Gadhafi was born in 1942 to poor parents outside of Sirte, Libya, a country then ruled by Italy. Raised in a tent, he eventually joined the military. And in 1969, while pro-Western Libyan King Idris was away, Gadhafi led a coalition of military officers in a bloodless coup that abolished the monarchy.
After seizing power, the budding despot promptly shut down Western military bases in Libya and set up “Revolutionary Committees” to quash opposition. While working to bring in his version of Arab socialism, Gadhafi also developed a massive system of informants to silence dissent. Critics were often publicly executed.
Using oil money instead of debt, Gadhafi’s regime did significantly raise Libyans’ standards of living — life expectancy and literacy rates surged. Blacks and women were also given equal “rights.” Many analysts cite the dictatorship’s socialist programs and robust welfare state as a reason he was able to cling to power for so long. Like most governments, Gadhafi ensured some level of popular support by using divide-and-conquer tactics and creating whole classes of citizens dependent on his regime’s largesse. Fear also played a key role.
Retired Army General Otto Pérez Molina won Sunday's runoff presidential election in Guatemala, seizing on voters' concerns about growing insecurity in the Central American nation. Pérez led with more than 53 percent of the vote, Guatemala's election authority said. His opponent, businessman Manuel Baldizón, garnered 46 percent of the vote. Both candidates had promised to tackle growing insecurity and the presence of Mexican drug gangs in the country, an area of special concern to the Central American nation, due to its prominence as a key transit point for drugs from South America to the United States.
Pérez, a retired army general who pledged to take a tough stand on crime, was the frontrunner heading into the election. He won the most votes in the first round of voting in September. Low voter turnout was reported in Sunday's election, according to the state-run AGN news agency. The issue of security in Guatemala, which has worsened as Mexican drug cartels have stepped up operations in parts of the country, dominated the vote. In a Vox Latina national survey in July, more than two-thirds of Guatemalans said violence was what concerned them most, far outpacing the combined totals for the economy, unemployment, poverty, and lack of education. In a debate co-hosted by CNN en Español this year, Pérez called for "elite units of the army" to play a larger role in the nation's battle against gangs and drug cartels. The retired general pledged to bring a mano dura — firm hand — to Guatemala's highest office.
Apple growers in Washington State — who produce about half of the country's apples, about 15 billion — have a bumper crop this year, among the best in the state's history. Yet many of these apples may never make it to market, because growers cannot find enough workers to pick them.
Boy, but it was a Red October! Polls conducted throughout the month just ended confirm that Karl Marx has won the hearts and minds of the American people. Two of his biggest fans, the New York Times and CBS News, collaborated to find 66% of Americans agreeing that “the money and wealth in this country should be more evenly distributed.”
Ohio voters overwhelmingly rejected health insurance mandates that represent the cornerstone of “ObamaCare,” with two thirds of the electorate voting in favor of a state constitutional amendment prohibiting mandatory participation in any health-care schemes. The ballot initiative was driven forward by a broad coalition including Tea Party groups, conservative activists, and others.
More than 100,000 Britons have eagerly signed an e-petition on the government’s website that says immigration to the sceptr’d isle must stop before the population reaches 70 million. And those 100,000, London's Daily Mail reported, signed the petition in less than a week.
With yields on Italy’s 10-year government debt rising sharply higher and beyond the seven-percent ceiling deemed unsustainable, Italy is running out of options in finding buyers for its debt. It is also running out of options as a sovereign nation. Jan Randolph, head of sovereign debt risk at IHS Global Insight, said, “Italy will not be out of the heat of bond markets until a solid and stable government actually implements austerity and undertakes reforms with strong credible leadership.” That may be asking the impossible.
As with the constitutional struggle that was stirred up by the passage of ObamaCare, the President’s latest pet proposal is brightening the battle lines between friends of federal power and those who advocate the protection of the sovereignty of states. The American Jobs Act contains several key provisions that apparently push the boundary between state and federal power back, expanding Washington’s sphere of authority.
The November 9 Republican presidential debate in Detroit highlighted the utter economic cluelessness of the overwhelming majority of CNBC hosts and another Rick Perry debate mental lapse.
CNBC host Maria Bartiromo began the debate by claiming, "We will be joined by an all-star lineup of the smartest people on CNBC."
But the debate only proved again why CNBC is the most economically ignorant "financial network." The bad predictions by CNBC hosts during the housing and financial bubble led comedian Jon Stewart to quip on Comedy Central's The Daily Show in 2009, "If I'd only followed CNBC's advice, I'd have a million dollars today... provided I started with 100 million dollars."
CNBC hosts and guests routinely mocked and laughed at sober analysts of the housing bubble, such as EuroPacific Capital's Peter Schiff. Schiff's fans famously put together YouTube videos of analysts mocking Schiff entitled "Peter Schiff was Right," and were able to put together a CNBC-only edition of bad economic advice being given against Schiff's sober analysis during the economic bubble.
Only days after Freddie Mac sought a $6-billion cash lifeline from the Treasury Department, Fannie Mae is now chasing a $7.8-billion check in federal aid. Attributing its steep $5.1-billion third-quarter deficit to losses on derivatives and the persistent failings of the housing market, the government-controlled firm is furthering its heedless course to fiscal Armageddon — while draining the bank accounts of American taxpayers all along the way.
Fannie Mae and its cohort Freddie Mac were seized by the federal government during the financial crisis as company executives pleaded that severe losses on subprime mortgages were foreboding their insolvency. Considering their vast presence in housing finance, owning or guaranteeing roughly half of all outstanding mortgages (including other federal agencies, they have backed about 90 percent of new mortgages over the past year), the government has pledged an endless stream of funds to the two government-sponsored enterprises through the end of 2012, which has left taxpayers on the hook for a combined total of $169 billion.
The general functions of Fannie and Freddie are to purchase home loans from banks and lenders, package the loans with bonds — while guaranteeing them against default — and sell them to investors inside and outside of the United States. But between 2005 and 2008, Fannie and Freddie carelessly purchased a heap of bad mortgages, which nearly buried the two companies into foreclosure themselves.