Fwd: Iran

'Israel will not outsource its vital security interests to anyone, "not even to our closes and most trusted allies," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in London on Wednesday.


"The State of Israel was founded precisely so that our fate would remain in our own hands. When it comes to the very future of Israel, and its vital security interests, we cannot… and will not outsource the responsibility for making the decision. Not even to our closest and most trusted allies," he said.


"We live in a tough neighborhood, one in which there is no mercy for the weak and no second chance for those who cannot defend themselves; "a villa in the jungle", as I once put it. In such a place, it is imperative to remain strong, open-eyed, with both feet on the ground," Barak said. "We always say that a pessimist in the Middle East is merely an optimist with experience," he added.'




Best wishes,

John Coffey




'They had eyes in the sky, ears on the ground--and emails in the pipeline with minutes after the attack on Benghazi began. They watched and listened in real time, as terrorists stormed the compound, firing rocket propelled grenades, mortars and AK-47 rifles. An email sent during the seven-hour long battle that claimed the lives of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, and agent Sean Smith is entitled, "Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack." Add it all up and the conclusion is inescapable:…'

Fwd: Slick Brochure

'"You know President Obama hasn't really given us a vision for a second term agenda," he said. "Just a couple of days ago he came up with a slick new brochure. You know, with less than two weeks left to say, 'Oh I do actually have an agenda.'"


As Ryan continued to mock the plan a man in the crowd interjected with his own description.


"It is a slick – well, comic book, that was his word – to me a slick re-packaging of more of the same," Ryan said.


On Tuesday, Obama's re-election team released 19 pages outlining the plans he hopes to institute if he wins a second term in office and an accompanying television ad set to air in nine battleground states. The booklet is largely a rehash of policies previously proposed, but is a response to critics who have charged the president with offering few specifics on his second term agenda.'





'Uichiro Niwa, the businessman who was removed from his post as ambassador to China because of his moderate, don't-rock-the-boat views on the Senkakus (he is still serving temporarily, since his designated successor died of a heart attack before he could take the post), said sadly:


    "Now, Chinese TV programs constantly show the Japanese flag and a photo of my face," the ambassador said. "And the TV says in simple language that Japan is a thief who stole Chinese territory. Even elementary-school children can connect the flag, theft and my photo. In China, I am feeling like I'm the ringleader."


    Niwa said many Japanese volunteers teaching Japanese or working as caregivers, on a program by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, were also feeling a sense of great tension.


    "This is the first time they report such a situation since I came to China," said Niwa, who became ambassador to China in 2010. [7]


The fundamental flaw of the pivot strategy was acknowledged by Campbell himself when he referred to the rising hostility between Japan and China, engendered of course by past and present factors but exacerbated by the pivot.


    We are worried that persistent high-level tensions are eating away at Sino-Japanese goodwill, at enormous linkages that have developed people to people, on culture, on business ... it is stirring negative feelings on both sides ... We recognize that damage has been done, and we're worried about it.


These people are learning to hate each other for contemporary as well as historical reasons, and there isn't a lot the United States can do about it.'




'Just how much oil and natural gas is at stake, in either the South China or the East China Sea, is unclear. The territorial disputes have prevented any reliable survey. One Chinese estimate puts the oil stores in the South China waters at 213 billion barrels, an amount that would exceed the proved reserves of every country except Venezuela (296.5 billion barrels at the end of 2011) and Saudi Arabia (265.4 billion barrels). That's about ten times higher than a U.S. Geological Survey estimate from the mid-1990s—but even that lower figure puts the South China Sea's oil potential at four or five times that of the Gulf of Mexico. (Related Quiz: "What You Don't Know About World Energy") Similarly, China estimates that one of the world's largest natural gas deposits, containing some 250 trillion cubic feet, lies all but untapped in the East China Sea. U.S. energy analysts reckon the "proven and probable" reserves there at only 1 to 2 trillion cubic feet—much less than the Gulf of Mexico, but still considerable.


The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea gives countries the right to an exclusive economic zone extending 200 nautical miles from their coasts. In the seas off China and Southeast Asia, this rule leads to many overlapping claims, which in theory must be negotiated by the parties. China has been producing natural gas since 2006 from the Chunxiao gas field, located near a median line between the two nations that Japan has proposed (but China has rejected) as a maritime boundary. Japan suspects China is siphoning gas from Japan's side of the median. Those fears are fanned by China's refusal to share its seismic data.


The Senkaku/Diaoyu islands lie southwest of that gas field, near Taiwan—which also claims them. Whichever country gets the islands would see its claims bolstered not only to Chunxiao gas, but also to untapped petroleum reserves that are believed to lie around the Senkakus and beyond. Japanese nationalists such as Shintaro Ishihara, who stepped down as governor of Tokyo this week to form a new political party, say the current national government has not acted aggressively enough against China. Earlier this year Ishihara began raising private money to take over and develop the islands as a way of cementing the Japanese claims.


The eight uninhabited islands, covering 7 square kilometers in all (2.7 square miles), already are part of Okinawa, Japan's southernmost prefecture. But until this year several of the islands were owned privately by a single family. To forestall Ishihara's gambit and avoid antagonizing China, the Japanese government announced in September that it had purchased those islands for about $30 million and would not develop them. Instead of mollifying the Chinese, the move only inflamed them. Vice President Xi Jinping, in line to become Communist Party chief next month and ultimately China's president, called Japan's action "a farce"—an epithet that could easily be applied to the riots, naval exercises, and diplomatic dealings that followed, were the stakes not so high.'





'The National Ignition Facility in Livermore, California, has been called a modern-day moon-shot, a project of "revolutionary science," and "the mother of all boondoggles."


NIF, as it's known, is a five-billion dollar, taxpayer-funded super laser project whose goal is to create nuclear fusion – a tiny star – inside a laboratory. But so far, that hasn't happened.


The facility, which began operating in 2009 after a decade of construction at a cost of almost $4 billion, points 192 football-field-sized lasers at one tiny capsule the size of a peppercorn and filled with hydrogen. It creates degrees of heat and pressure never before achieved in a lab.


Standing outside NIF's target chamber in 2008, about a year before NIF's dedication, Director Ed Moses called NIF "more far-out, and far cooler than anything in science fiction or fantasy."'




Fwd: What a quote

'I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.' Thomas Jefferson

Fwd: China

From: larry.r.trout

'New York Times blocked by China after report on wealth of Wen Jiabao's family:

Authorities censor publication after revelations that the premier's relatives have accumulated billions during his leadership:


China's foreign ministry has accused the New York Times of smearing the country by reporting that the premier Wen Jiabao's extended family has controlled assets worth at least $2.7bn (£1.67bn).


A spokesman, Hong Lei, said the report "blackens China's name and has ulterior motives". Authorities have also blocked the news organisation's main and Chinese-language websites and banned searches for "New York Times" in English and Chinese on microblogs.


"China manages the internet in accordance with laws and rules," Hong told reporters at a daily briefing when asked why the sites were inaccessible.


The New York Times reported that several of Wen's close relatives had become extremely wealthy since his ascent to leadership. But in many cases their holdings were obscured by layers of partnerships and investment vehicles involving friends, colleagues or business partners, it said, in a detailed and lengthy account based on an extensive review of company and regulatory filings.


A single investment held on paper by Wen's 90-year-old mother Yang Zhiyun – a retired schoolteacher – was worth $120m five years ago, the New York Times said. It added it was unclear if Yang was aware of the holdings in her name.


The report is embarrassing not only for Wen himself – who comes from a modest background and is widely seen as the sympathetic, populist face of the government – but for the party. It is the latest in a string of unwelcome revelations about the vast wealth amassed by those around senior leaders.


Authorities blocked the Bloomberg website earlier this year after it exposed the multimillion-dollar assets held by the extended family of Xi Jinping, heir-apparent to the presidency. The news agency has also reported that relatives of the disgraced politician Bo Xilai accumulated at least $136m in assets.'




'CIA operators were denied request for help during Benghazi attack, sources say:


Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later was denied by U.S. officials -- who also told the CIA operators twice to "stand down" rather than help the ambassador's team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.


Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to "stand down," according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to "stand down."


Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.


At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights. The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours -- enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators….'




Chuck Schumer paints Democratic nightmare scenario

But first on his list was the danger of Romney filling seats on the Supreme Court.


“If we have another conservative Supreme Court justice, I think it changes America dramatically for a generation,” Schumer said, both for the existing regulatory structure and social issues.  “I don’t think they will ever get Roe v Wade overturned in a legislative body. Even if it’s a Republican controlled one. But the Supreme Court could well do it. For the hard right, the gold mine is controlling the Supreme Court, and a Republican majority Senate brings them much further along to doing that.”


He added, “If we have another conservative Supreme Court justice, I think it changes America dramatically for a generation. I believe the hard right really believes that that is there number one way to rule America and move the clock back to the 1920s on economic regulatory fronts, which is what they seem to want to do. And if you have one more conservative Supreme Court justice, it will change America not for four years but for a generation in terms of empowering the people like Mitt Romney, the very wealthy, who say I don’t want your government to have its hands in my pocket. It will basically dismantle the regulatory structure we have.”




Fwd: Bank Denial of Service attacks

From: larry.r.trout

'The bank attacks are remarkable because they seem unstoppable, even with advance warning. Just how bad are banks suffering at the hands of attackers? Rodney Joffe, senior technologist at Internet infrastructure provider Neustar, said the best some banks can do to prepare is to have a sincere-sounding apology at the ready, backed up with a plan B that points customers to an alternative method of communication such as a call center.


"There is in fact no way to defend against it properly," said Joffe, who has helped banks try to recover from the attacks.  "We can mitigate the attacks to some extent, but it is very difficult to keep systems up…This is one of our worst nightmares."


The criminals identify themselves in their warnings as the "al-Qassam Cyber Fighters," purportedly part of Hamas' al Qassam military wing. The basic attack is nothing new:  It's a denial of service attack designed to make the banking websites unavailable. Bank sites are flooded with bogus Internet traffic so they are overwhelmed, and can only give the equivalent of a busy signal to customers.  But these attacks are very different, experts say, because of the sheer amount of bogus traffic that's generated…


But the biggest nightmare, he said, is that banks don't "defeat" the attacks with countermeasures. The criminals simply stop and turn their attention on another target, leaving bank security officials wondering when they might be victimized again. Capital One, for example, has suffered at least two separate service disruptions.'




Fwd: LG

From: larry.r.trout

'The bankruptcy of electric vehicle battery maker A123 Systems earlier this week turned a spotlight on the struggles of the Obama administration's push for green jobs of the future around electric cars, which has fallen short in employment and production. Now a new report says in one Michigan plant, built with $151 million in federal money to assemble battery cells for the Chevrolet Volt, workers have been paid for months to do nothing. According to WOOD-TV of Grand Rapids, Mich., the 300 workers at the LG Chem plant in nearby Holland have yet to ship a single production battery cell since the plant opened late last year. While employees have built battery cells for testing, those were shipped back to LG Chem's home labs in South Korea months ago, leaving workers to do odd jobs around the factory, volunteer for community projects or just sit and play Monopoly. Several say training also stopped months ago, leading some employees to quit in frustration.


The $300 million plant was launched by President Barack Obama in July 2010, at a bipartisan ceremony where Obama hailed the LG Chem plant and similar efforts by A123 as "jobs in the industries of the future," saying it was key for the United States to build not just more electric vehicles and hybrids but their batteries as well. The LG Chem's plant initial contract called for workers to build lithium-ion battery cells, 288 of which are used in every Chevy Volt -- and which are now made in South Korea and shipped to a GM plant in Michigan.


At the time, General Motors was still expecting to sell as many as 60,000 Volts a year worldwide, but after demand failed to match those expectations, GM cut back production. The automaker's on track to sell about 20,000 Volts in the United States this year, and has declined to offer future production estimates; the Cadillac ELR coupe version of the range-extended electric car will go into production next year, but isn't anticipated to be a huge seller. At one point, the plant was also expected to supply batteries to the electric version of the Ford Focus, but LG Chem provides those cells from South Korea as well. Ford has only sold 228 Focus Electrics so far this year, and its sales plans for the$40,000 Focus seem limited to meeting California emissions rules.'





Fwd: Mexico

'Mexico's government expressed concern that the US may cancel a 16-year-old agreement setting the price for its tomato exports, saying it will urge Washington not to opt for protectionist measures…


The existing bilateral pact is known as a "suspension agreement" because the Commerce Department in 1996 halted an anti-dumping investigation against Mexico and negotiated a minimum price for imports of Mexican tomatoes.


The US imported $8.5 billion worth of farm products from Mexico last year, more than from any other nation. Tomatoes accounted for nearly a quarter of the total.'





Why Capital Gains Taxes Are Lower - Investors.com

Business income is different from employees' income in another way. The profit that a business makes is first taxed as profit and the remainder is then taxed again as the incomes of people who receive dividends.

The biggest losers from politicians who jack up tax rates are likely to be people who are looking for jobs that will not be there, because investments will not be there to create the jobs.

Read More At IBD: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-viewpoint/100112-627745-why-capital-gains-taxes-are-lower.htm#ixzz28AUPwvdC