Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Arizona Tea, al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, Chinese Navy Exercise

Dana Milbank
John Dickerson

"The problem for the White House is that it's way too early -- about 2 a.m. in this economic recovery. The neighbor's cat is howling, somebody's car alarm is going off, and the nation is irritable and disoriented." - Dana Milbank
"We all know that the rate of job growth is too slow to bring down the unemployment rate, and the continued weakness in the job creation remains a major challenge. Most Americans, at least in the neighborhoods I grew up in, don't feel GDP growth. They don't sit around the table if they've lost their jobs and talk about how the Nasdaq is climbing." - Joe Biden
"Banking is founded on a moral basis and not a financial basis. The trouble today is that you bankers are too narrow-minded. You don't know the country or what is going on in it and the country doesn't trust you. You are not interested in the development of the country. … You take no interest in the small borrower and the small enterprise which affect the future of the country, but you give every attention to the big borrower and the rich enterprise. … You bankers see nothing beyond your own interests. … You should be broader minded and see what is best for the country in the long run." - Woodrow Wilson

It looks like Obama will get his wishes on financial reform, and the resulting packages and votes will be a bipartisan effort, as more Republican Congressmen are making public statements to that effect. Even though the lobbyists for the banking industry and Wall Street firms are pouring millions of dollars into bribes, er, influential meetings with the Senators, public opinion is highly in favor of reform. Anyone who has had to pay a bank fee or late payment interest fee on a credit card, which is just about everyone, would like to see those ripoff policies changed. Yep, soon we will become more like Europe, where they  never had many of the crooked banking fees to begin with...

Banks that trade in derivatives have already seen about $30 billion of potential investment deals pull out of the market since the SEC announced its indictment. The big boys are worried that if more regulation takes place and they have to have a level playing field, more money could be lost. Morgan Stanley estimates that their annual revenues will go down by $3 billion, worst case scenario. The SEC began investigating Goldman Sachs back in 2008, and notified the bank several times on the development of its case, so the Republican claims that the timing of the case was a bit curious doesn't hold up, another incident of wild speculation...

arizona tea...
Arizona has always been a squirrely state, famed for a desert wasteland transformed into a place where old Mafiosa could retire, a place famed as a breeding ground for right wing political thought before hippies began scurrying about the desert looking for peyote; think of Barry Goldwater basting in the hot hot desert sun, feverishly scribbling notes by the backyard swimming pool, and this was in a time before the mass prescriptions of neuroleptic drugs...

Now, the Arizona legislature has passed an immigration bill that has caused its Hispanic Senator, Raul Grijalva, to call for a boycott of his state : "The bill, which would require police officers to question people about their immigration status if there's reason to suspect they're not here legally, has been approved by the state House and Senate, and will become law if Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signs it. "We're codifying into law, if the governor signs this, racial profiling, discrimination under the Constitution," he said on MSNBC last night, adding that the bill is "fundamentally racist."

"The consequences we can only bring up right now is economic sanctions," Grijalva said. "We're asking organizations -- civic, religious, labor, Latino, organizations of color -- to refrain from using Arizona as a convention site, to refrain from spending their dollars in the state of Arizona until Arizona turns the clock forward instead of backwards and joins the rest of the union." 

al-qaeda in the maghreb...
First came the fatwa issued by a Pakistani cleric against all forms of violent terrorism. It seems to have spurred an opposite reaction, with the Taliban  murdering a popular Kandahar politician while he was kneeling for prayer at a mosque, and Iraqi insurgents  murdering families inside of their homes, including small children, like the serial killers they are... Then came the announcement that al-Qaeda was hurting for money and may have to file for bankruptcy... Now the Saharan countries of Algeria, Mali, Mauritania and Niger are joining forces to battle the al-Qaeda groups, who have joined with the Toureg and have become well entrenched:
"We have decided to strengthen our intelligence co-operation against all forms of insecurity and, therefore, plan to move towards joint military operations against terrorism, kidnappings and the trafficking of drugs and weapons,"
This has been a desolate, rough terrain, unhospitable to Western aid workers, tourists travel at their own risk: "Al-Qaeda fighters last year killed a British man, Edwin Dyer, who was kidnapped on the border between Niger and Mali... They also shot dead a US aid worker in Mauritania's capital last June, and carried out a suicide bombing on the French embassy there in August that injured three people... Two Spaniards are believed to be in al-Qaeda's hands after they disappeared in November last year from a humanitarian aid convoy in Mauritania... An Italian husband and wife who were seized in Mauritania last year were last week freed in Mali."

Of course, it remains to be seen how serious they are in mounting a successful campaign. Usually, ethnic rivalries and govermental bickering has broken up all past attempts at solidarity. And it may be just a scam to get some attention from the press and more foreign aid from Western countries, especially after the success of the Yemeni government in cutting itself a large piece of the greater economic and military pie... It might also help them if they could get a couple of American-born Muslims to emigrate and set up shop...

in the navy...
Peter Brown reports in the Asia Times that: "Aggressive Chinese war gaming near Okinawa has led to Japanese complaints, particularly after the Suzunami destroyer was buzzed by a Chinese navy helicopter operating from a fleet of warships and submarines. The Chinese exercise, which may have used five surveillance satellites, seems a clear statement of Beijing's intent in securing Taiwan and important lines of trade and communication." Or, it could have been a result from last week's meeting between China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and Barack Obama. It might scare the Japanese so much that they will forget all about trying to get the American military base off of Okinawa, heh, heh, heh. Maybe we can renegotiate our contract for the base, and get them to store some of our spent nuclear warheads there. Cruel joke, yes, I know...


  1. Last year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) ran the numbers at my request. Here’s what they found: For a single 25-year old male with very low earnings, today’s value of his and his employer’s contributions to the Trust Fund will fall $15,596 short of the value of the Social Security retirement benefits he will eventually receive. A single female will receive $20,936 more in benefits than she pays into Social Security. If the immigrant is married but the sole wage-earner, the couple will eventually drain the Trust Fund by $52,460; if the immigrant is married to another very low earner, the drain on the trust fund will be $39,037. The legalization of one million illegal immigrant couples who work for very low wages would be a $101 billion blow to taxpayers. And amnesty for all illegal immigrants would multiply this figure many times!

    When it comes to taxes, amnesty supporters like to say that illegal immigrants will pay their “fair share” of taxes after being granted amnesty. This is deceptive.

    Low-skilled workers often pay no taxes and receive a check from the Internal Revenue Service in the form of the Earned Income Tax Credit. Putting illegal immigrants on the IRS rolls will actually cost the federal government money.

    Since most illegal immigrants have less than a high school education and have well below average incomes, even those illegal immigrants who pay taxes pay far less in taxes than they (and their families) consume in taxpayer-supported benefits. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation found that the average immigrant household headed by an immigrant without a high school degree receives over $19,000 more in total government benefits each year than it pays in federal, state and local taxes!

    But the impact goes far beyond these direct costs.

    There are nearly 16 million Americans out of work, and about 8 million jobs are held by illegal immigrants. By simply enforcing immigration laws already on the books, we could create millions of job opportunities for American citizens and legal immigrants who played by the rules and entered the U.S. the right way.

    Instead, the Obama administration has all but abandoned worksite enforcement efforts. Administrative arrests are down 87 percent; criminal arrests of employees are down 83 percent; criminal arrests of employers are down 73 percent; the number of criminal indictments are down 86 percent; and the number of criminal convictions is down 83 percent since 2008. This insults unemployed and underemployed American workers who need the jobs held by illegal immigrants.

    The hit is on your wallet! Illegal immigrants are a fiscal drain on American taxpayers. And the Obama administration’s policies only make it worse.

    Not copyrighted! Tell--ALL--American citizens and permanent residents. PASS AROUND TO EVERYBODY.

  2. What Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) has to say about Amnesty and Tax-Dollar Drain,

    Lamar Smith is the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee.

    Outside of the usual articles from Bloggers like myself and other opponents of illegal immigration, here is a very eye-opening correspondence by an insider of the Washington beltway. While others fudge the truth or downright lie or release rancid propaganda to the masses. Here are some bitter truths that this Representative from Texas is availing us of the ugly truth and the calamitous situation sending us into a black bottomless pit of American bankruptcy.

    Rep. Lamar Smith states:

    President Obama and Congressional Democrats have been talking about giving amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. Tax Day seems like a good time to examine the impact that such a policy would have on your wallet.

    Start with education. Using the average annual American public school elementary and secondary education costs, the Federation for American Immigration Reform has estimated that the total cost of K-12 education for illegal immigrant minors and the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants is $28.6 billion a year.

    Then there’s health care. If illegal immigrants are covered in the health care bill (there is not a strong verification mechanism to ensure they won’t get benefits), it would increase the bill’s costs between $10-$30 billion. Of course, it won’t matter if illegal immigrants receive amnesty since the new law requires health care coverage for everyone.

    Social Security is another area of great concern. Claims by amnesty advocates that illegal immigration can “save” Social Security are false.

  3. Thanks for your well researched comments. I never give myself enough space to make a good argument, try to keep things down to a couple of snarky paragraphs. True that the immigration issue is the 800 pound gorilla that we try to ignore, but it is one that needs to be elevated to a national level.

    My impression is that Obama's stance on immigration is a modification of George Bush's, whose own party fought him tooth and nail over. There probably isn't a solution that won't cost us money, it may be the price of offering freedom to other people.

    I know that I also wouldn't stand out in front of Home Depot every day, waiting for someone like my brother to come along and offer day labor in construction. He works their asses off, feed them a crummy lunch, and often drops them back off without paying them because he thinks its funny...


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