Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Watcher's Council: "Nobody Can Read Just One" Edition!

The Watcher's Council Leap Year Edition

If it's Wednesday it can mean only one thing! That it's time for the weekly article nominations at the Watcher's Council!

And remember that Watcher's Council home gamers are not only welcome but they are encouraged! After you decide your favorites tell TPC in the comments section below.

Now, who and what is the Watcher's Council?

The Watcher's Council is a long-standing group of 15 conservative bloggers from around the world and winner of the 2011 Fabulous 50 Blog Award in the category of Best Conservative Blog-Ring.

Each week, first thing Wednesday morning, we the members of the Watcher's Council make known our two articles for public consumption; one of our own (Council) and one from somewhere around the blogosphere (Non-Council) that address issues we feel are particularly timely and important to present.

After a secret ballot among the members, Friday morning the winners in each category are announced and the grand prize, the appreciation of our peers, is awarded!

For the week of February 27, 2012 the Watcher's Council nominations are...

Council Submissions

The Political Commentator – NYPD spying operation…What exactly is all the ruckus about?

Joshuapundit-Israel And Iran – Dancing With Armageddon

The Noisy Room – Define Gradual Adjustment

The Colossus of Rhodey – Biggest “suspension of disbelief” moments in sci-fi entertainment

The Independent Sentinel – The UN Threat to Internet Freedom – Another Devastating Treaty Ignored By Obama

Rhymes With Right – Santorum Partly Right, Partly Wrong On JFK Speech On Religious Liberty

Simply Jews – Caudillo Chaves and his tame media

GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD – All Apologies

The Razor – Mission Accomplished: Rising Gas Prices Are Exactly What Obama Wants

Gay Patriot – Of prejudice and projection

VA Right! - Obama’s ‘Metro-sexual’ Apology Seen as Weakness to Radical Islamists

The Glittering Eye -I’d Have Been Wrong

Bookworm Room – Licking my wounds and dreaming of other, simpler, times

The Mellow Jihadi – No More Weapons!

The Right Planet – The Conscientious Objector

Honorable Mentions

Right Truth – The “It’s All America’s Fault” meme

Crazy Bald Guy – The Case For Mitt Romney

Liberty’s Spirit – Anti-Semitism Among New Jersey Democrats

The Grouch – Joe Biden Elects Himself President in 2013

Ask Marion – Columbine Father 12 Years Later…In the Wake of Another Tragedy

Capitalist Preservation – Operation Fast and Furious: Move along. Nothing to see here.

Non-Council Submissions

Stonegate Institute/Alan Dershowitz -Friends Seminary Plays Bait and Switch on Anti-Semitismsubmitted by The Political Commentator

Alisina.Org – Setting Muslims Free submitted by Joshuapundit

NRO/Andrew McCarthy –
Why Apologize to Afghanistan? submitted by The Noisy Room

The First Street Journal – 2003 + 25 = 2012? submitted by The Colossus of Rhodey

American Thinker – Why Won’t Barack Obama cut ties to a group promoting anti-Semitism submitted by The The Independent Sentinel

Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I./The Catholic New World – What Are You Giving Up For Lent? submitted by Rhymes with Right

Monkey In The Middle – They Are Going To Kill Obama! submitted by Simply Jews

Friends Of Syria – US-NATO behind the Killings of Civilians in Syri submitted by GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD

The Other End Of The Leash –Do Dogs Form Real Friendships? submitted by The Razor

Powerline -An Open letter To The Obama Campaign submitted by Gay Patriot

About Face – Ms. Trotta – Did You Really Have to Go There? submitted by VA Right!

Zenpundit/J. Scott Shipman – America in Arms, John McAuley Palmer, a review submitted by The Glittering Eye

Raymond Ibrahim/Stonegate Institute -Obama “Son Of Islam?” submitted by Bookworm Room

Right Wing News –The Problem With Electric Cars Part #786: Bricking submitted by The Mellow Jihadi

Accuracy In Media – The Russians and American Progressives: Together Again submitted by The Right Planet

Victor Davis Hanson – So Why Read Anymore? submitted by The Watcher

The Blogmocracy – Gibson Guitars, Six Months Later submitted by The Watcher

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On Thursday decision making by the ISDA begins for naming the Greek sovereign debt default! (Jim Sinclair interview)

Breaking news, March 1, 2012: The ISDA has determined that as of now a "credit event" on Greek sovereign debt has not occurred and therefore the CDS, or insurance taken out to protect the bondholders from an event of default, have not been triggered.

Who sits on the decision-making committee? Many of the same players who would have to pay off if the CDS contacts were triggered.

Conflict of interest perhaps?

Greece sovereign debt, a "credit event", CDS and the ISDA!

On Thursday the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, or ISDA, is reportedly going to begin work on its decision for what the Greek sovereign debt "credit event" will ultimately be called, and therefore what it will be considered as per the arcane legal parlance of the bond official statements.

This decision will go a long way in determining whether the outstanding insurance on Greece sovereign debt, aka Credit Default Swaps (CDS), will be triggered and have to pay off.

That, as they say, would be no small deal although the actual impact won't be known until it happens!

And now for an encore presentation of the article at TPC February 1, 2012: "A Greece bond haircut definitely won't look like this!

Jim Sinclair on a Greece default, the pending ISDA decision and the insolvency of the five largest U.S. banks!

So who is Jim Sinclair, what is the ISDA and what do either one have to do with the Greece sovereign debt crisis or the solvency of banks in the U.S.?

Because the way that the Greece sovereign debt crisis will ultimately be handled by the EU has implications far beyond either Greece or the EU, the pending decision by the ISDA (see below) on what a Greece sovereign bondholder haircut will be "called" has potentially devastating global implications.

Due to the existence of these potential "unintended consequences" that could spark an even worse global banking crisis along with everything associated that would follow, it is likely that whatever this Greece event is called it will be done in such a way as to not trigger the CDS or credit default swaps that have been sold on that country's sovereign debt.

But there are no guarantees of that fact.

The players in this article!

Jim Sinclair - "... From 1981 to 1984, Mr. Sinclair served as a Precious Metals Advisor to Hunt Oil and the Hunt family for the liquidation of their silver position as a prerequisite for the $1 billion loan arranged by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker.

He was also a General Partner and Member of the Executive Committee of two New York Stock Exchange firms and President of Sinclair Global Clearing Corporation (commodity clearing firm) and Global Arbitrage (derivative dealer in metals and currencies)..." (Source)

ISDA (International Swaps and Derivatives Association) - "... is a trade organization of participants in the market for over-the-counter derivatives. It is headquartered in New York, and has created a standardized contract (the ISDA Master Agreement) to enter into derivatives transactions..." (Source)

An interview between Ellis Martin and Jim Sinclair

The interview at The Ellis Report makes for extremely interesting reading as it gives some of the details regarding the ISDA, who the players are, what the ramifications of their decisions concerning Greece sovereign debt could be and why then it can be assumed with a fairly high degree of certainty that whatever decision they come to will not include any language that could trigger a CDS event.

Read the interview at The Ellis Report here.

Photo source

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ISDA to decide on Greece Thursday: "To default or not to default?"

Breaking News March 9, 2012 2:50 PM EST: ISDA declares that a "credit event " has taken place in Greece leading to an official default!

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) will decide on Thursday whether a "credit event" has taken place in Greece!

And thus potentially triggering credit default swaps (CDS)!

This is the news release:

ISDA Determinations Committee Accepts Question 
Related to a Potential Hellenic Republic Credit Event

LONDON, February 28, 2012 – The International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (ISDA), as secretary to the Determinations Committees (the DCs), today announced that a question relating to a potential credit event with respect to the Hellenic Republic has been submitted to, and subsequently accepted for consideration by, the EMEA Determinations Committee.

In accordance with the Determinations Committee Rules, a meeting will be held at 11AM GMT on Thursday, March 1 to determine whether a credit event has occurred.

Up next will be a replay of the TPC article from February 1, 2012, "A Greece bond haircut definitely won't look like this!"..., an excellent description of the players, the decision by the ISDA Thursday along with potential ramifications provided in an interview with Jim Sinclair.

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Video trailer: Receiving zero stars but record campaign contributions, Barack Obama in..."The Con Artist!"

You'll laugh, you'll cry but mostly just shake your head in disbelief!

It's a film that pulls at the heart strings and tugs on your emotions!

It's the must-see film for the 2012 election cycle!

Barack Obama is.... "The Con Artist"!

Your emotions will bubble to the surface including anger, disappointment, disgust and disillusionment from 3+ years of an Obama administration.

You'll experience anxiety conjured up over the prospect of a 2nd Obama term in office.

There will be angst when you realizes what this President has done and what he would do with four more years in office and then couple that with the weak and self-destructive field that the Republicans have cobbled together to oppose him.

Finally, there will be "Hope" that Americans like you will watch "The Con Artist" and that, along with others in the media, will present you with the reality of this President!

Using this new-found reality it will then be possible that all Americans will then vote to effect "Change" in the 2012 presidential election!

The ending to this film, is up to us, the American people!

Coming soon to a polling place near you!

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Iran deja-vu ad-nauseam all over again OR "Only her hairdresser knows for sure!"

Iran: Do they or don't they...Will they or won't they?

In other words will Iran develop, manufacture, obtain from some disinterested or possibly interested third party or in some other way get, deploy and potentially use a nuclear weapon(s)?

This seems to be the larger question that's creating an even bigger quandary for world leaders already dealing with a fairly full plate!

On-the-one-hand if they acknowledge the obvious, that Iran is close if not already there in terms of a nuclear capability, it would in effect box them into a corner from which some type of substantive action would need to be taken.

On-the-other-hand these leaders can play dumb and incompetent, a not so difficult task for most. They can publicly operate under the fantasy and fallacy that Iran is farther away from becoming a member of the nuclear club than we have been led to believe, and that the Iranian government can be dissuaded from any move forward through diplomacy and economic sanctions.

An asinine premise both you and I know yet so very politically expedient, a term that's music to the ears of any politician.

The downside to the "three wise monkeys" strategy of global and US national security would of course be the sight of a mushroom cloud, God forbid, peaking up over the horizon. Any any political gain they may have earned through benign neglect would be sucked right out of the window!

For President Obama, particularly in this an election year but realistically at any time, moving against what would be considered as political expedient would be against his religion, whatever that religion might be (political humor as we all know the President is a good Christian).

The end result is that Americans and the rest of the world are being effectively held hostage by domestic and global leaders operating with a much different agenda and idea of national security than we mere mortals do.

In an Angus Reid poll that asked if Iran was developing a nuclear weapon, 79% of Americans said yes, 69% in Britain and 72% in Canada.

The caveat to these results is that we don't possess access to the intelligence that would give us real-time information about what's actually going on in any given region or within any government.

As an example, without covert and overt operatives I was naive enough to believe that the "Arab Spring" in Egypt was simply a charade by the Muslim Brotherhood to assume power, destroy Israel and destabilize a region.

President Obama on the other hand, with his fancy intelligence briefings and agents on the ground, lauded the movement as citizens moving for freedom and democracy.

On second thought, that might not be the best example!

To simply sum up we have two agendas. Unfortunately the one for you and me and the other for the politicians in power, seem often to run counter to each other!

Photo source

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Economic statistics 1950 versus 2012 in America: Remember drive-in movies? (Kate Upton commercial)

Well drive-in movies aren't the only difference between today and what seems to have been an easier time in America, circa 1950!

Watch the video and then peruse the list of comparisons below and you decide.

Video H/T Theo Spark

1950 versus 2012 in America

In 1950, a gallon of gasoline cost about 27 cents.

In 2012, a gallon of gasoline costs $3.69.

In 1950, you could buy a first-class stamp for just 3 cents.

In 2012, a first-class stamp will cost you 45 cents.

In 1950, more than 80 percent of all men were employed.

In 2012, less than 65 percent of all men are employed.

In 1950, the average duration of unemployment was about 12 weeks.

In 2012, the average duration of unemployment is about 40 weeks.

In 1950, the average family spent about 22% of its income on housing.

In 2012, the average family spends about 43% of its income on housing.

In 1950, gum chewing and talking in class were some of the major disciplinary problems in our schools.

In 2012, many of our public schools have been equipped with metal detectors because violence has become so bad.

In 1950, mothers decided what their children would eat for lunch.

In 2012, lunches are inspected by government control freaks to make sure that they contain the "correct foods" in many areas of the country. For example, one 4-year-old girl recently had her lunch confiscated by a "lunch monitor" because it did not meet USDA guidelines....

In 1950, the United States was #1 in GDP per capita.

In 2012, the United States is #13 in GDP per capita.

In 1950, redistribution of wealth was considered to be something that "the communists" did.

In 2012, the U.S. government redistributes more wealth than anyone else in the world.

In 1950, about 13 million Americans had manufacturing jobs.

In 2012, less than 12 million Americans have manufacturing jobs even though our population has more than doubled since 1950.

In 1950, the entire U.S. military was mobilized to protect the borders of South Korea.

In 2012, the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada are wide open and now there are 1.4 million gang members living inside the United States.

In 1950, there were about 2 million people living in Detroit and it was one of the greatest cities on earth.

In 2012, there are about 700,000 people living in Detroit and it has become a symbol of what is wrong with the U.S. economy.

In 1950, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was slightly over the 200 mark.

In 2012, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is threatening to soar over the 13,000 mark.

In 1950, corporate taxes accounted for about 30 percent of all federal revenue.

In 2012, corporate taxes will account for less than 7 percent of all federal revenue.

In 1950, the median age at first marriage was about 22 for men and about 20 for women.

In 2012, the median age at first marriage is about 28 for men and about 26 for women.

In 1950, many Americans dressed up in suits and dresses before getting on an airplane.

In 2012, security goons look at the exposed forms of our women and our children before they are allowed to get on to an airplane.

In 1950, each retiree's Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 workers.

In 2012, each retiree's Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers.

In 1950, many Americans regularly left their cars and the front doors of their homes unlocked.

In 2012, many Americans live with steel bars on their windows and gun sales are at record highs.

In 1950, the American people had a great love for the U.S. Constitution.

In 2012, if you are "reverent of individual liberty", you may get labeled as a potential terrorist by the U.S. government.

In 1950, the United States loaned more money to the rest of the world than anybody else.

In 2012, the United States owes more money to the rest of the world than anybody else.

In 1950, the U.S. national debt was about 257 billion dollars.

In 2012, the U.S. national debt is 59 times larger. It is currently sitting at a grand total of $15,435,694,556,033.29. Surely our children and our grandchildren will thank us for that.

Statistics courtesy of The Economic Collapse

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Global danger from a heavenly body ala Tunguska 1908!

No, not from this heavenly body, earthling and Bond girl Olga Kurylenko!

This danger is from the skies comes in the form of an asteroid, 2012 DA14, that will be passing extremely close to Earth around February 15, 2013. To put this into perspective it will be closer than some of the satellites in orbit.

What this means is that in addition to man-created weapons of mass destruction and those that are present in nature (i.e. earthquakes and tsunamis), the Earth faces danger from sources outside of this world. These are events even farther, if not completely, outside our control to do anything about.

Other examples of danger present in the universe includes a change in the Earth's geomagnetic field or solar flares, impossible to predict with any certainty and that could pack an extremely destructive punch!

Tunguska River, 1908

2012 DA14, expected to pass within 27,000 kilometers of Earth, is similar in size to the asteroid that detonated above Siberia in 1908 and that was felt as far away as London! The power of the blast was estimated to be 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.

It flattened over 1 million trees over an 850 square mile area.

So in addition to Iran, the global war on terror and even the coming end to the Mayan Calendar, we have to think about this as well.

There are, however, some things that are simply beyond our control and not worth worrying about! 2012 DA14 might be one of them!

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Must See Video: This is NOT an Obama-style apology to Hamid Karzai for U.S. soldiers being murdered in Afghanistan!

Quran burning in Afghanistan leads to the deaths of two U.S. soldiers and an apology from Barack Obama!

That's right! For those of you who are unaware of the goings on in Afghanistan due to preoccupation with what to have for dinner, the Academy Awards or maybe the NBA All-Star game here is a brief summary!

Two U.S. soldiers were shot in cold blood and at close range by an Afghan soldier over the inadvertent burning of a Quran, after which President Obama issued an apology to Hamid Karzai. Reread that sentence if you must but the facts won't change!

How could the conversation between the "allies" have gone?

"I'm so sorry Hamid that the U.S. did something that your people believe to be so heinous as to provoke one of your soldiers to kill two of ours?"

It's sounds like a broken record because these types of violent protests have occurred before, but in fact the desecration of ANY religious book, symbol or artifact is wrong regardless of the religion involved!

Coptic Christians in Egypt for example should not have to live under the constant threat of death and destruction of everything that is sacred to their religion. But they do on a daily basis and the situation only gets worse!

The response of the Afghan people is so disproportionate to the act committed in this case that it should serve as a dire warning, and not only in Afghanistan, to the level and magnitude of the fight that the United States and our allies face.

Once again a brief review: Two U.S. soldiers were murdered by an Afghan soldier while two other military advisers were shot in the back of the head and killed over a Quran burning , and President Obama issued an apology to Hamid Karzai.

In addition over 25 Afghans were killed and hundreds injured in violent rioting in Afghanistan and President Obama apologized.

Just when you think that it can't happen again, I am speechless over the actions of this President! The apologist President!

Will Obama be vilified by the mainstream media for what he has done?

Will what he has done in any way impact his reelection bid?

Do those who blindly follow this President understand in any way how he makes this country less safe through most every action he takes and decision that he makes?

Will the Presidents actions give pause to those who continue to dump millions of dollars into his campaign coffers?

No, no, no and no!

While once again I may be speechless,

Fortunately as this video shows, this woman is not!

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Current Intrade odds for a brokered Republican convention? 17.2%!

Not the highest probability exists for a brokered Republican convention and not the lowest, but certainly not an insignificant probability either!

Source: Intrade

"Jeb Bush calls it an unbelievable scenario. Karl Rove says life in Pluto is more likely.

Still, national Republican Party officials and attorneys are quietly preparing for a prospect that no longer looks inconceivable: By the time thousands of Republicans converge for their convention Aug. 27-30 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, they will not have a nominee.

"Everybody that says they've got a crystal ball about the 2012 presidential election should have their head examined," said Phil Musser, a Republican strategist supporting Mitt Romney. "There have been more loops in this race than the roller coaster at Space Mountain, so for anyone to say unequivocally that we couldn't have a convention laced with drama strikes me as premature." (Source)

Definition of a brokered convention

"Once the first ballot, or vote, has occurred, and no candidate has a majority of the delegates' votes, the convention is then considered brokered; thereafter, the nomination is decided through a process of alternating political horse-trading, and additional re-votes.

In this circumstance, all regular delegates (who, previously, were pledged to the candidate who had won their respective state's primary or caucus election) are "released," and are able to switch their allegiance to a different candidate before the next round of balloting. It is hoped that this 'freedom' will result in a re-vote resulting in a clear majority of delegates for one candidate." (Wikipedia)

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Obama, the politics of the SPR and energy (lack of) exploration!

For starters, what is the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR)?

The SPR was created in the United States after the Arab oil embargo that occurred between 1973 and 1974. It holds over 700 million gallons of crude oil and was initially to provide crude oil during any major supply interruption to the US.

Its mandate was expanded by Congress later to include potential release to address a severe spike in oil prices. It is in effect a national security tool for a president!

There is not however any legal rationale to tap the SPR for use as a political tool, which is what a release decision by President Obama at this point in time would seem to be.

If however some incident along the lines of Iran preventing shipments through the Strait of Hormuz were to occur, that would be an entirely different story.

Forgetting for a moment about the SPR, what about the reserves that the Obama administration has refused to tap?

It is an absolute truism that any release from the SPR designed to effect a decrease in crude oil prices would be a short-lived one at best as the country currently consumes over 18 million barrels a day. The last sale out of the SPR was 30 million barrels in 2011 or less than a two-day supply!

(click to enlarge)
Graphic source: Hot Air

Another even more important truism is provided by examining the graphic above.

This graphic shows that the moves made by this President, instead of lowering energy prices and boosting jobs and the economy, will instead have the effect of higher crude oil prices, less jobs and a slower economy.

It all makes one wonder, yet again, about some of the choices of this White House.

I think that it is fair to say that basically any way you slice it, for this President most if not all decisions are about politics and an administration doing whatever is necessary to try and get a 2nd-term in office.

A belief in letting the chips fall where they may as long as any political benefit may exist!

Finally, to provide some historical perspective about the use of the SPR consider:

SPR releases through time!


* June 2011 Libya war - Sold 30 million barrels.

* Sept 2005 Hurricane Katrina - Sold 11 million barrels.

* 1996-97 Nonemergency sales - Sold 28.1 million barrels (5.1 million in Weeks Island sale to pay for decommissioning of storage site and transfer of its oil; 12.8 million to reduce the federal budget deficit; 10.2 million to pay for the cost of operating the SPR).

* 1990-91 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait - Sold 21 million barrels (3.9 million in Oct 1990 test sale; 17.2 million in Jan 1991 drawdown ordered by president).

* Nov 1985 Test sale - Sold 967,000 barrels.


* Sept 2008 - Loaned 5.4 million barrels of crude to five oil companies after hurricanes Gustav and Ike cut supplies.

* June 2006 - Loaned 750,000 barrels of sour crude to ConocoPhillips and Citgo after the Calcasieu Ship Channel closed and deliveries stopped to Louisiana refineries.

* Jan 2006 - Loaned 767,000 barrels of sour crude to Total Petrochemicals USA after the Sabine Neches ship channel closed and deliveries stopped to Texas refineries.

* Sept/Oct 2005 - Loaned 9.8 million barrels of sweet and sour crude after Hurricane Katrina disrupted Gulf of Mexico production and damaged terminals, pipelines and refineries.

* Sept 2004 - Loaned 5.4 million barrels of sweet crude due to disruptions in the Gulf of Mexico caused by Hurricane Ivan.

* Oct 2002 - Loaned 98,000 barrels to Shell's Capline Pipeline to keep storage tanks full to withstand Hurricane Lili's winds.

* Oct 2000 - Loaned 30 million barrels to boost winter heating oil supplies in the Northeast.

* Aug 2000 - Exchanged 2.8 million barrels of crude oil for 2 million barrels of heating oil to create Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.

* June 2000 - Loaned 500,000 barrels each to Citgo and Conoco after the Calcasieu Ship Channel closed and blocked crude oil shipments to Louisiana refineries.

* Dec 1998 to Feb 2000 - Exchanged 11 million barrels of lower-quality heavy crude in SPR with Mexico's PEMEX for 8.5 million barrels of higher-quality sweet crude more suitable for U.S. refineries.

* April 1996 - Loaned 900,000 barrels of SPR crude to ARCO after company's pipeline to Cushing, Oklahoma, had blockage. (Source)

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