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Belmont Club

Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Levantine Falcon

November 22nd, 2010 - 10:25 pm

An exclusive CBC bylined by Neil Macdonald strongly suggests that the International Tribunal charged with investigating the assassination of Rafik Hariri should indict Hezbollah and name Damascus as the mastermind. But as the Los Angeles Times points out, the Tribunal has attempted to reach every other conclusion but this. “The lengthy report also tarnishes the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, suggesting it repeatedly dismissed the findings of its own investigators and suppressed suspicions out of political considerations, potentially emboldening Hezbollah in its effort to force the government to disavow the tribunal’s work.”

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Unproven

November 21st, 2010 - 3:12 pm

The Wall Street Journal describes a NATO agreement to expand a missile defense shield to cover all member countries in Europe. “Speaking to reporters on the summit’s sidelines, President Barack Obama said the allies had for the first time ‘agreed to develop a missile-defense capability that’s strong enough to cover all NATO European territory and populations, as well as the United States.’” This announcement came as the administration pushed an arms control treaty with Russia and discovered a new threat from North Korea.

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A Second Point of View

November 20th, 2010 - 1:54 am

It is not often you meet someone who actually saw Smaug the Dragon. The Kosko family recently donated color movie footage taken by Commander George F. Kosco of the surrender ceremony on the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945.  It is now available on YouTube and after the Read More. The Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Not until early last year did I realize that I had met someone who had also been on that ship that bright September Day. He never talked about it of course.

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Gold Is Where You Find It

November 19th, 2010 - 1:39 pm

Joe Nation at Stanford’s Institute for Economic Policy Research says that California’s public employee pension funds may be underfunded by $200 billion. The Orange County Register says the taxpayer is ultimately on the hook for whatever the pension fund shortfall turns out to be. The estimates vary. “An analysis by the Foundation for Education Choice estimated California public retirement systems’ unfunded liabilities at $326 billion, more than three times the state’s own estimate.”

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The Last 20 Minutes

November 18th, 2010 - 5:03 pm

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.

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No Way Out

November 18th, 2010 - 2:29 am

The Washington Post‘s dry recitation of the facts are devastating. You can’t successfully prosecute enemy combatants as criminals. “The first former Guantanamo Bay detainee to be tried in federal criminal court was found guilty on a single conspiracy charge Wednesday but cleared on 284 other counts. The outcome, a surprise, seriously undermines – and could doom – the Obama administration’s plans to put other Guantanamo detainees on trial in U.S. civilian courts.”

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Philosophical Differences

November 17th, 2010 - 1:50 pm

Captain Sully makes the argument that the main defense against airliner terrorism is to know who gets on the plane. The TSA, on the other hand, is focused on controlling what gets on the plane — liquids, metals, powders — while being relatively indifferent to the backgrounds of the passengers, attention to which would of course be profiling. Here are two videos which describe the relative approaches.

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Center of Buoyancy

November 17th, 2010 - 2:55 am

Rumors that Ireland may be in financial trouble has driven up the interest rates for Greece and Portugal. Fears for the one is driving concern for the others.  The Portuguese finance minister warned that although their need was not imminent,  Portugal might need a bailout.  Which telegraphed to investors of course that Portugal would need a bailout. The Greeks worried that a stampede was gathering.

George Papandreou, the Greek Prime Minister, blamed Germany for the crisis. … It created a spiral of higher interest rates for countries that seemed to be in a difficult position, such as Ireland or Portugal,” he said during a visit to Paris. “This could create a self-fulfilling prophecy … This could break backs. This could force economies towards bankruptcy.”

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You’ve Got to Change Your Evil Ways — Baby

November 16th, 2010 - 1:44 pm

European officials, increasingly concerned that the Continent’s debt crisis will spread, are warning that any new rescue plans may need to cover Portugal as well as Ireland to contain the problem they tried to resolve six months ago.

And that in turn may pull down Spain, according to the New York Times. “Of paramount concern to policy makers in Europe is Spain, which is struggling to close its own deficit of 9 percent of G.D.P. at a time when unemployment is more than 20 percent and the economy is failing to grow.”

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Voodoo

November 15th, 2010 - 7:59 pm

A little exaggerated, but entertaining take on quantitative easing.

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