While the global powers are speculating over the possibility of an Israeli military strike against Iran, many analysts are saying that such an endeavor would steeply raise the price of oil. As a preemptive attack by Israel — on its own — seems increasingly more likely, oil has already increased $1.17 a barrel to $115.73, the highest price in the last two months.
An attack on Iran would likely increase the cost of oil even more dramatically, however. In 2006, when Israel and the United States began to take issue with Iran’s nuclear program, Iran responded by dispatching its Revolutionary Guards to deploy mines in the Strait of Hormuz, through which one-third of the world’s oil passes.
As speculation continues over possibilities of a unilateral attack by Israel on Iran’s nuclear program, the Obama administration is sending a clear signal that it is prepared to work with the victorious factions arising through the Middle East in the aftermath of the Arab Spring — including self-avowed “Islamists.” In the words of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “what parties call themselves is less important to us than what they actually do.”
According to a story from the Associated Press, the Obama administration is now openly embracing the Islamist shift which is taking place as a result of the past year’s series of revolutions that have swept through a series of Islam-dominated countries. Speaking to the National Democratic Institute, Clinton made it clear that a profound shift is taking place in American foreign policy. In the words of the AP story:
Clinton offered a forthright embrace of the democratic changes enveloping North Africa and the Middle East at a time when the euphoria of the successful revolutions from Egypt to Libya is giving way to the hard and unprecedented work of creating stable democracies.
After decades of partnering dictators throughout the region, her message was that the U.S. would approach the new political landscape with an open mind and the understanding that long-term support for democracy trumps any short-term advantages through alliances with authoritarian regimes.
The downward spiral of the Greek economy — and now likely that of Italy — has led to calls for the European Union to step in and prevent a total collapse. Portugal, Ireland, and Spain — the other three of the so-called PIIGS EU member-states — are enduring their own woes, such as downgrades of sovereign debt and corresponding jumps in the interest rates on government bonds. The cumulative effect — particularly if Italy does suffer a crisis serious enough to reduce its national credit rating to junk-bond status — will ripple throughout Europe and across the Atlantic.
Analysts have noted that continental Europeans would do well to copy the example of tiny Iceland, in how it weathered a financial crisis three years ago which stunned the placid island nation. In October 2008, its binge of bank speculation had reached a point at which the assets of the three largest Icelandic banks — Kaupthing Bank, Landsbanki, and Glitnir Bank — were 11 times greater than the entire $14 billion GDP of the nation. All three big banks defaulted on $62 billion of foreign debt, and then went belly up, not bailed out by Icelanders. Today the country's economists view that bankruptcy as a blessing in disguise. Icelandic bank analyst Jon Bjarki Bentsson put it this way:
The lesson that could be learned from Iceland's way of handling its crisis is that it is important to shield taxpayers and government finances from bearing the cost of a financial crisis to the extent possible. Even if our way of dealing with the crisis was not by choice but due to the inability of the government to support the banks back in 2008 due to their size relative to the economy, this has turned out relatively well for us.
Mississippi voters have rejected a proposed amendment to their state constitution that would have defined life as beginning at conception. While one major survey of voters taken just days before the vote found Initiative Measure 26 leading by a razor-thin 45-44 percent, LifeNews.com, a pro-life news site, reported late on November 8th that with 1,559 of the state’s 1,876 precincts counted, the amendment had failed by a lopsided 58 to 42 percentage. The personhood amendment, which is being heavily promoted in several states by a national group called Personhood USA, would define unborn children as persons under the law beginning at conception, a qualification that the amendment’s champions argue would effectively ban all abortions. But LifeNews pointed out that top pro-life attorneys and organizations predicted that the amendment would be shot down in court, and even if the amendment survived a legal challenge, it would most likely fail to put a stop to abortions. LifeNews noted that opposition from such groups as National Right to Life was based on the argument that the amendment “would not ban abortions and would perhaps give a pro-abortion dominated Supreme Court or lower courts a chance to reaffirm the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions in 1973.”
Late last week Governor John Kasich (R-OH) signed HB 63 into law, imposing strict requirements on minors seeking abortions without the consent of their parents.
The news release issued by the Governor’s office reports:
"Today Gov. John R. Kasich signed Amended House Bill 63 (Young/Slaby), which revises the procedures governing a hearing at which a court may permit a pregnant minor to have an abortion. The bill also requires that in order for a court to grant its consent to the minor, it must make its findings by clear and convincing evidence."
The new law raises the consent threshold established by the previous statute. The old law mandated that a minor wishing to avoid obtaining parental permission receive judicial consent before being allowed to abort her unborn child.
Since the enactment of the new law, judges in the Buckeye State may approve abortions without parental notification in cases only where “clear and convincing evidence” presented at a hearing proves that the abortion is in what is described as "the best interest" of the girl seeking it. The applicable provision of the law also requires that the hearing on the matter be held within five days of the girl’s request for the judicial waiver of the consent clause.
Last Friday a superior court in New Jersey held that a “marriage equality” suit may proceed. The ruling had the effect of partially denying a motion to dismiss filed by New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow. The complaint against the state was filed by Lambda Legal on behalf of Garden State Equality (GSE), a statewide “gay rights” organization. Joining the suit as co-plaintiffs are seven homosexual couples and their children who all claim to have suffered under various provisions of the Garden State’s current civil union statute.
The complainants have requested that the court declare the civil union law unconstitutional and enjoin enforcement of it. Specifically, the suit argues that as applied to citizens of the state of New Jersey, the law at issue violates the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as well as similar provisions of the New Jersey state constitution.
On Tuesday night, GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain issued a formal response to the sexual harassment allegations levied by Sharon Bialek and his other accusers. During a news conference held in Phoenix, Cain declared the accusations to be “baseless” and in the case of Bialek, motivated by money. Any claims asserted by Bialek, according to Cain, “simply did not happen” because he contends he does not recognize Bialek.
Days ago, Bialek became the fourth woman to come forward and make charges against Cain, and the first to go public. During a New York City press conference on Monday, the Chicago woman claimed that Cain made aggressive sexual advances toward her in July 1997 after she had asked him for help finding employment. The Washington Post reports:
After being let go by the NRA foundation, Bialek, who had met Cain on several occasions during conferences and at a dinner, reached out to Cain to obtain guidance on getting a new job. The NRA confirmed on Monday afternoon that Bialek had worked for its education foundation from December 1996 to June 1997.
According to Bialek, Cain put his hand under her skirt and reached for her genitals. She adds that Cain pushed her head toward his crotch while they were in a car. She claims that she responded to these advances by saying, “This isn’t what I came here for, Mr. Cain.” She claims that his response to her statement was, “You want a job, right?”
Voters in Ohio defeated a law on Tuesday that would have reined in the collective bargaining privileges of government employees, granting a rare victory to “Big Labor” after a series of set-backs in states across the nation.
Union bosses celebrated the news, claiming the win represented a resurgence of organized labor and an important indicator for the 2012 elections. And Democrats, whose campaigns receive significant funding and volunteers from public-worker unions, applauded the outcome as well.
"Hopefully, state legislators and governors across the country will look to Ohio and see that they have galvanized us and we're an organized force that has to be dealt with," said Secretary-Treasurer Lee Saunders of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union. Big Labor, he added, plans to use the Ohio win "as a springboard to continue into 2012."
The Democratic National Committee — campaign coffers stuffed with government-employee-union dues — issued a statement filled with class-warfare rhetoric. It applauded Ohio’s rejection of a "blatantly partisan attempt to lay the blame for our economy on middle class Americans, while letting the wealthiest and special interests off the hook and not asking them to pay their fair share."
As the U.S. economy suspends in a prolonged, comatose state, high joblessness and uncertainty among young Americans have incited youth discontent with the federal government’s fiscal and economic blunders. A new poll conducted by Generation Opportunity, a non-profit organization that educates young Americans on the nation’s current political and economic affairs, surveyed individuals between the ages of 18 and 29 on issues such as government spending, national security, and Washington leadership.
The latest U.S. jobs report positioned October as the 32nd consecutive month that unemployment has hovered near or above the 9 percent mark. However, the current unemployment rate does not accurately reflect the percentage of young Americans still struggling to find work. For instance, at the end of August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a youth unemployment rate (ages 16 to 24) of 18.1 percent, about twice as high as the overall unemployment rate.
"Every day, at a very personal level, young adults are being negatively impacted by the poor economy," said Paul Conway, Generation Opportunity president and former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Labor Department. "The unemployment numbers are particularly concerning when you consider that 43% of young adults are not satisfied with their current level of employment."
Another employee of Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” abortion clinic has entered a guilty plea in the murders of babies born alive at the facility. Steven Massof, a 49-year-old medical school graduate who was never issued a license to practice, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in the deaths of two babies who were killed by having their spinal cords severed with scissors, reported the Associated Press. “Massof testified to a grand jury that he snipped the spines of more than 100 babies after seeing them breathe, move, or show other signs of life,” according to the AP story.
Massof told the grand jury investigating Gosnell and his employees that severing the spinal cords of viable babies outside their mothers’ wombs was “standard procedure.” The report, issued in January of this year, said that “Gosnell encouraged his staff to kill babies born alive….” As previously reported by The New American, in late October, Adrienne Moton, another of Gosnell’s employees, pleaded guilty to killing at least one baby born alive at the clinic, while a third worker, Sherry West, admitted to administering a lethal dose of painkillers and anesthesia to a 41-year-old woman who had come to the clinic for an abortion. A fourth employee, Lynda Williams, has also been charged in the woman’s death.