Wednesday, February 29, 2012

China Hold $1.15 Trillion of US Debt

Although China has cut its holdings of US debt by $118 billion, it still owns $1.1529 trillion of US debt. In addition to that, Hong Kong holds $121.7 billion of US Treasury bonds.

Japan holds $1.0582 trillion of US debt.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Democrats Grow Confident that They will Regain Control of the House

According to Steve Israel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Tuesday, the Democrats have "gone from a gale force wind" to a "sustained breeze" against them.

Democrats are optimistic that they will regain the House of Representatives in the November election. They would need to capture 25 seats to take back the House from Republican control. Although most analysts see on 5 to 10 seats returning to Democratic control, the Democrats are still optimistic.

What has happened since the 2010 election which swept in the Republicans? The economy has slightly improved. Tea Partiers may also feel that the Republican members sent to Congress are not living up to their promise. Fiscal conservatism has gone out the window and Republicans have not held their ground on many of the spending issues.

Instead of holding firm on spending cuts, Republicans have compromised themselves into a corner.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cuts to Healthcare Benefits for Active Duty and Retired US Military Personnel

As part of the $487 billion spending cut to the Pentagon budget proposed by the Obama administration, US  active duty and retired military personnel will be asked to pay sharply more for their healthcare while unionized civilian defense workers' benefits remain untouched.

According to administration officials, the goal for the increased fees is designed to force military retirees to reduce their involvement in Tricare and use the state-run health insurance exchanges that are being established in each of the states.

Premiums for retired military personnel would increase between 30 and 78 percent for the first year. After that, premiums would go up between 94 and 345 percent over the next five years. This would be more than three times current levels.

For active duty personnel, co-payments for drugs would go up as well. Incentives for using generics drugs would be eliminated.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Protesters in Denver throw Urine-Filled Balloons at Police

Saturday evening 60-70 protesters began an anti-police demonstration. During the protest march, the protesters began throwing urine-filled balloons, spray painting vehicles and setting off fireworks.

The group was alledgedly prostesting against police brutality.
5 protesters were arrested and face charges of criminal mischief.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Obama Takes Credit for Bush' Drilling Policy

In an Obama campaign ad from 2008 against John McCain, candidate Obama tied John McCain to President Bush's drilling plan and said it would not "produce a drop of oil for seven years."

Obama was right. It did not produce in seven years. It took almost eight years. With oil production up in spite of the president's "cap and trade" and "fuel costs will necessarily have to go up to advance my green agenda", Obama is taking credit for the plan that George W. Bush enacted when gas and oil prices went up during his presidency.

 According to Jay Carney this week, "Oil and gas production is the United States has risen every year since the president's been in office. Oil production is now higher than it's been in eight years."

However, industry analyst will all say this about the rise in production. It is occurring in spite of Obama and his green agenda.

If you look at federal lands under the president's control, oil production is down. Production in the Gulf of Mexico is down 30%. Production in the Rocky Mountains on federal lands is down 70%. This is according to Jack Gerard, head of the American Petroleum Institute.

In addition to that, Obama has put 85% of the outer continental shelf off limits to drilling and is making only 3% available for petroleum exploration and development.

Although it takes years for oil deposits to be identified and put into production, the president should not take credit for the decisions and policies put into place by President Bush.

On private land, oil production is booming. In North Dakota, the state is producing 450,000 barrels a day and has an unemployment rate of 3.3%. The lands that are being used to drive this prosperity in North Dakota are privately held. The land is not owned or controlled by the federal government.

No one is denying the need for renewable resources; however, the president has been going out of his way to drive his green agenda and costing the consumers dearly at the pump and grocery store.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Taliban Urges Afghans to Kill Foreigners

The Taliban urged Afghans to retaliate against foreign military bases and to kill Westerners for burning the Koran. There has been three days of violence as as thousands of demonstrators shouted, "Death to America!"

"Our brave people must target the military bases of invader forces, their military convoys and their invader bases," read an emailed Taliban statement released by the insurgency's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. "They have to kill them (Westerners), beat them and capture them to give them a lesson to never dare desecrate the holy Koran again."

With each US apology, the situation continues to get worse. 12 people were killed on Friday due to the demonstrations and protest marches.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Oil at $108+ per Barrel

With oil prices now at $108+ per barrel and many analysts predicting that it will go higher, President Obama offered more political rhetoric than answers or solutions for the soaring gas prices that Americans are seeing at the pump.

In a speech in Miami, Florida, President Obama tried to deflect Republican attacks and blamed many factors like the increase in oil consumption by India, China and other countries as well as the tensions with Iran.

U.S. gas prices have jumped 9 cents in the past week alone with no end in sight. Gas prices are expected to be $4 per gallon through the summer driving season and well into the November elections.

While George W. Bush was in office, Congressional Democrats blamed the president for high oil prices and said that he was lining the pockets of his oil buddies. They also screamed for congressional committee hearings to find out why oil and gas prices were so high. Many called for a windfall profits tax on oil companies.

Surprisingly, we are not hearing the same outcry now.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Administration Deflects Comments on Oil Prices and Keystone XL Pipeline

In yesterday's White House press conference, press secretary Jay Carney said that the administration is not to blame for turning down the Keystone XL pipeline. Once again, the administration lays the blame on Republicans for setting a unrealistic schedule for reviewing the impact of the pipeline to the environment.

"In terms of Keystone, as you all know, the history here is pretty clear. And the fact is because Republicans decided to play political with Keystone, their action essentially forced the administration to deny the permit process because they insisted on a time frame in which it was impossible to completely approve the pipeline," Carney said when asked about the pipeline by ABC News' Jake Tapper.

Carney continues deflecting by saying, "The Republicans were the ones who unfortunately decided because they were looking for scalps, I guess, or wins in a situation where they somehow found themselves on the wrong side of cutting taxes for 160 million Americans last December. They decided to play politics with this decision and attack the payroll tax cut extension. Even though it was made clear by the State Department that doing so would make it impossible for them to conduct the review responsibly, they did it anyway knowing what the result would be."

When asked about the rising oil prices, Carney continues to step gingerly around the issue and states that the cost of oil is a result of other factors.

"There are no magic solutions to rising oil prices," said White House press secretary Jay Carney. "The rising gas prices clearly the effect of a variety of factors on the global price of oil," he told reporters, citing geopolitical unrest and rapid growth in India and China.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Americans' Satisfaction Almost as Low as It was Under Carter

The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy released its 2012 outlook and it is not very good for President Obama. Only 22% of Americans are satisfied with the current state of affairs. The satisfaction numbers are close to those of George H. W. Bush at 21% and Jimmy Carter's at 19 percent. Both Bush and Carter lost their bid for re-election as President of the United States.

Is Obama on course for being a one-term president? If his numbers do not improve dramatically, he may be set to be one. With gas prices climbing and oil at $106 per barrel, the American public may decide enough is enough.

Monday, February 20, 2012

First Lady Takes Another Vacation!

After only one month since the First Family's 17-day vacation in Hawaii, the First Lady has taken the girls to the slopes of Aspen. This makes the 16th vacation taken by Michelle Obama in the three years of being in the White House.

With unemployment still over 8%, gasoline prices almost $4 per gallon and the price of food and electricity skyrocketing, the First Lady is able to enjoy herself at the taxpayers' expense.

According the Hawaii Report newspaper, the 17-day trip to Hawaii in December, 2011, had a hefty price tag. Here is an itemized list.
  • $63,000 on an early flight bringing Mrs Obama and the children to Hawaii ahead of the President but add security and personnel for a total of about $100,000
  • $3,271,622 on Mr Obama’s return trip from Washington on Air Force One
  • $151,200 to rent nearby homes for Secret Service and Navy Seals
  • $72,216 for 24 White House staff to stay at the Moana Hotel

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Iran Stops Oil Sales to British and French Companies

Iran announced that it will no longer sell oil to British and French companies and will find new customers for the oil. According to Alireza Nikzad, spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum, "Exporting crude to British and French companies has stopped."

In addition to that, Iran's oil minister also said that the Islamic state will cut its oil exports to "some" European countries.

This is Iran's response to the sanctions placed on it due to its continued development of nuclear fuel and possible work on a nuclear weapon.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rick Santorum on Income Inequality

In a speech given in Detroit on Thursday, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum had this to say about income inequality.

“I’m not about equality of result when it comes to income inequality. There is income inequality in America. There always has been and, hopefully, and I do say that, there always will be.”

Many in the media are upset with Santorum's words and believe that he does not understand the dynamics of the economy.

Santorum does have a very accurate view of the economy and capitalism. Because of income inequality, people are motivated to do more in order to make more. Those who say that the system is broken point to the days of the robber barons and how people were exploited by the likes of Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, JP Morgan and Cornelius Vanderbilt.

However, those in the media who once praised individuals like Steve Jobs are now condemning him over the working conditions is Chinese factories and how the workers there are being exploited.

In the US, if a person does not like what he is doing or how he is being treated, he can quit and find another job. Capitalism allows people the opportunity to make something of themselves. You do not see that type of freedom in Communist countries.

Income inequality drives people to better themselves so that they can move up. Liberal media tells a distorted story of how no one can get ahead and that people are doomed. This distorted story is caused by one thing, a government that wants to regulate ALL aspects of our lives.

Look at what is happening in South Carolina. Two students had their lunches confiscated by a federal bureaucrat that is probably making a nice hefty salary for inspecting children's lunches.

When the government gets involved and starts changing rules and adding more regulations, it just makes things worse.

Santorum is absolutely correct. Income inequality is a good thing. Government just needs to get out of the way and allow the system to work as it was intended.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Military Action Against Iran Likely

Key officials in the Obama administration believe that the sanctions imposed on Iran will fail and that military action is likely. The sanctions will not deter Iran from pursuing its nuclear program. Other military analysts also share this opinion and believe that the US will have no other option but to launch an attack on Iran or participate in a joint operation with Israel.

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, told the Washington Post that the window for an Israeli attack would be between April and June. Earlier in February, while speaking to US airmen stationed in Germany, Secretary Panetta stated, "We have all options on the table and would be prepared to respond if we have to."

If President Obama determines that military action is the only solution in dealing with Iran, he will more than likely order the attack after the presidential election in November. However, if there is a level of urgency to attack, he may do so before the election.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Obama Losing Big San Francisco Donor

Due to his lack of leadership on environmental issues especially climate change, President Obama has lost, for now, the generous financial donations of one of the largest Democratic donors, San Francisco philanthropist Susie Tompkins Buell, co-founder of the Esprit clothing company.

Buell, like other generous donors to the progressive movement and Democratic Party, has been disappointment by Obama's lack of leadership. Instead of opening their checkbooks, they are not donating or hosting lavish fundraising dinners for him.

Buell said this about President Obama at a recent $5,000 per plate fundraiser, "I don't know where he stands on anything."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Maxine Waters Calls Boehner and Cantor "demons"

If the Republicans lose the House, Maxine Waters will be in line to become the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee.

If you think Barney Frank caused havoc in the financial industry, you can only imagine what Ms. Waters will do to industry.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Payroll Tax Cut: Good for Americans?

When the payroll tax cut was introduced, everyone felt that it was a wonderful thing. The average American got $40 back in pockets per paycheck. However, Americans did not read the fine print.

The payroll tax cut is funded by money that would have gone to Social Security. In 2011, $105 billion was taken away from the coffers of Social Security. By continuing the tax cut, an additional $119 billion will be siphoned away from Social Security.

With Social Security already having problems meeting its obligation to retirees, where will the money come from?  How will the shortfall be addressed?

As the old adage goes, "The large print giveth and the fine print taketh away."

Gas Prices Skyrocket 83% under Obama Administration

Under the Obama administration, gas prices have jumped 83%. Many in the oil industry are predicting that Americans will see $4 a gallon by Memorial Day.

If gas prices continue to increase, Americans will also see food prices jump as well.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Moody's Adjusted Sovereign Debt Ratings for 9 Countries

Moody's, as anticipated in November, 2011, has adjusted the sovereign debt rating for 9 European countries.
  • Austria: outlook on Aaa rating changed to negative
  • France: outlook on Aaa rating changed to negative
  • Italy: downgraded to A3 from A2, negative outlook
  • Malta: downgraded to A3 from A2, negative outlook
  • Portugal: downgraded to Ba3 from Ba2, negative outlook
  • Slovakia: downgraded to A2 from A1, negative outlook
  • Slovenia: downgraded to A2 from A1, negative outlook
  • Spain: downgraded to A3 from A1, negative outlook
  • United Kingdom: outlook on Aaa rating changed to negative
Uncertainty in the euro zone's ability to address the financial problems facing some of the members of EU is cited as one of the main drivers for adjusting the ratings.

At this point, Asia's markets are falling due to the news. It will be interesting to see the reaction of other markets following the downgrade.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Athens Ablaze as Greek Parliament Approves Austerity Bill

Cafes, movie theaters, shops and banks in central Athens were set afire by masked protesters as the Greek parliament passed the widely unpopular austerity bill in order to get a second EU/IMF bailout. The goal is simple. The Greek government is looking to stop the meltdown our their economy and avoid a national bankruptcy.

The question that remains on the minds of financial analysts around the world is very simple. Will this be enough?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Iran Has a Nuclear Secret it Wants to Tell

At a rally commemorating the thirty-third anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Tehran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that he will reveal a "big new" nuclear achievement.

Although he did not elaborate on the secret, some have started to speculate that the country will unveil their upgraded centrifuges in the central town of Natanz or their underground uranium enrichment facility at Fordo.

In either case, Iran is not slowing down its nuclear program. The sanctions have not stopped or impacted them.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Obama Budget Misses Deficit Goal

The proposed 2013 budget offered by President Obama will forecast a $901 billion deficit for the next year. The President misses his goal of cutting the budget in half within four years.

The White House released an outline of the budget late this evening and it shows a higher deficit than in 2011 up from $1.3 trillion to $1.33 trillion.

In the outline, the budget has the following:
  • $350 billion in new investments for Obama's jobs plan
  • $360 billion in cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs over 10 years
  • $500 billion in cuts in defense

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fight Over Facebook Leds to 2 Shooting Deaths

Marvin Potter, 60, has been charged with 2 counts of first-degree murder in last week's killing of Billy Payne, Jr. and his girlfriend, Billie Jean Hayworth. The couple was found shot to death in their Mountain City, Tennessee home in the far northeast corner of the state.

According to authorities, Potter was upset after the couple "unfriended" his adult daughter on Facebook. The victims had previously complained to police that Potter's daughter was harassing them after they had "unfriended" her on Facebook.

In addition to Potter, Jamie Curd has also been charged with the killings. Curd, 38, had romantic feelings for Potter's daughter, Janelle Potter, 30, according to Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece.

Florida Teenage Charged with Stabbing Grandmother to Make Uncle Suffer

Jasper Aristotle Smiddie, 19, confessed to stabbing his 67-year-old grandmother, Gloria Helfrich, 93 times and then beat her with a pipe wrench followed by shooting her in the head with a crossbow. Smiddie did all of this to make his uncle suffer.

Smiddie originally wanted to kill his uncle, but decided that killing his grandmother would make his uncle suffer even more. According to Smiddie, his uncle would "live with the death of his mother for the rest of his life."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Juror "Friends" Defendant on Facebook

A Sarasota, Florida man serving as a juror who "friended" a defendant of a court trial could face jail time.

Jacob Jock may have "friended" the defendant in order to get out of serving on the jury.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Former Democratic Representative Regrets Voting for Obamacare

Then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, "But we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what is in it." More and more people are finding out that Obamacare has more to it than meets the eye.

Former Democratic Representative Kathy Dahlkemper of Erie, Pennsylvania, who cast a crucial vote for Obamacare, now has this to say, ""I would have never voted for the final version of the bill if I expected the Obama Administration to force Catholic hospitals and Catholic Colleges and Universities to pay for contraception.”

In a press release sent out by "Democrats for Life" in November, 2011, Dahlkemper, a Catholic, further said, "We worked hard to prevent abortion funding in health care and to include clear conscience protections for those with moral objections to abortion and contraceptive devices that cause abortion. I trust that the President will honor the commitment he made to those of us who supported final passage."

Many will argue that the President signed an executive order saying the law wouldn't fund abortions. However, the order did nothing to prevent the subsidized health care exchanges from covering elective abortions.

Monday, February 6, 2012

15-Year-Old Adopted Son Strangled Parents and Hid Bodies in Car

Moses Kamin, 15-year-old adopted son of Robert Kamin and Susan Poff, was arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court for allegedly murdering his adopted parents.

Police detained the youth on Friday after discovering the bodies of his parents in a red PT Cruiser. Kamin tried to set the gas tank of the vehicle on fire.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Iranian Proxy Website Gives Legal Religious Justification to Kill Jews and Annihilate Israel

The Iranian proxy website, Alef, has announced that there are legal and religious justifications to kill Jews and annihilate Israel. The doctrine allows for the destruction of Israeli assets and Jewish people around the world. In that same doctrine, Israel was called a danger to Islam.

Over the past couple of months, Iran has been posturing and flexing its military muscle. The intelligence community believes that Israel could strike Iran in the Spring of this year.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

TSA Preparing Super Bowl Vendors for Terrorists

In preparation for Super Bowl XLVI, the Transportation Security Administration trained 8,000 vendors on how to spot suspicious individuals. Hot dog vendors and parking lot attendants attended training classes offered by the TSA.

The training classes lasted for two days and trained the vendors on how to spot suspicious items and people and to look for possible security issues.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Israel Warns US Jews of Possible Attack on American Soil

ABC News obtained an internal security document stating that attacks against Israeli facilities will increase.

Israeli facilities in the US and around the world are on high alert.

Yoram Cohen, the head of Israel's internal security service, Shin Bet, told an audience in a closed forum that Iran will be increasing its attacks on Israeli targets. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Obama: Jesus Would Support My Tax-the-Rich Policy

During today's National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama, quote from the Gospel of Luke, said, "For me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus' teaching that for unto whom much is given, much shall be required."

Obama has taken a different tack in order to persuade Congress to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for the rich. He is using religion to build his case to Americans.

"I know that far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years," Obama said. "And I believe in God's command to love thy neighbor as thyself. I know a version of that golden rule is found in every major religion and every set of beliefs."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

US Debt Now Sits at $15.3 Trillion

US National debt now sits at $15.3 trillion. In 2008, the national debt sat at $10 trillion. Within three years, the government under the Obama administration is responsible for 1/3 of the debt all by itself.

According to current estimates, the government with its debt and unfunded liabilities, the US owes $120 trillion. Unless something happens and the spending stops, the US may find itself unable to pay its bills.