Petrodollar Explained

Posted November 10th, 2011 by Darrell and filed in Economics and the Economy, International
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Fascinating:

Hillary’s Hubris

Posted February 28th, 2010 by AlphaPatriot and filed in Clinton, Hillary, International
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Not happy with the destruction of the American economy, Hillary Clinton now wants to force her high tax nanny care ways on other countries:

In a testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the top US diplomat reminded rich Pakistanis that they had a duty to enable their government to fund schools and hospitals and to spend more on other social projects by paying taxes.

“The very well-off” in Pakistan “do not pay their fair share for the services that are needed, in health and education primarily,” she observed.

Hillary, like most Democrats, never saw a rich person they thought wasn’t taxed enough. “Rich” is in the eyes of the beholder, and Democrats behold any American making $31,850 or more per year as rich enough to reach into their wallets and grasp as much as they can. It is not known what Hillary means when speaking of “rich” Pakistani’s, although I suspect that the floor is much, much lower. Perhaps anyone that can afford their own Oxen.

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Children Openly Brandishing Guns in Brazil

Posted February 26th, 2010 by AlphaPatriot and filed in International, Second Amendment
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Images from a section of Rio de Janeiro known as the “Corner of Fear” have been published by undercover journalists. Even in Brazil, where crime is rampant, the pictures have sent shockwaves through the citizenry:

A boy steps boldly into the night traffic and waves a gun to bring the cars to a halt, clearing a path for a motorcycle which screeches into the intersection. Riding pillion is another boy, brandishing a machinegun.

Later two teenagers, also riding pillion on motorbikes, flash their guns at other motorists; nearby, a boy can be seen taking aim with a rifle equipped with a telescopic sight. Other youths wander the street smoking crack.

For residents, the junction between the busy Dom Helder Câmara and dos Democráticos, in North Rio de Janeiro, has become known as the Corner of Fear — and video footage of daily life there has shocked a nation already familiar with guns and violence.

Criminals thrive in this nation that has some of the most draconian gun laws in the world — it is ranked 20th in the world for homicides. And then there’s this from US Overseas Security Advisory Office:

The criminal threat for Rio de Janeiro is rated by the U.S. Department of State as critical.  The Brazilian police and the Brazilian press report that crime continues to increase.  Violent crimes such as murder, rape, kidnapping, carjacking, armed assault, and burglary are a normal part of everyday life. . . .

The Government of Brazil (GOB) continues to be locked in an intense struggle against drug gangs for control of large areas of the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area.  The drug gangs control and in essence serve as parallel governments in the majority of the poor areas of the city known as favelas.  The drug gangs are obtaining increasingly sophisticated weapons and are demonstrating a willingness to use them in order to maintain control of the areas they occupy.  The determination of the government to wrest control of the favelas from the drug gangs has resulted in violent confrontations between the GOB security forces and the drug gangs.

Our loose gun laws lead to this kind of behavior. Wait, they don’t? Isn’t there a lesson there?

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69% of Haiti Charity Dollars Remain Unspent

Posted February 16th, 2010 by AlphaPatriot and filed in International
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One month after the Haiti earthquake ABC news found that Americans donated almost a half billion dollars to the 23 top American charities.

In total, of the half a billion dollars sent to Haiti relief organizations contacted by ABC News, 18 percent is already being spent on food and water, Additionally, 11 percent is going toward medical supplies and clinics, six percent on housing, and two percent on operations.

But here’s the catch. The money now being spent is only a small fraction of the total donations given. Most of the donations made to the relief efforts — 69 percent or $325 million — have not been spent on anything yet.

There are problems on with both the ability of the charities to manage the unusually large influx of dollars, and problems with international coordination of relief efforts, not to mention the problems with the Haiti infrastructure. Plus, rebuilding is a long-term project and money needs to be left in reserve.

But only 1/3 of our dollars helping people while 2/3 sits in banks? Seems a little light to me.

HT to Charity Navigator.

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Surprise! Aid Corruption in Haiti

Posted February 7th, 2010 by AlphaPatriot and filed in International
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Hundreds of earthquake survivors marched through the streets of the Haitian capital protesting the corruption and hording that is taking place in distribution of donated food and supplies:

Donor nations have poured tens of millions of dollars into the impoverished Caribbean nation and some Haitians have blamed corruption for the sometimes sluggish distribution of aid.

Some Haitians? Oh come on, we all knew the day we started sending money to Haiti that the rich and powerful would become more so and that people would die as a result.

Sacks of donated rice have turned up in local street markets. Aid officials said it was inevitable that some aid would find its way to the black market in Haiti, which was ranked 10th from the bottom of Transparency International’s latest corruption rating of 180 nations.

Yep, that about covers it. Luckily the U.S. military is coordinating many of the efforts and hopefully this kind of thing has been kept to a minimum.

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H1N1 “Pandemic” Close to Over

Posted February 5th, 2010 by AlphaPatriot and filed in International, Media Spin
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The Centers for Disease Control says that Swine Flu is, pardon the expression, dying down in the US:

U.S. cases have been declining since October. An official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says swine flu cases are still occurring and are likely to continue a while longer at some level.

But another expert said a future large wave of cases now seems very unlikely. The expert, Vanderbilt University’s Dr. William Schaffner, said the epidemic has “one foot in the grave.”

Meanwhile, the Whole Health Organization says that “pandemic activity is declining across most of the world” as deaths have topped — wait for it — 15,000 out of the 6.8 billion people on the planet. That translates to 0.00022 percent of the world population.

Makes the word “pandemic” a whole lot less scary, doesn’t it?

HT to both links to Drudge.

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Spain: Unemployment Nears 20%

Posted August 23rd, 2009 by AlphaPatriot and filed in International
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With a 61 percent increase in unemployment since the start of 2008, the troubled Spanish economy is crushed under the need to support almost 20% of its workforce:

In the first year of unemployment, the government pays both unemployment benefit and some social security contributions. This will result in an unemployment benefit bill of over 30 billion euros ($43 billion) this year, up more than 50% from 2008. Payments may rise faster, as many of those made unemployed early were on fixed-term contracts and low salaries. On the revenue side, there are losses associated with lower tax receipts from the unemployed.

Worse yet, the rising deficit will breach the E.U. Stability and Growth Pact, requiring stringent budget cuts to try and reduce the deficit by 2012.

And we think we have it bad.

Honduras Embroiled in Fight for Democracy

Posted June 28th, 2009 by AlphaPatriot and filed in International

First, some facts:

  1. The Honduran Constitution limits the presidential term to 4 years.
  2. Honduran president Manuel Zelaya has seen his approval ratings plummet because of soaring food prices and worsening drug violence that has given Honduras one of the highest homicide rates in Latin America.
  3. The Honduran Constitution prohibits changing the duration of the presidential term.
  4. In defiance of the plain language of the constitution, President Zelaya asked for a referendum on placing the extension of the presidential term on the ballot.
  5. The country’s Supreme Court, Honduras’s top electoral tribunal, Attorney General Luis Alberto Rubí, and human-rights ombudsman have all declared the planned referendum illegal.
  6. President Zelaya attempted to hold the vote anyway, ordering the military to distribute the ballots (which is their role) and sacking General Romeo Vasquez, head of the Honduran armed forces.
  7. The military, acting on a court order, responded by capturing President Zelaya and flying him out of the country, thus ending his attempted power grab.

I often judge politicians by who their friends are. Among those condemning Honduras’ removal of President Zelaya are Cuba, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, and of course Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But we shouldn’t blame Hillary – she’s only doing B. Hussein Obama’s bidding. It turns out that he has been working for weeks to save President Zelaya’s job:

The Obama administration and members of the Organization of American States had worked for weeks to try to avert any moves to overthrow President Zelaya, said senior U.S. officials. Washington’s ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, sought to facilitate a dialogue between the president’s office, the Honduran parliament and the military.

The efforts accelerated over the weekend, as Washington grew increasingly alarmed.

Carlos Echevarria, commenting at Gateway Pundit, sums everything up nicely:

Gateway, this is not a coup, this is the Honduran Armed Forces carrying out an order of the Supreme Court of Honduras and the congress, as well as military leaders that refused to buckle to Zelaya’s attempt to fully Chavez-ize the nation….

Today is a day of liberty in Honduras.

But in a sign that this will continue to escalate, the left is already tying the “military coup” to the American Department of Defense. God help me, it’s true.

Now it’s time to see if Obama will support democracy in Honduras, or will enable Chavez to put troops in Honduras to prop up a leftist friend. Anyone want to take bets?

Crime Skyrockets in Oslo

Posted March 9th, 2008 by AlphaPatriot and filed in International, Legal System
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There are four times more crime in the capital of Norway than in New York, with a 20% increase in robberies over the last year alone. The Oslo police are blaming the increase on an influx of East Europeans.

Brazilian Sub Fleet to Go Nuclear

Posted January 28th, 2008 by AlphaPatriot and filed in International
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Brazil has nuclear reactors. They can turn out nuclear fuel using existing enrichment facilities. They even have a "fleet" of five submarines. What they don’t have is a nuclear powered sub. But, thanks to France, all that may be about to change.

Why does Brazil want a nuclear sub anyway? Perhaps to protect them from the pirates of Costa Rica? Or to stave off invasion from Hugo Chávez of Venezuela?

Whatever the reason, it must be pretty good. They’ve been at it since 1979 and just last year Brazilian President Lula announced $540 million in new funding for the program (and for improving existing uranium enrichment efforts).

Over half a billion dollars! Just to go chasing a nuke dream. I’m glad they don’t need that money for anything important, like cleaning up the vast "favelas" (shanty towns) that sprawl next to every major Brazilian city. [Some 3 million people live in the Rio de Janeiro slums alone, a city where murder claimed an average of 80 victims a week last year.]

Maybe a sub that can go under the ice cap will intimidate the drug lords that rule the favelas with impunity. Maybe it will inspire the police force to put a stop to rampant corruption.

And what do the French get out of it (besides a rumored $600 million for the sub, not to mention more money for any follow-up technology transfer deals)?

[Defense Ministry spokesman Jose] Ramos said Brazil wants to establish a strategic partnership with France to transfer technology. France is interested in Brazilian know-how on jungle warfare and "the use of electronic equipment in the humidity of tropical rain forests," he said.

Yeah, that "jungle warfare" will no doubt come in handy when the next time France needs to quell riots that are spreading across the country.