Monthly Archives: September 2012
Chris and I went down to Oceanside today, and I took along the FZ200 to take a few pictures. This time though, rather than fill up the front page, all the pictures are below the fold. All the pics are clickable, so you can see a 1920×1280 larger version.
Seems Japan may not think the US is a dependable ally anymore:
When the U.S. Defense Secretary arrives in Asia this weekend, his biggest challenge may not be convincing China that America will give its full support to longtime ally Japan in the escalating dispute over islands in the East China Sea. His biggest challenge may be convincing Japan.
“There is a perception in Japan that the U.S. commitment is ambiguous,” says Yoichiro Sato, director of international strategic studies at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in southern Japan. “If China thinks Japan will hesitate to respond or that America will hesitate, that will embolden the Chinese. It’s better that America sends a clear, explicit message now than have to respond to something worse later.”
But remember … conventional wisdom (i.e. the MSM) has it that Obama has made the world better, safer and everyone likes us better. That he is a master of foreign policy.
In fact, as many countries have indicated, they see the US as a declining power. This particular instance is only one example of that thinking.
Below the fold is a NSFW image. It is obscenely offensive. It was posted by The Onion in one of the most brilliant satirical statements about the cultural difference between the Muslim world and everyone else I’ve ever seen. As The Onion writes:
The image of the Hebrew prophet Moses high-fiving Jesus Christ as both are having their erect penises vigorously masturbated by Ganesha, all while the Hindu deity anally penetrates Buddha with his fist, reportedly went online at 6:45 p.m. EDT, after which not a single bomb threat was made against the organization responsible, nor did the person who created the cartoon go home fearing for his life in any way. Though some members of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths were reportedly offended by the image, sources confirmed that upon seeing it, they simply shook their heads, rolled their eyes, and continued on with their day.
The FBI will not launch an investigation to find out the identity of the artist involved. The offices of The Onion will not be besieged by angry Christians, demanding death to the editors. No heads will be cut off. No Internet-wide debate will be sparked on whether or not this image should be reproduced. No calls for the arrest and imprisonment of the author will be made.
But, if you were to add a bearded fellow with a turban into this depraved scene, we all know the response would be far different.
So, you can take your multicultural "no culture is better than any other" nonsense and stick it where the sun don’t shine.
Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:
The Consumer Price Index rose sharply, up 0.6% for the month, though the year-over-year inflation rate is 1.7%. The core CPI, ex-food and –energy, rose just 0.1% last month, and 1.7% on a year-over-year basis.
Business inventories rose 0.8% in July, while sales rose 0.9%, trimming the stock-to-sales ratio down to 1.28.
The Reuter’s/University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose a sharp 4.9 points to 79.2.
The Fed reports that industrial production declined by -1.2% last month, erasing the previous two month’s production increases. Capacity utilization at the nation’s factories fell -1.0% to 78.2% from 79.2 percent.
Retail sales jumped 0.9% in August, and sales less cars were up 0.8%. But, sales less gas and cars only rose 0.1% showing underlying weakness in the headline number. On a year-over-year basis, sales were up 4.7%. When taking prices into effect, sales were soft for the month.
I don’t remember who it was who left a comment asserting that Romney’s statement in the wake of the rioting in the Middle East may have been the moment in which “he lost the presidency”.
A couple of days later and it seems entirely possible to posit exactly the opposite to be true. Those events may be the moment Obama lost the election. Remember, foreign policy was supposed to be Obama’s strong point.
Yet, this image of the bloody handprints of a dying American may be the defining image of his failed foreign policy.
And his reaction to all of this?
Apologize and go to Vegas for a political fundraiser.
I tend to be more optimistic than Dale about the near-to-intermediate future for the economy and for the culture. This may be unusual for a libertarian, but I’m heartened by many of the ways in which our opponents’ system is unsustainable.
Let me start by saying that, given a certain size of central government, libertarians could do worse than spending almost two-thirds of the budget on a few wealth transfer programs (Social Security and Medicare, both mostly funded by flat taxes, plus Medicaid, which gets much of its funding from the states) and a military like ours. Imagine if that money was spent employing domestic police and busybodies.
But even that government is fiscally unsustainable, so we expect our government to eventually be forced to give up some of its “responsibilities.” Assuming the country avoids a sovereign debt crisis, that adjustment might not be so bad for libertarians. Continue reading
So the Justice Department (a department name becoming more Orwellian by the day) has fingered the man they suspect of being responsible for this film the administration says caused these deadly attacks in the Middle East?
Federal authorities have identified a southern California man once convicted of financial crimes as the key figure behind the anti-Muslim film that ignited mob violence against U.S. embassies across the Mideast, a U.S. law enforcement official said Thursday.
Attorney General Eric Holder said that Justice Department officials had opened a criminal investigation into the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other diplomats killed during an attack on the American mission in Benghazi. It was not immediately clear whether authorities were focusing on the California filmmaker as part of that probe.
A federal law enforcement official said Thursday that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, was the man behind “Innocence of Muslims,” a film denigrating Islam and the Prophet Muhammad that sparked protests earlier in the week in Egypt and Libya and now in Yemen. U.S. authorities are investigating whether the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya came during a terrorist attack.
Uh, so? Implying this film is the reason for the murders that have taken place is a bit like complaining that a woman who was raped dressed too provocatively (which, btw, is a valid complaint … in Saudi Arabia).
And AP, by gosh, is on the job:
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation, said Nakoula was connected to the persona of Sam Bacile, a figure who initially claimed to be the writer and director of the film. But Bacile quickly turned out to a false identity and the Associated Press traced a cellphone number used by Bacile to a southern California house where Nakoula was found.
Bacile initially claimed a Jewish and Israeli background. But others involved in the film said his statements were contrived as evidence mounted that the film’s key player was a southern Californian Coptic Christian with a checkered past.
Nakoula told The Associated Press in an interview outside Los Angeles Wednesday that he managed logistics for the company that produced “Innocence of Muslims,” which mocked Muslims and the prophet Muhammad.
Nakoula denied that he was Bacile and insisted he did not direct the film, though he said he knew Bacile. But federal court papers filed against Nakoula in a 2010 criminal prosecution said that he had used numerous aliases in the past. Among the fake names, the documents said, were Nicola Bacily, Robert Bacily and Erwin Salameh, all similar to the Sam Bacile persona. Other aliases described in the documents included Ahmad Hamdy, Kritbag Difrat and PJ Tobacco.
During a conversation outside his home, Nakoula offered his driver’s license to show his identity but kept his thumb over his middle name, Basseley. Records checks by the AP subsequently found that middle name as well as other connections to the Bacile persona.
The AP located Bacile after obtaining his cellphone number from Morris Sadek, a conservative Coptic Christian in the U.S. who had promoted the anti-Muslim film in recent days on his website. Egypt’s Christian Coptic populace has long decried what they describe as a history of discrimination and occasional violence from the country’s Arab majority.
If only AP had shown the same drive and interest in Fast and Furious. Or actually vetting the President before the 2008 election.
But to the point. It doesn’t matter who did what to whom concering the film. Or who is responsible for it. Until recently this was America, land of the free and home of those with the right to freedom of speech.
We have the right to express our opinions in various ways whether others like it or not. Do you imagine that “Christian feelings” were “hurt” when “piss Christ” was displayed? Of course they were. Christians were very offended.
Don’t remember 4 dead over that, do you?
Don’t remember the Justice Department becoming involved either.
I think that may be because when that happened the right to free speech wasn’t under assualt and those who created the so-called “work of art” (as well as the government) weren’t particulary concerned with whether or not the feelings of any particular religion.
Because back then we knew the test of freedom of speech wasn’t protecting speech you agreed with, but that with which you vehemently disagreed.
And, like it or not, that’s the principle, so quickly abandoned by this administration, Mitt Romney was talking about.
Ben Bernanke, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, announced today that the Fed will embark on another round of Quantitative Easing, beginning immediately. The Fed will increase its holdings by an estimated $85 billion per month in securities, about half of which will be long-term Treasury bonds, and the remaining $40 billion or more will be agency mortgage-backed securities. The agency paper will be purchased with new cash, while the long-term Treasuries will be acquired in exchange for short-term Treasury paper, as a continuation of Operation Twist.
There is no ultimate target amount or end date specified for this round of easing. Essentially, the Fed will buy or exchange $1 trillion in securities per year, until chairman Bernanke says to stop. It is completely open-ended. Additionally, the Fed expects to keep interest rates at or near 0% until sometime in 2015.
Let’s be clear about what this announcement means: The Fed will print $500 billion per year in new money, and inject it into the economy by buying agency paper (Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, et al.), while also flooding the market with $500 billion of short-term paper in exchange for long bonds. That new money is not based on any realistic estimate of economic growth, or economic requirement to expand the money supply. It is pure, Keynesian monetary stimulus.
This will, of course, be done in a completely responsible way, and there is no threat whatsoever that this will cause an increase in inflation, and in any case, the Fed is fully prepared to sterilize this move at any time conditions warrant. Seriously, it’s best for the Fed to do this, and nothing could possibly go wrong.
Some may disagree.
Anyway, here’s some video of the first round of this open-ended QE being implemented:
Image via Max Keiser
The following US economic statistics were announced today:
Initial jobless claims rose 15,000 in the latest week to 382,000. The 4-week moving average rose to 375,000. But, continuing claims are down 49,000 to 3.282 million. Much of this week’s rise is blamed on Tropical Storm Isaac, which led to increased claims.
The producer price index rose a sizable 1.7% in August—mainly on sharp increases in food and energy prices—after a 0.3% rise in July. Ex-food and energy prices, the core PPI rose 0.2%.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose sharply on improved personal finances, up 4.3 points to -42.2. Despite the sharp improvement, the CCI is still at a deeply depressed level, of course.
Oh, wait … Yemen too?
Yup, that “Arab Spring” thing is sure a positive for the US. Says the NY Times:
Turmoil in the Arab world linked to an American-made video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad spread on Thursday to Yemen, where hundreds of protesters attacked the American Embassy, two days after assailants killed the American ambassador in Libya and crowds tried to overrun the embassy compound in Cairo.
Is it about an “American-made video” really?
There are reports that those who stormed the embassy in Cairo were chanting: “Obama, Obama! There are still a billion Osama’s!”
They certainly weren’t chanting the crazy pastor’s name.
And it was done when? Oh yeah, on September 11th. And what was it they raised after they tore down the American flag and burned it?
Say, wasn’t it Al-Queda’s flag?
So, spontaneous, huh? In reaction to a film, eh?
Meanwhile in Libya, it appears that the “spontaneous” riot was a carefully planned assasination plot. And it worked.
But stick with that “in reaction to a film about Mohammed” nonsense, MSM.
The New York Times leads with that, but in passing, in the 24th paragraph of the story, it almost figures it out:
Also on Tuesday, a car bomb exploded in Yemen alongside a convoy of vehicles used by Yemen’s defense minister, killing seven bodyguards and five civilians in the heart of the capital, while the minister escaped unharmed, government and hospital officials said. The attack came one day after a top operative of Al Qaeda in Yemen was killed in what Yemeni officials called an American drone strike.
Those episodes and the violence on Thursday spoke to the continued volatility in poverty-stricken Yemen, where the United States is seeking to eradicate militant cells held responsible for a number of conspiracies, including an attempt by an operative of Al Qaeda to detonate a bomb hidden in his clothes on a flight bound for Detroit in December 2009.
Sorry folks … not buying the “this is about a film” nonsense. This is and was planned to happen on 9/11 in the same year Osama bin Laden was killed.
For goodness sake, consider the facts and think about it instead of sucking up the MSM pablum designed to protect the incumbent president (after all, why was the story about a dead US ambassador on an inside page and the NY Times condemnation of Mitt Romney on page 1?).