For this libertarian policy analyst, the annual release of the president’s budget proposal is like the day after your team loses the Super Bowl: everyone’s talking about it, but you’d rather curl up in bed with a fifth of Old Grand-Dad.
Alas, it’s that time of year—albeit a couple months late. The budget won’t be released until next week, but some of the details have leaked out to the press. As Dan Mitchell notes, the Washington Post is “predictably regurgitating” the White House’s spin that the president’s latest budget will be an olive branch of sorts to Republicans.
The president will apparently propose modest measures to slow the growth in entitlement spending in exchange for more tax increases. That would raise hopes for what the Beltway class likes to refer to as the “grand bargain,” but for those of us who are looking for considerably less government in our lives it would hardly be cause for enthusiasm.
Nor are any of the other ideas being reported:
- Sequestration would be replaced with an alternative deficit reduction package. Expect for that to be higher taxes combined with a promise to cut spending somehow, some day in the future.
- Funding for a new pre-kindergarten program—because (not much of a) Head Start apparently isn’t enough.
- Funding for some initiative to map the human brain. (I would advise against using a politician’s for the model.)
I’m guessing there will be a package of proposed rinky-dink spending cuts—a now-annual tradition started by the previous big spender in the White House. But, of course, overall spending would continue to grow and the government would still remain involved in every facet of our lives.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
Juan Carlos Hidalgo
After years of harassment by the authorities, Globovisión, the last remaining independent TV station in Venezuela, will be sold to a business group close to the government. This unfortunate development shows that the threat to freedom of the press—and to all other civil liberties in Venezuela—will not go away with the death of Hugo Chávez.
In recent years Globovisión suffered stiff fines and administrative proceedings that crippled its viability as a private business. The TV station incurred in these fines because of ludicrous reasons, such as reporting an earthquake (which the government claims contributed to creating public panic) or their coverage of Venezuela’s staggering crime wave (which the authorities said “promoted hatred for political reasons that generated anxiety in the population.”) Moreover, its license was due to expire in 2016, and there were good reasons to believe that the government would not renew it, as it ocurred in 2007 with RCT, until Venezuela’s then largest independent TV station.
Globovisión’s owner, Guillermo Zuloaga, who is also a Cato Fellow on Free Speech, is a true hero of freedom of the press in Venezuela. For many years he fought against president Chávez and his government for the survival of his business, even facing arrest and now exile. In 2009 Cato held a policy forum on the intensifying assault on freedom of the press in Venezuela, where the future of Globovisión featured predominantly. Unfortunately, that assault has claimed another victim.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
Yesterday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai alleged that the United States and the Taliban are “working in concert to convince Afghans that violence will worsen if most foreign troops leave.” His accusation exposes a strange irony. Karzai not only supports U.S. forces in Afghanistan after 2014, but also disparages that presence to evade his own failings.
Since 2001, senior U.S. officials have tethered our military might to the sick man of Central Asia. In 2004, President George W. Bush pledged America’s “ironclad commitment” to help Karzai’s country succeed. In 2010, President Obama made clear that the U.S. role in Afghanistan “is a long-term partnership.”
President Karzai codified those pledges last May by concluding the Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United States of America. Despite his history of hindering U.S.-backed anti-corruption investigations, denouncing the international community, and claiming the U.S. ferried Taliban to the north in order to spread violence, he eagerly signed an Agreement that commits the U.S. government to Afghanistan’s future. It provided for the possibility of a U.S. troop presence until 2024, and a long-term framework for training Afghan security forces and targeting al Qaeda.
Washington’s devotion to nation building still holds fast despite Karzai’s inability to fulfill its lofty expectations. As former U.S. ambassador to Kabul Karl W. Eikenberry bluntly warned his superiors in November 2009, Karzai “is not an adequate strategic partner.”
Certainly, the United States is not blameless for Afghanistan’s downward spiral—it took responsibility back in 2001 to rebuild the war-ravaged country and then shifted its attention and resources in 2003 to invade and occupy Iraq. Yet, the endemically corrupt Karzai regime and its band of thugs and cronies are also culpable.
Ample reporting on Afghan corruption need not be repeated here. More to the point, Karzai fails to appreciate the way in which his poor governance vindicates insurgent propaganda and drives many Afghans to fight. A widespread perception of the central government’s massive corruption delegitimizes the state and inspires the sense of injustice that makes the Taliban appear as an effective alternative. Apart from Karzai himself, Afghan police are notorious for perpetrating crimes they are supposed to be stopping, such as corruption, theft, kidnapping, murder, and child abuse. Meanwhile, the Afghan army, long hailed as the mission’s shining success story, is rife with factionalism and patronage networks that could splinter the institution along political and ethnic lines. Foreign policy planners in Washington overlooked the second- and third-order consequences of their attempts to build a strong central government that wields a monopoly on the legitimate use of force.
As the Democratic majority staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee admitted two years ago, “Foreign aid, when misspent, can fuel corruption, distort labor and goods markets, undermine the host government’s ability to exert control over resources, and contribute to insecurity.” (Emphasis mine.]
Perversely, the corruption of the Afghan central government and the failures of the foreign-led nation-building project feed off one another in disturbing symbiosis. The Washington Post hasreported that foreign military and development spending provide roughly 97 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product, fomenting fears that withdrawal will push the Afghan economy into depression. The alternative to popping that foreign aid bubble, some argue, would be to commit several hundred thousand troops and decades of attention, resources, and patience to transform Afghanistan’s deeply divided society into a stable, non-corrupt, electoral democracy. Of course, such success would hardly be guaranteed and assumes we possess the local knowledge as well as the cultural and religious legitimacy to operate indefinitely in a country notoriously suspicious of outsiders and largely devoid of central authority.
Over twelve years of nation-building has had little success in creating an economically viable Afghan state, much less a self-sustaining Afghan security force. Indeed, nation building has propped up an erratic and unreliable regime whose behavior feeds the insurgency’s momentum.
Policymakers must reject the flawed premise on which their policies rest. They must overcome their tendency to overestimate the strategic importance of a small, underdeveloped country to the narrower and more achievable goals of disrupting terrorist networks and preserving U.S. national security.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
Relations between North Korea and the world are off to a familiar start in 2013. Last week, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution tightening sanctions on Pyongyang in response to its missile test last December. The reclusive regime responded by predictably issuing threats against America and its allies. It seems likely now that Kim Jong-un will order a nuclear test in the next few weeks. What will follow? The kabuki dance continues.
If North Korea does indeed detonate a nuclear device, the United States and its allies should avoid reacting hysterically. As I counseled on the missile test in December, provocative acts by Pyongyang do not deserve a response from Washington. The North carries out these tests to upset its rivals. The White House’s reserved response to the missile test was an encouraging sign. Any nuclear test warrants only an extended yawn.
But what can Washington do to ultimately prevent North Korea from developing its nuclear program further and force it to engage the international community? I authored a piece running today at the National Interest that provides a few suggestions:
The United States should not push for renewal of the Six Party talks. The North announced that it would not surrender its nuclear weapons until “the denuclearization of the world is realized.” This may well be yet another negotiating ploy. However, Washington and its allies should take it seriously.
Instead of begging Pyongyang to return to negotiations and requesting China to make Pyongyang return, the administration should indicate its openness to talks but note that they cannot be effective unless North Korea comes ready to deal. No reward should be offered for the North’s return to the table.
Third, the United States should spur its allies to respond with the only currency which the Kim regime likely understands: military strength. Washington has had troops on the peninsula for nearly 63 years, far longer than necessary. That has left the ROK and Japan dependent on America. They should take over responsibility for dealing with the North’s military threats.
Washington should unilaterally lift treaty restrictions on the range and payload of South Korea’s missiles, a bizarre leftover from Seoul’s time as a helpless American ward. The administration also should indicate its willingness to sell whatever weapons might help the ROK and Japan enhance their ability to deter and even preempt a North Korean attack. The changing security environment should cause Japan to formally revise the restrictions placed on military operations by its post-World War II constitution.
I have a number of other policy recommendations in the full article, which you can find here.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
The latest from “DHS Insider”
- Doug Hagmann (Bio and Archives) Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Introduction: After a lengthy, self-imposed informational black-out, my high-level DHS contact known as “Rosebud” emerged with new, non-public information about plans being discussed and prepared for implementation by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the near future. It is important to note that this black-out was directly related to the aggressive federal initiative of identifying and prosecuting “leakers,” at least those leaks and leakers not sanctioned by the executive office—the latter of which there are many.
Due to those circumstances, my source exercised an abundance of caution to avoid compromising a valuable line of communication until he had information he felt wassignificant enough to risk external contact. The following information is the result of an in-person contact between this author and “Rosebud” within the last 48 hours. With his permission, the interview was digitally recorded and the relevant portions of the contact are provided in a conversational format for easier reading. The original recording was copied onto multiple discs and are maintained in secure locations for historical and insurance purposes.
Meeting: The following began after an exchange of pleasantries and other unrelated discussion:
DH: Do I have your permission to record this conversation?
RB: You do.
DH: I’ve received a lot of e-mail from people wondering where you went and why you’ve been so quiet.
RB: As I told you earlier, things are very dicey. Weird things began to happen before the election and have continued since. Odd things, a clampdown of sorts. I started looking and I found [REDACTED AT THE REQUEST OF THIS SOURCE], and that shook me up. I’m not the only one, though, that found a [REDACTED], so this means there’s surveillance of people within DHS by DHS. So, that explains this cloak and dagger stuff for this meeting.
DH: I understand. What about the others?
RB: They are handling it the same way.
DH: I’ve received many e-mails asking if you are the same person giving information to Ulsterman. Are you?
RB: No, but I think I know at least one of his insiders.
DH: Care to elaborate?
RB: Sorry, no.
DH: Do you trust him or her. I mean, the Ulsterman source?
DH: Okay, so last August, you said things were “going hot.” I printed what you said, and things did not seem to happen as you said.
RB: You’d better recheck your notes and compare [them] with some of the events leading up to the election. I think you’ll find that a full blown campaign of deception took place to make certain Obama got back into office. The polls, the media, and a few incidents that happened in the two months before the election. I guess if people are looking for some big event they can point to and say “aha” for verification, well then I overestimated people’s ability to tell when they are being lied to.
DH: What specific incidents are you referring to?
RB: Look at the threats to Obama. Start there. The accusations of racism. Then look at the polls, and especially the judicial decisions about voter ID laws. Bought and paid for, or where there was any potential for problems, the judges got the message, loud and clear. Then look at the voter fraud. And not a peep from the Republicans. Nothing. His second term was a done deal in September. This was planned. Frankly, the Obama team knew they had it sewn up long before Election Day. Benghazi could have derailed them, but the fix was in there, so I never saw anything on my end to suggest a ready-made solution had to be implemented.
DH: What’s going on now?
RB: People better pay close attention over the next few months. First, there won’t be any meaningful deal about the fiscal crisis. This is planned, I mean, the lack of deal is planned. In fact, it’s necessary to pave the way for what is in the short term agenda.
DH: Wait, you’re DHS—not some Wall Street insider.
RB: So you think they are separate agendas? That’s funny. The coming collapse of the U.S. dollar is a done deal. It’s been in the works for years—decades, and this is one of the most important cataclysmic events that DHS is preparing for. I almost think that DHS was created for that purpose alone, to fight Americans, not protect them, right here in America. But that’s not the only reason. There’s the gun issue too.
DH: So, what are you seeing at DHS?
RB: We don’t have a lot of time, tonight—our meeting—as well as a country. I mean I have heard—with my own ears—plans being made that originate from the White House that involve the hierarchy of DHS. You gotta know how DHS works at the highest of levels. It’s Jarrett and Napolitano, with Jarrett organizing all of the plans and approaches. She’s the one in charge, at least from my point of view, from what I am seeing. Obama knows that’s going on and has say, but it seems that Jarrett has the final say, not the other way around. It’s [screwed] up. This really went into high gear since the election.
But it’s a train wreck at mid management, but is more effective at the lower levels. A lot of police departments are being gifted with federal funds with strings attached. That money is flowing out to municipal police departments faster than it can be counted. They are using his money to buy tanks, well, not real tanks, but you know what I mean. DHS is turning the police into soldiers.
By the way, there has been a lot of communication recently between Napolitano and Pistole [TSA head]. They are planning to use TSA agents in tandem with local police for certain operations that are being planned right now. This is so [deleted] important that you cannot even begin to imagine. If you get nothing else out of this, please, please make sure you tell people to watch the TSA and their increasing involvement against the American public. They are the stooges who will be the ones to carry out certain plans when the dollar collapses and the gun confiscation begins.
DH: Whoa, wait a minute. You just said a mouthful. What’s the agenda here?
RB: Your intelligence insider—he knows that we are facing a planned economic collapse. You wrote about this in your articles about Benghazi, or at least that’s what I got out of the later articles. So why the surprise?
DH: There’s a lot here. Let’s take it step by step if you don’t mind.
RB: Okay, but I’m not going to give it to you in baby steps. Big boy steps. This is what I am hearing. Life for the average American is going to change significantly, and not the change people expect. First, DHS is preparing to work with police departments and the TSA to respond to civil uprisings that will happen when there is a financial panic. And there will be one, maybe as early as this spring, when the dollar won’t get you a gumball. I’m not sure what the catalyst will be, but I’ve heard rumblings about a derivatives crisis as well as an oil embargo. I don’t know, that’s not my department. But something is going to happen to collapse the dollar, which has been in the works since the 1990s. Now if it does not happen as soon as this, it’s because there are people, real patriots, who are working to prevent this, so it’s a fluid dynamic. But that doesn’t change the preparations.
And the preparations are these: DHS is prepositioning assets in strategic areas near urban centers all across the country. Storage depots. Armories. And even detainment facilities, known as FEMA camps. FEMA does not even know that the facilities are earmarked for detainment by executive orders, at least not in the traditional sense they were intended. By the way, people drive by some of these armories every day without even giving them a second look. Commercial and business real estate across the country are being bought up or leased for storage purposes. Very low profile.
Anyway, I am hearing that the plan from on high is to let the chaos play out for a while, making ordinary citizens beg for troops to be deployed to restore order. but it’s all organized to make them appear as good guys. That’s when the real head knocking will take place. We’re talking travel restrictions, which should not be a problem because gas will be rationed or unavailable. The TSA will be in charge of travel, or at least be a big part of it. They will be commissioned, upgraded from their current status.
They, I mean Jarrett and Obama as well as a few others in government, are working to create a perfect storm too. This is being timed to coincide with new gun laws.
DH: New federal gun laws?
RB: Yes. Count on the criminalization to possess just about every gun you can think of. Not only restrictions, but actual criminalization of possessing a banned firearm. I heard this directly from the highest of my sources. Plans were made in the 90s but were withheld. Now, it’s a new day, a new time, and they are riding the wave of emotion from Sandy Hook, which, by the way as tragic as it was, well, it stinks to high heaven. I mean there are many things wrong there, and first reports are fast disappearing. The narrative is being changed. Look, there is something wrong with Sandy Hook, but if you write it, you’ll be called a kook or worse.
RB: But Sandy Hook, there’s something very wrong there. But I am hearing that won’t be the final straw. There will be another if they think it’s necessary.
DH: Another shooting?
DH: That would mean they are at least complicit.
RB: Well, that’s one way of looking at it.
DH: Are they? Were they?
RB: Do your own research. Nothing I say, short of bringing you photographs and documents will convince anyone, and even then, it’s like [DELETED] in the wind.
RB: So what I’m telling you is that DHS, the TSA and certain, but not all, law enforcement agencies are going to be elbow deep in riot control in response to an economic incident. At the same time or close to it, gun confiscation will start. It will start on a voluntary basis using federal registration forms, then an amnesty, then the kicking-in of doors start.
Before or at the same time, you know all the talk of lists, you know, the red and blue lists that everyone made fun of? Well they exist, although I don’t know about their colors. But there are lists of political dissidents maintained by DHS. Names are coordinated with the executive branch, but you know what? They did not start with Obama. They’ve been around in one form or another for years. The difference though is that today, they are much more organized. And I’ll tell you that the vocal opponents of the politics of the global elite, the bankers, and the opponents of anything standing in their way, well, they are on the top of the list of people to be handled.
RB: As the situations worsen, some might be given a chance to stop their vocal opposition. Some will, others won’t. I suppose they are on different lists. Others won’t have that chance. By that time, though, it will be chaos and people will be in full defensive mode. They will be hungry, real hunger like we’ve never experienced before. They will use our hunger as leverage. They will use medical care as leverage.
DH: Will this happen all at once?
RB: They hope to make it happen at the same time. Big cities first, with sections being set apart from the rest of the country. Then the rural areas. There are two different plans for geographical considerations. But it will all come together.
DH: Wait, this sounds way, way over the top. Are you telling me… [Interrupts]
RB: [Over talk/Unintelligible] …know who was selected or elected twice now. You know who his associates are. And you are saying this is way over the top? Don’t forget what Ayers said – you talked to Larry Grathwohl. This guy is a revolutionary. He does not want to transform our country in the traditional sense. He will destroy it. And he’s not working alone. He’s not working for himself, either. He has his handlers. So don’t think this is going to be a walk in the park, with some type of attempt to rescue the country. Cloward-Piven. Alinsky. Marx. All rolled into one. And he won’t need the rest of his four years to do it.
DH: I need you to be clear. Let’s go back again, I mean, to those who speak out about what’s happening.
RB: [Edit note: Obviously irritated] How much clearer do you want it? The Second Amendment will be gone, along with the first, at least practically or operationally. The Constitution will be gone, suspended, at least in an operational sense. Maybe they won’t actually say that they are suspending it, but will do it. Like saying the sky is purple when it’s actually blue. How many people will look at the sky and say yeah, it’s purple? They see what they want to see.
So the DHS, working with other law enforcement organizations, especially the TSA as it stands right now, will oversee the confiscation of assault weapons, which includes all semi-automatic weapons following a period of so-called amnesty. It also includes shotguns that hold multiple rounds, or have pistol grips. They will go after the high capacity magazines, anything over, say 5 rounds.
They will also go after the ammunition, especially at the manufacturer’s level. They will require a special license for certain weapons, and make it impossible to own anything. More draconian than England. This is a global thing too. Want to hunt? What gives you the right to hunt their animals? Sound strange? I hope so, but they believe they own the animals. Do you understand now, how sick and twisted this is? Their mentality?
The obvious intent is to disarm American citizens. They will say that we’ll still be able to defend ourselves and go hunting, but even that will be severely regulated. This is the part that they are still working out, though. While the plans were made years ago, there is some argument over the exact details. I know that Napalitano, even with her support of the agenda, would like to see this take place outside of an E.O. [Executive Order] in favor of legislative action and even with UN involvement.
DH: But UN involvement would still require legislative approval.
RB: Yes, but you’re still thinking normal – in normal terms. Stop thinking about a normal situation. The country is divided, which is exactly where Obama wants us to be. We are as ideologically divided as we were during the Civil War and that rift is growing every day. Add in a crisis – and economic crisis – where ATM and EBT cards will stop working. Where bank accounts will contain nothing but air. They are anticipating a revolution and a civil war rolled into one (emphasis added by this author).
Imagine when talk show hosts or Bloggers or some other malcontent gets on the air or starts writing about the injustice of it all, and about how Obama is the anti-Christ or something. They will outlaw such talk or writing as inciting the situation – they will make it illegal by saying that it is causing people to die. The Republicans will go along with everything as it’s – we have – a one party system. Two parties is an illusion. It’s all so surreal to talk about but you see where this is headed, right?
DH: Well, what about the lists?
RB: Back to that again, okay. Why do you think the NSA has surveillance of all communications? To identify and stop terrorism? Okay, to be fair, that is part of it, but not the main reason. The federal agencies have identified people who present a danger to them and their agendas. I don’t know if they are color coded like you mentioned, red, blue, purple or peach mango or whatever, but they exist. In fact, each agency has their own. You know, why is it so [deleted] hard for people to get their heads around the existence of lists with names of people who pose a threat to their plans? The media made a big deal about Nixon’s enemies list and everyone nodded and said yeah, that [deleted], but today? They’ve been around for years and years.
DH: I think it’s because of the nature of the lists today. What do they plan to do with their enemies?
RB: Go back to what Ayers said when, in the late 60s? 70s? I forget. Anyway, he was serious. But to some extent, the same thing that happened before. They – the people on some of these lists – are under surveillance, or at least some, and when necessary, some are approached and made an offer. Others, well, they can be made to undergo certain training. Let’s call it sensitivity training, except on a much different level. Others, most that are the most visible and mainstream are safe for the most part. And do you want to know why? It’s because they are in the pockets of the very people we are talking about, but they might or might not know it. Corporate sponsorship – follow the money. You know the drill. You saw it happen before, with the birth certificate.
It’s people that are just under the national radar but are effective. They have to worry. Those who have been publicly marginalized already but continue to talk or write or post, they are in trouble. It’s people who won’t sell out, who think that they can make a difference. Those are the people who have to worry.
Think about recent deaths that everybody believes were natural or suicides. Were they? People are too busy working their [butts] off to put food on the table to give a damn about some guy somewhere who vapor locks because of too many doughnuts and coffee and late nights. And it seems plausible enough to happen. This time, when everything collapses, do you think they will care if it is a bullet or a heart attack that takes out the opposition? [Deleted] no.
DH: That’s disturbing. Do you… [interrupts]
RB: Think about the Oklahoma City bombing in ‘95. Remember how Clinton blamed that on talk radio, or at least in part. Take what happened then and put it in context of today. Then multiply the damnation by 100, and you will begin to understand where this is going. People like Rush and Hannity have a narrow focus of the political theater. They’ll still be up and running during all of this to allow for the appearance of normal. Stay within the script, comrade.
But as far as the others, they have certain plans. And these plans are becoming more transparent. They are getting bolder. They are pushing lies, and the bigger the lie, the easier it is to sell to the people. They will even try to sell a sense of normalcy as things go absolutely crazy and break down. It will be surreal. And some will believe it, think that it’s only happening in certain places, and we can draw everything back once the dust settles. But when it does, this place will not be the same.
DH: Will there be resistance within the ranks of law enforcement? You know, will some say they won’t go along with the plan, like the Oath Keepers?
RB: Absolutely. But they will not only be outnumbered, but outgunned – literally. The whole objective is to bring in outside forces to deal with the civil unrest that will happen in America. And where does their allegiance lie? Certainly not to Sheriff Bob. Or you or me.
During all of this, and you’ve got to remember that the dollar collapse is a big part of this, our country is going to have to be redone. I’ve seen – personally – a map of North America without borders. Done this year. The number 2015 was written across the top, and I believe that was meant as a year. Along with this map – in the same area where this was – was another map showing the United States cut up into sectors. I’m not talking about what people have seen on the internet, but something entirely different. Zones. And a big star on the city of Denver.
Sound like conspiracy stuff on the Internet? Yup. But maybe they were right. It sure looks that way. It will read that way if you decide to write about this. Good luck with that. Anyway, the country seemed to be split into sectors, but not the kind shown on the internet. Different.
DH: What is the context of that?
RB: Across the bottom of this was written economic sectors. It looked like a work in progress, so I can’t tell you any more than that. From the context I think it has to do with the collapse of the dollar.
DH: Why would DHS have this? I mean, it seems almost contrived, doesn’t it?
RB: Not really, when you consider the bigger picture. But wait before we go off into that part. I need to tell you about Obamacare, you know, the new health care coming up. It plays a big part – a huge [deleted] part in the immediate reshaping of things.
DH: How so?
RB: It creates a mechanism of centralized control over people. That’s the intent of this monster of a bill, not affordable health care. And it will be used to identify gun owners. Think your health records are private? Have you been to the doctor lately? Asked about owning a gun? Why do you think they ask, do you think they care about your safety? Say yes to owning a gun and your information is shared with another agency, and ultimately, you will be identified as a security risk. The records will be matched with other agencies.
You think that they are simply relying on gun registration forms? This is part of data collection that people don’t get. Oh, and don’t even think about getting a script for some mood enhancement drug and being able to own a gun.
Ayers and Dohrn are having the times of their lives seeing things they’ve worked for all of their adult lives actually coming to pass. Oh, before I forget, look at the recent White House visitor logs.
DH: Why? Where did that come from?
RB: Unless they are redacted, you will see the influence of Ayers. Right now. The Weather Underground has been reborn. So has their agenda.
DH: Eugenics? Population control?
RB: Yup. And re-education camps. But trust me, you write about this, you’ll be called a kook. It’s up to you, it’s your reputation, not mine. And speaking about that, you do know that this crew is using the internet to ruin people, right? They are paying people to infiltrate discussion sites and forums to call people like you idiots. Show me the proof they say. Why doesn’t you source come forward? If he knows so much, why not go to Fox or the media? To them, if it’s not broadcast on CNN, it’s not real. Well, they’ve got it backwards. Very little on the news is real. The stock market, the economy, the last presidential polls, very little is real.
But this crew is really internet savvy. They’ve got a lot of people they pay to divert issues on forums, to mock people, to marginalize them. They know what they’re doing. People think they’ll take sites down – hack them. Why do that when they are more effective to infiltrate the discussion? Think about the birth certificate, I mean the eligibility problem of Obama. Perfect example.
DH: How soon do you see things taking place?
RB: They already are in motion. If you’re looking for a date I can’t tell you. Remember, the objectives are the same, but plans, well, they adapt. They exploit. Watch how this fiscal cliff thing plays out. This is the run-up to the next big economic event.
I can’t give you a date. I can tell you to watch things this spring. Start with the inauguration and go from there. Watch the metals, when they dip. It will be a good indication that things are about to happen. I got that little tidbit from my friend at [REDACTED].
NOTE: At this point, my contact asked me to reserve further disclosures until after the inauguration.
Copyright © Douglas Hagmann
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:48 am
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
By Patrick J. Michaels
Global Science Report is a weekly feature from the Center for the Study of Science, where we highlight one or two important new items in the scientific literature or the popular media. For broader and more technical perspectives, consult our monthly “Current Wisdom.”
About a year and a half ago, we were co-authors (along with Dr. Oliver Frauenfeld from Texas A&M University) on a paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research in which we presented a nearly 225-year reconstruction of surface snow melt across Greenland (Figure 1).
Our reconstruction was based on long-term temperature records from the southern Greenland coast along with historic indicators of the atmospheric circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean. We found that in addition to the period since about the year 2000, there was an extended (multi-decadal) period in the early portion of the 20th century where the amount of surface snowmelt was elevated above the long-term average. We concluded from this that since there did not appear to be a large increase in the rate of global sea level rise during the early 20th century period of elevated ice melt—a melt driven primarily by warmer than normal temperatures—that Greenland’s contribution to global sea level rise during the current period of high temperatures was likely to remain relatively “modest,” at least for the next few decades.
Neither our methods, nor or findings were overly controversial—or so we thought.
Shortly after our paper was published, one of the reviewers of our paper, a noted snow/ice researcher who has spent a lot of time studying Greenland, Dr. Jason Box, came forwarded and denounced our work. On his blog (in posts he has subsequently removed), he attacked our work both from a scientific standpoint as well as deriding it with a few ad hominems (for example “Examining the 2nd [Knappenberger] and 3rd [Michaels] authors’ credentials, a climate change denialist pattern emerges”).
On both accounts we felt he was wrong (of course) and offered a rebuttal.
But perhaps the strongest argument that our results were scientifically sound comes from an ironic source—the results of new research findings from Jason Box himself!
These new findings from Box, although not yet fully available, have been incorporated into another research project that has recently been published (Gregory et al., 2012) and thus we can get a sneak peek at them.
The solid black line in Figure 2 (below) shows Box’s reconstruction of the sea level rise contribution from Greenland back into since the mid-1800s.
Notice the strong resemblance of Box’s reconstruction of the sea level contribution from Greenland with our reconstruction of the surface snow melt across Greenland. The snow melt/sea level contribution is currently very high, was relatively low in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, was high from the mid-1920s through the late 1960s, and was lower in the 1800s.
Considering that there are other factors besides snowmelt (like snow accumulation and calving glaciers) that contribute to Greenland’s net contributions to sea level rise, the two curves are remarkably similar. This is a strong indication that whatever is driving snowmelt (regional temperature) is also driving the net sea level contribution.
All of which we wrote in our paper:
This record of ice melt indicates that the melt extent observed since the late 1990s is among the highest likely to have occurred since the late 18th century, although recent values are not statistically different from those common during the period 1923–1961, a period when summer temperatures along the southern coast of Greenland were similarly high as those experienced in recent years. Our reconstruction indicates that if the current trend toward increasing melt extent continues, total melt across the Greenland ice sheet will exceed historic values of the past two and a quarter centuries
…The forces acting in concert with ice melt across Greenland to produce higher global sea levels currently, should also have been acting during the extended high?melt conditions from the mid?1920s to the early 1960s.
And we also added this concerning the significance of Greenland’s contribution to the total global sea level rise:
[T]here is no indication that the increased contribution from the Greenland melt in the early to mid 20th century, a roughly 40 year interval when average annual melt was more or less equivalent to the average of the most recent 10 years (2000–2009), resulted in a rate of global sea level rise that exceeded ~mm/yr. This suggests that Greenland’s contribution to global sea level rise, even during multidecadal conditions as warm as during the past several years, is relatively modest.
Figure 3 (anther figure from the new paper from Gregory et al., 2012) shows the breakdown of the factors contributing to the global rise in sea level of the past century and a half. Greenland’s contribution (based on Box’s reconstruction) is the pale green line (labeled “Greenland-B” in the legend). I think it is pretty fair to characterize this as “modest.”
Why was such a big deal was made about our research results and “denialist” credentials when subsequent results, made by the very person who went ad hominem, completely replicate our findings?
Box, J. E., Greenland ice sheet mass balance reconstruction. Part III: Marine ice loss and total mass balance (1840–2010). Journal of Climate, submitted (as cited by Gregory et al., 2012).
Frauenfeld, O.W., P.C. Knappenberger, and P.J. Michaels, 2011. A reconstruction of annual Greenland ice melt extent, 1785-2009. Journal of Geophysical Research, 116, D08104, doi: 10.1029/2010JD014918.
Gregory, J., et al., 2012. Twentieth-century global-mean sea-level rise: is the whole greater than the sum of the parts? Journal of Climate, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00319.1, in press.
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Latest eurozone PMI figures suggest downturn deepening
The eurozone has seen an ongoing steep decline as data shows the share currency bloc’s economy is entrenched in the steepest downturn since mid-2009.
Activity has now fallen in 14 of the last 15 months, with the exception being a marginal increase seen in January. Photo: Alamy
By Emma Rowley6
22 Nov 2012
The eurozone debt crisis is pushing the region into its deepest downturn since the financial crisis, according to a closely watched survey.
In October, the region’s economy continued to contract sharply, the monthly initial flash estimate purchasing managers’survey (PMI) estimate from data provider Markit showed, indicating that activity has fallen in 14 of the past 15 months.
The headline reading was 45.8, little changed on September’s 45.7 – anything below the 50-mark indicates a fall-off in activity. The services sector was particularly weak, dropping to a 40-month low of 45.7.
Officially, the eurozone only just edged back into recession in the third quarter of this year. However, Markit said the PMI data indicate the downturn is gathering pace “significantly”.
Researchers said the data were consistent with the eurozone contracting up to 0.5pc this quarter. Even the two largest economies, France and Germany, appear on course to shrink this quarter.
James Ashley, economist at RBC Capital Markets, said it was not clear when the eurozone would return to growth.
“The focus is increasingly on whether or not conditions will have stabilised by the start of 2013,” he said. “Should that [stabilisation] not materialise, it would not take much downside news to tip euro-area output for 2013 as a whole into another year of negative growth.”
The data came as markets wait for European finance ministers to reach a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over how Greece should manage its debts, allowing the release of its latest €31bn (£25bn) tranche of bail-out funds.
The euro members want to extend a deadline by which it must reduce its debt, but the IMF favours these nations taking a writedown on their loans to Greece.
Ahead of next Monday’s meeting to attempt to reach a deal, Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, told the European Parliament: “I trust everyone will reconvene in Brussels on Monday with the necessary constructive spirit, and move beyond the detrimental mindset of red lines.”
Greece is suffering in the absence of an agreement, said Antonis Samaras, its prime minister, warning that “every day that goes by without a decision will burden the economy, its psychology, its markets and citizens and Greeks’ pride.”
A Greek pensioner yesterday was arrested after he threatened to set himself on fire inside a state finance office. He was thought to have been implicated in a fraud case years ago and to have been protesting at the seizure of his assets.
A number of Greeks have threatened to kill themselves at tax offices or banks, in various protests in recent years.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:56 pm
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The article below by Jeffrey Snider, an investment advisor, may be a bit dense for the average reader. But here’s the bottom line: As the Fed has lowered “wholesale” mortgage rates by printing money and using that to buy mortgage bonds packaged by dependencies of the federal government, the big banks have not passed these lower mortgage rates onto the “retail” borrower, the average home buyer.
The banks, investment banks, and hedge funds have themselves made millions off the Fed program, but so far little if any of it has helped the average homebuyer.
Does this information surprise you in any way? No? We aren’t surprised either. This is how things work in the Wall Street/Washington crony capitalist system.
President Obama charges that the Republicans practice “trickle down” economics. Governor Romney counter-charges that the Democrats practice “trickle down” government. Excuse us, but what exactly is the difference?
As we have noted in other articles, wealth in a real market system cannot “trickle down” because workers and contractors benefit immediately from investment, while investors have to wait and see if they get anything back. But “trickle down” is typical of a crony capitalist system, and the latest windfall for Wall Street from QE-3 is yet another example. The favored rich will fatten off of it, the middle class get crumbs while their savings disappear from the Fed’s engineered negative interest rates. The poor will get nothing except even more unemployment.
The post Guess Who Is Already Making Money Off The Fed’s Latest Round of Money Printing (QE-3)? appeared first on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org.
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By Andrew J. Coulson
The latest Nobel Prize in economics has been awarded to Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapely. They’ve done brilliant work on algorithms for optimally matching pairs of things (such as job vacancies and job seekers), but at least one prominent application of their work should produce a deafening roar of foreheads hitting desktops: public school choice.
As the Nobel organization’s website explains, the original algorithm was developed by Shapely and David Gale to optimally match pairs of individuals who could only each be matched with one other person. For instance, optimally marrying-off 10 men and 10 women based on their relative levels of interest in one another. Over the past decade, it has come to be used to match students to places in local public schools (by Roth).
The problem is that this approach to “school choice” correctly assumes that the better public schools have a fixed number of places and cannot expand to meet increased demand. So it’s about finding the least-awful allocation of students to a static set of schools—a process that does nothing to improve school quality.
Meanwhile, there is something called a “market” which not only allows consumers and producers to connect, it creates the freedoms and incentives necessary for the best providers to grow in response to rising demand and crowd-out the inferior ones. It also provides incentives for innovation and efficiency. But instead of advocating the use of market freedoms and incentives to improve education, some of our top economists are spending their skill and energy tinkering with the increasingly inefficient, pedagogically stagnant status quo.
Forehead… meet desk.
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Silver $35-$40 by the end of the year, Gold $1,850
David Morgan’s latest interview-
This was done with Mineweb’s Geoff Candy
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:54 pm
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