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Bell

US: 50 Economic Numbers From 2011 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

50 sign
Even though most Americans have become very frustrated with this economy, the reality is that the vast majority of them still have no idea just how bad our economic decline has been or how much trouble we are going to be in if we don't make dramatic changes immediately. If we do not educate the American people about how deathly ill the U.S. economy has become, then they will just keep falling for the same old lies that our politicians keep telling them. Just "tweaking" things here and there is not going to fix this economy. We truly do need a fundamental change in direction. America is consuming far more wealth than it is producing and our debt is absolutely exploding. If we stay on this current path, an economic collapse is inevitable. Hopefully the crazy economic numbers from 2011 that I have included in this article will be shocking enough to wake some people up.

At this time of the year, a lot of families get together, and in most homes the conversation usually gets around to politics at some point. Hopefully many of you will use the list below as a tool to help you share the reality of the U.S. economic crisis with your family and friends. If we all work together, hopefully we can get millions of people to wake up and realize that "business as usual" will result in a national economic apocalypse.

Chess

Iraq issues arrest warrant for vice-president

Nouri al-Maliki
© ReutersMembers of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc say Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, is consolidating power
Shia-led government accuses Tareq al-Hashimi, Iraq's highest ranking Sunni official, of involvement in bomb plot.

Iraq's Shia-led government has issued an arrest warrant for Tareq al-Hashimi, the country's vice-president and highest ranking Sunni official, on "terrorism" charges.

Adil Daham, spokesman for Iraq's interior ministry, told reporters about the warrant on Monday and state-run television aired what it characterised as confessions by alleged "terrorists" linked to Hashimi.

The move, a day after the last US combat troops left Iraq and ended the nearly nine-year war, signalled a sharp new escalation in sectarian tensions that drove Iraq to the brink of civil war just a few years ago.

Since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and his Sunni-dominated Baath party, the Sunni minority has constantly complained of attempts by the Shia majority to sideline them.

Hashimi is one of the leaders of the Sunni-backed political bloc Iraqiya, which has just suspended its participation in parliament to protest the control of key posts by Nouri al-Maliki, the Shia prime minister.

Bad Guys

US: Who's Footing the Bill for the Obama Family's Estimated $4 Million Hawaii Vacation?

First Family
© The Blaze
So, just how much will President Barack Obama's Hawaiian vacation cost this year? That's a question that can't be definitively answered until the costs are in and the trip has concluded, but an assessment of the numbers shows that it will likely be the 44th president's most expensive vacation to date.

The Hawaii Reporter has estimated that travel, alone, will cost $3,629,622 - a startlingly large figure considering the length of the trip. And, yes, in case you were wondering: Taxpayers will be footing a chunk of the bill. After all, it's not cheap to ensure that the world's most powerful leader is safe as he travels and enjoys time away from the grind.

To begin, the family is traveling separately, as Obama has had plenty to wrap up in Washington, D.C. before the holidays (i.e. the payroll tax cut drama). So, First Lady Michelle Obama already left for the family's tropical getaway - a $100,000 expenditure, including personnel, travel and security.

Stormtrooper

US: Newt Gingrich Would Send U.S. Marshals To Arrest 'Activist' Judges

Continuing his crusade against the courts, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich railed against judges "imposing secularism" on the country on this morning's Face The Nation. Arguing that "activist judges" who make disagreeable decisions should be held accountable before Congress, he told Bob Schieffer that he would send a U.S. Marshal or Capitol Police officer to arrest judges if that's what it took to reign them in, and then encourage impeachment:

SCHIEFFER: One of the things you say is that if you don't like what a court has done, that Congress should subpoena the judge and bring him before Congress and hold a Congressional hearing... how would you enforce that? Would you send the Capitol Police down to arrest him?

GINGRICH: Sure. If you had to. Or you'd instruct the Justice Department to send a U.S. Marshal.

MIB

Iran State TV Airs "Confession" of Detained CIA Spy

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© Reuters/IRIBA man, who identifies himself as Amir Mirzayi Hekmati and described as a CIA-spy by Iran's Intelligence Ministry, is seen speaking about his mission on Iranian state television in an unknown location in Iran, in this still frame taken from a video acquired December 18, 2011.
Iranian state television on Sunday aired what it described as the confession of an Iranian man detained for spying for the CIA.

State television broadcast a taped interview with Amir Mirza Hekmati, in which he said he had received training by the U.S. intelligence services. The channel said he had been sent to Iran to provide misinformation to Iranian intelligence.

Iran's Intelligence Ministry said Saturday it had captured a CIA spy of Iranian origin who had received training in the U.S. Army's intelligence units and spent time at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

State television showed Hekmati seated, wearing an open-necked shirt.

Attention

North Korean Leader Kim Jong-il Dies

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-il had suffered from poor health since his stroke in 2008
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has died at the age of 69, state-run television has announced.

Mr Kim, who has led the communist nation since the death of his father in 1994, died on a train while visiting an area outside the capital, the announcement said.

He suffered a stroke in 2008 and was absent from public view for months.

His designated successor is believed to be his third son, Kim Jong-un, who is thought to be in his late 20s.

The BBC's Lucy Williamson in Seoul says Mr Kim's death will cause huge shock waves across North Korea.

Dominoes

French Credit Downgrade Could Come "Within Days"

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© European Press Association/Justin LaneStandard and Poor's is expected to cut France's triple A credit rating 'within days'
Standard & Poor's expected downgrade could create panic in the financial markets and make eurozone crisis even worse

France could be stripped of its triple-A credit rating before Christmas, raising new doubts about the survival of the euro, analysts have predicted.

Standard & Poor's - one of the three top rating agencies - is expected to cut France's rating within days, in a move that would weaken its ability to raise funds on financial markets.

The move would raise doubts over the future of the single currency at a time when questions abound as to whether the deal thrashed out in Brussels represents the breakthrough hoped for in advance of the summit. Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Commons Treasury select committee, raised the spectre of Greece leaving the eurozone, saying it was unlikely Athens could afford to pay its way if it stayed in the zone. "Few people believe that Greece can remain solvent within the eurozone," he said. "Should Greece have to leave, the recapitalisation of a number of continental banks would be necessary."

David Cameron and George Osborne have stressed that their top priority is for the eurozone to survive the crisis because the consequences of a disorderly breakup would be devastating for the UK as well as the European economies. However, most Tory MPs now doubt that it can survive in its current form. Bill Cash, the veteran Eurosceptic MP, said: "The entire European Union project is unravelling as the euro itself unravels."

Stormtrooper

Newt Gingrich says he'd defy Supreme Court rulings he opposed

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© Scott Olson / Getty ImagesNewt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich attends a screening of "The Gift of Life" at the historic Hoyt Sherman Place on Dec. 14, 2011 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Newt Gingrich says as president he would ignore Supreme Court decisions that conflicted with his powers as commander in chief, and he would press for impeaching judges or even abolishing certain courts if he disagreed with their rulings.

"I'm fed up with elitist judges" who seek to impose their "radically un-American" views, Gingrich said Saturday in a conference call with reporters.

In recent weeks, the Republican presidential contender has been telling conservative audiences he is determined to expose the myth of "judicial supremacy" and restrain judges to a more limited role in American government. "The courts have become grotesquely dictatorial and far too powerful," he said in Thursday's Iowa debate.

As a historian, Gingrich said he knows President Thomas Jefferson abolished some judgeships, and President Abraham Lincoln made clear he did not accept the Dred Scott decision denying that former slaves could be citizens.

Star of David

Religious Jews still try to segregate Israel buses

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© Unknown
Jerusalem: Israel's political leaders and chief rabbis on Sunday condemned persistent efforts by ultra-Orthodox Jewish men to shunt Israeli women to the back of public buses, a year after the country's Supreme Court outlawed the practice.

The outcry came in reaction to an Israeli woman's experience of being asked to move to the back of a bus, which was posted on Facebook and became a cause celebre in the Israeli media on Sunday. The case even drew public comment from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who deplored gender segregation.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews, who make up about 10 percent of Israel's population of 7.6 million, have become increasingly aggressive in their efforts to impose their norms in public spaces. The ultra-Orthodox have segregated bus lines and some walkways in their neighborhoods.

Vader

Best of the Web: Obama Approves Draconian Police State Law

Obama, Police State
© unknown
On December 16, Obama's signature will head America closer to full-blown tyranny.

Obama supports draconian FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act provisions. Justification given is national security and war on terror hokum.

Henceforth, anyone anywhere, including US citizens, may be indefinitely held without charge or trial, based solely on suspicions, spurious allegations or none at all.

No reasonable proof is needed, just suspicions that those detained pose threats. Henceforth, indefinite detentions can follow mere membership (past or present) or support for suspect organizations.

Presidents now have unchecked dictatorial powers to arrest, interrogate and indefinitely detain law-abiding citizens if accused of potentially posing a threat.

Constitutional, statute and international laws won't apply. Martial law will replace them if so ordered.

As a result, US military personnel anywhere in the world may arrest US citizens and others, throw them in military dungeons, and hold them indefinitely outside constitutionally mandated civil protections, including habeas rights, due process, and other judicial procedures.