Friday, November 30, 2012

Weird Viet Nam

Falling between the final years of the 1960s, the United States became embroiled in the conflict with the intention of aiding South Vietnam, and of course, to bolster the ongoing effort toward the spread of democracy in parts of the world still riddled by Communism. So far as historic periods of conflict are concerned, Vietnam is indeed remembered as one of the darker periods in history; and within its shadows of obscurity, there are nonetheless a number of curious accounts and seldom-spoken mysteries which have prevailed over the years, begging questions as to what kinds of odd operations might have been taking place "behind the scenes,"so to speak.

That is, of course, if such strange stories can be believed. Indeed, some of the more bizarre accounts from the Vietnam years are so strange, they might likely fall beyond the jurisdictions of what can even be considered "believable." And yet, the stories persist… which include accounts of friendly giants, glowing nonhumans, and winged wonder-women drifting about the deep jungles by cover of night.

The stories of strange humanoid beings appearing during the Vietnam conflict are many and varied, with one of the more memorable accounts stemming from the summer of 1969, near the Da Nang province, where Earl Morrison and his company witnessed something truly out of the ordinary. He and his two companions had been stationed during a watch above a bunker near the city of Da Nang, when they three of them began to notice a strange figure moving toward them from overhead in the distance....

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Gettysburg Address

The War of 1861 settled the issue of secession through brute force that cost 600,000 American lives. Americans celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, but H.L. Mencken correctly evaluated the speech, "It is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense." Lincoln said that the soldiers sacrificed their lives "to the cause of self-determination — that government of the people, by the people, for the people should not perish from the earth." Mencken says: "It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of people to govern themselves."

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What bias?

96% of the faculty and staff at Ivy League colleges that contributed to the 2012 presidential race donated to President Obama's campaign, reveals a Campus Reform investigation compiled using numbers released by the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

From the eight elite schools, $1,211,267 was contributed to the Obama campaign, compared to the $114,166 given to Romney.

The highest percentage of Obama donors came from Brown University and Princeton, with 99 percent of donations from faculty and staff going towards his campaign.

Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania’s faculty contributed to the President’s campaign in the lowest numbers, with only 94 percent donating to the Obama campaign.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Democratopolis

It has become a truism of West Coast politics, from California to Washington, that the Pacific oceanfront is a kind of Democratopolis, with a culturally linked strip of liberal cities from San Francisco through Portland and Seattle that tilts left, votes left, and takes surrounding states along for the ride.

Only one Republican in any West Coast state won a statewide election this year — Kim Wyman, Washington’s secretary of state-elect. Oregon residents have not elected a Republican to statewide office since 2002, and California has been without statewide Republican officeholders since last year.

But figures from the Washington secretary of state’s office, where certified county results from the all-vote-by-mail election were posted on Tuesday, show a pattern of coastal Democratic dominance that has perhaps not been this pronounced in a governor’s race here in at least 60 years — and probably ever.

Eight counties.

That is all, out of 39, that the governor-elect of Washington State, Jay Inslee, a Democrat, won on Election Day. Geographically, the vast majority of the state favored Rob McKenna, the state attorney general and a Republican, who triumphed in county after county while still falling short.

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Dubious expenses

The Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for protecting national security and providing military forces to deter war, yet it blows tens of billions of dollars on preposterous things unrelated to its mission.

A variety of unimaginable examples are featured in a baffling report ("Department of Everything") published this month by a Republican U.S. Senator, who asserts the Pentagon could easily save around $70 billion over ten years without cutting any Army brigade combat teams, Navy combat ships or Air Force fighter squadrons. It could be done simply by getting rid of the waste, according to the findings.

That’s because the DOD has a monstrous $629 billion annual budget and a chunk goes to dubious projects that are tough to justify as defense expenses. For instance, the senator’s probe reveals that the Pentagon funded $6 billion in studies that have little or nothing to do with national defense or medical needs related to military service.

Here is an example of where defense dollars are going; an anthropologist at a public California university got $681,387 to examine whether men holding pistols are viewed as taller, stronger and more masculine than those wielding objects such as saws, paint brushes and caulking guns. For the record, guys with guns do in fact appear bigger, stronger and more masculine, the study found.

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Sue the bastards

A group of 24 Americans living in Israel, including victims of terrorism, filed a lawsuit today against the US government over its funding of Palestinian terrorism in the West Bank and Gaza.

The civil action, filed in the district court of Washington DC, alleges that the US Department of State, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has ignored congressional safeguards and transparency requirements attached to US aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA). In addition, the plaintiffs claim that the White House has not been complying with the regulations and reporting obligations governing presidential waivers which facilitate emergency funding to the Palestinians. As a result of this non-compliance, US funds have been flowing to terror groups like Hamas, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Palestine Liberation Front.

According to the lawsuit, Americans living in proximity to these Palestinian terror groups are in the class of individuals that Congress sought to protect through the safeguards and regulations that the White House, State Department and USAID are disregarding.

The suit asks the federal court to review the conduct of the State Department and the safeguards on funds being distributed by USAID in its programs to the PA and to the United Nations Refugee Worker's Administration (UNRWA) and seeks to suspend future American aid to the PA and UNRWA until all the Congressionally legislated regulations and reporting requirements are fully complied with.

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Cosmetic surgery for underpaid teachers

Just call them the "Real School Employees of Buffalo."

Like the rich folks in the famous television show with a similar name, employees of Buffalo public schools routinely spend a great deal of money on extravagant things like plastic surgery, airline travel, expensive hotels and limousines.

The only difference is that the wealthy people in "Real Housewives" are spending their own money. In Buffalo they’re throwing around taxpayer dollars.

EAGnews recently completed an inspection of credit card records and the check registry for the Buffalo City School District in 2011. We also filed a freedom of information request to measure the latest cost of the district’s infamous employee cosmetic surgery program.

The dollar figures we found were breathtaking, and not in a good way.

The amount spent on cosmetic surgery for teachers came to $2.7 million. The total cost for hotels, airline tickets, limousines and the like came to $196,986. You read it correctly. A struggling public school district with a budget deficit of nearly $50 million spent almost $3 million in one year on plastic surgery and travel. District officials declined an invitation to explain these expenses before publication of this story.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Unfunded liabilities

A decade and a half ago, both of us served on President Clinton's Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform, the forerunner to President Obama's recent National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. In 1994 we predicted that, unless something was done to control runaway entitlement spending, Medicare and Social Security would eventually go bankrupt or confront severe benefit cuts.

Eighteen years later, nothing has been done. Why? The usual reason is that entitlement reform is the third rail of American politics. That explanation presupposes voter demand for entitlements at any cost, even if it means bankrupting the nation.

A better explanation is that the full extent of the problem has remained hidden from policy makers and the public because of less than transparent government financial statements. How else could responsible officials claim that Medicare and Social Security have the resources they need to fulfill their commitments for years to come?

As Washington wrestles with the roughly $600 billion "fiscal cliff" and the 2013 budget, the far greater fiscal challenge of the U.S. government's unfunded pension and health-care liabilities remains offstage. The truly important figures would appear on the federal balance sheet—if the government prepared an accurate one.

But it hasn't. For years, the government has gotten by without having to produce the kind of financial statements that are required of most significant for-profit and nonprofit enterprises. The U.S. Treasury "balance sheet" does list liabilities such as Treasury debt issued to the public, federal employee pensions, and post-retirement health benefits. But it does not include the unfunded liabilities of Medicare, Social Security and other outsized and very real obligations. ...

The actual liabilities of the federal government—including Social Security, Medicare, and federal employees' future retirement benefits—already exceed $86.8 trillion, or 550% of GDP. For the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, the annual accrued expense of Medicare and Social Security was $7 trillion. Nothing like that figure is used in calculating the deficit. In reality, the reported budget deficit is less than one-fifth of the more accurate figure.

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Gifters

Sin in haste, repent at leisure.

One of the few silver linings in the dark cloud of Obama’s re-election is that millions of moonbats and Beautiful People who voted this month to continue our long national nightmare are now discovering, much to their chagrin, that they’re as screwed as all the "bitter clingers" who still go to church on Sunday.

Not that it was any big secret, but it’s asking an awful lot of the dumbed-down modern electorate to pay attention to its own best interests.

Of course tens of millions of Obama’s votes came from the people he likes to describe as "working families," most of whom aren’t families and almost none of whom have worked since Lyndon Johnson. This is the freebies-for-freeloaders crowd. Think the Obamaphone woman in Cleveland.

Mitt Romney used to say they lived in "Kennedy country." Then he called them the 47 percent. Now he says they like "gifts."

I know, the liberals tut-tut that the gimme girls ’n’ guys pay taxes too — the sales tax, mainly, on cigarettes and their 40-ouncers. Their theme song is from "West Side Story": "America," as in "Everything free in America."

But as strange as it seems, a plurality of Obama voters probably have real jobs, some even in the Dreaded Private Sector. Man, are they in dire straits.

Take the instructors at Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh.

Their hours are being cut back so the college can get around Obamacare. All you teachers, hope you enjoy being adjunct professors, because you ain’t getting tenure anytime soon. Wonder who they all voted for on Nov. 6?

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Moody's downgrades France

Moody's stripped France of its triple-A rating last week, citing "deteriorating economic prospects," the "long-standing rigidities of its labor, goods and services markets" and "exposure to peripheral Europe." And it could get worse: "We would downgrade the rating further in the event of an additional material deterioration in France's economic prospects," says Dietmar Hornung, Moody's lead analyst for France.

Don't think, however, that the French government is unduly alarmed. Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici insisted that the downgrade did not "call into question the economic fundamentals of our country." We've never made a fetish of the opinions of the ratings agencies, which tend to be lagging indicators. Nonetheless, the "fundamentals" Mr. Moscovici points to are worth a closer look.

In 1981, when the Socialist government of Francois Mitterrand took office, France's national debt amounted to 22% of GDP. In the intervening years France's economy has grown by an inflation-adjusted 73%, while the national debt—now at 90% of GDP—grew by 609% in real terms. In raw numbers, that comes to about €1.7 trillion in additional debt. At no time in those 31 years did any French government balance a budget, much less run a surplus.

All this amounts to one of the free world's longest-running experiments in the real-world effects of stimulus spending. If the fabled Keynesian multiplier really existed, all that spending should have translated into robust economic growth for France. Instead, the only thing that's been multiplied is France's debt.

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Hostages

President Vladimir Putin could never have imagined anyone so ignorant or so willing to destroy their people like Obama much less seeing millions vote for someone like Obama. They read history in America don't they? Alas, the schools in the U.S. were conquered by the Communists long ago and history was revised thus paving the way for their Communist presidents. Obama has bailed out those businesses that voted for him and increased the debt to over 16 trillion with an ever increasing unemployment rate especially among blacks and other minorities. All the while promoting his agenda.

"We must seek support in the moral values that have ensured the progress of our civilization. Honesty and hard work, responsibility and faith in our strength are bound to bring us success."- Vladimir Putin

The red, white and blue still flies happily but only in Russia. Russia still has St George defeating the Dragon with the symbol of the cross on its' flag. The ACLU and other atheist groups in America would never allow the US flag with such religious symbols. Lawsuits a plenty against religious freedom and expression in the land of the free. Christianity in the U.S. is under attack as it was during the early period of the Soviet Union when religious symbols were against the law.

Let's give American voters the benefit of the doubt and say it was all voter fraud and not ignorance or stupidity in electing a man who does not even know what to do and refuses help from Russia when there was an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Instead we'll say it's true that the Communists usage of electronic voting was just a plan to manipulate the vote. Soros and his ownership of the company that counts the US votes in Spain helped put their puppet in power in the White House. According to the Huffington Post, residents in all 50 states have filed petitions to secede from the Unites States. We'll say that these Americans are hostages to the Communists in power. How long will their government reign tyranny upon them?

Source

Hey, it's only money

The Department of Homeland Security spent $430 million over nine years on inter-agency radios for use in national emergencies, but agents don't know how to utilize them.

After 9/11, government agencies needed a better way to communicate with each other during wide-scale disasters. To that end, the DHS distributed radios, all tuned to a common, secure channel, to 123,000 employees across the country.

A recent report from the Inspector General found most employees didn't know how to use the radios or knew about the secure channel.

The IG surveyed 479 employees and only one person was able to use the channel; 79% did not know the common channel even existed. Of those employees who knew about the secure channel, 25% did not know how to access it.

When tested, only 20% of the radios had all the correct settings to use the new channel. The $430 million did not just pay for the radios, but also the radio infrastructure and maintenance.

While DHS assigned many offices and committees to their radio efforts, the IG found that none of them could "implement or enforce their recommendations." The current office in charge "had not been given the authority to force agencies to use the common channel or even provide instructions for programming the radios."

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Fascism, and other atrocities

At Yale University, you can be prevented from putting an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote on your T-shirt. At Tufts, you can be censured for quoting certain passages from the Quran. Welcome to the most authoritarian institution in America: the modern university—"a bizarre, parallel dimension," as Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, calls it. Story

Last Monday the Palestinian Association of Hamilton (Ontario) held a rally to protest the brutal Israeli attacks on Gaza. They publicized a picture of an innocent Palestinian baby covered with blood. Turns out the photo was actually of an Israeli baby injured during Palestinian rocket attacks on the Israeli town of Kiryat Malachi.

Mark Steyn writes...America wages war like the world's biggest NGO, a do-gooding non-profit for which armed conflict is not the sharp end of a nation-state's interest but an act of global stewardship. It's war as the ultimate NPR fund drive: For a pledge of $12 billion, we'll open a schoolhouse in Kandahar and a women's-health clinic in Shah Joy and give everyone a copy of Three Cups of Tea. Six months after the last NATO soldier leaves, there will be no women at the women's-health clinic and no schoolgirls at the schoolhouse. We came, we spent, we left no trace.

Salaries for the union that killed Twinkies.

With the U.S. intelligence budget shrinking, the CIA has quietly shut down its Center on Climate Change and National Security -- a project that was launched with the support of Leon Panetta when he led the agency, but that drew sharp criticism from some Republicans in Congress. Story  (Why on Earth did the CIA need to worry about the climate? Hmmm.)

During his first full day in the White House, Barack Obama promised he'd brought with him "a new era of open government." Yet again, we have a promise that hasn't been kept. Among the administration's many violations of public trust to recently become public is the Environmental Protection Agency's apparent attempt to keep some of its correspondence hidden from the light of day through the use of aliases. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, for instance, has reportedly used the name "Richard Windsor" to cover her tracks in private emails. Story

The Formula One race in Austin last weekend seems to have been a success. It was certainly tidier than Obama's inaugaration back in 2009.

Victor Davis Hanson..."Remember that in the new tribal America, victims de facto cannot double as oppressors. Latinos cannot be really biased against blacks. Blacks cannot be cruel to gays. Asians cannot treat women unjustly. Women cannot be biased against Latinos. The Rev. Joseph Lowery and Rev. Wright cannot be racist when they express hatred for those who do not look like themselves. We are told only that Mormons, not blacks, voted against gay marriage in California."

The head of the Massachusetts Highway Safety department needs to start taking her own advice as it was revealed today that she has had seven car accidents and nine traffic tickets. Story

A woman in western Sweden who was arrested after police found skeletons in her apartment has now been charged for using the bones as sex toys, a hobby she claimed was motivated by an interest in history. Story

Jesse Jackson Jr. has resigned from Congress. Hopefully he's only the first of many more to come.

True or False?...Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.

Remember Ty Detmer, the Heisman Trophy winner? His family is from Texas.

Hillary and Obama are taking credit for the ceasefire in Gaza but, in reality, the Gazans were getting their butts kicked and desperately wanted a time out.

Several years ago an Australian muslim cleric said this about women...“If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it … whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem….if she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred.”

So amid all the colorful and flirty photos from President Obama's first tour of Southeast Asia, what did he actually accomplish? As usual, he served himself politically in what was largely a Potemkin mission abroad. Story

A Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in southern Florida is offering a black Friday discount — including $10 off a visit to the abortion center today. Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast offered the special, saying, “Visit our West Palm Beach or Kendall Health Center for special after Thanksgiving savings on Friday, November 23rd.” Story

For the 4th year in a row, Obama failed to thank God for this country's blessings in the annual Thanksgiving address.

Meanwhile, Obama must feel a little envious of Egyptian President Morsi who recently declared himself a dictator who is not bound by any laws except those which he approves.

I have always wondered why people blame U.S. oil companies for high oil prices when anybody with half a brain knows that OPEC sets the prices by their pre-determined levels of production. But I think I know the answer to the hatred of oil companies...the TV show Dallas and the ultimate bad guy J .R. Ewing. All I can say is, IT WAS A TV SHOW. IT WAS NOT A DOCUMENTARY. IT WAS A TV SHOW. Jeez.

One of the best indicators of a state’s economic health, according to John Merline, writing in Investor's Business Daily, is the "U-Haul Index" (first publicized by economist Mark Perry) to see what people are paying to move into, or out of, the state. Renting a 20-foot truck one way from San Francisco to San Antonio, Texas, for example, costs $1,693. Going in the other direction, however, costs only $983 for the same truck. Story

In an 1998 essay on Abraham Lincoln titled The American Lenin libertarian writer L. Neil Smith compared Lincoln’s feat in "saving the union" to an abusive husband trying to “save” his marriage by preventing his wife from leaving by force.

Mexican female mayor...She had survived two assassination attempts which claimed the life of her first husband and left her with horrific wounds that never really healed. But despite being a marked woman, Maria Santos Gorrostieta remained defiant to the very end. Story and photos here

Quote of the day....It is always amazing how often those who profess the strongest distaste of fascism so often adopt fascist policies themselves.

Secession fever

In the weeks since President Obama’s re-election, Republicans around the country have been wondering how to proceed. Some conservatives in Texas have been asking a far more pointed question: how to secede.

Secession fever has struck parts of Texas, which Mitt Romney won by nearly 1.3 million votes.

Sales of bumper stickers reading "Secede" — one for $2, or three for $5 — have increased at TexasSecede.com. In East Texas, a Republican official sent out an e-mail newsletter saying it was time for Texas and Vermont to each "go her own way in peace" and sign a free-trade agreement among the states.

A petition calling for secession that was filed by a Texas man on a White House Web site has received tens of thousands of signatures, and the Obama administration must now issue a response. And Larry Scott Kilgore, a perennial Republican candidate from Arlington, a Dallas suburb, announced that he was running for governor in 2014 and would legally change his name to Larry Secede Kilgore, with Secede in capital letters. As his Web page, secedekilgore.com, puts it: "Secession! All other issues can be dealt with later."

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Stealing land

Teddy Roosevelt wrote in 1885...

"During the past century a good deal of sentimental nonsense has been talked about our taking the Indians’ land. Now, I do not mean to say for a moment that gross wrong has not been done the Indians, both by Government and individuals, again and again. The government makes promises impossible to perform, and then fails to do even what it might toward their fulfillment and where brutal and reckless frontiersmen are brought into contact with a set of treacherous, revengeful, and fiendishly cruel savages a long series of outrages by both sides is sure to follow. But as regards taking the land, at least from the western Indians, the simple truth is that the latter never had any real ownership in it at all. Where the game was plenty, there they hunted; they followed it when it moved away to new hunting-grounds, unless prevented by stronger rivals; and to most of the land on which we found them they had no stronger claim than that of having a few years previously butchered the original inhabitants."

Saturday, November 24, 2012

War on men

Feminists who want to limit opportunities for men and boys have long abused Title IX when it comes to college sports. Now we can expect the same assault against men who are interested in math and science. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires that schools and colleges receiving federal funding not discriminate "on the basis of sex." Radical feminists have used this law to abolish hundreds of men’s sports teams, including 500 wrestling teams.

The Obama Administration has announced a new set of policies that would apply Title IX to science, technology, engineering, and math courses. Just as enforcement of Title IX has caused gender quotas on school sports teams, increased enforcement in math and science education will bring us artificial enrollment limits on men. Legal precedents have made it very difficult for school sports teams to comply with Title IX without imposing gender quotas, and it’s unlikely that math and science education will be different.

Fewer women major in math, science and engineering because they choose to study other things. When college women study science, they tend to gravitate toward biology. Women earn only about 17% of bachelor’s degrees in engineering and computer science. The fact that engineering departments are filled mostly with men does not mean they discriminate against women any more than the fact that English departments are filled mostly with women proves that English departments discriminate against men.

The use of Title IX to force universities to change the science and engineering departments in order to achieve so-called gender equity isn’t just heavy-handed and totalitarian. As study after study indicates, it’s bad science as well, and it’s not justified by the law. This shifts the focus from equality of opportunity to equality of results, substituting feminist policy for students’ own preferences.

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British wind scam

Almost everybody agrees that wind turbines are ugly and inefficient. But you’d think that the government, if it must persist in subsidising renewable energy, would do everything it could to incentivise wind power producers to create as much energy as possible while keeping the aesthetic damage to a minimum. Astonishingly, it is doing the opposite.

Inquiries by The Spectator have revealed a scam known as ‘de-rating’. Green businesses are modifying large turbines to make them less productive, because perverse government subsidies reward machines that produce less energy at nearly double the rate of more efficient ones. It’s extraordinarily profitable for a few beneficiaries, even if it clutters the countryside and does little to save the planet.

Under the government’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) scheme, which aims to make renewable energies competitive with fossil fuels, the size of a turbine is measured not by height but by power output. If a turbine pumps out more than 500kW, its owners receive 9.5p per kilowatt hour. But a ‘smaller’ sub-500kW one receives a subsidy of 17.5p per kilowatt hour, supposedly to compensate for its lower efficiency. The idea is to lure smaller wind-power producers into the market.

Problem is, while smaller turbines are more popular with the public, those designs don’t produce anything like the 500kW needed to take full advantage of the subsidy. So instead, investors are buying big, powerful turbines and downgrading them, tweaking their components to churn out no more than the magic 500kW. It’s simply far more lucrative to hobble bigger turbines — machines that ought to be capable of producing almost twice as much electricity.

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Misguided good will

In 1995, President Clinton launched his "National Home ownership Strategy" (Bush continued it as part of his "ownership society"), designed to increase mortgage lending to low-income Americans by requiring bankers to make loans to people with poor or nonexistent credit ratings. This drew in people who were unable to pay off their debts, and speculators, who were betting housing prices would keep rising forever. In retrospect, we can see it was bound to implode, and it did.

Clinton and Bush were both smart politicians, but there was one thing that both men got wrong. As Glenn Reynolds explained, they tried to expand the middle class by subsidizing things owned by middle-class people -- like college educations and homes -- assuming that middle-class status would come along with them. But in fact, home ownership was a result of middle-class values -- of being willing and able to save, and to defer gratification -- and not the cause of them. Instead of expanding the middle class, dodgy home loans for people with no past record of saving merely led to unfunded investments and debt. And to speculation. "All of us participated in the destructive behavior -- government, lenders, borrowers, the media, rating agencies," said Warren Buffett. "At the core of the folly was the almost universal belief that the value of houses was bound to increase."

Twice, Bush tried to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and twice Democrats (Obama included) moved in to stop him. Especially culpable were Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. Dodd claimed that the institutions were "fundamentally strong," and Frank said he wanted to "roll the dice a little bit more in his situation" rather than impose stricter regulation on Fannie and Freddie. He did roll those dice, and they came up snake eyes at the end of the Bush years. The same could have just as easily happened in the Gore or Kerry administrations, had they existed, and it would not have been due to their policies, either. It was due to bad sense, bad judgment, greed and a lot of misguided good will.

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How big is Alaska?


How big is Texas?


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Susan Rice

Many people on both sides of the political spectrum are well aware of Ms. Rice’s history of political cronyism and her tactic of twisting truth to protect the political fortunes of the administrations in which she has served. While Congressional Democrats have sought to portray the investigation into Ms. Rice’s role in the Benghazi cover-up as a witch hunt based on racism and sexism, some of these same Democrats have had their own concerns about Ms. Rice’s cronyism in the past.

In a quote for a 2002 book written by Samantha Power, Ms. Rice stated, in her attempted defense of the Clinton Administration’s inaction in response to the genocide that was taking place in the tiny African Nation of Rwanda in 1994, "If we use the word 'genocide' and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November congressional election?" It was later revealed that President Clinton, along with Madeline Albright, Anthony Lake, Warren Christopher, and Ms. Rice were all part of a coordinated effort not only to block U.N. action to stop the genocide, but to work behind the scenes to craft public opinion on the issue by removing words such as "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" from official State Department and CIA memos.

In 1997, when President Clinton sought to promote Ms. Rice to the position of Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, members of the Congressional Black Caucus objected to the appointment based on her history of being part of the Washington Elite Class. This is the same Congressional Black Caucus who is now in 2012 attempting to defend her with trumped up charges of racism and sexism. Even as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, many inside and outside of Washington questioned Ms. Rice’s tenure, as she worked with certain African dictators with questionable records, reaping praise herself for doing so.

As President Obama’s U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Ms. Rice has come under fire several times in the past. She has missed key votes, and she has not opposed nations with questionable human rights records heading key U.N. committees. Rice seems to have taken "a go along to get along attitude" at events like the U.N.'s weak response to the Iranian Election Protest of 2009, the ongoing concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, as well as China’s muscle flexing in the East China Sea. Now it would seem that, with President Obama’s reelection behind him, he is preparing to reward Ms. Rice with the position of Secretary of State (as Ms. Clinton said she is not interested in serving a second term) as she helped shape early public opinion on the Benghazi Attack.

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Fordham University fail

After effectively barring conservative columnist Ann Coulter from speaking on campus last week, the Jesuit college Fordham University welcomed infanticide and bestiality advocate Peter Singer for a panel discussion on Friday.

According to Fordham’s media relations website, Singer, a tenured Princeton bioethics professor, spoke from 4 to 6 p.m. in a panel the university promised "will provoke Christians to think about other animals in new ways."

Singer has long lamented the societal stigma against having sex with animals.

"Not so long ago," Singer wrote in one essay, "any form of sexuality not leading to the conception of children was seen as, at best, wanton lust, or worse, a perversion. One by one, the taboos have fallen. But … not every taboo has crumbled."

In the essay, titled "Heavy Petting," Singer concluded that "sex across the species barrier," while not normal, "ceases to be an offence [sic] to our status and dignity as human beings."

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Here's the plan...

The GOP now holds a large majority of governorships and statehouses. That election wasn't a blowout, and the Republicans control a lot of field level power. One man cannot beat back Leviathan, but 29 governors and statehouses can. If they coordinate, and play by the left's rules. Select specific areas where the federal government has usurped power, from education to highway construction to Medicaid allocations to, hell, drug laws, and sue the piss out of Leviathan's minions. Sue, sue, sue. Alinsky them.

Sue the EPA, sue the Interior Department, sue the Department of Health and Human Services. Sue the cabinet members individually. Sue czars. Find sympathetic federal courts and drag those czars' asses into court. Sue as groups of states, sue as individual states. Just file hundreds, if not thousands, of lawsuits. Most will be swept away by invoking immunity and the supremacy clause, but not all. At some point Leviathan will have to allocate resources. Pick their battles. Toss a few bones. Here's a thought: if five or six western states sue to allow energy exploration on federal lands some federal judge is eventually going to give them their day in court. The Supreme Court's mighty firewall could actually be a blessing here. Many appellate court decisions could be upheld. ...

Here's an experiment: form some bullshit committee committed to saving the loggerhead turtles, or protecting abused women. Call your Governor's offices and request an audience. It might be six months, but you will get a breakfast, or a luncheon, or a photo op. This person still has to work the hamlets of Smut Eye, Alabama and Blue Balls, Pennsylvania and Santa Claus, Georgia. He isn't that distant Senator getting his horndog on in the DC.

Ten governors and 10,000 activists could change the world. Bring that power back to the states. Neuter Leviathan. And this isn't about "state's rights," or whatever euphemism passes for racism these days. It's about taking back what belongs to our states. To us. Forget Congress. Spend a day roaming your state house. Make a few friends. Buy the aides a beer after session. Get inside their heads. Let them know you're going forward with or without them.

We've lost a few states irrevocably. California's dead as a doornail. It's just like East Germany now. Except gays can window shop in the nude, and there is no Iron Curtain or Berlin Wall keeping sane people from fleeing California. But the Stasi is still there. The same old crowd. They just wear nipple rings now.

More here

Modest weakening

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed softening its limits on mercury emissions for new coal-fired plants, but industry officials say the proposal still will not ensure that coal is an alternative to natural gas.

Even John Walke, clean air director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, admitted that the changes are a "modest weakening" of the rules.

Apparently the EPA, in pushing its Maximum Achievement Control Technology on electric companies, wants to appear to be willing to listen to industry - and the customers who must pay for the administration's rules.

The agency will allow slightly higher levels of mercury.

"I'm not sure it's sufficient to fix the problem, even for new sources," said Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, an industry group.

The problem is that EPA has too much power and EPA officials do not consider the cost-effectiveness of its regulations. Indeed it wants the maximum control, not the best.

More here

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Federalism

Since the election, we've seen more interest in secession. Hundreds of thousands of Americans in all 50 states have petitioned to secede. Is the United States breaking up?

Nope. No more than in 2004, when disappointed Democrats were talking about secession, and circulating maps of America divided into "The United States of Canada" and "Jesusland." (This formulation even inspired a not-bad futuristic novel by Richard Morgan about a United States that did split.) Seceding over a presidential election is silly.

So why talk about seceding? Well, partly to register disapproval. Though I doubt President Obama is losing sleep over it, that his White House petition site is full of calls for secession is certainly an indication that many aren't overjoyed by his re-election.

But people also talk about secession for more serious reasons. They feel that the central government doesn't respect them, forces them to live under laws they find repugnant and takes their money away to pay off its own supporters. You see secession movements based on these principles in places like Scotland, Catalonia, Northern Italy, and elsewhere around the world. Some might succeed; others are less likely to. But in every case they represent unhappiness with the status quo.

America has an unfortunate history with secession, which led to the bloodiest war in our history and divisions that persist to this day. But, in general, the causes of secession are pretty standard around the world: Too much power in the central government, too much resentment in the unhappy provinces. (Think Hunger Games).

So what's a solution? Let the central government do the things that only central governments can do -- national defense, regulation of trade to keep the provinces from engaging in economic warfare with one another, protection of basic civil rights -- and then let the provinces go their own way in most other issues. Don't like the way things are run where you are? Move to a province that's more to your taste. Meanwhile, approaches that work in individual provinces can, after some experimentation, be adopted by the central government, thus lowering the risk of adopting untested policies at the national level. You get the benefits of secession without seceding.

Sound good? It should. It's called federalism, and it's the approach chosen by the United States when it adopted the Constitution in 1789. As James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 45, "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State."

It's a nice plan. Beats secession. Maybe we should give it another try.

Source

Tenth Amendment

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

France fail

You know a European country is in trouble when its business leaders complain about government spending and taxes. You know it’s seriously in trouble when it happens in France, whose business elites are more left-wing than the left.

Nearly 100 French CEOs, among them the heads of Accor, the hotel chain, Air France, Carrefour, L´Oréal, Peugot, Siemens, SociétéGénerale and Veolia, the giant waste and water utility, are urging socialist President Francois Hollande to reduce government spending by 60 billion euros (about $76 billion) over the next five years, and reduce payroll taxes by 30 billion euros over the next two years. The cost of government, they say, has reached "the limits of what is bearable."

They also are asking Hollande to undo the suffocating regulations that have made research and development too costly, that unrealistically limit carbon emissions, and have curtailed development of shale gas in France.

They are right, of course.

Government spending now amounts to 56 percent of GDP in France, more than double what it is in the United States. To pay for this profligacy, the government's 2013 budget proposes taxing top earners at a 75 percent rate and those earning more than 150,000 euros, or about $191,000 per year, at 45 percent. Other taxes also are going up (on dividend income and certain capital gains, for instance). All of which has pushed France’s wealth and jobs creators – its business leaders – to the point of desperation.

Some are even voting with their feet. Bernard Arnault, head of the luxury brand LVHM (Louis Vuitton-Moet Hennessy) and the country’s richest man, is seeking a Belgian passport. In response to critics, he claims he’ll continue to pay taxes in France, but it’s obvious that he’ll eventually move across the border.

What we are seeing in France, as elsewhere in Europe, is the collapse of the welfare state.

More here

California, our future

The Golden State has reached a poverty rate that is now twice as bad as West Virginia’s and substantially worse than the rates of poverty in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas, according to a new measure of poverty developed by the federal Census Bureau.

Democrat-run California earned its last-place rank under the federal government’s new measure of poverty, which incorporates more detailed analyses of welfare payments and the local costs of food, gasoline and housing.

The state’s costs are boosted by its environmental and workplace regulations, and by 38 million residents’ competition for housing close to the sea.

The new measure, however, also incorporates a controversial calculation of relative equality that demotes states, including California, that have wide gaps between wealthy people and people with less than one-third of state residents’ average income.

California snatched the last-place prize from Mississippi, which had the highest poverty rate under the older and simpler measure, which gauged people’s ability to buy basic services and goods.

Democratic California Gov. Gerry Brown’s office did not release a comment Nov. 15 about the new ranking, but did note that he would be attending a housing conference, the "Greenbuild International Conference and Expo," in San Francisco Nov. 16.

The new measure, dubbed the "Supplemental Poverty Measure," revised the California’s poverty rate from 16.3 percent up to 23.5 percent.

More here

Nazis

They were left-wing socialists. Yes, the National Socialist Workers Party of Germany, otherwise known as the Nazi Party, was indeed socialist, and it had a lot in common with the modern left. Hitler preached class warfare, agitating the working class to resist "exploitation'' by capitalists -- particularly Jewish capitalists, of course. Their program called for the nationalization of education, health care, transportation, and other major industries. They instituted and vigorously enforced a strict gun control regimen. They encouraged pornography, illegitimacy, and abortion, and they denounced Christians as right-wing fanatics. Yet a popular myth persists that the Nazis themselves were right-wing extremists. This insidious lie biases the entire political landscape, and the time has come to expose it.

Richard Poe, editor of Frontpage Magazine, sets the record straight:

Nazism was inspired by Italian Fascism, an invention of hardline Communist Benito Mussolini. During World War I, Mussolini recognized that conventional socialism wasn't working. He saw that nationalism exerted a stronger pull on the working class than proletarian brotherhood. He also saw that the ferocious opposition of large corporations made socialist revolution difficult. So in 1919, Mussolini came up with an alternative strategy. He called it Fascism. Mussolini described his new movement as a "Third Way'' between capitalism and communism. As under communism, the state would exercise dictatorial control over the economy. But as under capitalism, the corporations would be left in private hands.

Hitler followed the same game plan. He openly acknowledged that the Nazi party was "socialist'' and that its enemies were the "bourgeoisie'' and the "plutocrats'' (the rich). Like Lenin and Stalin, Hitler eliminated trade unions, and replaced them with his own state-run labor organizations. Like Lenin and Stalin, Hitler hunted down and exterminated rival leftist factions (such as the Communists). Like Lenin and Stalin, Hitler waged unrelenting war against small business.

Hitler regarded capitalism as an evil scheme of the Jews and said so in speech after speech. Karl Marx believed likewise. In his essay, "On the Jewish Question,'' Marx theorized that eliminating Judaism would strike a crippling blow to capitalist exploitation. Hitler put Marx's theory to work in the death camps.

The Nazis are widely known as nationalists, but that label is often used to obscure the fact that they were also socialists. Some question whether Hitler himself actually believed in socialism, but that is no more relevant than whether Stalin was a true believer. The fact is that neither could have come to power without at least posing as a socialist. And the constant emphasis on the fact that the Nazis were nationalists, with barely an acknowledgment that they were socialists, is as absurd as labeling the Soviets "internationalists'' and ignoring the fact that they were socialists (they called themselves the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). Yet many who regard "national'' socialism as the scourge of humanity consider "international'' socialism a benign or even superior form of government.

According to a popular misconception, the Nazis must have been on the political right because they persecuted communists and fought a war with the communists in Russia. This specious logic has gone largely unchallenged because it serves as useful propaganda for the left, which needs "right-wing'' atrocities to divert attention from the horrific communist atrocities of the past century. Hence, communist atrocities have received much less publicity than Nazi war crimes, even though they were greater in magnitude by any objective measure.

R. J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii documents in his book Death by Government that the two most murderous regimes of the past century were both communist: communists in the Soviet Union murdered 62 million of their own citizens, and Chinese communists killed 35 million Chinese citizens. The Nazi socialists come in third, having murdered 21 million Jews, Slavs, Serbs, Czechs, Poles, Ukrainians and others. Additional purges occurred in smaller communist hellholes such as Cambodia, Vietnam, North Korea, Ethiopia, and Cuba, of course. Communism does more than imprison and impoverish nations: it kills wholesale. And so did "national socialism'' during the Nazi reign of terror.

But the history of the past century has been grossly distorted by the predominantly left-wing media and academic elite. The Nazis have been universally condemned -- as they obviously should be -- but they have also been repositioned clear across the political spectrum and propped up as false representatives of the far right -- even though Hitler railed frantically against capitalism in his infamous demagogic speeches. At the same time, heinous crimes of larger magnitude by communist regimes have been ignored or downplayed, and the general public is largely unaware of them. Hence, communism is still widely regarded as a fundamentally good idea that has just not yet been properly "implemented.'' Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.'' God help us if we forget the horrors of communism and get the historical lessons of Nazism backwards.

The Nazis also had something else in common with the modern left: an obsessive preoccupation with race. Hitler and his Nazis considered races other than their own inferior, of course. Modern "liberals,'' who vociferously oppose the elimination of racial quotas, seem to agree. They apparently believe that non-white minorities (excluding Asians, of course) are inferior and unable to compete in the free market without favoritism mandated by the government. Whereas Hitler was hostile to those racial minorities, however, modern white "liberals'' condescend benevolently. Hitler's blatant and virulent form of racism was eradicated relatively quickly and very forcefully, but the more subtle and insidious racism of the modern left has yet to be universally recognized and condemned.

The media often focuses its microscope on modern neo-nazi lunatics, but the actual scope of the menace is relatively miniscule, with perhaps a few thousand neo-nazis at most in the United States (mostly "twenty-something'' know-nothings). The number of communists and communist sympathizers in the United States dwarfs that figure, of course -- even among tenured professors! And while the threat of neo-nazi terrorism is indeed serious, the chance of neo-nazis gaining any kind of legitimate political power anywhere is virtually zero. That is why the ACLU can safely use them to advertise its supposed commitment to free speech. Neo-nazi rallies incite violence, but they do not persuade bystanders to join their cause! If they did, the ACLU would have nothing to do with them.

Source

Monday, November 19, 2012

Here and there

A recent poll discovers...almost half of Muslims in America believe parodies of their prophet, Muhammad, should be criminally prosecuted and given punishment up to the death penalty...68 percent supported Obama's reelection...40 percent want to be judged by Sharia law rather than U.S. law...20 percent believe they should have more than one wife...58 percent say that any criticism at all of Islam should not be allowed. America is now home for about 2.6 million muslims.

The federal government has cut the size of its police force in Indian country, reduced financing for law enforcement and begun fewer investigations of violent felony crime, even as rates of murder and rape there have increased to more than 20 times the national average, according to data. Story

A German official angered Greeks by telling a newspaper..."3,000 municipality workers are needed in Greece to do the work carried out by 1,000 Germans." (I think that's true in most underdeveloped countries)

Election Analysis of the week..."Whites favored Romney because they are racist wingnuts stuck in the past. Blacks and Hispanics favored Obama because Romney is a racist wingnut who failed to reach out to them."

The European Union has approved a US$6.3 billion financial aid package for Egypt. The news comes as Europe is paralyzed by a general strike and mass protests as people are tired of deepening recession and strangled by constant budget cuts. Story

Senator Harry Reid...Republicans "have yet to produce a single shred of evidence that the regulations they hate so much do the broad economic harms they claim. That’s because there is none."

In the aftermath of petitions from all 50 states to secede being posted on the White House website and signed by over a million Americans, the secessionist movement has been portrayed as anti-American, unpatriotic and even treasonous. In reality, as Ron Paul has emphasized, it is as American as apple pie and George Washington. Paul updated his thoughts on secession during an appearance on C-Span today, noting how "The founders believed in it, there’s no prohibition in the Constitution against secession," adding that the union was voluntary and therefore secession was also voluntary under the tenth amendment. Story

If all 47 million food stamp recipients voted for President Obama, it would account for 75.4 percent of Obama's 62.3 million votes. Story

Republican Carlos Gutierrez, the Secretary of Commerce for George W. Bush's second term, said English should not be the official language of the U.S. government on Sunday. Story

In multiracial societies, you don’t vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion. Source

CIA now stands for Covert Intimate Affairs

Gen. Petraeus says he knew "almost immediately" that the attack at Benghazi was an act of terror. Everyone seems to have known except Obama.

Royal Navy's HMS Astute 'has a V8 engine with a Morris Minor gearbox' Story

Cheating in Florida? Double counting some ballots and ignoring others..."I’m not perfect," St. Lucie County Elections Supervisor Gertrude Walker said Tuesday. "Neither is my staff." Given the events of the past week, it’s hard to disagree. Because of her office’s flawed handling of last week’s election, uncertainty hangs needlessly over Patrick Murphy’s stunning defeat of Rep. Allen West. Story

The government gives GM a 50 billion dollar bailout in exchange for making the Chevy Volt cars that it wants the company to make. Chevy Volts cost 89,000 dollars to make. But they can’t be sold at that amount because absolutely no one would buy them. Instead they’re sold at $40,000. Less than half the cost of making them. Story

Ain't it the truth?..."Everything desired by the Liberal cause is mandated under the Constitution, and everything opposed to the Liberal cause is prohibited under it".

I wonder who is paying for this website after all these years? And for what purpose?

The City that Never Sleeps was caught napping by Sandy...New York City has announced that it will demolish at least 200 homes that were rendered unfit for human habitation by Hurricane Sandy. Meanwhile, beachfront areas of some parts of Long Island are facing a health crisis over hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of "storm garbage" that have been bulldozed together, and also by the continuing backup of sewage-contaminated water into houses and backyards.

IKEA Regrets use of prisoners...IKEA, the Swedish furniture company, expressed regret over having profited from the use of prison laborers in East Germany as it issued the findings of an investigation into its activities in the former Communist country. (they regret it being publicized)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Who's the weak sister?

Chickens not only come home to roost. They usually lay eggs when they do so. Obama's been running from Benghazi like the title character in Cornbread, Earl, and Me. But he can't hide. Because ultimately someone will decide he ain't falling on that unicorn spire. Someone will decide he or she doesn't want to go down in history as the patsy.

So who will be the weak sister? Who will cave first to protect their own hide, and Obama be damned?

Not Petraeus. He realizes how badly he's destroyed himself. There is no way he goes under oath and contradicts the unsworn testimony he already gave at Obama's behest. As a soldier, I expect he'll probably French kiss a 1911 before this is over with. Old soldiers never die. Their brainpans just fade away.

Susan Rice? Certainly not. She can always claim, and in fact Obama is insisting, she was outside the loop. She was supposedly regurgitating what she was told. I'm not saying she'll be confirmed as Secretary of State, but she'll skate on this debacle.

National Security Advisor Tom Donilon? Doubtful. A career Washington insider, he's held positions at Fannie Mae and DC lobbyist law firms. He's the ultimate greaseball lawyer who can claim the shit was above his pay grade. He'll be hired in a second when this rolls over.

Question: why is a greaseball DC lawyer the National Security Advisor? His credentials are what, precisely? Intelligence background? CIA? Nope. He's a fucking fixer. The National Security Advisor is a greaseball fixer.

Hillary Clinton? I'm not sure the Chicago Machine wants to go to the mattresses with the Hot Springs Gang. That would be like the Iran-Iraq War. Shame both sides couldn't lose, but the collateral damage would be unconscionable even for these gangsters.

More here

Pointing fingers

When this sun-drenched exurb east of Los Angeles filed for bankruptcy protection in August, the city attorney suggested fraudulent accounting was the root of the problem.

The mayor blamed a dysfunctional city council and greedy police and fire unions. The unions blamed the mayor. Even now, there is little agreement on how the city got into this crisis or how it can extricate itself.

"It's total political chaos," said John Husing, a former San Bernardino resident and regional economist. "There is no solution. They'll never fix anything."

Yet on close examination, the city's decades-long journey from prosperous, middle-class community to bankrupt, crime-ridden, foreclosure-blighted basket case is straightforward — and alarmingly similar to the path traveled by many municipalities around America's largest state. San Bernardino succumbed to a vicious circle of self-interests among city workers, local politicians and state pension overseers.

Little by little, over many years, the salaries and retirement benefits of San Bernardino's city workers — and especially its police and firemen — grew richer and richer, even as the city lost its major employers and gradually got poorer and poorer.

Unions poured money into city council elections, and the city council poured money into union pay and pensions. The California Public Employees' Retirement System (Calpers), which manages pension plans for San Bernardino and many other cities, encouraged ever-sweeter benefits. Investment bankers sold clever bond deals to pay for them. Meanwhile, state law made it impossible to raise local property taxes and difficult to boost any other kind.

More here

Friday, November 16, 2012

Floating city in the Caspian Sea

Bullets whip past James Bond as he sprints along the wooden quay. A sniper opens fire from a helicopter hovering above while 007, played by Pierce Brosnan, races through a labyrinth of pipes and bridges. Suddenly an explosion tears through this massive industrial plant run by the Russian mafia, a huge city in the Caspian Sea. Bond manages to leap into a vehicle conveniently equipped with a missile launch system and promptly shoots down the helicopter.

The backdrop of the floating city Bond battled his way out of in the 1999 movie "The World Is Not Enough" was built in Britain's Pinewood Studios -- but it was inspired by a very real location that counts as one the world's most astonishing cities: Neft Dashlari, far out in the Caspian Sea.

This area of Azerbaijan has been famed for its rich oil resources since ancient times. The "liquid fire" with which Constantinople drove the Arab besiegers from its walls in the seventh century consisted largely of oil that bubbled to the surface unaided along the coasts of the Black Sea and the Caspian. The Persians called the area the "Land of Fire," where priests lit their temples with oil from these natural sources.

More here

Good times over?

"Are the good times really over for good?" asked Merle Haggard in his 1982 lament.

Then, the good times weren't over. In fact, they were coming back, with the Reagan recovery, the renewal of the American spirit and the end of a Cold War that had consumed so much of our lives.

Yet no matter the outcome of yesterday's election, it is hard to be sanguine about the future.

The demographic and economic realities do not permit it.

Consider. Between 1946 and 1964, 79 million babies were born - the largest, best-educated and most successful generation in our history. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both born in 1946, were in that first class of baby boomers.

The problem.

Assume that 75 million of these 79 million boomers survive to age 66. This means that from this year through 2030, an average of nearly 4 million boomers will be retiring every year. This translates into some 11,000 boomers becoming eligible for Medicare and Social Security every single day for the next 18 years.

Add in immigrants in that same age category and the fact that baby boomers live longer than the Greatest Generation or Silent Generation seniors, and you have an immense and unavoidable increase coming in expenditures for our largest entitlement programs.

Benefits will have to be curbed or cut and payroll taxes will have to rise, especially for Medicare, to make good on our promises to seniors.

More here

Rush Limbaugh rant

How did we find ourselves our government starring in the Real Housewives of the Pentagon? We've got President Kardashian. We've got entertainment reality TV that is our government. "How can some individual just call up an FBI friend (?) and thereby instigate an FBI investigation? And how did that lead to an FBI agent photographing himself bare-chested and apparently infatuated with a married mother of three?

"How can a PhD candidate," this is Broadwell, here, "without any journalistic or historical credentials, become the public face of a four-star general and be privy to information to the point of hitting the lecture circuit to pontificate about a CIA annex in Benghazi?" In other words, how does Petraeus choose somebody that's never written a book, who isn't an historian to grant all this access to?

How does this pop culture crap happen? "How did an early-middle-aged married mother of two suddenly morph into a court biographer who lectured on everything from military practice to leadership to national-security challenges?" In other words, who is Broadwell, and where did she come from, and what are her bona fides? What is her CV? What's her credibility?

And then, "How can a Florida socialite by any stretch of the imagination merit a vast e-mail correspondence with the nation's highest ranking warriors entrusted to conduct our most critical struggles," wars and battles? How can this happen? How is it that the commanding general in Afghanistan sending thousands of documents to a brain-dead socialite in Tampa? Those are my words, and I should probably take back the brain-dead. Half brain-dead, but regardless.

She thinks she's a consul general! She thinks she's got diplomatic immunity, for crying out loud. We got a general that's sending her thousands of pages of stuff. Hanson writes, "What in the world is an 'honorary consul general' and who extends such Alice Through the Looking Glass titles? Why do generals seek to go back stage to meet a Denzel Washington or have Angelina Jolie pop up for a photo-op?

Source

Tax me, tax me

On November 6 voters in California did something nearly unheard of during the past 30 years: They approved, by a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent, a ballot measure raising state income taxes on the most prosperous Californians and sales taxes on everyone, even though the state’s sales tax is already the highest in the nation.

The successful tax-hike initiative isn’t just a hoped-for generator of revenue: a projected $34 billion over the next seven years, which California desperately needs because it is running a $16 billion budget deficit and its cumulative total debt is at least $618 billion, the highest in the nation. That latter amount includes up to $500 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for 220,000 state employees plus billions in unpaid bills, delayed payments to schools, and amounts raided from dedicated funds to cover general expenses.

The new tax is also intensely symbolic. It represents the culmination of a two-decade-long process in which the nation’s most populous state, once a prosperous industrial and high-tech powerhouse and magnet for immigrants from elsewhere in the country, has transformed itself into something else: a high-tax, high-spending, highly regulated, and chronically broke welfare state that is fast losing to out-migration both its middle class and the businesses and industries that create jobs. California factories once housed such industries as steel, automobile manufacturing, tire production, and aerospace. Those are now mostly or entirely gone. Silicon Valley employs only tiny numbers of tech geniuses; the actual manufacturing is done elsewhere. California’s unemployment rate tops 10 percent, in contrast to less than 8 percent for the nation as a whole. A full third of Americans on public assistance reside in California, even though it houses only one-eighth of the nation’s population. It is safe to say that only the very rich and the very poor​—​along with the 1.8 million who collect state and local government paychecks (some of the highest in the nation, according to the Census Bureau) and belong to powerful public-employee unions​—​can afford to make their homes in the Golden State these days. In short, California is the new Massachusetts. Or, given that it now has the worst state credit rating in America, thanks to chronic overspending, massive state debt, and the clout of the pension reform-resisting unions, California is the American Greece.

More here

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Shooters, and other bad guys

Remember the Norway shooter who bombed downtown Oslo and then shot and killed a bunch of youths on a nearby island?...From prison he is complaining that he is unable to use a moisturizer in his bedroom, he is sometimes served cold coffee, he is not given enough butter for his bread, and his windows lack a good view. Cry me a river.

Everyone is telling the Republicans that they should do more to entice Hispanics to vote for them. But one person is urging Republicans to seek the Asian-America vote. Story  (Conservative wags are suggesting that Republicans nominate Hillary Clinton and Al Sharpton in 2016 if they want to win elections in the future).

Columnist Victor Davis Hanson says, "Marco Rubio would not have won the Latino vote this year. A ticket of Condoleezza Rice and Herman Cain would not have won the black vote. Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley would not have won the Asian vote. Obama, in brilliant fashion, marketed himself as the above-the-fray great healer and our post-racial future, while his surrogates waged the most vicious race-, class-, gender-divisive campaign in history. More likely, what lost the race for Romney — a decent and strong candidate — was instead the failure of the white working classes to turn out to vote en masse." (that and massive voter fraud)

Eric Holder fails to report wife's abortion business.

The economy is a shambles and thanks to the news-suppressing Obama-worshipping media, a huge chunk of the populace seems unaware of just how rotten things are. A quick recap: More than 23 million Americans are unemployed, underemployed, or have given up seeking work. The workforce participation rate is the lowest in 30 years. Annual household income is down $4,000. A record 47 million people are on food stamps. The national debt is now an astonishing $16.4 trillion and it’s probably going to shoot up even more. Source

"A world-leading ‘fat tax’ has been abolished in Denmark, with the country admitting the controversial attempt at engineering a healthier populace has failed. A planned tax on some high-sugar foods has also been abandoned, marking a setback for advocates of this method of encouraging health.

100 rockets from Gaza recently hit southern Israel in a 24 hour period. United Nations and mainstream media yawn. After Israel retaliates the world has a hissy fit.

In 1984, President Reagan won re-election despite losing Hispanics 2-to-1. In 1986, Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which both tightened immigration enforcement at the border and granted amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants. In 1988, Hispanics rewarded the Republican party by voting ... even more heavily Democratic. President Bush lost Hispanics by 40 points, 70 percent to 30 percent. Source

Reader's comment on how to fight the Democrats..."Time for a Judo approach. Instead of fighting the power of the affirmative action / diversity lobby, go with it. Find Silicon Valley companies where most of the employees donated to Obama's campaign and sue them for disparate impact in their hiring. Do the same with majority-Dem local and state governments. Do the same at the ballot box. Register as a Democrat and vote for the minority candidates in every primary, at every level. Make Democrats run Kwame Kilpatrick- or Sharpe James-type candidates in general elections."

Jesse Jackson says...Long lines to vote is a form of voter suppression.

Pseudo-scholar Cornel West says Obama is a "Rockefeller Republican in blackface."

Fraud much?...Philadelphia, the city of Brotherly Love...in 59 voting districts within the city not one vote was cast for Romney. Hmmm.

Illegal immigrants in several European countries are claiming mental illness to avoid deportation.

Have you looked closely at the eyes of Paula Broadwell, General Petraeus's girlfriend? It's known as the "coke stare."

True or False?...Ultimately, radical secularism fails as a religion because it has no God, only demons.

All these scandals suddenly being publicized by the mainstream media is nothing but a blatant diversion from the real scandal...Benghazi.

One of Gaddafi's female bodyguards was recently murdered in Cairo. Story

Phrase of the day on Hurricane Sandy...Katrina on the Hudson

The markets are going to go into meltdown soon, so expect stocks to lose 20 percent of their value, Marc Faber, author of the Gloom, Boom and Doom report told CNBC on Tuesday. Story

Names of the Dwarves...The Broadway play, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" (1912), christened them: Blick, Glick, Flick, Plick, Snick, Whick and Quee. The 1937 animated Disney classic invented the names most of us know: Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy and Dopey. Source

Peace-loving muslims in Egypt are calling for the destruction of the pyramids and the Sphinx because they represent idolatry.

My good friend Alan Vera of True the Vote told me long ago that we have a two party system: the Corrupt Party and the Stupid Party. To that fact, during the weekly True the Vote webcast, Catherine Engelbrecht related a meeting she had with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, asking what the GOP would do about voter integrity. The answer? Nothing. They aren’t legally able to. (I’m not joking.) Story

A female anchor at a Cincinnati TV stattion was suspended for two days for referring to Rachel Maddow as a "angry young man."

Manhattan high rise apartment building without power for 16th day.

From the Wall Street Journal...The U.S. Postal Service reported a $15.9 billion loss Thursday, the largest annual shortfall in the agency's history. The loss for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 reflects the Postal Service's default earlier this year on $11.1 billion in required retiree-health-benefit payments and the continued decline in first-class-mail volume, the agency's primary revenue driver.

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, is moving to Australia in a "couple of years." Is there a growing trend of money moving out of America?

"The most articulate and talented teleprompter reader in America,"said Senator Marco Rubio in 2010, referring to Obama.

Still growing

Less than a week after a New Orleans suburbanite petitioned the White House to allow Louisiana to secede from the United States, petitions from seven states have collected enough signatures to trigger a promised review from the Obama administration.

By 6:00 a.m. EST Wednesday, more than 675,000 digital signatures appeared on 69 separate secession petitions covering all 50 states, according to a Daily Caller analysis of requests lodged with the White Houses's "We the People" online petition system.

Source

No wonder we lose wars



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

More secession!

Reader comment in the Austin American-Statesman online website....

It seems that someone needs a little Constitution 101. There is nothing in the Constitution about secession. That said, just because it isn't one of the ten right listed in the first 10 amendments (aka Bill of Rights) doesn't mean that we don't have that right. If that were the case, then even by eating a hamburger, I would have done something I didn't have the right to do.

Now, what the Constitution was designed to do is restrict the federal government in imposing rules, laws, etc. on the People. This is further reinforced bu the 10th Amendment:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people"

What that means is that if the Constitution didn't give a certain power to the US Government, then that power falls to the States, and then to the People. The Constitution did not give the US Government any authority whatsoever to stop a state from leaving. If they did have that power, it would have either been put in an amendment or in Article 1, Section 10, which is powers that are denied to the States.

Now some will argue that the civil war solved the issue. Well, no it didn't. Nowhere in the "Act to admit the State of Texas to Representation in the Congress of the United States" (March 30, 1870), did it say that Texas could not secede again. Texas v. White didn't settle it either. That is just a court case. Since the Constitution does not give the Supreme Court the power to legislate from the bench, that argument is null and void.

Now, in the US Declaration of Independence, our right to alter or abolish our government; "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government..." The Texas Constitution gives us that same right under Article 1, Section 1: " Sec. "FREEDOM AND SOVEREIGNTY OF STATE. Texas is a free and independent State, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, and the maintenance of our free institutions and the perpetuity of the Union depend upon the preservation of the right of local self-government, unimpaired to all the States." Remember, our current State Constitution has been in force since 1876, and had to be approved by Congress, thus reinforcing those rights. So yes, the right to secede is there. The Constitution was put in place to restrict the government, and not the People. Just because a right wasn't SPECIFICALLY given doesn't mean we don't have the right.

Secession!

The pro-secession requests flooding the White House website grew Tuesday as petitions on behalf of a dozen more states were added to the list.

The administration's "We the People" website showed at press time Tuesday evening petitions filed by individuals seeking permission for 40 states to secede from the union, up from 23 the day before.

Petitions filed on behalf of four states — Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas — had reached the 25,000-signature benchmark. According to the website, any petition that receives at least 25,000 online signatures within 30 days of posting will be reviewed by the appropriate executive department and receive a reply from a White House staffer.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry told the Dallas Morning News that he doesn't support the effort, despite some previous jokes about Texas splitting off from the union.

"Gov. Perry believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it," said Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier. "But he also shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government."

Source

Keeping and Bearing Arms

While national eyes were on the presidential election on Nov. 6, citizens of Louisiana were voting on a state-constitutional amendment that made the right to keep and bear arms "a fundamental right," and put gun-grabbing judges on notice.

Titled the "Louisiana Right To Bear Arms, Amendment 2 (2012)," the amendment passed 73.45 percent to 26.55. It bolsters the exercise of 2nd Amendment rights within the state by eliminating "language within the Louisiana Constitution that would allow passage of laws prohibiting concealed weapons."

It also mandates that "any restriction of a [gun] right requires the highest standard of review by a court." In other words, it removes the ability of a judge to unilaterally implement his or her anti-gun agenda or diminish gun rights on a whim.

The passage of this amendment was a brilliant, preemptive strike for liberty on a day when liberalism seemed to win nationally.

More here

Malfeasance

How did a single Jill Kelley warrant hundreds of hours of chat time from our highest generals, engaged in a life and death struggle in the war against terror and Afghanistan? Who was not consulted, not advised, not ordered — in order to free up time for Kelley and Broadwell?

Source

Hostess closes plants

Hostess Brands permanently closed three bakeries Monday, including a plant in St. Louis where 365 jobs were cut, in response to a bakers’ union strike that started Friday.

The bankrupt maker of Twinkies and Wonder bread said it’s trying to avert liquidating the entire company, and it shuttered three plants that were no longer able to produce and deliver products because of picket lines. The other plant closures are in Seattle and Cincinnati, where a combined 262 jobs were cut.

"We deeply regret this decision, but we have repeatedly explained that we will close facilities that are no longer able to produce and deliver products because of a work stoppage — and that we will close the entire company if widespread strikes cripple our business," Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn said in a statement.

Wholesale baker Hostess Brands, which is based in Irving, Texas, filed for bankruptcy in January and has fought with labor groups over contract changes throughout the year.

Thousands of members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union went on strike beginning on Friday at plants across the country, including Oakland, Calif.; Seattle; and Orlando, Fla. The union represents about 5,680 of Hostess’ 18,300 employees.

More here

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Transparency

A conservative Washington think tank will file suit Tuesday seeking to force Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to make public more than 7,300 internal emails circulated in recent months among senior executives in his department about a carbon tax proposal officials say taxpayers don't need to know about.

Story here

Hide the decline

By now, you've heard from most of the chattering classes as to why Democrats in general, and Barack Obama in particular, did so well on election night. You've heard about changing demographics, an opportune storm, media malfeasance, etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseam.

Let me make it much simpler. On election night, for the umpteenth time, I went to the local food mart, and gave the high school kid working the register a five dollar bill for something that cost $2.32. She punched it into the computer, after which I gave her the thirty-two cents. By now, most of you know where this is going: the dazed look, alternating between the change and me, as if I'd handed her the Dead Sea Scrolls and demanded a translation on the spot. Of course if I'd used that analogy to make light of the moment, it wouldn't have mattered: these kids aren't just mathematically illiterate, they wouldn't know what the Dead Sea Scrolls are either--unless it was the name of a new app for their I-phones.

On the way home, I had the radio on. Without a trace of embarrassment or irony in his voice, the newscaster spoke about a mock vote taken at the local high school. "Barack Obama won in a landslide," he gushed. After two generations of leftist indoctrination by unionized educators, whose quid pro quo relationship with the Democrat party is written in stone, I don't doubt it for a minute. Nor was I particularly shocked earlier this year when I wrote about three kids in their late teens and early twenties, who couldn't place the date of the Civil War within the 50-year spread I gave them to do so. Literacy? If it can't be reduced to 140 characters for Twitter's sake, it no longer matters.

More here

Planet X

Recent discoveries of exoplanets are raising the question whether astronomers have found all the planet-like objects in our own system.

The announcement of the recent discovery of exoplanet Alpha Centauri Bb is a testimony to how far planetary detection techniques have come over the last few decades.

It brings the total of confirmed exoplanets - or "extra-solar planets" - to a staggering 825. However, the search for planets in our own solar system has subsided since the pioneering days at the end of the 18th century with the discovery of Uranus and almost one hundred years later with the identification of Neptune.

The idea of another planet, dubbed 'Planet X', inspired astronomers to keep searching for yet another 100 years in a hunt that was full of twists and turns.

More here

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fiscal year 2012

While the rest of America was holding an election last week, the gnomes at the Congressional Budget Office released the final budget totals for fiscal 2012. They're worth reporting because they illuminate the real fiscal choices that confront the country, as opposed to the posturing you'll be hearing over the next few weeks.

The nearby table lays out the ugly details. The feds rolled up another $1.1 trillion deficit for the year that ended September 30, which was the biggest deficit since World War II, except for each of the previous three years. President Obama can now proudly claim the four largest deficits in modern history. As a share of GDP, the deficit fell to 7% last year, which was still above any single year of the Reagan Presidency, or any other year since Truman worked in the Oval Office.

Tax revenue kept climbing, up 6.4% for the year overall, and at $2.45 trillion it is now close to the historic high it reached in fiscal 2007 before the recession hit. Mr. Obama won't want you to know this, but this revenue increase is occurring under the Bush tax rates that he so desperately wants to raise in the name of getting what he says is merely "a little more in taxes." Individual income tax payments are now up $233 billion over the last two years, or 26%.

This healthy revenue increase comes despite measly economic growth of between 1% and 2%. Imagine the gusher of revenue the feds could get if government got out of the way and let the economy grow faster.

Now let's look at outlays, which declined a bit in 2012. That small miracle was achieved thanks to a 4% fall in defense spending, a 24% fall in jobless benefits, and an 8.9% decline in Medicaid spending.

Note, however, that federal spending remains at a new plateau of about $3.54 trillion, or some $800 billion more than the last pre-recession year of 2007. One way to think about this is that most of the $830 billion stimulus of 2009 has now become part of the federal budget baseline. The "emergency" spending of the stimulus has now become permanent, as we predicted it would.

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Solitary babushkas

Decades after Chernobyl's nuclear disaster, despite the severely contaminated ground, government objections and the deaths of many fellow 'self-settlers’, a community of determined babushkas remains. ...

Twenty-six years ago, on 26 April 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant’s Reactor No 4 blew up after a routine test, and the resulting fire lasted 10 days, spewing 400 times as much radiation as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

The government (then Soviet) declared the area that lay within an 18-mile radius uninhabitable and resettled 116,000 residents with a pension, an apartment and sketchy information about the health risks that lay ahead. In the ensuing months and years, these first resettlers were followed by a few hundred thousand more, all displaced, most from the land where they’d grown up. But Hanna, who had been forced out in the first group, did not accept that fate.

Three months after being relocated, she returned with her husband, her mother-in-law and a handful of other members of their collective farm. When government officials objected, she responded, 'Shoot us and dig the grave; otherwise we’re staying.’

Hanna was among some 1,200 returnees, called 'self-settlers’, most over the age of 48, who made their way back in the first few years after the accident, in defiance of the authorities’ legitimate concerns. For despite the self-settlers’ deep love of their ancestral homes, it’s a fact that the soil, air and water here in what is now known as the Exclusion Zone, or Zone of Alienation, are among the most heavily contaminated on earth.

More here