Monday, April 18, 2011


I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

For those who want further information about the topics covered in this blog, I recommend the following sites. I will add to this as I find additional good sources.

Must Watch: Brother, Can You Spare A Trillion?: Government Gone Wild!
The Collapse is coming. ~Bob.

Club for Growth: Trump is a Liberal
Excerpt: Club for Growth President Chris Chocola is not a fan of The Don. In a release, Chocola blasted Trump, saying: Donald Trump has advocated for massive tax increases that display a stunning lack of knowledge of how to create jobs. His love for a socialist-style universal health care system and his alarming obsession with protectionist policies are automatic disqualifiers among free-market conservatives. This publicity stunt will sputter and disappear just as quickly as the ‘The Apprentice’ is losing viewers.

UK: Lybian Dissident Who Photographed the Death of Policewoman Yvonne Fletcher Speaks Out Against the Gaddafi Regime
Excerpt: Last night Mr Maklouf spoke of his disgust that Gaddafi remains in power while his former henchman Moussa Koussa, accused of involvement in WPc Fletcher's murder, has been given sanctuary in the UK. The day WPc Fletcher was shot, at the age of just 25, remains clear in his memory. Mr Maklouf remembers first seeing the policewoman when he and his fellow activists arrived by coach at the Libyan embassy in St James's Square for a protest against Gaddafi-sponsored murders and executions. "She was greeting us as we got off the bus," said Mr Maklouf, "She said 'good morning, what a beautiful day'. Five minutes later she was shot.

Pain Relief - It is Just an Illusion
Excerpt: The discovery was made by chance during a community open day at the university when visitors were invited to experience some of the body distortion illusions used in every day research. A person places their hand inside a box containing a camera, which then projects the image in real-time onto a screen in front of them. The subject then sees their fingers being apparently stretched and shrunk by someone gently pushing and pulling from the other side of the box. It is supposed to just trick the mind into thinking your hand is being massaged – but it had the added bonus of relieving the pain of arthritis. Dr Catherine Preston, co-researcher who is now at Nottingham Trent University, said an elderly woman tried out the illusion. "We were giving her a practical demonstration of illusory finger stretching when she announced: 'My finger doesn't hurt any more!' and asked whether she could take the machine home with her!", she said.

FBI shuts down Internet poker sites
Excerpt: A thriving online poker industry catering to Americans but operating from abroad to evade U.S. gambling laws could be wiped out by criminal charges against top executives in the business. (…) The FBI had shut down two of the sites, Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, by Friday evening and were working to do the same with the third, Absolute Poker. Online visitors were greeted with a message saying, "This domain name has been seized by the F.B.I. pursuant to an Arrest Warrant," and an enumeration of federal anti-gambling statutes and penalties. An estimated 8 million to 10 million Americans play poker online for money; thousands of them earn their living on the sites, according to a players advocacy group. (I thought something was odd when I tried to log on to Full Tilt Poker and got only a message telling me “the software update is unavailable at this time.” I’ve been playing in the “free” games there as DeRagMan (for a character legendary in the USMC) since last Labor Day, and had accumulated just over 900,000 chips to date. The players were literally from all over the world; Americans seemed to be about 35% to 50% of the whole (what happens to the seized money of non-Americans playing legally from their own country?). One of my purposes in playing the free games—other than simple enjoyment—was watching for signs of players trying to find ways around the rules. I did, in fact, find a case so obvious I was able to report it to Security, and I believe they removed the player, certainly I haven’t seen him in the two months since it happened. Regardless of your feelings on gambling for money, no one can point at harm coming from the free games unless they also condemn Crazy 8s, Old Maid, Hearts, Bridge, Pinochle, and even Chess (all of which I have played for money at one time or another). Not to mention Pool/Billiards, Darts, and Golf that I don’t play. These are mostly considered games of skill that involve an element of chance. Though the law being enforced was passed while GWB was President, I’m pretty sure it was while the Dems controlled Congress. Damn bluenoses of all parties. Ron P.  Ron's still trying the get even from when we played regularly in 1965 at MCRD. ~Bob. ).

Elie Wiesel Does The Right Thing
Excerpt: Back in February we reported on the (ultimately successful) campaign by an organization known as the Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada to keep the historian Srdja Trifkovic from speaking at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. The IRGC is a front group for radical Bosnian Muslims who aim to perpetuate the narrative of the “genocide” at Srebrenica during the civil war in Bosnia. They don’t take kindly to anyone who interrupts their fantasy with the truth; hence their antipathy towards Srdja Trifkovic. Dr. Trifkovic’s subsequent research into the background of the IRGC has borne fruit: the renowned scholar and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel resigned last week from the advisory board of the IRGC. Here’s the report from The Lord Byron Foundation:

Israeli soldiers don't let a pregnant Palestinian woman pass through a military barricade
And the world condemns Israel. ~Bob

The Week That Was: 2011-04-16 (April 16, 2011)
Excerpt: The work of Sherwood, Craig, and Keith Idso, and many other scientists, has clearly established that an atmosphere enriched with carbon dioxide provides for more robust plant growth than the current atmosphere. Thus, a carbon dioxide enriched atmosphere is a great benefit to agriculture, humanity, and the environment. The EPA ignores this work. Further, the threat to the public's health is based on numerical models that have never been verified and are likely very wrong. Generally recognized calculations based on the "greenhouse theory" demonstrate that a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide will result in an increase of about 1 deg C. Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognizes this. When compared with the natural temperature changes for the past 20,000 years, when the last ice age reached its maximum extent, an increase of 1 deg. C is not particularly significant. (Especially see the first two articles of the week. Ron P.)

Allen West Speaks at the 3rd Annual Tax Day Tea Party in Palm Beach County

Authorities Seize Huge Weapons Consignment Bound for Syria
Excerpt: The authorities seized on Sunday a huge consignment of weapons in a refrigerator truck driven by an Iraqi in a bid to smuggle it from Iraq to Syria via al-Tanf border crossing. Director-General of Syrian Customs Mustapha al-Bikai said the weapons seized comprise up-to-date machine guns of various kinds, automatic rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, night-vision scopes, grenade launchers and large quantities of various kinds of ammunition. He said the weapons were hidden in a 12-meter-long secret compartment, well-prepared and equipped with compressors for opening it, adding that the weapons were enveloped in a tin material so as not to be detected by devices.

False pretense for war in Libya?
Excerpt: EVIDENCE IS now in that President Barack Obama grossly exaggerated the humanitarian threat to justify military action in Libya. The president claimed that intervention was necessary to prevent a “bloodbath’’ in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city and last rebel stronghold. But Human Rights Watch has released data on Misurata, the next-biggest city in Libya and scene of protracted fighting, revealing that Moammar Khadafy is not deliberately massacring civilians but rather narrowly targeting the armed rebels who fight against his government. Misurata’s population is roughly 400,000. In nearly two months of war, only 257 people — including combatants — have died there. Of the 949 wounded, only 22 — less than 3 percent — are women. If Khadafy were indiscriminately targeting civilians, women would comprise about half the casualties. ... But intervention did not prevent genocide, because no such bloodbath was in the offing. To the contrary, by emboldening rebellion, US interference has prolonged Libya’s civil war and the resultant suffering of innocents.

Hamas in predicament over clash between solidarity with Muslim Brotherhood and dependence on Assad regime
Excerpt: Hamas has found itself in a predicament over the clash between its solidarity with Muslim Brotherhood elements in Syria interested in toppling the regime, as well as with Sheikh al-Qaradawi’s attack on Bashar al-Assad, and its dependence on the assistance provided by the Assad regime to its infrastructure and terrorist activity.

VIDEO: Ann Althouse: A 14 year old girl speaks at a Tea Party rally in Madison, Wisconsin and is Drowned Out by Chants, Boos and Cowbells
 Excerpt: This video — shot by Meade and edited by me — begins with a little boy banging on a plastic bucket "drum." A man with a guitar is performing — amplified — on the stage, but we can barely hear him over the crowd noise. There is incessant ringing of cowbells. Then, we can hear that a young woman is speaking from the stage to the Tea Party crowd as the protesters do what they can to drown her out. She finishes — "God bless America" — and the tea partiers cheer but the protesters overwhelm them with boos. The emcee comes to the mike and we hear that the speaker was only 14 years old. [Ann Althouse is the Law professor who has received threats from union thugs. This is one of them:]

"Wear a headscarf or we will kill you': London Taliban' Targeting Women and Gays in Bid to Impose Sharia Law
Excerpt: An Asian woman who works in a pharmacy in east London was told to dress more modestly and wear a veil or the shop would be boycotted. When she went to the media to talk about the abuse she suffered, a man later entered the pharmacy and told her: 'If you keep doing these things, we are going to kill you'. The 31-year-old, who is not a practising Muslim, said she has since been told to take holiday by the pharmacy owners and now fears she may lose her job. She said: 'Why should I wear a hijab (headscarf) or burqa? I haven't done anything wrong.' (Ten years ago, I'm walking along the street in a small North-of-England town in West Yorkshire. The town is near Bradford, which is basically Pakistan. The four ugliest guys I've ever seen approach from the other direction. They extend their arms towards me, while recoiling at the same time. They start wriggling their fingers at me as if they are trying to do a magic spell to make the Whore of Babylon disappear, as if I am the 54-year-old temptress, AS IF they had any chance. What would they feel free to do today, I wonder?-Kate)

This Year In Jerusalem
Excerpt: Yasser Arafat was an Egyptian; yet, he's considered to be the father of modern Palestine. How does one square that circle? OK - If he was the farther of modern Palestine, whom did he follow? Who was the last leader of Palestine before him at any time in history? What were the borders of the previous Palestine? And when did Palestine actually become a recognizable nation? In the case of Israel, setting the religious aspect of Israel aside, Israel's first recognized leader was King David, of David and Goliath fame. David's capital was Hebron, which is now in the hands of so-called Palestinians.

Timo Soini: The Finnish Bear Mauling the EU's Bailout Plans
 Excerpt: Support for Mr Soini's stance has risen four fold since the last election in 2007, when his party got just four per cent of the poll. Coupled with rising opposition to the bail-out among other Finnish minority blocs, Mr Soini could - with a spot of post-election horse-trading - make a majority vote for the bailout difficult. An aimiable, jokey figure, who is rarely spotted without his Millwall FC football scarf, he has already performed the near-miracle of making Finland's normally lacklustre elections exciting - and, in the process, has earned Helsinki the ire of Brussels' top Eurocrats. Only a week ago, the country got a headmasterly warning from Olli Rehn, the EU's commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, and a native of Finland himself. "I trust that Finland will show its responsibility and support this conditional financial assistance programme for Portugal," scolded Mr Rehn, who is the EU's most senior economic official.

Early Poll Results Show Nationalist Gains in Finland
Excerpt: Helsinki - The expected rise of Finland's True Finns party was confirmed in early vote counting Sunday, after polls in the parliamentary election closed at 1700 GMT. Initial results showed the True Finns in third place with 18.7 per cent of the vote, a jump on the 4.1 per cent the party won in 2007. 'I am very satisfied, our work has been supported by the Finnish people,' True Finns leader Timo Soini said of the surge that is likely to influence the composition of the next government. The conservative National Coalition, with 20.1 per cent of the vote, appeared on track to be the biggest party in the 200-seat assembly.

Finland: NCP Biggest Party, True Finns Make Huge Gains
Excerpt: The populist True Finns saw their vote rise by 15 percentage points compared with the last election in 2007 to become the third biggest party. The largest party is the centre-right National Coalition, with the Social Democrats in second place. Turnout was up on 2007 in what will be seen as a protest vote against the established parties and the eurozone bailout.

Simon & Schuster's Revenge
Excerpt: In 1993, thirty-three-year-old Barack Obama stiffed Poseidon Press, then an imprint of Simon & Schuster -- producing absolutely nothing for the publisher that in November 1990 had given the new graduate of Harvard Law School a $125,000 advance to write a book about race relations in America. Eighteen years later, Simon & Schuster has achieved a modicum of revenge (intended or not) by contracting with literary and intellectual sleuth Jack Cashill to impose on Obama a little of the transparency he so disingenuously promised during the campaign of 2008. Given Obama's approach to truth, the title of Cashill's sometimes impertinent sounding imposition -- Deconstructing Obama: The Life, Loves, and Letters of America's First Postmodern President -- suggests an appropriate methodology.

U.S. secretly backed Syrian opposition groups, cables released by WikiLeaks show
Damn George Bush, meddling in other countries. Oh, wait, he’s gone… ~Bob. Excerpt: The State Department has secretly financed Syrian political opposition groups and related projects, including a satellite TV channel that beams anti-government programming into the country, according to previously undisclosed diplomatic cables. The London-based satellite channel, Barada TV, began broadcasting in April 2009 but has ramped up operations to cover the mass protests in Syria as part of a long-standing campaign to overthrow the country’s autocratic leader, Bashar al-Assad. Human rights groups say scores of people have been killed by Assad’s security forces since the demonstrations began March 18; Syria has blamed the violence on “armed gangs.” (Perversely, the main reason I believe this could be true is because it is totally ineffective and has “a tiny market share.” If it was accomplishing anything, we’d never have heard about it. --Ron P.)

Gaddafi’s son: We will deal with terrorists first and then talk reform
Excerpt: Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the influential second son of Moammar Gaddafi who was once seen as the great hope for reform in Libya, is clear on two points: He and his government have done nothing wrong, and they are not going to back down. In an interview that reflected the defiance of the Gaddafi family more than two months into its efforts to put down a rebellion supported by the United States and its allies, the 38-year-old said the world had gone to war with Libya based on nothing more than rumor and propaganda.

Excerpt: Here are the five most important things you need to know about Paul Ryan, Barack Obama and Medicare. You won’t find this anywhere else. 1. Seniors Take It on the Shin. Without any help from Paul Ryan — and without a single Republican vote — the Affordable Care Act is going to reduce spending on Medicare by $523 billion over the next 10 years, relative to what it would have been. This reduced spending — which will mainly consist of lower fees for doctors and hospitals — will continue into the future and will be enforced by an independent commission. Although the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have different projections, Obama administration representatives have officially signed off on the CMS report, which projects that Medicare will grow no faster than the rate of growth of gross domestic product (GDP), as the following chart shows. To give you some idea of how radical this change is, on the day Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act legislation, he cut Medicare’s long-term, unfunded liability in half!

Protesters and anarchists harass a peaceful Tea Party event in Arizona
Excerpt: group of pro illegal immigration/open borders protesters and anarchists attempt to take away the freedom of speech of Tea Party members by drowning them out. Painted white faces, mocking "white people" waving Mexican Flags, calling AZ the state of hate.

Framing The Debt Limit Debate
Excerpt: In May, Congress will begin debate on our nation’s debt limit. The debt limit is an alarm bell built into our nation’s laws, which forces members of Congress to confront out-of-control spending when our debt reaches a certain level. Five times in the last four years, we have ignored this alarm bell. This time must be different. It would irresponsible and reckless for them to even consider raising the limit without also enacting spending cuts and reform. The nation’s credit worthiness is directly tied to our fiscal stewardship, not our desire to borrow. America would send a strong signal to global financial markets by taking prudent steps to address our out-of-control spending habits, not by blindly giving ourselves another blank check. Today’s national debt—the public debt that government has accumulated to finance its out-of-control spending—is approximately $14.3 trillion. To put that into perspective, the government’s annual budget for 2011, which is in itself bloated, is roughly $3.7 trillion. And to put the future health of our economy in perspective, President Obama proposed in his 2012 Budget proposal that we add $9 trillion to that debt over the next ten years.

Head of Surgeons Group Resigns Over Article Viewed as Offensive to Women
Excerpt: The president-elect of the American College of Surgeons resigned his position Sunday after weeks of controversy surrounding a Valentine’s Day editorial he wrote touting the mood-enhancing effects of semen on women during unprotected sex. In a statement sent by e-mail to The New York Times, the surgeon, Dr. Lazar Greenfield, said his many apologies had been ignored. “Therefore, rather than have this remain a disruptive issue, I resigned as president-elect,” he said. “I only hope that those who choose to judge me will read the article in the spirit in which it was intended.”(His hopes will be dashed. Ron P.)

Wisconsin's Election Snafu Is a National Wake-Up Call
Excerpt: It's been over a decade since the Bush-Gore recount in Florida was supposed to spur a wholesale modernization of our election systems. But a stunning mistake made by a Wisconsin county clerk in a nationally watched state Supreme Court race reminded us of how far we have to go.

The Much-Maligned V-22 Osprey Is Confounding Critics
Excerpt: On March 22, two Marine V-22 Osprey rotorcraft from the amphibious assault vessel USS Kearsarge rescued an Air Force pilot whose fighter had crashed in Libya. It was the first time Marines had used the V-22 in such a mission, and the operation went very well owing to the fact that the V-22 is the only aircraft in the world that can fly as far and fast as a turboprop airplane, and then hover or land like a helicopter. Within 90 minutes the downed pilot was safely retrieved, opening a new chapter in the expanding chronicle of Osprey successes. The V-22s used in the Libyan rescue mission had been sent to the Mediterranean from a Marine unit operating in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, where local commanders have praised the agility and resilience of the aircraft. Only weeks before the rescue, the unit in Helmand had recorded the 100,000th flight hour for the V-22 program, which is rapidly changing the way the Marine Corps performs military operations. What’s remarkable about the Osprey’s recent series of successes is that it is probably the most maligned weapons system in modern times, an aircraft that was dogged by controversy throughout its 25-year development.

The Battle That Dare Not Speak Its Name: 48 Hours in the Life of an Anti-Islamist
Excerpt: A deservedly popular network radio program asked to interview me—but then begged me to “work with them” because they are being closely monitored in terms of their “Islamic” content. “Please be sure to say something like ‘Many Muslims are moderate,’ or ‘All Muslims are not jihadists.’” I assured him that I usually say these kinds of things anyway because I believe them—but still, a cold wind blew across my grave. A distinguished American government publication had previously interviewed me at great length and very respectfully about honor killings. The editors ultimately asked me to participate in a debate about whether coverage of honor killings in the West “stigmatizes” Muslims. I said it did not—that if anyone was “stigmatized” it was Hindus, whose India-based honor killings are covered by the same American mainstream media which will not cover Muslim honor killings in America. Guess what? When they sent me the final version for my approval I saw that they had dropped the word “Muslim” before “honor killings” and had added a sentence that softened what I had to say about such Muslim-on-Muslim crimes. I immediately re-inserted the word “Muslim” and hope that the piece sees the light of day as I wrote it. I believe it will. I did not raise my voice or lose patience. Calmly but firmly, I re-inserted my own words and once more explained why they were logically necessary. But I did wonder: To what extent have the Saudis bought up our government media? Or are the same-old-same-old “politically correct” speech code censorship regulations operating behind the scenes without benefit of legislation?

Interesting discussion of risk. ~Bob. Excerpt: Translation: Scared people who don’t understand or care about parsing probabilities end up spending far more than is rational to avoid truly tiny risks. Worse yet, policy makers are often stampeded by frightened constituents into enacting regulations that cost far more than the benefits they offer in risk reduction.

Hindus, Sikhs may face worse times in future: report
Religious tolerance in an Islamic country. ~Bob. Excerpt: The previous year was a bad one for Pakistan's minority communities including Muslims of various sects, Sikhs and Hindus due to threat to their lives by militants, according to a new report which suggested even worse times ahead. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan's report said 418 Muslims of various sects were killed in terror attacks and about 25 per cent of Sikh families in the Orakzai tribal area were forced to leave their homes due to threats from Taliban. It said 500 Hindu families from Balochistan province migrated to India due to threats to their lives and security.

Would You Settle Your Claims on Social Security for 83 Cents on the Dollar? (I Would)
Excerpt: If a debt cannot be paid, it will not be paid—at least not paid in full. In dealing with such debts, the fundamental logic is to settle unpayable debts at a discount, at less than 100 cents on the dollar. This can happen by voluntary agreement when a mortgage loan is settled for less than the amount of the loan through a “short sale,” for example (an increasingly familiar transaction in the wake of the burst housing bubble). It can happen when a troubled company buys back its own bonds from the market at a discount. Of course, it can also happen in a reorganization under the bankruptcy code. In all cases, the point is for the parties to put past mistakes behind them and for life to go on. Let us consider the Social Security program. The interaction of its design by politicians with the demographic and economic facts has the unavoidable and well-known result that its debt (its “promises,” if you prefer) cannot be paid in full. Could Social Security’s debt be settled at a discount by voluntary transactions with its creditors, namely American citizens

President Whatever Finds Things Not Going His Way
Excerpt: If Obamacare is so great, why are so many trying to get out from under it? And, more specifically, why are so many Democratic groups trying to get out from under it?
The fact is that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has granted more than 1,000 waivers from Obamacare. Many have been granted to labor unions. Some have been granted to giant corporations like McDonald's. One was granted to the entire state of Maine.
By what criteria is this relief being granted? That's unclear, and the GAO audit should produce some answers. But what it looks like to an outsider is that waivers are being granted to constituencies that have coughed up money (or, in the case of Maine, four electoral votes) to the Democrats.

America Faces the Fiscal Facts
Gee 17%. America doesn’t begin to understand the fiscal facts. ~Bob. Excerpt: The most heartening thing about our road trip was the realization that such questions are not only on the minds of statesmen and professors. The students we met were also eager to discuss finance and politics. Even Joe Public now gets it: according to Gallup, 17 percent of Americans now see the deficit as the biggest problem facing the United States, compared with just 5 percent six months ago and practically zero a year ago. Churchill had it right. The United States will always do the right thing once all the other possibilities have been exhausted. For a long time many people clung to the delusion that the United States could simply borrow $1 trillion a year for the rest of time. Now only two possibilities remain. The first possibility is the one devised by Rep. Paul Ryan, which would eliminate the deficit largely through deep spending cuts and Medicare reform. Possibility two is President Obama’s bid to close the budget gap with more modest cuts and tax hikes on “millionaires and billionaires.”

New national cemetery in San Diego rushes to meet pent-up demand
Excerpt: As a combat medic in Vietnam with the Army's 1st Air Cavalry Division in 1968 and 1969, John A. Smith III risked his life repeatedly to rescue wounded comrades. He was wounded three times and awarded the Bronze Star for valor. (…) …[O]f all his efforts on behalf of veterans, none may have meant more to Smith than the years he spent lobbying in Washington, trying to persuade officials that San Diego, home to one of the country's largest military communities, deserved a second national cemetery. In January 2010, just days before groundbreaking at Miramar National Cemetery, Smith died of a heart attack at the age of 62. On Thursday, he was given the honor of the first casket burial at the new cemetery. (For a few weeks in 1965, Bob Hall and I were members of the Rifle Squad of the USMC Burial Detail for what was then called Point Loma National Cemetery. It was a beautiful place, rolling hillsides with the Pacific to the west and San Diego Bay to the east. It appears the name was changed and it has now been pretty much filled to capacity. If the Miramar site is even half as nice, it will be a fitting place to honor those who have led the way. Ron P.)

Why Pro-Choice Feminists Should Want Planned Parenthood To Be Defunded
Excerpt: There are three key reasons why Planned Parenthood shouldn’t receive taxpayer subsidies. Defunding Planned Parenthood would only reduce our $1.3 trillion federal deficit by 0.024%. However, the fundamental question ought to be: is funding Planned Parenthood (or any other organization) the proper, constitutional role of the federal government? It is not. Libertarian feminists believe in equal treatment for women, but we don’t believe that some people have the right to rifle through other people’s wallets to pay for their pet causes (even causes that we support). We believe that funding an organization such as Planned Parenthood properly belongs in the private sector. Liberal feminists argue that the “general welfare” clause in Article I, Section VIII of our Constitution covers activities such as funding Planned Parenthood. However, James Madison, the principal author of the U.S. Constitution, stated that the “general welfare” clause is limited to the delineated powers specified in the Constitution.

Government-mafia links continue to remain strong in Italy, experts say
Excerpt: Links between the Italian government and the mafia, a problem that has plagued Italy for decades, remain strong, according to members of the Italian opposition. Apart from continued criticism from some segments of Italy’s political opposition, some experts note that the problem stems not only from a culture of cooperation between politics and organized crime, but from politicians’ cooperation with “legitimate” corporate interests.

Texas University Endowment Storing About $1 Billion in Gold Bars
Excerpt: The University of Texas Investment Management Co., the second-largest U.S. academic endowment, took delivery of almost $1 billion in gold bullion and is storing the bars in a New York vault, according to the fund’s board. The fund, whose $19.9 billion in assets ranked it behind Harvard University’s endowment as of August, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers, added about $500 million in gold investments to an existing stake last year, said Bruce Zimmerman, the endowment’s chief executive officer. The holdings are worth about $987 million, based on yesterday’s closing price of $1,486 an ounce for Comex futures. (If the Jihadists nuke NYC, not an impossible prospect, may turn out to be a bad storage location. ~Bob.)

BRICS Challenging Western Economic and Political Governance of the World
Excerpt: Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The five-member BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), meeting for their first summit a Sanya (on China’s Hainan Island), want to push the US and Europe to end their monopoly on leadership positions at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. BRICS leaders also said that violence should be avoided in the managing the crises in Libya and Arab nations, clearly aiming their criticism at the NATO air campaign in Libya even though it was not openly named.

Democracy? Democracy.
Excerpt: The story here is, another nation in the world has moved from dictatorship to democracy. That change has been, at least for now, accomplished without the need for government tanks or NATO aircraft. According to some sources people have been living here for 10 millennia. Over the past half century, since its independence from Great Britain, Nigeria had been under on-again off-again military rule. Civilian government has been trying to sprout for the past decade and this past weekend, it appears to have come into full bloom. (Good news from an unexpected quarter. Ron P.)

VIDEO: SB1070: It's Working
Excerpt: As I wrote earlier, open-border activists showed up at a tea party rally in Phoenix, Ariz. over the weekend and tried to shout down State Senator Russell Pearce during his speech where he discussed the success of SB 1070, the Obama Administration's fight against border security, the increased funding he has allocated to Sheriff Joe Arpaio to fight illegal immigration and joked about the many times people have taken shots at him with bullets, lawsuits and words. Pearce cited a rapid decrease in prison inmate population, $500 million in education savings and higher employment among legal Arizona residents since SB 1070 was implemented just a year ago, proving illegal immigration should be looked at as an economic issue in addition to a national security issue.

France Stops All Italian Trains Carrying North African Immigrants
Excerpt: In dramatic scenes in Menton, in south east France, border guards including riot police halted hundreds of mainly North African men who have crossed from Libya and Tunisia. The trains, on which they travelled and which also contained political activists calling for better rights for immigrants, were attempting to cross from the nearby Italian border station of Ventimiglia. "Our orders are to cancel all services from Italy," said a spokesman for the French national train operator SNCF. He said the trains had been stopped on the orders of the Alpes-Maritimes Prefecture "until further notice". The Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, directed his embassy in Paris to lodge a protest with France.

IPT Profiles Hamza Yusuf
Hamza Yusuf is a difficult man to figure out. As a new IPT profile on Yusuf shows, he believes that American culture "revels in" war and violence. He has argued that Muslims, including the inspiration for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, do not get justice in American courts. Yet, unlike one of his partners at Zaytuna, he has never flinched in acknowledging Muslims were behind the 9/11 attacks. He apologized for having called Judaism racist. He was embraced by the Bush White House after 9/11, but often sees America as a malevolent force in the world. Yusuf is founder and president of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, Calif., which seeks to become "the first accredited Muslim college in the United States." He also is a popular speaker and oft-quoted source in the media.

Important: Exchequer
Excerpt: Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the long-term outlook for U.S. sovereign debt came as a shock. It shouldn’t have. Credit-rating agencies (CRAs) such as S&P are a government-chartered cartel, with constraints on competition and a customer base guaranteed by statute. They are the sleepy backwaters of the financial world — and they are always the last to know. As one investment strategist put it to me this morning: We’ve been watching this train go by for a while now, and this is the caboose. The textbook example of this is the case of Enron. All of the credit-rating agencies had Enron rated like stacks of solid gold until a few weeks before Jeff Skillings’s financial underpants finally hit his ankles. But long before the CRAs woke up, the markets had driven Enron’s stock price down to almost nothing. The ratings agencies aren’t the opening act — they’re the fat lady sweating out the final aria in our national fiscal Götterdämmerung. A little over a year ago, the markets already were telling us that the government’s story about how it is finally going to fix its finances is pure fiction.

Robert A. Hall

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