News that President “Obama proposed a two-year freeze on raises for federal employees, apparently in some sort of concession to the reality of the midterm elections” signals the erosion of fixed incomes before the raging deficit torrents.
William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection argues that the latest Wikileak has shoved President Obama into Jimmy Carter territory. The leaks have shown him to be completely impotent, unable to even protect his own secrets or preserve his allies from embarrassment. The hard Left can push him around and take his money in a political dance apache. The Asia Times makes the same observation, but dryly notes that the loss of respect — AKA the failure of political deterrence — can cause much more serious international consequences. Barack Obama’s allies may already be starting to Finlandize themselves, convinced if proof were lacking, that Obama can’t even keep the deal he won’t honor secret. It is the political capstone of a meltdown. Obama’s credibility — and by extension America’s — has been downgraded to junk bond status.
German hints that the bailout of countries in trouble on the bond market would eventually reach a limit have hit European bank shares. Berlin’s new willingness to see the investors take a haircut came as trade union demonstrators in Dublin demanded that Ireland default or write down its debts.
Amazon has just listed my novel, No Way In, on its online store. Since it is in the action/adventure genre, the main goal of the book is to entertain. At the most basic level it should just be fun to read. There ought to be enough action, chases and mystery to keep things moving right along.
Bloomberg says the “day of reckoning” is nigh. Despite the Irish bailout, the markets are punishing the PIIGS across the board with higher interest rates.
Borrowing costs for Europe’s most indebted nations are at record highs as Ireland’s capitulation in accepting a bailout of its banking industry stokes concern that other countries also will have to seek aid.
The average yield for 10-year debt from Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy reached 7.57 percent today, a euro- era record. The average premium investors demand to hold those securities instead of German bunds widened to as much as 492 basis points, the highest level of 2010. The average cost of insuring against default by the five nations using credit- default swaps reached a record 517 basis points on Nov. 23.
News that the USS George Washington was being deployed to the Yellow Sea prompted one Chinese forum to ask “what is China supposed to do to counteract the U.S. deployment of its megasized carrier in the Yellow Sea (“China’s front yard” as commonly said), which is seen by many military staff as an intolerable provocation on China’s sovereignty ? — knock it flat?” The carrier was deployed in part to send a ‘signal’ to China from President Obama that his resolve is unshaken by the North Korean bombardment of a South Korean island.
If the United States cannot find an effective way to deter the aggressive behavior of North Korea, countries in Asia which have relied on the “international system” since the war must ask themselves two questions. First, is nonproliferation truly dead? Second, is America unwilling to defend its allies?
One big story that hasn’t yet made it across the Spanish-English divide is the epic of Don Alejo Garza, an elderly farmer who fought a one-man stand against a drug gang. When they gave him a deadline to leave his property or else, Garza sent his ranch hands home and armed himself. There he waited. When the gang came in the dead of the night he met them with a fusilade and killed four and wounded two before the numerically superior drug enforcers finally took him out with gunfire and hand-grenades. The Mexican Marines arrived on the scene to find bodies all over and an old man at the center of it all.
CNN reports that North Korea has hit a South Korean island with 200 rounds of artillery. “At least 200 rounds of artillery hit an inhabited South Korean island in the Yellow Sea after the North started firing about 2:30 p.m. local time … South Korea’s military responded with 80 rounds of artillery and deployed fighter jets to counter the fire, the report said.” CNN correspondent Andrew Salmon said, “what we’re seeing is something new.”
But maybe not unexpected.