This Is What a Currency Collapse Looks Like: Shopping Frenzy: “We Have A Lot Of Rubles Losing Value Every Second”

Posted on December 19th, 2014
Ruble Rubble by Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

By Max Slavo

Russians have seen the writing on the wall and they know that they’re economy and currency are in serious trouble. Though the Russian central bank has pledged to protect and stabilize the Ruble, which has collapsed by nearly 50% versus the dollar in the last several months, people aren’t taking any chances.

It’s a scenario we’ve seen repeated throughout history when a nation’s currency was threatened with destruction and it’s one we may soon Read More »

Can We Send Alan Gross Back to Cuba?

Posted on December 19th, 2014
Alan Gross Returns to America 2014

EDITOR’S COMMENT: I know that you’re thinking that this seems like a strange comment to make after Alan Gross was finally released from prison after five years. But, what prompted these comments was Alan Gross’ initial blaming America for the oppression of the Cuban people just a few hours after he was released from their prison. Frankly, that’s not normal. In fact, he almost sounded like a devoted communist sympathizer.

It reminds me of Sgt. Bergdahl’s Read More »

IRS Audit Reveals Leaks of Taxpayers’ Private Information

Posted on December 19th, 2014
IRS government here to help by Eric Allie,

By Eric Boehm

More bad news from the IRS.

No, they’re not coming after more of your hard-earned money, and you’re not the subject of an audit (we hope), but the Internal Revenue Service might be accidentally — or not-so-accidentally, in some cases — disclosing sensitive information about your tax returns.

An audit released recently by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the IRS’ watchdog, found the IRS didn’t always redact personal information when releasing tax forms Read More »

More Informative Links for December 19, 2014

Posted on December 19th, 2014

The New Stupid Party. Democrats Call Republicans the Stupid Party. But Now, There’s Dumb, and Dumber. – Wall  Street Journal  …   “A constant of political life has been that there is only one ‘stupid party’ in America—the Republican Party. Then one day you get out of bed, look out the window and what do you see? Democrats. The Democrats are turning themselves into the new stupid party of American politics. Which brings us to the Draft Elizabeth Warren movement. Last week more than 300 former Obama staffers signed an open letter urging the famous Harvard Law School professor to run in 2016. Days earlier, two big progressive groups, and Democracy for America, also pressed the first-term Massachusetts senator to seek the party’s presidential nomination.”

The implicit logic of the Draft Warren movement is that after eight years of the Obama presidency, the American people want to move . . . further left. However intriguing that proposition, the real problem for the political pros behind Draft Warren or even the Ready for Hillary super PAC is that the Democratic left’s high-publicity wing insists on doing stupid things in public that turn off more voters than they turn on…. Another sign of public fatigue for Democrats was the spectacle of Colorado Senate candidate Mark Udall’s ‘war on women’ strategy becoming an object of mockery, not from the right, but everyone else. A party turns stupid when it keeps pushing obsessions that push people away.”

It won’t stop. One of Elizabeth Warren’s key constituencies—the Occupy Everything movement on campuses and in the streets—is wholly alienated from the private sector, like much of this new generation’s Democrats. A lot of men and women who go to work daily in the private sector surely have decided that they are the object of these attacks. Many traditional liberals still consider themselves JFK or Clinton Democrats. But that party is gone. The party’s presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, is going to be transformed into a Warren Democrat, the party’s future.”

Obama Gives the Castro Regime in Cuba an Undeserved Bailout – Washington Post  …   “IN RECENT months, the outlook for the Castro regime in Cuba was growing steadily darker. The modest reforms it adopted in recent years to improve abysmal economic conditions had stalled, due to the regime’s refusal to allow Cubans greater freedoms. Worse, the accelerating economic collapse of Venezuela meant that the huge subsidies that have kept the Castros afloat for the past decade were in peril. A growing number of Cubans were demanding basic human rights, such as freedom of speech and assembly.”

On Wednesday, the Castros suddenly obtained a comprehensive bailout — from the Obama administration. President Obama granted the regime everything on its wish list that was within his power to grant; a full lifting of the trade embargo requires congressional action. Full diplomatic relations will be established, Cuba’s place on the list of terrorism sponsors reviewed and restrictions lifted on U.S. investment and most travel to Cuba. That liberalization will provide Havana with a fresh source of desperately needed hard currency and eliminate U.S. leverage for political reforms.”

No wonder Yoani Sánchez, Cuba’s leading dissident blogger, concluded Wednesday that ‘Castroism has won’ and predicted that for weeks Cubans will have to endure proclamations by the government that it is the ‘winner of its ultimate battle.’ The Vietnam outcome is what the Castros are counting on: a flood of U.S. tourists and business investment that will allow the regime to maintain its totalitarian system indefinitely. Mr. Obama may claim that he has dismantled a 50-year-old failed policy; what he has really done is give a 50-year-old failed regime a new lease on life.”

Informative Links for December 19, 2014

Posted on December 19th, 2014

IRS Warns of Possible Shutdown – Politico  …  “The IRS is considering its own temporary shutdown due to recent budget cuts enacted by Congress, its chief said Thursday. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said furloughs — forced unpaid days off for employees as part of an IRS closure — is one idea reluctantly being tossed about to save money, though they are hoping they will not have to go there. He said a shutdown would mean the IRS would ‘close the agency for a day, two days, whatever days it would take to close the gap that we can’t otherwise close in a reasonable way.’ The agency estimates each closed day would save $29 million.

“The news comes a day after Koskinen in an email warned IRS employees that overtime would be suspended and a hiring freeze enacted. He also said more tough news would likely follow as IRS leadership negotiates with the National Treasury Employees Union, particularly because personnel costs comprise about 75 percent of the IRS costs. In the recent budget deal, Congress cut the IRS budget by $346 million to $10.9 billion — $1.5 billion less than the administration asked for. The IRS’ budget has been reduced about $1 billion since 2010.”

“‘It’s not just the $350 million cut in the budget; it’s the fact that we have $250 million in new expenses for a government-wide pay raise. … So we really have a $600 million hole this year,’ he said.”

America’s Greece? Illinois Risks Default If It Fails to Tackle Its Public-Pension Crisis – The Economist  …   “Bruce Rauner, a Republican, liked to talk tough about unions and public-sector pensions when he was campaigning for governor in Illinois. ‘The system is full of fraud and self-dealing and abuses. With two or three pensions, some are making as much as half a million dollars in retirement pay,’ he claimed. This, he thundered, is a rip-off of taxpayers and other workers. But as soon as Mr Rauner was elected last month, the self-made millionaire toned down the rhetoric. The size and complexity of the public-pension mess suddenly hit him, and, aware that he had to bring together Democrats, unions and creditors, he began to backtrack.”

Illinois is like Greece in one obvious way: it overpromised and underdelivered on pensions and has little appetite for dealing with the problem, says Hal Weitzman of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. This large Midwestern state, with a population of 13m (Greece has 11m, though a far smaller GDP than Illinois), has the most underfunded retirement system of any state and the largest pension burden relative to state revenue. It also has the highest number of public-pension funds close to insolvency, such as the one looking after Chicago’s police and firemen.”

In 2015 Illinois will either sink further into a Greek-style morass of debt or start its long-delayed rehabilitation. Mr Rauner has warned of a rough 24 months ahead. ‘I ain’t going to be Mr Popularity for a while,’ he says. Voters may not mind, if he is able to sort this disaster out.”

Barack Obama, Student of History?

Posted on December 18th, 2014
Obama go Islam by Daryl Cagle,

By Jonathan F. Keiler

It is one thing to be weak in history, another believe ignorance is expertise.

Teaching history can be frustrating, but sometimes students actually figure stuff out and learn a thing or two, unlike some of our political leaders. For example, just the other day one of my students asked why there are no great empires anymore, and countries don’t go around conquering like they used to do. That’s a big question, without a Read More »

Michelle Obama Once Got Asked for Help at Target, Thinks It Was Probably Racist

Posted on December 18th, 2014
Michelle Obama Goes to Target

EDITOR’S COMMENT: I have two thoughts on this. First, when coming out o a restaurant, I would NEVER give my car keys to President Obama. Second, When Michelle Obama says that, when ‘she was asked for help’ at a Target store, she concluded that was racist. That’s nonsense, and her real inner feelings are showing. What she was really feeling was that she was ‘insulted’ that someone could think that she was a ‘service person’ Read More »

Welcome to Lawless Obama’s America, Hombres!

Posted on December 18th, 2014
Illegal immigration correction Obama by Petar Pismestrovic, Kleine Zeitung, Austria

By Charles Hurt

Just when President Obama thought it was safe to show his face in an American courtroom again, in walks John Wayne in a black robe to deliver one of the greatest legal beatdowns ever suffered by a sitting president.

Except for all the other beatings President Obama has already endured in federal court and from Supreme Court justices, including the ones he himself picked. And this guy still sells himself as some kind of Read More »

More Informative Links for December 18, 2014

Posted on December 18th, 2014

US, Cuba to Restore Diplomatic Relations after 50 Years – Newsmax  …   “President Barack Obama announced the United States would restore diplomatic relations it severed with Cuba more than 50 years ago, drawing resistance from lawmakers opposed to reconciling with the communist-run island.  After 18 months of secret talks facilitated by the Vatican and Canada, Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed by phone on Tuesday on a prisoner exchange and the opening of embassies in each other’s countries. In a television speech on Wednesday, Obama announced the end of what he called a rigid and outdated policy of isolating Cuba that had been ineffective in achieving change on the island.”

The policy shift will mean an opening to some commerce and transportation without ending a longstanding trade embargo. That is codified in legislation and needs congressional approval that Obama said he would seek, but he will likely face a struggle. While travel restrictions that make it hard for most Americans to visit will be eased, the door will not yet be open for broad U.S. tourism on the Caribbean island. Although a growing number of U.S. lawmakers favor more normal ties, those lawmakers are still mostly Democrats, and after big midterm election gains in November, Republicans will control both houses of Congress in the new year.”

Americans are largely open to establishing diplomatic relations with the Cuban government, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll of more than 31,000 adults conducted between July and October. Older Cubans who left the island soon after the revolution have remained opposed to ties with either Castro brother in power. Younger Cubans, who left more recently or were born in the United States, have shown more interest in warmer relations. Despite their decades of animosity, the two countries have long been engaged on a host of issues such as immigration, drug interdiction and oil-spill mitigation.”

Russia’s Problems Are Everyone’s Problems – Bloomberg  …  “‘Cyprus with nukes.’ That’s how someone, maybe me, referred to Russia in an IM conversation this morning. It’s not really a fair comparison; Russia is a vast country loaded with natural resources, not a tiny island banking haven. But it does express a very real fear: that the world is about to experience a major financial crisis in a country that seems to deal with its internal troubles by slicing off bits of neighboring countries.”

The ruble is plunging, for reasons that have roots in the falling price of oil. Yet the trouble now runs deeper than that, so the ruble’s problems will continue even when the price of oil recovers a bit. As our own Leonid Bershidsky explains, markets are no longer just worried about oil prices, but also about the Russian Central Bank’s apparent decision to bail out a suffering oil company by printing money.”

If that’s not terrifying enough, consider that Russia is not the only country headed for problems. The Middle East is full of countries that need a high oil price to protect their economies. Calling for help? Outside the Middle East, Venezuela is already well into a long economic crisis. Last week, I noted that this meant the risk of serious geopolitical repercussions. (The last time oil prices experienced this kind of run-up and decline, the Soviet Union fell.)”

Whatever Russia does next, we’d better hope it works. Because if not, the rest of us may be using our newly cheaper gasoline to fuel up for a very bumpy ride.”

Informative Links for December 18, 2014

Posted on December 18th, 2014

GOP Blasts Obama Move: ‘We Did Not Help the Cuban People’ – Newsmax  …   “Republicans Wednesday broadly slammed President Barack Obama’s plan to resume diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than five decades, charging that it is yet another example of an inept foreign policy especially since it said nothing about the Castro regime’s longstanding human-rights abuses. The Cuban people are no freer today than they were the first day of the Cuban regime,’ Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said in a CNN interview. The more things change, the more nothing changes in Cuba.’”

“‘This policy change is a gift for the Cuban government that has done nothing to provide basic, fundamental human rights to the Cuban people,’ said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, a member of the Senate Budget Committee. ‘This decision rewards a brutal regime without any significant commitment toward change for the oppressed Cuban people.’”

“Florida Rep. Dennis Ross cautioned that it is important to remember the Castro regime has oppressed, imprisoned, and murdered countless friends and relatives of Cuban-Americans across the state of Florida.’  ‘We must not excuse or forget about the decades of human-rights violations committed by this oppressive regime.’”

Senate Confirms New ICE Chief Who Believes Some Illegals Have a ‘Right’ to Citizenship – Breitbart  …  “On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Sarah Saldana, who has said she would implement President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty and believes that illegal immigrants who qualify for it have a ‘right’ to citizenship, to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency tasked with enforcing the country’s immigration laws.”

Lee said Saldana’s ‘bold assertion’ that some illegal immigrants have a ‘right’ to citizenship is an ‘unacceptable view’ for someone nominated to head ICE. Cruz said that Saldana would merely be a ‘rubber stamp’ for Obama’s executive amnesty.  Sessions urged Congress not to ‘vote to accelerate its own demise’ by confirming Saldana. Sessions said ‘Congress cannot and must not confirm anyone to lead an agency in DHS or other law enforcement agency who supports executive amnesty’ because ‘the first priority of Congress must be to restore the rule of law, secure the border, and bring the administration into compliance with the laws of the United States.’”

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