Thursday, July 14, 2011

Everyone's Buzzing About Bernanke's Controversial Comments About Gold

Everyone's Buzzing About 
Bernanke's Controversial Comments About Gold
News Link  •  Federal Reserve

07-13-2011  • 
A line from Bernanke's testimony this morning is getting some folks all atwitter. First he was asked by Ron Paul whether he thinks gold is money: He said "no." Then he Ron Paul asked him why Central Banks hold so much: He answered "tradition." Now this is the classic gold bug argument: Because gold has been used as a store of wealth for eons, it still should have value.  
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Reported by Jack Gregson

Southern Poverty Law Center labels Senator Rand Paul an ‘extremist’

Southern Poverty Law Center labels
 Senator Rand Paul an ‘extremist’
News Link  •  Politics: Republican Campaigns

07-13-2011  •  Rawstory 
The Southern Poverty Law Center included Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky in a list of "extreme right-wing" candidates in its latest Intelligence Report.

The civil rights organization labeled Paul as an extremist because he said that private businesses should not have to follow the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and has criticized the Fair Housing Act.
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Reported by Powell Gammill

Gadhafi Out of Tim

Gadhafi Out of Time
News Link  •  Revolutions, Rebellions & Uprisings

07-14-2011  •  arclein 
Word of the building pressure against Gadhafi came as France's foreign minister reported that Gadhafi was prepared to leave power, citing Libyan emissaries who have approached the French government. It was not immediately clear how credible the offer was. Gadhafi has refused to leave or give up power since U.S. and NATO forces launched a bombing campaign in support of rebels who rose up against the gov  Read Full Story

Reported by Robert Klein

Poverty in America, Part I

Poverty in America, Part I
News Link  •  Economy - Economics USA

07-14-2011  • 
If jobs are not coming back, then we as a nation need a conversation about poverty in America. The Status Quo assumption is that this is just another garden-variety recession, and that employment will bounce back, along with the "animal spirits" that drive borrowing and spending. As of August 2011, it will be three years since the global financial meltdown. In three years, the Savior State has borrowed and blown $6 trillion maintaining the Status Quo, and the Federal Reserve has printed almost $3 trillion and shoveled that vast sum into "risk assets" to keep housing on life support and the stock market rising. The Fed has also devalued and debased the dollar, stealing wealth from the citizenry and holders of U.S.-denominated debt in the process, to serve two goals: 1) spark inflation and thus avoid deflationary deleveraging of the nation's fast-growing mountain of debt, and 2) to enable servicing that debt with cheaper dollars. None of these grandiose manipulations has healed the economy or fixed the structural problems which made the meltdown inevitable. The irony here (among many) is that so many people believe the Power Elites controlling the nation have some sort of god-like ability to maintain their grip on the levers of power. While it's certainly true that the wealth of the Power Elites has increased as a result of the meltdown and Fed/Savior State response, ultimately the Financial and Political Elites' power depends on the passivity and complicity of the citizens. This means the Power Elites must buy off or co-opt the majority of citizens to keep them politically neutered and mallable. The Status Quo has two basic methods of buying the citizen's complicity: a vibrant economy that supports a middle class that thus has a stake in maintaining the Status Quo, and cash bribes to everyone else to keep quiet, i.e. "social benefits" a.k.a. entitlements and welfare. This renders everyone either dependent on cash payments from the Savior State or a stakeholder in the Status Quo. 
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Crazy Talk

By Robert Romano
If congressional Republicans never had any intention of using the increase in the $14.294 trillion debt ceiling as leverage to extract big spending cuts from the Harry Reid-led Senate and the Obama Administration, they had ample opportunity after the 2010 elections to say so.

They could have just said, “That’s crazy talk!” and left it at that. Fiscal conservatives may have still called for the debt ceiling to be used in exchange for cuts, but other avenues would have been pursued to bring the nation’s fiscal house in order.
Instead, Republican leaders, emboldened by the decisive result of the 2010 elections, stoked the embers for this idea and really were the ones who got the ball rolling.

After the election, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News’ Brett Baier that the debt ceiling “will not be [raised] without some strings attached, if it happens, because they're going to have to seriously address spending and debt.”

McConnell added, “The American people want it, they expect it. That was a big issue in yesterday’s election.”
Later on, House Speaker John Boehner, speaking to the Economic Club of New York, said, “Without significant spending cuts and reforms to reduce our debt, there will be no debt limit increase. And the cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given. We should be talking about cuts of trillions, not just billions.”

The American people have since rallied to the idea. According to Gallup, a 51 percent majority of Americans, including 52 percent of Independents and 57 percent of Republicans, are more concerned about the debt ceiling being raised without big cuts than they are of the risk of an economic crisis if it is not raised.
That means, in spite of the talking heads and big corporate lobbies pushing for a no strings attached increase in the nation’s credit limit, Republicans have been winning this debate. Not even the White House’s fear mongering and shameless class warfare has penetrated that much.
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The Debt Ceiling Vote Could End Some Political Careers

Video by Frank McCaffrey
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Canada Oil to China?

By Rick Manning
What if you were to learn that a massive Saudi Arabia sized supply of oil was available just 500 miles north of our border?
What if this supply of oil was controlled by an ally of the United States who wanted to develop it and ship it south?

What if this supply of oil did not require any off-shore drilling?
Wouldn’t it make sense to allow that oil to reach the U.S. market rather than having it drilled and transported to China instead?

Ironically, this oil exists in Canada near the NHL hockey town of Edmonton, where vast reserves are available to be delivered to the U.S. market.

So what is the hold up in bringing it to the United States?
The U.S. State Department!

That’s right. Hillary Clinton’s State Department has been sitting on the approval of a pipeline to move the oil from Canada to the United States for more than three years.

The problem? Environmental groups don’t want the Alberta oil sands field developed because they believe that getting the oil out of the ground will cause increased greenhouse gas emissions, and the Obama Administration consistently sides with the powerful enviro lobby over the economic interests of the nation. So, these environmental groups are lobbying against building a pipeline that will bring this oil to the U.S. markets.
The most amazing thing in this equation is that it assumes that failure to give the U.S. markets and consumers access to this oil will stop the development of the oil field. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Chinese are investing billions of dollars in the development of an oil pipeline from these very fields to a Pacific Ocean port facility in British Columbia. So, the oil is going to be taken out of the ground whether it is piped into the U.S. or not.
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Mitt Romney on Global Warming: Troubling on an International Climate Agreement

Mitt Romney on Global Warming: Troubling on an International Climate Agreement

By Victor Morawski
December of 2009 was a tense time for libertarians, conservatives and global warming skeptics worldwide, the month of the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Members of the environmental left across the globe had high hopes going into that conference that this would be where they would finally get it done, would reach a worldwide legally-binding climate agreement on the limitation of greenhouse gases (GHG) to curb global warming — an improved version of the Kyoto Protocol — with nearly all of the world’s nations as signatories. These emissions across the globe would then be regulated by the UN, backed by the force of international law.

That agreement would make national cap and trade laws — like the one liberals had proposed for the US — largely irrelevant and redundant. As a signatory, the U.S. would have been legally bound to pursue the GHG emissions mitigation targets laid out in the international agreement, while also participating in a global cap and trade scheme

Readers may recall that the Copenhagen Conference delegates came up far short of the sought-after agreement. Deep-seated differences prevented them from bringing anything that was legally binding to the table. Failing to reach consensus even on a considerably weakened non-binding resolution, they finally voted to at least “take note” of it as a way of saving face and justifying their air fares and hotel bills.

Fearing the worst at the time, Conservatives were greatly concerned that if such a legally-binding international agreement were reached at the Conference, world citizen Barack Obama would sign it, thus surrendering US sovereignty over the management of GHG emissions to the UN and committing our nation for years to come to a schedule for paying tens of billions of dollars to developing nations as reparations for the harm that we have supposedly done them by having such a large carbon footprint over the years.
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Breaking News: Judge Declares Mistrial in Clemens Perjury Case

The federal judge in the Roger Clemens perjury case this morning declared a mistrial over a defense contention that prosecutors presented evidence to jurors the judge had deemed inadmissible.

Prosecutors, according to The Washington Post, played a video to jurors this morning that referenced an affidavit from the wife of government witness Andy Pettitte, the former Yankees pitcher and Clemens teammate.
Pettitte, a key witness for the prosecution, reportedly confided in his wife information that Clemens told him about drug use. The video played today featured congressional testimony in which a congressman, Elijah Cummings (D-MD), quoted from an affidavit Pettitte’s wife provided.

Laura Pettitte provided a three-paragraph affidavit to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, in connection with the investigation of Clemens, court records show. The affidavit noted two conversations between Pettitte and his wife about Clemens.

A courthouse official confirmed that U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton declared a mistrial. Walton, according to published reports, said he was “troubled” that prosecutors presented evidence he said was not allowed at trial.
“We’ve spent a lot of money to reach this point. Government counsel should have been more cautious about what was presented so we are not in this situation,” said Walton, according to published reports.

Clemens' lawyers, including Russell "Rusty" Hardin, in recent court papers had urged Walton to block prosecutors from introducing evidence from Laura Pettitte regarding conversations between she and her husband about Clemens. The defense lawyers called any such evidence inadmissible hearsay.

"Testimony regarding Mrs. Pettitte’s second-hand conversations regarding Mr. Clemens is classic hearsay to which no exception appears to apply," Clemens' attorneys said in the court papers.

Walton's admonition today of the prosecution was the second in two days. During the government's opening statement Wednesday morning, Walton told jurors to disregard a statement Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Durham made about the use of performance-enhancing drugs among other players.

Clemens is charged with perjury and other crimes for allegedly lying to Congress in 2008 when he denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs. Hardin yesterday in court said the defense plans to attack the credibility of Clemens' former trainer, Brian McNamee, a government witness.

Jury selection in the Clemens case last several days. Walton does not use a jury questionnaire.

Freedom Rider: Rupert Murdoch and Media Corruption By Margaret Kimberley

By BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

r-murdoch.jpgThe bottomless cesspool that was Rupert Murdoch’s London tabloid News of the World is gone, but the ruthless corporate politics of its master still hold sway in the U.S. and Britain. Murdoch is the great vampire of media corruption and consolidation on both sides of the Atlantic. But he is not a solitary villain. ‘Murdoch was not the only media beneficiary when the FCC allowed him and others to consolidate their power and influence.’ All corporate media are truth thieves.
‘Murdoch felt he had nothing to fear from politicians and that he was probably right to be so unconcerned.’

If it can be said that there is one lord of world wide corporate media, that person is Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch’s News Corporation reigns supreme in television and print media in his native Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Americans are most familiar with News Corporation ownership of the Fox news cable channel, the New York Post, Dow Jones Inc., the Wall Street Journal, and Twentieth Century Fox film studio among others. The Murdoch organization is not just big, but has a distinct political point of view. Despite the claim of being ‘fair and balanced’ Fox news and other Murdoch outlets blatantly promote and protect conservative interests and politics.

One of Murdoch’s British newspapers, the News of the World, is embroiled in a scandal so overwhelming that it caused the mogul to close down that publication. Over a period of years, the News of the World hired private investigators to hack into the voice mail messages of members of the British royal family, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, celebrities, and other prominent people.

‘Fox news and other Murdoch outlets blatantly promote and protect conservative interests and politics.’
The News of the World settled out of court with some of those injured by the invasion of privacy. In other cases, a reporter and an investigator were sentenced to jail for their actions. These cases are not new, and have been percolating just below the surface with the News Corporation successfully minimizing bad publicity. The ability to keep this sordid news from affecting the conglomerate until recently is just one indicator of the very corrupt relationship between corporate media and politicians.

British Prime Minister David Cameron tapped Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor, to be his communications director. This appointment came about despite the emerging scandal. Coulson eventually resigned as the story unfolded, and he has since been arrested, but his hiring proved that Murdoch felt he had nothing to fear from politicians and that he was probably right to be so unconcerned.

As with all wrong doing however, some truth came eventually to light that changed the equation. A story broke which involved not just phone hacking but police misconduct and interference with a kidnapping and murder investigation. In 2002 a British teenager was abducted and later found murdered. During the time she was missing and still not accounted for, her voice mails were deleted and her family was given false hope that she was still alive.

It was a News of the World private investigator who deleted the voice mails and compromised an ongoing police investigation. Some police officers were misdirected in their investigation of the case, while others were on the take and gave News of the World backchannel information in an effort to keep a good relationship with the corporate power house.

‘Murdoch received a permanent waiver of FCC rules that prohibit ownership of a newspaper and television station in the same city.’

The recognition of this conduct caused immediate and universal revulsion among the British public, frightened advertisers, and caused politicians to outdo one another in condemning the publication.

All of this makes good fodder for the rest of the media, but no one is talking about what all of this says about government and press relations and not just in Britain but in this country as well. Murdoch received a permanent waiver of FCC rules that prohibit ownership of a newspaper and television station in the same city. The New York Post and WNYW television are all allowed to remain in his hands, and give him a disproportionately large voice in the media capital of the United States. The media are controlled by many wealthy individuals and corporations, and our ability get useful information is compromised in this process.
Money is a corrupting influence and corruption in the media is particularly pernicious. Throughout history, the press have influenced public opinion, and by doing so shape events and influence popular thought on the important issues of the moment. When the media are concentrated into fewer and fewer and wealthier hands, the potential for abuse is enormous. Murdoch was not the only media beneficiary when the FCC allowed him and others to consolidate their power and influence. He is just one of the most prominent.

Bad publicity aside, there is every reason to believe that Murdoch will succeed in purchasing Britain’s Sky News Service. He may be delayed by these events, but he is rich and powerful and will eventually emerge triumphant. Depending upon which way the political winds blow, more reporters, editors and corrupt police officers may suffer, but it is the man with the gold who makes the rules.

Politicians in London, New York and Washington will still dance to the tune of the Murdochs of the world. It is they who decide who will and won’t be in the power in the first place.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)”