Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Sunday 'Report;' 10/21/2012 [Part 2]

What The National Pamphleteers Don't Report:
Bernanke's QE3:  Ironically A Policy Predicated On Irrational Behavior
by J.D. Foster,
September 20, 2012
     Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s Federal Open Market Committee announced a third round of quantitative easing (QE) on September 13. The intent is to stimulate the economy, which has been languishing and is now slowing further under President Obama’s economic policies. Two key arguments in support of QE3 are that it will put downward pressure on long-term interest rates—especially mortgage rates—and that it will induce an increase in asset prices that, by increasing personal wealth, will induce an increase in personal consumption. A careful examination shows both arguments to be weak and the latter argument to ironically echo an unfortunate past experiment in monetary policy.
On the other hand, if the Fed goes forward with its plan to buy an additional $40 billion in long-dated federal agency-backed debt and do so indefinitely, it will be adding nearly a half-trillion dollars a year to its already worrisome balance sheet. Shrinking the balance sheet to a more normal size by unloading all these long-dated assets will prove difficult, despite Chairman Bernanke’s brave assurances to the contrary. Almost by definition, this unwinding will [....]

Federal Budget In Pictures
Staff Report,
undated material
[Federal Spending, Federal Revenue, Debt and Deficits, Entitlements (Shown)]
Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security spending is set to explode, placing enormous pressure on other priorities such as defense and the rest of the budget. [....]

Time To Address The Retirement Savings Crisis
by David C. John,
October 18, 2012
    Americans’ ability to build a secure retirement is increasingly in danger. In addition to Social Security’s rapidly approaching fiscal problems and underfunded traditional defined-benefit pensions, the retirement savings system is available to only about half of the workforce and needs other improvements before today’s workers can create sufficient retirement income. The longer this situation goes unaddressed, the greater the probability that millions of future retirees will face poverty or other financial hardships.
    This is not a small issue. Social Security, the foundation of retirement income, is so underfunded that every retiree faces 25 percent benefit cuts in just over 20 years.[1] In addition, many taxpayers face massive tax increases to pay for underfunded state and local government pension plans.[2] However, the biggest problem may be the retirement savings system, and the need to improve this crucial aspect of retirement security receives scant press and virtually no legislative action.
This is definitely not [....]

Got Racism?
by Ann Coulter,
October 10, 2012
    Liberal racism sightings have become like a lunatic's version of "Where's Waldo?" Kevin Baker of Harper's magazine says Romney's referring to his "five boys" in last week's debate was how he "slyly found a way" to call Obama a "boy." Says Baker: "How the right's hard-core racists must have howled at that!"  MSNBC's Chris Matthews says the word "apartment" is racist because black people live in apartments. He also says the word "Chicago" is racist because -- despite its well-known reputation as the home of Al Capone and the Daley machine -- a lot of black people live there, too. (And don't get him started on "Chicago apartments"!)
    As we go to press, Matthews is working on an exciting new hypothesis that peanut butter is racist.  Meanwhile, my new favorite actress, Stacey Dash, sends an inoffensive little tweet supporting Mitt Romney and is buried in tweets calling her "an indoor slave" and a "jiggaboo," who was "slutting (herself) to the white man." (And those were just the tweets from the Obama 2012 Re-election Campaign!)  Could we get an expert opinion from Chris Matthews or Kevin Baker about whether any of that is racist?
It's a strange thing with liberals. They spend so much time fawning [....]

To Promote "Fairness" Lunch Lady Ordered To Stop Making Good Food
by Daniel J. Mitchell,
October 12, 2012
    Since part of my job at the Cato Institute is to persuade skeptics to support a free society, I’m always trying to figure out how best to convince people to favor liberty over statism.
I start with the premise that most statists are misguided rather than evil and I try to understand how they see the world. If I know what makes them tick, after all, then perhaps I can explain to them how freedom is preferable to big government.
In my efforts to win people’s hearts and minds, I run into the same obstacles over and over again.
    Lots of people mistakenly believe the economy is a fixed pie, so they think if someone such as Steve Jobs becomes wealthy, then other people necessarily have less money.
I have ways of dealing with all these myths. I don’t pretend to be successful in all or even most cases, but I think I’ve helped lead some people out of the darkness.
One of the other challenges I face is that some people believe in equality of outcomes. It’s hard to reason with these folks. I try [....]

Prepping For ObamaKare, Olive Garden And Red Lobster Cut Workers' Hours
by Mike Shedlock,
October 11, 2012
    In hopes of reducing the impact of Obamacare, Olive Garden and Red Lobster are reducing hours and studying the impact.  Right now, this is just a small test, involving only four stores markets. However, if large chains are testing in that direction, no doubt other companies are doing the same. I also suspect smaller chains have already shifted to that model completely.
Please consider Prepping for Obamacare, Chain Cuts Workers' Hours.
The owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants is putting more workers on part-time status in a test aimed at limiting the impact of looming health coverage requirements.
    Darden Restaurants declined to give details but said the test is only in restaurants in four markets across the country. The test entails increasing the number of workers on part-time status, meaning they work less than 30 hours a week. Under the new health care act, companies will be required to provide health care to full-time employees by 2014. That would significantly boost labor costs for businesses.
Media Ignores Major Tea Party Protest Of obama
by Sally Zelikovsky,
October 10, 2012

president obama came to San Francisco this week for another of his star-studded fundraisers
Hello President "Eye-Candy"
As usual, the San Francisco Tea Party was there to greet him. Polk Street was used as a clearing station for thousands of low-priced ticket holders champing at the bit to get a glimpse of President “Eye Candy”.
Protesters of all stripes were situated on the sidewalk along Polk for hours – up close and personal – with Obama supporters who were waiting on line.
There were the usual left wing protesters–PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) members dressed as circus elephants; the anti-war anti-drone gang; and the pro-cannabis crew who always seems to garner all of the attention. [....]

Tax Policy Center's Skewed Analysis Of Governor Romney's Tax Plan
by Curtis Dubay,
September 25, 2012
Abstract: The Tax Policy Center (TPC) recently released a report that erroneously concludes that Governor Mitt Romney’s tax reform plan would necessarily cut taxes for the rich and raise them for middle-income and low-income taxpayers. However, despite the authors’ claims, their analysis is far from definitive. Instead, their conclusion is the result of a series of carefully made choices. These choices, not the underlying nature of the Romney plan, cause them to arrive at their selected result. This finding is harming the debate on tax reform.
    The economy is in a prolonged slump and will continue to perform below its potential unless Washington implements significantly better economic policies. Tax reform is one policy improvement that could accelerate the recovery.
There is broad agreement that the tax code unduly restrains the economy and [....]

No On 64: Don't Invite Cartels
by Craig Steiner,
October 11, 2012
    Voters of Colorado should vote NO on amendment 64, a proposal to legalize marijuana in Colorado.  Voters should not treat this as only a question on the merits of marijuana legalization but rather on whether Colorado would be wise to make marijuana legal in the state even as it remains illegal in the rest of the country.  If our state becomes the only state in the nation to legalize marijuana, criminal organizations are more likely to set up shop in Colorado. Just as reducing taxes attracts legitimate businesses to the state, reducing criminal sanctions on marijuana while other states keep those sanctions in place will attract cartels that deal in marijuana to Colorado.
    The cartels would come to Colorado not necessarily to sell marijuana within the state, but to use our state as a central point of production and distribution to export to other states without the inconvenience of international border controls that currently exist. This probability is increased by [....]

Seth Klarman: Silent Assassination Of Value Investing
by Garrett Blackwood,
October 10, 2012
    I love studying successful investors, especially fellow value investors. My academic and early investing years were spent studying Warren Buffett and Michael Price. Now I am intrigued by current managers and how they fared during the financial crisis. I covered Joel Greenblatt in a previous blog - his "magic formula" is simple to understand and would have pleased Benjamin Graham. I love it so much that ValueMyStock created our own daily report of stocks that pass his test. Many investors have heard of Joel Greenblatt, mostly from his popular "The Little Book That Beats the Market" book. Fewer have heard of Seth Klarman, whose own book "Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor" is now out-of-print.
    A graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Business School, Mr. Klarman [....]

The Odd September Unemployment Rate: When Good Surveys Produce False Results
by J.D. Foster,
October 5, 2012
What’s behind the seemingly sudden drop in the unemployment rate?
    While the economy stumbles along, no one would expect a sudden jump in employment. Job growth has averaged about 100,000 per month over the past six months, roughly consistent with other economic indicators suggesting slow growth. But the Labor Department reported today the unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September, which makes a full half-point drop since July.
    These results suggest something very strange is going on with the household survey. In this hyper-political season, some who should know better and some who know little at all are suggesting the Obama Administration is playing games with the numbers. This is almost certainly not the case. The professionals at the Bureau of Labor Statistics would never stand for it, and like all good bureaucrats, they have ways of getting the truth out. Something strange is going on, but not politics—rather, statistics caused this little rhubarb.
    The federal government runs [....]

What Can Investors Get Out Of Real Estate
by John Wheeler,
undated material
    Property ownership is a sector with multiple benefits for investors. Real estate is a source of steady income and potential appreciation in markets with high demand. Other advantages include diversification and inflation hedging. One of the unique aspects of property investing is the ability to materially enhance its performance. Houses and buildings, after all, are tangible things. They can be improved to raise their prices or incomes.
Rental Income
Income from rents is dependable but can vary in response to market conditions. The good news is it does not vary with the same speed as other fixed-income investments like bonds. Interest rates change much faster than rents. Rental income provides a steady source of cash flow that can increase in tight markets when demand outstrips supply. Investors can buy shares in a real estate investment trust (REIT) or take the plunge and become landlords themselves to get income this way.
Real estate combines aspects of both a stock and a bond. The price of the property can rise, like a stock, but it also pays income like a bond. Property prices can rise due to market dynamics or inflation. In weak markets, prices can still rise because of inflation, but demand is what will give an investor a high real rate of return. Choosing properties in desirable markets or markets that will become desirable is how this game works.
Residential or commercial property can stabilize a portfolio and keep it from becoming unbalanced. This sector does not [....]

After Liberalism, What?
by William F. Buckley, Jr.,
December 1, 1970
[This article first appeared in the December 1, 1970 edition of National Review magazine.]
    The first issue of National Review was sent out fifteen years ago, and we thought it appropriate to plan something to remark the anniversary. Something serious, and something social. The serious ventures are, paradoxically, much easier to consummate. Five years ago Professor Jeffrey Hart, since joined to the staff of National Review as an editor, wrote an entire book on the recent history of the American conservative movement, and NR’s role in it, from which book we excerpted fifty thousand words. At the social end, our well-wishers threw a party, chaired by Clare Boothe Luce, that drew 2,300 people, and featured eight (count ‘em 8) speakers including Barry Goldwater and John Dos Passos, with a dais seating about fifty people. Well, one might have invited, this time around, Jeff Hart to write an encyclopedia (he’d have done it, if we had given him a little notice), and had a shot at Madison Square Garden. But what then would we have arranged for our 25th Anniversary? I suppose we might have staged it in the White House, arranging to receive the swords, respectively of the editors of Partisan Review, the New Republic and the New York Times. I like that. But it might prove impractical.
    We decided on a conservative solution. James Burnham agreed to edit a special feature section, on the theme, “After Liberalism, What?” He thought it essential to the successful exploration of the question to hear from someone who does not believe that liberalism is over and is glad (enter Charles Frankel); and from a radical, who rejects liberalism even [....]

U.S. Troops In Jordan: Not New And Certainly No Surprise
by Bob Livingston,
Personal Liberty Digest
October 12, 2012
    The mainstream media give the impression that events in the Mideast are building on their own, and the United States is just responding to them. For instance, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced Wednesday that U.S. troops had been sent to the Jordan-Syria border — as if this were a new development — in the event that violence there escalates.
    The truth is the United States is manipulating events there and has been for some time. It’s all part of a plan developed in September 2000 by the neocon organization The Project for the New American Century and reinforced last March by the Brookings Institute. This was the blueprint President George W. Bush used for the Iraq invasion, which he was planning before he took office. It was continued by [....]

Looking At Cute Animal Pictures Makes You More Productive
by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt,
October 1, 2012
Having trouble concentrating today? Take two baby goats playing on a seesaw and call us for the morning meeting.
    Contrary to what the boss probably thinks, looking at cute animal pictures improves work performance, according to a new study out of Japan, home of all things kawaii (cute). Looking at cute animals, say researchers at Hiroshima University, whether they're actual kittens or cartoon characters like Pikachu, creates positive feelings that translate to increased friendliness -- always nice, when you're stuck working on a group project. They also boost productivity.
But the best part of this research is yet to come: scientists tested their theory by having 48 college students view pictures and then perform delicate tasks like removing items from small holes with a pair of tweezers. Yes, that's right: They made [....]

Tired Of That $2.6 Million Program That Teaches Chinese Prostitutes To Drink?
by John Ransom,
October 13, 2012
      Liberty is about a lot of things; it’s a deep topic. But at its core liberty can be summed up in one simple and reciprocal concept. That concept is respect. You know the 2010 last election was about many things, but it was mostly about respect. It was about starting to restore the respect that people have in government, by getting the government to restore the respect that they show to you…by taking liberty seriously.  If you are like me, you think that many of our elected officials from both the right and the left truly believe that what they think of you is much more important than what you think of them. If you’re like me you’re tired of a trillion dollars in so-called stimulus spending that went to mob-connected asphalt contractors rather than the pockets of working families who own businesses and pay taxes and do all the working and dreaming in this country. If you’re like me, you’re tired of a $2.6 million program that teaches Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly while unemployment soars across the country. If you’re like me, you're tired of an arrogant federal government which pays out $47 billion in fraudulent claims in Medicare every year while they lecture the rest of us [....]

obama Still Declining, biden Didn't Help
by Mytheos Holt,
October 14, 2012
    Daily Beast writer Andrew Sullivan’s name has become something of a byword for liberalism in the media over the past few years. From his unseemly obsession with the parentage of Sarah Palin’s son Trig, to his article asking “Why are Obama’s critics so dumb” to any number of other embarrassments, Sullivan – or Sully, as he’s sometimes called – has been a seemingly irrepressible cheerleader for the incumbent.
    That is, until the first presidential debate, after which Sullivan penned a panicky article titled “Did Obama just throw the entire election away?” The article was featured on the front page of the Drudge Report, and became a favorite reference point for triumphal conservatives. Still, given Sullivan’s exultant response to Vice President Joe Biden’s performance in last week’s debate, one might think he’d return to cheerleading afterward.
    No such luck. Sullivan is still reading the data, and it still terrifies him. In a blog post from this evening, Sullivan posted the following graph and wrote: [....]

Nuclear War Averted, 50 Years Ago, This Week
by Amy Payne,
October 15, 2012
Fifty years ago, the world came to the brink of nuclear war.
On October 14, 1962, U.S. policymakers learned that the Soviet Union was building missile bases in Cuba, which would have allowed Moscow to attack anywhere in the continental United States within minutes. An international crisis followed, and while the crisis did not end in a nuclear exchange, it is important that U.S. policymakers never forget lessons the crisis taught us.
The most important one is that it is very difficult to manage allies once they are nuclear-armed.
Nuclear-armed allies are one thing; nuclear-armed enemies are another. As Iran builds its nuclear capability, the lessons of the Cuban Missile Crisis resonate in a fresh way.
Today, The Heritage Foundation looks back at that crisis of 50 years ago with a blog series on its lessons for missile defense, presidential leadership, crisis management, and avoiding escalation.
In this morning’s first installment, Heritage experts Michaela Bendikova and Baker Spring remind us that “Fidel Castro and Che Guevara encouraged the Soviets to use ballistic missiles stationed in Cuba to attack the U.S.”
Peter Brookes and Audrey Beck will examine President John F. Kennedy’s leadership during the crisis, “a prime example of strong leadership—under intense pressure—that may have avoided an apocalyptic nuclear war.” This serves as a sober reminder that such crises fall on the shoulders of Presidents.
While schoolchildren were being taught to “duck and cover” in the case of an attack, the Cuban [....]

Phony Numbers, Phony Recovery, Phony president
by Bob Livingston,
Personal Liberty Digest
October 15, 2012
Phony Numbers, Phony Recovery, Phony President
    Mark Twain once wrote, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” The phony jobs numbers issued last week and used by the phony President to tout a phony recovery are typical of the lies, damned lies and statistics spouted out daily by the political elites.
The elites walking the halls of power — the true 1 percent — are greedy and murderous psychopaths. They care nothing for their “subjects” and seek only more power, more money and more aggrandizement. They readily lie, cheat, steal and kill to achieve their goals.
The 7.8 percent unemployment number is a manipulated and meaningless figure. The Bureau of Labor Statistics cooks the books each month by using data it terms as “seasonally adjusted.” But this adjustment [....]

Full Spectrum Operations In The Homeland: 
A VisionOf The Future
by Kevin Benson; Jennifer Weber,
July 25, 2012
The U.S. Army’s Operating Concept 2016-2028 was issued in August 2010 with three goals. First, it aims to portray how future Army forces will conduct operations as part of a joint force to deter conflict, prevail in war, and succeed in a range of contingencies, at home and abroad. Second, the concept describes the employment of Army forces at the tactical and operational levels of war between 2016 and 2028. Third, in broad terms the concept describes how Army headquarters, from theater army to division, organize and use their forces. The concept goes on to describe the major categories of Army operations, identify the capabilities required of Army forces, and guide how force development should be prioritized. The goal of this concept is to establish a common frame of reference for thinking about how the US Army will conduct full spectrum operations in the coming two decades (US Army Training and Doctrine Command, The Army Operating Concept 2016 – 2028, TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1, dated 19 August 2010, p. iii. Hereafter cited as TD Pam 525-3-1. The Army defines full spectrum operations as the combination of offensive, defensive, and either stability operations overseas or civil support operations on U.S. soil).
A key and understudied aspect of full spectrum operations is how to conduct these operations within American borders. If we face a period of persistent global conflict as outlined in successive National Security Strategy documents, then Army officers are professionally obligated [....]“vision”-of-the-future
[Additional Info:]

Voter Fraud Is The Way To America's Destruction
by Chuck Norris,
October 16, 2012
Does voter fraud actually exist?
If you ask members of the Obama administration, Democratic lawmakers or the left-leaning media, they often argue it's a myth concocted by Republicans to suppress Democratic turnout.
Even U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has called voter fraud "a problem that does not really exist."
But what you won't see in most of the nation's headlines is the series of explosive investigations by patriot James O'Keefe and his nonprofit, Project Veritas.
In stunning video footage (called "DNC Staffer Assists Double Voting In Support of Obama" on YouTube), a top Obama campaign worker gleefully helps an undercover reporter obtain ballots in two states. The reporter identifies herself as an Obama supporter who has illegally registered in Florida and Texas.
Organizing for America regional field director Stephanie Caballero — a salaried employee of the Democratic National Committee in Houston — offers to print out a ballot the reporter can mail to Florida.
"Oh, my God, this is so funny," Caballero says. "It's cool, though."
She advised the undercover reporter to say "I don't know" to anyone who might check.
Caballero was fired after the video's release, but only after House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith demanded that the Obama campaign and DNC terminate staffers who engaged in voter fraud.
However, this was no isolated incident. Project Veritas' latest effort in Texas, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut shows Obama campaign workers [....]

Turkey's Challenge And The Syrian Negotiation
by Reva Bhalla, VP-Global Affairs,
October 16, 2012
Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zubi harshly criticized the Turkish government early last week over Ankara's proposal that an interim government succeed the al Assad regime, saying that "Turkey isn't the Ottoman Sultanate; the Turkish Foreign Ministry doesn't name custodians in Damascus, Mecca, Cairo and Jerusalem." Being the spokesman for a pariah regime requires a mastery of propaganda. Al-Zubi has not disappointed in this regard, mounting a strong rhetorical offensive against Syria's powerful northern neighbor.
While his latest rebuke of Turkey will not save the al Assad regime (much less his own career), he is tapping into a powerful narrative in the region, one that will have stronger and stronger resonance in the Arab world as Turkey is forced to play a more assertive role in the region. [....]

71% Favor Voter ID At Polls
by Scott Rasmussen,
October 17, 2012
Support remains high for requiring voters to prove their identity at the polls, but more voters than ever believe requiring photo identification is discriminatory. However, there are wide partisan differences of opinion on this issue.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 66% of Likely U.S. Voters believe voter fraud is a serious problem in America today, with 33% who say it is a Very Serious one. Twenty-eight percent (28%) disagree, but that includes just 12% who say it’s Not At All Serious. [....]
Defining al Qaeda
by George Friedman,
October 19, 2012
    The Obama administration's efforts to counter the threat posed by al Qaeda and the wider jihadist movement have been a contentious topic in the U.S. presidential race. Political rhetoric abounds on both sides; administration officials claim that al Qaeda has been seriously crippled, while some critics of the administration allege that the group is stronger than ever. As with most political rhetoric, both claims bear elements of truth, but the truth depends largely on how al Qaeda and jihadism are defined. Unfortunately, politicians and the media tend to define al Qaeda loosely and incorrectly.
The jihadist threat will persist regardless of who is elected president, so understanding the actors involved is critical. But a true understanding of those actors requires taxonomical acuity. It seems worthwhile, then, to revisit Stratfor's definitions of al Qaeda and the wider jihadist movement.

A Network of Networks

    Al Qaeda, the group established by Osama bin Laden and his colleagues, was never very large -- there were never more than a few hundred actual members. We often refer to this group, now led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, as the al Qaeda core or al Qaeda prime. While the group's founders trained tens of thousands of men at their camps in Afghanistan and Sudan, they initially viewed themselves as a vanguard organization working with kindred groups to facilitate the jihad they believed was necessary to establish a global Islamic caliphate. Most of the men trained at al Qaeda camps were members of other organizations or were grassroots jihadists. The majority of them received basic paramilitary training, and only a select few were invited to receive additional training in terrorist tradecraft skills such as surveillance, document forgery and bombmaking. Of this select group, only a few men were invited to join the al Qaeda core organization.
Bin Laden envisioned [....]
Until Next Sunday....



No comments: