Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quick Hits - November 10, 2011

With a deadline rapidly approaching for the 'Supercommittee' of 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans to agree on about $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reductions over the next decade ($150B per year on the average from a $3.6 - $4 trillion of expenditures over that time frame) to avoid manditory cuts which include half coming from the Defense Department and National Security expenditures, brinkmanship is becoming the key meme for the status of negotiations.

The Democrats have been seeking a 'balanced' approach to addressing the fiscal goals they need to achieve - $1 of new tax revenues to be raised for every $1 of spending cuts to be made.  Based on this, they are seeking at least $1 trillion in new taxes to be levied across the next decade.  The Republicans, who have until now insisted that the targets are achievable via only government spending reductions, have, under Senator Pat Toomey, offered a plan that meets the spending reduction goals but also includes about $300 billion in new tax revenues.  This last plan was sumarily rejected by the Democrats with the GOP now reporting that the Democrats have walked away from further negotiations unless at least $1 tillion in new taxes are on the table.

Penn State University trustees, in an emergency meeting late last night, decided to terminate legendary football coach Joe Paterno and University President Graham Spanier immediately because of their lack of action after learning that the former defensive coordinator for the Nittany Lion football team was abusing young boys.  Once this became public, thousands of Penn State students riot to protest the decision - effectively saying that winning football games is far more important than protecting young boys from a sexual predator.  As Jammie Wearing Fool notes, the students are moronic....and that is, in my opinion, being kind to the students.

The International Atomic Energy Agency report that highlights Iran's nuclear program and their efforts to deceive the international community and develop not only nuclear weapons but also the delivery systems (ballistic missiles) to carry these weapons is creating a firestorm of concern.  Iran, the major state sponsor of terrorism, has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel and defines the US as its primary enemy.  The Western world is trying to determine what their options are regarding Iran - additional sanctions or using force to disrupt the Iranian nuclear program.  However, none of the options are optimal.  Iran is looking towards Moscow and Beijing to provide it a buffer and support against additional sanctions - and both countries are likely to provide that support.  The Russian foreign ministry said that the IAEA report was just a politicized 'compiliation of known facts' and that 'There is no fundamentally new info' from the report.

Thusfar the response from the West, including that of the Obama Administration has been ineffectual to non-existent.  There is no real will to confront Iran outside of the United Nations and Iran's allies in the UN, Russia and China, both have a veto to use in the UN Security Council to protect Iran.  Think back to the challenges with Saddam Hussein's Iraq throughout the 1990's and until the 2003 invasion....17 UNSC resolutions, all ignored....countries ignoring the economic sanctions...and we have the same situation now.

Mitt Romney in an editorial for the Wall Street Journal says that if elected, 'I will not let Iran get nuclear weapons.'

Herman Cain has been hit by the networks for 117 stories in less than 10 days on the accusations levelled towards him for committing sexual harassment in the 1990's.  Yesterday, ABC News Reporter Brian Ross, reporting on Good Morning America said, "Overnight, [accuser Karen] Kraushaar told ABC News she had tried to stay out of the news, for fear of retaliation by Cain supporters. And now she has hired a security team to guard her home outside Washington." The journalist later added that all four accusers might appear together "so they can all tell their stories of Herman Cain, with the sense of safety in numbers."

This was before ABC News also reported that Kraushaar had filed a complaint against her next employer for 'unfair treatment' and a manager sending around a sexually charged email and making extravagent demands for recompense.  One supervisor named in that complaint considered her to have a poor work ethic and to not be very credible when it came to these types of complaints.

Yesterday, the US Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 3.2%, nearly 390 points, reflecting the market's reaction to the news that Italy is on the verge of its own default.  Italian 10 year bond yields shot above 7%.  Italy has the 4th largest national debt obligation in the world and concerns are growing over Italy's ability to not default on that debt.  A default by Italy would shake the EuroZone to it's core as the size of Italy exceeds the capability of the EU to bail it out as it has done with other countries and is attempting to do with Greece. 

With Italy at the tipping point, other major nations that are part of the EU are also facing a crisis - a crisis of their own making which is directly attributed to their approach towards entitlements and fiscal responsibility (or is it irresponsibility?).

Big Peace's World View for November 10, 2011:  Pandemonium in Europe Shocks World Markets

Also working on 2 posts for later today - one of the GOP Presidential debate and another on the Tax the Rich meme that comes from the Obama Administration / Occupy movement.

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