Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's About Time II

“In the early 19th Century one of my predecessors, Thomas Jefferson, ill-advisedly meddled in the affairs of the duly designated government of the sovereign nation of Morocco, specifically its city of Tripoli, by threatening to remove its leadership if he, the pasha of Tripoli, did not comply with demands issued by the U.S. Navy.  I sincerely regret this event, particularly in light of it coming in the wake of the West’s unjustified and hegemonistic intrusion into the Middle East in the form of the Christian Crusades from 1095-1291. It should never too late for a great power to say ‘I’m sorry.’ So today, on behalf of the American people, I, Barack Hussein Obama, President of the United States of America, say to all the descendents of the pasha of Tripoli and to the descendents of the Barbary Pirates, ‘I apologize for our meddling in Morocco’s affairs and our intrusion onto the shores of Tripoli.’”

It's About Time

It’s about time President Obama apologizes for a former president’s meddling in the affairs of Morocco.

From the 11th - 19th Centuries, the Barbary Pirates operated out of Tunis, Tripoli, Algiers, Sale and other ports in Morocco raiding mostly western European ships along that portion of the shores of North Africa called the Barbary Coast. From the 16th - 19th Centuries they also took hundreds of thousands of Europeans as slaves. The Barbary Pirates demanded tribute, and the European powers paid it.

Back in 1785, John Adams, then America’s Ambassador to England, and Thomas Jefferson, Ambassador to France, met with the envoy from Tripoli, Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman, and inquired as to why American ships were targets of hostility. The answer they received was this:

“It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave


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Remember the massive tantrums thrown by the left when the Bush Administration fired a handful of U.S. Attorneys? Do you remember that? How the left howled endlessly about how terrible it was to fire these attorneys for "political" reasons? Remember how the Obamacrat Congress agreed this was a terrible, terrible misuse of power and demanded full investigations?

Amazing how on 01.20.2009, all the rules changed.

Under new (Obama Administration) rules, made retroactive for five years, the Office of Personnel Management will examine civil service employees who got their start as political appointees in the Bush administration and terminate those employees. The order is retroactive to 2004, that moment when a number of Republican congressional staffers and others sought to embed into the second Bush administration right after the election.

Hope, Change, and Purging of All Who Might Be Disloyal to Dear Leader. It's how they do it in Chicago.


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I clearly remember the feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop while working in Manhattan in the weeks following 9/11. Years later, it finally has. Terrorism isn't just about murder and mayhem. It's a form of propaganda. First you get everyone's attention with an audacious atrocity. Then you deliver your message. Now that the US Government is controlled by vermin so treasonous and vile that they would pander to Al Qaeda to score cheap political points against the previous administration, Step 2 can get underway with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's farcical civilian trial.

KSM won't be the one on trial. He's already admitted to everything. America will be on trial. The full impact of 9/11 will not be felt until the terrorists who brought it about stand a few miles away from the continually festering empty sockets of Ground Zero and denounce this country with our own government's tacit approval.

COTD: Suckers

I've come to believe the "system" could care less about the country.  Oh, they do a bit of this or that to maintain some semblance of caring.  They have to let a few cents dribble down to the masses but the real money is at the top.  But in real life, the game is to manipulate the masses as has always been in all countries/empires at all times.  Same old ****, hundredth time around.  Over time, they bleed us dry and move on. 


And what is truly amazing is how many Americans continue to play the game of being for one party and against the other.  Called divide and conquer.  I read the raving, name calling rants and the word "suckers" comes to mind. 

Exactly Nothing

"Arrogant and incapable of learning."

When a teacher uses those words to describe a student, it's an isolated (if regrettable) situation. But the repercussions are widespread when "arrogant and incapable of learning" fits the Federal Reserve like a glove.

Frederic Mishkin, a former member of the Fed's board of governors, wrote an article in last Tuesday's Financial Times that displayed that he, and presumably other Fed heads, have learned exactly nothing from the disastrous consequences of their activities in printing money over the past couple of decades.

The headline sort of says it all: "Not all bubbles present a risk to the economy." That is completely false. Any genuine bubble poses great risk, which is why they should be avoided, as I have warned repeatedly since at least 1997.

Meanwhile, when the two biggest bubbles our country had ever seen (those in stocks and real estate) were under way, most people appeared to be incapable of identifying them.

Did I Forget To Mention The Mufti?

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Yes, Alan Dershowitz Is In Fact Insane

The defence may also move for a change of venue, insisting that no one accused of blowing up the World Trade Center can receive a fair trial in its shadow. I recall arguing a case in the federal courthouse shortly after the terrible events of 9/11 and still being able to smell the smouldering remnants of that catastrophic event that no New Yorker will ever forget. If a change of venue is not granted, it will be very difficult to find enough jurors with open minds to assure that what Barack Obama promised – “the most exacting demands of justice” – can actually be delivered.

In the end, I believe the Obama administration has done the right thing by placing our trust in the American criminal justice system – only civilian courts can assure “the most exacting demands of justice.”

In this case, the United States will be on trial as surely as Mr. Mohammed. Much is at stake, but the Obama administration's decision to trust civilian courts is a good first step.

Much as I've loved the large portion of "The Case For Israel" that I've read so far. He's one of the few who don't shy away from Haj Mohammed Amin Al Husseni.

Stay Home. Er, No, Wait!

You had one more question, and I'm not sure I remember it. Was it North Korea?

Q Whether or not you believe that the U.S. dropped a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- it was right?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: No, there were three sets of questions, right? You asked about North Korea?

How pathetic. In fact, though, it's probably just as well Obama didn't say what he really thought. In his speech on nuclear proliferation in Prague, Obama at least suggested that Truman did the wrong thing by bringing World War II to a decisive end:

[A]s the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act.

If Barack Obama can't stick up for the country he represents when he goes overseas, he should stay home.

That's Right. Er. Very, Very Left.

In addition to that, this is a matter that, as I said, happened in this country as opposed to overseas, which is different from what we might do with regard to those who are going to be tried in the military commissions.

But that is a fundamental tenet of American jurisprudence, that crimes are tried in the places where they occur.

This illustrates the perversity of mindlessly applying the criminal law template to terrorist attacks. What is the implication of Holder's criteria? Put yourself in the place of a would-be terrorist: If you want to garner maximum publicity; if you want to make yourself into a world-famous martyr; if you want an endless platform for disseminating jihadist propaganda; if you want to be treated with kid gloves at all times; what should you do? That's right: you should organize an attack on American soil that kills thousands. You'll be rewarded with top-flight legal representation at taxpayer expense and a forum in which to advance the cause of jihad.

And even more perverse, if New York wasn't hopelessly corrupted as one of the fascifist fifth column power centers, one would rightly ask: And how is it exactly that one would expect to obtain a fair jury pool in a City where no sane person under the age of maybe 15 slept well at night for weeks?

To ask the question is to answer it, no?

Stomach Cramps

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American Presidents do not bow to royalty.  In fact, heads of state do not bow or genuflect to each other in the normal course of diplomacy.  At least, they didn’t until this amateur came into office and failed to learn from the first time he did it.  What will the White House say this time?  He got stomach cramps?

COTD: The Enemy

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The crusades never ended for Islam . . . and yes, most of our current leaders ARE delusional.

I had a Muslim friend who explained that the United States was a ‘mistake’ of history and it was the ‘responsiblity’ of Islam and all Muslims to correct that mistake. I consider him to be my enemy.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Don't Forget Turkey

The heroic Dan Riehl reads Andrew Sullivan's latest paean to Obama's dithering on Afghanistan and raises a scientific proposition:

Sullivan is so far down in the tank, there can't be any oxygen down there.

Could be!  But skipping over to Sully we find, in the midst of his praise of Obama's resolute irresolution, a bit of nostalgic Bush-bashing:

His insistence that the civilian branch truly control policy there and
that empire not be passively accepted as a fait accompli are real signs
of strength in the struggle to recalibrate American foreign policy. Can
you imagine Bush ever holding out like this on the military?

What can we imagine about Bush?  A toughie!  I can imagine his Secretary of Defense grinding down the initial military numbers for an invasion of Iraq until we arrive at "too few troops".  Bush sure ignored the hell out of the Pentagon then, and how did that work?

10,000 Hours

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Actually, this is what 27,000 hours looks like.

Our so-called President has zippo hours and it shows to the few of us not too busy watching balloon boy to be bothered.

The Sack Of Iran

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On the night of November 10-11 there was a very bloody gun fight in the area of Karaj, in which several senior Revolutionary Guards officers were killed or wounded.

There were equally disruptive political events in the Basij (Parliament).  In a closed-door, unreported session of the Budget Committee, Ahmadinejad became so angry that he ripped up his notes and stormed out of the room in the early hours of the morning of the 11th.  He was upset about three things:

–Resistance to the oil/natural gas deal with Turkey;
–The fact that some members of the Basij had found out about the details of the deal;
–A report on the parlous state of the national economy, and the true extent of the IRGC’s role in it.

The report contained the predictable details of the ruin of the economy, but it also described the amazing economic power of the Revolutionary Guards.

One participant reported Larijani (the “speaker” of the Majlis) saying “if this gets out, it’s the end of the system.”

Thursday, November 12, 2009


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Keeping Up The GPA

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More city kids are graduating from high school, but that doesn't mean they can do college math.

Basic algebra involving fractions and decimals stumped a group of City University of New York freshmen - suggesting city schools aren't preparing them, a CUNY report shows.

"These results are shocking," said City College Prof. Stanley Ocken, who co-wrote the report on CUNY kids' skills. "They show that a disturbing proportion of New York City high school graduates lack basic skills."

During their first math class at one of CUNY's four-year colleges, 90% of 200 students tested couldn't solve a simple algebra problem, the report by the CUNY Council of Math Chairs found. Only a third could convert a fraction into a decimal.

John Jay College sophomore Ahmed Elshafaie, 19, who graduated from Long Island City High School, said he avoids math classes.

"I don't want to ruin my GPA," he said. "High school standards were really low."

Scary Silence

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Christina Romer, chair of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, clearly understands how harmful it is to even think about tax hikes on businesses and individuals when over 15 million people are out of work and many more are underemployed.

Silence from her.

The economic advisers all serve at the pleasure of the president, but pushing the exact opposite policies for an economy with high unemployment is quite a feat to stomach.

In particular for Summers as he seems to have a habit of saying what he thinks.

It could be that Dr. Summers decided to stick it out for the good of the economy knowing that if he leaves President Obama will find someone who encourages more federal spending and higher taxes.

Now that's a scary thought — Summers actually acting as a constraint on President Obama to rein in Obama's propensity to redistribute wealth, increase taxes and increase the market share of federal government outlays.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

2003 Redux

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Nov. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Imagine you are a central banker.
You arrive at the office each morning and scan the daily
financial pages and newswires. You read that markets -- stocks,
junk bonds, gold, oil -- are positively giddy due to “all the
liquidity sloshing around that has to go somewhere,” or
something to that effect.

That would be the liquidity you created.

You may be starting to feel pangs of anxiety before you’ve
had that first cup of coffee. You know from your crash course in
economic-survival medicine that cleaning up after a burst asset
bubble isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Surely there’s a better way than orchestrating alternating
periods of asset bubbles and busts.

“It’s 2003 all over again,” says William White, chairman
of the Economic Development and Review Committee at the
Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development in Paris.


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New data show that the balance between the airborne and the absorbed fraction of carbon dioxide has stayed approximately constant since 1850, despite emissions of carbon dioxide having risen from about 2 billion tons a year in 1850 to 35 billion tons a year now.

This suggests that terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans have a much greater capacity to absorb CO2 than had been previously expected.

The results run contrary to a significant body of recent research which expects that the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans to absorb CO2 should start to diminish as CO2 emissions increase, letting greenhouse gas levels skyrocket. Dr Wolfgang Knorr at the University of Bristol found that in fact the trend in the airborne fraction since 1850 has only been 0.7 ± 1.4% per decade, which is essentially zero.

The strength of the new study, published online in Geophysical Research Letters, is that it rests solely on measurements and statistical data

Canary In The Toilet Paper

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HAVANA, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Cuba has ordered all state enterprises to adopt "extreme measures" to cut energy usage through the end of the year in hopes of avoiding the dreaded blackouts that plagued the country following the 1991 collapse of its then-top ally, the Soviet Union.

In documents seen by Reuters, government officials have been warned that the island is facing a "critical" energy shortage that requires the closing of non-essential factories and workshops and the shutting down of air conditioners and refrigerators not needed to preserve food and medicine.

Cuba has cut government spending and slashed imports after being hit hard by the global financial crisis and the cost of recovering from three hurricanes that struck last year.

"The energy situation we face is critical and if we do not adopt extreme measures we will have to revert to planned blackouts affecting the population," said a recently circulated message from the Council of Ministers.


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There. He Said It.

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Eisenhower’s prepared statement in the event of the failure of the D-Day landings:

“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Harve area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

Taking the blame when blame is appropriate is what good leaders do. But I guess by definition that when there is a failure of leadership, the leader (being a poor one) will never acknowledge it.

General Casey made the Freudian slip of slips on Meet the Press:

“And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse ….”

The real lives of real American soldiers are not as important as the diversity totem. There. He said it.

Incredible Damage

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Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg, formerly of Merrill Lynch, thinks the unemployment rate is going to at least 12 percent, maybe even 13 percent. Optimists, Rosenberg explains, underestimate the incredible damage done to the labor market during this downturn. And even before this downturn, the economy was not generating jobs in huge numbers. If he is right, all political bets are off. I think the Democrats could lose the House and effective control of the Senate.  I think you would also be talking about  the rise of third party and perhaps a challenger to Obama in 2012.

Many of the jobs created between the 2001 and 2008 recessions were related either directly or indirectly to the parabolic extension of credit.
And economists think that the unemployment rate is in the process of cresting now? Just remember it is the same consensus community that predicted at the beginning of 2008 that the jobless rate would peak out below 6% this cycle.

Peak Gold

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Aaron Regent, president of the Canadian gold giant, said that global output
has been falling by roughly 1m ounces a year since the start of the decade.
Total mine supply has dropped by 10pc as ore quality erodes, implying that
the roaring bull market of the last eight years may have further to run.

"There is a strong case to be made that we are already at 'peak gold',"
he told The Daily Telegraph at the RBC's annual gold conference in

"Production peaked around 2000 and it has been in decline ever since, and
we forecast that decline to continue. It is increasingly difficult to find
ore," he said.

Ore grades have fallen from around 12 grams per tonne in 1950 to nearer 3
grams in the US, Canada, and Australia. South Africa's output has halved
since peaking in 1970.

The supply crunch has helped push gold to an all-time high, reaching $1,118 an
ounce at one stage yesterday.

Destruction (Part 87,493)

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Emerson Electric Co. Chief Executive Officer David Farr said the U.S. government is hurting manufacturers with regulation and taxes and his company will continue to focus on growth overseas.

“Washington is doing everything in their manpower, capability, to destroy U.S. manufacturing,” Farr said today in Chicago at a Baird Industrial Outlook conference. “Cap and trade, medical reform, labor rules.” . . . Farr, in his presentation, also said manufacturers are being hurt by taxes and regulation. He said companies will create jobs in India and China, “places where people want the products and where the governments welcome you to actually do something.”

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Balloon Country II

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In other words, you’d expect the modest amounts put by such funds into the U.S. equities market following the March drop to be increasing by leaps and bounds right about now. Instead, they’re moving in the other direction.  

One could make the bullish case that what’s going on here is that mutual fund inflows are just late to the rally as usual, but that’s not the case. Inflows are a glimpse into Main Street sentiment, and the fact that they’re diverging so sharply from the Wall Street party line is telling. The stock market might be climbing, but retail investors have no confidence in it. They’re worried for their jobs, their homes are under water, and they’ve pushed back their retirement dates—all of which means they’re also continuing to pare their spending and borrowing. Wall Street can coast along for a while on government generosity and companies squeezing profits out of increasingly anorexic balance sheets, but that’s not going to continue forever.

Balloon Country

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A look at the Russell 2000, one index that does focus on smaller companies, shows that the little guys haven’t shared in the kind of recovery their larger brethren are experiencing.

What’s holding this balloon aloft? Some attribute the rapid rise to investor euphoria at the realization that this recession hasn’t spiraled into a full-blown depression. The Federal Reserve’s continued stance of aggressively low interest rates gets partial credit.

Low rates also play a role in that many of the stocks that have led the recent rebound are financial stocks, which benefit directly from being able to borrow money at bargain-basement rates. Just four stocks—Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Fannie Mae (FNM), and Freddie Mac (FRE), all of which rely on the Fed’s largesse to an outsized degree—are responsible for up to 20 percent of all trades.

Chanos' China II

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Another data point cited by the bears: overcapacity. For example, the Chinese already consume more cement than the rest of the world combined, at 1.4 billion tons per year. But they have dramatically ramped up their ability to produce even more in recent years, leading to an estimated spare capacity of about 340 million tons, which, according to a report prepared earlier this year by Pivot Capital Management, is more than the consumption in the U.S., India and Japan combined.

This, Chanos and others argue, is happening in sector after sector in the Chinese economy. And that means the Chinese are in danger of producing huge quantities of goods and products that they will be unable to sell.

And the bears also keep a close eye on anecdotal reports from the ground level in China, like a recent posting on a blog called The Peking Duck about shopping at Beijing’s “stunningly dysfunctional, catastrophic mall, called The Place.”

“I was shocked at what I saw,” the blogger wrote.

Chanos' China

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The conventional wisdom in Washington and in most of the rest of the world is that the roaring Chinese economy is going to pull the global economy out of recession and back into growth. It’s China’s turn, the theory goes, as American consumers — who propelled the last global boom with their borrowing and spending ways — have begun to tighten their belts and increase savings rates.

That’s one vision of the future.

But there’s a growing group of market professionals who see a different picture altogether. These self-styled China bears take the less popular view: that the much-vaunted Chinese economic miracle is nothing but a paper dragon. In fact, they argue that the Chinese have dangerously overheated their economy, building malls, luxury stores and infrastructure for which there is almost no demand, and that the entire system is teetering toward collapse.

The China bears could be dismissed as a bunch of cranks and grumps except for one member of the group: hedge fund investor Jim Chanos.

War And Peace

Blast Them!

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President Obama contributed to that sort of confusion on Monday, in an interview with Reuters.  Kicked yet again by an Iranian regime that has no intention of doing anything that would prevent or delay its development of atomic bombs, the president whistled in the dark:

“But it is going to take time, and part of the challenge that we face is that neither North Korea nor Iran seem to be settled enough politically to make quick decisions on these issues,” he said at the White House.

Blast those annoying Iranian revolutionaries!  How dare they screw up our negotiations?

Funny world, isn’t it?  The Islamic Republic teeters on the edge of history’s garbage dump, a fascinating revolutionary movement bids to change the world, and peace prizes are given to an accomplice to evil–Mohammed al Baradei–and an American president who won’t throw his moral weight behind tens of millions of Iranians who are risking their lives to be able to have a government like ours.

My Anti-brO

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Gerald Walpin, the AmeriCorps inspector general fired by the White House in July during his probe of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, has been cleared of a complaint by the acting U.S. attorney in Sacramento that he had acted improperly.

Now, he says, he wants his job back.

“It takes away any basis belatedly set forth by the White House as a reason for my termination,” Walpin said this morning in an interview from his home in New York. “So I am certainly looking forward to a final determination by the court and to be reinstated.”

Walpin filed suit in federal court in Washington, D.C., in July alleging that he was fired improperly while investigating whether Johnson had misused federal grant funds. The government is trying to have the case dismissed, but Walpin filed documents in court late Monday opposing that.

This could be fun.


Nidal “Gary” Hassan – All-American boy
was haunted by memories of Gitmo,
‘Nam, Hiroshima


Distraught pacifist conscientious objector tormented by horrors of war, as far as you know

Newsroom experts: stress, violence, stupidity, tragedy a way of life for GIs

Former M*A*S*H stars say it’s finally time to disarm the military

Hollywood insiders: Sean Penn early favorite for lead in planned Oliver Stone biopic


In September, the Department of Justice ruled that FHFA Inspector General Ed Kelley did not have authority to investigate wrongdoing or other abuses related to the agency, according to an internal DOJ Office of Legal Counsel memo signed by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Daniel Koffsky.

The ruling was made on complicated technical grounds. The current agency was created by a 2008 act that abolished the Federal Housing Finance Board and replaced it with the FHFA. FHFB employees automatically became FHFA employees and retained their "same status, tenure, grade, and pay."

Kelley now heads the Office of Internal Audit and he said he has two employees: an office administrator and a person who oversees the contractors who review financial records. He estimated his budget for contractors was between $100,000 and $150,000.

As IG, he ran into trouble the way most independent investigators do -- by investigating things people didn't want investigated.

Monday, November 09, 2009

I hOpe You Like Him

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Our new President believes that you are on your own. As the KGB agent-turned-billionaire, puppet master of the Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin conducts war games of an assault on Poland, Obama has decided to tear down the American missiles from Poland. We knew that he cared less as he promised to remove our protection from the Iraqi people. 150 of them were slaughtered just this week. He really wants to find a way out of Afghanistan and pull our soldiers out just as you are pulling your U.N. workers out right now.

So my new President will not be there with you, like John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan were there for you.

I really wish I could be there to celebrate with you. Unfortunately, with the passing of time, I have five children, our economy is bad, and I too, have other priorities. So I am sorry that my President, the American face to the World will not be there for you. I feel just a little better knowing that you asked America to give him to you. I hope you like him.


This deadly enemy of the West -- the Islamist ideology which holds all Jews, Christians, other non-Muslims, and a considerable number of Muslims, too, to be human filth in need of extermination -- is well infiltrated. Events like that at Fort Hood prove this, and from what I can see, the problem can only grow with the passage of time.

Getting at Islamist cells, to say nothing of lone, self-appointed jihadis within our society, means getting over the false sentimentality that turns a terrorist incident into an "incomprehensible tragedy" when it is not incomprehensible, and not a theatrical event.

It also means ripping through the politically-correct drivel that is put in the way of investigators. They should surely be allowed to assume that every loyal Muslim will be eager to give information to help them identify any potential killers in their midst.

We'd be better off confronting that Islamist enemy, than spraying perfume after each fatal strike.


If you adjust Gold for inflation and go back to it’s former all-time high in 1980, Gold should be over $2,000 an ounce right now if you want to say it’s reaching new inflation adjusted all-time highs. That does not mean Gold has to get back to a true all-time high. Nothing has to. However, I suspect that given all the money printing in the world, we will see much higher prices for hard assets.

All we’ve done is paper over the problem, so I expect we’ll have to deal with those issues in the future. Printing and spending money we don’t have simply prolongs the problems and makes them worse in the long run.

If the world economy improves, commodities will lead the way due to demand and shortages. If the world economy does not get better, commodities are still a great place to be because governments are printing so much money. And, if the world economy doesn’t get better, they will print even more money!