is currently a major shortage of farmers in the U.S. and a lot of land that was previously used for farming has now been developed with Real Estate. To make matters worse, agricultural products now trade on the international market and Americans must now compete against citizens of emerging nations like China and India for the purchasing of food.
Prices of goods and services do not rise equally when governments create monetary inflation. Inflation gravitates most towards the items that Americans need the most and there is nothing that Americans need more to survive than food and agriculture. As the U.S. government prints money, the first thing Americans will spend it on is food. Americans can cut back on energy use by moving into a smaller home and carpooling to work. They can cut back on entertainment, travel and other discretionary spending. However, Americans can never stop spending money on food.
The days of cheap food in America are coming to an end. The recent unprecedented rise that we have seen in agricultural commodity prices is showing no signs of letting up. In the past few days, sugar futures reached a new 30-year high, coffee futures reached a new 13-year high, orange juice futures reached a new 3-year high, corn futures reached a new 29-month high, soybean futures reached a new 27-month high and palm oil futures reached a new 33-month high.
We estimate that it takes as long as six months for rising agricultural commodity prices to be felt by U.S. consumers in their local supermarket. Even if food producers and retailers accept substantially lower profit margins in 2011, we are still guaranteed to see double-digit across the board U.S. food inflation in the first half of the year. That is correct, let us repeat, NIA guarantees that Americans will see double-digit food inflation in the first half of 2011.
Shockingly, except for Glenn Beck (who was kind enough to feature our food inflation report), absolutely nobody in the mainstream media is doing anything to warn Americans about the food inflation crisis that is ahead. In fact, left-wing groups like Media Matters (funded by George Soros) have been working tirelessly to try and discredit NIA’s research while reassuring Americans that they need not worry about food inflation. The truth is, when Americans realize that they can no longer take food for granted, we will likely see the outbreak of an all out food price panic with everybody rushing to the supermarket to stock up on goods before prices rise even further. The end result will likely be government price controls and empty store shelves, but NIA doesn’t project this to occur until later this decade.
9 ) QE2 will disappoint and the Federal Reserve will prepare QE3.
The Dow Jones is now back up to 11,670, which is where it was in mid-2008 before the crash. NIA believes that most of QE2 has already been priced into the market, before the Federal Reserve even prints the $600 billion. At some point, we expect it to become apparent to all that the U.S. economic recovery is phony and stock prices are rising solely due to inflation. In our opinion, we will see some sort of catalyst that causes the stock market to sell off at some point and the consensus on Wall Street will be that QE2 will not be enough to save the U.S. economy. By the end of 2011, we expect the Federal Reserve to begin planning QE3. QE3 might be the final dose of inflation that causes the U.S. economy to overdose into hyperinflation.
10 ) Sarah Palin will announce she is running for President as a Republican.
NIA believes that Sarah Palin has been setup perfectly to run for President in 2012 and that she will announce her candidacy for the Republican nomination with great fanfare from tea party supporters in 2011. We give Sarah Palin credit for recently speaking out against the Federal Reserve’s QE2 and warning Americans about the food inflation crisis that is ahead. Unfortunately, we believe Sarah Palin is not a true independent and is being controlled by the Republican establishment, which is just as responsible as the Democrats are for the financial crisis we have today. As President, Palin would be unlikely to implement the measures that are necessary to prevent hyperinflation. In our opinion, we need to elect a true libertarian candidate as President who will cut government spending, balance the budget, and restore sound money. NIA intends to support Ron Paul, if he decides to run for President.
It is important to spread the word about NIA to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, if you want America to survive hyperinflation. Please tell everybody you know to become members of NIA for free immediately at: http://inflation.us
Hat Tip: Brian B.
By: Fern Sidman
The Voice of Israel government radio has reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Knesset on Tuesday evening, January 4th at which time he publicly read the much anticipated missive that he has personally penned to President Barack Obama requesting the release of Jonathan Jay Pollard. A former United States Navy intelligence analyst, Pollard has been incarcerated in the U.S. for 25 years on charges stemming from the passage of classified information to Israel. Pollard is presently in deterioriating health in a North Carolina federal prison and an orchestrated campaign amongst his supporters is underway to seek his freedom.
In an unprecedented public appeal to the United States requesting clemency for Pollard, Prime Minister Netanyahu became the first prime minister to formally and publicly request his release. “Since Jonathan Pollard has now spent 25 years in prison, I believe that a new request for clemency is highly appropriate,” Netanyahu wrote Obama in the letter. “I know that the United States is a country based on fairness, justice and mercy. For all these reasons, I respectfully ask that you favorably consider this request for clemency. The people of Israel will be eternally grateful.” In the letter, Netanyahu apologized for using an agent to spy on the United States and pledged that it would never happen again. “Israel’s actions were wrong and totally unacceptable,” he wrote.
Netanyahu has made previous attempts to trade Pollard for pliancy in Middle East peace negotiations, in the hope that his release would appease conservatives in the Israeli government. He also made Pollard’s case a bargaining point with the Palestinians at the Wye Plantation talks in 1998. Most recently, in September of 2010, Israeli officials tried to float a deal in which they would extend a temporary moratorium on settlement construction in Judea and Samaria, a Palestinian condition for negotiations, in exchange for the release of Pollard.
“Israel will continue to abide by its commitment that such wrongful actions will never be repeated”, said Netanyahu. In a personal message to Pollard, Netanyahu then added in his speech that he should “continue to be strong,” and told him that the entire nation was behind him and vowed that “you will be here soon.” Opposition leader Tzipi Livni called the Pollard case “perhaps only the issue that everyone here in the Knesset could agree on.”
Previously, Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin had sent a letter from the Knesset to U.S. President Barack Obama, Congress, and the U.S. Attorney General, pleading for the release of Jonathan Pollard.
The letter was signed by a leader in every party except for those known as Arab parties, representing a total of 109 out of the 120 Knesset Members. In dispatching the letter, Rivlin stated that it represents the opinion of the overwhelming majority of the Israeli public in supporting Pollard’s urgent release. “As Speaker of the Knesset,” he wrote in an introductory note, “I see it as my obligation to bring this letter to your attention.”
Pollard recently made a personal request for a public appeal for his release. The request was relayed in writing by Mr. Pollard’s wife, Esther, who personally met with Mr. Netanyahu on Monday. The prime minister’s office said he made the decision after a series of talks and contacts with senior administration officials in recent months. Accompanying Mrs. Pollard to the meeting held on Monday with Netanyahu was Lawrence J. Korb, assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, and who supports clemency for Pollard.
Mr. Korb told reporters that he had told the prime minister that to “get the ball rolling” he advised Netanyahu to ask for Mr. Pollard’s release publicly and “not as a quid pro quo, but as a matter of justice.” In addition, Mr. Korb said, Israel should acknowledge that it was wrong to have recruited a spy against its closest ally and should say that it is willing to cooperate fully with the Americans to bring the chapter to a close.
Meanwhile, in the US, officials continued to come out on Tuesday with statements calling for Pollard’s release. Donald Levy, a former US Navy cryptologist who participated in the damage assessment of Pollard’s purported espionage, added his name to the long list of senators, congressmen and senior American officials urging Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence.
“There was nothing to indicate that Pollard gave information to any country but Israel,” Levy said. “Further, the information consisted primarily of daily operational intelligence summaries, information that is extremely perishable. It did not appear that the information he gave Israel should have resulted in a life sentence.”
According to a December 22nd article by Lee Rennert that appeared on the American Thinker web site, he asserts that Pollard has been “the victim of a CIA cover-up of a massive intelligence failure, with the agency blaming Pollard for the damage caused by a real “mole” inside the CIA who passed to Moscow the names of more than a dozen U.S. informants in the Soviet Union — namely Aldrich Ames, the head of CIA’s Soviet-Eastern Europe division, who fingered Pollard to keep the CIA from discovering his own treachery. The CIA did not discover Ames’ role until well after Pollard was behind bars and it still isn’t willing to acknowledge its mistake in blaming Pollard for Ames’s crimes.”
The genesis of the Pollard imbroglio began in 1983, when Pollard who based in Washington, DC at the time, discovered that information vital to Israel’s security was being deliberately withheld by certain elements within the US national security establishment. Israel was legally entitled to this security information according to a 1983 Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries. The information being withheld from Israel included Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan and Iranian nuclear, chemical and biological warfare capabilities – being developed for use against Israel. It also included information on ballistic missile development by these countries and information on planned terrorist attacks against Israeli civilian targets.
When Pollard questioned his superiors as to why this information was not being disclosed to Israel as had been promised he was told to mind his business. Subsequently, he learned that the objective of suppressing this information to Israel was to severely curtail Israel’s ability to act independently in defense of her own enemies. Pollard did everything in his power to have the legal flow of information to Israel restored. When his efforts met no success, he began to give the information to Israel directly. Pollard was an ideologue, not a mercenary. The FBI concluded after nine months of polygraphing that Pollard acted for ideological reasons only, not for profit. This fact was recognized by the sentencing judge who declined to fine Pollard.
In 1985, Jonathan Pollard was arrested by the FBI but was never afforded a trial. At the request of both the US and Israeli governments, he entered into a plea agreement, which spared both governments a long, difficult, expensive and potentially embarrassing trial. Pollard fulfilled his end of the plea agreement, cooperating fully with the prosecution. Nevertheless, Pollard received a life sentence and a recommendation that he never be paroled – in complete violation of the plea agreement he had reached with the government. Pollard was never indicted for harming the United States, nor was he indicted for compromising codes, agents or war plans and he was never charged with treason. He was indicted on only one charge of passing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States.
A broad-based interfaith coalition comprised of more than 500 members of the clergy and community leaders also sent a letter to Obama on Tuesday, January 4th in which they called for Pollard’s release.
The signatories on the letter include prominent religious and communal leaders from a wide array of Christian and Jewish communities, including representatives of Alliance for Jewish Renewal, American Values, Amit, Association of Reform Zionists of America, B’nai B’rith International, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Christians United for Israel, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, EMUNAH of America, Florida Council of Churches, Hebrew Union College, Hillel, JCC’s of North America, Jewish Women International, National Council of Young Israel, New York Board of Rabbis, ORT America, Inc., Orthodox Union, Rabbinical Council of America, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Religious Zionists of America-Mizrachi, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Union for Reform Judaism, Yeshiva University, and the Zionist Organization of America.
Hat Tips: Brian B./Carey B.
From: The Blaze