"I am concerned, however, that a number of the legislative proposals being circulated would significantly reduce the capacity of the Federal Reserve to perform its core functions" - Ben Bernanke
"Those with a more conspiratorial frame of mind would always look at the Fed with a raised eye of suspicion" - James Delasantellis
The article by Gary Sick on Iran pretty much sums up what I think is going on in Iran: "Its insinuation into the economy of Iran had been widely observed for years. It also controlled the nationwide paramilitary force known as the basij. Its association with a radical faction of Iranian clerics, led by Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, who preached that the word of the Supreme Leader in Islamic Iran was absolute—the very voice of God—was well known. But the election of 22 Khordad propelled the pasdaran into an active role in domestic politics, just as it forced Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader who is supposed to remain above politics, to align himself with a specific political faction and thereby sacrifice his legitimacy as an objective arbiter."
Mahmoud Ahmidinejad seems to be losing his hold, and the Ayatollah Khamenei is making pronouncements all over the ideological spectrum. A soft military coup, the culmination of over ten years of planning and slowly maneuvering into place, has taken over the government. The Revolutionary Guard bring an extreme, no-negotiating, kill off your enemies kind of mentality, where dictatorships are freakishly created during the storms of conflict. The procrastination over nuclear negotiations is one result of their being in charge, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is more reasonable and wants to deal with Russia over this. The intimidating, jailing, mock trials, and sentencing to death of their perceived enemies is another aspect, and it is only getting worse. They are worse than any Taliban groups because they are amoral, and soon Iran will look worse than any Communist country at its highest form of repression. It would have gone unrecognized to most of the outside world had it not been for the spontaneous rise of the Green Movement, concerned over the blatant fraud in the last elections.
Iran wanted to become a respected player in the region and in the world, but it created a Frankenstein instead... Unfortunately, sanctions won't get them to reason, and we have no way to communicate to individual members making policy, even if we could identify them. They feel that their nuclear installations are deep enough under the ground, and fortified enough to resist any bunker buster bombs we may have developed, and they reason that they are too big and too populated to be invaded by military. So, do we call their bluff, or what options are left?
"But Mr Ahmadinejad belongs to a minority sect called the Hasteners; they believe that it is the duty of the faithful to prepare the way for the return of the Hidden Imam - or Mahdi - and perhaps even to create propitious conditions." The continued machinations of these two could easily have sent us on the path towards the Eve of Destrustion, if they haven't already. I must say, with the damned wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bush seems to have done a fine job of it, and with Ahmadinejad, or those shadowy figures behind him, set to light the nuclear fuse...
All eyes are on Copenhagen and debating whether there is global climate change or not. My two cents are it doesn't matter what you want to call it, but the polar ice caps are melting, and the seas have risen seven inches. I think the reason may be more from the recent shifting of the magnetic north pole and deforesting of jungles along the equator than carbon emissions, but they all play an intricate, related part. Brazil wants to get paid for the devastation of the Amazon region instead of taking responsibility; becoming a major world power evidently means never having to say your sorry...
Lesser known in the press, on Nov 29 is the meeting in Columbia of the International Campaing to Ban Landmines: "or a major review conference of the ten-year-old Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty, which has been ratified by 156 states, according to the ICBL. Large countries such as the United States, Russia, Pakistan and India have yet to sign up, but campaigners hope to persuade them."
The landmine problem isn't just related to backwaters like Laos and Afghanistan, "last year alone, landmines caused 5,197 casualties worldwide, a third of them children" In Afghanistan, where landmines have been left by the Russians, Communists, and Talibans, there have been high casualties: "An orthopedic center run by the International Committee for the Red Cross in Kabul registered 842 amputees in the first 10 months of 2009, three quarters of them victims of land mines."
"When I heard the bang, I suddenly found myself flung nine meters away. May God punish them all," - Moussa Khan, amputeeEven if the major powers in the world refuse to acknowledge the problem, much less take responsibility, thank God there are people who care enough to risk their lives to defuse these mines. With the increase in US soldiers also the victims of IED devices resulting in a larger number of brain injuries and amputees, you would think that we would want to lead the way at this conference. Maybe it's like getting the military to deal with the rising rate of suicides, they have to be embarrassed, first... To our credit, the DOD has developed : "... a hand-held device that combines metal detection with ground-penetrating radar, called a Handheld Standoff Mine Detection System (HSTAMIDS).
What makes the new device so important, according to the announcement, is that HSTAMIDS can screen out the many bits and pieces of metal found in mined areas and on former battlefields that give a "false positive" signal to metal detectors. International mine action standards require land mine removal personnel to dig up every piece of metal found by their detectors to ensure that no land mine has been missed, the State Department says. This metallic clutter now can be ignored and not unearthed, saving time and, by discovering land mines faster, many innocent lives."
be it resolved..
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee identifies ten (10) key public policy positions for the 2010 election cycle, which the Republican National Committee expects its public officials and candidates to support:
(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;
(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;
(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;
(4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check;
(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;
(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;
(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;
(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;
(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and
(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership; and be further
RESOLVED, that a candidate who disagrees with three or more of the above stated public policy position of the Republican National Committee, as identified by the voting record, public statements and/or signed questionnaire of the candidate, shall not be eligible for financial support and endorsement by the Republican National Committee.
And now, a Washington moment of Zen:
"We have no record of her being a member of the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders. Does anyone remember her?'"