Saturday, January 31, 2015

Fwd: Russia

'It is absurd to expect that Russia will stop putting pressure on its neighbours in the hope of "resuming a formal dialogue with the EU" (a dialogue in which Russia was already becoming less and less interested before the current stand-off). For Russia, pressurising neighbours is almost inevitable, because it stems from its chosen identity: Russia wants to think of itself as a great power, and its definition of great power includes having "a sphere of influence" around its borders. Great power status and the ability to control vast areas also legitimise the oppressive nature of the regime at home. Moreover, it would be wrong to think of great power rhetoric merely as a propaganda tool of the Kremlin. No – the idea of other countries being afraid of Russia enjoys true popularity among large parts of the population, who are happy to sacrifice certain freedoms for the sake of this national status.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Fwd: deficit

'America's partisan divisions are so familiar it sometimes seems the fight never changes. But on the federal budget, the battlefield has been transformed.

Four years ago, when budget deficits topped $1 trillion, congressional Republicans turned their midterm election triumph into a spending-cut crusade. After forcing an initial springtime deal with Democrats, House Speaker John Boehner negotiated with President Obama on a "grand bargain" resembling recommendations from a bipartisan deficit reduction commission.

Those talks failed, leading to the first credit rating downgrade for the United States. Yet now, after another Republican sweep, the sense of budgetary crisis has vanished.

Luck, design and political bungling all helped make that happen. Whatever the cause, the effect is renewed bipartisan pressure for spending increases — on defense, education, infrastructure and benefits for America's beleaguered middle class...
To look at the government's bottom line now, you'd think the plan he recommended with Mr. Simpson had been enacted. Total spending for 2014 came in about $300 billion less than their plan called for.
The actual 2014 deficit, $483 billion, was slightly larger than the $455 billion Simpson-Bowles would have been expected to produce. That's because Congress didn't raise taxes nearly as much as the commission called for. Had lawmakers done so, Washington would have ended the year only $117 billion in the red — less than 1 percent of the economy...

The "fiscal cliff" tax-rate deal to increase rates on family incomes above $450,000 also played a role. So did the sequester cuts in defense and domestic spending.

Some leading Republicans consider those cuts unwise because they crimp investments in future economic growth. That's been clear since the House two years ago couldn't pass a housing and transportation bill because it spent too little — at which point Hal Rogers, appropriations committee chairman, called for abolishing the sequester. Though Congress didn't do that, Republicans and Democrats did agree to ease those cuts for 2014 and 2015.

Fwd: Ukraine

'US Secretary of State John Kerry has accused pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine of a "blatant land grab".

He was speaking after reports that the rebels had extended the area they control, violating a ceasefire plan.

Ukraine says Russia has more than 9,000 soldiers fighting alongside the rebels, a claim it denies.

Meanwhile, foreign ministers from Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany issued a joint call to end the fighting, following talks in Berlin.

Speaking after the meeting, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said it was not a breakthrough "but I think we saw tangible progress".

He also said they had agreed on a procedure for pulling back heavy weapons 15km (nine miles) from a demarcation line defined in last year's Minsk agreement.

Mr Kerry said the recent upsurge in fighting was "an alarming situation" adding that the US was "particularly concerned" by rebel moves to "attempt to gain control of a very significant rail juncture" in eastern Ukraine.

He said there had been a large extension of the line of control that separates rebel-held territory from the rest of Ukraine.

"This is a blatant land grab and is in direct contravention to the Minsk [ceasefire] agreements which they signed up to," he added.

The US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, accused Russia of escalating the violence.'

Taliban Kills 3 Americans

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Test Determines Which Patients Will Die In Next 30 Days

Fwd: Egypt

'Militants struck more than a dozen army and police targets in the restive Sinai Peninsula with simultaneous attacks involving a car bomb and mortar rounds on Thursday, killing at least 25 people, including civilians, officials said.

Meanwhile, an army major was shot dead at a checkpoint in Rafah near the Gaza Strip, medical and security sources said',7340,L-4620994,00.html



'The Islamic State wants an Iraqi woman released from prison in exchange for a Jordanian pilot and a Japanese journalist.

Sajida al-Rishawi, 44, was placed on death row in Jordan for her role in terrorist attacks on three hotels that killed 57 others and injured 90 on Nov. 9, 2005.

Al-Rishawi, from Ramadi in central Iraq, strapped an explosive device to her body and entered the Radisson SAS Hotel in Jordan's capital city of Amman.

"My husband and I went inside the hotel. He went to one corner and I went to another," she said in a confession on state-run Jordan TV. "There was a wedding at the hotel, with children, women and men inside. My husband detonated (his bomb). I tried to explode (my belt), but it wouldn't."

The failed suicide bomber survived because she forgot a vital part of the explosive belt in the car. She blended in with the panicked guests fleeing the scene but was captured later at a safe house.'

Latest House Republican Misstep Delays Border Security Plan

Obama drops proposal to cut tax benefits of 529 college savings plans

Drunken spy satellite agency employee crashed drone on White House lawn

Jordan Ready to Swap Inmate for Pilot Held by Islamic State

Fwd: Sequester

'President Obama will call for an end to the automatic series of budget cuts known as sequestration when he proposes a new budget next week, the White House announced Thursday…

Republicans who control both the House and the Senate say they too want to eliminate the sequester, but the Obama budget includes too many tax hikes and too much spending.

"Republicans believe there are smarter ways to cut spending than the sequester and have passed legislation to replace it multiple times, only to see the president continue to demand tax hikes," said Cory Fritz, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. "Until he gets serious about solving our long-term spending problem it's hard to take him seriously."

GOP members note that the White House signed off on the 2011 budget plan that called for automatic across-the-board budget cuts if the parties couldn't agree on a separate package of cuts.'


How much is that psychology degree worth?

Democrats are on offense all the time, even when they've just had their legs cut off. They announce absurd agenda items and then indignantly demand to know why Republicans are refusing to deal with the free unicorn-rides proposal. Obama is a lame-duck president and, three months ago, his party was slaughtered in midterm elections. And yet, I gather that his State of the Union address consisted of a litany of insanely expensive, utterly pointless ideas.

In response to Obama's "free" community college idea, Republicans should say: We're not giving you anything, and, in fact, we're demanding answers from the entire "higher ed" establishment. You'll be surprised how liberating and fun it is to go on offense, Republicans.

The GOP needs to hold tobacco company-style hearings, hauling in the presidents of various universities and asking them to justify their multimillion-dollar salaries.

Fwd: Russia/Germany

Putin also understands the fragility of the EU's accomplishments beyond western Europe. EU bureaucrats and German diplomats don't think culture matters as they build a multicultural and cosmopolitan New Europe from Dublin to Dubrovnik and from Sweden to Sicily. Putin thinks they are wrong, and when he looks at current conditions in Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy and Spain he sees the full confirmation of his theory. Europe, he believes, is not a country–and even if it were, it is not a German country.

Germany, he believes, is trying to build a Europe in defiance of the facts–and Germany lacks both the resources and the will to push this project indefinitely as its difficulties grow. Germany will not, Putin may well believe, find a way to turn the euro disaster around. The south will continue to fester and stew under an increasingly hateful and damaging system. Germany will also not be able to turn the Balkans into an orderly and quiet garden of Nordic and Teutonic virtues.

The key to Putin's thinking is that he is betting less on Russian strength than on German and therefore Western weakness. In opposing the consolidation of a German Europe, he is betting on German failure more than he is betting on Russian success. The goal of Russian policy in Ukraine, for example, is not to create a new Ukraine in Russia's image. It is not to conquer Ukraine–but to demonstrate that the East is indigestible. Germany cannot save Ukraine

Fwd: Greece

'The new government in Athens is sending some worrying signals, and they're not all about money. Events this past week beg the question: Has Vladimir Putin made a new friend in a NATO and EU member state? Is Alexis Tsipras, freshly minted as Greece's prime minister, cozying up to Moscow to create leverage in his battle for debt relief?

Though the Syriza-Independent Greeks coalition is new and untested, there are already signs the answer may be yes. One clear indication was when Tsipras chose to meet Russia's ambassador to Greece - it was the prime minister's very first meeting with a foreign envoy. The ambassador personally delivered Russian President Vladimir Putin's congratulatory message to Tsipras on Monday, mere hours after the prime minister was sworn in.

The second sign came the following day, when Tsipras abruptly announced that Greece would not support new EU sanctions against Russia. New sanctions are on the table because Russia and its proxies in Eastern Ukraine have renewed their offensive in the Donbas.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fwd: Russia

Fwd: Oil

'The Obama administration pitched a plan Tuesday to open up parts of the Atlantic Ocean to drilling for the first time, even as it moved to lock down parts of Alaska indefinitely. 

The approach has President Obama taking criticism from both sides of the aisle, and both sides of the country. 

Alaska Republican lawmakers are furious at the administration's multi-pronged push to restrict drilling in their vast state. Over the weekend, the administration announced it would pursue a wilderness designation for 12.28 million acres, barring drilling in most of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 

The plan unveiled Tuesday also would put off limits huge swaths of Alaska's Beaufort and Chukchi seas. 

"This administration is determined to shut down oil and gas production in Alaska's federal areas," Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Fwd: Warthog

'With a roaring engine, 30-mm. cannon and nose painted like a toothsome, snarling beast, the A-10 Thunderbolt sends ISIS fighters scattering like cockroaches on the Iraqi desert plains, but the legendary fighter plane pilots call the "Warthog" may be fighting for its own life…

"The aircraft sparked panic in the ranks of ISIS after bombing its elements and flying in spaces close to the ground," Iraqi News reported last week after a sortie took out several terrorists in ISIS-controlled territory near Mosul. "Elements of the terrorist organization targeted the aircraft with 4 Strela missiles, but that did not cause it any damage, prompting the remaining elements of the organization to leave the bodies of their dead and carry the wounded to escape …"

"The aircraft sparked panic in the ranks of ISIS after bombing its elements and flying in spaces close to the ground."

The plane is not as fast and lacks the graceful lines of other fighter jets. But the Warthog, as pilots call it due to the snout-like nose, is extremely low maintenance, flies low, can practically hover over a battlefield, land almost anywhere and packs a 20-foot-long, 2.5-ton, seven-barrel Gatling gun that can fire more than 1,100 rounds of 30-mm. bullets. And a titanium shell that wraps around the bottom of its cockpit makes it difficult to shoot down.

In Iraq, the A-10 has flown 11 percent of the sorties against ISIS, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said on Jan. 15. But that figure is deceptive, because the A-10 was not deployed until mid-November, some three months after strikes against ISIS began…

The Air Force has been itching to junk the plane for years, with some speculating that top brass believes the A-10 bucks the embraced strategy of high-altitude strategic bombing.  The Pentagon believes it can save $4.2 billion in operation and maintenance costs over five years by retiring all 283 of the Air Force's A-10s, the last of which rolled off Fairchild Republic's assembly line in 1984…

Obama Pushing Taxes He Fought AGAINST In Senate AND In His Book

Fwd: Wallace

'It's true, after all, that America has seemed providentially fortunate at times. It's true that we've managed to survive some near misses, and to flourish despite a fair amount of folly.

For example: If Franklin Roosevelt had died a year earlier, or if he hadn't decided to change running mates in 1944, we would have had his woolly-headed, soft-on-communism vice president, Henry Wallace, as commander in chief. Who knows how World War II would then have ended, how many more countries Stalin would then have gobbled up, and even whether we would ultimately have won the Cold War? The whole second half of the century could have unfolded in a very different and far more ominous way.

Now we have an admirer of Henry Wallace as president. In December 2007, Barack Obama, campaigning in Iowa, was informed he was in Wallace's home county. He responded, "We've got some progressives here in Adair. I'm feeling really good now. That's quite a lineage there. .  .  . It's a blessing."

However blessed those Iowans may have been to live in the proximity of so illustrious a predecessor, having a president in the lineage of Henry Wallace has not been a blessing. We (and the world) are now living with the consequences of our having twice chosen Barack Obama as president.'

Fwd: five big fish

'Last night, retired Lt. Col. Tony Schaffer told Bill O'Reilly that the Army has charged Bergdahl with desertion, but that the White House — and specifically Ben Rhodes, the national-security adviser/speechwriter to Barack Obama — has pressured the Pentagon to delay the release of that news (via Jeff Dunetz):

Shaffer's key point is that the charges will embarrass the White House all over again for coughing up five big fish for one deserter:'

Fwd: Greece

'as both Daniel Davies and James Galbraith point out — with very different de facto value judgments, but never mind for now — at this point Greek debt, measured as a stock, is not a very meaningful number. After all, the great bulk of the debt is now officially held, the interest rate bears little relationship to market prices, and the interest payments come in part out of funds lent by the creditors. In a sense the debt is an accounting fiction; it's whatever the governments trying to dictate terms to Greece decide to say it is.

OK, I know it's not quite that simple — debt as a number has political and psychological importance. But I think it helps clear things up to put all of that aside for a bit and focus on the aspect of the situation that isn't a matter of definitions: Greece's primary surplus, the difference between what it takes in via taxes and what it spends on things other than interest. This surplus — which is a flow, not a stock — represents the amount Greece is actually paying, in the form of real resources, to its creditors, as opposed to borrowing funds to pay interest.

Greece has been running a primary surplus since 2013, and according to its agreements with the troika it's supposed to run a surplus of 4.5 percent of GDP for many years to come. What would it mean to relax that target?

Fwd: Russia

'He promised then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have "more flexibility" to deal with Russia in a manner both parties would prefer in his second term. When the Russians took this pledge literally and promptly invaded Ukraine, Obama imposed new sanctions on Moscow and began to provide Ukraine with non-lethal aid in order to repel the invasion. All the while, Obama assured reporters that "it's not a new Cold War​​​." The latest front in the president's quixotic fight to move America beyond 20th Century precepts is his unilateral decision to extend diplomatic relations to the communist government in Cuba.

For some reason, the Russians never got the memo. Russia opened Obama's second term by banning Americans from adopting Russian children. Moscow responded to Obama's decision to repair relations with Havana by sending a Russian military vessel to dock in the Cuban capital's port. Today alone, NATO has implicated Russia for complicity if not involvement in a new rocket attack on a Ukrainian city. This cheery development was compounded by the news that the FBI broke up a Russian spy ring in Manhattan that was seeking to infiltrate the American banking system. But it's not a new Cold War.

According to the FBI, Buraykov was an active participant in the spy ring that was charged with both collecting information and recruiting New York City residents to betray their country.'


Fwd: 50k

'Buried deep inside the latest CBO budget outlook report there is some shocking (by which I mean not shocking to anyone who has been paying attention) information on the effects of ObamaCare. You can forget about all the promises that were made by the administration and their Democrat allies during the debate… they were lying clearly inaccurate in their estimates. So how bad is it? The Daily Mail came out with the first report.

It will cost the federal government – taxpayers, that is – $50,000 for every person who gets health insurance under the Obamacare law, the Congressional Budget Office revealed on Monday.

The number comes from figures buried in a 15-page section of the nonpartisan organization's new ten-year budget outlook.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Fwd: Yemen

'Saudi Arabia is increasingly taking a security-first approach to neighbouring Yemen, where Houthi rebels have all but seized power, wanting nothing better than to finish a new border fence and then slam shut the gates.

Riyadh convened a meeting of Gulf countries on Wednesday to threaten unspecified measures to "protect their interests" in Yemen where the Shi'ite Muslim rebels, allies of its enemy Iran, are holding the president a virtual prisoner.

Fwd: Economics

'We have of late received a real-life crash course in basic economics, with the lessons imparted at the highest levels of the global economy. We are all seeing the laws of supply and demand in action, with their manifold implications, and we are learning that it is impossible to circumvent those laws without paying a high price. Wherever we look, the attempts of the state to outsmart markets are showing their limits, and more often than not ending in utter fiasco.

Let us begin with a look at the free-falling oil market. Oil-producing countries would of course like to reverse the current trend. Some would curtail production to push prices up, but the rest have learned from experience that collective restrictions only benefit the countries that do not comply. Like it or not, intergovernmental decisions won't alter the factors underlying the fall in the price of oil. One key element is the global deceleration of economic growth, particularly in China, a large energy consumer. Add to this the entry of fracking into the oil game, notably in the United States - just one factor expanding the global supply of energy.

These joint developments substantially push down the demand for, and consequently the price of, oil - so much so that financial economist Anatole Kaletsky asserts that $50 for a barrel may well become a price ceiling rather than a floor...

The same inability to bypass market laws is at work in China. There, the problem stemmed from a centralized frenzy to promote investment without due consideration of expected returns. Thus, Chinese economists estimate that "ineffective investment" reached the astronomical figure of $6.8 trillion between 2009 and 2013.

Fwd: QE

'Central banks in the U.S., Japan and Europe are trapped in a loop. They are fully invested in the theory that zero rates and bond buying are stimulative and add to inflation, yet growth, inflation and median incomes keep going down.

On Thursday the European Central Bank is likely to announce a bond-buying binge that could reach €50 billion ($58 billion) a month, yet many bond yields in Europe are already negative. Buying low-yielding bonds is a dead end for growth. The Bank of Japan has already bought bonds worth more than 50% of its gross domestic product with no growth impact. And ECB bond-buying will be a major new political negative if it gives European governments a further excuse to avoid economic reforms.

Central bankers should be forcefully urging their governments to pursue practical growth-oriented solutions that encourage private investment and hiring. Instead, they've allowed the focus to be on them and their decisions to prolong quantitative easing—even though QE hasn't worked.

Central-bank liabilities have grown by an extraordinary $7 trillion since the 2008 crisis, yet many parts of the world are in or near recession, including Japan, Latin America, Eastern Europe and most of the eurozone.


• Gov. Chris Christie • Iowa Freedom Summit • 1/24/15 •

Good speech:

Fwd: Argentina

'They came with the cruelest of intentions. On the morning of July 18, 1994, terrorists parked a van packed with more than 600 pounds of explosives in front of a Jewish community center in central Buenos Aires, Argentina. When the van detonated, the community center collapsed. Eighty-five innocent civilians perished, and hundreds more were injured. The appalling attack came two years after another hideous bombing in Buenos Aires, when the Israeli embassy was blown up by a suicide bomber. That attack killed 29 people, including many children.

It was suspected at the time that Iran and its subsidiary terrorist organization Hezbollah were behind the carnage. Time bore that out






'U.S. deficit to 'hold steady' until 2018

Solid economic growth over the next few years should help keep the federal deficit at a very modest level until 2018. But after that, the nation's deficit will start growing again.'

Fwd: Measles

'Measles could once again become native in the U.S., disease experts worry, as an outbreak in California linked to Disneyland has put a spotlight on a growing failure to vaccinate that's helping the disease to spread.

While 94 percent of California kindergarteners were fully inoculated against the virus last school year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are clusters where vaccination is much lower. In some pockets of California, as much as a quarter of children are undervaccinated -- putting them at risk of both contracting the disease and becoming a nexus of future spread.

"Children die as a result of this disease," said Greg Poland, professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and director of the Mayo Vaccine Research Group. "In 1990, 3 of every 1,000 children who got measles died from it. That wasn't the dark ages. We don't have an effective treatment for measles. The only thing we have is prevention."

Fwd: Oil well

'OPEC has had its foot on the throat of the oil market for months, but the chief of the cartel thinks a rebound might now be at hand, according to news reports.

"Now the prices are around $45-$55, and I think maybe they reached the bottom and will see some rebound very soon," OPEC Secretary-General Abdulla al-Badri said on Monday, according to Reuters.

If that wasn't enough to put oil bears on the back foot, at least temporarily, Badri also said it would be possible to see crude climb to $200 a barrel or higher "if you don't invest in oil and gas," Bloomberg reported.

That is an interesting scenario, since shale production is seen as relatively resilient, with firms able to ramp production up in relatively short order as prices rise.

It also stands in contrast to remarks by Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, the billionaire Saudi businessman, who earlier this month predicted oil would never again trade north of $100 a barrel'



Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fwd: Role Models

'Huckabee's gripe is simple. Beyoncé is not an appropriate role model for children, and as such the Obamas have not set a good example for their own children and other Americans by treating her as one..

Believing that little girls deserve a role model who keeps her clothes on and doesn't build a career predicated on sex is not a right-wing or conservative position. I dare say that most Americans, including Stewart if given a choice, would probably rather their daughters aspire to a career that involves keeping their clothes on and relying on their minds as opposed to their bodies and sexuality. (It's worth noting that white children have far more role models in the public eye than black children do, meaning it's possible Stewart can't fully appreciate the role model issue in the black community.) I am someone, however, who believes strippers can be proud feminists and prostitution should be legal.

But I also wouldn't advocate inviting a stripper, porn star, or paid escort to speak at an elementary school for career day. Not because I consider them bad people but because I would think we want our children to aspire to something greater. Don't we all?...

I do expect more from the President. He should not have called her a role model, and Huckabee was right to call him out on it. (President Kennedy hung with the Rat Pack but I doubt he ever called Sinatra a role model.)'


'Huckabee targets celebrity culture and Jay Z and Beyonce in particular. He wrote of their performance if "Drunk in Love" at the 2013 Grammys: "My reaction: Why? Beyonce is incredibly talented -- gifted, in fact. She has an exceptional set of pipes and can actually sing. She is a terrific dancer -- without the explicit moves best left for the privacy of her bedroom. Jay Z is a very shrewd businessman, but I wonder: Does it occur to him that he is arguably crossing the line from husband to pimp by exploiting his wife as a sex object?"'


Friday, January 23, 2015

Jack Hunter Joins Jerry Doyle Show Says Bill O'Reilly is Completely Disgusting and Dishonest

Like making drugs illegal has stopped people from taking drugs.

Fwd: Yemen

'Thousands of protesters demonstrated Friday across Yemen, some supporting the Shiite rebels who seized the capital and others demanding the country's south secede after the nation's president and Cabinet resigned…

In Sanaa, which Houthis seized during their offensive in September, thousands of supporters converged on the capital's airport road. They raised green flags and banners proclaiming their slogan — "Death to America, death to Israel, a curse on the Jews and victory to Islam"'


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fwd: Iran

'Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu signed a military cooperation deal with Iran on Tuesday that his Iranian counterpart touted as a joint response to US "interference."

Shoigu is the most senior Russian military official to visit Tehran since 2002, according to Iranian media, and the agreement comes with both countries facing Western sanctions.

The deal provides for joint exercises and military training, as well as "cooperation in peacekeeping, maintaining regional and international security and stability, and fighting against separatism and extremism," the Iranian defense ministry website said.

Defence Minister Hossein Dehqan told state television that Iran and Russia had a "shared analysis of US global strategy, its interference in regional and international affairs and the need to cooperate in the struggle against the interference of foreign forces in the region."

Russia has long been Iran's principal foreign arms supplier but their ties took a major hit in 2010 when Moscow cancelled a contract to deliver advanced

​ ​
S-300 ground to air missiles, citing UN sanctions imposed over Tehran's nuclear program.

go no-go

'On the one hand, West European states can intervene anywhere and at any time in their sovereign territory. As the shoot-out in Verviers and the subsequent raids elsewhere in Belgium suggest, their overwhelming advantage in force — including military, intelligence, and police — means they have not ceded control.

On the other hand, governments often choose not to impose their will on Muslim-majority areas, allowing them considerable autonomy, including in some cases the sharia courts that Emerson mentioned. Alcohol and pork are effectively banned in these districts, polygamy and burqas are commonplace, police enter only warily and in force, and Muslims get away with offenses illegal for the rest of population.

The Rotherham, England, child sex scandal offers a powerful example. An official inquiry found that for 16 years, 1997–2013, a ring of Muslim men sexually exploited — through abduction, rape, gang rape, trafficking, prostitution, torture — at least 1,400 non-Muslim girls as young as 11. The police received voluminous complaints from the girls' parents but did nothing; they could have acted but chose not to.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

FW: deficit down to 483 billion for 2014, but debt owed because of interest, and theft from SS is up 1,086 billion for same year

From: Anderson, Kendall
The federal budget deficit slid to $483 billion in fiscal year 2014, down from $680 billion in 2013 and more than $1 trillion each of the prior four years. Higher tax revenue, economic growth and caps on government spending all contributed to the shrinking budget gap.
09/30/2013 11,976,279,236,073.83 4,761,904,290,623.49 16,738,183,526,697.32
On 9/30/2013 there was $16,738 billion in federal debt.
09/30/2014 12,784,971,238,978.02 5,039,100,141,755.80 17,824,071,380,733.82
On 9/30/2014, the end of last fiscal year, there was $17,824 billion of federal debt.
The net increase is $1,086 billion, or $1.086 trillion dollars, not $483 billion.
Why the discrepancy?  Because as in the Clinton years the government has been stealing the "excess" from Social Security and Medicare tax receipts and claiming that is a "deficit reduction" -- despite the fact that the obligation generated from those programs was not reduced by that same $603 billion!
And oh by the way, that's not all of it.  Even excluding Social Security and Medicare theft the net gain in federal borrowing (that is, the actual deficit) was $809 billion or 67% more than claimed.
In other words this is a scam and the claim of "reduced deficits" is a damned lie.

Fwd: Israel

'According to Tel Aviv police commander Bentzi Sau, a Palestinian man from the West Bank boarded the crowded bus in Tel Aviv and almost immediately stabbed the driver, then other passengers…


On Twitter, police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld identified the suspect as a 23-year-old from the West Bank city of Tul Karem. Local media reported that a gag order barred additional information on the man, who they said did not have a permit to enter Israel….

Authorities said the assailant fled the bus on foot when the injured driver succeeded in opening the vehicle's back doors to let passengers escape. According to eyewitnesses, bus driver Herzel Biton fought the attacker and tried to block his way to the other passengers. He was taken to a hospital and was reportedly listed in serious condition.

Witnessing the commotion from a vehicle behind the bus were armed personnel from a special security unit of the Israel Prison Service, who were escorting prisoners to a nearby court. Authorities said they stopped and chased the suspect, who was shot and injured'


Fwd: Russia

'It is absurd to expect that Russia will stop putting pressure on its neighbours in the hope of "resuming a formal dialogue with the EU" (a dialogue in which Russia was already becoming less and less interested before the current stand-off). For Russia, pressurising neighbours is almost inevitable, because it stems from its chosen identity: Russia wants to think of itself as a great power, and its definition of great power includes having "a sphere of influence" around its borders. Great power status and the ability to control vast areas also legitimise the oppressive nature of the regime at home. Moreover, it would be wrong to think of great power rhetoric merely as a propaganda tool of the Kremlin. No – the idea of other countries being afraid of Russia enjoys true popularity among large parts of the population, who are happy to sacrifice certain freedoms for the sake of this national status.



Monday, January 19, 2015

Fwd: Warm

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: John Coffey


Been following this issue closely since the late 1980's.  

When people say that 97% of all scientists claim that global warming is happening and it is our fault, they are referring one specific survey where the vast majority of people surveyed were not atmospheric scientists.  A few people surveyed were theologians.  Furthermore, it frames the question in the wrong way.  Almost nobody is denying that global warming is happening.

By calling people global warming deniers, people have misrepresented the position of the skeptics and really unfairly maligned them.  The is a straw man attack.   In reality, almost nobody is denying that global warming is happening, except maybe for a few crackpots.  The issues have always been how much is happening, how much of that is our fault, and most importantly whether there is negative or positive feedback.  This video outlines the position better than anything ...

​About ​
25 years ago I was reading articles by skeptics.   At that time I was concerned about the issue and wanted to find out all I could about it.  The reason there were skeptics is that meteorologists were raising objections that we were moving too fast over an unproven theory.  There were others claiming that natural feedbacks would moderate global warming.

We have what is called the carbon dioxide cycle, where carbon is sequestered in rock underground and released by natural forces such as volcanoes.  So much carbon dioxide has been removed from the atmosphere that we have gone from an atmosphere of 43% carbon dioxide to 200 hundred parts per million before it went up to 300 parts per million.  Some people speculated that it would get so low that plants would have trouble growing.  The point is that CO2 levels have been much higher in past and been on a steady decline ever since.  70 million years ago, Utah was a tropical forest roamed by dinosaurs.  The CO2 level then was 5% and we are absolutely no danger of coming close to that level now.    

All of human civilization has arisen in a brief period between two ice ages.  In the 1970's NASA claimed we were about to enter another ice age.  Now geologists say no matter what we do, we will get another ice age in about 10,00 years.  In other words, there are natural forces beyond our control.

CO2 by itself is not enough to cause significant warming.  All assumptions of disaster are based upon water vapor adding to the warming.  

The issue of water vapor gets into the whole feedback issue as to whether it is positive or negative.  In this regard to this, see the first video and this one ... Lord Christopher Monckton ends the Global Warming Debate.  I have believed for over 20 years that the feedback was negative because I read articles to that effect, but also because when the temperatures spiked around 1999-2000 (during the peak of the sunspot cycle), it should had produced runaway greenhouse because of the positive feedback.  It didn't.  In 2007, during the low point of the sunspot cycle, over a hundred years of global warming seemed to disappear.  At this point I saw atmospheric scientists asking us to believe that we had entered a period of global cooling, which was also predicted in the mid 90's. 

Part of my concern is that I see what is politically motivated science.  I don't trust the government because this is an excuse to tax and control us, but the government is doing all the funding.  The cures for global warming aren't economically feasible.   The last U.N. report concluded that the global warming wasn't as much as we thought and it would cost too much to fix it.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Fwd: Warm

'What drives me crazy about most commenters on here is the way they blast or dismiss scientists like Dr. Christy and other skeptics but they don't ever address their data or assertions. Dr. Christy doesn't deny the fact that the climate is warming. He states it is warming much slower than predicted, believes that natural factors are not sufficiently factored in and believes the atmosphere and planet have much more adaptive capacity than the models allow. Using data, not generic talking points show where he is wrong. 1) look at the graph in the article. You will see an approximately 1 degree F rise in global temps between 1910-1945 followed by a 30 year flattening of temps. Then you will see an approximately 1 degree F rise in global temps 1975-2000 followed by a 15 years flattening. If man made carbon emissions caused the rise from 1975-2014... What cause the comparable rise from 1910-1945? And if you can't credible answer that then you must allow my skepticism of your conclusions about the causes of recent increases. 2) the 1992 IPCC report predicted temp increases of 0.3 degrees / decade (range 0.2-0.5). Actual temps over the last 22 years have increase 0.1 degree/ decade. How do you account for the fact that 97% of the climate models have overestimated the temp increases most by a factor of two fold? And if you can't is it really honest for you to blast the above assertions by Dr. Christy and other skeptics??? Oh, and I have received ZERO oil company money.'

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fwd: Pipeline


Fwd: France

'Francis said on his flight from Colombo, Sri Lanka, to Manila that everyone had not only the liberty, but also the obligation, "to say what he thinks to help the common good."

But he added that this should be done without giving offense, because human dignity should be respected.

If a friend "says a swear word against my mother, then a punch awaits him," Francis said.

"It's normal, it's normal," he said of such a response. "One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people's faith, one cannot make fun of faith." '

Fwd: Subprime

Any serious effort to understand the crisis would have asked at this point why government agencies held so many subprime and other risky mortgages, and that inquiry would have turned up the affordable housing goals, adopted by Congress in 1992. These required Fannie and Freddie, when they bought mortgages from banks and other originators, to meet a quota: 30 percent of those mortgages had to be made to borrowers at or below the median income in the communities where they lived. Data from HUD, which administered the goals, would have shown the administration and Congress, had they been curious, that HUD had gradually increased the quota to 50 percent in 2000 and to 56 percent in 2008.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fwd: China

'Through the wild swings of Chinese history since its Communist revolution in 1949, there has been one constant: Outsiders have rarely understood what was happening while it was happening.

During the Great Leap Forward, from 1958 to 1961, 30 million people or more starved to death in a Mao-created famine. The West had little clue.

During the Cultural Revolution, from 1966 to 1976, millions of people were tortured, internally exiled, unjustly imprisoned and otherwise abused in what Paul Hollander, in his invaluable book "Political Pilgrims," called "a destructive and bloody rampage." But at the time, most visitors to China had no understanding of what was taking place.

Today we believe once again that we know what the Chinese leadership is up to: fighting corruption, tightening political controls in order to promote economic reform, gradually strengthening the rule of law while bolstering national defenses so China can take its rightful place as one of the world's great powers.

Might we be wrong again? Could President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption crusade, for instance, be primarily a Stalinist purge of opposing factions in the Communist Party intended to strengthen his own hand?...

First, repression has increased markedly since Xi came to power two years ago.

Second, a prominent feature of the clampdown is a return to Maoist methods of intimidation, indoctrination and thought control...


Along with traditional methods, including imprisonment and torture, the regime has embraced public confessions, indoctrination and the kind of intense peer pressure that had fallen out of favor after the Cultural Revolution. "Peace managers" keep track of every household in some villages, and people suspected of wayward views have to file weekly "thought reports" and take part in "legal education" sessions, "often a euphemism for political indoctrination or forced conversion," Freedom House notes. Journalists face "a new ideological exam . . . based on a minimum 18-hour training course on topics like 'Marxist-news values,' with a 700-page manual…


Ironically, censorship — including about the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989 — has left many young people unaware of the party's record of brutality and so less afraid than they might be.'

Friday, January 9, 2015

Fwd: France

'An unnamed American official told CNN the U.S. has received information from the French intelligence service that Said Kouachi traveled to Yemen in 2011, where he trained with Al-Qaida militants. According to the official, the training included firearm usage, and possibly bomb making as well.

'Anwar al-Awlaki was the first United States citizen to be killed in a United States drone strike. His son Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was the second. Anwar was known as an American and Yemeni imam and Islamic militant. US government officials said that he was a senior talent-recruiter and motivator who was involved in planning terrorist operations for the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda. With a blog, a Facebook page, the al-Qaeda magazine Inspire, and many YouTube videos, the Saudi news station Al Arabiya described him as the "bin Laden of the Internet."


Fwd: New York

'A Muslim cleric who preached at a London mosque attended by Sept. 11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui and shoe-bomber Richard Reid was sentenced to life in prison for his role in a deadly hostage-taking and trying to start a terrorist training camp in Oregon.

Calling the crimes of Abu Hamza al-Masri, 56, "barbaric" and "immoral," U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan today rejected his plea for a shorter term. She said the cleric needed to be "incapacitated."

"I don't believe that the world will be safe in 10 years or 15 years," the judge told Hamza. "I have every reason to believe that if you were free, you'd do it again."

Abu Hamza, whose forearms were amputated after an accident handling explosives, sought leniency because of his disability. He also has diabetes, high blood pressure and psoriasis.

The judge said the loss of his hands hadn't stopped him from inciting followers to carry out a deadly hostage taking in Yemen in 1998, providing captors with a satellite phone they used to communicate with him during the attack.

"You had those disabilities at the time you committed the crimes and it's important for the court to understand that you knew the risks," she said. "I do not think of a time when you would not inspire others to do the things that you yourself could not do."

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Next Civil Rights Fight

I think that this is overly optimistic.

Fwd: Regulation

'The Obama administration pushed through $181.5 billion in regulations last year, according to a new report from a conservative think tank that claimed the rules will lead to higher energy bills, more expensive consumer goods and fewer jobs.

The new rules mostly focus on clean energy and vehicle regulations, said the American Action Forum, which issued the report Monday. The state that was hit the hardest by new regulations was California, which was slapped with $7.9 billion in new rules, followed by Texas ($6.5 billion) and Ohio ($3.4 billion).

"What do these huge sums mean for individuals? Higher energy prices, pricier household goods, a more expensive mortgage, and the promise of yet another year of unrelenting regulatory growth," concludes the report, which was authored by Sam Batkins, the group's director of regulatory policy. "No one can accuse the president of abandoning his promises on regulation in 2014."

The report also found that the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory act and ObamaCare contributed, adding $16.7 billion and $1.9 billion in total costs, respectively. That brings the total cost of ObamaCare, which was passed into law in 2010, to $41.3 billion, according to the report.

In a similar report issued last week, the right-leaning Competitive Enterprise Institute found that the Federal Register, which, among other records, publishes rules and regulations of federal agencies, stood at 78,978 pages at the end of 2014, the fifth-highest count ever.

The American Action Forum was founded in 2009 by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office.'

Fwd: equal

'After all, a Democratic theory of politics — most recently exposed by Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber's moments of honesty — is to say one thing, do another and count on the voters being too dumb to notice. While the Democrats are lamenting income inequality, they are pushing the very policies that create it. They give lip service to job creation and helping the middle class, but what they really do is increase energy costs, impose punitive regulations on businesses, demand higher labor costs, call for more taxes and make anti-free-market accommodations for labor unions. In the Democrats' economy, the rich get richer and the poor get more promises — and it is the mega-rich and the very poor who form the bookends of the Democrats' winning presidential coalition. The middle class is left in an economic dead zone — a zone that used to be populated with jobs in industries that melt steel, gather, consume and fashion raw materials or otherwise produce heat and emissions the Democrats find offensive.'

Fwd: Turkey

'woman wearing a face veil carried out a suicide bombing near one of Istanbul's most famous tourist sites Tuesday, killing one police officer and wounding another.

The bombing took place in a police station near the famed Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia museum in Istanbul's Sultanahmet tourist area, parts of which were cordoned off for an investigation, Turkish media reported.

The woman was attempting to enter the police station near Sultanahmet Square on the pretext of having left her wallet inside when guards stopped her at the entrance, Istanbul Gov. Vasif Sahin told reporters Tuesday. She spoke heavily accented English, Sahin said.

Two officers were hurt in the bombing, and one of them later died of his injuries, authorities said.

Authorities secured the blast area and halted public transportation into the neighborhood, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.'

Fwd: Pope

Fwd: Canada

'Anti-Islam protester has been jailed for one year after denouncing the Koran on a Toronto subway while holding an Israeli flag...

The 50-year-old, who has previously been sentenced to nine months in jail after handing out a flyer that "vilified Muslims and disparages their religion", claimed the outburst had been part of a social experiment and that he wanted to promote debate amongst commuters.

He was refused bail and has since been behind bars for more than seven months until judge Gerald Lapkin convicted Brazau of the three charges: breach of the peace (by interfering with Toronto Transit Commission service), causing a disturbance (by using insulting language) and breaching his probation on the earlier hate-mongering conviction.

Handing Brazau a 20 month sentence, minus eight months for the time he has spent in custody before his trial'

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Re: check

There is something fundamentally wrong with this system.  

Robin Williams:   'They were going to call it "All your Money" but they shortened it to "alimony", ... Which is Latin for having a man's genitals extracted through his wallet.' 

As I understand it, Mr. Williams was still paying millions every year for two marriages, and it was the sole reason he hadn't retired yet.  He resented having to still make movies because it kept him away from his family, but he needed the cash flow.  Combine that with his new health problems and it was too much ...

John Coffey

On Jan 7, 2015, at 10:07 AM:

'Now that's rich!

A jaw-dropping photo reveals the handwritten $974.8 million divorce settlement check rejected as too skimpy by the ex-wife of a billionaire oil tycoon.

Sue Ann Arnall, 56, scoffed at the jackpot-size payout from former hubby Harold Hamm — CEO of the energy company Continental Resources — demanding more money because he was allowed to keep the bulk of his $13.5 billion fortune.

The check, penned in bubbly handwriting, was made out for a mind-numbing $974,790,317.77 on Monday. The couple was married for 26 years.'