Czech President Klaus ready to debate Gore on climate change

Washington – Czech President Vaclav Klaus said Tuesday he is ready to debate Al Gore about global warming, as he presented the English version of his latest book that argues environmentalism poses a threat to basic human freedoms. “I many times tried to talk to have a public exchange of views with him, and he’s not too much willing to make such a conversation,” Klaus said. “So I’m ready to do it.”

Klaus was speaking a the National Press Building in Washington to present his new book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles – What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?, before meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney Wednesday.

“My answer is it is our freedom and, I might add, and our prosperity,” he said.

Gore a former US vice president who has become a leading international voice in the cause against global warming, was co-winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Gore’s effort was highlighted by his Oscar winning documentary film An Inconvienent Truth.

Klaus, an economist, said he opposed the “climate alarmism” perpetuated by environmentalism trying to impose their ideals, comparing it to the decades of communist rule he experienced growing up in Soviet-dominated Czechoslovakia.

“Like their (communist) predecessors, they will be certain that they have the right to sacrifice man and his freedom to make their idea reality,” he said.

“In the past, it was in the name of the Marxists or of the proletariat – this time, in the name of the planet,” he added.

Klaus said a free market should be used to address environmental concerns and said he oppposed as unrealistic regulations or greenhouse gas capping systems designed to reduce the impact of climate change.

“It could be even true that we are now at a stage where mere facts, reason and truths are powerless in the face of the global warming propaganda,” he said.

Klaus alleged that the global warming was being championed by scientists and other environmentalists whose careers and funding requires selling the public on global warming.

“It is in the hands of climatologists and other related scientists who are highly motivated to look in one direction only,” Klaus said.

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Late in the Term, an Exodus of Senior Officials

Scores of High-Level Political Positions Are Vacant or Are Being Filled by Temporary Appointees

With eight months left in President Bush‘s term, scores of senior officials already are heading for the exits, leaving nearly half the administration’s top political positions vacant or filled by temporary appointees, federal statistics show.

More than 200 pending nominations are languishing on Capitol Hill, bogged down in political fights between Democrats and the White House.

At the same time, agencies have begun preparing for a new administration, including plans to temporarily install career employees in senior positions at the Department of Homeland Security during the transition. The White House also has taken the unusual step of ordering federal agencies to stop proposing regulations after Sunday — meaning that new rules on issues including greenhouse gases and air-traveler protection are unlikely to be finalized before Bush leaves office.

In many ways, the work slowdown and higher appointee turnover is typical of any changing of the political guard in Washington. But the process now occurs over years rather than months, and experts say it threatens to hamper the important work of agencies, whether it be improving public health, promoting affordable housing, fighting crime or providing for the nation’s security.

“You’ve got almost two years of pure chaos,” said Paul C. Light, an expert on the federal bureaucracy at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service. “The civil servants don’t know who they’re supposed to be talking to. They’re receiving no direction. Congress isn’t being talked to. The president isn’t really doing anything. It’s really a highly vulnerable time for running a government.”

Many experts say it is an especially bad time for vacancies, with two wars being waged abroad and a housing crisis and slumping economy at home. David E. Lewis, an assistant professor at Princeton University who has just written a book on presidential appointments, noted that the botched response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was exacerbated by high turnover and vacancies at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“If you told people on Wall Street that every four years or eight years, you were going to lop off the top of a Fortune 500 company and say the company would operate normally, you’d be called crazy,” Lewis said. “There is no question that it matters. Turnover and vacancies in politically appointed positions hurts performance.”

Scandal has thinned the administration’s ranks, as well. Dozens of appointee jobs have become vacant since ethical crises at the General Services Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Justice Department, to name a few.

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IRS Workers Protest at South Austin Office

Not ten minutes after IRS employees of the Austin Accounts Management center near I-35 and Ben White began protesting their office policies Tuesday afternoon, Homeland Security police began ordering them to leave.

WATCH VIDEO OF UNION & HOMELAND SECURITY CONFRONTATION

The workers, represented under the National Treasury Employees Union, are upset about what they see as a double-standard in how managers are handling vacation days and late penalties when family is sick or when an employee is stuck in traffic.

“You can’t take leave to be with your dying father. You’re not taking care of him, therefore we have no obligation to let you go. They charged him AWOL,” Dorothy Pistole said, explaining a situation which she said happened to a colleague. KLBJ asked Pistole if the employees group has any fears of retaliation.

“We can use this as a marker to say, at this point, management didn’t have any problem with what the employee has done. But all the sudden now management is treating the employees differently? Then we have a point when we can start looking at a retaliation grievance.”

“It’s very important. The holiday is all about service to America. A lot of them, they were in the military. A lot of them have military families now,” Union President Ed Walker says. “They denied all of this leave before the Economic Stimulus Program came out, so if they began using that as an excuse, they would not be telling the truth.”

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South America considers common currency

BRASILIA: South America is thinking of creating a common currency and a central bank along the lines of those in the European Union’s eurozone, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said yesterday.

The idea is a logical next step following the signing last Friday of a treaty creating a Union of South American States that aims to promote joint regional customs and defense policies, Lula said during his weekly radio broadcast.

“Many things still haven’t been realised. We are now going to create a Bank of South America. We are going to move forward so in the future we’ll have a single central bank, a common currency,” he said.

But, he added: “This is a process. It won’t be something that happens quickly.”
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela all signed up to the Unasur treaty creating the regional union during a ceremony in Brasilia last Friday.

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NASA employee suspended for political blogging

Feds investigate other employees who mix politics and their jobs

WASHINGTON — Any employee can get in trouble for personal blogging on company time, but U.S. government workers, as one NASA employee has discovered, can get into a special kind of legal trouble if they also write about politics. They risk violating a 1939 law called the Hatch Act, which requires federal employees to keep their jobs and political activities separate.

A National Aeronautics and Space Administration employee was suspended for 180 days for “numerous” blog posts about politics, sending “partisan e-mails” and soliciting for political contributions, according to an announcement last week by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC). The employee wasn’t identified.

The intent of the Hatch Act is to prohibit “the use of the mechanism of government from influencing the outcome of an election,” said James Mitchell, an OSC spokesman. If a person is seeking money for candidates on company time and on company equipment, “that person might as well have been soliciting within the office,” he said.

The suspension was the result of agreement reached with NASA by the special counsel. The employee, whose suspension began March 30, could have been fired from his job.

The OSC is investigating similar cases at other agencies, Mitchell said. In some instances, the practice may be due to intra-office e-mails about particular candidates.

“We have a lot of cases open right now in this election year,” Mitchell said. The NASA case, which involved a midlevel employee at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, may be a defining one, he said.

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Weimar Inflation in America

“Instead, take those steps necessary to protect yourself and your family to prepare for the dollar’s inflationary collapse. Buy gold. Buy silver. Avoid the US dollar.” – James Turk
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Probably almost everyone is familiar with the hyperinflationary episode that engulfed Germany after the First World War. That nation’s economy was crippled by monetary problems that resulted in dreadful personal hardships, even though up to that time Germany had achieved one of the highest living standards in the world.

The newly formed German government, named for the city where their constitution was drafted after the Kaiser’s abdication in 1918, kept pumping up the money supply. The process started relatively slowly, but quickly the pace of money creation accelerated.

The Weimar government was paying its bills on credit – just like Zimbabwe is now doing. The Weimar government was issuing currency in exchange for valuable goods and services that it was receiving, and the vendors of those goods and services accepted the newly issued currency in the expectation that they would be able to exchange it for goods and services of like value. However, they soon realized that they were deluding themselves. Prices were rising rapidly, with the consequence that a flight from the currency into commodities and other tangibles began.

There was no discipline on the creation of new currency, with the result that it was being issued to excess. Within a few short years, the German government eventually destroyed the Reichsmark, the currency it had been issuing, making the words Weimar Germany synonymous with hyperinflation, economic collapse, deprivation and personal hardship. All the wealth saved in Reichsmarks was wiped out.

For example, in his classic book, “Paper Money”, penned three decades ago under the pen name of Adam Smith, George J.W. Goodman recounts the story of Walter Levy, an internationally known German-born oil consultant in New York. Levy told him: “My father was a lawyer, and he had taken out an insurance policy in 1903. Every month he had made the payments faithfully. It was a 20-year policy, and when it came due, he cashed it in and bought a single loaf of bread.”

The following photo is from an insightful book by Bernd Widdig entitled “Culture and Inflation in Weimar Germany”. This photo shows one way in which people coped with rising prices.

As the inflation worsened, people sold whatever they could to survive. Widdig succinctly describes it in the caption to the above photo as follows: “The impoverished middle class has to sell its cherished possessions.”He should have correctly stated though that it was the “newly impoverished middle class”. They only became destitute after the inflation had destroyed their savings and ability to maintain their standard of living.

Sadly, the problems of Weimar Germany are now appearing in the US. To survive the impact of rising prices, Americans today – like Germans did eight decades ago – are selling cherished possessions, as explained in a recent story by Associated Press entitled “Americans unload prized belongings to make ends meet”. The full article is available at the following link: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Economy/story?id=4750846&page=1

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Prime Minister Gordon Brown warns of global oil ‘shock’

Related video: The Energy Non-Crisis by Lindsay Williams

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned Wednesday that the world faced an era-defining oil “shock” that required urgent action, as European leaders struggled to contain growing protests over soaring fuel prices.

“It is now understood that a global shock on this scale requires global solutions,” Brown wrote in The Guardian newspaper.

Record oil prices of around 135 dollars a barrel have contributed to protests worldwide over the rise in fuel and food costs, with fishermen and truck drivers taking the lead in Europe, blocking ports and road access to oil depots.

“However much we might wish otherwise, there is no easy answer to the global oil problem without a comprehensive international strategy,” Brown said, adding that the problem should be made a “top priority” at the EU summit next month and the gathering of G8 leaders in July.

“The way we confront these issues will define our era,” he said.

Brown’s warning came a day after French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged a Europe-wide cut in consumer taxes on fuel and Portugal’s economy minister Manuel Pinho called on the Slovenian head of the European Union to hold an urgent debate on the crisis.

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Ford to Cut Up to 12% of Salaried Jobs

Ford Motor plans to cut its U.S. salaried work force by up to 12 percent after its turnaround plan stalled because of the downturn in the U.S. economy, the Detroit News reported Wednesday.

Ford warned last week it would not achieve its long-standing goal of returning to profitability in 2009 because of the U.S. economic downturn and a permanent shift in demand toward cars and crossovers and away from large trucks and SUVs.

The automaker also told employees in a memo last week that it expected to make cuts in hourly and salaried employees by Aug. 1 and would detail those steps in July.

Read moreFord to Cut Up to 12% of Salaried Jobs

Congress Is Clueless On The Oil Issue

Related video: The Energy Non-Crisis by Lindsay Williams

The U.S. Congress continues to show an incredible amount of ignorance on the oil issue. This week, the U.S. Senate held a hearing on the high price of oil and called out a group of oil company executives to testify. In addition, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to sue OPEC over the high oil price. All of this grandstanding by our so called elected officials is going to do nothing to resolve the high oil price. This is a case of the U.S. Congress misdirecting the blame of the high oil price on OPEC and the major oil companies when they are really only minor players in this game. Threatening to sue OPEC is an incredibly stupid move because that could very well have the reverse effect and cause OPEC to respond to this threat by reducing the amount of oil they decide to pump. The two major reasons for the high oil price involve the Federal Reserve devaluing the U.S. Dollar through their monetary policies as well as the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. On top of this, it is clear that the Bush administration is looking for any excuse possible to bomb Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has even stated that a naval blockade of Iran is an option that should be put out on the table. With the devaluation of the U.S. Dollar and a potential expansion of war in an area where a tremendous amount of oil is drilled, it is no wonder why the oil price has skyrocketed as high as $135 a barrel. This makes the actions of the U.S. Congress entirely insane and intellectually bankrupt. Expect oil prices in the long term to move much higher.

Since oil is priced in U.S. Dollar denominated terms and the monetary unit of the U.S. Dollar continues to be devalued by the Federal Reserve’s ability to create as many U.S. Dollars as they like, it isn’t a real mystery as to why the oil price is so high. Instead of suing OPEC, the U.S. House of Representatives should be suing the Federal Reserve for fraud. The Coin Act of 1792 states that U.S. Mint employees who are caught debasing the nation’s coinage would be subject to the penalty of death. The Federal Reserve is engaging in the intentional debasement of the nation’s currency which is fundamentally no different and in fact worse than employees of the U.S. Mint debasing the nation’s coinage. Instead of debasing the physical coinage, bankers can simply type digits into a computer to devalue the nation’s currency. Maybe the death penalty should be explored for some of the central bankers that have engaged in these practices.

The U.S. Congress is also helping to contribute to the high oil price with their ridiculous policies. They have funded the illegal and unconstitutional occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003. The U.S. Senate just passed another war funding bill which will give the executive branch another $165 Billion to continue military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. By continuing the military occupation of these countries it makes an attack on Iran all the more likely and contributes to greater uncertainty in the oil producing region.

General David Patreaus the current commander in Iraq is on the path to being confirmed as the new CENTCOM commander which means he will be in charge of all U.S. military operations in the Middle East. Assuming he gets confirmed, the chances of a strike on Iran will be all the more likely. Admiral William Fallon the former CENTCOM commander resigned from the position due to the perception that he was refusing to play ball with the Bush administration’s agenda on Iran.

Read moreCongress Is Clueless On The Oil Issue