- Currency wars and the Fed’s demise.The Federal Reserve has decided to buy US Treasury bills for about US$ 600 billion in all, in monthly instalments of about US$ 75 billion over eight months, until June 2011. However, this action will not achieve the desired goal of economic growth, nor will it change the US labour market, this according to most analysts and security traders surveyed by Bloomberg in its quarterly “Global Poll”. In fact, more than half of 1,030 experts who took part in the survey, expressed doubts about the Federal Reserve’s move. For more than 70 per cent of them, the Fed’s second round of quantitative easing (QE2) is largely an attempt to adjust the exchange rate of the US dollar against other currencies. Thus, according to such set of views, the Federal Reserve (de facto but not de jure the US central bank) wants to redress the trading disadvantage US manufacturers have accumulated over the last few decades and cut the US trade deficit.With a portfolio of US$ 773 billion, the Federal Reserve is on its way of becoming the main holder of US Treasury securities. Within about one month from the start out of QE2, it will overtake China, which currently holds US$ 868 billion. This is a patent economic inconsistency. What it means is that the Fed is unable to sell a good chunk of its securities (failing to attract both US and foreign investors) to meet, if nothing else, the federal government’s current spending commitments. This is not surprising though since the US government debt is not “60 per cent of current gross domestic product, “but rather “840 per cent,” according to Laurence Kotlikoff (a little less according to this author, but of the same magnitude).Secondly, one does not have to be a graduate in economics to realise that the increases in ‘federal securities, notes and bonds’ (+ 87.20 per cent) and federal agency debt securities (+ 291.30 per cent) are huge for such a short period of time (12 months). As for mortgage-backed securities (+ 1,426.29 per cent), the jump is frightening and deserves a closer look, which we shall do below. In the meantime, if we take these three items together, we see that they have represent the largest part of the total Federal Reserve Balances, going from 26.76 to 84.33 per cent in the period under consideration. The Fed’ balance sheet has thus been completely turned around. What this means is that what Ben Bernanke had said would not happen when he appeared before the US Congress has actually happened, namely the monetisation (conversion) of government debt into currency.Hmmm....the "Obamination of America".Read the full story here.
- HT:Memri.AQAP Releases Special Issue of 'Inspire' Magazine 'Operation Hemorrhage' - Dedicated Entirely To Explosive Parcels Plot.On November 20, 2010, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a special edition of its English-language magazine Inspire titled '$4,200' the total amount claimed spent on the operation.This edition consists of 23 pages that are entirely dedicated to the recent parcel plot. The magazine was first pasted on the main Jihadi forum Shumukh Al-Islam. Among the topics presented is the objectives of ' Operation Hemorrhage' (i.e. parcel plot):-General details and objectives of operation -Technical details of devices used -Economic leverage the AQAP believes it has gained over West and religious objectives of the attack.The magazine also includes "exclusive" images of the devices and other articles which will be released in the coming day by MEMRI.Read the full story here.
- Zardari may pardon woman sentenced to death for 'blasphemy'.President Asif Ali Zardari may pardon a Christian woman sentenced to death in Pakistan for allegedly committing blasphemy, amid growing outrage in the country and abroad.Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer today said he was hopeful that the President will pardon the 45-year-old Aasia Bibi who was sentenced to death by an additional district and sessions court last week for allegedly making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad.Taseer said he had examined the woman's case and believed there was no incident of blasphemy."She is a poor helpless woman who had no legal defence. She does not even have the resources to help herself," he said.Aasia Bibi has denied the charge and said she was framed because of an earlier dispute with some residents of her village."A fake FIR was filed against me due to an old dispute. I am uneducated and can't even think of committing blasphemy," Aasia Bibi, wearing a veil, told reporters at the jail.Hmmm....she shouldn't be condemned in the first place for exercising free speech a basic human right.The right to freedom of speech is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.Read the full story here.
- FBI pulls guns on dance troupe as they spark terror alert... by running through Lincoln Tunnel while dressed in camouflage.They were running to make a very important appointment on TV which could have changed their lives.But the dance troupe made two big mistakes - they were wearing camouflage shorts and vests and should never have ditched their cars in New York's Lincoln Tunnel.Armed police from the FBI swooped and pulled their guns on the group because they thought they were terrorists.The tunnel was closed for 45 minutes before cops realized the seven-member Club Envy needed to get to the studio in Manhattan. They eventually offered them a police escort to make the talent show.Read the full story here.
- Sarkozy: Missile threat comes from Iran.During NATO summit in Lisbon French president says Islamic Republic poses main threat anti-missile defense shield is designed to foil. On the backdrop of an extensive Iranian military exercise to thwart aerial strikes on the country's nuclear facilities, French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Saturday said the ballistic missile threat on Europe comes from the Islamic Republic.Sarkozy added that Iran poses the main threat of the type of rogue attack that NATO's planned anti-missile defense shield is designed to foil.No name appears in the documents made public by NATO, but let's call a spade a spade: today's missile threat comes from Iran," he told reporters at the NATO summit in Lisbon.France a real Turkish "Delight"?Read the full story here.
- Sikhs outraged at US airport turban searches.Sikh Americans are protesting at what they say is a new policy at US airports to screen their turbans systematically, voicing fear the move would further stigmatize their faith.US officials have not confirmed a change in policy and insisted they respected religious beliefs. But they said security measures necessitated checks on "bulky" clothing such as turbans, which Sikh men are required by faith to wear.A group of Sikh American groups said they met several weeks ago with representatives of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) who told them that airports would now screen turbans with hand-wands at all times.Current policy is erratic, with New York City airports rarely conducting secondary searches on Sikhs but airports in other cities such as Chicago and San Francisco doing so routinely, said Amardeep Singh, co-founder of the Sikh Coalition advocacy group.The TSA told us, point blank, that turbans will now be screened 100 percent of the time," Singh told AFP on Monday.President Barack Obama recently raised controversy by calling off plans to visit Sikhism's holiest shrine, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, during his visit to India.As Obama left India we here at MFS mentioned the first time the new TSA rules on Sikh headwear.Read the full story here.
- HT:AmericanThinker.The Oklahoma Sharia Ban.A Federal District Court judge recently issued an order blocking the implementation of an amendment to the Oklahoma State Constitution. The amendment, approved by seventy percent of Oklahoma voters, would bar state court judges from considering either international or Islamic Sharia law when rendering legal decisions. This has naturally caused a firestorm of debate in the news media, all of which misses the central question, which is whether or not a federal court has the authority to arbitrarily interfere with the governance of a member state of our federal republic.The ruling in Oklahoma comes, not surprisingly, from federal judge Vicki Miles-LeGrange, a Democrat and former Oklahoma state senator, appointed to the bench by President Clinton. Someone forgot to tell her that the federal courts have no authority whatsoever to enjoin a state government from amending its own constitution.The question is not whether the Oklahoma amendment ultimately passes muster with the terms of the U.S. Constitution -- that question could be addressed through the state and federal courts at a later time. The question is whether or not a federal judge can simply order states not to implement laws they think they might not agree with, even before a hearing of the facts. The citizens of every state have the right to govern themselves, and it is up to their state officials to start defending those rights against an increasingly oppressive federal regime in Washington, D.C.Read the full story here.
- Eight killed after tourist bus overturns at high speed near Egyptian resort of Hurghada.Eight tourists have been killed and 40 injured after their bus flipped over near the Egyptian resort of Hurghada.The driver of the bus lost control at high speed on a winding road and the bus rolled over several times, officials said today.Three Russians and a Ukrainian woman were among the dead, but the identities of the other four killed has not been revealed.Read the full story here.
- Girl, 14, arrested for luring teens into prostitution using Craigslist ads .A 14-year-old British Columbia girl has been charged for allegedly prostituting herself and pimping out other girls through the online classified site Craigslist. Acting on a tip last month, police began looking into allegations a teenage girl was selling sexual services and recruiting others into the sex trade.In online ads posted on Craigslist's controversial erotic services section, which has already come under criticism from the federal justice minister, the girl was posing as an 18-year-old woman available for sex. “She was the ringleader,” said Chilliwack RCMP Cpl. Lea-Anne Dunlop. “It's something that's unfortunate to see.” While there's a ban on publication because of the girls' ages, Cpl. Dunlop said the accused teenager knew the other teens she is accused of recruiting. The girl faces one count of procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution. Cpl. Dunlop said Thursday more charges could be laid as Mounties continue their investigation and the media interest may also prompt others lured into the sex trade to come forward.Read the full story here.