Graph Comparing Number Of Congressional Investigations


The publication ThinkProgress did a graph comparing the number of Benghazi investigations to the number of investigations on other high-profile acts of terror.

Do People Still Have Private Health Insurance In America?

It seems that some – including Donald Trump – still don’t get that the U.S. has private health insurance companies under Obamacare – which is why people still have Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Kaiser Permanente, Humana, etc.


(Video: Secular Talk)

Classic Video: Ben Stein Argues For Higher Taxes For The Wealthy On Fox News

Majority Report

A few years ago, Ben Stein played the voice of reason on the show Fox and Friends, explaining that to lower the deficit, taxes must be raised on the rich. For the most part, his ideas were met by blank stares on the faces of the Fox News hosts.

(Sam Seder video)

(Updated tags, categories)

Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy To Retire?

On September 29th, Representative Trey Gowdy, the Chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, declined his colleagues’ calls for him to run for House majority leader.

The next day, one of them claimed he would retire, according to U.S. News and World Report.

“Trey wants to go back to South Carolina, and God bless him for that,” Rep. John Fleming, R-La., said on C-SPAN Wednesday morning.

Fleming was interpreting something the South Carolina Republican reportedly said during a GOP caucus meeting.  He said Gowdy would leave Congress at the end of his term.

“He plans to go back home, and he wants to finish his work on the Benghazi special committee, but he loves South Carolina and he loves his family, and he wants to go back and spend the rest of his life there,” Fleming explained.

“He’ll be sorely missed,” he added.

Gowdy’s office, however, immediately denied Fleming’s interpretation.

“No, he is not announcing his retirement,” Gowdy’s spokeswoman Amanda Duvall said to the Washington Examiner.” He has not made any announcement on 2016, anything else is incorrect,” Duvall said according to U.S. News.

Gowdy was first elected in the tea party wave of 2010 and represents South Carolina’s conservative 4th District. And while he has indicated in the past his intentions to return to South Carolina at some point, he apparently is not going yet.

(Updated report)

Iranian Ground Troops Are In Syria Fighting Rebels And ISIS

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Syrian troops backed by Hezbollah and Iranian fighters launched an offensive south of Aleppo province in Syria on Friday.  The groups expanded a counter-attack against rebels across western Syria with support from Russian air strikes.

This assault means the army is now pressing insurgents on several fronts near Syria’s main cities in the west, control of which would secure President Bashar Assad’s hold on power even if the east of the country is still held by Islamic State.

The city of Aleppo is only 30 miles from the Turkish border. Aleppo, a commercial and industrial hub near the border with Turkey, was Syria’s largest city before its four-year civil war, which grew out of protests against Assad’s rule.

Control of the city, still home to some two million people, is divided between the government and rebels.

“This is the promised battle,” a senior military source in Syria said of the offensive. The group is backed by “hundreds of Hezbollah and Iranian forces which he said had made some gains on the ground,” according to Haaretz.

Other sources such as Al-Arabia News state that “thousands” of Iranian troops are in the area.

This was the first time Iranian fighters had taken part on such a scale in the Syrian conflict, said the military source, according to Haaretz.

Hezbollah has supported Assad in several battles during the civil war, and said the army was carrying out a “broad military operation”, with support from Russian and Syrian jets, across a front at least 10 miles (15 km) wide from the southwest to southeast of Aleppo. It made no mention of Hezbollah fighters in its statement.

Hezbollah is a Shia Islamist militant group and political party based in Lebanon, writes Wikipedia.

Two senior regional sources said this week that Iran sent thousands of troops to Syria to bolster an offensive already underway in Hama province and ahead of the Aleppo attack, according to Haaretz.

Iran says it has sent weapons and military advisers to support its ally Assad, but has denied providing troops.

In the last week Iranian media have reported the deaths in Syria of three senior officers from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps. Hossein Hamedani, a corps deputy commander, was killed near Aleppo and two other officers have also died fighting Islamic State forces in Syria, Iran’s Tasnim news agency said.

Two senior Hezbollah officers have also been killed in Syria in the last week, a Lebanese security source said.

Rami Abdulrahman, director of UK-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said there were heavy clashes near the Jebel Azzan region, about 12 km (8 miles) south of Aleppo city.

The area that the army and Russian jets were targeting was close to a main road heading south towards the capital Damascus, Abdulrahman said.

The army had recaptured the village of Abtin from rebel fighters, he said, as well as a tank battalion base close to Sabiqiya village. Both villages lie close to Jebel Azzan. Rebels had hit one army tank with a U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missile.

The U.S. is attempting to support “moderate” rebels.  Unfortunately, sources claim that many “moderate” rebels collaborate with ISIS and al Nusra and have exchanged weapons.

The military source said the rebel fighters were mainly from the Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham and al Qaeda’s Syrian wing, the Nusra Front, as well as the Suqour al-Sham and Failaq al-Sham insurgent groups.

(Updated post)

Emerging Market Currencies Fluctuate Greatly

Emerging market currencies were hit hard recently, with Brazil, Turkey and South Africa plumbing new lows against the US dollar due to pessimism over the outlook for the global economy.

The Financial Times states that the Brazilian real came down 1.2 per cent to R$4.22, which was its lowest since it was introduced in 1994.

The decline was just as notable in South Africa and Turkey, where the rand and the lira hit record lows, while Indonesia’s rupiah and Malaysia’s ringgit also tumbled.  This week, emerging market currencies are up slightly.

What are the reasons for the great changes in the value of these currencies?

This month, the Fed did not raise interest rates. However, The Financial Times states that there is a global recoil from emerging markets in anticipation of rising U.S. interest rates.

There are also collapsing commodity prices and escalating concerns over China’s economy.

FT writes:

“In a further parallel, the stronger dollar is encouraging money to flow out of risky, emerging Asian economies and into the rich world, with the biggest losers likely to be those countries with the largest current account deficits.”

FT writes that Brazil’s bonds have received a junk credit rating in recent weeks by Standard & Poor’s.  That sent the Brazilian currency 6.8 per cent lower against the dollar.

Other currencies in the Latin American region went down, too, including the pesos of Colombia, Chile and Mexico, all down at least 0.8 per cent.

Asian economies are being affected by slowing growth and ebbing demand in China for the raw materials that led to a boom in commodity prices.

Hopes that an economic recovery in the developed world can counteract the impact of China are also faltering with the International Monetary Fund cutting its global growth forecast for 2015 from 3.5 per cent to 3.3 per cent.

Global asset managers are already feeling the pinch. UK fund house Aberdeen Asset Management recently reported the ninth quarter of outflows from its emerging market funds and a drop in assets under management.

In other economic news, Robert Shiller, the economist who foresaw the coming of the tech and real estate bubbles in the past decade, said earlier this year that the U.S. is potentially headed for a bond-market bubble. High-end housing and art markets also seem to be headed in the same direction. states that the bubbles are triggered by the hundred-billion dollar debt in the energy sector, and particularly in the fracking business.

Oil prices may have a doubled value today, but most borrowing companies were not cash-flow positive. The current trend of production oversupply makes the situation comparable to the 1980s, writes At that time, companies kept on producing an over-supply of crude due to desperate measures.