Bill Katz: WARNINGS FROM BRITAIN
We're struggling with our own economy, but things in Europe are much worse, with Greece near collapse, and the European Union's economic scheme in severe jeopardy. Now a major British economic figure warns that Britain's economy may never recover if the economic convulsions of Europe get worse.
We should follow economic events in Europe closely. Their impact is as much psychological as monetary. If Europe starts to slide into financial chaos, many "investors" in the U.S. will start to panic, pull their money out, and precipitate another economic crisis here.
Ordinarily, the West would look to American leadership at a time like this. I don't see too many nations looking our way. They may have finally learned that we can do a lot better than a community organizer in the White House.
FP: It’s worse than that. See Jay Ambrose: Europeanizing America: More Debt, Less Jobs. And the decline may be turning into collapse. Here’s a consequence:
And make to take anti-nausea pills. There is now sudden "optimism" – read that as "self-delusion" – on the part of diplomats dealing with the Iranian nuclear program. We're now four days away from a major negotiating session that will be held in Baghdad.
Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog are making headway towards a framework deal on how to tackle concerns about its atomic activity, diplomats said on Friday, a potential bargaining chip for Tehran in next week's negotiations with world powers.
Iran says such an agreement is needed before it can consider a request by UN inspectors to visit the Parchin military site where they believe explosives tests relevant for developing nuclear weapons may have been carried out.
Oh really? In other words, come to an agreement with us, then we'll consider your request. In the meantime, you'll be flying blind.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran held talks this week in Vienna and are due to meet again on May 21, two days before Tehran and the six global powers discuss the future of its disputed nuclear program in Baghdad.
Western diplomats accredited to the UN agency said Iran seemed keen to agree a so-called "structured approach" - an outline of how to deal with the IAEA's questions - ahead of Baghdad in the apparent hope of gaining leverage there.
Translated: Any agreement now would give Iran what it wants so far.
What an absolute farce. How many years has the West been negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program? It's got to be the better part of a decade. And we may get an agreement that may lead to discussions over substance if the first agreement can be agreed upon, and its detailed then agreed upon.
And all the while, the centrifuges in Iran keep spinning. Aren't we lucky?
Let's face it, the person allowing this to happen is Barack Obama, who has one objective: getting re-elected. He doesn't want any confrontation with Iran before the election, especially a confrontation that would drive up oil prices. And he certainly doesn't want an Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear installations.
As the story suggests, the Iranians are buying time. And we know the reason. And some mature adults are going to have to deal with this.
“Optimism” just as I predicted. Did anybody ever think that a West in its current circumstances is capable to stop Iran? Obama has a lot to do with it, but the core factor is a collapsing West that no longer counts; Obama is just a reflection of that. Serious sanctions that could have worked were not imposed because they might have caused more damage to the West than to Iran.
Here’s another consequence:
Debbie Schlussel: DISGUSTING! Obama Administration Debates Apology to Pakistan
You know what’s long past “getting old”? The Obama multi-apologies to Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Muslim world, etc. for everything America does right or every single tiny mistake in war. Today’s Wall Street Journal has a whole cover story entitled, “U.S. Agonizes Over Apology to Pakistan.” Huh? This is the same Pakistan that gave away our nuclear secrets to the North Koreans and Iran. The same Pakistan that gave Osama Bin Laden safe haven for who knows how long, knowing full well he was there. The same Pakistan, whose ISI intelligence service has been aiding and abetting Taliban terrorists against America and other Islamic terrorists who murdered Westerners and Jews in the Mumbai Massacre. We should be apologizing to these schmucks? Are you kidding?
For further evidence of US decline see also Katz’s SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE.
In the 1980s, the military had its infamous $800 toilet seat. Today, it has a $17,000 drip pan.
Thanks to a powerful Kentucky congressman who has steered tens of millions of federal dollars to his district, the Army has bought about $6.5 million worth of the "leakproof" drip pans in the last three years to catch transmission fluid on Black Hawk helicopters. And it might want more from the Kentucky company that makes the pans, even though a similar pan from another company costs a small fraction of the price: about $2,500.
The purchase shows the enduring power of earmarks, even though several scandals have prompted efforts in Congress to rein them in. And at a time when the Pentagon is facing billions of dollars in cutbacks -- which include shrinking the Army, trimming back purchases of fighter jets and retiring warships -- the eye-catching price tag for a small part has provoked sharp criticism.
The Kentucky company, Phoenix Products, got the job to produce the pans after Representative Harold Rogers, a Republican who is now the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, added an earmark to a 2009 spending bill. While the earmark came before restrictions were placed on such provisions for for-profit companies, its outlays have continued for the last three years.
The company's owners are political contributors to the congressman, who has been called the "Prince of Pork" by The Lexington Herald-Leader for his history of delivering federal contracts to donors and others back home.
FP: I am willing to bet that without hopeless wars and nation building and the corporate welfare state and with a properly regulated financial industry the US would not be bankrupt, the genuine welfare expenditures notwithstanding. Not to mention that it would then be politically feasible to justify cuts in the latter, particularly fraud. (see also the recommended read on TSA below)
Didn't investor extraordinaire Warren Buffett get the memo about newspapers being dying dinosaurs?
It was one thing when he decided to buy his hometown Omaha World-Herald and related properties last year. Sure, he said he was acquiring a well-run company, but clearly civic concerns were part of the equation.
But spending $142 million to buy 63 dailies and weeklies from Media General? Has the Oracle of Omaha lost his mind?
Buffett's rationale for buying the paper is pretty basic. "In towns and cities where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper," Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, said in a statement "The many locales served by the newspapers we are acquiring fall firmly in this mold and we are delighted they have found a permanent home with Berkshire Hathaway."
FP: Beware of business billionaires buying the media. If there is anything that has gutted the Western media it’s the likes of Rupert, Tisch and others coming to their “rescue”. Here’s one example:
John Hinderaker: George Zimmerman, Not Guilty?
What is going on here, I suspect, is that the newspapers are trying to extricate themselves from the Zimmerman-is-guilty narrative gradually. Rather than admitting all at once that they were had, they will walk back what they have previously written over a period of time, so that by the time Zimmerman is acquitted, or the charges against him are dismissed, they can pretend that they knew it all along. That is how it looks like the case is going based on what we now know, in any event.
O. J. Simpson, anybody?
J.D. Tuccille: The Terrible Truth About the TSA (MUST READ)
Robert McHenry: Science vs. PR