Former bank regulator William Black and Rolling Stone‚Ä™s Matt Taibbi join us to dissect the career of Jack Lew, President Obama‚Ä™s pick to replace Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither. Currently Obama‚Ä™s chief of staff, Lew was an executive at Citigroup from 2006 to 2008 at the time of the financial crisis. He backed financial deregulation efforts while he headed the Office of Management and Budget under President Bill Clinton. During that time, Clinton enacted two key laws to deregulate Wall Street: the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. Black, a white-collar criminologist and former senior financial regulator, is the author of "The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One." A contributing editor for Rolling Stone magazine, Taibbi is the author of "Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History." [includes rush transcript]
The world needs another "spring of Islam" to bring it out of the darkness and remove the ills plaguing it in all spheres of life, said Jamaat-e-Islami Hind president Moulana Jalaluddin Umri.
That's certainly one opinion. Thanks ever so for sharing.
Islam must look a lot different from the inside than it does from the outside.
Inaugurating a three-day 'Spring of Islam' conference here Friday, he contended that Islam alone can offer solutions to the problems that humanity is facing as it is the natural way of life.
Referring to corruption scandals, moral degradation, injustice, inequality and exploitation, Umri said it was only on the basis of Islamic ideology that an ideal society can be created.
Arguing how the holy Koran brought a spring 1,450 years ago when the world was in "total darkness", he said there was need for today's world to revert to its real creator.
"Why this spring should not come? People say the wheel of time has moved or things which worked then do not necessarily work today. Allah's deen (way of life) is forever. Just as you can't change the way sun and moon revolve, you can't change His deen. Not even a small dot has changed since Koran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed," said the Jamaat chief.
I avoided much of the agony on January 10 because I was fortunate enough to be travelling and social media applications on my cell phone were off. But by the night, agony and grief gripped me. In a single day, Pakistan lost over 115 innocent citizens and had hundreds of people injured. The serial blasts in Quetta's busiest bazaar and the one at a Tableeghi Markaz -- the district preaching headquarter of the Tableeghi Jama'at -- near Mingora, Swat traumatised us, once again. Equally disturbing was the news from the Line of Control where Indian and Pakistani soldiers have been killing each other at the expense of the peace process between the two countries. One hopes that it won't detract from the army's apparent paradigm shift in the identification of the real enemy.
The mystery of the mayhem at a grand mosque in Swat, reportedly killing over 22 pious preachers and injuring more than 50 others who gathered there for Shab-e-Juma (Friday night) prayers, has shaken the nerves of the idyllic valley and reminds us of the bloodiest of years -- winter, 2009 -- when beheaded and slit-throat bodies strung over poles and trees were usual sights in the morning. It is now another winter, which has witnessed its first mayhem in cold blood in Swat.
Looking at the bloodshed in the country, one cannot help but cry in agony. People of any sect, faith and ethnicity are virtually left at the mercy of barbaric hands while the already handicapped government is threatened by a 'Shaikhul Islam' whose aim, it seems, is to have an interim technocrat government with himself as prime minister. For the government, January 14 will be a doomsday as Shaikhul Islam Dr Tahirul Qadri sees it. But what he and his ilk don't see is the fact that the people of Pakistan have been experiencing doomsday scenarios for decades.
[Dawn] MEASLES deaths are being reported from different parts of Sindh on an almost daily basis, with over 200 fatalities reported so far. It has now emerged that around 400 children have also been affected in several districts of Balochistan ...the Pak province bordering Kandahar and Uruzgun provinces in Afghanistan and Sistan Baluchistan in Iran. Its native Baloch propulation is being displaced by Pashtuns and Punjabis and they aren't happy about it... , where health authorities say they face a shortage of the measles vaccine. While most of the world, including many countries in our neighbourhood, has seen a reduction in measles cases, Pakistain has witnessed several outbreaks in the recent past. And perhaps the core reason for this is mismanagement by the state. Neither the health authorities in Sindh nor the federal government have claimed the credit for the late purchase of measles vaccines, which has been blamed for this latest outbreak. The federal Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination could not purchase the vaccines on time reportedly due to a delay in the release of funds by the Finance Division, while officials in Sindh say they were denied federal funds. The IPC ministry is supposed to run national health programmes until the provinces fully start managing all health matters by June 30.
Then there are the issues other than bureaucratic wrangling that are affecting the routine immunisation campaign. Medical professionals have expressed serious doubts about government claims of satisfactory immunisation coverage. In Sindh, where the measles epidemic is particularly acute, health workers have not been going into the field regularly to carry out immunisations, while political appointments in the health department, from the top down, have also negatively affected the campaign. The unsatisfactory immunisation coverage, shortage of vaccines and their late procurement all indicate that a lack of planning plagues the health authorities. The routine immunisation programme needs to be overhauled and the leaks plugged. Rather than take reactive steps, provincial health authorities need to ensure funds are available to procure vaccines on time and pay staff, field workers are well-trained and doing their jobs, and campaigns are carried out as per plan and with thoroughness to ensure that outbreaks of measles and other vaccine-preventable illnesses do not become regular occurrences. Work must be done in this regard before health matters are totally devolved.
Some thoughts to ponder as Senator Rand Paul heads to Israel.
[Jpost] There is now reliable evidence that US foreign aid to the Middle East is a costly experiment with dubious benefits.
With President Barack Obama On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes -- and I see many of them in the audience here today... preparing for a second term and in the midst of a seeming continual swarm of uncertainty sweeping the Middle East, now more than ever is the prudent time to reexamine the decades-old policies surrounding US military aid to the Middle East.
Many abroad might be shocked to hear that we write these words from here in Jerusalem where security remains the preeminent concern on the mind of most Israelis and where only weeks ago we completed an eight-day campaign defending our citizens against missile attacks. The immediate assumption by most is that Israel is in desperate need of continued military aid from our most powerful ally.
Yet the facts contradict that assumption.
THE REALITY is that the continuation of this policy does more to harm Israel's security than protect it. And even beyond Israeli borders, the policy is a major factor in perpetuating further regional instability in an area of the world where there are no shortages of sparks that recent events have proven can at any time burst into flames.
In fiscal year 2011, the B.O. regime requested from Congress $7.1 billion in foreign aid for distribution in the Middle East.
Approximately $3b. was designated as military financing for Israel, while over $4b. was earmarked as economic and military financing for Arab countries -- countries whose military programs are in large part designed to prepare for potential hostilities with Israel.
Egypt, now under the authority of an Islamic government whose assurances it will maintain the peace with Israel are viewed as highly suspect, is the single largest beneficiary among Arab countries, having been allocated $1.58b. last year alone.
The conventional wisdom in US foreign policy circles is that these massive financial gifts are beneficial to both the United States and the recipient countries. In fact, the policy is deemed so important that advocates contend it must be maintained even in the face of a $16 trillion national debt, a $1t. yearly budget deficit and a fast-approaching fiscal cliff.
But as is often the case with government funding programs, US financial aid to the Middle East has good intentions with bad results.
Most fundamentally, US military aid to the Middle East harms Israeli and regional interests by fueling an arms race that threatens to spiral out of control.
Recent Israeli-produced estimates reveal that for every dollar in US aid received by Egypt, Israel must spend between $1.60 and $2.10 to maintain its qualitative military edge.
Since Israel is usually granted $1.50 for every $1 in aid to Egypt, each American dollar given to Egypt costs Israel between 10 and 64 cents out of its own pocket.
Of course, the net cost to Israel of US aid increases further when one takes into account the additional $1.5b. in economic and military aid transferred each year to Jordan, Leb and the Paleostinians. Since aid is well known to be fungible, it makes little difference if US assistance is packaged as economic or military aid in the congressional accounting books but only what recipients end up doing with the money -- something far more difficult to regulate.
The implications of these sobering estimates are clear.
EGYPT, JORDAN, Leb and the Paleostinians would clearly find it difficult to maintain the same level of military might without US aid.
Without such funding, therefore, Israel would be able to significantly downsize its military capabilities and invest less of its own money defending against military threats which are remarkably financed by her closest ally.
An oft-heard counter-argument is that China or Russia would step in to fill the void if the US ceased providing funds to Arab countries in the region. However, a clean conscience makes a soft pillow... China and Russia were always free to top up US aid to Egypt so that it reached parity with the higher amount provided to Israel. Yet, these countries never found it in their interest to do so.
An additional argument now heard is what about the Iron Dome, the missile defense system which successfully protected millions during the recent violence with Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason,.
Wasn't this largely funded by US military aid? While indeed significant funds came from the US for this project, it was far more of a mutually beneficial business collaboration/investment between America and Israel than a handout. For Israel it defended our homes and our families. And for the United States it introduced a now proven defense system that will be installed in other hostility-prone zones and promote greater global security.
WHILE MANY well-meaning American Jewish leaders find it difficult to reconcile with the idea that the US should no longer shower Israel (or its neighbors) with financial gifts, it is instructive to examine how Israelis themselves view the US aid policy.
In August 2012, the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies conducted the first-ever Israeli national opinion poll on US aid to the Middle East. A representative sample of the Israeli Jewish population was asked, "With the emergence of the new government and leadership in Egypt, do you think that weapons purchased with US military aid are more likely or less likely to be used against Israel than in the past?" Nearly half of the respondents (49 percent) think it is more likely.
There is now reliable evidence that US foreign aid to the Middle East is a costly experiment with dubious benefits. By fueling a regional arms race, the security of its residents, both Israeli and non, is threatened and the prospects for further regional economic development are hindered. There's no dismissing the irony that Israel's greatest ally is actually harming Israel's interests by funding our military but the fact is that this "generosity" is very negatively impacting on our security.
A sizable percentage of the foreign policy discourse in the recent campaign was dedicated to which candidate more strongly supports the Jewish state. President Barack Obama vociferously contended that the US-Israel relationship was as tight as ever. The administration would therefore be wise to seriously consider the prospect of finally ending US military aid to our region -- an action that would bravely set a new course for foreign policy but best defend America's allies and promote the stability which the Middle East so needs at this time.
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I would add; Education Department, Department of Agriculture, IRS (employers simply send 15% of earnings to US Treasury), DHS, BATF, Social Security Administration (outsource it to Vanguard or Edward Jones), USPS (sell real estate and split evening between FedEx, DHL, and UPS).
You may not have cared for Paul the Elder, but he built an ideological base that will be the foundation for the run of Paul the Younger who appears so much more mainstream mainly by comparison and temperament. He's going to push the GOP in a libertarian direction.
Part of that will be bringing all the boys home. And if the rest of the world wants to descend into WWIII why should we pay forever to stop them? Being the last to the party can pay. Our forebearers left the rest of the world for a reason.
The more I think about Camp David the more I think the treaty was a bad idea. The treaty provided a lull in the conflict that allowed the muslims toincrease their power demographically; time for the Pals to irritate and convince world opinion they were the wronged part and not genocidal psychos.
Better to have not signed and let Egypt attack again with Israel owning the Sanai as a buffer. Carters one achievement was a set back.
As a Libertarian with conservative values I'd go along with most of what he said, maybe 70-80%. Where I'd draw the line is his trying to wriggle out of aid to Israel.
Israel is the point of the spear in the war against Islam. They are the Spartans in the war against Persia.
Also I would encourage Israel to to get very cosy with Cyprus. Between their two countries there are massive oil fields. Then watch the Turks get their nickers in a knot.
Give nothing to anyone else in the Middle East or any Muslim country. With fracking their oil is no longer needed. Any purchases would be in the nature of charity, which they can spread around the Umma to finance their eternal wars between Sunnies and Shias.
Sorry, #9, but the DemoLeft + aligned aren't going to go for that - despite all their rants oer the decades complaining about unilateral US "imperialism" + interference in other Nations' affairs, in reality what the DemoLeft really cares about is someone else = third-parties being held accountable or responsible for same.
LACK OF PERVASIVE OR PERENNIAL ANARCHY/CHAOS EITHER DOMESTICALLY ANDOR OVERSEAS = NO JUSTIFICATION FOR EVER-INCREASING DEFICIT SPENDING [aka "FREE MONEY"] + REGULATORY BIG GOVT. + ULTIMATELY THE WELFARE-NANNY STATE WHICH IS ANATHEMA TO THE DEMOLEFTIES.
We see it once again now vee the new minted "Fiscal Cliff Deal" between the Bammer + Boehner - GOP-DEM FEARS AS PER SEEMING US GOVT. "DEFAULT" + BEING HELD ELECTORALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR SAME = BETTER + POLITICALLY "SAFER" TO KEEP RAISING THE DEBT CEILING + DEFICIT SPENDING + CUT LITTLE-OR-NOTHING THAN DO ANY OF THE ALTERNATIVES.
As per desired OWG + OWG NAU, the Fedcritters can now add to the above hope that their fellow OWG GFU Member-States [NAU = Mexico, Canada, Greenland] will contribute enuff $$$ to the NAU to offset the US Debt Burden. IFF THE MSM-NET IS ANY MEASURE, UNFORTUNATELY FOR US FEDCRITTERS MEXICO, CANADA, GREENLAND, + THE FUTURE OWG-NWO ARE COUNTING ON THE DEBT-RIDDEN US TO BE BE THE PRIMARY PRINCIPAL IN FUNDING AS SIMILAR TO THE CURRENT PRE-OWG UNO.
IOW, the US Debt Burden under OWG + OWG NAU will be much much worse, WHICH IS HOW THE PRO-ANARCHY/CHAOS DEMOLEFT LIKE IT - WHY WOULD PRO-OWG LEFTIST-GLOBALISTS OR EVEN LEFTIST-NATIONALISTS? BE ANY DIFFERENT THAN THEIR COLD WAR ANTIGENY???
* 1990'S NET TO PRESENT = ALL THINGS EQUAL, "LEFTISM" IS ABOUT POWER [Power Politics/Whoring]+ WHOM GETS THE BLAME, PURE-N-SIMPLE. ANYONE + ANYTHING IS EXPENDABLE.