The Coming Collapse of the
Info about my book. All royalties go to wounded veterans. Please forward and post where possible.
For those who want further information about the topics covered in this blog, I recommend the following sites. I will add to this as I find additional good sources.
Honor our dead
The best way to do so is by getting in the fight, however you can, to preserve the Republic they died for. Not everyone can carry a gun, but everyone can do their part in endless struggle for Freedom.
As my DIs used to say, at a rather loud volume, “DON’T YOU QUIT ON ME, MAGGOT!”
Obama’s Strange Strategy: Borrow Foreign Money to Give to Foreign Countries
Excerpt: Should we be borrowing money from
to turn around and give it to the Muslim Brotherhood? Given that we are running massive deficits and are drowning in more than $14 trillion in debt, and despite not knowing who will rule China Egypt until its election this fall, this strange strategy may be the end result given President Obama’s announcement that he is committing $2 billion to ’s “new government.” It’s part of a $20 billion foreign aid package laid out with the Group of 8 countries in Egypt Europe today. Now, given that has a history of corruption when it comes to utilizing American aid, it is doubtful that the money will really help needy Egyptian people. Couple that with the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is organized to have a real shot at taking control of Egypt ’s government, and one has to ask why we would send money (that we don’t have) into unknown Egyptian hands? Egypt
FBI calls corruption among
border agents a 'serious' threat U.S.
With the billions the cartels get from their accessories in murder—US drug abusers—they can but all but the most honest. ~Bob. Excerpt: New figures show 122 current or former
federal agents and employees of the Customs and Border Protection agency have been arrested or indicted for corruption since October 2004. It is a trend that has both the FBI and key members of Congress concerned. In addition, 92 of those cases were considered instances of “Mission Compromising Corruption,” in which the employee violated, or facilitated the violation of the laws the agency enforces-- such as those related to the smuggling of drugs or illegal aliens. The above numbers are derived from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data released to KHOU-TV in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. U.S.
Automakers Say "Thank You" To Service Men and Women with Rebates
, Kia, Suzuki, Hyundai, Ford and Chrysler are offering members of the armed services $500 rebates. The savings from GM could be $2,000 or more, now that the automaker is tailoring its military rebates to its different models and increasing them in many cases. Service members can usually pile the military discount right on top of the regular rebates and special financing that may be available. (…) The military programs for these customers vary greatly in their criteria. While all include active military, some individual programs include reservists, family members or veterans as well. Some car companies put an expiration on specific deals while others continue them across the board from month to month. Automakers occasionally make these deals available to veterans of the armed services who did not serve the 20 years needed to formally retire from the military. While I wouldn’t urge anyone to run out and purchase anything they don’t have a need for, it stands to reason some of us must need a new vehicle at any given moment. Keep in mind these offers are only on new—not used—vehicles, and may or may not include those veterans who served an enlistment and got out short of retirement. I’d narrow the search to two or three candidate vehicles and then ask the dealers about these discounts. That way, at least you get something you like. I’ve heard of other discounts in the restaurant and home supply industries, but don’t have any details of them to pass on. I wish they’d had deals like this when I was still in uniform (I remember the M-2 battle axe had almost no misfires at all, but was a bugger to keep sharp). Ron P.) Toyota
Sheriff's deputy killed in ambush at stoplight; suspects at large
deputy is dead, shot multiple times in what officers are calling a chilling and senseless crime. Officials say the deputy was waiting at a stop light at Rigsby and Interstate 410 when a white vehicle pulled up and began firing at the officer. It happened around 2 a.m. Saturday. The semiautomatic gunfire shattered the squad car’s windows, killing the deputy behind the wheel. (That close to the border, I have a guess. ~Bob.) Bexar County
Nuclear power and climate change – what now?
Excerpt: …[S]hould we look to nuclear power as a major component in solving the climate change problem? As of April 20th, the situation at the site seems to be getting more manageable by the day, though the ultimate repair and cleanup will be a long-term project. The 24-hour news cycle has feasted on the public’s dread of radiation, relegating the deaths of tens of thousands in the earthquake and tsunami to almost a footnote on
cable news shows. Anti-nuclear crusaders have been trotted out with little regard for their qualifications, some resurrecting long-debunked tales of deaths and injuries at Three Mile Island (where nobody was even hurt, much less killed). (Whether or not you think/believe the climate is changing in an abnormal way (I’m unsure), this article (PDF) is worth reading. Written a bit more than a month ago and taking the Fukushima Daiichi reactor problems into consideration, the author explains many things in easy to understand language. Many—from both sides of the AGW divide—see nuclear power as our only practical, long-term solution to our future energy needs. Back in the 50s and 60s, it was also seen as the only real solution to our environmental problems (no ashes, no emissions, little mining). Of course, that was before science was so thoroughly politicized and all technology (other than digital) was “bad.” Ron P.) US
Have Our Cultural Stewards Abandoned One of Their Own?
locked up its best-known artist nearly two months ago. Ai Weiwei, who is both a widely admired conceptual artist and a fearless human-rights activist, has been on the bad side of the Chinese government for years. Officials claim that he was imprisoned for tax evasion, but given China 's notorious intolerance of dissent, it's an ultrasafe bet that his real "offense" was that he dared to criticize the tyrannical bureaucrats who run his native land, not just once but repeatedly. "I want to have a purpose, to protect the dignity of life," Mr. Ai told the Journal in January. "I feel it's ridiculous to live in a condition where people cannot access their rights." Those who say such things in China can end up behind bars—or worse. And what is the art world doing about it? Not much. (After you read it look at the comments posted...read those comments in light of the Arts Community's loud defense of Roman Polanski. Contrast and perspective is very important in art. Placed next to Ai Weiwei the whole of the Art Community seems kind of ... small. –Jed) China
Exclusive: Hackers breached
defense contractors U.S.
Excerpt: They breached security systems designed to keep out intruders by creating duplicates to "SecurID" electronic keys from EMC Corp's (EMC.N) RSA security division, said the person who was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter. It was not immediately clear what kind of data, if any, was stolen by the hackers. But the networks of Lockheed and other military contractors contain sensitive data on future weapons systems as well as military technology currently used in battles in
Iraq and . Weapons makers are the latest companies to be breached through sophisticated attacks that have pierced the defenses of huge corporations including Sony (SNE.N), Google Inc (GOOG.O) and EMC Corp (EMC.N). Security experts say that it is virtually impossible for any company or government agency to build a security network that hackers will be unable to penetrate. Afghanistan
Excerpt: On the surface, the protests do look similar in style to those that brought down the governments in
Tunisia and , from the social networking calls to battle to the colorful tents pitched on the cities’ main squares. But there is a fundamental difference— Egypt Spain and are democracies, not dictatorial regimes. And, unlike Greece Tunisia and Egypt, in countries like Greece, Italy and , there is a long history of social disobedience and political protests to get the attention of voters and democratically elected leaders. There is another vital difference, and one that is disconcerting to authorities watching the situation. Protests like those in Spain Spain and have traditionally been a breeding ground for anarchist groups that tend to hijack more noble causes to push an anti-authority rhetoric. That has so far been kept at a minimum in Greece Spain, likely because the anarchists are regrouping after protesting the G8/G20 confabs in last week. But there are urgent calls to action on anarchist websites and a real fear among authorities that if the protests spread across Greece and Italy, the extreme elements of the anarchist groups will not miss the opportunity to get a piece of the action. (That still leaves two seasons open. Asian Autumn and Western Winter? This is going to be a tough year. Ron P. Not as tough as next year. Or the year after. ~Bob.) France
Whole world pays if US doesn't lead
's preeminent world role over? That's what a recent New Yorker essay, based on interviews with presidential advisers, claimed. It characterized the Obama foreign-relations style as "leading from behind" -- given the supposed inevitable America decline and growing unpopularity. But if US abrogates its preeminent leadership position of the last 65 years, wouldn't the world look a lot like it did in the pre-American days of the 1930s? Then, a Depression-era America was just one of many powers and reluctant to assert leadership abroad. Eighty years ago, a newly Westernized and anti-democratic Japanese powerhouse was carving out uncontested Asian spheres of influence. An oil-, rubber- and iron-hungry imperial United States Japan claimed it needed more natural resources to fuel its industrial revolution, and so spread an authoritarian Asian co-prosperity sphere of influence as an alternative to alliance with an economically depressed and psychologically withdrawn . America
Excerpt: "…[In Srebrenica] beheadings of Serbian civilians were commonplace, and in some villages the mujahedeen would dynamite homes with the inhabitants trapped inside. No attempt was made to hide such atrocities. In fact, Gen. Oric would often address the media at the site of the massacres. On one such occasion, while standing in front of mujahedeen displaying decapitated human heads as trophies, Gen. Oric pointed to a smouldering building in ruins and proudly announced to reporters, “We blew those Serbs to the moon.” Alija Izetbegovic was also proud to display the fighting prowess of his mujahedeen volunteers. Following a successful attack against Serbian positions around Vozuce on Sept. 10, 1995, the Bosnian president held a televised medal presentation. Mujahedeen warriors had served as the vanguard of the assault force, and were awarded 11 decorations for valour, including the
, ’s highest honour. … According to Miroslav Lazanski, author of the new book, Osama bin Laden Against America, al-Qaeda members still maintain two bases in Bosnia , one of them reserved for top fighters. Bosnia
This is a country with more nukes than
. ~Bob. Excerpt: Embarrassed by the Osama bin Laden raid and by a series of insurgent attacks on high-security sites, top Pakistani military officials are increasingly concerned that their ranks are penetrated by Islamists who are aiding militants in a campaign against the state. Those worries have grown especially acute since the killing of bin Laden less than a mile from a prestigious military academy. This week’s naval base infiltration by heavily armed insurgents in Britain — an attack widely believed to have required inside help — has only deepened fears, military officials said. Karachi
Mislabeling kids as ADHD? Investigate federal rules
Gee, I just can’t figure out why the Federal Government is going broke. ~Bob. Excerpt: GOOD INTENTIONS have gone awry in the federal program that gives cash benefits to families of disabled children, and a comprehensive assessment of the program’s weaknesses is the first step toward fixing it. Given the strong possibility that children are being misclassified as disabled to make their families eligible for checks of up to $700 a month, Congress should happily pay the $10 million or so needed to fund a study of the program by the well-regarded
. And then it should quickly implement any changes based on the institute’s findings before more children are misclassified. As the Globe’s Patricia Wen documented in a series in December, the $10 billion-a-year Supplemental Security Income program, which was originally meant for families of children with such disabilities as Down syndrome or cerebral palsy, has long since expanded to cover such mental conditions as attention-deficit disorder. In 1990, 8 percent of the poor children on SSI had qualified because of mental, learning, or behavioral disorders; in 2009, more than half did. Institute of Medicine
The Green Shirts are coming. Won’t be hard to convince the Muslims who, demographics suggest, will control
in the near future, to give up democracy. Giving up oil, not so much. ~Bob. Excerpt: Germany 's green government advisors admit frankly that decarbonization can only be achieved by the limitation of democracy - both nationally and internationally. When it comes to environmental and climate policy, Germany ’s Scientific Advisory Council on Global Environmental Change (WBGU) is an influential advisory committee for the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The chairman of the council is Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. In April 2011, the WBGU presented a report entitled "World in Transition - Social Contract for a Great Transformation". The main theses of the WBGU are as follows: The current economic model ("fossil industrial metabolism") is normatively untenable. "The transformation to a climate friendly economy... is morally as necessary as the abolition of slavery and the outlawing of child labor." The reorganization of the world economy has to happen quickly; nuclear energy and coal have to be given up at the same time and very soon. Germany
Embarrassing snub for President Obama as Polish hero
Lech Walesa skips meeting to go to a biblical festival
's former president and Solidarity founder Lech Walesa has snubbed an invitation to meet with President Barack Obama. Mr Walesa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, had been invited by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski to attend a gathering of Poland Poland's leading political figures with the U.S. President in on Saturday. 'It's difficult to tell journalists what you'd like to say to the president of a superpower. This time I won't tell him, I won't meet him, it doesn't suit me,' Walesa told news station TVN24. Warsaw
They said what?
Damn Republicans are trying to make being here illegally illegal! ~Bob
Excerpt: Consistent with their refined taste in communications, the emerging generations no longer watch TV. Rather, they view video content – on demand. And big screen plasmas are no longer the technolust of the modish. You will more likely see an American teen utilizing a personal, individual screen that can display video while simultaneously providing communications connectivity with friends. This transmogrification of the digital world has enormous implications. For one, the development of content is not controlled by a few elitist broadcast networks. Video-watching is more purposeful and is streamed to an IP address, rather than broadcast to the masses in 30-minute segments with three commercial breaks. Even the Nielsen Ratings are adjusting to the new reality. Their annual ratings report that just came out this week reveal that they are keen to the trend, quantifying viewership from many sources. Nielsen Company Senior Vice President Pat McDonough states in the report that “Nielsen’s cross-platform media strategy will allow us to measure all of this content and report the total picture of video consumption to our clients regardless of delivery method.”
Arizona won a spectacular victory today in the Supreme Court in its ongoing efforts to do something about the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who reside in the state and cost taxpayers an estimated $1.3 billion a year. In its ruling against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Obama administration, the Court also disproved the breathless claims of liberals and the editorial pages of publications like the New York Times that the conservative justices on the Court are just the handmaidens of big business who always rule in favor of corporate Arizona . America
Texans Revolt Against TSA Tyranny, Storm Capitol
Excerpt: Exclusive footage of the Texas Capitol takeover Wednesday, when angry demonstrators led by radio host Alex Jones descended upon the Senate to rebuke threats used to quash a TSA bill that passed the House unanimously and was poised to clear the Senate with 30 of 31 senators supporting. The bill’s sponsor Sen. Dan Patrick revealed that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst was behind a move to kill the bill without “leaving fingerprints” on behalf of the Obama Administration. The Feds threatened to shut down airports in
if the TSA were challenged. Supporters of the bill sent a message to the Texas Senate even after being barred from entry, shouting from the halls “criminals” and “treason” while decrying the tyrannical mission creep of the unconstitutional TSA, as well as the hostage tactics it has employed. The bill, HB 1937 [PDF], would have expressly declared it a crime for TSA or security personnel to reach into the pants or touch the genitals of passengers or other innocent bystanders. Texas
Suspected Al Qaeda Gunmen Reportedly Seize Yemeni City
Excerpt: Suspected Al Qaeda gunmen have overrun the southern Yemeni city of
after heavy clashes with security forces left 16 dead, an official told AFP Sunday. Two other officials said that fighting raged in the city on Friday and Saturday, with 15 soldiers and one civilian killed in the violence. "About 300 Islamic militants and Al Qaeda men came into Zinjibar and took over everything," one resident told Reuters Sunday. A security official told AFP that he estimated over 200 militants attacked the city. Another official said the attackers "took over all government facilities". Zinjibar
Algerian Christian gets five years in jail for "blasphemy"
Excerpt: This story helps to demonstrate why "blasphemy" laws and other legislation curtailing free speech to shield Islam from insults and "provocations" (real or imagined) must be resisted: "While Algeria professes that it upholds religious freedom, it also embraces a blasphemy law that, by its very nature, can be used to prosecute anyone who does not adhere to the religion of Islam." At the end of the day, merely expressing a belief at variance with Islam is "blasphemy," and the fact that one could have the gall to think such thoughts and admit to them out loud could be construed as "insulting." That is what has happened to Siagh Krimo. "Algerian Christian Given Five Year Prison Sentence for Blasphemy,"
LeT as dangerous as al-Qaeda:
US joined on Friday to call for “effective steps by all countries” to eliminate safe havens and infrastructure for terrorism, ranking the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in the same league as the al Qaeda. “I think in my judgment, the LeT ranks right up there with the al Qaeda and related groups as terrorist organisations, one that seeks to harm people and take innocent lives,” India secretary of homeland security Janet Napolitano said on Friday at the end of the first Indo-US Homeland Security dialogue. US
Witness: Pakistani Intel Officer Ordered Hit on Mumbai Jews
Excerpt: An officer in
Pakistan’s intelligence service chose a Jewish center as a target for the 2008 Mumbai attacks and then helped launch a new plot against Denmark, according to the star witness in a terror trial in . Chicago
Excerpt: A Military court in
has sentenced three Christian Copts to 5-years imprisonment on charges of possession of firearms and pocket knives. The Court released all other Muslims and Copts arrested following clashes on May 19 over the re-opening of St. Mary and St. Abraham churches in Ain Shams West (AINA 5-24-2011). Copts Emad Ayyad and Ayman Youssef Halim were convicted of carrying firearms. Emad Ayyam's son, Ayad Emad Ayad, was convicted of carrying a pocket knife. Eight Copts, mostly students, were arrested in Ain Shams West and charged with rioting, violence and causing injury to citizens. Three of the Copts were also charged with possession of firearms and knives. Police arrested three under-age Muslims on charges of throwing stones at the army. Egypt
Excerpt: A practicing Muslim man raped and threatened a young Norwegian girl for several hours. Numerous rapes in
over the past several years have been committed by "non-Western men," e.g., Muslims. In fact, in the past year, all rapes in Sweden have been committed by non-Western men. "He said that he had the right to do exactly as he wanted to a woman. Why? Because that is how it was in his religion. Women did not have rights or opinions. He was in charge." Islam teaches utter disrespect for women, who are mere possessions of savage men, to be raped whenever the beasts feel like it. At least this rapist admitted that fact of Islamic misogyny and sexism, which should be obvious to anyone with eyes to see. "Women are your fields: go, then, into your fields whence you please." Quran 2:223 Oslo
Lockheed Martin Hit by Unspecified Cyber Incident
U.S. government said Saturday that weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp. was hit by an unspecified cyber incident, according to Reuters. The Department of Homeland Security said it and the Department of Defense offered help to determine the scope of a "cyber incident impacting LMCO," according to Reuters. The Wall Street Journal first reported Friday that hackers infiltrated Lockheed Martin. The security disruptions prompted the company to step up measures to protect its data. It wasn't immediately clear if any sensitive information was stolen or compromised. Lockheed spokesman Jeff Adams told Fox News that the company doesn't discuss specific cyber threats or measures taken in response. U.S.
Derk Jan Eppink: A religion without a God
Excerpt: Generally, the advantage of religion is that you do not have to take 'facts' into account. Like doomsday announcer Camping, you simply believe and preach, hoping that facts will follow. Western political elites live in a secularized world, a world without God. But religion - a matter of belief - does apparently remain a need of human mankind. In particular, progressive political elites have abolished God, while clinging to notoriously religious features like 'fear', 'guilt', 'final judgement', 'redemption', 'sin' and 'salvation', as part of their political philosophies. God is gone, but the rest stayed on. Climate Change is just an example of this phenomenon. The concept can only be effective if there is 'guilt' (politically incorrect behaviour of human mankind), 'fear' (doomsday), if there is 'sin' (acts of unprincipled unbelievers), and finally salvation (brought about by the NGO´s of the Green Movement). And if there is somehow a substitute Jesus on top, as impersonated by Al Gore, secular religion gets rooted in political communities trying to turn it into public policy all people have to adhere to. It takes courage to withstand religion-based political philosophies. You will be depicted as a heretic, as anti-human, as narrow-minded, as autistic and stupid.
Walid Shoebat: By peace they will deceive the world
Excerpt: While the lovers and supporters of Israel both on the right and the left celebrate the diplomatic victory of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu over President Barack Obama, the prospects for Israel in regards to its security and standing in the world is very daunting with many threats that are obvious still remain evident, however there are even more serious threats that are not so obvious and are quickly coming to the surface. In order to understand the not so obvious we must know and understand the mindset and character of the
Middle East. Our organization being made up of former Muslims from that very part of the world who understand far better the mindset, strategies, and tactics used by the Islamic world as well as the culture and religion of Arabs both Christian and Muslim.
15 States Claim EPA Violated Clean Air Act with Endangerment Finding
Excerpt: The 41-page brief filed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit argues that the EPA so-called Endangerment Finding is flawed because the EPA did not “determine what ‘atmospheric concentrations’ of GHGs” endanger public health and welfare as is required by the Clean Air Act. The brief urges the court to strike down the EPA’s finding. The 15 states include:
Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and . The EPA finalized its Endangerment Finding in December 2009. The finding “was the first rule in a series to coerce states to regulate GHGs,” Abbott’s office said in a statement. “The brief … asserts that the EPA’s Endangerment Finding is both arbitrary and capricious and failed to comply with the federal Clean Air Act.” (This also contains a link to a PDF of the actual brief as filed. Ron P.) Virginia
The Cocoa-Puff challenge
Excerpt: Lieutenant Colonel Allen West (R-FL) can hardly host a town hall meeting or public event without being harassed by rowdy protesters who resent the Florida Congressman's conservative politics. West's events are regularly disrupted by "sunshine blowing" CAIR activists, former Air America radio hosts, Robocall campaigners, and confused white women who mistakenly criticize West over issues they actually agree upon. Always the gentleman, Allen West has even been accused by Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) of wearing "extreme disrespect as a badge of honor." Debbie believes West "thinks it's OK to objectify and denigrate women." Rest assured, if such an outrageous accusation was hurled in Barack Obama's direction, the media would interpret it as a racial slur, insinuating that the accuser believes the hip-hop culture, notorious for "objectifying and denigrating women," is endemic to all men of color.
Excerpt: Texas Governor Rick Perry on Friday ceremonially signed a bill making Texas the twelfth state to require photo identification from voters. "Today we take a major step forward in ensuring the integrity of our electoral process in Texas, a major step protecting the most cherished right that we enjoy as a people," Perry, joined by lawmakers who supported the legislation, told reporters.
Iran warns of US plots to save Israel
Threatening genocide. Will the Left object? Nah. ~Bob. Excerpt: “The US seeks to save the Zionist regime (Israel) with deceit. Everybody should know that the survival of the Zionist regime and its existence even in one span of the Palestinian soil is like preserving a cancerous tumor in the body of regional nations, and [is] a permanent threat against them,” said President Ahmadinejad in the Iranian city of Qom on Thursday. He added that the Iranian people and world nations are awakened and demand justice, freedom and the complete elimination of Israel, IRNA reported.
"Arab Spring" making life tough for gays: "Sheikhs still emphasize that death penalty is the Islamic punishment for gay men"
Excerpt: Still more evidence that Islamic supremacists, not supporters of democracy and Western notions of human rights, have the upper hand in the countries that went through the vaunted "Arab Spring." (In 20 years, they will be hanging gays in Dearborn. The Left will celebrate that as “Multiculturalism.” ~Bob.)
Eric Cantor's 5% Growth Strategy
Excerpt: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor turned the policy temperature down on austerity this week by rolling out a strong economic-growth agenda. Headlined by a 25 percent top tax rate for individuals and business, the Cantor package includes regulatory relief, free trade, and patent protection for entrepreneurs. It’s job creation and the economy, stupid. Sounds Reaganesque? Well, Eric Cantor has a lot of Reagan blood in him. Back in 1980, while Cantor was still in high school, his father was the Virginia state treasurer of the Ronald Reagan presidential campaign. So the apple never falls far from the tree.
Trial's First Week Reinforces Pakistani Intelligence Suspicions
Excerpt: Testimony in a Chicago courtroom is reverberating in South Asia Friday, as two senior U.S. officials meet with counterparts in Indian and Pakistan. Pakistan's commitment to fighting terrorism – and rooting out complicity among elements of its own government – are sure to come up in meetings Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has in India and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has in Pakistan. During four days of testimony, an admitted plotter in the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai chronicled his recruitment, training and handling by former Pakistani army officers and members of the country's Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI). Ten gunmen from the Pakistani-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba killed 166 people in the assault, including six Americans, and held parts of the city under siege for three days.
When Memorial Day Bleeds Across the Calendar
Excerpt: I hope civilians find more solace in Memorial Day than I do. Many seem to forget why it exists in the first place, and spend the time looking for good sales or drinking beers on the back porch. It’s a long weekend, not a period of personal reflection. At the same time, many incorrectly thank Vets or active duty folks for their service. While appreciated, it’s misdirected. That’s what Veterans Day is for. Instead, they should take some time and remember the spirit of the country and the dedication of those men and women who chose to pick up arms. They never came home to be thanked, and only their memory remains. (More people need to remember and understand that Memorial Day isn't for us that were lucky enough to have made it home. --MasterGuns)
The Dreamer Goes Down For The Count
Excerpt: I had never thought there were many similarities between the pleasure-loving Charles II of England and the more upright Barack Obama until this week. Listening to his speeches on the Middle East at the State Department, US-Israel relations at the AIPAC annual meeting and most recently his address to the British Parliament the comparison becomes irresistible. “Here lies our sovereign king,” wrote the Earl of Rochester about King Charles: Whose word no man relies on. Who never said a foolish thing, Or ever did a wise one. This seems to capture President Obama’s Middle East problems in a nutshell. The President’s descriptions of the situation are comprehensive and urbane. He correctly identifies the forces at work. He develops interesting policy ideas and approaches that address important political and moral elements of the complex problems we face. He crafts approaches that might, with good will and deft management, bridge the gaps between the sides. He reads thoughtful speeches full of sensible reflections.
Six Climate Realist Specialists Speak Out
The Insult Behind Obama's U.K. Codename
Excerpt: Before President Obama’s arrival in London, The Daily Mail ran a story under the headline “Codename ‘smart alec’: British police label Obama with ‘mildly offensive’ Punjabi word for visit to U.K.” Scotland Yard says its computers randomly picked a codename for Obama, “chalaque,” for his visit to the country. But the newspaper quoted a Sikh community leader saying the name is often used to “denigrate” someone. Yahoo News then picked up the story, featuring it on its homepage under the headline: “Obama Code Named ‘smart alec’ in Britain.”
The Significance of Trust Funds
Excerpt: The Social Security and Medicare trust funds are very important insofar as they determine the spending authority of the Social Security and Medicare programs. Without a positive balance in their respective funds, the programs lack the authority to deliver benefits. In both Social Security and in Medicare Hospital Insurance, the primary financing sources are the payroll taxes paid from workers and income taxes levied on Social Security benefits. Whenever these dedicated incoming revenues fall short of payment obligations, the programs can draw on any trust fund balances to keep payments flowing, says Charles Blahous, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. For the most part -- but not entirely -- the balances in these trust funds reflect past program surpluses of income over expenditures. Whenever such a past surplus was run, it was used to finance the general operations of the federal government, in exchange for which the general fund issued special-issue Treasury bonds to the trust funds, which in turn accrue interest. Taken as a whole, Social Security and Medicare are thus financed in part by revenues the programs themselves annually generate (such as payroll taxes, benefit taxes and premium payments) and in part by general fund revenues (provided either as interest payments, redemption of trust fund bonds or legislated general revenue transfers). All of these various sources of revenues are mixed in the trust funds, committing federal resources and establishing spending authority. Unlike tax and premium contributions, however, interest payments, general revenue transfers and trust fund bond redemptions represent a draw on the general government fund for which there is no earmarked financing source. They thus represent obligations of the federal government, but do not answer the important question of how those obligations will be financed.
Inconvenient Truths About 'Renewable' Energy
Excerpt: What does the word "renewable" mean?
Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a thousand-page report on the future of renewable energy, which it defined as solar, hydro, wind, tidal, wave, geothermal and biomass. These energy sources, said the IPCC, generate about 13.8% of our energy and, if encouraged to grow, could eventually displace most fossil fuel use. It turns out that the great majority of this energy, 10.2% out of the 13.8% share, comes from biomass, mainly wood (often transformed into charcoal) and dung. Most of the rest is hydro; less than 0.5% of the world's energy comes from wind, tide, wave, solar and geothermal put together. Wood and dung are indeed renewable, in the sense that they reappear as fast as you use them. Or do they? It depends on how fast you use them. One of the greatest threats to rain forests is the cutting of wood for fuel by impoverished people. Haiti meets about 60% of its energy needs with charcoal produced from forests. Even bakeries, laundries, sugar refineries and rum distilleries run on the stuff. Full marks to renewable Haiti, the harbinger of a sustainable future! Or maybe not: Haiti has felled 98% of its tree cover and counting; it's an ecological disaster compared with its fossil-fuel burning neighbor, the Dominican Republic, whose forest cover is 41% and stable. Haitians are now burning tree roots to make charcoal. You can likewise question the green and clean credentials of other renewables.
Vermont Tries the Public Option
If you drive through Swanton, VT, and hear a whirring noise, it will be my Great, Great Grandfather, Dr. George Hall, a Democrat State Representative, spinning in his grave. ~Bob. Excerpt: This week, Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont will sign a bill doing what President Obama and his allies have hoped to do all along: sell a public insurance option alongside competing private insurance as a first step toward a single-payer, government-run system, says David Gratzer, a physician and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. The last time Vermont's health system gained national attention was in 2004, when Howard Dean, then governor of the state, ran for president. As governor, Mr. Dean expanded public insurance eligibility, struggling to get as close to single-payer health care as he legally could. New regulations pushed out private insurers, reducing competition. The result? The number of uninsured Vermonters barely budged, but costs sure moved -- in the wrong direction. From 1991 to 2004, according to the Kaiser Foundation, Vermont's health costs grew by 7.6 percent annually. Across the United States comparable costs grew only 5.5 percent on average. From 2005 to 2008, in data cited by Dr. William Hsaio, a Harvard consultant, growth in Vermont's health costs grew 8.2 percent, against a national average of 5.7 percent.
Excerpt: If the Republican presidential field were any more unstable, it would be radioactive. At this point just about anyone can jump in and briefly poll on top of the heap, before slowly sinking down to the bottom again, like a banana in a bowl of stale jello. Party players pin their hopes on candidates that aren't running. Pilgrims in thousand dollar suits court state governors. Activists assemble petitions. But none of that is the solution. It's not so much that the man is missing, but the message. It's a long way from 2011 to 2010. A year ago it was about the message, not the personalities. Now it is all about the personalities. And such scant personalities they are. After months of this, we can finally begin dividing the field into RINO's who have experience, populists who have no experience and those who have decided not to run. For all the feverish speculation, we find ourselves without the usual surplus of candidates. Instead it's more like a shortage. Trump's ring toss and retreat has become the opening number of the race. Mid-terms are dangerous. It takes huge amounts of money and coordination to pull off a presidential run. Not to mention facing a media gauntlet of unprecedented ugliness. It's easier not to run. Especially if you have no compelling reason.
Where's Tony Rezko?
Excerpt: Thomas R. Bennett, who has been following the retrial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for the Nuclear Chicago blog, accuses U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of “sandbagging” and “running egregious political interference to both benefit and protect Team Obama” for not calling fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko to the stand as a government witness: “Simply put – Antoin ‘Tony’ Rezko is the only witness that can bury Blagojevich and the Chicago Political Thuggery Machine. Why is Fitzgerald holding back Rezko? What has been promised or implied to Fitzgerald as a ‘reward’ for Fitzgerald’s blatant sandbagging efforts?” Bennett launched this latest incendiary after federal marshals apparently detained him and escorted him out of Chicago’s federal court building after he wrote: “There is still a gigantic elephant in the room. Specifically, we still do not have an answer related to who leaked classified Department of Justice (DOJ) information regarding the confidential Blagojevich wiretaps?” He included a link to an earlier Beltway Confidential post asking the same question.
Could a Currency Collapse Happen Here?
This will be part of the Collapse I describe in my book. ~Bob. Excerpt: My idea of an economic nightmare isn’t a stock market crash, but a currency crisis which destroys the value of an entire country’s wealth. If this story line sounds like the stuff of Hollywood film or a black & white newsreel from the 1920s — think again. This horrific scenario is unfolding this week in Belarus, where the government was forced to devalue the currency by 36% on Monday as confidence in the nation’s economy evaporated. Previously fixed at 3,155 Belarussian rubles to the dollar, the Belarus National Bank dropped exchange rate to 4,930. The black market rate is quoted even higher, at 6,500 Belarussian rubles to the dollar, and climbing daily.