Wednesday, the financial crisis which is threatening all Europe deepened, as the rates for Portuguese government debt instruments jumped higher based upon a decision by Moody’s rating service to reduce those bonds four levels to "junk" status. The drop was from Baa1 to Ba2 on long-term Portuguese bond ratings.

The effect upon Portugal was immediate — but more ominously, in nearby Spain (the fourth of the so-called "PIGS" nations, the others being Portugal, Italy, and Greece), the stock market dropped 1.5 percent and the amount of interest required by bond purchasers rose. Spain's economy is significantly larger than that of the other PIGS — and only somewhat smaller than the economy of France. Even worse, stocks dropped 2 percent in Italy, affected not only by the ripple of the PIGS but also because spending cuts have not seemed to help its huge national debt.
 

As the public relations manager for The John Birch Society, the publisher of The New American magazine, I received an e-mail this morning from the senior press secretary for the National Governors Association, in response to my question to her asking why The New American was not going to be able to cover the annual meeting of the National Governors Association. I was told, essentially, that we were biased (as opposed to other "objective" news media):

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Category: News

Problem loans at China’s banks are significantly worse than initially thought, according to Moody’s Investors Service’s news release on July 4th. This raises concerns already expressed about China’s continued ability to grow its economy at annual rates approaching double-digits. The weakness is so pervasive that Moody’s “views the credit outlook for the Chinese banking system as potentially turning to negative. ” It added:

We assume that the majority of loans [by the banks] to local governments are of good quality, but based on our assessment of the loan classifications and risk characteristics, as provided by the NAO [China’s National Audit Office] and other Chinese agencies, we conclude that the banks’ exposure to local government borrowers is greater than we anticipated…

Constitutionally minded members of Congress, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Representative Mike Lee of Utah, have introduced federal legislation that would exempt gold and silver coins issued by state governments as legal tender from federal taxation. This bill, called the Sound Money Protection Act, is intended to protect efforts by states to create a stable, inflation-free form of money. In particular, it would protect from federal gains taxation transaction between legal money in states which are species (e.g. gold or silver) and paper.

Utah has already passed a state law that recognizes these gold and silver coins as legal tender in Utah.  A dozen other states, Senator DeMint’s South Carolina, are considering similar laws.  Senator DeMint expressed the need from such state laws:

June wasn’t a good month for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). While Lena Reppert, the 95-year-old wheelchair-bound U.S.-born woman with terminal cancer, was being humiliated into removing her soiled adult diaper by TSA agents in Florida on her final trip home to die, a male with dual Nigerian-American citizenship, Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi, was casually frolicking through airport security checkpoints all across America — on stolen boarding passes, with only a University of Michigan ID card, and on flights that didn’t correspond to the destinations on the boarding passes.

The first trip on June 24 took Noibi from New York to Los Angeles. Even after a flight attendant with Virgin Airlines Flight 415 noticed, and alerted authorities to, the disparities in responding to an unrelated complaint from passengers, the “Keystone Kops” in charge didn’t bother detaining him. Instead, Noibi sashayed out of the airport and proceeded to try his luck again five days later, on June 29, when he booked a flight from L.A. to Atlanta.

It’s a question I’ve been asking many people. And they have no real answer. But the reason why the cost of computers keeps going down is because of the genius, ingenuity, and competence of the private sector. The new computers are not only cheaper but offer so many new features that we can barely keep up with these great innovations.

It used to be very expensive to make a transatlantic call. Now it costs only pennies. Again, the private sector is reality oriented. Private business knows that the lower the cost of a product, the more customers you get. But government officials and the politicians who run Washington are not only incompetent, they are not worth the trillions of dollars needed to keep them in their cushy jobs. Because they believe in a ridiculous doctrine known as political correctness, they’ve created a fantasy world that the public is too mystified and cowed to complain about. And the politicians have been able to buy a compliant electorate by sending them their Social Security checks and making Medicare payments. And that is why so many Americans tolerate wholesale government incompetence and corruption.

Believe it or not, sexual assault has its defenders — and they’re not just behind bars for rape or pedophilia. Nor do they exclusively “work” for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the federal bureaucracy that has decreed its sociopaths may “actually [touch] my vagina four times,” as Susie Castillo, former Miss USA and recent victim, put it.  “[The assailant] went up both legs from behind and then turned around and did it from the front.” (Incredibly, chillingly, the TSA justified this gate-rape just as it did its molestation of six-year-old Anna Drexel and 95-year-old Lena Reppert: “A rep for TSA [says], ‘We have reviewed [Ms. Castillo’s] screening experience and found that the officer followed proper procedures.’")

The state of Illinois has recently undergone a restructuring of its electoral map to suit the Democratic politicians, reports The Blaze. Some of the redrawing, which includes annexing into Chicago a small rural village 65 miles away, apparently borders on the absurd in order to accommodate the needs of the Democratic lawmakers.

The Blaze writes:

A new census-based political map drawn by the state’s Democratic-controlled Legislature, and signed into law by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, has taken swaths of suburban and rural Illinois and added them to the districts of veteran Chicago Democrats such as U.S. Rep. [Jesse] Jackson Jr., who could be St. Anne’s next representative.

The move was one of the boldest by the national political parties this year as they sought to benefit by changing political boundaries.

Over the years, the Federal Trade Commission’s promotion of "consumer protection" has escalated, and a dominant role the agency currently holds involves regulating corporate marketing strategies. The FTC’s latest victim in the arena of consumer protection is food marketing, more specifically, food marketing to children.

Legislated in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson, the Federal Trade Commission Act was a "trust-busting" prescription of the Progressive Era, but it further evolved into a broad, regulatory regime that now envelopes the private marketplace.

California state legislators recently passed a bill that would make theirs the first state to require public schools to include a social studies curriculum on the contributions of gays and lesbians. Governor Jerry Brown has 12 days to sign or veto the measure.

In a 23-14 vote, the California Senate passed the bill. It then moved on to the Assembly, where it passed on a 49 to 25 vote. The Blaze wrote of the measure, proposed by Democratic Senator Mark Leno:

The state Senate has approved legislation that would require California’s public schools to include gay history in social studies lessons. Supporters say the move is needed to counter anti-gay stereotypes and beliefs that make gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender children vulnerable to bullying and suicide. It leaves it up to local school districts to decide what to include in the lessons and at what grade students would receive them.

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