Thursday, December 27, 2007

Iran and inflation of currency

Story: "In a rare gesture, Ahmadinejad admitted last week that inflation existed but blamed it on his predecessors, the conservative-dominated parliament, state-run media and bank managers who misused their power and printed too many bank notes.

"Inflation has its roots in the past," Ahmadinejad said in a televised speech.
Ahmadinejad's critics point out that more than 80 percent of Iran's government revenues come from crude exports and that inflation has risen under him despite sharp increases in oil prices to near $100 per barrel currently.
Central Bank of Iran figures for November showed prices of basic commodities and services rising at a 19 percent while overall inflation is running at a 16.8 percent rate annually — double the pace it was when Ahmadinejad took office in 2005. But independent economists and experts put the inflation rate well above 30 percent.

No official figures are available for specific items but over the past month, the price of basic commodities has clearly jumped in many places. In some shops visited by an Associated Press reporter in the capital, Tehran, about 2 pounds of chicken has increased 35 percent to $2.44, and rice is up 43 percent at about $2.12 for 2 pounds.

Prices for fruit and vegetables have almost tripled in the past year in many shops, and housing prices in many neighborhoods have more than doubled since last summer.

Hossein Alavi, a Tehran real estate agent, said he is selling houses at more than twice the price he asked for last year.

A prominent economist, Mohammad Sattarifar, said Ahmadinejad is to blame for flooding the market with too many newly printed bank notes, relying too much on imported goods — including basic commodities — and using oil revenues to pay for the government's day-to-day expenses instead of distributing it to the people as he promised to do in his election campaign.""

Such are the failures of oil fed socialism. I expect to see similar issues with Venezula in the coming years.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Merry Christmas!

If your in the mood to send a Christmas card, send one to the ALCU.

In other news, I don't remember politics encroaching on christmas this much in the past... I can say with a large degree of certainty I don't like this new primary schedule.

And I have a question for ya'll. Anybody else doing 'White Elephant' gift exchanges this year?
It's where everybody brings a gift, and then everybody draws a number. Number 1 picks a present, then 2, and 3, and so on. But every time you go, there is a chance to 'steal' somebody else's gift, and they pick a new one.

So far, I've received 2 pumpkins and some kool-aid.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bush issues 29 pardons, at least two missing.

Associated Press Story regarding Bush's pardons.

I can think of two missing pardons.
Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso.

The two border agents who were tossed into prison earlier this year.
I covered that on January 18, and then on Febuary 6, the story where Ramos was assulting and brutally beaten in prison by a mexican gang.

Bush's response was to do nothing.

Apparently, that policy still exists today.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A tour of the Islamic world

In light of the flurry of important news coming from the Muslim world, I'm putting short shots of the more important ones.

We'll start with Sudan, and this absolutely ridiculous reaction to a British Teacher, living in the country to teach children. Gillian Gibbons is a mother of two children. While in Sudan, her class gave her a teddy bear, and the popular vote for the name was Mohammed. In a civilized society, this wouldn't be an issue, yet in the stone age mentality of Sudan, this was blasphemy of the first order.

Moving on, I'll jump to an older story from Saudi Arabia. It is hard to conceive of a news story that greater exemplifies the abject lack of respect for women, and the effect of an Islamic judicial system.
A girl had sent a picture of herself to a teenage boy when they were both 16, three years ago. Earlier this year, she was married, and in order to protect the 'honor' of her family, she sought out the guy and asked for the picture back. When she went to get it, 7 other men took them both away into a different area of the town. The men proceeded to sexual assault them both for several hours, and returned the woman to her house the next morning. Her husband was outraged, but had to complain to the police 4 times before anything was done.
The verdict was reached in what does not deserve to be called a trial, with among other things, the husband being barred from the court proceedings. The final verdict was 1-5 years for each of the assailants, and 80-1000 lashes. Hardly appropriate for the crime, but what followed is even more disturbing.
""He [judge] said: 'You get 90 lashes. You should thank God you're not in prison.'
"I asked him why and he said: "You know why. Because mingling begets evil.' ""
So she complained to Human rights watch and the media, only to be sentenced to 6 months in prison and 200 lashes. The gang's sentenced was bumped up to a minimum of 2 years, which is still a far cry from what justice demands.

After 'our friends the Saudis' actions, there is, on the surface at least, good news regarding Iran.
According to a recent NIE report, Iran stopped its nuclear program back in 2003. (When did we invade Iraq, again?) While my gut tells me there is nothing true to this report, the Neo-Hitler said "
"a declaration of victory for the Iranian nation against the world powers over the nuclear issue."""
Also involving Iran, is an issue that was covered on this blog some time ago, when Iran was discover providing IEDs to Shiite terrorists in Iraq. In recent weeks, Iran has been discovered providing even more aid.

Concerning Iraq, however, we do have positive news, coming even from the liberal outlets.
So, how 'bout that surge, huh?

Iraqi citizens that fled the country when the war began are returning from neighboring nations, most notably Syria. Not only is this an indication of results, but results that have been around long enough for people to feel confident and move back in.
Looks like Iraq will not be the forefront issue this election cycle, at least not in the same light as in the 2006 elections.

Victor David Hansen, a historian who's works I have enjoyed, sums up the middle east well with this thought.
"Remember that the fanatic waving his age-old sword in the Khartoum street over a teddy bear shows the same dangerous derangement as the nut in Tehran who may one day want his hand on the Bomb."

Monday, December 03, 2007

Lenin rolls over in his grave, Chavez looses Communist referendum

Story: " Humbled by his first electoral defeat ever, President Hugo Chavez said Monday he may have been too ambitious in asking voters to let him stand indefinitely for re-election and endorse a huge leap to a socialist state.

"I understand and accept that the proposal I made was quite profound and intense," he said after voters narrowly rejected the sweeping constitutional reforms by 51 percent to 49 percent.

Opposition activists were ecstatic as the results were announced shortly after midnight - with 88 percent of the vote counted, the trend was declared irreversible by elections council chief Tibisay Lucena.

...The defeated reform package would have created new types of communal property, let Chavez handpick local leaders under a redrawn political map and suspended civil liberties during extended states of emergency.

Other changes would have shortened the workday from eight hours to six, created a social security fund for millions of informal laborers and promoted communal councils where residents decide how to spend government funds."

Several things to note here:
  • Communism was held at bay in Venezuela, if only for a short time. While the margin of victory was concerning, as this election was only of a 2 point differential, it is a victory for liberty nonetheless.
  • Chavez has thrown down the gauntlet to the west on numerous occasions, and in essence, has done so again. We shall see just how long he allows pestering little things like elections get in the way of his power grabs.
  • More then 50% of the country voted. What's wrong with the US?

UPDATE: Lenin is probably rejoicing with the results of the Russian, or should I say, Soviet, elections.
Putin pretty much just jigged his election to ensure a victory, with democracies in both the US and Europe crying foul. Gary Karaspov was harassed throughout the campaign, and his party was not allowed to run for parliament. Sore news indeed in what is once again becoming the land of Lenin.