03/4/11

Financial and World News Update – 03/04/11

Food Prices Approaching ‘Dangerous Levels;’ ‘Volatility’ On The Horizon? (UPDATED)

Bill Gates Addresses The ‘Completely Unsustainable’ Crisis In Public Pensions

Is Portugal’s Treasury Down To Just $4 Billion?

Did U.S. Intelligence Mastermind The Stuxnet Cyber-Missile?

Mind-Blowing Satellite Pictures Show How Cities Grow Over Time

Qaddafi Takes His First Western Hostages

Dylan Grice On The Awful Interest Rate Situation That Will Crush The Back Of The American Government

Wisconsin Senate Wants AWOL Democrats Arrested

Egypt’s Military Junta Starts Handing Out Jail Sentences, And Activists Are Freaking Out

The 23 Governments That Could Get Crushed By Food Price Inflation

“At some point you’ve made enough money…”

EDITORIAL: Holder ill serves his ‘people’ (Hat Tip: Curtis Frantz)

US Naval Update: It’s A Mediterranean Party And The Enterprise Is Invited – Libyan Endgame Expected Within 5-7 Days

NIALL FERGUSON: Democracy Is The Least Likely Outcome In The Middle East, And Oil Could Spike To $200

Forget Trichet’s Hawkish Comments, Here Are Three Reasons The Euro Is Still Screwed

Wis. governor warns of layoffs, talks to Democrats

Judge: States must continue with health overhaul

Public Broadcasting Should Go Private

Oil’s surge felt by drivers, fliers and shoppers

Bail Out Europe’s Banks?

Watch Out, Africa … The World Bank Has a ‘Plan’

Three Investing Gurus See Dark Days Ahead for the Dollar (Hat Tip: Brian B.)

How Do We Check Runaway National Power? (Hat Tip: Brian B.)

FEB. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 8.9%

192,000+ JOBS

Dow Plunges 170 Points Amid Rising Oil

SPIKE HIKE

Libyan Troops Strike Rebels; Battles Rage in Oil Ports

Army shells Zawiyah; at least 30 civilians killed

MASSACRE

Yemeni army ‘fires on protesters’

Iraqi forces use water cannon to disperse protests

Sunnis, Shi’ites clash in Bahrain

New Egyptian PM cheered in Tahir Square

SOROS: Iranian regime will be overthrown in ‘bloodiest of the revolutions’

Oil tests investor resilience

Gas Prices See Biggest One Week Increase Since Hurricane Katrina

Raised 17 Cents on NJ Turnpike

Biden opens budget talks — then leaves country

China’s defense budget to rise 12.7%

Lawmakers Push To Ban Photos, Videos At Accident Scenes

Egypt’s top archaeologist warns of looting

SHOCK REPORT: GM sells just 281 Chevy Volts in February

Obama: No Arming of U.S. Agents in Mexico

Agent killed at border shot beanbags at armed illegals

DeMint: Execs of PBS, NPR make more $ than Obama

‘The beast has eaten!’ MS-13 gang member yells after killing innocent man

Last World War I vet denied Capitol honor

Utah Considers Return to Gold, Silver Coins

24 States Look to Enact Arizona Immigration Law

UPDATE: Air Force’s 2nd Secret X-37B Space Plane Likely Testing Spy Satellite Tech

WI moves to bring AWOL Dems back — by force!

Fleeing

Making secret visits home?

…layoff notices to come Friday

Pressure Mounts

PROTESTERS STORM CAPITOL — JUDGE ORDERS THEM OUT!

WI OFFICIALS: Statehouse suffered $7.5 million in damages during protests

NJ Union Workers Suspended for Calling Out Sick

CT Town Ordered to Pay for Union Workers’ Coffee

Homeland Security explored covert body scans

Protesters leave Capitol after 17 days of protests

Police facing growing protest at UC Berkeley

Shhhh … Nobody Tell Iowahawk

Greenspan Waking Up; Founding Fathers Clean His Clock

Victory Gardens Produce Abundance (Hat Tip: Brian B.)

Egyptian special forces secretly storm Libya (Hat Tip: Brian B.)

Obama, the Apostate (Hat Tip: Brian B.)

How Do We Check Runaway National Power? (Hat Tip: Brian B.)

Reid Seeks Senate Votes on Democratic, Republican Budgets

Record Gasoline Grips Europe, California Faces $4 a Gallon

California’s `Cadillac’ Death Row Complex a Budget Target

Brits Swing Budget Ax at U.N. — Will U.S. Do Same?

Mexico Police Chief Quits, Flees to U.S.

Florida Gov Given the Right to Refuse Rail Funds

New Proof Retired FBI Agent Missing in Iran Is Alive

Morning Bell: The Jobs Obama is Leaving Behind

Libyan Revolution Reveals Foolishness of Arms Trade Treaty

NEW VIDEO: Collective Bargaining 101

Repeal is Not Enough: How States Can Survive the Impending Medicaid Crisis

Why the Unions Are Really Protesting

House Judiciary Committee Passes No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

Hillary Clinton says US in direct competition with China

Obama Administration Refuses to Call Germany Attack an Act of Terrorism

Obama administration prepares for possibility of new post-revolt Islamist regimes

Now We’re Cooking: Judge Vinson

Judge to Prez: You Have 1 Week to Save Obamacare

Real-World Cases Prove: Spending Restraint Works

De-Banked By Dodd-Frank

The Only Way Out for the American Economy (Hat Tip: Brian B.)

You Call This An Economic Recovery? 44 Million Americans On Food Stamps and 10 Other Reasons Why The Economy Is Simply Not Getting Better (Hat Tip: Brian B.)

Will Statue of Liberty be fitted with Muslim burkha? (Hat Tip: Brian B.)

Protests Reported At Iran Chemical, Tire Factories

How Libya’s tribes will decide Gaddafi’s fate

Krauthammer criticizes Obama for treating U.S. troop shooting in Germany like ‘a bus accident’ (Hat Tip: Brian B.)

WISCONSIN UNIONS Continue to Threaten Local Businesses

It Begins… WI School President Threatens Private Business For Printing Pro-Walker T-Shirts

Unemployment Rate at an Awful 8.9% – White House Says This Proves Their Policies Are Working?

Union Goons Storm Ohio Restaurant and Threaten Republican Lawmakers

Nice. Wasserman Schultz: If We Don’t Fund Early Schooling for Poor Families Their Kids Will Become Criminals (Video)

Ohio Senate Prevents Professors From Engaging in Collective Bargaining

SCREAMING LEFTIST MOB Storms Wisconsin State Capitol

It Begins… WI Assembly Democrats Move Desks Out of Capitol Building

Leftist Loons & Pro-Shariah Muslims Protest Proposed Tennesse Shariah Law

Wisconsin Officials Says It Will Cost Up to $7.5 Million to Clean After Protest “Slobs”

BREAKING: LIVE AMMUNITION FOUND OUTSIDE WISCONSIN CAPITOL BUILDING

Democrats co-sponsor House bill to curb EPA

Fired workers burn Indian executive to death

Iowa Democrats prepare for Wisconsin-type collective bargaining threat

Mideast Unrest Could Push Oil Over $140 a Barrel, Roubini Says

Greenspan: Soaring Oil, Deficit Pose Huge Risks to Recovery

ATF begins spin in wake of devastating press reports

CBS Blows the Lid off of ATF Gunwalker Scandal

Senator Grassley’s latest letter to Holder & Melson. 5 Pages and 10 Attachments (gunwalker)

One, two, three punch: LA Times follows up on CBS & CPI. (gunwalker)

Mexican truckers to be allowed in U.S.

Sebelius: Yes, we’re double-counting Medicare savings (Hat Tip: Brian B.)

Hey, Eric Holder: Meet My People

Rocket Carrying Global Warming Satellite Crashes Into Ocean… Again; Global Warming to Blame

Update: Tackled Wis. Rep Admits ‘I Was Aggressive’

Unemployment Falls to 8.9% — Hits Two Year Low

Alan Greenspan Says Too Much Government Is Preventing Economic Recovery

‘Hate Comes to Orange County’: CAIR Pumps Video of ‘Anti-Muslim Bigots’

SurvivalBlog:

State Worker Retirements Soar Across the Country

The Dollar, and The Next Ten Days. “The next ten days will be key: Will the dollar spike up? Become the safe haven of everyone fleeing from the world’s troubles? Or will the dollar nosedive, the first big step down in its death spiral?”

James Turk – The Dollar Collapse Will Shock the World

It’s Taps For the Still Weakening Dollar

February Retail Sales Rise In Most Categories

Oil Jumps Above $102

Bernanke Sees 200,000 Hit to Jobs From Budget Cuts

Feeling the Heat: Global Inflation

Britons face soaring food prices as supermarkets boost margins and blame inflation, analysts warn.

File Under “Humor Department”: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday the U.S. central bank is ready to respond as necessary to a surge in global commodity prices caused in part by unrest in the Middle East, though he said inflation expectations remain low.

03/4/11

Home Repairs with Ben Bernanke

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

There are several “Home Improvement” shows on the HGTV channel: House Hunter, Get it Sold, Color Splash or Holmes on Homes; my wife watches most of them. One you may not have heard about, Home Repairs with Ben Bernanke; you got it, head of the Fed himself, has worked out an arrangement for a remodeling show. I’m getting ahead of myself; back up a moment.

Say for instance you turn on the tube; Get it Sold, is the next program for the day. They have a limited budget getting a house ready for market and lots of issues to cover. These folks keep a running tab on what gets spent; re-upholstering the sofa, matching area rug, painting the bathroom and so on. They show the house before anything is done and you get to watch the process right up until the For Sale sign is posted out front. The last thing you see is how everything added up to prove they stayed within budget restraints.

On the new show, Home Repairs with Ben Bernanke, there are some slight variations in how to accomplish the mission. At the beginning of the show Ben holds up a copy of the last bank statement showing how much is available; on the opening show that balance is $15,000.

Instead of re-upholstering a piece of old usable furniture, they purchase a brand new leather sofa, matching ottoman and a 60 inch HD LCD wall screen television. The price for all these improvements, $26,459.00. Wait a second, that’s more money than we started with! No problem, Ben has a printing press. A quick check of the bank balance shows $56,897.00. Ben smiles as he looks into the camera lens, “Isn’t this great and we still have plenty of money.”

You think I’m making this up as I go along? Maybe I am. But here’s a quote from back in 2002; at the time Bernanke was addressing, “Inflation: Reversing Deflation”:

“Like gold, U.S. dollars have value only to the extent that they are strictly limited in supply. But the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost. By increasing the number of U.S. dollars in circulation, or even by credibly threatening to do so, the U.S. government can also reduce the value of a dollar in terms of goods and services, which is equivalent to raising the prices in dollars of those goods and services. We conclude that, under a paper-money system, a determined government can always generate higher spending and hence positive inflation…”

If you’re not concerned about the future of America with folks like Ben Bernanke heading the Federal Reserve, then you’re probably oblivious to changes in the commodities markets. At the time of writing this, Crude Oil started the day at $103.61. It is now up to $1.70 or 1.67%. Gasoline prices at the pump jumped 22 cents per gallon this past week; rice and other basics are expected to increase by 40% in the next few weeks.

Gold and Silver are making the adjustment as well. Gold is at $1429.90 an ounce while Silver shows to be at $35.23 an ounce; 1% and 2.92% increases respectively. By the way, Ben’s third show, Getting By on Nothing, has inventive ideas on how to wallpaper the bathroom using various combinations of currency. Impressive, as these can also be used as toilet paper.

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”

03/4/11

The Seeds of Revolution

By: Wayne Leeper
A Land Called America

The seeds of revolution are planted and watered by government tyranny. It is the inherent nature of government to grow and assume more and more power. This is not new, but has existed from the beginning. The limit of government power is determined by what the people are willing to tolerate. People, especially the people who founded this nation, correctly understood that the rights of the people came from God, not from the government. The sole legitimate function of the government is the protection of the God-given rights of the people. This concept is firmly embedded in the opening paragraph of our Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalien­able rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the gov­erned.”

When people are happy and satisfied, there is peace in the land. But as dissatisfaction with their circumstances increase, so does the tendency to revolt. Revolution does not begin in a day, but over an extended period of time. Many people mistakenly believe that the American Revolution began in 1776. The truth is that revolution must first take place in the minds of the people before a shooting revolution can ever begin. In that sense, the American Revolution actually began in 1760 when King George III, along with the British Parliament, began placing more and more restrictions on the American colonist. All revolutions follow the same path. Dissatisfaction becomes discord. Discord becomes resolution. Resolution, if not satisfied, becomes revolution. The American Revolution followed this same path over a period of fifteen years.

Today, we stand in the shoes of our founding fathers. They understood the source of their rights and, what is more, they understood that a nation is only as strong as the morality of the people. Two great institutions, both ordained by God, have been the strength of America and the bedrock on which our nation has prospered. These two institutions are the traditional family and the church, specifically Christianity. It is correct to say that this nation was founded upon Judeo-Christian principles. Therein lies our strength and our greatness. Those who would seek to destroy us, understand that these two institutions must be destroyed before morality, essential to freedom, can be broken down and destroyed. It is for this reason that we are seeing a concerted attack on traditional marriage and Christianity.

Coupled with this, and working in conjunction, is the growth of government and the increasing desire for more and more power. This is exactly what we are witnessing today. An unholy alliance is being formed between big government and big unions to set themselves up as being above the average people and dedicated to the growth of their power. Unlimited power leads to tyranny. We see mobs, representing a collection of minorities, seeking to impose their values on the people of America. What these uneducated and misguided individuals fail to understand is that there is a limit to how far the American people can be pushed. The Second American revolution began in the sixties with a dedicated minority demanding the right to practice evil without suffering the consequences. Today they are an arm of the far left which controls the Democratic Party. What they fail to understand is that tyranny breeds resistance. The American people have reached their limit as can easily be seen in the rise of the Tea Parties and other like organizations across the nation.

Yes, revolution is coming to America, but not an armed revolution, unless it is forced on We the People. In 2012, we will go to the ballot box by the millions. 2010 was but a taste of things to come. Party labels become meaningless when dealing with an overgrown and tyrannical government. This government has forgotten the reason for its existence and the time has come to remind them, democrats and republicans, that this is a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.” At times of great stress, great leaders emerge from among the people. Ronald Reagan was such a leader in the mold of Washington and Lincoln. Other fresh faces are gaining recognition fast. Keep an eye on Allen West. He fits the mold. Change is indeed coming, but not the change Obama and his minions envisioned. Perhaps Jefferson put it best:

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

Washington elite, be fearful, be very fearful!

03/4/11

The Council Has Spoken!! 03/04/11

From: The Watcher’s Council

Indeed it has…the votes have been cast, the sacred runes read and this week’s Watcher’s Council results are history.

Many of the entries this week focused on the ongoing controversy between the public employee unions and financially strapped state governments, but as I think most of us know, this is really a part of the political war between the Right and the Left.

For years, in many of these states, the dynamic was simple. Public employee unions essentially ‘negotiated’ with Democrat politicians over how much more money was going to flow into union treasuries at the public’s expense…after which a nice portion of it become campaign contributions for those same politicians to the point where keeping the unions fat and happy has become a matter of survival for a number of them.

It’s all essentially about political power, and that’s what’s really behind the massive protests. And why many of them have become decidedly uncivil, which is quite ironic considering how the Left was talking about ‘incivility in politics’ and pointing fingers only a short time ago.

This week’s winner is very much about those glass houses, as my fellow Council members honored me by making this week’s Council winner Schooling Dave Weigel On ‘Incivility’ at Joshuapundit by a nose over some pretty stiff competition. It was a response to a particularly whiny, insipid column by ex-Journolista Dave Weigel comparing the ‘incivility’ Tea Party protests to the activities of a few bad apples amidst his friends in Madison. Here’s a slice:

Here’s the difference, Journolista.

When some member of the Congressional Black Caucus outright lies and claims someone spat at him and he was called racist names at a Tea Party rally in DC, the Left’s media whores make it into headlines and the story is repeated over and over again as gospel…even though not a single video of anything like that occurring ever surfaced,not even with $100K of Andrew Breitbart’s money as an incentive.

When a congresswoman got shot by some whack job in Arizona, the Left’s media jackals turned it into a front page Sarah Palin/Tea Party story and kept it at the top o’ the stack for days.

OTOH, when SEIU thugs beat up a black Tea Partier ( and a handicapped one at that) in St. Louis, or when your friend President Barack Obama told his fanboys to ‘get in people’s faces’ and started talking about playing by Chicago rules ‘they bring a knife, we bring a gun’ …crickets. Except in Conservative media.

Take a look at the difference in how the story back in November of a MoveOn professional agent provocateur who broke through security, approached Senator-elect Rand Paul and was restrained by members of the crowd was treated by the Left’s Amen Corner in the dinosaur media compared to the way the story of a union thug actually belting a girl holding a camera and knocking her to the ground yesterday is being handled. Or the lack of media hand wringing and coverage when Former Massachusetts Republican Congressional candidate Marty Lamb was knocked down by union thugs today at a Tea Party rally.

The Left by and large approaches this stuff as a war where anything’s fair game and makes massive use of its media megaphone to demonize its political opponents,just like Sol Alinsky trained them. You know about that stuff first hand, Mr. Weigel. So where do you get the nerve to complain when you get a taste of the same tactics? Game, set, match. Right back at you. Where do you think we learned from?

In the Non-Council category, we had a tie between two strong entries, a first person account over at Redstate by Tabitha Hale, the young woman who was slugged and knocked to the ground by one of those peaceful union thugs entitled, Union Thuggery Descends On FreedomWorks, and an interesting and very well-documented post over at Maggie’s Farm entitled, Jawohl, Mein Professor, about the sort of anti-Israel academic bias and one-sided narrative being presented at Brooklyn College, aided and abetted by the American Association of University Professors.

As is usual in these matters, I break the tie and while both pieces were worthy, Bruce Kesler’s take down of the assault on academic freedom (not to mention basic truth) at what used to be a worthy institution of higher learning. ultimately won me over.

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

03/4/11

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES OF WOMEN IN IRAN SPOTLIGHTED NEAR THE U.N.

By: Fern Sidman

Graphic depictions of the most egregious forms of human rights abuses against women in Iran took center stage at a special seminar in New York City on March 3rd. Sponsored by “Iran180,” an organization dedicated to spotlighting the litany of human rights abuses that take place on a daily basis in Iran, the seminar was entitled, “Securing Gender Equality: Iran and the CSW.” Held at 777 UN Plaza, a building directly across the street from the United Nations, the objectives of the gathering included raising awareness of Iran’s violations of women’s rights and the staging of symbolic protests against the welcoming of the Islamic Republic of Iran as the newest member of the UN Commission on the Status of Women at its 56th session.

Among the speakers were the Honorable David Kilgour, J.D., co-chair of the Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran – Shabnam Assadollaki, host and producer of Hamseda Persian Radio in Canada – Fakhteh Luna Zamani, CEO and co-founder of the Association for the Defense of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran – Renee Redman of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center – Reza Khalil, former Iranian Revolutionary Guard member and author of “A Time To Betray,” winner of the 2010 National Best Books Award – Fariba Davoodi, a formerly imprisoned Iranian women’s rights activist and Mertash Rastegar, an Iranian blogger and international law expert.

Quoting the findings of exiled Iranian lawyer, Zohreh Arshadi, Mr. David Kilgour, co-chair of the Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran intoned, “The Iranian penal system is a principal means of sustaining inequality of genders. Its ludicrous premise is that women are deficient in abilities.” He added that Arshadi stresses that Iranian women, “Have managed to achieve equality in one field only: equal right to imprisonment, exile, torture, being killed and now being slaughtered…”

Speaking of the many Iranian women who are unjustly imprisoned, tortured and often sentenced to death for crimes they did not commit, Mr. Kilgour relayed the narrative of Sakineh Ashtiani, a mother of Turkic descent (a minority known to be targeted for human rights abuses, especially in Teheran) who did not speak Farsi or understand her charge of alleged adultery. “She was incarcerated and beaten, then humiliated in front of her family by a public lashing. Her plight and narrow escape from death by stoning became a successful test case for the global community’s response to the regime’s misogyny,” he said.

Mr. Kilgour also spoke of Irwin Cotler, a Canadian member of parliament and chair of the International Responsibility to Protect Coalition who recently warned that Iran is on an “execution binge,” while engaging in a “wholesale assault on the rights of its own people.” He added that, “In 2011 alone, the Iranian regime has already executed at least 120 people. It now leads the world in per capita executions, many of which are in secret, taking place after arrests, detentions, beatings, torture, kidnappings, disappearances and brief trials in which no evidence is presented.”

Calling for the disqualification of Iran’s membership in the UN Commission on the Status of Women, Mr. Kilgour suggested that the CSW convene a special session to discuss women’s rights in Iran and act in its capacity to stop the repression of women. “It is our responsibility to act in robust solidarity with the struggle for women’s rights everywhere across Iran,” he concluded.

Addressing the issues facing ethnic minority women in Iran, Fakhteh Zamani of the Association for the Defense of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran (ADAPP) said, “In Iran, as throughout the world, women are victims of violence on a daily basis, but Iran’s justice system provides little or no remedy to the obstacles and violence facing women and girls.” She noted that women are not encouraged to bring complaints against their attackers for fear of bringing, “dishonor” on the family as well as reprisals from the attacker and relatives.

Quoting the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Ms. Zamani said, “discriminatory law in both the civil and penal codes in Iran play a major role in empowering men and aggravating women’s vulnerability to violence. In particular, discriminatory provisions in the civil code relating to the areas of marriage, child custody, freedom of movement and inheritance, may lead to, perpetuate or legitimize violence against women perpetrated by private actors.”

Highlighting the ubiquitous phenomenon of trafficking in girls and women, Ms. Zamani said that the UN Special Rapporteur reported that, “most of the trafficking is said to occur in the eastern provinces, which are mainly Baluchi areas, where women are kidnapped, bought or entered into temporary marriage in order to be sold into sexual slavery in other countries.” Concluding with an oft quoted phrase used amongst Iran’s women’s human rights defenders, she said, “We are both women and minorities; so, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, we are doubly accused.”

“I am absolutely opposed to the imposition of Sharia law,” declared Shabnam Assadollahi, the producer and host of the Canadian based Hamseda Persian radio program. “Sharia law tells us that female hair has evil energy and those women’s rights activists in Iran who refused to wear head coverings were beaten and tortured while their children watched,” she said. She detailed gruesome accounts of torture of women in Iran saying, “Young girls and virgins were raped prior to being executed and after execution their bodies were burned and electrocuted.”

Fulminating at the decision to include the Islamic Republic of Iran on the UN Commission on the Status of Women, Ms. Assadollahi said, “There is no place for Iran on this commission. Just think about the arrogance of this regime to judge others concerning gender equality and human rights.”

Speaking in her native Farsi with an interpreter, Fariba Davoodi, an Iranian women’s rights activist told of her incarceration in Iran and the barbaric tortures that were inflicted upon her by her captors. “It is the common aspiration of all Iranian women to be free,” she said. “When the regime came to arrest me for my activism on behalf of women’s rights, they beat me up in front of my children and brought me to their notorious prison where I was kept in solitary confinement in a tiny cell where I was interrogated for long periods of time; where they kept the lights on all the time and forced me to shower in front of them.”

“The fear that women’s rights advocates in Iran have is not only from the repressive government but from male family members including husbands, fathers and brothers,” she said. Trying to remain optimistic about the future of Iran as it pertains to women’s rights is a daunting challenge for women such as Ms. Davoodi. “We hope that very soon we will live in a free and democratic Iran, but so long as the regime stays in power, our hopes will not be realized,” she said.