Congressman Ron Paul’s Texas Straight Talk
Monday, December 29, 2008
“As another year draws to a close, there are some important transitions ahead of us. Not just transitions to a new administration, but also economically, politically and culturally.
Many hoped that the changes would signify overwhelming positive steps for our country, and that we would enter a new era, as promised during the campaign. I would like for this to be true, but based on the continuity so far, I would not be surprised to see America stay on the same course of failed monetary and economic policies. The course has been set for several decades, and in reality there is little the new administration could do to fix things without actually making them worse. But I expect them to try. The only real solutions involve allowing the market to liquidate the debt and malinvestments. The political reality is that this is not going to happen.”
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OCC Reports Third Quarter Bank Trading Revenue of $6.0 Billion News release:
“Insured U.S. commercial banks reported $6.0 billion in revenues from trading cash and derivative instruments in the third quarter, compared to revenues of $1.6 billion in the second quarter of 2008, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency reported today in the OCC’s Quarterly Report on Bank Trading and Derivatives Activities: Third Quarter 2008…The report shows that the notional amount of derivatives held by insured U.S. commercial banks decreased by $6.3 trillion in the third quarter, or 3 percent, to $176 trillion. Interest rate contracts decreased $7.7 trillion to $137 trillion due to acquisition-related elimination of contracts. Although market participants continue to use methods such as trade compression to reduce economically offsetting credit derivatives trades, credit derivative contracts increased 4 percent, to $16 trillion.”
Mathematics underlying the 2008 financial crisis, and a possible remedy
Authors: V. P. Maslov (1 and 2), V. E. Nazaikinskii (2) ((1) Moscow State University, (2) Institute for Problems in Mechanics, RAS, Moscow)
Submitted on 28 Nov 2008)
Abstract: Among the diverse factors contributing to the current financial and economical crisis, there is a purely mathematical law not mentioned by economists. The indistinguishability of identical notes results in a condensation phenomenon (also known in a completely different situation in physics as Bose condensation): if the total amount of money in circulation exceeds a certain threshold (depending on various economic factors), then a collapse occurs. One possible remedy is to introduce several currencies to be used simultaneously; we show that this raises the threshold and thus might help at least to postpone the crisis. If each of the United States were to use its own unique currency along with the dollar, the threshold would be up to seven times higher, and the crisis may not have happened yet. The former abandonment of national currencies in euro countries in favor of one unique European money could also be viewed as an unfavorable factor in the development of the crisis.
Unrest caused by bad economy may require military action, report says
By Diana Washington Valdez / El Paso Times
EL PASO — A U.S. Army War College report warns an economic crisis in the United States could lead to massive civil unrest and the need to call on the military to restore order.
Retired Army Lt. Col. Nathan Freir wrote the report “Known Unknowns: Unconventional Strategic Shocks in Defense Strategy Development,” which the Army think tank in Carlisle, Pa., recently released.
“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities … to defend basic domestic order and human security,” the report said, in case of “unforeseen economic collapse,” “pervasive public health emergencies,” and “catastrophic natural and human disasters,” among other possible crises.
The report also suggests the new (Barack Obama) administration could face a “strategic shock” within the first eight months in office.
Fort Bliss spokeswoman Jean Offutt said the Army post is not involved in any recent talks about a potential military response to civil unrest.
The report become a hot Internet item after Phoenix police told the Phoenix Business Journal they’re prepared to deal with such an event, and the International Monetary Fund’s managing director, Dominique Strauss-Khan, said social unrest could spread to advanced countries if the global economic crisis worsens.
Javier Sambrano, spokesman for the El Paso Police Department, said city police have trained for years so they can address any contingency, but not with the military.
“The police (department) trains on an ongoing basis as part of its Mobile Field Force Training,” Sambrano said. “As a result, the police will be able to respond to emergency situations, such as looting or a big civil unrest. The police (department) does not train with soldiers.”
Earlier this year, Pentagon officials said as many as 20,000 soldiers under the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) will be trained within the next three years to work with civilian law enforcement in homeland security.
Joint Task Force-North, a joint command at Biggs Army Airfield, which conducts surveillance and intelligence along the border, comes under NORTHCOM. No one was available at JTF-North to comment on the Army War College’s report. NORTHCOM was created after the 9-11 attacks to coordinate homeland security efforts.
Soldiers under the former Joint Task Force-6 (now JTF-North) supported the Border Patrol in El Paso with its drug-interdiction operations.
In case civilian authorities request help or become overwhelmed, El Paso has several National Guard and military reserve units that can be called on. In 1992, National Guard and active Marine and Army units were deployed to help police control riots and looting in Los Angeles.
Charles Boehmer, political science professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, was skeptical about the Army War College report.
“The military was not called out during the Great Depression, and I don’t think our economic problems are as bad as they were then,” he said. “The military always has contingency plans. It’s a think tank’s job to come up with scenarios, but that doesn’t mean it represents an active interest on the part of the (Pentagon).”
Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6140.
Abstract added -
Known Unknowns: Unconventional “Strategic Shocks” in Defense Strategy Development
Authored by Mr. Nathan P. Freier.
The author provides the defense policy team a clear warning against excessive adherence to past defense and national security convention. Including the insights of a number of noted scholars on the subjects of “wild cards” and “strategic surprise,” he argues that future disruptive, unconventional shocks are inevitable. Through strategic impact and potential for disruption and violence, such shocks, in spite of their nonmilitary character, will demand the focused attention of defense leadership, as well as the decisive employment of defense capabilities in response. As a consequence, the author makes a solid case for continued commitment by the Department of Defense to prudent strategic hedging against their potential occurrence.
EIA, the Nation’s clearinghouse for energy statistics – Today’s Gasoline Prices
Monday, December 29, 2008
RETAIL GASOLINE: (Self Service Prices per Gallon, Including Taxes) This report contains price estimates for gasoline sold in ozone non-attainment areas which require the sale of reformulated gasoline (RFG) as designated by the Environmental Protection Agency, and Conventional areas which includes both attainment areas and carbon monoxide non-attainment areas.
Mogas web site url
As if Things Weren’t Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S.
DECEMBER 29, 2008
In Moscow, Igor Panarin’s Forecasts Are All the Rage; America ‘Disintegrates’ in 2010
MOSCOW — For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. For most of that time, he admits, few took his argument — that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S. — very seriously. Now he’s found an eager audience: Russian state media.
In recent weeks, he’s been interviewed as much as twice a day about his predictions. “It’s a record,” says Prof. Panarin. “But I think the attention is going to grow even stronger.”
Prof. Panarin, 50 years old, is not a fringe figure. A former KGB analyst, he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s academy for future diplomats. He is invited to Kremlin receptions, lectures students, publishes books, and appears in the media as an expert on U.S.-Russia relations.
But it’s his bleak forecast for the U.S. that is music to the ears of the Kremlin, which in recent years has blamed Washington for everything from instability in the Middle East to the global financial crisis. Mr. Panarin’s views also fit neatly with the Kremlin’s narrative that Russia is returning to its rightful place on the world stage after the weakness of the 1990s, when many feared that the country would go economically and politically bankrupt and break into separate territories.
A polite and cheerful man with a buzz cut, Mr. Panarin insists he does not dislike Americans. But he warns that the outlook for them is dire.
“There’s a 55-45% chance right now that disintegration will occur,” he says. “One could rejoice in that process,” he adds, poker-faced. “But if we’re talking reasonably, it’s not the best scenario — for Russia.” Though Russia would become more powerful on the global stage, he says, its economy would suffer because it currently depends heavily on the dollar and on trade with the U.S.
Mr. Panarin posits, in brief, that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces — with Alaska reverting to Russian control.
In addition to increasing coverage in state media, which are tightly controlled by the Kremlin, Mr. Panarin’s ideas are now being widely discussed among local experts. He presented his theory at a recent roundtable discussion at the Foreign Ministry. The country’s top international relations school has hosted him as a keynote speaker. During an appearance on the state TV channel Rossiya, the station cut between his comments and TV footage of lines at soup kitchens and crowds of homeless people in the U.S. The professor has also been featured on the Kremlin’s English-language propaganda channel, Russia Today.
Mr. Panarin’s apocalyptic vision “reflects a very pronounced degree of anti-Americanism in Russia today,” says Vladimir Pozner, a prominent TV journalist in Russia. “It’s much stronger than it was in the Soviet Union.”
Mr. Pozner and other Russian commentators and experts on the U.S. dismiss Mr. Panarin’s predictions. “Crazy ideas are not usually discussed by serious people,” says Sergei Rogov, director of the government-run Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies, who thinks Mr. Panarin’s theories don’t hold water.
Complete article at:
Borowitz Report – Republican Apology Shocker
December 29, 2008
RNC Issues Apology to Negroes
Calls Song Parody ‘Offensive to Every Negro’
Just days after the news broke that former Tennessee GOP leader Chip Saltsman had released a song parody entitled “Barack the Magic Negro,” the Republican National Committee issued what it called “an official apology to America’s negroes.”
In the statement, the RNC ripped Saltsman’s song, calling it “tone-deaf, unacceptable, and offensive to every negro in the country.”
“We do not want one ill-considered song parody to create the wrong impression,” the RNC statement read. “The Republican Party has always been, and will always be, the friend of the negro.”
But while the RNC’s official statement was designed to quell the outrage surrounding Mr. Saltsman’s song, it may have created a controversy of its own.
Just hours after releasing the official apology, the RNC issued a second apology apologizing for the first apology.
“It has come to our attention that we misused a word in our first apology,” the RNC statement read. “We should have capitalized ‘Negro.’”
January 1, 2009 at 12:01AM
Andy’s 2009 Shows
Watch this space for Andy’s performances in 2009.
three thousand words
Tom Tomorrow: Thanks for the material, George W. Now get lost!
Cartoon du Jour – By Khalil: the golden calf
Jack Ohman: I know the feeling