Monday, March 7, 2011

To Spend or Not to Spend, that is the Question

By Rick Manning
The great dichotomy in American politics is playing out in Wisconsin and elsewhere with the future of our nation at stake
Public employees, whose paychecks are at the heart of the battle over the size and scope of government, are taking to the streets at the direction of their union masters, in support of Democratic politicians who have refused to show up to work.

The American public, which inherently just wants us all to get along, rocks back and forth between a certain knowledge that government spends too much, and a general feeling that they don’t want the government services they benefit from cut, catching them between the classic needs versus wants question.

While we watch Wisconsin with almost morbid fascination, the reality is that this public employee union contagion is likely to spread across the nation as states grapple with real budget problems in contrast to the kabuki theatre played in our nation’s capital.
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Cathy Zoi Has Left Her Job And Assumed The Position Of "Big Government Bozo"

Video by Frank McCaffrey
Get permalink here.

There’s Always a Plan B

By Rebekah Rast
A “Plan B” is put in place as a backup, a form of insurance in case “Plan A” doesn’t work out.

A Plan B is valuable when taking a cross-country road trip and you happen to hit road construction and can’t get through. A Plan B is handy when trying a new recipe for the first time where you’ll be serving guests — just in case the meal doesn’t turn out as planned.
But a Plan B in case the dollar continues to weaken or collapse? That’s exactly what 13 states are working on, and their idea is not original to America’s past.

In fact, the state of Utah is taking implementation of this Plan B very seriously. What is the plan? It would recognize gold and silver coins issued by the federal government as legal currency in the state. The Utah bill passed the House March 4 and now waits to be voted on by the Senate.

Though this legislation and others are mainly symbolic at this point, since the U.S. no longer mints gold and silver coins, the state’s message is clear: there is a sense of uneasiness and insecurity in America’s current monetary system and it doesn’t hurt to have a Plan B ready to go just in case.
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Are We Under Economic Attack?

By Robert Romano
Are we under economic attack? The author of a controversial 2009 Pentagon-contracted report, Kevin D. Freeman, seems to think so. Penned for the Department’s Irregular Warfare Support Program (IWSP), “Economic Warfare: Risks and Responses” outlines a “potential direct economic attack on the U.S. Treasury and U.S. dollar” intended to bankrupt the nation and destroy our currency.

The basic threat is a “focused effort to collapse the dollar by dumping Treasury bonds [which] has grave implications including the possibility of a downgrading of U.S. debt forcing rapidly rising interest rates and a collapse of the American economy.” Currently, foreign creditors hold $4.3 trillion of the $14.1 trillion national debt.

The report summarizes, “In short, a bear raid against the U.S. financial system remains possible and may even be likely.” But how would that be possible? How could the U.S. be so vulnerable to an attack against the nation’s key financial and governmental institutions?

The report suggests that government bailouts in 2008 to prop up the financial system has “saddled the U.S. Treasury with substantial debt.” This gives the nation’s creditors not only leverage over the government, but the means to pull the rug out from under it.

Since September 2008, the national debt has risen from $10 trillion to $14.1 trillion, close to 100 percent of the economy now. At exactly the same time of a sharp increase in borrowing, market demand for treasuries has apparently dropped, necessitating the Federal Reserve to intervene to purchase U.S. debt.
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Why Would the NAACP Be Honoring Someone Who is Loyal to the Confederate Flag?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action
In one of the most interesting "What the hayell" moments in recent memory, the NAACP Detroit branch has announced that they plan to give singer Kid Rock an award at their annual Great Expectations Dinner, which typically draws 10,000 participants.  The dinner is going to be held on May 1, and if recent protests are an indicator, there won't be 10,000 people in the audience ready to celebrate.

The reason that people are up in arms is because Kid Rock has often used the Confederate Flag as part of his routine on stage.  The singer has argued that the flag stands as a symbol of southern rock and roll, but many protesters don't quite see it that way.   But in contrast to the flood of criticism the organization is receiving over the decision, the chapter leadership is going to move forward.
Click to read.

Did the CIA Help Cause Drug and Gang Violence in Black America?

From Dr. Boyce Watkins – Scholarship in Action
“For the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, a Mercury News investigation has found. 

This drug network opened the first pipeline between Colombia's cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles, a city now known as the "crack" capital of the world. The cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America . . . and provided the cash and connections needed for L.A.'s gangs to buy automatic weapons.” – San Jose Mercury News, 1996

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Rush Limbaugh Says that Obama is Not Really a Black Man

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University – Scholarship in Action

It appears that the “great” Rush Limbaugh doesn’t believe that Barack Obama is black.  On his show, Limbaugh responded to Obama’s suggestion during a meeting that some of the animus being shown toward him was driven by race (which we all know plays a huge role in the unprecedented attacks he’s been facing from his political opponents).  On his radio show, Limbaugh had this to say:

"Let me ask you a question. How many people really think of Obama as black? ...One of Obama's parents is black. Undeniable. But he was raised by a white mother, by white grandparents. He went to a highly exclusive private school in Hawaii with rich, white students and white teachers. He went to exclusive colleges that were practically lily-white. Barry Obama is from a very white, albeit radically left, cultural background. He's not from the hood. He's not from the movement...I'm telling you, there is a chip on this guy's shoulder, and it is a factor in every policy decision that he makes."

What’s interesting is that Rush Limbaugh’s statement is a powerful reminder of the kind of racism he embodies with his typical rhetoric.  Somehow, Limbaugh was made to believe that being black means that you are “from the hood” or “from the movement.”  The truth is that being black can also mean that you were born middle/upper class, attended elite universities, or are a sociopolitical conservative.  By confining blackness to mean that a person must have had a specific background or be confined to a particular economic or social class, Limbaugh comes off as the standard sort of racist who remains hell-bent on disrespecting our humanity.

Click to read.

Interceptor Missile Defence System Successfully Teste

A Target Missile mimicking the enemy’s Ballistic Missile was launched from Launch Complex –III, ITR, Chandipur at 9.32 AM. The missile tracking network consisting of long range and multi function Radars and other Range sensors positioned at different locations detected and identified the incoming Missile threat. The interceptor missile at Wheeler Island with a directional warhead was fully ready to take off. The radars tracking the Ballistic Missile constructed the trajectory of the missile and continuous complex computations were done in real time by ground guidance computer to launch the interceptor at an exact time. The fully automatic launch computer launched the interceptor at 9.37 AM and the onboard INS (Inertial Navigation System) and ground based Radars guided the interceptor to the target (incoming Ballistic Missile). The Interceptor intercepted the Ballistic Missile at an altitude of 16 km and blasted the missile into pieces.

It was a copy book launch and all the events and mission sequence took place as expected.


Saudi Arabia Looking To Increase Oil Production, Help With Libya Loss

Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading oil producer, is taken steps to help soften the blow of Libya’s civil war and dramatic decrease in oil production.

Libya, responsible for about 2% of the world’s oil production, has cut its output by 75% from 1.58 million barrels a day.

The impact of the situation in Libya and cut oil production has the price of oil heading toward $120 barrels a day.

Saudi Arabia has boosted production of oil to have combat this situation to 9.2m-9.3 million b/d (barrels per day), a number that is much higher than most estimates.
via FT

Phil Collins Quits Music Due to Health Problems

Phil CollinsPhil Collins has decided to bow out from the business that made him. The British singer has reportedly told FHM that he is leaving the music industry due to health problems he's experienced for several years.

The 'Sussudio' entertainer revealed that years of sitting hunched behind his drum kit have left him with an array of medical issues. Collins' ailments range from hearing loss to a dislocated vertebra and nerve damage in the same hands he uses to hold drumsticks, making performing for fans an otherwise painful experience.

Collins apologizes that his choice to retire may upset fans, considering the more than positive run he's had throughout his career. "I'm sorry that it was all so successful," he stated. "I honestly didn't mean it to happen like that. It's hardly surprising that people grew to hate me."
Despite his lack of producing new songs as of late, the 60-year-old Genesis drummer holds 13 hit singles, seven Grammys and an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1999 for his work on Disney's 'Tarzan.'

While loyal supporters will have to get their Phil Collins fix by relying on his past catalog of tunes, the performer has a somewhat different view of how he's perceived in the music business. "I don't really belong to that world and I don't think anyone's going to miss me," Collins said. "I'm much happier just to write myself out of the script entirely."

Miami Heat Players Reduced To Tears After Fourth Straight Loss

Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris BoshThe Miami Heat losing steak grew to four-in-a-row on Sunday night (March 6), when the team took an "L" in a narrow defeat of 87-86 at the hands of the Chicago Bulls.

Dwyane Wade took a last second shot that rimmed out and cost the team a one-point loss. ... And the team is took it hard, said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and the team's players.

Spoelstra said, during a post-game news conference, that several Miami players were reduced to tears in the locker room, following the game.

"This is painful for every single one of us to go through this, there are couple of guys crying in the locker room right now, it is not a matter of want," Spoelstra explained of his team's desire to win.

Sunday's loss was a little rough on the team, apparently. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau even threw salt in the wound during Sunday's nationally televised game when he said that Chicago has "guys who can close."
Forward Chris Bosh also told ESPN's Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) that while he wasn't among the players who were crying, he was nearly in tears after yet another close loss.

"Just to come up short again and again, it hurts," Bosh said. "We all want to win. We all want to win very badly."

A frustrated Wade was a little defense during his post-game interview, sarcastically commenting how his team is exactly where everyone wants it to be.

"Inside our locker room, we stick together, we're like brothers," Wade said. "We win together, we lose together. Outside, the Miami Heat are exactly what everyone wanted, losing games. The world is better now since the Heat is losing."

Superstar Lebron James had a chance to win the game on a drive with 6 seconds left, but missed a contested shot, and Wade's desperation toss from the right baseline rimmed out at the buzzer.

Wade's shot was the 13th consecutive shots that the Heat have missed with a chance to tie or lead a game in the final 10 seconds of regulation or overtime, reports ESPN. Four of those were from James, who said he's taking much of the blame for the losses.

"I told my team, I'm not going to continue to fail late in games," James said. "I put a lot of blame on myself tonight. I told the guys that I just keep failing them late in games and I won't continue to do that."

The Sunday defeat marked their third close loss to Chicago this season, and a four-game stretch in which the Heat loss in close games against the New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, and a blowout by the San Antonio Spurs.

Gates Arrives in Afghanistan to Assess Progress

Gates Arrives in Afghanistan to Assess Progress

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

KABUL, Afghanistan, March 7, 2011 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates arrived here today to visit troops, meet with President Hamid Karzai and talk with NATO military leaders about progress made toward transitioning security responsibility to Afghan forces, set to start in July.

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said Gates will visit areas in regional commands South and East, where he will meet with troops and assess progress on the ground. Gates has settled into a regular rhythm of Afghanistan visits, averaging a trip each quarter, Morrell said. “Frequent, regular visits provide him with good measuring sticks to determine how rapidly progress is being made,” Morrell said, noting that the secretary has repeatedly said visiting forces in the field and getting their assessment of conditions is the most important part of his trips. Those on-the-ground assessments have been positive over the last few visits, Morrell said, with troops and leaders who are “taking on the Taliban” expressing confidence in their Afghan counterparts and reporting improved security conditions in former Taliban-controlled areas. Gates will meet in a long one-on-one session with Karzai, as he has done on all but one previous trip, when the Afghan president was out of the country, Morrell said. Karzai’s government has been working to prepare for the security transition to Afghan forces, set to start in July and conclude in 2014, the press secretary said. He added that Karzai is expected to announce this month which areas will be the first to transition. More work remains to be done, however, before any decisions are made about withdrawing U.S. troops, Morrell said. “There are more talks to take place and more work to be done once [Gates] is home,” Morrell said. “This trip will inform decisions to be made in the coming weeks and months.”

While in Afghanistan, the secretary will also meet with U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry and the two top NATO commanders in Afghanistan, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, International Security Assistance Force commander, and Army Lt. Gen. David M. Rodriguez, deputy ISAF commander. Later in the week, the secretary is scheduled to travel to Stuttgart, Germany, for the U.S. Africa Command change of command from Army Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward, who is retiring, to Army Gen. Carter F. Ham. Gates will then travel to Brussels, Belgium, for meetings with NATO defense ministers.


Obama asks Saudis to send weapons to Libyan rebels

The question of whether or not any of them are Islamic jihadists doesn't seem to preoccupy anyone. "America's secret plan to arm Libya's rebels: Obama asks Saudis to airlift weapons into Benghazi," by Robert Fisk for the Independent, March 7:
Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi. The Saudi Kingdom, already facing a "day of rage" from its 10 per cent Shia Muslim community on Friday, with a ban on all demonstrations, has so far failed to respond to Washington's highly classified request, although King Abdullah personally loathes the Libyan leader, who tried to assassinate him just over a year ago. Washington's request is in line with other US military co-operation with the Saudis. The royal family in Jeddah, which was deeply involved in the Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, gave immediate support to American efforts to arm guerrillas fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan in 1980 and later – to America's chagrin – also funded and armed the Taliban.
But the Saudis remain the only US Arab ally strategically placed and capable of furnishing weapons to the guerrillas of Libya. Their assistance would allow Washington to disclaim any military involvement in the supply chain – even though the arms would be American and paid for by the Saudis.
The Saudis have been told that opponents of Gaddafi need anti-tank rockets and mortars as a first priority to hold off attacks by Gaddafi's armour, and ground-to-air missiles to shoot down his fighter-bombers.
Supplies could reach Benghazi within 48 hours but they would need to be delivered to air bases in Libya or to Benghazi airport. If the guerrillas can then go on to the offensive and assault Gaddafi's strongholds in western Libya, the political pressure on America and Nato – not least from Republican members of Congress – to establish a no-fly zone would be reduced....

Beck and Fox News Going Their Separate Ways??

Almost every time I flipped on television last week, there was a deeply angry guy on a running tirade about the conspiracies afoot, the enemies around all corners, and how he alone seemed to understand what was under way.

While it’s true that Charlie Sheen sucked up a lot of airtime last week, I’d been watching Glenn Beck, the Fox News host who invoked Hezbollah, socialists, the price of gas, Shariah law, George Soros, Planned Parenthood, and, yes, Charlie Sheen, as he predicted a coming apocalypse.

Mr. Beck, a conservative Jeremiah and talk-radio phenomenon, burst into television prominence in 2009 by taking the forsaken 5 p.m. slot on Fox News and turning it into a juggernaut. A conjurer of conspiracies who spotted sedition everywhere he looked, Mr. Beck struck a big chord and ended up on the cover of Time magazine and The New York Times Magazine, and held rallies all over the country that were mobbed with acolytes. He achieved unheard-of ratings, swamped the competition and at times seemed to threaten the dominion of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity at Fox.

But a funny thing happened on the way from the revolution. Since last August, when he summoned more than 100,000 followers to the Washington mall for the “Restoring Honor” rally, Mr. Beck has lost over a third of his audience on Fox — a greater percentage drop than other hosts at Fox. True, he fell from the great heights of the health care debate in January 2010, but there has been worrisome erosion — more than one million viewers — especially in the younger demographic.

He still has numbers that just about any cable news host would envy and, with about two million viewers a night, outdraws all his competition combined. But the erosion is significant enough that Fox News officials are willing to say — anonymously, of course; they don’t want to be identified as criticizing the talent — that they are looking at the end of his contract in December and contemplating life without Mr. Beck.
On the other side, people who work for Mr. Beck point out that he could live without Fox News. Unlike some other cable hosts, Mr. Beck has a huge multiplatform presence: he has sold around four million books, is near the top of talk-radio ratings, has a growing Web site called The Blaze, along with a stage performance that still packs houses. Forbes estimated that his company, Mercury Radio Arts, had more than $30 million in revenue.

How could a breakup between Mr. Beck and Fox News — a bond that seemed made in pre-Apocalyptic heaven — come to pass? They were never great friends to start with: Mr. Beck came to Fox with a huge radio show and had been on CNN Headline News, so he did not owe his entire career to Fox and frequently went off-message. The sniping between Fox News executives and Mr. Beck’s team began soon after he went on the air in 2009.

Many on the news side of Fox have wondered whether his chronic outrageousness — he suggested that the president has “a deep-seated hatred for white people” — have made it difficult for Fox to hang onto its credibility as a news network. Some 300 advertisers fled the show, leaving sponsorship to a slew of gold bullion marketers whose message dovetails nicely with Mr. Beck’s end-of-times gospel. Both parties go to some lengths to point out that that the discussion has nothing to do with persistent criticism from the left.
But the partnership, which has been good for both parties, may yet be repaired. On Wednesday’s show, Mr. Beck went to some lengths to demonstrate gratitude and fealty to Fox News.

“Two years ago, I was on a cable channel that no one was watching at the time, doing a show that no one was watching, and I was about to leave television. And then I had the opportunity to come and work here,” he said. “If you’re going to do news or commentary, the only place, I think in the world, the only place that really makes an impact is Fox.”

William Kristol of The Weekly Standard suggested that Mr. Beck is “marginalizing himself” by arguing that socialists and leftists were working with Islamic radicals to sow worldwide chaos. But Mr. Beck has always marched to his own idiosyncratic music, and his ratings actually began dropping long before Egypt rose up against its leader.

The problem with “Glenn Beck” is that it has turned into a serial doomsday machine that’s a bummer to watch.

Mr. Beck, a more gifted entertainer than most cable hosts, can still bring it, lighting up with characters and voices. But much of the time, there is sense that the fatigue from always being on alert, tilting forward in the saddle against the next menace, is starting to wear him down.

What had been a fast and loose assault on all things liberal has grown darker and less entertaining, especially with the growing revolution in the Middle East, a phenomenon Mr. Beck sees as something of a beginning to some kind of end. He’s often alone in the studio with his chalkboards and obscure factoids, a setting that reminds me of an undergrad seminar on macroeconomics with an around-the-bend professor I didn’t particularly enjoy.

Last Wednesday, as he grabbed all the disparate strands from around the globe and tied them into a great, grand bow of doom, he ambled alone between various blackboards, each jammed with portentous bullet points. He often looked away from the camera into a middle distance as he spoke of a calamity that only he can see.

cont story…

by randyedye