“And what rewards virtue? Do you think the communist commissar rewards virtue? You think Hitler rewarded virtue? You think, excuse me, if you’ll pardon me, American presidents reward virtue? Do they choose their appointees on the basis of virtue of the people appointed, or on the basis of their political clout?”…Milton Freidman

BATTLE FLAG COMES DOWN IN IRAQ………After nearly NINE YEARS of war, tens of thousands of casualties, including 4,500 dead…..and more than $800 billion spent, the U.S. military on Thursday formerly ended its mission in Iraq, and prepared to leave the country. In the coming days, the last of our remaining 4,000 troops will follow the traditional “LION 6” drenched flag and head home
Within months, the destruction of Saddam Husain’s military was destroyed, and the feeling was that this would be a short war. As the advanced military began the taking of Baghdad. a growing insurgency emerged and turned a quick victory into a long slog.

Led by Army Gen.David Petrauess, another Lion 6, the military rewrote it’s doctrine and overhauled its straightly, initiating a “SURGE” in the number of troops and pushing soldiers and Marines into tiny outposts to try to put a halt to the violence…..The “SURGE’ was very controversial in the U.S. and our President, who classified this action as a “dumb war” that President Bush should have never got involved with, however under the command of Gen. Petrauess, began to ramp down that violence in 2007, eventually restoring a measure of calm on a country that had descended into chaos.

IRAQ AFTER AMERICA……..President Obama visiting Fort Bragg, tanked all American troops returning from Iraq, and formerly ended the war. Two days earlier, meeting with the Prime Minister of Iraq, in Washington, praised Iraq as a country “that is self-governing, that is inclusive and that has enormous potential”.

Well said, so why does the Administration seem to be so intent on making the least of that potential.

Iraq may be a country most Americans would prefer to forget, even if this remarkable quiescence during the season of Arab revolt is a testament of how much the U.S. achieved there. Yet U.S. interests in consolidating an alliance with Iraq have never been greater. With that alliance, the U.S. may find a pillar for its position in the Middle East, especially if Egypt abandons that role. Without such an alliance, Iraq is more likely to fall prey to Iran’s encroachments, or COLLAPSE into sectarian violence and again become a haven for a re- constituted al Qaeda…

It is so puzzling, that after years of fighting Iraq’s religious make up, it’s logical that the ability of the three religious sectors will be able to be a cohesive government. With a population of “about 25 million “about 60% are Shi’a Muslims, 33% Sunni Muslims…. Saddam ruled the country; with the minority Sunni’s holding all the key positions in government, at the expense of the Shi’a and the Kurds. After the war with Iran, which lasted for 8 years, started when Saddam tried to grab parts of Iran when the Shah was kicked out of Iran……no one was declared the winner, the’ Saddam’s decision to invade Iran,1980-1988, was historically a bad decision, with both borders remaining about the same.

IRAN, with the return of Khomeini from exile, Iran now a “near nuclear power” with a population of 74 million ( twice the population of Iraq) 89% Shi’s, 10% Sunni will be looking at the vacuum left by the American troops, leaving behind a divided government, with some in the Iraq government, pro Iran. The Kurd’s have for many years been at odds with Turkey, which has a rather large Kurdish
population……..In an area where religion is major factor in one’s life, who knows what lies ahead, whatever it is it will affect the power in the Mid-East, with danger to Saudi Arabia, India, Israel, Turkey has kept his promise to end the “Bush War” and remove all the troops who fought so gallantly. Our prosperity depends on a powerful Navy that keeps the sea lanes secured from the Straight of Hormus to the Strait of Malacca to the Straight of Gibraltar. It depends on checking the ambitions of would-be regional enemies, from China to Russia to Iran.

Victory dances at the 15 yard line have a way of coming back to haunt Presidents. If this Administration won’t cross the goal line, perhaps the next President will, especially in Afghanistan.

“History will be kind to me, so I intend to write it”……..Sir Winston Churchill

CONGRESS’S PHONEY INSIDE TRADING REFORM…..”The denizens of Capital Hill are remarkable investors. Anew law may meant to curb abuses, would only make their shenanigans easier.” Members of Congress already get better health insurance and retirement benefits than any other group of Americans they are about to receive insider trading laws……… what else is new?

“However, beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

Sir Winston Churchill

RUSSIA’S REBELLIOUS MOOD….. The protests in Russia this week put the government on notice that the coming elections may go viral, a message clearly has the Kremlin nervous…….Russians have much to grumble about as long as anyone can remember. Yet they have always tended to shake their heads, not their fists.

The protests really took off in September’s announcement by Putin that he intended to run for president again… The prospect of another 12 years of Putin rule and the insult of what is effectively a fate of accomplishment, has exploded and continues to mount against Mr. Putin’s United Russian Party, which is known as the “Party of Crooks and Swindlers”

The result of the March elections maybe foregone, and regime changes in countries where democracy is not respected doesn’t necessarily respect the electoral calendar. Harder to figure is where this budding Russian protest movement is going and Mr. Putin is not one who will tolerate too much criticism enough that may risk his re-election in March.

BANK BASHER-IN CHIEF………The Senate is due to vote on the nomination of Richard Clordray to run the “new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau”, Republicans are opposed to this Wall Street shill…..what else is new ?…the Republicans are opposing a vote until the Administration responds to their concerns about the office’s lack of accountability. Senator Shelby and 43 colleagues have suggested reforms as pre requite to new director , subjecting the new director to establishing a board of directors, subjecting the agency to annual Congressional appropriations , and letting federal bank regulators have a ”safety and soundness check”…..The White House refused to respond.

Democrats established the bureau under Dodd-Frank to be an empire in its self, it is part of the Federal Reserve, but doesn’t report to the Fed’s Chairman. The opposition wants the director to be fair minded who should make calls on merit.

NOTE: Referring to last week’s Revolution, one of our readers thought our coverage of the SOLYNDRA MESS was too mild and added the following. “Other than continuing research, no Federal money should go into Energy production. That includes nuclear because all nuclear plants get some sort of subsidy or federal guaranty and it certainly includes ethanol. Which has caused half the corn crop to go into our gas tanks and caused the price of food to go up sharply, doing the most damage to the middle and lower classes, that “OBOZO” claims to care about so much… If the free markets won’t support any goods or services, then they should be allowed to go out of business. The only way such businesses stay alive is with public support, which gives the politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, the opportunity to get more legal bribes in the form of campaign contributions by doling out subsidies. Allowing this to continue is what is leading the United States to become the next Greece.”

THE CELLULOSTIC ETHANOL DEBACLE…….Congress mandated purchase of 250 million gallons in 2011…..actual production 6.6 million gallons.

“We will fund additional research in cutting-edges methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips, and stalks or swath grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within 6 years”
………..George W Bush, 2006 State of the Union Address.

Years before the Obama Administration dumped $79 billion into solar and wind energy and battery operated cars. He saw the future in biofuels, and corn ethanol, and assured the nation that by 2012, cars and trucks would be powered by cellulosic fuels from switch grass and other plant life, and signed a bill that would establish A CREDIT OF $1.01 PER GALLON PRODUCED…

Not to be left out of the mix, Nancy Pelosi Congress passed a law imposing mandates on oil companies to blend cellulosic fuel into conventional gasoline… The mandate was to start at 100 million barrels, rising to250 million 2011, and 500 million in 2012, by the end of the decade requirements leap to10.5 billion gallons a year…

When the mandates were established, NO COMPANIES PRODUCED COMMERCIALLY VIABLE FUEL, BUT THE SALES PITCH WAS “YOU MANDATE AND SUBSIDIZE IT, SOMEONE WILL BUILD IT”………70% of the fuel was to come from an Alabama firm, Cello Energy, in 2010 the company went bankrupt, never producing one gallon, but taking barrels of federal money.
And it gets worse…because there was no cellulosic fuel available, oil companies had to ‘PURCHASE WAIVER CREDITS”….FOR FAILING TO COMPLY A MANDATETO BUY A PRODUCT THAT DOESN’T EXIST…….This stupidity has forced the oil companies pay out over $10 million dollars to buy these Credits, which eventually end up at the gas pumps and passed on to the customer, another invisible tax….. Congress subsidized a product that did not exist, mandated its purchase despite the fact that the product does not exist and is punishing the oil companies and their customers with the hopes that someday there might be such a fuel.

MR. CORZINE and HIS REGULATORS……..MF Global and the new era of crony capitalistic regulations, more than $1 billion of client money is missing, according to the bankruptcy’s trustee……..The Senate Agriculture Committee, the company’s chief regulator will try to explain how his agency failed to provide the most basic protection for financial consumers.

Gary Gensler, Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has a lot of explaining to do. Segregating the client’s money—-protecting client accounts from being traded by an unscrupulous broker, is even more important in the futures industry than in any other markets. In the Security Investor Protection Corp, protects the average investor up to $5000.00, there is nothing like that in the futures industry. The CFTC regulators have to make sure nobody is digging into the customer “cookie jar.” At his point in time it is not clear whose hands dipped into the customers funds, and why. It’s hard to imagine a financial firm raising more red flags than MF Global did under Chairman and CEO Jon Corzine when he took over in March 2010, four months before the enactment of the DODD-FRANK financial reform law. It was assumed that Mr. Corzine’s contacts in Washington would be beneficial to MF Global, one of those “contacts” was Mr. Gentler , a one-time college of Corzine when they both were at Goldman Sachs, while at Goldman Sachs the duo helped write the 2002 Sarbane-Oxely law that was supposed to protect investors.

Why does one spend time and money to be elected, one case in point? In November 2010 MF Global announced its 6th loss in the past 7 months, despite these negative reports the New York Fed bestowed MF GLOBAL the coveted title of “primary dealer”. This is rather unusual, but gaining that title usually takes several years to gain acceptance.

The larger importance of this story relates to the effectiveness of the DODD-FRANK, SARBANES-OAKLY regulatory model, but in the MF GLOBAL the regulators failed the law’s first serious test….Mr. Gensler has announced that he would recuse himself from issues affecting MF GLOBAL……..REALLY !!!!!!

LISA JACKSON’S FREUDIAN SLIP…….Ms. Jackson was asked about the EPA’s regulatory boom and the resulting mass of retirements of coal-fired power plants. She responded, “First of all, EPA doesn’t require shutting down any plant”, which is technically true. The EPA model writes rules so stringent, that these plants are not economic to operate. What Ms. Jackson really means, that she is making coal—the work horse of United States electric power—-artificially more expensive to operate. At least the EPA chief is finally admitting what she is up to.

“Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage, can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy, but a slave of the unforeseeable and uncontrollable events”
…..Winston Churchill

While there are many topics not addressed, it’s time to conclude this issue, but not before wishing you all, a very HAPPY and HEALTHY NEW YEAR……AP

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