Tag Archives: main stream media

Shirley Sherrod Falsely Sainted by Propagandist Media – HUMAN EVENTS

As anybody who has watched the firestorm of news surrounding Shirley Sherrod knows, the media have found a new post-racial saint. With each reporter as eager as the last to fawn all over Sherrod, it’s become a circus.

via Shirley Sherrod Falsely Sainted by Propagandist Media – HUMAN EVENTS.

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The House of Cards is Tumbling Down.

May 6, 2010, 6:11 am <!– — Updated: 8:57 am –>

It’s Not About Greece Anymore

By PETER BOONE AND SIMON JOHNSON

Louisa Gouliamaki/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Protesters at the Acropolis in Athens waved flags and hung banners in front of the Parthenon.

Peter Boone is chairman of the charity Effective Intervention and a research associate at the Center for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics. He is also a principal in Salute Capital Management Ltd. Simon Johnson, the former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, is the co-author of “13 Bankers.”

The Greek “rescue” package announced last weekend is dramatic, unprecedented and far from enough to stabilize the euro zone.

The Greek government and the European Union leadership, prodded by the International Monetary Fund, are finally becoming realistic about the dire economic situation in Greece. They have abandoned previous rounds of optimistic forecasts and have now admitted to a profoundly worse situation. This new program calls for “fiscal adjustments” — cuts to the fiscal deficit, mostly through spending cuts — totaling 11 percent of gross domestic product in 2010, 4.3 percent in 2011, and 2 percent in 2012 and 2013. The total debt-to-G.D.P. ratio peaks at 149 percent in 2012-13 before starting a gentle glide path back down to sanity.

This new program is honest enough to show why it is unlikely to succeed.

Daniel Gros, an eminent economist on euro zone issues who is based in Brussels, has argued that for each 1 percent of G.D.P. decline in Greek government spending, total demand in the country falls by 2.5 percent of G.D.P.  If the government reduces spending by 15 percent of G.D.P. — the initial shock to demand could be well over 30 percent of G.D.P.

Obviously this simple rule does not work with such large numbers, but it illustrates that Greece is likely to experience a very sharp recession — and there is substantial uncertainty around how bad the economy will get.  The program announced last weekend assumes the Greek G.D.P. falls by 4 percent this year, then by another 2.6 percent in 2011, before recovering to positive growth in 2012 and beyond.

Such figures seem extremely optimistic, particularly in the face of the civil unrest now sweeping Greece and the deep hostility expressed toward the country in some northern European policy circles.

The pattern of growth is critical because, under this program, Greece needs to grow out of its debt problem soon. Greece’s debt-to-G.D.P. ratio will be a debilitating 145 percent at the end of 2011.

Now consider putting more realistic growth figures into the I.M.F. forecast for Greece’s economy — e.g., with G.D.P. declining 12 percent in 2011, then the debt-to-G.D.P. ratio may reach 155 percent. At these levels, with a 5 percent real interest rate and no growth, the country needs a primary surplus at 8 percent of G.D.P. to keep the debt-to-G.D.P. ratio stable.  It will be nowhere near that level.  The I.M.F. program has Greece running a primary budget deficit of around 1 percent of G.D.P. in that year, and that assumes a path for Greek growth that can be regarded only as an “upside scenario.”

The politics of these implied budget surpluses remains brutal.  Since most Greek debt is held abroad, roughly 80 percent of the budget savings the Greek government makes go straight to Germans, the French and other foreign debt holders (mostly banks).  If growth turns out poorly, will the Greeks be prepared for ever-tougher austerity to pay the Germans? Even if everything goes well, Greek citizens seem unlikely to welcome this version of their “new normal.”

Last week the European leadership panicked — very late in the day — when it realized that the euro zone itself was at risk of a meltdown. If the euro zone proves unwilling to protect a member like Greece from default, then bond investors will run from Portugal and Spain also — if you doubt this, study carefully the interlocking debt picture published recently in The New York Times.  Higher yields on government debt would have caused concerns about potential bank runs in these nations, and then spread to more nations in Europe.

When there is such a “run,” it is not clear where it stops.  In the hazy distance, Belgium, France, Austria and many others were potentially at risk. Even the Germans cannot afford to bail out those nations.

Slapped in the face by this ugly scenario, the Europeans decided to throw everything they and the I.M.F. had at bailing out Greece.  The program as announced has only a small chance of preventing eventual Greek bankruptcy, but it may still slow or avert a dangerous spiral downward — and enormous collateral damage — in the rest of Europe.

The I.M.F. floated in some fashion an alternative scenario with a debt restructuring, but this was rejected by both the European Union and the Greek authorities. This is not a surprise; leading European policy makers are completely unprepared for broader problems that would follow a Greek “restructuring,” because markets would immediately mark down the debt (i.e., increase the yields) for Portugal, Spain, Ireland and even Italy.

The fear and panic in the face of this would be unparalleled in modern times: When the Greeks pay only 50 percent on the face value of their debt, what should investors expect from the Portuguese and Spanish? It all becomes arbitrary, including which countries are dragged down.

Someone has to decide who should be defended and at what cost, and the European structures are completely unsuited to this kind of tough decision-making under pressure.

In the extreme downside scenario, Germany is the only obvious safe haven within the euro zone, so its government bond yields would collapse while other governments face sharply rising yields. The euro zone would likely not hold together.

There is still a narrow escape path, without immediate debt default and the chaos that that would produce:

  1. Talk down the euro — moving toward parity with the American dollar would help lift growth across the euro zone.
  2. As the euro falls, bond yields will rise on the euro zone periphery.  This will create episodes of panic.  Enough short-term financing must be in place to support the rollover of government debt.
  3. Once the euro has fallen a great deal, announce the European Central Bank will support the euro at those levels (i.e., prevent appreciation, with G-20 tacit agreement), and also support the peripheral euro zone nations viewed as solvent by buying their bonds whenever markets are chaotic.
  4. At that stage, but not before, the euro zone leadership needs to push weaker governments to restructure. That will include Greece and perhaps also Portugal. Hopefully, in this scenario Spain can muddle through.
  5. European banks should be recapitalized as necessary and have most of their management replaced. This is a massive failure of euro groupthink — including most notably at the political level — but there is no question that bank executives have not behaved responsibly in a long while and should be replaced en masse.

To the extent possible, some of the ensuing losses should be shared with bank creditors. But be careful what you wish for. The bankers are powerful for a reason; they have built vital yet fragile structures at the heart of our economies. Dismantle with care.

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MSM Finally Gives In As Evidence Mounts for Taliban Role in Car Bomb Plot – NYTimes.com

May 5, 2010

Evidence Mounts for Taliban Role in Car Bomb Plot

WASHINGTON — American officials said Wednesday that it was very likely that a radical group once thought unable to attack the United States had played a role in the bombing attempt in Times Square, elevating concerns about whether other militant groups could deliver at least a glancing blow on American soil.

Officials said that after two days of intense questioning of the bombing suspect, Faisal Shahzad, evidence was mounting that the group, the Pakistani Taliban, had helped inspire and train Mr. Shahzad in the months before he is alleged to have parked an explosives-filled sport utility vehicle in a busy Manhattan intersection on Saturday night. Officials said Mr. Shahzad had discussed his contacts with the group, and investigators had accumulated other evidence that they would not disclose.

On Wednesday, Mr. Shahzad, the 30-year-old son of a retired senior Pakistani Air Force officer, waived his right to a speedy arraignment, a possible sign of his continuing cooperation with investigators.

As his interrogation continued, Department of Homeland Security officials directed airlines to speed up their checks of new names added to the no-fly list, a requirement that might have prevented Mr. Shahzad from boarding a flight to Dubai on Monday night before his arrest at Kennedy International Airport.

The failed attack has produced a flurry of other proposals to tighten security procedures, including calls by members of Congress to more closely scrutinize passengers who buy tickets with cash, as Mr. Shahzad did. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, and Senator Scott Brown, Republican of Massachusetts, proposed stripping terrorism suspects of American citizenship, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg asked Congress to block the sale of firearms and explosives to those on terrorist watch lists.

American officials, speaking about the continuing inquiry only on condition of anonymity, gave few details about what Mr. Shahzad had told investigators, and said their understanding of the plot would evolve as a dragnet spanning two continents gathered more evidence.

One senior Obama administration official cautioned that “there are no smoking guns yet” that the Pakistani Taliban had directed the Times Square bombing. But others said that there were strong indications that Mr. Shahzad knew some members of the group and that they probably had a role in training him.

In a video on Sunday, the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing.

One issue that investigators are vigorously pursuing is who provided Mr. Shahzad cash to buy the S.U.V. and his plane ticket to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. “Somebody’s financially sponsoring him, and that’s the link we’re pursuing,” one official said. “And that would take you on the logic train back to Pak-Taliban authorizations,” the official said, referring to the group.

American officials said it had become increasingly difficult to separate the operations of the militant groups in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The region, they said, has become a stew of like-minded organizations plotting attacks in Pakistani cities, across the border into Afghanistan, and on targets in Western Europe and the United States.

Besides the Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda, groups operating in the tribal areas are the Haqqani Network and the Kashmiri groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad.

There is no doubt among intelligence officials that the barrage of attacks by C.I.A. drones over the past year has made Pakistan’s Taliban, which goes by the name Tehrik-i-Taliban, increasingly determined to seek revenge by finding any way possible to strike at the United States.

The C.I.A.’s drone program in Pakistan, which was accelerated in 2008 and expanded by President Obama last year, has enjoyed strong bipartisan support in Washington in part because it was perceived as eliminating dangerous militants while keeping Americans safe.

But the attack in December on a C.I.A. base in Afghanistan, and now possibly the failed S.U.V. attack in Manhattan, are reminders that the drones’ very success may be provoking a costly response.

Last March, when the Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud boasted that his group was planning an attack on Washington that would “amaze everyone in the world,” many American officials dismissed his claims as empty bravado. His network, they said, had neither the resources nor the reach to pull off an attack far beyond its base in the mountains of western Pakistan.

But the attempted attack on Saturday has forced something of a reassessment, especially as American officials see militant groups determined to score a propaganda victory by pulling off even the crudest of attacks.

If the Pakistani Taliban was involved in the Times Square bombing plot, the organization is only the latest militant group to expand beyond a local political agenda and strike the United States. The Christmas Day attempt to bomb a Detroit-bound airliner, for instance, was traced to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, whose primary targets had previously been the Saudi and Yemeni governments.

But for such a group, trying for the biggest prize in the jihadist universe — a successful attack on American soil — could have significant payoffs, said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University.

The message may be, “ ‘The U.S. is pounding us with drone attacks, but we’re powerful enough to strike back’; it’s certainly enough to attract ever more recruits to replace those they’re losing,” Mr. Hoffman said.

The Pakistani Taliban has used a relentless campaign of violence to undermine Pakistan’s secular government. The group has been blamed for the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, as well as bombings in Islamabad, Lahore and elsewhere.

As casualties from the Taliban mounted in Pakistan in 2008, officials there pleaded with Washington to begin striking the group with C.I.A. drones. American counterterrorism officials had never considered the group to be a top priority, but last year the Obama administration approved targeted attacks on Pakistani Taliban leaders, in part to win Islamabad’s tacit approval for drone strikes elsewhere in the tribal areas. Mr. Mehsud himself was killed in a C.I.A. drone attack in August.

Some American officials bristled at the idea that the United States had not taken the Pakistani Taliban threat seriously.

“We’ve been pounding their leadership, including figures like Baitullah Mehsud, and their training camps and other facilities,” one American counterterrorism official said. “Those actions have probably taken other people like Shahzad off the board.”

Denis McDonough, the chief of staff for the National Security Council, said the Times Square attempted bombing showed that Pakistan and the United States faced a common enemy, calling it “a pretty stark reminder that the same collection of terrorists that are threatening them are threatening us.”

The administration has been in intensive contact with the Pakistani government, delivering the message that “there are clear links to Pakistan and that we would fully expect them to do what they should do,” the State Department spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, said. Pakistani officials have arrested about a dozen people they believe may be linked to the plot, the authorities have said.

On Wednesday, the American ambassador, Anne W. Patterson, met with Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and spoke by phone with the interior minister, A. Rehman Malik. The administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard C. Holbrooke, also spoke by phone with Mr. Qureshi.

“The key here is that we’re touching the right bases politically, and we’re getting the right signals back,” a senior official said.

The tracking of Mr. Shahzad and his links to Pakistan began with a fortunate match of phone numbers, a law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said Wednesday.

One number that he had provided when he last entered the United States, in February, was stored in a Customs and Border Protection database. It turned out to match a number on the list of calls to and from a prepaid cellphone that investigators knew belonged to the purchaser of the S.U.V. found on Times Square.

Only when they matched the phone numbers did investigators learn “that that was the guy we were looking for,” said the official, who requested anonymity to discuss the investigation.

The name match allowed security officials to discover Mr. Shahzad aboard the flight to Dubai minutes before takeoff on Monday night. He had been added to the no-fly list at 12:30 p.m. that day, when airlines were directed to check the list for updates. But Emirates airline did not look at the updated list, and sold Mr. Shahzad a ticket for cash at 7:35 p.m. on Monday.

Airlines had been required to check the no-fly list for updates only every 24 hours. The new rule requires that they check within two hours of receiving notification that a high-priority name has been added to the list, Homeland Security officials said.

Reporting for articles on the Times Square bomb case was contributed by Peter Baker, Anne Barnard, Nina Bernstein, Alison Leigh Cowan, Adam B. Ellick, Andrea Elliott, Dan Frosch, Kirk Johnson, Mark Landler, Mike McIntire, Sharon Otterman, Ray Rivera, David E. Sanger, Michael S. Schmidt, Daniel E. Slotnik and Karen Zraick.

FROM THE SAME TABLOID THAT SCOOPED THE EDWARDS SCANDAL

OBAMA CHEATING SCANDAL: SHOCKING NEW REPORTS

Photo by: splash news online

UPDATED: Reports out of Washington, DC: PRESIDENT OBAMA in a shocking cheating scandal after being caught in a Washington, D.C. Hotel with a former campaign aide.

A confidential investigation has learned that Obama first became close to gorgeous 35 year-old VERA BAKER in 2004 when she worked tirelessly to get him elected to the US Senate, raising millions in campaign contributions.

Now, the investigators are searching for a hotel surveillance videotape.

While Baker has insisted in the past that “nothing happened” between them, reports reveal that top anti-Obama operatives are offering more than $1 million to witnesses to reveal what they know about the alleged hush-hush affair.

Among those being offered money is a limo driver who says in 2004 that he took Vera to a secret hotel rendezvous in a Washington hotel where Obama was staying.

An ENQUIRER reporter has confirmed the limo driver’s account of the secret 2004 rendezvous and has also learned that on-site hotel surveillance video camera footage could provide indisputable evidence to the investigation.

DEVELOPING STORY

via OBAMA CHEATING SCANDAL: SHOCKING NEW REPORTS – Celebrity News | Gossip – National Enquirer.

Another Arctic Sea Ice Milestone | Watts Up With That?

Another Arctic Sea Ice Milestone | Watts Up With That?.

Tea Party at the Post Office – Fred Schwarz – The Corner on National Review Online

Tea Party at the Post Office – Fred Schwarz – The Corner on National Review Online.

Bill Clinton Links Talk Radio, Tea Parties to Non-Existent Terrorism

Bill Clinton Links Talk Radio, Tea Parties to Non-Existent Terrorism.

Tea Parties vs. Socialist Redistributionists | Personal Liberty Digest

Tea Parties vs. Socialist Redistributionists | Personal Liberty Digest.

Is There a Rhyme or Reason to U.S. Foreign Policy?

by [Victor Davis Hanson]

During the 2008 campaign, the Obama group argued that Bush & Co. were insensitive to allies and had acted in clumsy, unilateral fashion, permanently damaging our stature in the world. Given the first 15 months of foreign policy in the new administration, we can see now that Obama’s critique largely meant that we had damaged relations with supposed belligerents like Cuba, Iran, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela — inasmuch as right now, British, Colombian, Czech, German, Honduran, Indian, Israeli, Japanese, Polish, and South Korean leaders might privately prefer the good “bad” old days of the supposed cowboy Bush. All of which raises the question: Why Obama’s shift in foreign policy? I offer four alternatives, uncertain of the answer myself.

a) Obama in 2007 and 2008 created a campaign narrative of Bush the cowboy, and then found himself trapped by his own “reset button” rhetoric, which meant he could hardly credit his maligned predecessor by building on the multilateral work that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had established from 2006 onward (cf. the similar quandary of libeling Bush as a war-mongering anti-constitutionalist and then using new, kinder, gentler anti-terrorism euphemisms to mask the adoption of embracing Predators, tribunals, renditions, wiretaps, intercepts, and continuance in Iraq and Afghanistan);

b) Obama sincerely believes that states that were pro-American under Bush are now somewhat dubious, while other states’ anti-American rhetoric during 2001–08 was understandable and so rightfully now earns them empathy and attention as a reward;

c) Obama genuinely believes that those abroad who are more statist and voice rhetoric that dovetails with his own equality-of-result efforts at home are sympathetic, inasmuch as they too define “freedom” in holistic terms of state entitlements rather than individual liberty, free markets, and free expression — so to the degree a leader casts himself as a “revolutionary,” he finds resonance with an equally progressive Obama; or

d) Obama has no idea of what he is doing, and wings his way from one embarrassment to another, from snubbing Gordon Brown to gratuitously insulting Benjamin Netanyahu to abruptly changing the terms of commitments with the Czechs and Poles to constructing nonexistent Islamic historical achievements to browbeating Karzai to courting Putin to bowing to the Saudis, etc., all as he sees fit at any given moment — with an inexperienced but impulsive Hillary Clinton and gaffe-prone Joe Biden as catalysts rather than arresters of Obama’s own haphazardness.

Whatever the reasons, I think the seeds have been sown and the harvests will soon be upon us. Any initial delight that the world’s masses found in a post-national, post-racial, charismatic young American president will begin to be eclipsed by their leaders’ realpolitik calculations, both old friends and enemies — namely, that the U.S. will probably not assist (other than in soaring rhetorical cadences of empathy) any past ally in its hour of need, and will probably not oppose (other than in meaningless deadlines and melodramatic contextualization) any past enemy in its newfound efforts to readjust regional realities. (If only Obama treated Iran or Syria as he does Bush, Sarah Palin, and the top 10 percent of American taxpayers.)

So as the U.S. completes its metamorphosis into a much larger version of the EU, we should expect to see something of the following:

Karzai or Allawi will look more to Iran, which will soon become the regional and nuclear hegemon of the Middle East.

Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics had better mend fences with Russia.

The EU should finally start on that much-ballyhooed all-European response force.

Taiwan, the Philippines, and South Korea should strengthen ties with China.

Buffer states in South America had better make amends with a dictatorial, armed, and aggressive Chavez.

Israel should accept that the U.S. no longer will provide support for it at the UN, chide the Arab states to cool their anti-Israeli proclamations, remind the Europeans not to overdo their popular anti-Israeli rhetoric, or warn radical Palestinians not to start another intifada. (In other words, it’s open season to say or do anything one wishes with Israel.)

As for bankrupt, wannabe national defaulters, don’t worry — we are rapidly catching up, and have neither the credibility nor the desire to lecture you about artificial constructs like “debt,” “bonds,” “trust,” and other archaic financial euphemisms manipulated to protect the international capital of an overseer class.

Sowing a new crop takes a while, but the sprouting has begun and the bitter, 1979-like harvests will soon be upon us.

Wolf Files: 12% pure hope

Wolf Files: 12% pure hope

A glimmer of hope has appeared in the mid of the Health-care debate with the appearance of Cousin Milton Wolfe, the once removed cousin of President Obama.  He appeared on Fox & Friends this morning first demonstrating his pride in the fact that President Obama has risen to the office of the President and then went on to renounce the pending Health-care legislation.  He gave an excellent lesson in economics explaining why the reform will not work and that, in the end, it will harm the country.  In a brief search I found no political agenda on this man and found him to be quite credible.  He intends on going to Washington to visit with his congressman to express his concerns.  I feel that this is a major development and it will be interesting to see if it ever sees the light of day in the main stream media.

Joepf

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