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Category Archives: USA

The Beginning of the End?

Can anyone explain how Mankind is going to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere (now above 4 parts per million), without which GW will be catastrophic, with an average rise of 6̊C or even more in the worst-case scenario?

Pollticians blather on about renewables, but even as I write, many countries are planning to extract shale oil; Iraq and Iran are racking up oil production; nuclear is being phased out in Germany and elsewhere, while coal burning increases – last year China was opening one new coal-fired power station PER WEK – not sure if this extreaordinary rate has slowed, but India is also vastly increasing emissions….

No economy can stay solvent without growth, but growth is currently impossible without even more emissions.

My conclusion is that it is almost impossible to imagine how bad this could get, economically, socially and in terms of natural disasters.

And in the short-term (which is of most interest to politicians), European industry is going to be decimated. Gas prices in the US are now around three times lower than in Europe. How the hell can high-energy European firms stay competitive? Even German industry is looking down the barrel of a gun.

This is from “The Daily Telegraph”:

“Last week, I spoke to Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Authority (IEA), who is often described as the world’s leading forecaster in this field. He has been telling anyone in Europe willing to listen that the continent faces a major crisis of competitiveness because of high energy prices. “This year is critical,” he told me. “I don’t see many such junctures in the economic history of Europe in which energy could play such a critical role for the long-term prosperity of the European people.”

The problems are these. Europe’s high subsidies for renewables to meet climate change targets, coupled with the switch to gas, which is expensive to import, are damaging energy-intensive manufacturers, who between them employ some 30 million people. Nuclear power has either been blocked, as in Germany, or delayed, as in the UK, and the take-up of shale has been painfully slow. In America, by contrast, the shale revolution has seen energy prices tumble, making industry more profitable and putting extra money into the pockets of consumers – so far, $1,300 a year for every American, expected to rise to $4,000 by 2015.

The head of one of Europe’s biggest energy companies told a conference I attended recently that the EU’s energy policy was a “total mess”. He added: “Not only are we unable to attract investment to create new jobs, but we risk losing them as well.”

My advice? Plant potatoes, prepare sandbags, get a gun – and pray.

 

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O’Blather & the Debt Ceiling

Obama

When I first read the speech below, I thought it was a joke. How could a serious politician say this and yet once in power 5 years later have the exact opposite view? But this is politics.  We have come to expect politicians to say anything they feel in in their short-term interests and/or based on party dogma – opposing anything the opposition does as a matter of course, no matter how appropriate it might be.

Take Francois Hollande: BEFORE the presidential election in 2012 he castigated Sarkozy for imüosing “austerity”, yet the day after his election he continued with exactly the same policy, only MORE so, with over 70 new or increased taxes.

As it happens, I think Obama was right in 2006 and utterly, moronically wrong ever since his election to the Presidency, but the sheer contrast between then and now makes it – for me – imperative that we do not forget this 2006 speech, which I copy below. I can’t see any way out of the shambles this current generation of politicians has got us into until we get better leadership. Look at what we have!

Obama, Cameron, Hollande, Putin – and several others, not all as bad no doubt, but that is enough to be going on with. How can one tke any of them seriously, or indeed have any hope for long-term solutions?

March 16, 2006 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD—SENATE S2237-2238:

“Mr. President, I rise today to talk about America’s debt problem. The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to
$8.6 trillion. That is ‘‘trillion’’ with a ‘‘T.’’ That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers. And over the next 5 years, between now and 2011, the President’s budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion.

Numbers that large are sometimes hard to understand. Some people may wonder why they matter. Here is why: This year, the Federal Government will spend $220 billion on interest. That is more money to pay interest on our national debt than we’ll spend on Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. That is more money to pay interest on our debt this year than we will spend on education, homeland security, transportation, and veterans benefits combined. It is more money in one year than we are likely to spend to rebuild the devastated gulf coast in a way that honors the best of America.

And the cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the Federal budget. This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities and States of critical investments in infrastructure like bridges, ports, and levees; robbing our families and our children of critical investments in education and health care reform; robbing our seniors of the retirement and health security they have counted on.

Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities. Instead, interest payments are a significant tax on all Americans—a debt tax that Washington doesn’t want to talk about. If Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we would see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies.

But we are not doing that. Despite repeated efforts by Senators CONRAD and FEINGOLD, the Senate continues to reject a return to the commonsense Pay-go rules that used to apply. Previously, Pay-go rules applied both to increases in mandatory spending and
to tax cuts. The Senate had to abide by the commonsense budgeting principle of balancing expenses and revenues. Unfortunately, the principle was abandoned, and now the demands of budget discipline apply only to spending.

As a result, tax breaks have not been paid for by reductions in Federal spending, and thus the only way to pay for them has been to increase our deficit to historically high levels and borrow more and more money. Now we have to pay for those tax breaks plus
the cost of borrowing for them. Instead of reducing the deficit, as some people claimed, the fiscal policies of this administration and its allies in Congress will add more than $600 million in debt for each of the next 5 years.

That is why I will once again cosponsor the Pay-go amendment and continue to hope that my colleagues will return to a smart rule that has worked in the past and can work again.

Our debt also matters internationally. My friend, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, likes to remind us that it took 42 Presidents 224 years to run up only $1 trillion of foreign-held debt. This administration did more than that in just 5 years. Now, there is nothing wrong with borrowing from foreign countries. But we must remember that the more we depend on foreign nations to lend us money, the more our economic security is tied to the whims of foreign leaders whose interests might not be aligned with ours.

Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘‘the buck stops here.’’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

In April 2011, Obama said this about his 2006 speech:

“I think that it’s important to understand the vantage point of a senator versus the vantage point of a president. When you’re a senator, traditionally what’s happened is, this is always a lousy vote. Nobody likes to be tagged as having increased the debt limit — for the United States by a trillion dollars. As president, you start realizing, you know what, we, we can’t play around with this stuff. This is the full faith and credit of the United States. And so that was just an example of a new senator making what is a political vote as opposed to doing what was important for the country. And I’m the first one to acknowledge it.”

Yes, Mr President, but the people elect politicians to speak the TRUTH, irrespective of whatever “vantage point” they have. Otherwise we think you’ll say anything that seems to you expedient for your own personal advantage at the time.

Read more at http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/debtlimit.asp

SOME SOBERING FACTS:

HAVE A GOOD DAY …...

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2014 in Business & the Economy, Politics, USA

 

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Whither Russia?

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard thinks that falling oil-price will pose big problems for Putin.

I on the other hand, would not put anything past him. An economic crisis could encourage him to stoke up nationalistic fervour even more and invade the Ukraine (“to support the government”) and Central Asia (“to combat terrorism”) and in doing so to restore his beloved Empire of the USSR.

Anyone who underestimates the potential evil of Putin is – frankly – an idiot. Astonishing that so many people seem to have some respect for an ex KGB officer, part of the same security apparatus that murdered 16,000 Poles in Katyn Forest under a totalitarian regime that Putin has said he regrets the demise of – AND a man leading his country when its security services almost certainly murdered one of its enemies on the streets of London. (remember what happened to Trotsky?)

Putin is also a strong supporter of the mass-murdering Assad, who not only recently gassed several thousand people a la Saddam Hussein but for whom there is also strong evidence that his regime has tortured and murdered in cold blood multiple thousands of his enemies.

Putin as an extremely nasty human being. His country is one of the most corrupt in the world outside Africa. His democracy is a sham. The police, media and judiciary in Russia are almost completely under his control.

This hysterical anti-Americanism is just surreal. Nobody’s perfect, but the following are free thanks to the USA in particular: the whole of Europe, most of Asia, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya and no doubt others I have forgotten. The countries the USA failed to liberate include the dictatorships of North Korea, China and Cuba.

The countries occupied by Putin’s beloved USSR suffered decades of oppression, poverty and misery while those occupied by the USA have become rich and powerful (Japan and Germany in particular). If you are so thick that you can’t grasp all this, just compare North and South Korea.

Only a total moron – or a would-be totalitarian fascist – could possibly prefer Putin to the USA.

 
 

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Why Obama won the Election

Please take a moment to digest this provocative article by a Jewish Rabbi from Teaneck , N.J., Steven Pruzansky. It is far and away the most succinct and thoughtful explanation of how our nation is changing. The article appeared in “The Israel National News” in December 2012, and is directed to Jewish readership. 70% of American Jews vote as Democrats.

“The most charitable way of explaining the election results of 2012 is that Americans voted for the status quo – for the incumbent President and for a divided Congress. They must enjoy gridlock, partisanship, incompetence, economic stagnation and avoidance of responsibility. And fewer people voted.

But as we awake from the nightmare, it is important to eschew the facile explanations for the Romney defeat that will prevail among the chattering classes. Romney did not lose because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy that devastated this area, nor did he lose because he ran a poor campaign, nor did he lose because the Republicans could have chosen better candidates, nor did he lose because Obama benefited from a slight uptick in the economy due to the business cycle.

Romney lost because he didn’t get enough votes to win.That might seem obvious, but not for the obvious reasons. Romney lost because the conservative virtues – the traditional American virtues – of  liberty, hard work, free enterprise, private initiative and aspirations to moral greatness – no longer inspire or animate a majority of the electorate.

The simplest reason why Romney lost was because it is impossible to compete against free stuff. Every businessman knows this; that is why the “loss leader” or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool. Obama’s America is one in which free stuff is given away: the adults among the 47,000,000 on food stamps clearly recognized for whom they should vote, and so they did, by the tens of millions; those who – courtesy of Obama – receive two full years of unemployment benefits (which, of course, both disincentivizes looking for work and also motivates people to work off the books while collecting their windfall) surely know for whom to vote. The lure of free stuff is irresistible.

The defining moment of the whole campaign was the revelation of the secretly-recorded video in which Romney acknowledged the difficulty of winning an election in which “47% of the people” start off against him because they pay no taxes and just receive money – “free stuff” – from the government.

Almost half of the population has no skin in the game- they don’t care about high taxes, promoting business, or creating jobs, nor do they care that the money for their free stuff is being borrowed from their children and from the Chinese.

They just want the free stuff that comes their way at someone else’s expense. In the end, that 47% leaves very little margin for error for any Republican, and does not bode well for the future. It is impossible to imagine a conservative candidate winning against such overwhelming odds. People do vote their pocketbooks. In essence, the people vote for a Congress who will not raise their taxes, and for a President who will give them free stuff, never mind who has to pay for it.

That engenders the second reason why Romney lost: the inescapable conclusion that the electorate is ignorant and uninformed. Indeed,  it does not pay to be an informed voter, because most other voters – the clear majority – are unintelligent and easily swayed by emotion and raw populism.That is the indelicate way of saying that too many people vote with their hearts and not their heads. That is why Obama did not have to produce a second term agenda, or even defend his first-term record. He needed only to portray  Mitt Romney as a rapacious capitalist who throws elderly women over a cliff, when he is not just snatching away their cancer medication, while starving the poor and cutting taxes for the rich.

During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai Stevenson: “Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!” Stevenson called back: “That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority!”

Truer words were never spoken.

Obama could get away with saying that “Romney wants the rich to play by a different set of rules” – without ever defining what those different rules were; with saying that the “rich should pay their fair share” – without ever defining what a “fair share” is; with saying that Romney wants the poor, elderly and sick to “fend for themselves” – without even acknowledging that all these government programs are going bankrupt, their current insolvency only papered over by deficit spending.

Similarly, Obama (or his surrogates) could hint to blacks that a Romney victory would lead them back into chains and proclaim to women that their abortions and birth control would be taken away. He could appeal to Hispanics that Romney would have them all arrested and shipped to Mexico and unabashedly state that he will not enforce the current immigration laws. He could espouse the furtherance of the incestuous relationship between governments and unions – in which politicians ply the unions with public money, in exchange for which the unions provide the politicians with votes, in exchange for which the politicians provide more money and the unions provide more votes, etc., even though the money is gone.

Obama also knows that the electorate has changed – that whites will soon be a minority in America(they’re already a minority in California) and that the new immigrants to the US are primarily from the Third World and do not share the traditional American values that attracted immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is a different world, and a different America . Obama is part of that different America , knows it, and knows how to tap into it. That is why he won.

Obama also proved again that negative advertising works, invective sells, and harsh personal attacks succeed. That Romney never engaged in such diatribes points to his essential goodness as a person; his  “negative ads” were simple facts, never personal abuse – facts about high unemployment, lower take-home pay, a loss of American power and prestige abroad, a lack of leadership, etc. As a politician, though, Romney failed   because he did not embrace the devil’s bargain of making unsustainable promises.

It turned out that it was not possible for Romney and Ryan – people of substance, depth and ideas – to compete with the shallow populism and platitudes of their opponents. Obama mastered the politics of envy – of class warfare – never reaching out to Americans as such but to individual groups, and cobbling together a winning majority from these minority groups. If an Obama could not be defeated – with his record and his vision of America, in which free stuff seduces voters – it is hard to envision any change in the future.

The road to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and to a European-socialist economy – those very economies that are collapsing today in Europe – is paved. For Jews, mostly assimilated anyway and staunch Democrats, the results demonstrate again that liberalism is their Torah. Almost 70% voted for a president widely perceived by Israelis and most committed Jews as hostile to Israel. They voted to secure Obama’s future at America’s expense and at Israel ‘s expense – in effect, preferring Obama to Netanyahu by a wide margin.

A dangerous time is ahead. Under present circumstances, it is inconceivable that the US will take any aggressive action against Iran and will more likely thwart any Israeli initiative. The US will preach the importance of negotiations up until the production of the first Iranian nuclear weapon – and then state that the world must learn to live with this new reality.

But this election should be a wake-up call to Jews. There is no permanent empire, nor is there an enduring haven for Jews anywhere in the exile. The American empire began to decline in 2007, and the deterioration has been exacerbated in the last five years. This election only hastens that decline.

Society is permeated with sloth, greed, envy and materialistic excess. It has lost its moorings and its moral foundations. The takers outnumber the givers, and that will only increase in years to come.

The “Occupy” riots across this country in the last two years were mere dress rehearsals for what lies ahead – years of unrest sparked by the increasing discontent of the unsuccessful who want to seize the fruits and the bounty of the successful, and do not appreciate the slow pace of redistribution.

If this election proves one thing, it is that the Old America is gone. And, sad for the world,
it is not coming back. The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.”

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2013 in Core Thought, USA

 

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Decline and Fall in the USA

Great article. Just one sentence sums up the immoral shambles.

“… the Walton family, owners of Walmart, have as much money as the bottom 150 million Americans.”

Empires rise and fall – always have, always will.

You reach the top, then complaceny and corruption set in, then you fall.

Not exactly rocket science. Bad luck if you are born on the way down though ……

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2012 in Politics, USA

 

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Western Confusion over Mubarak

From “The Daily Mail”

Popular uprising against Hosni Mubarak falters as opposition leaders start negotiations and key ringleaders are arrested.

Mubarak is going to get away with it. Whatever “concessions” the protesters have achieved, 300 at the very least have been killed, most by the police, many political prisoners are still in jail, many journalists have been arrested.

Apparently the venal creep has $70 BILLION stashed away somewhere. And Obama is useless. A pity …. the Middle East needs to free its peoples, whatever their religious beliefs. Someone wanted to support Mubarak because he was a “staunch ally”. YOU COULDN’T MAKE IT UP. Since when did the west need FASCISTS as “staunch allies”? Didn’t we learn from our support of the Shah of Iran?

From “The Daily Mail” again – very good on this:

There is only one foreign state that matters to Mubarak and that’s America, which had bankrolled his regime for 30 years and pays for Egypt’s armed forces. And the ­message from Washington? Shockingly, it’s all over the place.

President Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, began by saying Mubarak should stay. Then they said he should take heed of the protests. When that yielded nothing, they said he should consider going. He disagreed. Finally, they insisted he should step aside.

Unfortunately, the special ambassador they dispatched to Cairo, former envoy to Egypt Frank Wisner, has not been kept up to date about their changes of mind.

After meeting Mubarak last week, Wisner said: ‘The President must stay in office to steer those changes. I believe President Mubarak’s continued leadership is crucial – it’s his chance to write his own legacy.’

What? That’s not what Obama and Mrs Clinton are spouting. Hillary says that ‘an orderly transition’ to an interim government headed by Egypt’s foreign spy chief Omar ­Suleiman – who’d be well known in Washington – is needed.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2011 in Politics, USA

 

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I’m tired …..

Message from a tired man

I’m 63.  Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I’ve worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven’t called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn’t inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there’s no retirement in sight, and I’m tired. Very tired.

I’m tired of being told that I have to “spread the wealth” to people who don’t have my work ethic. I’m tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.

I’m tired of being told that Islam is a “Religion of Peace,” when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family “honor”; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren’t “believers”; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for “adultery”; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur’an and Shari’a law tells them to.

I’m tired of being told that out of “tolerance for other cultures” we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and mandrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America and Canada , while no American nor Canadian group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.

I’m tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate.

I’m tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off?

I’m tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I’m tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

I’m real tired of people who don’t take responsibility for their lives and actions. I’m tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.

Yes, I’m damn tired. But I’m also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I’m not going to have to see the world these people are making. I’m just sorry for my granddaughter.

Robert  A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts  State Senate.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Core Thought, USA