Puppet MastersS

Bad Guys

How the Wisconsin Uprising Got Hijacked

Scott Walker
© Morry Gash/APWisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at his June 5 victory party in Waukesha, Wis.

The post-mortems and prognostications began just minutes after Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's recall election victory, and they're still flooding in. His win, goes one talking point, bodes well for Mitt Romney's efforts to flip Wisconsin red for the first time since 1984. Bummed-out Democrats, suggests another, spell trouble for President Obama in November. Obama's got no reason to worry, claims a third, because 17% of the Walker recall vote came from Wisconsinites who claim they will go the president's way in the fall.

Such futurology is now the essence of what we think of as political coverage (along with the flood of opinion polls that make it seem like realism). Yet such crystal-ball-reading is a fool's errand. Gubernatorial recalls in particular are utter rarities, outliers brought into being by a unique set of local circumstances.

You can bet on one thing, though: Walker's win has emboldened the Republican Party. And here's another likelihood: Republican governors and state legislators nationwide will emulate Walker's "divide and conquer" agenda -- his own words -- in the months and possibly years ahead. Tim Phillips, president of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, said as much in Wisconsin on the eve of the recall: "Today every other governor in the country and every state legislator in the country is watching Wisconsin. Because the Wisconsin approach to changing and making state government better is the new model for the country."


The Economic Collapse Is Not A Single Event

© The Economic Collapse
Many people hype "the coming economic collapse" as if it is some kind of big summer Hollywood blockbuster. Many people out there write about it as if it is something that will happen in a single day or over a few weeks and that it will suddenly change how the entire world functions. But that is not how the financial world works. The financial world is like a game of chess - very slow and methodical. Yes, there are times when things happen very quickly (like back in 2008), but even that crisis played out over a number of months. Sadly, most Americans are not used to thinking in terms of months or years.

These days, most Americans have the attention span of a goldfish and most Americans have been trained to expect instant gratification. They are simply not accustomed to being patient and to wait for things. Well, despite what you may have read, the economic collapse is not going to be a single event. It is going to play out over quite a few years. In some ways we are experiencing an economic collapse right now. When the next major financial crisis occurs, many will be calling that "an economic collapse". But if you really want to grasp what is happening to us, you need to think long-term. We are heading for a complete and total nightmare, but it is going to take some time to get to the end of the story.

Yes, there will certainly be times of great chaos. The financial crisis of 2008 was one of those moments.

But the financial crisis of 2008 did not completely destroy us.

Neither will the next crisis.

I think it is helpful to think of what is happening to us as a series of waves.

When you build a beautiful sand castle on the beach, the first wave that comes in does not totally destroy it.

Rather, the first wave weakens the castle and it is destroyed by subsequent waves.

Well, that is what is happening to us.

The financial crisis of 2008 was a wave.

The epicenter of the next great financial crisis will be in Europe and that will be another wave.

For many, the next financial crisis will feel like "the end of the world" but it won't be.

There will be waves after that one that will be even worse.

Yes, the waves are going to start coming more rapidly and will start becoming more intense.

In that way, they will kind of be like birth pains.

But these problems did not build up overnight and they are not going to disappear overnight either.

A lot of people that write about the coming economic collapse seem to suggest that we should just let it happen so that the "recovery" can begin.

Unfortunately, it is not going to be so simple.


Nixon 'Far Worse' Than Thought Say Watergate Reporters

Richard Nixon
© unknownRichard Nixon
Washington - Almost four decades after the infamous Watergate break-in, the reporters who broke the story have concluded that then-president Richard Nixon was "far worse" than they thought.

Nixon resigned in August 1974 for his administration's role in a June 17, 1972, burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in the US capital and the subsequent cover-up. He became the only American president ever to resign the office.

Many inaccurate ideas and myths related to Nixon's role in the burglary and its cover-up have found long life over the years, reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward wrote in an op-ed piece for The Washington Post Saturday.

"Another ... has since persisted, often unchallenged: the notion that the cover-up was worse than the crime. This idea minimizes the scale and reach of Nixon's criminal actions," the reporters stressed.

Mr. Potato

Francois Hollande's Socialists Poised to Seize Parliamentary Majority

French President Francois Hollande's Socialists and allies came out on top in first-round parliamentary elections Sunday, poised to secure the majority needed to push through tax-and-spend reforms.
François Hollande, Valerie Trierweiler
© REXThe French president, François Hollande, and his partner, Valerie Trierweiler
The election also saw a surge in support for Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front, which wants to ditch the euro and battle against what she calls the "Islamisation" of France.

The Socialists, Greens and allies won around 46 per cent of the vote, ahead of the 34 per cent for ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy's right-wing UMP party and its allies, the final results released by the interior ministry showed.

Pollsters TNS Sofres, IPOs and OpinonWay agreed that the Socialists and close allies might win between 283-329 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly or potentially as many as 329 and could hold power in the parliament without relying of the votes of the Greens or the anti-capitalist Left Front.

Hollande defeated Sarkozy in last month's presidential election and wants voters to give him a strong mandate to enact reforms as France battles Europe's crippling debt crisis, rising joblessness and a stagnant economy.

If next week's second round confirms Sunday's results, it will boost his status in Europe as champion of the movement away from German-led fixation on austerity towards growth, which he favours as the solution to the economic crisis.


Kenyan Minister's Death in Helicopter Crash Fuels Terrorism Fears

George Saitoti
© Daily TelegraphProf George Saitoti and today's crash scene
The architect of Kenya's military campaign in Somalia and a leading presidential candidate for next year's election has died in a helicopter crash in the hills outside the capital, Nairobi.

The Internal Security Minister, George Saitoti, and at least five of his colleagues died when the police helicopter they were travelling in crashed on the outskirts of the city. Authorities are investigating the cause of the crash, which comes at a time when Kenya is on high alert for terrorist attacks. "As we speak now, nobody knows the cause of the accident," the Prime Minister Raila Odinga said yesterday.

Mr Saitoti pushed for Kenya's intervention last year in neighbouring Somalia. Since then, there has been a spate of grenade attacks blamed by police on supporters of the Somali militant group al-Shabaab. One person was killed and dozens were injured last month in a firebomb attack on a Nairobi shopping centre that has been linked to al-Shabaab. The Islamist group has threatened an attack against a major Kenyan target in the coming month.

Bad Guys

Former 'God's Banker' Could Blitz Vatican with Cache of Secret Documents

Bank Scandal
© AFP Photo/Osservatore RomanoPope Benedict XVI talks to the former head of the Vatican bank Ettore Gotti Tedeschi.
The former head of the Vatican Bank has become the Papacy's Enemy Number One, after police discovered a trove of documents exposing financial misdeeds in the Holy See. The banker now reportedly fears for his life.

­Earlier this week police conducted a dawn raid on the house and office of Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. Investigators say they were looking for evidence in a graft case against defense and aerospace firm Finmeccanica, which was formerly run by a close friend of Gotti Tedeschi.

Instead, as it turns out, police stumbled upon an entirely different find.

They discovered 47 binders containing private communication exposing the opaque inner workings of the secretive Holy See. They included financial documents, details of money transfers and confidential internal reports - all prepared by Gotti Tedeschi to build a convincing expose of corruption in the Vatican.

A renowned economics professor and head of the Italian branch of the giant Bank of Santander Gotti Tedeschi took what turned out to be a poisoned chalice of a job in 2009, when he became the President of the Institute for Works of Religion, the formal name for the Bank of Vatican. His brief was formidable - to introduce transparency to a lucrative enterprise that had become a byword for money-laundering and corruption.

After a tumultuous three years marked by in-fighting and public scandals, Gotti Tedeschi was unanimously dismissed from his post by a board of Vatican officials in May.

"I have paid for my transparency" the indignant banker said to the media, as he stormed off even before his dismissal hearing was over.

The confidential minutes of the stormy meeting obtained by Reuters showed the banker accused of "progressively erratic personal behavior" and "exhibiting lack of prudence and accuracy in comments regarding the Institute".

But there may have been other reasons.


Bank Run Forces Spain To Request $125 Billion Bailout

Spain has officially requested a $125 billion bailout to keep its banks afloat after massive deposit withdrawals from the nation's banks.

Three days ago Spain's budget minister split with Spain's prime minister announced that the country no longer had feasible access to borrow money from the financial markets.

He begged for bailout live on the radio after coming to the realization Spain's banks need a massive cash injection to recapitalize the deposits that have disappeared due to the bank runs that have spread across Europe.

Just three short days later Spain's economy minister is now officially requested Europe's fourth bailout seeking $125 billion dollars to inject into the banks.

The key thing to realize here is this bailout isn't to help with the Sovereign debt crisis and in fact will only make Spain's crisis worse by adding more debt on the nation's unbearable debt load.

This bailout is simply to inject the banks with capital following the bank run after Spain's 3rd largest bank announced it was insolvent and Spain is requesting it because they can't borrow money from the markets at a rate which they will be able to pay back.


Leon Panetta: US is Running Out of Patience with Pakistan

US defence secretary says Pakistan is offering safe havens to terrorists as he arrives in Kabul for Nato talks
© S Sabawoon/EPALeon Panetta in Kabul, where he called on Pakistan to do more to crack down on militants.
The US defence secretary, Leon Panetta, has said the United States is reaching the limits of its patience with Pakistan because of the safe havens the country offers to insurgents from neighbouring Afghanistan.

In some of the strongest language used by a US official to describe the strained ties between Washington and Islamabad, Panetta said: "It is difficult to achieve peace in Afghanistan as long as there is a safe haven for terrorists in Pakistan."

Panetta arrived in Kabul on Thursday morning for talks with Nato military leaders amid rising violence in the war against the Taliban and a spate of deadly attacks, including a Nato air strike said to have killed 18 villagers.

"It is very important for Pakistan to take steps. It is an increasing concern, the issue of safe havens, and we are reaching the limits of our patience," he told reporters.

Bizarro Earth

Thousands flee after deadly Ivory Coast attacks

© Agence France-Presse/Issouf SanogoDeputy Defence Minister Paul Koffi Koffi said the attackers crossed over from neighbouring Liberia
Thousands of civilians in Ivory Coast have fled their homes after seven UN peacekeepers and eight civilians were killed in raids near the Liberian border, a UN official and residents said Saturday.

The wave of unrest prompted Liberia to announce it was shutting its border with its neighbour, although it said the move would not affect humanitarian work in the area.

The peacekeepers were killed Friday while they were patrolling an area between two villages after hearing rumours of an imminent attack on communities there. At least one Ivorian soldier was also killed in the ambush.

A series of simultaneous raids on several villages near the southwestern town of Tai sparked an "immediate" exodus, UN spokeswoman Anouk Desgroseilliers told AFP.

The raids came just days after a Human Rights Watch report blamed recent attacks in southwest Ivory Coast on fighters loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo, who is currently awaiting trial on war crimes charges.

The authorities in Abidjan have said those behind Friday's attacks came from Liberia.

2 + 2 = 4

Taliban close Afghan schools over NATO killings

© Agence France-Presse/Manan VatsyayanaBaraki Barak resident Shah Mahmood says his three children were sent home by teachers today
Taliban insurgents have ordered schools in an Afghan district where a NATO air strike killed 18 civilians to close for three days to mourn the dead, officials said.

The civilians died in an operation against insurgents Wednesday in Baraki Barak, a heavily populated district in Logar province, just south of the capital Kabul.

The US commander of NATO forces General John Allen apologised in a meeting with President Hamid Karzai and gave a commitment that his forces would no longer carry out air strikes in residential areas, Karzai's office said.

"The Taliban have threatened the residents and teachers to not go to schools for three days. They say it's to mourn the deaths of the civilians," district governor Sayed Wakil Agha told AFP.