2012 election

CIA Vet Michael Scheuer: Idea That Al-Qaeda Is On The Way Out Is ‘Completely Politicking’

“Al Qaeda Scoops American Media on Fact They Are Not Decimated”

-A headline on Breitbart.com yesterday

Back on September 11, 2011, I blogged:

While there’s been lots of talk recently about Al-Qaeda’s operational capabilities being severely crippled, one expert on the organization points out they still pose a significant threat. Retired CIA veteran Michael Scheuer, who tracked Osama bin Laden as Chief of the Bin Laden Issue Station (“Alec Station”) from 1996 to 1999 and later as a special advisor to the unit from 2001 to 2004, told Ali Moore of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview that was broadcast last Friday that:

Well they’re capable of any number of things. They’re certainly capable of car bombs or any of the Hamas-style attacks are something that they’ve been capable of since 9/11 or before. And something they’ve deliberately chosen not to do.

But in the last four or five years we’ve seen during the end of bin Laden’s career, a deliberate effort on the part of Al-Qaeda to recruit U.S. citizen Muslims to begin to try to incite operations within the United States.

Anwar al-Awlaki, Adam Gadahn- who’s known as al-Amriki- a number of other people who are intent on encouraging U.S. citizen-Muslims, English-speaking Muslims, to attack in the United States.

So they have the capability of sending people from abroad, our borders are wide open, and they also have an increasing number of U.S. citizen-Muslims who are willing to take action.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

The last time I mentioned Michael Scheuer in Survival And Prosperity was in April 2012, when I brought up the above quote amid growing claims that Al-Qaeda was toast, which grew louder as the November 2012 U.S. Presidential election drew closer.

In light of the recent revelation that the terrorist group is not “on the run” or “decimated” as claimed by U.S. President Barack Obama in the days leading up to his re-election, but now threatens the United States and its interests abroad, the mainstream media is miraculously paying attention again to what Mr. Scheuer has to say. Rhonda Schwartz and James Gordon Meek reported on the ABC News website Monday:

Michael Scheuer, a former CIA officer who led the hunt for bin Laden before his retirement in 2004, went further, telling ABC News that he believed al Qaeda really hasn’t changed since bin Laden’s death.

“I think the guys on the ground [local affiliate commanders], day-to-day tactical decisions were made there, where they always have been,” he said. “Core al Qaeda lays down the guidelines to keep everybody pointed at the enemy.”

Scheuer said he believes al Qaeda is more dangerous under its currently leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, than it was under bin Laden. Zawahiri, Scheuer said, may settle for smaller U.S.-based operations that would have a much smaller body count than a 9/11-type operation that bin Laden aspired to repeat.

Any idea that al Qaeda is on the way out, Scheuer said, is “completely politicking.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

As I thought.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Schwartz, Rhonda and Meek, James Gordon Meek. “Al Qaeda Threat: Officials Fear ‘Ingenious’ Liquid Explosive.” ABC News. 5 Aug. 2013. (http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/al-qaeda-threat-officials-fear-ingenious-liquid-explosive/story?id=19871892). 7 Aug. 2013.

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GDP Drop Blamed On Hurricane Sandy, Republicans

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, some talking heads on the TV were saying how the U.S. economy would take a significant hit from all the destruction. I remember turning to my girlfriend and saying, “Well, there’s their out.” I went on to explain that if the economic numbers for the fourth quarter ended up being crummy, the White House would just go ahead and blame Sandy.

So while I was a little surprised to hear about the drop in GDP today (I thought enough “stimulus” was already coursing through the financial system), the same can’t be said about what the White House said this morning. Alan Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, wrote on The White House Blog today:

According to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis today, real GDP edged down 0.1 percent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2012, amid signs that Hurricane Sandy disrupted economic activity and Federal defense spending declined precipitously, likely due to uncertainty stemming from the sequester. This was the first quarterly drop in real GDP in three-and-a-half years (see first chart below). Over the last fourteen quarters, the economy has expanded by 7.5 percent overall, and the private components of GDP have grown by 10.9 percent. During the four quarters of 2012, real GDP grew by 1.5 percent, the third consecutive year of economic expansion.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Don’t get me started on that “economic expansion” bit, as it’s been oh-so-terrific for many Americans.

Hurricane Sandy’s economic impact and a decline in government spending last quarter is repeatedly mentioned in the blog post, leading some to believe that the Obama administration is blaming the economic contraction last quarter a good deal on that late October storm and the Republican Party. Reuters’ Mark Felsenthal wrote on Yahoo! News this afternoon:

The White House on Wednesday blamed the surprising contraction of the economy at the end of last year at least partly on Republican “political brinkmanship” for threatening to let defense cuts take effect.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said similar threats over a looming March 1 deadline when defense and other cuts take effect absent a broader budget deal could similarly hurt the U.S. economy and taxpayers.

“This is political brinkmanship with one primary victim, and that is American taxpayers and the American middle class,” Carney said at a briefing.

“Our economy is facing a major headwind … and that’s Republicans in Congress.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Since the campaign for the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have consistently blamed George W. Bush and the Republican Party for the nation’s ongoing economic woes (I submit both major political parties are truly at fault and the damage began decades earlier). Believing that this strategy worked to retain the Oval Office in 2012, and based on Carney’s words today, be prepared to hear even more blamethrowing of this type going forward in President Obama’s second term.

In the meantime, the financial house of cards keeps growing more unstable with trillions of dollars of debt being continually heaped upon it.

Hurricane Sandy. The GOP. How about the “stimulus” being injected into the cancer (debt)-ridden patient is perhaps becoming less effective over time? Instead of a strong, sustainable economic recovery, we’re seeing a weak one that’s requiring constant assistance.

What QE are we on again?

Furthermore, Washington and the Fed are “running out of bullets.” It’s somewhat amazing they’ve managed to “kick the can down the road” this far.

Looking back on today’s GDP announcement and related events, it’s apparent the blamethrowers are alive and well in the nation’s capital.

And the proverbial brick wall- or our “financial reckoning day,” as some like to call it- keeps getting closer.

Be advised.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Krueger, Alan. “Advance Estimate of GDP for the Fourth Quarter of 2012.” The White House Blog. 30 Jan. 2013. (http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/01/30/advance-estimate-gdp-fourth-quarter-2012). 30 Jan. 2013.

Felsenthal, Mark. “White House blames Republican ‘brinkmanship’ for GDP contraction.” Reuters. 30 Jan. 2013. (http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-accuses-republicans-brinkmanship-spending-cuts-181022857–business.html). 30 Jan. 2013.

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49,000 Fewer Jobs In September, October Than Previously Reported

“171,000 jobs added in October; jobless rate 7.9%”

-USA TODAY website, November 2, 2012

“Obama Says October Jobs Report Shows ‘Real Progress’”

-ABC News website, November 2, 2012

“October jobs report: The economy is doing better than we thought”

-Washington Post website, November 2, 2012

“Jobs report may help Obama in tight election race”

-Reuters website, November 2, 2012

Back on November 2, 2012, the federal government informed the public that 171,000 jobs were added in October.

And 148,000 jobs were added in September.

As it turns out, those employment numbers were overstated. By 49,000 jobs, no less.

Somehow, I don’t think many readers of this blog are going to be surprised to hear that.

From a Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary released earlier today:

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised from +148,000 to +132,000, and the change for October was revised from +171,000 to +138,000.

171,000 jobs down to 138,000 in October? That’s tens of thousands of jobs the Obama administration was given credit for creating even though (we now know) they never even existed. I’m sure that 171,000 number helped sway a number of undecided voters over to the Democrats’ camp.

I’ve heard it said before. “Barack Obama is the luckiest U.S. President ever.” And I might agree based on the above if I weren’t also convinced the next four years will be an incredibly-trying time for the nation, much less the White House.

President Obama is going to need all the luck he can get keeping our economy and financial system afloat- among other things.

You can read the entire December BLS jobs report on their website here.

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Friday, December 7th, 2012 Employment, Government, Political Parties No Comments

Quote For The Week

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.

-Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville (French historian and political thinker, in his 1835 book Democracy in America. 1805-1859)

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Democrats Win Veto-Proof Supermajority In Illinois House And Senate

Even though I think my home state of Illinois is heading in the wrong direction, plenty of my neighbors appear to be very pleased with the way the “Land of Lincoln” is being run. Monique Garcia, Ray Long, and Rick Pearson wrote on the Chicago Tribune website yesterday:

In Springfield, where Republicans have long been the minority party in the state Legislature, Democrats won a veto-proof supermajority in the state House and Senate. In the House, it’s 71 Democrats and 47 Republicans. In the Senate, it’s 40 Democrats and 19 Republicans.

Mike Garrigan added on the website for Rockford, Illinois, CBS affiliate WIFR Channel 23 Wednesday night:

Before the election, Democrats held a 64-54 majority in the state house, but that has been increased to a 71-47 majority, making it a veto proof or super majority.

There is also now a democratic supermajority in the Illinois senate after the majority party picked up five more seats on Tuesday.

North of the border in Wisconsin, where I spend a good deal of my time, the opposite is happening. From an Associated Press piece Wednesday:

Wisconsin Republicans have retaken full control of state government, winning majorities in both the Senate and Assembly and erasing Democrats’ gains in last summer’s recalls.

Results from Tuesday’s elections show Republicans captured an open Senate seat and four incumbent GOP senators fended off challengers, allowing them to capture the majority, and their colleagues in the Assembly easily held onto their advantage in that chamber.

With Republican Gov. Scott Walker in office, the GOP now has complete control in Madison. And the ramifications are huge: Republicans will be able to pass legislation without a single vote from Democrats and Walker should be able to push through the next state budget with ease, setting himself up for his 2014 re-election bid.

Seeing that Illinois looks to continue on the same course it’s been going on for some time now, and Wisconsin appears to be heading in the right direction as it concerns their state’s finances and economic outlook, I intend to give strong consideration to the “Badger State” as my future home as part of Project Prepper.

Sources:

Garcia, Monique, Long, Ray, and Pearson, Rick. “For Illinois Republicans, the gloom settles in.” Chicago Tribune. 8 Nov. 2012. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-11-08/news/ct-met-illinois-politics-1108-20121108_1_gop-leader-christine-radogno-illinois-republicans-republican-chairman-pat-brady). 9 Nov. 2012.

Garrigan, Mike. “Supermajority for Illinois Democrats.” WIFR Channel 23. 7 Nov. 2012. (http://www.wifr.com/news/headlines/Super-177752381.html). 9 Nov. 2012.

“GOP wins back control of Wis. state government.” Associated Press. 7 Nov. 2012. (http://www.wifr.com/news/headlines/Super-177752381.html). 9 Nov. 2012.

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Project Prepper, Part 2: Leaving Chicago, Cook County, And Illinois

Sorry for not posting yesterday. I’ve had a lot on my mind since Election Day.

I’m guessing that goes for many of you as well.

Anyway, in an effort to “Lean Forward,” I’ve been working on “Project Prepper” ever since announcing its launch last month. I wrote back on October 24:

As a result of my research and this blog, I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones), and think it’s probably wise to acquaint myself more with “prepping” via a sustained “hands-on” program of learning and doing, which I’ll call “Project Prepper.”

Through a series of posts on this blog which I suspect should last for quite some time (years?), I’ll be able to share my preparedness experiences with you.

By doing this, I’ll also be able to make more progress in providing readers of this blog those possible solutions I talked about earlier in the post.

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that one major threat to life and lifestyle I’ve been warning about since Memorial Day Weekend 2007 is a U.S. financial crash.

And based partly on what I’ve witnessed locally and on the national level over the past several days, I think this has a good chance of materializing during President Obama’s second term in the White House.

Even if an economic crash doesn’t happen in this time frame (Washington and the Federal Reserve have been effective at delaying our financial “day of reckoning” so far), it’s something I’ll be taking into serious consideration as I continue putting together Project Prepper.

That being said, events that have unfolded at the local level on up for some time now have convinced me that my future lies outside of Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois. Which is a shame, because as I’ve mentioned before, my family has deep ties to the area. So much so a number of family members are familiar with the tale of one ancestor who fought courageously to save his tailor shop (at least the contents of it) from the approaching flames of the Great Chicago Fire back in 1871.

141 years later, another looming disaster looks to be in store for me and my loved ones if I don’t take action, and soon.

It’s bad enough Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois was already overrun by too many residents that live their lives in pursuit of the Ubi East Mea (“Where’s Mine?”) mentality and politicians who have been quick to pander to these individuals with “free” things in exchange for votes- long before last Tuesday’s election results revealed the rest of America is now marching down this same path.

But combine this with poor financial health, a bleak economic outlook, and growing attacks on the finances and freedoms of productive, law-abiding residents as politicians rob Peter to pay Paul in their attempt to remain in office- and you’ve got one hell of a mess coming to this area of the Midwest in the next few years.

Eventually, I predict the productive residents will split town (this happened before in Chicago in the late 60s-early 70s in some neighborhoods), there will be no more money for “freebies,” and the “Where’s Mine?” brigade will riot. Athens-style.

As I’ve been telling those close to me for some time now, “First you’ll see the strikes. Then the larger protests. Until finally, the riots.”

History shows you don’t want to be in the city when the riots break out.

And I don’t plan on being here in Chicago when the coming civil strife erupts either.

In my next Project Prepper post, I’ll talk some more about my “quest” for sanctuary.


Gareth Emery feat. Lucy Saunders, “Sanctuary” (2010)
YouTube Video

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2012 Election Thoughts

For months now I’ve been saying to those people closest to me that Barack Obama will be reelected as President of the United States of America. Granted, last week I did mention to my girlfriend that Mitt Romney might have a shot at the White House based on analysis done by FOX News and Glenn Beck’s The Blaze TV (these two media outlets need to win back any confidence I had in them as a result). Now that Election Day has come and gone, here are some thoughts about the whole spectacle.

The main reason I kept saying Obama would get reelected as President was that the votes were already “bought and paid for.” A lot of Americans receive government benefits (49.1 percent of Americans lived in a household where at least one member of the family received such benefits in 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal earlier this year). The Obama administration has demonstrated these past four years that it’s willing to provide these benefits (part ideology, part political strategy). If you are someone receiving this, why would you endanger the status quo by voting for someone else who might take it away as part of some publicized push for smaller government living within its means? Where could all this lead to? Full-fledged dependency and eventual bondage, if one buys into the Cycle of the Body Politic.

Young American voters could be more “left-leaning” than their predecessors. How left? Well, “socialist” might not be too far off the mark if one subscribes to the findings of a Pew Research Center survey from December 2011. I wrote back on September 27:

You see, not only am I aware that a good number of Americans aren’t put-off by the idea of socialism anymore, but a recent poll even showed a majority of young Americans aged 18-29 have a positive view of it.

From the Pew Research Center website back on December 28, 2011:

Socialism is a negative for most Americans, but certainly not all. Six-in-ten (60%) say they have a negative reaction to the word; 31% have a positive reaction…

Fully nine-in-ten conservative Republicans (90%) view socialism negatively, while nearly six-in-ten liberal Democrats (59%) react positively.

The poll of 1,521 adults conducted back in early December 2011 revealed that among the 18-29 age group, 49 percent had a positive view of socialism as compared to 43 percent having a negative view.

Is Obama and his White House socialist? I don’t know. Are they “left-leaning?” The available evidence suggests so. Which could be why a lot of young American voters are drawn to the Democrats.

Public sector unions obviously played a big role in this election. I understand that such groups work toward the benefit of their members. However, does such activity work contrary to the common good, destabilizing increasingly financially-challenged public agencies, as critics suggest? Plenty of insolvent government organizations could be available for study shortly.

While incumbent politicians can be more difficult to dislodge from office, President Obama retained the White House despite a dismal economic record in his first term. Measures of (un)employment, food stamps, poverty, budget deficits, national debt, for example, grew increasingly worse over the past four years. I know, what about those “5 million jobs created” the Democrats kept touting during the campaign? Problem is, a closer look at what was “created” reveals a lot of low-paying positions. Burger flippers won’t be spearheading a U.S. economic recovery anytime soon. Perhaps Americans aren’t voting based on their wallets as much anymore. Or perhaps their pocketbooks haven’t been hit hard enough. That may be just a matter of time.

The past four years confirmed for many Americans the transformation of the news media from watchdog journalists to unofficial mouthpieces of the Democratic Party (the press being merely a mouthpiece for any party is bad). I have some journalism experience in my background, and my training included an emphasis on unbiased reporting. Being exposed to the amount of news material I am on a daily basis, it’s all too obvious to me that either that training is no longer given, a refresher course is desperately needed, or today’s journalists just don’t give a damn about it anymore. Sad. The way I look at it, if reporters not assigned to pen an op-ed/column feel the need to express the political creature in them, then get a personal blog! And let’s exchange links. Otherwise, do your country a huge favor and once again occupy the role of the “Fourth Estate”- an independent press. Continue on as the “American Pravda” and suffer the inevitable consequences.

Since Chicago/Cook County/Illinois Democrats play a significant role in running the country, one need only look at where they originate from to get an idea of where they might be taking the country these next four years. Anyone who spends enough time on this blog reading those posts written for my local audience knows exactly where that is:

Into the ground.

While Chicago and Cook County have significant financial woes, the State of Illinois is essentially bankrupt. Too many benefits, too much spending, too little cutbacks, too much borrowing, and now the fee and tax hikes on residents and businesses. It’s going to get ugly in the “Land of Lincoln” real fast. California and Illinois are the two U.S. states competing with each other to go under first as the financial crisis worsens, according to some very smart people. Yet, don’t expect any regime change in “Madiganistan” any time soon. As I wrote back on March 21:

As a result of this redistricting, Democrats could very likely control the state legislature in Illinois for a number of years. Monique Garcia, Alissa Groeninger, and Ray Long wrote on the Chicago Tribune website last night:

Even before unofficial results rolled in, some sitting Republican lawmakers were bound to lose in DuPage County, casualties of the Democratic-drawn state legislative districts. The map is tilted so heavily toward Democrats that the party led by House Speaker Michael Madigan, the Illinois Democratic chairman, is all but ensured November general election victories that could set it on a course to control the General Assembly for the next decade.

And from a Chicago Tribune editorial piece this morning:

Democrats had virtually locked in their Springfield majorities before the first voters cast the first early ballots on Oct. 22. More than half of these legislative races weren’t even contested by both major parties. And while some of the new district boundaries gave Republicans tremendous advantage, the aggregate effect was to keep Illinois and its 12.8 million citizens under one-party rule.

Voters evidently like it that way.

Yes they do. Especially as votes were also “bought and paid for” here in the ‘Stan.

Before this post is misconstrued as being merely some Obama/Democrat-bashing piece, regular readers of the blog know that I foresee a U.S. financial crash at the end of all this “kicking the can down the road.” That being said, at this point in the game, I don’t think it really matters anymore whether the Democrats or Republicans are in charge as it concerns where our economy and larger financial system is eventually heading. Enough damage has already been done (think of the Titanic and her compartments being punctured just enough to guarantee her inevitable demise) that America is fast-approaching a tipping point as both major national political parties make matters worse by refusing to scale back the obscene amounts of government spending when given the chance. If you think about it, when it comes to fiscal policy, both parties have shown to be no better than a two-headed monster. Barack Obama’s economic polices from 2008-2012, in general, were really just an extension of George W. Bush’s economic policies. Spending, stimulus, government intervention, you get the picture. Rather than sit down, have a mature conversation with the nation about the unsustainable track we’re on concerning our finances, and stop the spending, both the Democrats and Republicans continue to pander to Main Street’s desire for more stuff, more benefits, more borrowing, more debt. This time around, Barack Obama and the Democrats won. In the longer run, everyone looks to lose.

In the meantime, congratulations Mr. President and the Democratic Party on your Election Day victory.

Sources:

Izzo, Phil. “Number of the Week: Half of U.S. Lives in Household Getting Benefits.” Real Time Economics. 26 May 2012. (http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2012/05/26/number-of-the-week-half-of-u-s-lives-in-household-getting-benefits/?KEYWORDS=number+of+the+week). 7 Nov. 2012.

“Illinois Democrats and their realm.” Chicago Tribune. 7 Nov. 2012. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-legis-1107-20121107,0,2900759.story). 7 Nov. 2012.

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Election Day

Watching Election Day coverage Tuesday. Will be back tomorrow with new material.

God Bless America,

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

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Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 Housekeeping No Comments

New Yorkers Eating Out Of Dumpsters After Hurricane Sandy

Trying to get a clear picture of Hurricane Sandy’s effects on New York City and the rest of the East Coast has been challenging.

If I rely on what the mainstream media has been showing and telling Americans, then I might be under the impression that U.S. President Barack Obama is masterfully-coordinating government assets in the clean-up of the region.

How did I get this impression? Well, there’s plenty of photos and video going around the Internet and on TV of the President looking all authoritative and on top of things these past couple of days, whether he’s in the White House “Situation Room” or with government officials from devastated areas.

Maybe he did take away something from the Benghazi terrorist attack (in addition to a guilty conscience, as a growing number of voices suggest he should have).

In fact, I might be convinced the recovery after Hurricane Sandy is doing just fine since New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to let the City’s famous marathon take place as planned this coming Sunday.

The thing is, I’m not convinced.

First off, it’s the more-often-than-not liberal-leaning mainstream media we’re talking about here.

As much as I hate to say it, many journalists realize President Obama doesn’t have much of a record to run on, so they’ll do anything they can to paint him and his administration in a positive light in the run-up to Election Day.

Don’t believe me? Observe how many media outlets are wording the increase in the U.S. unemployment rate today.

Thankfully, the rest of America is catching on, albeit slowly.

That Jay Leno. What a funny guy. Even he gets what’s going on.

Whatever happened to watchdog journalism?

Maybe it never existed in the first place.

Second, when I see run-of-the-mill New Yorkers getting food out of a dumpster behind a supermarket, I know for a fact the MSM is not telling the whole story.


“Hungry New Yorkers Eating Out Of Dumpsters After Hurricane Sandy”
YouTube Video

Looting, violence, flooding, power outages, food/water/fuel shortages, now dumpster diving for food. I’ve seen enough now to realize this recovery is not as smooth as it’s being portrayed.

That being said, I know a lot of people are working their butts off trying to help those poor individuals on the East Coast- President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg included. I respect that and thank them for their efforts.

But enough spin already. Show us what the hurdles actually are- one might think listening to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell the other day that donated clothes or canned goods aren’t needed for the massive relief effort- so we can get this part of America truly back on its feet again.

And fast, since a nor’easter looks to be headed their way.

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Jeremy Grantham: Avoid U.S. Stocks In 2013

It’s been a while since I’ve last talked about “crash prophet” Jeremy Grantham, co-founder and chief investment strategist of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (GMO). As I’ve noted before, the British investor has a special talent for correctly-calling the direction of the markets. For example:

• In 1982, said the U.S. stock market was ripe for a “major rally.” That year was the beginning of the longest bull run ever.
• In 1989, called the top of the Japanese bubble economy
• In 1991, predicted the resurgence of U.S. large cap stocks
• In 2000, correctly called the rallies in U.S. small cap and value stocks
• In January 2000, warned of an impending crash in technology stocks, which took place two months later
• Saw the 2008 global financial crisis coming. In April 2007, said we are now seeing the first worldwide bubble in history covering all asset classes.

Grantham’s individual clients have included former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and former U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry.

Matt Shifrin, Vice President and Investing Editor for Forbes, spoke to Grantham recently about what investors should expect in 2013.

In short, Grantham told Forbes readers to avoid U.S. stocks next year.

From the business magazine’s website on October 24:

What he sees isn’t pretty– regardless of November’s political outcome. The only difference he says is that if Romney wins, things might get tighter a lot faster. Says Grantham, “China is slowing down and this has not finished. Now if you have the engine of the whole world slowing down and you have continued problems in Europe, and you have the first year of the Presidential cycle, which will likely to cool down the U.S., and you have this miserable fiscal cliff problem. It begins to look especially dangerous.”

It’s an insightful piece, which you can read on the Forbes website in its entirety here.

(Editor’s note: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Monday, October 29th, 2012 Asia, Crash Prophets, Investing, Stocks No Comments

Romney 3, Obama 0

Last night I watched the last in a series of U.S. Presidential debates between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and the sitting President Barack Obama.

Once again, the incumbent came out swinging. However, despite it sounding once again like the audience was in his corner, President Obama lost.

More so than in the second debate, if you ask me.

An analyst on one of the TV stations covering the debate said it best when she pointed out that Obama was, in effect, debating himself. Since his Republican challenger lacked significant foreign policy experience (the supposed focus of last night’s exchange), it was the incumbent’s record in this area over the past four years that came under scrutiny.

And plenty of dedicated observers of U.S. foreign policy- myself included- will tell you that it’s in shambles.

Particularly in the Middle East.

As I see it, the Obama administration, in its attempt to tone-down what it perceives as an overly-aggressive U.S. foreign policy under the Republicans, has:

Not deterred Iran from advancing towards a nuclear weapon. Regular readers of this blog know that I believe the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to take advantage of proposed “talks” and other delays to continue work on such a weapon. Notwithstanding military action, they will get a nuke. The prospect of having one is just too tempting. Pop one or two of these over the U.S., and we’ll have a real problem on our hands.

Not left a stable regime in place in Iraq. I predict a real power vacuum here in the coming years, with a number of internal and external actors vying for ultimate control of the geopolitically-important failed state and its resources.

Made a big blunder in announcing the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014. Nothing like giving an enemy a timetable to work with. I suspect Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and their allies will throw everything they’ve got at our men and women in uniform over there as the end of 2014 draws closer, knowing full-well they need only sustain such intensity until the announced exit date. Then what? Attack us on our home soil, possibly. Some terrorism experts have suggested one reason why Al-Qaeda hasn’t launched a massive operation against the United States mainland since 9/11 is because they’ve figured out it’s simply easier to kill scores of Americans on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Remember, their stated goal is 4 million Americans dead. Back to being another failed state down the road.

Alienated our ally Israel. President Obama seems to see Israel- like past U.S. foreign policy- as being too aggressive. And it doesn’t appear the sitting President doesn’t care too much for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu either- despite Vice President Biden and all that “Bibi” talk from the Vice Presidential debate. Consider the following:

November 3, 2011- Several media outlets reported an open-mic incident where then French President Nicolas Sarkozy told his American counterpart, “Netanyahu, I can’t stand him. He’s a liar.” Obama reportedly responded with, “You are sick of him, but I have to work with him every day.”

September 11, 2012- The White House said President Obama would not meet Prime Minister Netanyahu during a U.S. visit later that month. A number of media outlets suggested the Israeli leader was being spurned.

September 12, 2012- President Obama was taped for the CBS show 60 Minutes. From an exchange with Steve Kroft:

KROFT: You’re—you’re saying you don’t feel any pressure from Prime Minister Netanyahu in the middle of a campaign to try and get you to change your policy and draw a line in the sand? You don’t feel any pressure?

OBAMA: When it comes to our national security decisions, any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out any noise that’s out there.

Israeli concern over an Iranian nuke is “noise?”

Don’t even get me started on Libya and the deaths of 4 Americans, including an ambassador.

How the Obama administration has handled the Middle East is indicative of U.S. foreign policy as a whole.

Weak.

Worse yet, our adversaries recognize it and actively exploit it.

It shouldn’t be too much of surprise U.S. foreign policy has come to this. After all, Democrats aren’t really known to be big on foreign affairs. If anything, they seem to look at it as an annoyance.

Whenever I think of foreign policy in the Clinton years, two words come to mind.

Cruise missiles.

These days, perhaps it can reduced to just one word.

Drones.

Mitt Romney did a good job at pointing out the poor foreign policy record of the Obama administration.

But, truth be told, most Americans don’t care too much about international affairs.

The Republican challenger won this last debate not by talking about foreign policy- as was the intended focus- but by leading the discussion back to President Obama’s equally-dismal record on the economy.

This is what I meant when I said “more so than in the second debate, if you ask me” earlier in this post.

Romney kept hammering away at Obama’s domestic record as it pertains to take-home pay, unemployment, food stamps, government overreach, over-regulation, small-business woes, trillion dollar deficits, the $16 trillion national debt, the list goes on, and all the way to the end.

It was circling back to the Chicago Democrat’s domestic record these past four years that won the Republican challenger the debate.

In fact, all three debates.

Whether this will translate into a White House win come November 6 remains to be seen.

Regrettably, when it comes to that financial crash I predict is in store for us, I doubt a Romney win will make much of a difference at this point in the game. Economic pain is a certainty. Still, if he’s elected President of the Unites States and implements a sustained, meaningful program of fiscal responsibility, our financial “reckoning day” may not be as devastating as I suspect it would be should the nation continue on its current path.

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Quotes For The Week

You seem to want to import the foreign policy of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s

-U.S. President Barack Obama to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, in tonight’s U.S. Presidential debate in Florida

[He] then began an apology tour, going to nations in the Middle East and apologizing for Americans.

-Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney about President Obama in tonight’s debate

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Romney 2, Obama 0

Just got done watching the second in a series of U.S. Presidential debates between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and the sitting President Barack Obama.

Predictably, the incumbent came out swinging after getting spanked in their first meeting.

However, despite a venue that sounded like it was full of his supporters tonight, Barack Obama fell short.

I give the President credit. It’s obvious he’s worked tremendously hard to get back into the game.

Yet, it’s become all too clear to many on Main Street- painfully in quite a number of cases- that regardless of how it’s spun, Barack Obama’s record in the White House over the past 4 years has been pretty poor.

Something which his challenger, Mitt Romney, seized on and kept hammering home tonight. As the Republican presidential candidate pointed out:

We have a record to look at.

And it’s a handicap I’m sure even Obama’s closest advisers are aware of (in spite of what they tell the public).

I know. “5 million jobs created.” Ever bother to look at what kinds of jobs were created? I have. Lots of low-paying ones.

Throw in where the country’s at with (un)employment, food stamps, poverty, budget deficits, national debt, the list goes on, and the last 4 years have been pretty ugly in retrospect.

Which is probably why President Obama kept talking up other subjects tonight like ObamaCare, the auto industry bailout, Planned Parenthood- things the government can give/provide for you, yet way beyond the scope of what the Founding Fathers ever intended for our republic.

Now, Mitt Romney didn’t bring his “A” game like last time, but his performance was still good enough to win the debate. In addition to the Republican contender pointing out the dismal economic reality of the last 4 years, his arguments made more sense. Especially as it concerned job creation. Consider this. Due to the state of the nation’s labor market these days, I’m guessing many Americans voters will be casting ballots with their pocketbooks in mind come November. The vastly-experienced challenger repeatedly emphasized his intent to create jobs and grow incomes by building-up small businesses and making America more attractive to foreign investment.

President Obama plans on creating more jobs by continuing his same policies and by expanding educational and training opportunities.

More burger flippers?

And education and training is nice and all, but what good is a degree/certificate if no one’s hiring in the first place?

Sounds like the U.S. President might be putting the cart before the horse here.

To many Americans watching the debate, Romney’s repeated emphasis on job creation was probably music to their ears.

One more thing. Barack Obama may have inadvertently shot himself in the foot (no pun intended) when he admitted tonight his desire to re-introduce the assault “weapons” ban that expired a few years back. Anti-gun groups and many in the mainstream media have tried desperately-hard for some time now to try and convince Americans that President Obama wouldn’t push gun “control” if he’s re-elected.

And then he goes on national TV and says he supports a new gun ban.

That’ll go over real well in those “swing states” with lots of firearm enthusiasts.

1994 all over again?

Anyway, it was a feisty debate. Barack Obama looked like a different man (still not as eloquent as with a teleprompter though), but Mitt Romney remained composed and pulled out the victory by repeatedly bringing up the sitting President’s track record in his first term and by emphasizing the Republican plan for creating new jobs, something I think will be key come Election Day.

On to the next, and final, debate…

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Ryan Defeats Biden In U.S. Vice Presidential Debate

Well, I just got done watching the U.S. Vice Presidential debate between Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and sitting Vice President Joe Biden.

Despite the mainstream media trying so hard tonight to portray the debate as an actual contest, it really was anything but.

The Wisconsin Republican won. The Delaware Democrat lost… it.

While the Republican candidate for U.S. President, Mitt Romney, brought his “A” game to the debates last week, I thought Congressman Ryan’s performance was a “B.”

Ryan was composed, articulate, and sounded authoritative with his use of numbers and statistics (the “wonk” in him I hear). Yet, while he got a few jabs in at the Vice President, several windows of opportunity emerged where he could have savaged Biden even more, but didn’t- perhaps in homage to the “respectful” debate performance given by President Barack Obama back on October 3.

In contrast, Vice President Biden came out of the debate looking “unhinged,” as some in the MSM are calling it (they will be corrected, I mean, they will correct this observation later).

To sum up Joe Biden’s night, I saw it like this:

• Faces (lots of them)
• Noises (snorting, huffing, and puffing- watch out or he’ll blow your White House down)
• Interruptions (his constant interrupting of Congressman Ryan was so annoying that I thought I was watching one of those panel-type TV shows where everyone is interrupting and talking above everyone else).
• It’s the Republicans fault (if only they would just “get out of the way”- SNL material there)
• Tax the rich (not sure raising taxes is such an effective strategy when the economy sucks)
• Supposedly big on facts, but brought up “stuff” and ‘things” instead
• Big on fairness (thought moderator owed him more time at the end of the debate)
• More face-making, noise-making, and interrupting

I hate to say it (as I actually like Joe Biden the man from what I know of him), but watching the Vice President reminded me of the Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man on an old episode of Family Guy:


“Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Men!”
YouTube Video

Regarding the moderator of the debate- journalist Martha Raddatz- some might argue she appeared to be helping the Vice President by pressing Congressman Ryan more on questions.

Perhaps viewers should have been informed beforehand that not only was President Obama a guest at her wedding, but he also appointed her ex-spouse to chair the Federal Communications Commission.

Inquiring minds might want to know.

One last thing. When Congressman Ryan was giving his closing statement, my girlfriend remarked, “Wow. He looks more like a president than Mitt Romney.”

Wonder if independent voters watching the debate also thought that tonight.

On to the next one.

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Romney 1, Obama 0

Just got done watching the first in a series of U.S. Presidential debates between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and the sitting President Barack Obama.

This one was no contest. Romney spanked Obama.

The Republican candidate was articulate, appeared knowledgeable (the mainstream news outlets are unleashing their “truth squads” as I type this), and attacked his opponent with growing intensity as the evening went on.

Not only was Romney in the driver’s seat, but he seemed to be enjoying the ride as well.

President Obama, on the other hand, didn’t look like he wanted to be there, was not articulate, and didn’t put up much of a defense against Romney’s attacks.

In fact, summing up Obama’s talking points for the evening might look something like this:

• My Republican predecessor caused a lot of the nation’s problems
• I’m all about the middle class
• We need to be fair, but we need more revenue
• The rich have been successful, so let’s tax them to redistribute some of that money they’ve earned
• Obamacare is the way to go
• Improving education will make us prosperous

Finally, Obama kept trying to hammer his Republican opponent for not going into the details of a number of plans he’s proposing.

However, politicians, for the most part, know better than to fall for this should they be held accountable for something that’s said should they get elected.

Being vague here tends to be the general rule of thumb.

As soon as the night was wrapped up, I turned to MSNBC on the satellite TV to see their reaction.

Even Chris Matthews was declaring Romney the winner in this showdown.

Changing over to one of the local Chicago television stations, I happened to catch a “political analyst” declaring President Obama had won the debate.

Not really too surprised to hear that, considering it’s the U.S. President’s adopted hometown we’re talking about here, and a city, county, and state chock-full of dyed-in-the-wool Democrats.

Judging by the look in Barack Obama’s face at the end of the night, I’m guessing he’s going to come out swinging the next time around. And I hope he does. Because it will make the next debate all the more interesting to watch.

And if I get the chance to watch that one I’ll call it as I see it too.

In the meantime, enjoy the forthcoming White House spin as it regards the President’s performance tonight.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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