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The Daily Kos puts together a great list.  This was the first time I’d seen everything on one page, some of which I’d missed over the weekend, and it deserves wide spread viewer ship. Some excerpts:

1. The NSA lost a huge court battle, and was found to be acting unconstitutionally by the Secret FISA Court. The Obama administration is keeping this judgement secret, even though the secret court said, secretly, that it should be public and produced to all America. Even Congress has been denied the secret decision from the secret court, keeping this judgment secret about how the secretive NSA violated your and my rights…

2. The NSA not only gathers and keeps data on your web and emails, it also tracks every single phone call of every single American.

3.  The Obama mistreatment of whistleblowers far exceeds anything that the Cheney Bush administration ever did. Snowden’s fear of returning to this country doesn’t seem all that farfetched, given how Bradley Manning was tortured.

4.  The Obama administration continues to lie to the American public, insisting that congress is fully informed about FISA and the NSA, despite every congressman and senator who answers the question, denies that they are getting any information from them.

5.  Cloud computing providers report that their international business is crashing. Various bar associations must examine whether lawyers can even use cloud computing for their offices, because of the great probability that their data is being access and scrutinized by the feds – which causes every cloud computing attorney to be violating their oath to keep the attorney client privilege intact.

6. Those intimately involved with FISA, repeatedly allege that daily, constant, and comprehensive domestic spying on 320,000,000 Americans has resulted in absolutely no actionable data that could catch terrorists or prevent terrorism.

7. Remember the original Patriot Act Color Coded Threat Alert?  It took 8 months, but even conservative critics began to notice that any rise on color assessment board (which looked like it was designed by a TV game show producer) had nothing to do with actual, viable threats, but rather, it was raised anytime and every time that the Cheney Bush Administration faced a potential political nightmare.

And so today… Sunday August 4th, Embassy closings galore in every Muslim country.

Hmmmm. (I bet the absence of any attempt will be touted as being the result of secret phone tappings by the NSA that were disallowed by the FISA court but were done anyways… )  Let’s see how the spin comes out on Monday.

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Here is the story of a doctor who is past his prime.   Dr. Battmer told his appointment she had better be voting for Romney or he wouldn’t honor his appointment.  She said she was supporting the President.  He threw her out….   Why any woman would trust her privates to a man who still thinks our commander in chief is a muslim,  is beyond me…   I’d be afraid he’d still think babies were found under cabbages.

This guy’s license needs pulled…  70 and still practicing?   Obviously he is incapacitated if he can’t make the simple common sense judgment to keep politics out of medicine…

Someone should show him my blog and all the factual, physical proof  concluding that Obama is close to being the best president … EVER…   He’ll have a heart attack, and help decrease the surplus population (Dickens quote).

First Algeria, then Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, and Albania. And I just heard Kyrgyzstan had riots too?

And no one is blaming Israel or the Great Satan? These are truly incredulous times…

So then, who is blame? A better question,…. once facts are on the table, is WHAT… is to blame?

The heart of the problem is in the dysfunctional nature of conservative, traditionalist Arab society. They fail to function economically, because of their values prohibit them from doing so.

Here is a case in point. Nine out of ten Egyptian women suffer genitalia mutilation. This act is not sanctioned by the government of Egypt, but is actually, officially opposed. Mubarak’s wife, actively campaigns against it. Yet nine out of ten women continue to have this done:

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi – the president of the International Association of Muslim Scholars – explains:

The most moderate opinion and the most likely one to be correct is in favor of practicing circumcision in the moderate Islamic way indicated in some of the Prophet’s hadiths – even though such hadiths are not confirmed to be authentic. It is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to a midwife: “Reduce the size of the clitoris but do not exceed the limit, for that is better for her health and is preferred by husbands.”

That is not a Muslim view (the practice is rare in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan), but an Egyptian Muslim view. In the most fundamental of matters, President and Mrs Mubarak are incomparably more enlightened than the Egyptian public. Three-quarters of acts of genital mutilation in Egypt are executed by physicians, meaning they are not being performed at religious ceremonies, but are instead being quietly paid by the very parents of the girls themselves.

Fact is, Egypt is wallowing in backwardness, not because the Mubarak regime has suppressed the creative energies of the people, but because the people themselves cling to the most oppressive practices of traditional society. And countries can only languish in backwardness so long before some event makes their position untenable.

So what broke the back of those toiling in Egypt? The price of wheat?

Wheat prices have almost doubled in the past year.

Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer, beholden to foreign providers for nearly half its total food consumption. Half of Egyptians live on less than $2 a day. Food comprises almost half the country’s consumer price index, and much more than half of spending for the poorer half of the country.

Egyptians love their bread. The nation is the world’s biggest consumer of bread with around 400 grams of bread consumption a day, easily eclipsing France at just 130 grams daily.

So, why can’t the Egyptians buy wheat?

The prosperous Asians are buying it up first. The wheat flows to the area having the most money.

Earlier this year, after drought prompted Russia to ban wheat exports, Egypt’s agriculture minister pledged to raise food production over the next ten years to 75% of consumption, against only 56% in 2009. Local yields are only 18 bushels per acre, compared to 30 to 60 for non-irrigated wheat in the United States, and up 100 bushels for irrigated land.

Prosperous Asians want their protein. And we all know it takes seven times as much wheat to make an equal amount of protein. The Asians have priced wheat out of the Arabs budget.

The trouble isn’t long-term food price inflation: wheat has long been one of the world’s bargains. The International Monetary Fund’s global consumer price index quadrupled in between 1980 and 2010, while the price of wheat, even after the price spike of 2010, only doubled in price. What hurts the poorest countries, though, isn’t the long-term price trend, though, but the volatility.

It turns out that China, not the United States or Israel, presents an existential threat to the Arab world, and through no fault of its own: rising incomes have gentrified the Asian diet, and – more importantly – insulated Asian budgets from food price fluctuations. Economists call this “price elasticity.” Americans, for example, will buy the same amount of milk even if the price doubles, although they will stop buying fast food if hamburger prices double. Asians now are wealthy enough to buy all the grain they want.

If wheat output falls, for example, due to drought in Russia and Argentina, prices rise until demand falls. The difference today is that Asian demand for grain will not fall, because Asians are richer than they used to be. Someone has to consume less, and it will be the people at the bottom of the economic ladder, in this case the poorer Arabs.

Wheat supply dropped by only 2.4% between 2009 and 2010 – and the wheat price doubled. That’s because affluent Asians don’t care what they pay for grain. Prices depend on what the last (or “marginal”) purchaser is willing to pay for an item….

It wasn’t the financial crisis that undermined dysfunctional Arab states, but Asian prosperity. The Arab poor have been priced out of world markets. There is no solution to Egypt’s problems within the horizon of popular expectations. Whether this regime survives or a new one replaces it, the outcome will continue to be a disaster.

So in each of these conservative Muslim states, no matter who remains or takes over, the conditions will not become better until they understand that… it is their conservatism, that is literally the thing killing them.

Duffy is God’s answer to a prayer.. I miss the old days of blogging when we were debating principals instead of people… Duffy has stuck to the old line of debating principals with facts, and that is what makes him special in the eyes of bloggers everywhere…

Since the passing of Steve Newton, he has been the only one to challenge me in any argument, and usually some pretty good stuff comes out of both sides during the exchange… I have respected that.. Cause once again, opinions mean dick. Facts are what we steer by.. It is my hope that in responding to his challenge that an answer may make itself apparent.. Who knows? It may not come from me… But if I’m the catalyst for bringing it out in the open, then… none of this was in vain..

Why I like to debate Duffy is simple.. Neither side, he or I, is concretely set in their opinions… We accept it when the other side makes sense… I usually go into such debates having no idea where they’ll end up… I hope the rest of you enjoy the ride as welI….

That said..

Duffy leads: Wall Street’s problems were caused by Fannie and Freddie loaning money to people they knew couldn’t pay and moreover, forcing banks to lend money to people who couldn’t pay. That was not deregulation but misregulation

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate.

First off, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was developed for, and locked in on, urban developmental areas and had no part of the subprime boom, which primarily occurred out in western desert regions where owning 4 to 5 investment homes was normal… Those homes were overwhelmingly funded by loan originators NOT SUBJECT to the act… We all know the crises was not because people couldn’t afford a payment on their house. It came about, because with no occupants, people could not afford the payments of 4 to 5 houses….. Instead of one loan per borrower turning up in default; four to five were.
Investment Homes lead forclosures not inner city Residences

Second off, The housing bubble reached its point of maximum inflation in 2005.
The Housing Bubble Starts to Dive in 2005
Courtesy of NYT

Third off, During those exact same years, Fannie and Freddie were sidelined by Congressional pressure, and saw a sharp drop in their share of loans secured by the Feds… Follow the dotted line on the very bottom of the graph…
Freddie and Fannie on the lowest line
Courtesy of NYT

Fourth off; During those exact same years, private secures, like Delaware’s own AIG, grabbed the lions share of the market.
Private, not Public Insurers Caused the Crash
Courtesy of NYT

Remember these graphs for later on when I discuss the results of deregulation, versus regulation… But like it or not, these graphs conclusively show that private insurers, who thanks to Marie Evans, we now know were deregulated by Phil Gramm in the 2000 Omnibus Bill, were the primary cause of the worlds financial collapse.. Probably put best by these words of AIG’s spokesperson, who when asked why they didn’t have sufficient funds to cover losses, said point blank, “We were deregulated. We were no laws requiring us to keep any funds, ..so we spent it…”

Duffy leads: The loosely regulated hedge funds escaped this mess largely unscathed. Why? They can’t count on a bailout like the big banks. The Too Big To Fail banks were counting on a bailout (not unlike the S&L bailouts which started on the Republican’s watch) and they got them.

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. I agree that the hedge funds did survive better than the banks. Not because of bailouts, but because they sold short during the crises and made billions while firms closed and people got thrown out of work. There is nothing wrong with that; I did the same. In fact close readers may remember my warnings that the crises was impending almost a year earlier. Very close readers may remember my telling them exactly when to sell, and at what point the stock market would rebound… I must say: I called it rather well. 🙂

“Hedge funds were not in my understanding, at fault in the credit crisis,” said David Ruder, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. “At the most what they did was to sell securities when some of their investments were declining and they needed to have liquid funds. They were not the architects of these problems.”

De regulated hedge funds are not the issue… De-regulated, excessively leveraged, mortgage securities, are a different story however… They, not the banks that held them, are the cause of the crises…Years from now, when academics search for causes of the stock market crash of 2008, they will focus on the pivotal role of mortgage-backed securities. These exotic financial instruments allowed a downturn in U.S. home prices to morph into a contagion that brought down Bear Stearns a year ago this month – and more recently have brought the global banking system to its knees.

Where you err is when you state that banks too big to fail, assumed they would be bailed out… By implication, you say imply they failed from squandering money, and wanted the bailouts.. But your tax dollars didn’t flow directly to the bottom line.

The roughly $200 billion the Treasury Department has handed out to battered banks was swapped for a special class of stock that pays a 5 percent dividend (rising to 9 percent after five years.) As of April 15, the Treasury had collected about $2.5 billion in dividend payments on its investment.

So in that sense, the bailout money represents an expense for banks. That’s one reason a number of banks have said they want to give the money back as soon as possible.

You say big banks were counting on a bailout, and they got them? That didn’t happen to these banks. New Mexico, Georgia, and Florida each lost a bank just last Friday. That brings to 8, the number of banks failed in June. Unfortunately if a bank is failing, it can’t bet on itself to fail, as can a hedge fund.

Duffy leads: Banks have successfully lobbied to get their losses absorbed by taxpayers and gains are kept private. How nice for them. They felt comfortable making insane gambles because they knew they’d be bailed out. Most of them were right. Also remember that it was Bill Clinton who tore down the wall between retail and investment banking. The idea was to give banks more stability as they typically perform as exact opposites in bull and bear markets. (FWIW, I think that was a good idea and I can tell you first hand that two of the Fortune 100 banks I worked for were carried by retail banking in bear years. They may not have had bonuses those years but they didn’t have layoffs either)

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. The idea is that the banks made bad decisions knowing taxpayers would bail them out is the issue that is inaccurate. For the record, I have no qualms that it was the Clinton legacy who tore down the wall between banks and investment banking. Like you, I feel it was a good idea to do so… Again the problem was not primarily with banks making loans to people who could not pay.. Although, it was as late as October 2009, when I was made aware of one private Bank in Denver still exaggerating income to make loans look good enough on paper to get approval of securitization. What caused the collapse was the leveraging of those loans as securities, so that as the housing market became overextended, and the ARM jumped past the low cost opening years, the damage was 100 times worse because of leveraging. What made the collapse criminal, was that the insurance most financial institutions had bought from AIG, to cover such an improbable event, had already spent by that companies executives, out on bonuses to themselves. What made it doubly criminal, was that when they received government dollars through a taxpayer bailout, those same executives assumed it was to first go towards paying their bonuses again. However, very recent events may give some cover to the argument that some collusion was implicit in the bailing out of Goldman Sacs and AIG… Basically, once bailed out, AIG paid Goldman Sacs for shares twice as much as they were worth. The documents also indicate that regulators ignored recommendations from their own advisers to force the banks to accept losses on their A.I.G. deals and instead paid the banks in full for the contracts.

You embrace their women.

You say you have nothing bad against the Muslim religion, but, their women must have rights too..

You campaign not militarily, but philosophically.

If America passionately backs and supports the rights of women across the broad spectrum of the Muslim world, it is true that we may incur some wrath spouted by their out of touch clergy, …. but in doing so, we instantly become the heroes of 50% of their population..

Get it? 50% of their population is (secretly) praying for us to win. 50% of THEIR population is (secretly) on our side…

How can we fail tot make the case for women, for the fear of ruffling a few clergy’s feathers?

Freedom of religion is cool, but it cannot be used as a tool to bludgeon women.

The official results do not come out until later. But preliminary evidence has now proved beyond all doubt that no recession this grave has been experienced during the lifetime of anyone younger than 69 ( a good number by the way).

There are signs that those in the know like to watch, which tell the future years down the road and those signs now point to a Great Depression. It would be wise to note, that these “shades of what may be to come” as mentioned in Charles Dickens Christmas story can still be altered by changes in future events…

The fate was solidified with this which occurred on today’s last broadcast of CNN’s Late Edition. Vice President Dick Cheney, known among betting men, as “the man who is always wrong”, today declared “that its premature to call it the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”

Being the one to know, Mister “He-who-is-never-right”; with a record of wrong choices a mile long, some of which include statements such as: “I am the best person to serve as the Vice President of the United States”; “Deficits Don’t Matter”; “Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid”; “There are stockpiles of WMD’s in Iraq and we will find them”; “We have to make America the best place in the world to do business”; “We will in fact be greeted as liberators”; …… always seems to make sense at time, but after ample time has passed, seems to have strung us along, fully knowing what he was saying was not backed up by facts, and each time seems to have bettered himself financially by having us believe in what he says, and take him for his word.

So if we look at his record, we see that he was wrong on Iraq, wrong on Afghanistan, wrong on Iran, wrong on Israel, wrong on Syria, wrong on Georgia, wrong on tax breaks, wrong on the deficit, wrong on securities deregulation, wrong on the economy, wrong on global warming, wrong on renewable energy, wrong on Enron, wrong on education, wrong on environmentalism, wrong on ethics, wrong on Executive privilege, wrong on gasoline prices, wrong on immigration, wrong on privatization,wrong on racism, wrong on what’s best for America; we can only assume by his track record that he is also wrong when he says it is too premature to call this episode equal to the Great Depression. Of course you can go against conventional wisdom and bet against him, ……… but the odds of winning are long…… way too long……

As his track record shows, he is fully aware of the facts, and each time he makes such a brash statement, it is ultimately proven to be wrong and designed to throw us off. Therefore the best option to take away from his last interview as Vice President on CNN is to accept the premise that we ARE in a Great Depression, and pull out all stops now to stop its slide, ….. before it is too late… That means pulling out ALL stops, so that the opposite of this foreboding last statement by Cheney is not given its chance to come due:

“The days of looking the other way while a despotic regime tramples human rights, robs it’s nations’ wealth, and then excuses it’s failings by feeding it’s people a steady diet of hatred … are over.”

As of this writing we have 8 days and twenty hours before it really does comes true………. Let’s not jinx ourselves by listening to any arguments being made by Cheney’s compatriots now arguing against the passage of Obama’s “Economic Jump Start”. Remember all along, they were just as wrong too……..

I came across this post while searching for root causes in the Middle East. I have noticed that with the outgoing Bush now tainted as a target of shoes and other things, domestically there has been much more vocal sympathy for the Palestinians now than I can remember ever hearing before….

I can remember when Palestinians were not thought of highly at all, and all assumed that Israel could do no wrong.

Things change.

Apparently AP Wireservices miss-translated and juggled this headline in an effort to tie Iran to the killing of Jews…

The author of this post, juxtaposes AP’s headline with that from the Iranian newspaper itself…

Here is the Iranian Paper:

In separate phone calls to IRNA, students from universities of Tehran, Mashhad and Kerman announced their readiness to undertake operations in defense of the people of Gaza.

Here is the AP report:

Hard-line Iranian student groups have appealed to the government to authorize volunteer suicide bombers to leave Iran and fight against Israel in response to the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip. . . .

Five hard-line student groups and a conservative clerical group launched a registration drive on Monday, seeking volunteers to carry out suicide attacks against Israel.

I’ve heard of journalistic leaps …. but from AP?…From where did you get the notion of “suicide”? Where did you get the clue there were “bombers”? How did you get “attacks against Israel” out of the words “in defense of the people of Gaza” ? One has to laugh. AP’s statement has the same validity as if Pravda back in August had headlined that the University of Delaware’s Young Republicans’ Club, was sending volunteers to blow themselves up in Moscow train stations in order to protest the Georgian invasion…. If Pravda were to go to press with such a silly story…. I sure not one Muscovite would believe it….No one would… And I would certainly hope that our nation is perhaps a tiny bit more sophisticated than the average vodka infused citizen of Moscow (Za Vas)? 🙂

So why is AP doing this? To drive a wedge into America’s new found sympathy to the Palestinian cause? Or, do they just get their translations from these people and print them?

Bottom line: after being told that there were WMD’s in Iraq back in 2002, and that Iran was close to detonating a nuclear device in May 2007…..you can’t trust anything these guys say.

Heaven In The Form of Food  Tony Lukes Cheesesteak

Courtesy of PhillyPhotos.

Anyone who has ever been to Tony’s for a cheesesteak, knows that until one is fed, one simply doesn’t think correctly.. Therefore for a Temple student to question our next president on whether or not we should go into Pakistan to flush out terrorists, before she has even had one bite, is unconscionable.  (lol).

No one should be asked such an important foreign policy question before they have taken a bite out of a delicious Philly styled cheesestake on a roll with carmalized fried onions….  It should be against Federal Law.

But its not, and someone did..

And Sarah in trying to get the obnoxious, ugly, pus-ridden, (see video) gag-reflex inhibitor, annoying character out of her pretty face, answered his question unprepped, speaking strictly from the heart…

It was of course the wrong answer, according to John McCain, and the right answer according to Obama….

McCain in his way of telling her, “don’t bother your pretty little head with issues, us men will handle them”….responded for her…  He spoke for her and said that she had misspoke

Of course she misspoke… she was waiting for a cheesesteak at Tony’s for heaven’s sake…  At least give her the dignity to speak for herself, instead of having “the campaign” do it for her…..

A short list of what women everywhere should be asking?

Can McCain speak for women when they don’t agree with him?

Under this cloud of Women’s issues, should McCain just “let her go” to “do her thing”?

Not being apologetic and not being defensive, would that endear McCain to more women voters?

Try as he might, can McCain ever show himself to allow women the right to think for themselves?

Chain of events:

1) Someone told Cheney “no” over the Thanksgiving weekend.

When Dick Cheney, the vice-president and leading Iran hawk, was briefed on the about-turn a couple of weeks ago, there was a “pretty vivid exchange” with intelligence officials in the White House, one participant told The New York Times.

According to an intelligence source, Cheney sought to block the NIE’s release, but was overruled.

2) Cheney develops irregular heartbeat.

Cheney, who has a history of heart problems, was discovered to have an irregular heartbeat around 7 a.m. when he was seen by doctors at the White House for a lingering cough from a cold. He remained at work throughout the day, joining President Bush in meetings with Mideast leaders.

3) Cheney in Hospital for day

Vice President Dick Cheney was recovering at home Monday night after being treated for an irregular heart beat, found Monday morning during a checkup for lingering cold symptoms, Cheney’s office said

4) NIE comes out with Iran free of Nuclear weapons.

David Wurmser, Cheney’s former Middle East adviser, charged: “One has to look at the authors of this report to judge how much it can really be banked on.”

The “guilty men” were named as Thomas Fingar, Kenneth Brill and Vann Van Diepen, all now in top US intelligence posts, who had seethed at Bush policies for years and were said to have executed a triumphant revenge.

Yet there was an infusion of new information about Iran that persuaded all 16 American intelligence agencies to back the NIE.

Israeli sources told The Sunday Times that a key part of the jigsaw was supplied by General Ali Reza Asghari, 63, a former Iranian deputy defence minister who is believed to have defected after disappearing from his hotel room in Istanbul in February.

The Iranian regime accused Washington of kidnapping him, but western intelligence sources say he is in America of his own accord. His debriefing was so secretive that information went directly to the director of the CIA, rather than to senior officials. “People who would normally know, and should know, are completely out of the loop,” said one informed source.

American intelligence agencies also received a trove of information last summer, including intercepts of Iranian phone calls by GCHQ, the British listening station, which suggested that Iranian military officials were angered by a decision in late 2003 to halt a project to design nuclear weapons. The suspicion that the revelations might be a complex hoax were discounted.

Yet some American intelligence experts remain baffled by the black and white picture presented by the NIE. Former CIA official Paul Pillar, who helped to compile the 2005 NIE on Iran, believes the difference with the 2007 report has been greatly exaggerated.

“It’s described as a dramatic 180-degree reversal but it’s not. The key ‘pacing element’ about when Iran is going to get a nuclear weapon is the uranium enrichment issue and that hasn’t changed,” he said.

As before, the NIE suggests “with moderate confidence” that the Iranians could be capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon by 2010-2015.

5) There is no credibility behind invading Iran. it is off.

Bottom line, it appears the facts did not change….Just our interpretation of facts based on the evidence….In other words back in 2005 we estimated that Iran could have a crude weapon between 2010-2015. Today we estimate that Iran could have a crude weapon between 2010-2015. The difference is that the evidence that Iran had stopped in 2003, was not deleted by Mr. Cheney….

In other words, we were lied to…..and now we are not.

So who is that hero? Hmmmm……

Of course these type of stories occur…….It is the decision to use these tidbits that comes into question.

lol