Friday, January 29, 2010

Update 2: Order for Serbs to Pay for Mosques Overturned

The District Court in Banja Luka has overturned its order for the Republika Srpska and the city of Banja Luka to pay $42 million for the destruction of 16 mosques in Banja-Luka during the 1992-1995 war. The reason given was that the suit had been filed too late. The Islamic Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina has since appealed to the Supreme Court of the Republika Srpska.

It’s incredible that a suit for a war crime has a statute of limitation.

As posted earlier, ( Karadzic's Destruction of Bosnia Lasts Long After War), Bosnian Serbs destroyed every mosque in the Serb controlled city of Banja-Luka. Banja-Luka is now the capital of the Republika Srpska autonomous region of Bosnia-i-Hercegovinia.

The most prominent of the mosques, built in 1579, the Ferhadija Mosque was on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites and is being rebuilt.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Our Collective Alzheimer’s

(with apologies to those who actually have the disease)

Barack Obama’s administration bailed out Goldman Sachs, Fannie and Freddie, and AIG, created the TARP spending, passed irrational tax cuts that ran the national debt beyond $10,000 billion, and allowed Enron to get away with accounting atrocities.

No wait … uh … wasn’t that the other guy? What was his name? Right … that was all before January 2009 …. George Bush, that’s it.

We seem to have collective Alzheimer’s where we think everything happened yesterday. Obama took the oath of office on January 20, 2009. TARP, and the bailout of the banks, Fannie and Freddie, and AIG were all done in 2008, prior to Obama taking office.

The government ran a budget deficit of $1,400 billion in FY 2009, which we’re blaming Obama for. But almost all of the spending in FY 2009 is attributable to George Bush.
In 2001, Bush budgeted a ten-year federal budget down to 0.5 percent to justify $1,600 billion in tax cuts. For just one year’s budget, anything less than plus or minus around 20 percent is irrational. Budgeting a ten-year budget to on-half of a percent is criminal.
The only spending that’s really attributable to Obama is the bail out of GM and the stimulus package; about $200 billion in FY 2009.

The biggest factor in the national debt is that when we should have paid off the debt, Bush instead created completely irrational tax cuts which now leave us deep in debt for generations looking forward and unable to do much of anything for the American people.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Blame Obama for what’s he’s done, but blame Bush for what he did.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Republicans Have a 41 Percent Majority in the Senate

Thanks to the perpetual Republican filibuster, the election of Scott Brown to the Senate now brings a screeching halt to all progress. During the Obama presidency, the monolithic Republicans have used the filibuster on all major legislation in the Senate and put anonymous and non-anonymous holds on numerous appointments simply to prevent Obama from accomplishing anything.

The worrisome thing is that the ‘mainstream’ media continuously blames the President for this lack of progress. CNN even tells its viewers that, although the Constitution requires only a majority vote, it takes 60 votes to pass legislation in the Senate. My math may be off, but I’m pretty sure 41 is not a majority of 100. Of course, the Republicans do think of themselves as the miracle party.

To Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper: It takes 51 votes to pass legislation. Start blaming the right parties for the current failures of our government: The Newt Gingrich inspired, minority, Republican Party.

To Harry Reid: Forget the cloture votes. Let them do a real filibuster. Let’s see how long one of them can endure the torture of standing for days at a time.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Feels like it's 1978

2010 feels like 1978. Fortunately without the lime green leisure suits.

We have a president who could be transformative; who came into office with an unprecedented slew of problems, the solutions to which could get him replaced in the next election by a fringe candidate.

Jimmy Carter took office in 1997 with an economy in shambles, a shambles which had never been seen before. Carter inherited Nixon’s recession which was a mix of stagnation and inflation. He appointed Paul Volcker as Chairman of the Federal Reserve and Volcker had the courage to push interest rates above ten percent, finally breaking the back of the double digit inflation. This was extremely painful, but necessary; Carter will be forever condemned.

Meanwhile Carter was left to deal with the government’s failure to deal with Iran, starting with Eisenhower’s replacing a democratically elected president with the brutal dictator Reza Pahlavi. Following the Iranian revolution, Carter helped to exile Pahlavi, a move that was misunderstood in Iran, resulting in the hostage crisis. Ronald Reagan eventually got credit for the release of the hostages even though they were boarding a plane before he was sworn into office.

In 1980, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and Carter put an embargo on all grain sales to the country along with a boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. The grain embargo and boycott tipped a dying economy over the edge and allowed Mikhail Gorbachev to end the cold war in 1986.

Carter also created cabinet posts for Energy and Education, helped bring peace between Egypt and Israel, began a program of clean energy research, and introduced human rights into US foreign policy. All of this meant nothing to the average voter who was legitimately more concerned with his pocketbook.


Due to the inherited economic woes, foreign policy failures, and general anger with government stemming from Watergate, Carter was turned out of office. The 1980 election was a perfect storm. The Republican party managed to nominate a radical, but glib, Goldwater conservative as their candidate and people voted with their pocketbook. At no other time could Reagan have become President.

Reagan came in with a majority in the Senate and working majority of Republicans and Dixiecrats in the House. Together they stopped the green energy research (now we’re feeling the consequences) and rammed through deregulation and irrational tax cuts generating monstrous national debt. The Reagan tax cuts and deregulation created investment bubble after bubble, the savings & loan crisis, skyrocketing government, corporate, and personal debt, massive bank failures, and Enron. We’re only now dealing the national debt that was created during the Reagan and Bush-43 presidencies (or more to the point, once we’re past the current recession).


Now, we have a President who came into office with an economy headed toward a second great depression, few allies, enormous debt, and a failing ‘war’ on terror.

Working with majorities in both the House and the Senate, Obama and the Democrats passed a stimulus package that turned the next Great Depression into no more than a Great Recession. Obama won a noble peace prize for bringing our allies back to us. And, he has been taking the ‘war’ to the actual terrorist groups, rather than some random country.

Meanwhile the Republicans have succeeded in stopping all progress. Senate Republicans have used a perpetual filibuster to stop almost all legislation. They and their media cohorts belittle the White House with half-truths and lies at every opportunity. The American people can no longer see through the political smog anymore.


Could Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, or Mitt Romney really be headed toward the presidency? If the American voter struggles as he did in 1978 to comprehend the complex issues facing the USA, it sure looks it.