jueves, 15 de marzo de 2012

America Mortgaged at an Adjustable Rate. by Peter Schiff

The Federal Reserve ran another "stress test" on major financial institutions and has determined that 15 of the 19 tested are safe, even in the most extreme circumstances: an unemployment rate of 13%, a 50% decline in stock prices, and a further 21% decline in housing prices. The problem is that the most important factor that will determine these banks' long-term viability was purposefully overlooked – interest rates.
In the wake of the Credit Crunch, the Fed solved the problem of resetting adjustable-rate mortgages by essentially putting the entire country on an teaser rate. Just like those homeowners who really couldn't afford their houses, our balance sheet looks fine unless you factor in higher rates. The recent stress tests assume market interest rates stay low, the federal funds rate remains near-zero, and 10-year Treasuries keep below 2%. Why are those safe assumptions? Historic rates have averaged around 6%, a level that would cause every major US bank to fail!

Syria Gets Complicated


A three-member “Independent International Commission of Inquiry” appointed by the United Nations concluded on February 23 that “gross human rights violations” had been ordered by the Syrian authorities as state policy at “the highest levels of the armed forces and the government,” amounting to “crimes against humanity.” The 72-page document thus provides the potential basis for Bashar al-Assad’s indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The panel presented the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights with a sealed envelope containing the names of Syrian officials who should be “investigated,” but those names remain secret. The U.N. did not specify who these investigating authorities might be, but that we know: on June 27th—three months into NATO’s air war on the side of rebel forcesthe ICC presented intervening powers with a veneer of legitimacy by issuing a warrant for Muammar Qaddafy’s arrest. The latest U.N. report seems deliberately crafted to provide a future ad-hoc “coalition” with an upfront justification for a military intervention in Syria, also based on “the responsibility to protect” doctrine which was invoked in the Libyan case. In view of the Russian and Chinese veto, a regional coalition may cite this principle in order to attack Syria without the U.N. Security Council mandate.

The Evil Party Rides Again


There are many reasons to criticize the the Republicans as the Stupid Party, and I have often done so.  But we need to remember that, in Sam Francis' dichotomy, the other major party is the Evil Party.  And some of what the leader of the Evil Party is doing has no real precedent in American history.
On January 11, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against the Obama Administration, which had argued that the government had the right to sue the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod for violating anti-discrimination law in terminating one of its ministers.  At oral argument, the Obama Administration lawyer told the justices that it should make no difference for purposes of anti-discrimination law whether an employer is religious or secular.  Since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sex discrimination in employment, the Obama Administration's argument was consistent with a claim that churches that refuse to ordain women violate anti-discrimination law.

Ron Paul’s Hour of Decision

Is Ron Paul running for president in the wrong party?
The results of the GOP primaries, so far, would certainly seem to suggest that. Paul’s support draws heavily from two constituencies one doesn’t normally associate with the Republican party: young voters, who are overwhelmingly independents, and antiwar voters, who tend to be Democrats. He has carried the youth vote and garnered a significant proportion of independents in virtually every contest: more significantly, polls show him beating President Obama in the general election by winning a huge portion of the independent and youth votes. Combined with the anybody-but-Obama vote, Paul’s potential base of support in a two-way race defines the contours of a winning electoral coalition, one that could win him the White House, bring about a major political realignment – and upend the political Establishment in this country.
The problem, for Paul, is that the GOP leadership is implacably opposed to his candidacy: never mind all that nonsense about a Romney-Paul “alliance,” which was just an invention of the “mainstream” media pushed by the Santorum campaign. After all, the Romneyites stole the Maine caucuses right out from under the Paul campaign, and are doing their best to repeat the same fraud in the rest of the caucus states. Some “alliance”!
Three factors have kept Paul from being a real contender: not only the hostility of the leadership and the age demographics of the average Republican primary voter – which is well over 40 – but also the ideological factor. After a decade and more of neoconservative domination, not only of the party but of the conservative movement, the GOP is the War Party. For the Paul campaign, this is fatal. Ron has made his anti-interventionist views the linchpin of his campaign: he never fails to bring up the issue of war and peace, even when discussing some economic or social topic. That’s because he realizes – unlike some “libertarians” – the issue is central to the question of rolling back the power of government to rule our lives.

A Few Words About Abortion. by Andrew P. Napolitano

Last week marked the 39th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that permitted abortions. Prior to that case, abortion was regulated by each state, and most of them prohibited it unless two physicians could certify that the baby growing in the mother's womb would likely result in the death of the mother. Even the states that permitted abortions when the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest, an extremely rare occurrence, did not permit it after the sixth month of pregnancy.

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