Friday, March 27, 2009

Anglian Break

East Anglia

East Anglian break, for almost two weeks. I will pay close attention to the needs of the English whilst I am visiting, to attempt a repair of the break in our relations over the last couple months.

With the exception of the pub owner, Bell Inn, which I very well may stop by and egg (I wonder if they do such things in England).

Anyway, if I am not caught on CCTV egging his home, I may return with greater insight into our neighbors across the Atlantic.

Still ethically challenged, but not as bad as some.


UN: Showing it cares, and plotting world dominion

U.N. 'Climate Change' Plan Would Likely Shift Trillions to Form New World Economy

Friday , March 27, 2009
By George Russell

A United Nations document on "climate change" that will be distributed to a major environmental conclave next week envisions a huge reordering of the world economy, likely involving trillions of dollars in wealth transfer, millions of job losses and gains, new taxes, industrial relocations, new tariffs and subsidies, and complicated payments for greenhouse gas abatement schemes and carbon taxes — all under the supervision of the world body.

Those and other results are blandly discussed in a discretely worded United Nations "information note" on potential consequences of the measures that industrialized countries will likely have to take to implement the Copenhagen Accord, the successor to the Kyoto Treaty, after it is negotiated and signed by December 2009. The Obama administration has said it supports the treaty process if, in the words of a U.S. State Department spokesman, it can come up with an "effective framework" for dealing with global warming.

The 16-page note, obtained by FOX News, will be distributed to participants at a mammoth negotiating session that starts on March 29 in Bonn, Germany, the first of three sessions intended to hammer out the actual commitments involved in the new deal.

In the stultifying language that is normal for important U.N. conclaves, the negotiators are known as the "Ad Hoc Working Group On Further Commitments For Annex I Parties Under the Kyoto Protocol." Yet the consequences of their negotiations, if enacted, would be nothing short of world-changing.

Getting that deal done has become the United Nations' highest priority, and the Bonn meeting is seen as a critical step along the path to what the U.N. calls an "ambitious and effective international response to climate change," which is intended to culminate at the later gathering in Copenhagen.

Just how ambitious the U.N.'s goals are can be seen, but only dimly, in the note obtained by FOX News, which offers in sparse detail both positive and negative consequences of the tools that industrial nations will most likely use to enforce the greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The paper makes no effort to calculate the magnitude of the costs and disruption involved, but despite the discreet presentation, makes clear that they will reverberate across the entire global economic system.

Among the tools that are considered are the cap-and-trade system for controlling carbon emissions that has been espoused by the Obama administration; "carbon taxes" on imported fuels and energy-intensive goods and industries, including airline transportation; and lower subsidies for those same goods, as well as new or higher subsidies for goods that are considered "environmentally sound."

Other tools are referred to only vaguely, including "energy policy reform," which the report indicates could affect "large-scale transportation infrastructure such as roads, rail and airports." When it comes to the results of such reform, the note says only that it could have "positive consequences for alternative transportation providers and producers of alternative fuels."
In the same bland manner, the note informs negotiators without going into details that cap-and-trade schemes "may induce some industrial relocation" to "less regulated host countries." Cap-and-trade functions by creating decreasing numbers of pollution-emission permits to be traded by industrial users, and thus pay more for each unit of carbon-based pollution, a market-driven system that aims to drive manufacturers toward less polluting technologies.

The note adds only that industrial relocation "would involve negative consequences for the implementing country, which loses employment and investment." But at the same time it "would involve indeterminate consequences for the countries that would host the relocated industries."
There are also entirely new kinds of tariffs and trade protectionist barriers such as those termed in the note as "border carbon adjustment"— which, the note says, can impose "a levy on imported goods equal to that which would have been imposed had they been produced domestically" under more strict environmental regimes.

Another form of "adjustment" would require exporters to "buy [carbon] offsets at the border equal to that which the producer would have been forced to purchase had the good been produced domestically."

The impact of both schemes, the note says, "would be functionally equivalent to an increased tariff: decreased market share for covered foreign producers." (There is no definition in the report of who, exactly, is "foreign.") The note adds that "If they were implemented fairly, such schemes would leave trade and investment patterns unchanged." Nothing is said about the consequences if such fairness was not achieved.

Indeed, only rarely does the "information note" attempt to inform readers in dollar terms of the impact of "spillover effects" from the potential policy changes it discusses. In a brief mention of consumer subsidies for fossil fuels, the note remarks that such subsidies in advanced economies exceed $60 billion a year, while they exceed $90 billion a year in developing economies."
But calculations of the impact of tariffs, offsets, or other subsidies is rare. In a reference to the impact of declining oil exports, the report says that Saudi Arabia has determined the loss to its economy at between $100 billion and $200 billion by 2030, but said nothing about other oil exporters.

One reason for the lack of detail, the note indicates, is that impact would vary widely depending on the nature and scope of the policies adopted (and, although the note does not mention it, on the severity of the greenhouse reduction targets).

But even when it does hazard a guess at specific impacts, the report seems curiously hazy. A "climate change levy on aviation" for example, is described as having undetermined "negative impacts on exporters of goods that rely on air transport, such as cut flowers and premium perishable produce," as well as "tourism services." But no mention is made in the note of the impact on the aerospace industry, an industry that had revenues in 2008 of $208 billion in the U.S. alone, or the losses the levy would impose on airlines for ordinary passenger transportation. (Global commercial airline revenues in 2008 were about $530 billion, and were already forecast to drop to an estimated $467 billion this year.)

In other cases, as when discussing the "increased costs of traditional exports" under a new environmental regime, the report confines itself to terse description. Changes in standards and labeling for exported goods, for example, "may demand costly changes to the production process." If subsidies and tariffs affect exports, the note says, the "economic and social consequences of dampening their viability may, for some countries and sectors, be significant."
Much depends, of course, on the extent to which harsher or more lenient greenhouse gas reduction targets demand more or less drastic policies for their achievement.

And, precisely because the Bonn meeting is a stage for negotiating those targets, the note is silent. Instead it suggests that more bureaucratic work is needed "to deepen the understanding of the full nature and scale of such impacts."

But outside the Bonn process, other experts have been much more blunt about the draconian nature of the measures they deem necessary to make "effective" greenhouse gas reductions.
In an influential but highly controversial paper called "Key Elements of a Global Deal on Climate Change," British economist Nicholas Lord Stern, formerly a high British Treasury official, has declared that industrial economies would need to cut their per capita carbon dioxide emissions by "at least 80% by 2050," while the biggest economies, like the U.S.'s, would have to make cuts of 90 percent.

Stern also calls for "immediate and binding" reduction targets for developed nations of 20 percent to 40 percent by 2020.

To meet Stern's 2050 goals, he says, among other things, "most of the world's electricity production will need to have been decarbonized."
Click here for Stern's paper.

By way of comparison, according to the U.S. Department Of Energy, roughly 72 percent of U.S. electrical power generation in 2007 was derived from burning fossil fuels, with just 6 percent coming from hydro-power and less than 3 percent from non-nuclear renewable and "other" sources. And even then, those "other" non-fossil sources included wood and biomass — which, when burned, are major emitters of carbon.


That was the call by all the leftist losers for years.

Now, Mr. Obama is considering a war within Pakistan, maintaining the ongoing war in Afghanistan, and closing out the war in Iraq, in the next 2-3 years.

Which means, for the next three years we could be tied up in three places.

I guess it is ok, as long as Obama is doing it.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Brazilian Nuts

Brazil president blames white people for crisis
By Jonathan Wheatley in São Paulo and agencies

March 27 2009

Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Thursday blamed the global economic crisis on “white people with blue eyes” and said it was wrong that black and indigenous people should pay for white people’s mistakes.

Speaking in Brasília at a joint press conference with Gordon Brown, the UK prime minister, Mr Lula da Silva told reporters: “This crisis was caused by the irrational behaviour of white people with blue eyes, who before the crisis appeared to know everything and now demonstrate that they know nothing.”


Obama and Osama


The officials said al Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden, were believed to be in an unknown location in Pakistan plotting fresh attacks on the United States and its allies. U.S.-led forces invaded Afghanistan after al Qaeda launched the September 11 attacks on the United States.


As I recall, the looney left, (approximately 40% of the noisey left) screamed that Bush was playing politics everytime he brought up Osama's name ... they claimed he was using Osama to create fear ...

So what's Obama doing.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Space - The Final Frontier

Brilliant. Not quite - KNOWING, but ... scary enough. Be afraid.

Space storm alert: 90 seconds from catastrophe

23 March 2009 by Michael Brooks
Magazine issue 2700.

IT IS midnight on 22 September 2012 and the skies above Manhattan are filled with a flickering curtain of colourful light. Few New Yorkers have seen the aurora this far south but their fascination is short-lived. Within a few seconds, electric bulbs dim and flicker, then become unusually bright for a fleeting moment. Then all the lights in the state go out. Within 90 seconds, the entire eastern half of the US is without power.

A year later and millions of Americans are dead and the nation's infrastructure lies in tatters. The World Bank declares America a developing nation. Europe, Scandinavia, China and Japan are also struggling to recover from the same fateful event - a violent storm, 150 million kilometres away on the surface of the sun.

It sounds ridiculous. Surely the sun couldn't create so profound a disaster on Earth. Yet an extraordinary report funded by NASA and issued by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in January this year claims it could do just that.

Over the last few decades, western civilisations have busily sown the seeds of their own destruction. Our modern way of life, with its reliance on technology, has unwittingly exposed us to an extraordinary danger: plasma balls spewed from the surface of the sun could wipe out our power grids, with catastrophic consequences.

The projections of just how catastrophic make chilling reading. "We're moving closer and closer to the edge of a possible disaster," says Daniel Baker, a space weather expert based at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and chair of the NAS committee responsible for the report.
It is hard to conceive of the sun wiping out a large amount of our hard-earned progress.

Nevertheless, it is possible. The surface of the sun is a roiling mass of plasma - charged high-energy particles - some of which escape the surface and travel through space as the solar wind. From time to time, that wind carries a billion-tonne glob of plasma, a fireball known as a coronal mass ejection (see "When hell comes to Earth"). If one should hit the Earth's magnetic shield, the result could be truly devastating.

The incursion of the plasma into our atmosphere causes rapid changes in the configuration of Earth's magnetic field which, in turn, induce currents in the long wires of the power grids. The grids were not built to handle this sort of direct current electricity. The greatest danger is at the step-up and step-down transformers used to convert power from its transport voltage to domestically useful voltage. The increased DC current creates strong magnetic fields that saturate a transformer's magnetic core. The result is runaway current in the transformer's copper wiring, which rapidly heats up and melts. This is exactly what happened in the Canadian province of Quebec in March 1989, and six million people spent 9 hours without electricity. But things could get much, much worse than that.

Worse than Katrina

The most serious space weather event in history happened in 1859. It is known as the Carrington event, after the British amateur astronomer Richard Carrington, who was the first to note its cause: "two patches of intensely bright and white light" emanating from a large group of sunspots. The Carrington event comprised eight days of severe space weather.

There were eyewitness accounts of stunning auroras, even at equatorial latitudes. The world's telegraph networks experienced severe disruptions, and Victorian magnetometers were driven off the scale.

Though a solar outburst could conceivably be more powerful, "we haven't found an example of anything worse than a Carrington event", says James Green, head of NASA's planetary division and an expert on the events of 1859. "From a scientific perspective, that would be the one that we'd want to survive." However, the prognosis from the NAS analysis is that, thanks to our technological prowess, many of us may not.

There are two problems to face. The first is the modern electricity grid, which is designed to operate at ever higher voltages over ever larger areas. Though this provides a more efficient way to run the electricity networks, minimising power losses and wastage through overproduction, it has made them much more vulnerable to space weather. The high-power grids act as particularly efficient antennas, channelling enormous direct currents into the power transformers.

The second problem is the grid's interdependence with the systems that support our lives: water and sewage treatment, supermarket delivery infrastructures, power station controls, financial markets and many others all rely on electricity. Put the two together, and it is clear that a repeat of the Carrington event could produce a catastrophe the likes of which the world has never seen. "It's just the opposite of how we usually think of natural disasters," says John Kappenman, a power industry analyst with the Metatech Corporation of Goleta, California, and an advisor to the NAS committee that produced the report. "Usually the less developed regions of the world are most vulnerable, not the highly sophisticated technological regions."

According to the NAS report, a severe space weather event in the US could induce ground currents that would knock out 300 key transformers within about 90 seconds, cutting off the power for more than 130 million people (see map). From that moment, the clock is ticking for America.

First to go - immediately for some people - is drinkable water. Anyone living in a high-rise apartment, where water has to be pumped to reach them, would be cut off straight away. For the rest, drinking water will still come through the taps for maybe half a day. With no electricity to pump water from reservoirs, there is no more after that.

There is simply no electrically powered transport: no trains, underground or overground. Our just-in-time culture for delivery networks may represent the pinnacle of efficiency, but it means that supermarket shelves would empty very quickly - delivery trucks could only keep running until their tanks ran out of fuel, and there is no electricity to pump any more from the underground tanks at filling stations.

Back-up generators would run at pivotal sites - but only until their fuel ran out. For hospitals, that would mean about 72 hours of running a bare-bones, essential care only, service. After that, no more modern healthcare.

72 hours of healthcare remaining

The truly shocking finding is that this whole situation would not improve for months, maybe years: melted transformer hubs cannot be repaired, only replaced. "From the surveys I've done, you might have a few spare transformers around, but installing a new one takes a well-trained crew a week or more," says Kappenman. "A major electrical utility might have one suitably trained crew, maybe two."

Within a month, then, the handful of spare transformers would be used up. The rest will have to be built to order, something that can take up to 12 months.

Even when some systems are capable of receiving power again, there is no guarantee there will be any to deliver. Almost all natural gas and fuel pipelines require electricity to operate. Coal-fired power stations usually keep reserves to last 30 days, but with no transport systems running to bring more fuel, there will be no electricity in the second month.

30 days of coal left

Nuclear power stations wouldn't fare much better. They are programmed to shut down in the event of serious grid problems and are not allowed to restart until the power grid is up and running.

With no power for heating, cooling or refrigeration systems, people could begin to die within days. There is immediate danger for those who rely on medication. Lose power to New Jersey, for instance, and you have lost a major centre of production of pharmaceuticals for the entire US. Perishable medications such as insulin will soon be in short supply. "In the US alone there are a million people with diabetes," Kappenman says. "Shut down production, distribution and storage and you put all those lives at risk in very short order."

Help is not coming any time soon, either. If it is dark from the eastern seaboard to Chicago, some affected areas are hundreds, maybe thousands of miles away from anyone who might help. And those willing to help are likely to be ill-equipped to deal with the sheer scale of the disaster. "If a Carrington event happened now, it would be like a hurricane Katrina, but 10 times worse," says Paul Kintner, a plasma physicist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

In reality, it would be much worse than that. Hurricane Katrina's societal and economic impact has been measured at $81 billion to $125 billion. According to the NAS report, the impact of what it terms a "severe geomagnetic storm scenario" could be as high as $2 trillion. And that's just the first year after the storm. The NAS puts the recovery time at four to 10 years. It is questionable whether the US would ever bounce back.

4-10 years to recover

"I don't think the NAS report is scaremongering," says Mike Hapgood, who chairs the European Space Agency's space weather team. Green agrees. "Scientists are conservative by nature and this group is really thoughtful," he says. "This is a fair and balanced report."

Such nightmare scenarios are not restricted to North America. High latitude nations such as Sweden and Norway have been aware for a while that, while regular views of the aurora are pretty, they are also reminders of an ever-present threat to their electricity grids. However, the trend towards installing extremely high voltage grids means that lower latitude countries are also at risk. For example, China is on the way to implementing a 1000-kilovolt electrical grid, twice the voltage of the US grid. This would be a superb conduit for space weather-induced disaster because the grid's efficiency to act as an antenna rises as the voltage between the grid and the ground increases. "China is going to discover at some point that they have a problem," Kappenman says.

Neither is Europe sufficiently prepared. Responsibility for dealing with space weather issues is "very fragmented" in Europe, says Hapgood.

Europe's electricity grids, on the other hand, are highly interconnected and extremely vulnerable to cascading failures. In 2006, the routine switch-off of a small part of Germany's grid - to let a ship pass safely under high-voltage cables - caused a cascade power failure across western Europe. In France alone, five million people were left without electricity for two hours.

"These systems are so complicated we don't fully understand the effects of twiddling at one place," Hapgood says. "Most of the time it's alright, but occasionally it will get you."

The good news is that, given enough warning, the utility companies can take precautions, such as adjusting voltages and loads, and restricting transfers of energy so that sudden spikes in current don't cause cascade failures. There is still more bad news, however. Our early warning system is becoming more unreliable by the day.

By far the most important indicator of incoming space weather is NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE). The probe, launched in 1997, has a solar orbit that keeps it directly between the sun and Earth. Its uninterrupted view of the sun means it gives us continuous reports on the direction and velocity of the solar wind and other streams of charged particles that flow past its sensors. ACE can provide between 15 and 45 minutes' warning of any incoming geomagnetic storms. The power companies need about 15 minutes to prepare their systems for a critical event, so that would seem passable.

15 minutes' warning

However, observations of the sun and magnetometer readings during the Carrington event shows that the coronal mass ejection was travelling so fast it took less than 15 minutes to get from where ACE is positioned to Earth. "It arrived faster than we can do anything," Hapgood says.

There is another problem. ACE is 11 years old, and operating well beyond its planned lifespan. The onboard detectors are not as sensitive as they used to be, and there is no telling when they will finally give up the ghost. Furthermore, its sensors become saturated in the event of a really powerful solar flare. "It was built to look at average conditions rather than extremes," Baker says.

He was part of a space weather commission that three years ago warned about the problems of relying on ACE. "It's been on my mind for a long time," he says. "To not have a spare, or a strategy to replace it if and when it should fail, is rather foolish."

There is no replacement for ACE due any time soon. Other solar observation satellites, such as the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) can provide some warning, but with less detailed information and - crucially - much later. "It's quite hard to assess what the impact of losing ACE will be," Hapgood says. "We will largely lose the early warning capability."

The world will, most probably, yawn at the prospect of a devastating solar storm until it happens. Kintner says his students show a "deep indifference" when he lectures on the impact of space weather. But if policy-makers show a similar indifference in the face of the latest NAS report, it could cost tens of millions of lives, Kappenman reckons. "It could conceivably be the worst natural disaster possible," he says.

The report outlines the worst case scenario for the US. The "perfect storm" is most likely on a spring or autumn night in a year of heightened solar activity - something like 2012. Around the equinoxes, the orientation of the Earth's field to the sun makes us particularly vulnerable to a plasma strike.

What's more, at these times of year, electricity demand is relatively low because no one needs too much heating or air conditioning. With only a handful of the US grid's power stations running, the system relies on computer algorithms shunting large amounts of power around the grid and this leaves the network highly vulnerable to sudden spikes.

If ACE has failed by then, or a plasma ball flies at us too fast for any warning from ACE to reach us, the consequences could be staggering. "A really large storm could be a planetary disaster," Kappenman says.

So what should be done? No one knows yet - the report is meant to spark that conversation. Baker is worried, though, that the odds are stacked against that conversation really getting started. As the NAS report notes, it is terribly difficult to inspire people to prepare for a potential crisis that has never happened before and may not happen for decades to come. "It takes a lot of effort to educate policy-makers, and that is especially true with these low-frequency events," he says.

We should learn the lessons of hurricane Katrina, though, and realise that "unlikely" doesn't mean "won't happen". Especially when the stakes are so high. The fact is, it could come in the next three or four years - and with devastating effects. "The Carrington event happened during a mediocre, ho-hum solar cycle," Kintner says. "It came out of nowhere, so we just don't know when something like that is going to happen again."

When hell comes to Earth

Severe space weather events often coincide with the appearance of sunspots, which are indicators of particularly intense magnetic fields at the sun's surface.

The chaotic motion of charged particles in the upper atmosphere of the sun creates magnetic fields that writhe, twist and turn, and occasionally snap and reconfigure themselves in what is known as a "reconnection". These reconnection events are violent, and can fling out billions of tonness of plasma in a "coronal mass ejection" (CME).

If flung towards the Earth, the plasma ball will accelerate as it travels through space and its intense magnetic field will soon interact with the planet's magnetic field, the magnetosphere. Depending on the relative orientation of the two fields, several things can happen. If the fields are oriented in the same direction, they slip round one another. In the worst case scenario, though, when the field of a particularly energetic CME opposes the Earth's field, things get much more dramatic. "The Earth can't cope with the plasma," says James Green, head of NASA's planetary division. "The CME just opens up the magnetosphere like a can-opener, and matter squirts in."

The sun's activity waxes and wanes every 11 years or so, with the appearance of sunspots following the same cycle. This period isn't consistent, however. Sometimes the interval between sunspot maxima is as short as nine years, other times as long as 14 years. At the moment the sun appears calm. "We're in the equivalent of an idyllic summer's day. The sun is quiet and benign, the quietest it has been for 100 years," says Mike Hapgood, who chairs the European Space Agency's space weather team, "but it could turn the other way." The next solar maximum is expected in 2012.

K N O W I N G !!!


Hillary: It's All Our Fault (Mexico's Problems)

U.S. to blame for much of Mexico violence: Clinton

Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:51pm EDT
By Arshad Mohammed

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - An "insatiable" appetite in the United States for illegal drugs is to blame for much of the violence ripping through Mexico, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday.

Clinton acknowledged the U.S. role in Mexico's drug cartel problem as she arrived in Mexico for a two-day visit where she will discuss U.S. plans to ramp up border security with President Felipe Calderon.

A surge in drug gang killings to 6,300 last year and fears the violence could seep over the border has put Mexico's drug war high on President Barack Obama's agenda, after years of Mexico feeling that Washington was neglecting a joint problem.

"Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade. Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the death of police officers, soldiers and civilians," Clinton told reporters during her flight to Mexico City.

"I feel very strongly we have a co-responsibility."

Crushing the drug cartels, who arm themselves with smuggled U.S. weapons and leave slain rivals, sometimes beheaded, in public streets, has become the biggest test of Calderon's presidency as the bloodshed rattles investors and tourists.

Clinton said U.S. efforts to ban drugs and prevent Americans from trying them had clearly not worked and it was unfair to blame Mexico for its drug gang problem.

Washington plans to ramp up border security with a $184 million program to add 360 security agents to border posts and step up searches for smuggled drugs, guns and cash.


Clinton will also use her visit to address a trucking dispute with Mexico and long-running trade and immigration issues.

She said the trading partners were making headway on a spat which saw Mexico slam high tariffs on an estimated $2.4 billion worth of U.S. goods in retaliation for the U.S. Congress ending a pilot program to let Mexican trucks operate in the United States.

"On the trucking dispute, we are working to try to resolve it. We are making progress," she told reporters, adding she expects Congress will be receptive to the administration's ideas.

Clinton, whose includes a stop in the northern business city of Monterrey on Thursday, said the thorny issues on the table did not mean that U.S.-Mexico relations were in trouble.

"I don't see it that way," she said. "I think that we have some specific challenges ... but every relationship has challenges in it."

Mexico has felt slighted by a delay in the arrival of drug-fighting equipment pledged by former President George W. Bush, as U.S. officials have sought assurances that the aid would not end up in the hands of corrupt officials or police.

The U.S. Congress this month trimmed the amount of drug aid money it will set aside this fiscal year to $300 million from $400 million last year, under a pledge of $1.4 billion to Mexico and Central America over three years.

Since taking office in December 2006, Calderon has spent more than $6.4 billion on his drug war and sent 45,000 troops and federal police to trouble spots around the country.

Mexico has repeatedly said, however, that its efforts will come to nothing if the United States does not clamp down on the smuggling of U.S. guns used in 90 percent of drug crimes south of the border.

Clinton described the violence Mexico is grappling with as "horrendous" and said cartels were alarmingly well equipped.

"It's not only guns. It's night vision goggles. It's body armor. These criminals are outgunning the law enforcement officials," she said. "When you go into a gun fight, where you are trying to round up bad guys and they have ... military style equipment that is much better than yours, you start out at a disadvantage."


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

War on Terror - Over

The Global War on Terror is over.

Thank God.

Obama won the war.

The End of the Global War on Terror

By Al Kamen

The end of the Global War on Terror -- or at least the use of that phrase -- has been codified at the Pentagon. Reports that the phrase was being retired have been circulating for some time amongst senior administration officials, and this morning speechwriters and other staff were notified via this e-mail to use "Overseas Contingency Operation" instead.

"Recently, in a LtGen [John] Bergman, USMC, statement for the 25 March [congressional] hearing, OMB required that the following change be made before going to the Hill," Dave Riedel, of the Office of Security Review, wrote in an e-mail.

"OMB says: 'This Administration prefers to avoid using the term "Long War" or "Global War on Terror" [GWOT]. Please use "Overseas Contingency Operation.'"


Those Darned Deficits

I read a transcript of Obama's press conference from this evening (NY Times has it available) - he was saddled with a question about all the debt and deficits and he deflected it onto Bush and what he inherited from Bush.

A little bit disingenuous. Since 2006, the Democrats have been in control of Congress. Nothing was spent, not one penny was spent without the Democrats agreeing to and approving it.

Not really all Bush's fault is it. If you are being honest.

This is the change.




Off the subject of Obama, who is trying his darnedest to stay relevant and working hard. We have to hope he can do the job.

Name all the movies in which planet earth, not just the population, is destroyed.

I have thought about it, checked, researched some, and found only 2.

Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe - aliens want to build a freeway of sorts through our galaxy and Earth is in the way. Chance of happening: 1 in infinity. Never gonna happen.

When Worlds Collide - 1951. "A rogue planet flew into our solar system" and slams into our Earth." Chance of happening: 1 in infinity - planets cannot be rogue, and a strange planet cannot enter our solar system. A meteor maybe, not a planet. Setting aside those differences and issue - is it possible a large meteor will come hurtling toward earth and crash into it? Possible. Could destroy the planet.

There have been many films about the end of mankind: I am Legend, 28 Days, 28 Weeks Later, Dawn/Day Night of the Day ... but Earth and its structures remain.

They are, according to IMDB, remaking When Worlds Collide.

I admit, over the years, I have hoped that the Earth would get whacked without a surprise save by Bruce Willis or some astronomer or sheer luck or nuclear missiles. It is tiring to watch, time and again, 'saved by this much'.

I went and saw a movie on the weekend. Knowing.

It changes the whole idea around. I went back to wanting someone to save us and Earth.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Obama's Russian Policy: Meet with Gorbachev

Where is Hillary in all this? Obama met, Kissinger met ... no Hillary. Yes, she did meet already, but ... that should have set the stage. Why is this needed after her, already, meeting?

And why meet with Gorbachev. He hasn't been in power for over 15 years, is disliked, and has lost whatever authority and respect he had.

Whoever is driving this policy, is 1) unable to drive, 2) inept, 3) ignorant of the Russian system.

The Russians are laughing at us.

Obama met Gorbachev in run-up to Medvedev talks

Mon Mar 23, 2009

MOSCOW (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama has held talks with Mikhail Gorbachev, a spokesman for the former Soviet leader said on Monday, in the latest sign of Washington's efforts to "press the reset button" on ties with Russia.

Spokesman Konstantin Petrenko said Gorbachev met Obama and Vice President Joe Biden -- who coined the 'reset' phrase last month -- in Washington last Friday. He did not give any details of the discussion.

Bilateral ties worsened sharply last year, with the two countries at odds over NATO expansion, U.S. plans for a missile shield in Eastern Europe, and Russia's war with Georgia.

Visits by veteran politicians have been used by both sides to test the waters before Obama meets Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for the first time on April 1 in London on the eve of a G20 summit. A delegation led by former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger visited Russia last week and met Medvedev.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Obama Laughs While the Economy Collapses

Laughing while the system collapses around him. Does he take it seriously. Maybe he should go golfing.

President Barack Obama said he believes the global financial system remains at risk of implosion with the failure of Citigroup or AIG, touching off “an even more destructive recession and potentially depression.”

His remarks came in a “60 Minutes” interview in which he was pressed by an incredulous Steve Kroft for laughing and chuckling several times while discussing the perilous state of the world’s economy.

“You're sitting here. And you're— you are laughing. You are laughing about some of these problems. Are people going to look at this and say, ‘I mean, he's sitting there just making jokes about money—’ How do you deal with— I mean: explain. . .” Kroft asks at one point.

“Are you punch-drunk?” Kroft says.

It is nice to know that between this concern by Kroft and a couple over the past couple months, serious questions are being raised ... and it begins with these questions, and then media and others questioning their own economic/political purpose, and finally, criticism of programs and policies that are serious impediments to economical renewal.


Chavez: Obama is an ignoramus

When you tell the world you will negotiate, sit down and talk with no conditions - extend the olive branch - see what you get Obama.

Venezuela's Chavez calls Obama "ignoramus"

March 22, 2009

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama was at best an "ignoramus" for saying the socialist leader exported terrorism and obstructed progress in Latin America.

"He goes and accuses me of exporting terrorism: the least I can say is that he's a poor ignoramus; he should read and study a little to understand reality," said Chavez, who heads a group of left-wing Latin American leaders opposed to the U.S. influence in the region.

Chavez said Obama's comments had made him change his mind about sending a new ambassador to Washington, after he withdrew the previous envoy in a dispute last year with the Bush administration in which he also expelled the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela.

"When I saw Obama saying what he said, I put the decision back in the drawer; let's wait and see," Chavez said on his weekly television show, adding he had wanted to send a new ambassador to improve relations with the United States after the departure of George W. Bush as president.

In a January interview with Spanish-language U.S. network Univision, Obama said Chavez had hindered progress in Latin America, accusing him of exporting terrorist activities and supporting Colombian guerrillas.

"My, what ignorance; the real obstacle to development in Latin America has been the empire that you today preside over," said Chavez, who is a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy.

[to read the rest of the article, click on the title link]



Frosty the Fuckhead

I am coming back to see you very soon.

I'll ask for the same thing I did the first time, and this time, we'll have a response for your smart assed comments.

One Bell Inn.

I will stop for some fish and chips, and hopefully on a Sunday.


It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it. - Upton Sincalir

Sort of like ethics.

Now a far better question than US imperialism in the 19th century would be - what is the connection between the above two - Sinclair's quote and ethics!


Please BUY our Toxic Assets, but wait until I tax you.

Now let's see.

We will tax companies on their bonuses, we will regulate and control - and they are needed by the government to do the government a favor ...

And Romer thinks they will just because we need them to.

Are you bloody stupid. Liberals believe in regulating and the reason for the regulation is clearly because industry/business cannot be trusted to do the right thing (hence - rules).

Now you suggest that business will do the right thing, simply because ..

You are schizophrenic, and in serious need of medication.

WE NEED THEM - says Romer, of industry and business

WASHINGTON -- AIG outrage is genuine, but be careful about the fallout, said the head of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, noting that private investors are "kind of doing us a favor" in buying toxic assets and should be recognized for their contribution.

Adviser Cristina Romer told "FOX News Sunday" that private firms not getting federal bailout money should not be intimidated by Congress' decision to tax executive bonuses by 90 percent because they understand that this is a new culture of doing business.

"We've got banks with a lot of toxic assets, what 'toxic' means is they are highly uncertain ... so that is certainly the big picture, and that is going to be the main reason for doing this ... We simply -- we simply need them. We need them -- you know, we've got a limited amount of money that the government has to go in here, so we need to partner, not just with private firms, but with the FDIC, with the Fed, to leverage the money that we have," she said


"We ought to be careful for a minute ... we have to acknowledge that outrage is genuine and something we all feel," she said. "I think we're going to have sensible strategy going forward. The president understands the distinction between" placing restrictions on companies that contributed to the financial mess and those that are trying to help.

They are firms that are being the good guys here, are coming into a market that hasn't existed to try to help us get these toxic assets off banks' balance sheets," Romer said.




Saturday, March 21, 2009

OIL: Nationalization or worse


Dear Oil Company Executives:

I am quite sure I warned on this blog within the last couple years that unless you took action to reduce gasoline costs - the government would take steps to nationalize you.

You have now witnessed the semi-nationalizing of banks and financial institutions, the call to tax and or take-away the bonuses of AIG executives (by the president and his congress not to mention the American people - all unconstitutional after the fact) ... and now, new efforts by Obama to regulate and control industry and institutions.

Your industry is on the list. Your companies have simply not broken through into the public sphere as yet, but you will, when prices rise and your bonuses / profits are announced.

You should be very worried. VERY worried.

Now, here is a suggestion to mitigate the efforts to roll-over you by government:

- bonuses: 10% of what you have received. The rest remains in company accounts for reinvestment. You receive a modest percentage for the 'loan', and you will collect your 10% thereafter PLUS the savings/loan percentage. These 'loans' will not be repaid to you, but you will collect the interest on them for 7-8 years, after which, you will again be permitted to take the full amount or remain at the 10% level and collect the interest.

- the profits your companies make must not be publicized. How to accomplish this? Redefine when something becomes a profit. Like gross and net salaries. Reinvest, build new plants, invest in new energy sources, new searches for oil in shale ... much of which will be a loss, BUT allows a write-off. Write-off losses and deduct investments BEFORE you announce profits. That should solve that issue, especially if you are very careful about amounts invested.

Why am I wanting to help an industry I could care less about? because part of the answer to saving yourself is LOWER gas prices. If gas prices were $1.50 a gallon, the public would be less concerned about your multi-billion dollar profits. Further - we all know that none of the OPEC countries pump what they say they will (what their cartel authorizes) - therefore, there is 15-20% more oil on the market than they say. Our reservoirs are filled, your refineries are filled, ships sit filled off shore rather than to receive a lower price for the oil [This is interesting. When oil goes up in price, gas prices go up that very second, even though ships transport oil bought at lower prices. UNLESS the ships buy it at lower prices and sit off shore waiting for the price to go up. You are getting it both ways and this is in large part why we, the people, who will, eventually own your companies, why we hate you so much.] Give up some of this control.

Lower gas prices to between $1.60-$1.75.

Reinvest your profits.

Lower your bonuses.

Do the above 3 and it will ward off government take-over of your industry.

Fail to do so, and as powerful as your industry is, Obama and his nation will run over you like you're all speed bumps.

And no one, including me, will care much.

My greater issue is, I don't want everything nationalized because Obama, as a socialist, thinks they should be.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Obama: One Mistake After Another


It has now been two months since Mr. Obama took the oath of office (twice), and walked into the Oval Office whereupon he made his first phone call - to the fatah representative of the West Bank portion of the Palestinian people, and in the two months, all manner of despair has spread across the country. The stock market has plummeted, the debt has gone up by nearly a trillion dollars - or will when the payments are made, another trillion will be added in the next year (something Bush didn't accomplisn in 8 years - adding that much so fast). In fact, it is estimated the debt will rise nearly $9 trillion dollars over the course of the next ten years. Nearly $1 trillion per year. Talk about our great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren paying off debt. Our deficit to GDP will be higher than at any time since the 1940s, and we have been embarassed around the world by a growing number of failures, gaffes, and incompetencies (where we now have a newspaper - National Post, pondering whether we are doomed).

The Telegraph has a column - Top 10 Gaffes of Obama/Biden ... and it is a little funny because so little time has lapsed. At this rate, if 10 occur every 2 months ... 240 in 4 years ... and that is just the two of them, then we have to add the rest of the administration - from Hillary on down to Michelle. It is unfortunate for Obama when the Chicago Tribune picks up on his tendency to make mistakes when off script [Read: Obama uses the tele-prompter for everything, but when he speaks without the prompter, he makes mistakes and or stumbles around. In other words - he really cannot speak well, he just acts.]

I completely understand that Bush make gaffes, blunders, and misspeaking an art form - BUT liberals said he was stupid from day 1. Obama is brilliant, Obama has the Obamanation behind him, he is the Obamessiah ... he speaks like water flows, like birds sing ... yet he will have amassed a repetoire of misstaments (thanking himself), gaffes, blunders, mistakes, embarrassments that will rival the liberal totem of stupid, Mr. Bush.

It says a lot about Obama and even more about liberals.


Harry Reid: Lookin out for the little guy (not leprechaun)

Harry Reid, just wanting to help the little guy, wowrried about all those little casinos that may need stimulus monies (given that so many people aren't gambling any more - they don't have money to gamble with). Harry 'Land Deal - Help the casinos - We have failed in Iraq' Reid, just looking out for the little guy. Such a mensch.

Reid seeks to clarify stimulus rule on casinos

March 20, 2009 11:31 AM PDT

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Nevada Sen. Harry Reid has sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking for clarification to a provision that restricts casinos from using federal stimulus funds.
The Democratic majority leader says in a letter sent Friday that the provision is "overly broad" and is discouraging nonprofit groups from applying for stimulus money.

Reid argues that casinos are often the only suitable space for conferences and workshops held by community organizations. He also cites a women's group that often uses casino hotel rooms as transitional housing for victims of violence.

[To read the entire article, click on the title link.]

Harry Reid

Obama: The Troubles Keep Rolling On

Someone is paying attention. Now he draws a simplistic conclusion, with some reasonably serious questions.

I have never believed that a president should go on these silly programs watched by moronic lemurs, but ... Bill and Barrack wanted to.

I guess it's like bowling at the Special Olympics. Wait, I haven't heard any Kennedy get up and screech.

Terence Corcoran: Is this the end of America?

March 19, 2009, 7:38 PM by NP Editor

U.S. law-making is riddled with slapdash, incompetence and gamesmanship
By Terence Corcoran

Helicopter Ben Bernanke’s Federal Reserve is dropping trillions of fresh paper dollars on the world economy, the President of the United States is cracking jokes on late night comedy shows, his energy minister is threatening a trade war over carbon emissions, his treasury secretary is dithering over a banking reform program amid rising concerns over his competence and a monumentally dysfunctional U.S. Congress is launching another public jihad against corporations and bankers.

[To read the rest of the article, click on the title link]


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Liberal Bait and Switch

Liberal Bait and Switch

by Cam Cannon

I got a question about these embryos we’re going to destroy in the name of science. Are they white, or black? Hey, it don’t matter to me; they all look the same. But I really don’t want to get into hot water later. What kind of hot water? Well, the kind William Bennett found himself eyeball deep in when he said if “…[Y]ou wanted to reduce crime, you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down.”

Outrage, hysteria, fire and brimstone followed, most of it from Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, who demanded an apology. Never mind the fact that Bennett had clarified, “That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do,” this was a situation that, like slavery, apparently, could only be rectified with an apology. What good would an apology do, anyway? He still said it. It’s not like court, where it can be stricken from the record. And would it really satisfy Reid and Pelosi? Of course not, they just wanted to see a talk radio host begging forgiveness.

Liberals like to support things, like abortion, and do a quick about-face when the things they support are presented in an unfavorable light. Now, all of the sudden, Reid and Pelosi care if aborted babies are black or white? A hypothetical from a talk radio host is treated with more disdain than, oh, I don’t know, yanking a baby feet first from the uterus and stabbing its head with scissors. They argue that Partial Birth Abortion is rare, but rarer still is the practice of mass-abortion on the basis of race, so what got them so irate? Bennett is against abortion, and was speaking hypothetically. They’re for it! They want the government to fund it! It’s like in “Falling Down,” when Michael Douglas says, “I’m the bad guy?” Bennett presented a hypothesis, shot it full of holes - holes that Reid and Pelosi roundly dismiss when they’re not presented in the context of race. To quote William “D-Fens” Foster, “How did that happen?” In this case, it was the liberal-pet-issue-bait-and-switch.

Take affirmative action. I know it’s more complicated than black and white, but again, it’s an issue that liberals are largely for, and conservatives are largely against. But just suggest, I dare you, make even the slightest hint that oh, say, Michelle Obama got into Princeton and subsequently landed a job at a prestigious law firm, all because of affirmative action. Wait. Before you say it, you better pull a Kate Winslet: practice a speech in front of the mirror. Grovel. Plead.

Offer to take sensitivity training. Actually, I believe Michelle is a smart woman who has achieved everything on her own merits. She navigated her way through a racist system, earned her way, and deserves everything she got as a result. But other minorities need the help of affirmative action and other programs, because they’re not on a level playing field? This is the elitism of the Democratic Party. They achieve without the programs that they support, because they’re special.

Look at Michael Moore (sorry, easy target), who claims in his book “Dude, Where’s My Country,” that the American people need to let go of the rags to riches Horatio Alger myth. Get that? The college dropout who scraped together money to make several entertaining fantasy films and now lives in the lap of luxury polishing his Oscar is telling you, America, that there’s no American Dream, when in fact, he is the living, breathing, eating, and eating, and eating embodiment of said Dream! He made it. Because. He’s special.

This is why they trumpet public education and send their kids to private school. They’re special. In fact, instead of crying sexism at suggestions that, say, Katie Couric needed affirmative action to achieve her post, liberals should respond much differently. “Yeah,” they should say, “Katie Couric did make it because of affirmative action, and it proves that the system works.” Maybe Katie Couric isn’t a good example, but how refreshing would it be if Democrats weren’t embarrassed about giving such paltry sums to charity? What if Al Gore had said, “True, I didn’t.

It’s because I think the gov’ment’s supposed to take care of people.” Do you know how sweet that’d be? Sweet as ten gay ninjas on a sugar high.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Russia: Give us a World Currency

At G20, Kremlin to Pitch New Currency

17 March 2009
By Ira Iosebashvili
The Moscow Times

The Kremlin published its priorities Monday for an upcoming meeting of the G20, calling for the creation of a supranational reserve currency to be issued by international institutions as part of a reform of the global financial system.

The International Monetary Fund should investigate the possible creation of a new reserve currency, widening the list of reserve currencies or using its already existing Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, as a "superreserve currency accepted by the whole of the international community," the Kremlin said in a statement issued on its web site.

The SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement the existing official reserves of member countries.

The Kremlin has persistently criticized the dollar's status as the dominant global reserve currency and has lowered its own dollar holdings in the last few years. Both President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have repeatedly called for the ruble to be used as a regional reserve currency, although the idea has received little support outside of Russia.

Analysts said the new Kremlin proposal would elicit little excitement among the G20 members.

"This is all in the realm of fantasy," said Sergei Perminov, chief strategist at Rye, Man and Gore. "There was a situation that resembled what they are talking about. It was called the gold standard, and it ended very badly. "Alternatives to the dollar are still hard to find," he said.

The Kremlin's call for a common currency is not the first in recent days. Speaking at an economic conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, last week, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed a global currency called the "acmetal" -- a conflation of the words "acme" and "capital."

He also suggested that the Eurasian Economic Community, a loose group of five former Soviet republics including Kazakhstan and Russia, adopt a single noncash currency -- the yevraz -- to insulate itself from the global economic crisis.

The suggestions received a lukewarm response from Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday.

Nazarbayev's proposal did, however, garner support from at least one prominent source -- Columbia University professor Robert Mundell, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1999 for his role in creating the euro.

Speaking at the same conference with Nazarbayev, he said the idea had "great promise.

" The Kremlin document also called for national banks and international financial institutions to diversify their foreign currency reserves. It said the global financial system should be restructured to prevent future crises and proposed holding an international conference after the G20 summit to adopt conventions on a new global financial structure.

The Group of 20 industrialized and developing countries will meet in London on April 2.


The Pesky Democrats and facts or Pesky Facts and Democrats

I posted an image some time ago - attitude concerning New York Wall Street people - the sign said: Jump Fuckers Jump.

I feel the same.

I'd like to strip Wall Street of its bonuses, perks, and huge salaries - just to make a point.

It might be possible to fund all of Haiti and the Dominican Republic for one year on the salaries and bonuses of Wall Street.

However - the government bailed out AIG, and afterward - the issue of bonuses arose and a call to take them back (can't do it), tax them (bill of attainder gets in the way) ...

Yet it behooves us to look at who it is that has called for action, and who it was that gave the money to AIG and or to a number of banks that have failed:

Governor Jon Corzine, New Jersey, who happens to also be a former Senator, also happened to be a former employee of Continental-Illinois Bank which was the BIGGEST bank failure in our history (until WAMU).

Corzine also happens to have been the co-CEO of Goldman Sachs - and other of those pesky problem institutions and by the end - made upwards of $350 million when the company went public (the other co-CEO Hank Paulson, Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson).

Corzine also happens to have been a member of the Board of Directors of the Wall Street Club.

Ever hear about this?

Why not?

On the front - AIG Bonuses.

Obama received over $100,000 from AIG in 2008.

Senator Chris Dodd received from AIG over the past five years about $223,000. From Citigroup - another $316,000, and from the Royal bank of Scotland, another $210,000.

Why don't we hear about this?

Conflict of interest?

If it had been Bush, what would Democrats have screamed? Come on, be honest!


Hint for Future Ex-Presidents

Follow George Bush.

Shut Up.

Bush refuses to criticize Obama in Canada

Mar 17, 2009

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) - Former President George W. Bush says he won't criticize President Barack Obama because Obama "deserves my silence," and says he plans to write a book about the 12 toughest decisions he made in office. Bush's speech Tuesday at a luncheon in Calgary, Alberta was his first since leaving office.

He declined to comment about the Obama administration like former Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney said Sunday that Obama's decisions are threatening the nation's safety.
Bush says he doesn't know what he'll do in the long term but says he'll write a book that will let people determine what they would have done if their most important job was to protect the country.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Russian Protein: Have Your Friends Over For Dinner

Apparently the Russians are not getting enough to eat.

I would hate to know what the woman does with her enemies.

Russian woman held for eating friend: report

Mar 16, 2009

A woman from Russia's Siberian region of Irkutsk has been arrested for killing a friend and then eating part of the corpse, Interfax news agency reported, quoting local investigators.

The incident occurred on March 5 when the two women were drinking together at the suspect's home and an argument broke out between them.

"Investigators have information to suggest the woman cooked pieces of her murdered friend and ate them," said an official with the Russian prosecutor's investigative committee, Vladimir Salovarov.

He added that the perpetrator killed her friend with an axe and that uneaten parts of the victim's body had been found in a nearby waste bin.

The detained woman had confessed her guilt, Salovarov said.

In a separate case, prosecutors in Russia's Udmurtiya region said last week they were searching for a man suspected of cannibalism after the mutilated body of a woman was found in the town of Izhevsk, according to the prosecutor's website.


But he supports soldiers, and the poor, and everyone

Helping the military by taking away their benefits!

The American Legion Strongly Opposed to President's Plan to Charge Wounded Heroes for Treatment

WASHINGTON, March 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The leader of the nation's largest veterans organization says he is "deeply disappointed and concerned" after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries.

The Obama administration recently revealed a plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in such cases.

"It became apparent during our discussion today that the President intends to move forward with this unreasonable plan," said Commander David K. Rehbein of The American Legion. "He says he is looking to generate $540-million by this method, but refused to hear arguments about the moral and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it."

The Commander, clearly angered as he emerged from the session said, "This reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate ' to care for him who shall have borne the battle' given that the United States government sent members of the armed forces into harm's way, and not private insurance companies. I say again that The American Legion does not and will not support any plan that seeks to bill a veteran for treatment of a service connected disability at the very agency that was created to treat the unique need of America's veterans!"

[To read the rest of the article, click on the title link]


The French, Taliban, and Afghanistan

French support is always tenuous.

Why are we in Iraq? Some would question why.

Why are we in Afghanistan? That very few would question. The birthplace of the attacks on the US, and on Western Civilization - yes, of course, plans were drawn up everywhere and attacks occur everywhere - but the centerpiece of that problem is bin Laden, in Afghanistan. It is the extremists who protected him, who led the war for him - who we fight. We fight them in Afghanistan because we do not want them on our streets burning hundreds of cars each year, and hundreds of millions of dollars in property, we want them fought in Afghanistan to stop them from attacking us and our allies.

The French apparently don't know why they are in Afghanistan.

Very few French understand why their country is involved in a conflict more than 5,000km (3,100 miles) away.

During his presidential election campaign in 2007, Mr Sarkozy hinted he might even have withdrawn French forces.

But a year later, he sent an extra army battalion to Afghanistan's rugged and troubled east as part of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf).

With the porous border of Pakistan just over the Hindu Kush, the elite brigade of "Chasseurs Alpins" or mountain infantry, is tasked with trying to stop insurgents coming into the valleys and blocking the supply routes to Kabul.

The insurgent attacks are frequent and brutal - sometimes the battles last for four hours.
A suggestion by the UK and US militaries that the French do not shoulder their fair share of the war's risk irritates Colonel Nicolas Le Nen, commander of the 27th Regiment de Chasseurs.

"I don't get the impression we're peacekeeping here," he tells me with a polite smile. "The contacts are very tough... we are definitely not on a peacekeeping mission.

"We are also in the east to show to our allies that France is also in the front line against the insurgents," he adds.

France only really woke up to the fact that it was engaged in a real war in Afghanistan when 10 of its soldiers were killed and 21 others injured in an ambush last August.

At that point, more than half of France's population said the troops should be brought home, according to nationwide opinion polls.

bin Laden

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Obama: The Economy is a mess, but it's doing just fine.

When Phil Gramm told the country that the fundamentals of our economy were good - he had to quit. McCain kept saying basically the same message - that we would be fine, it was inevitable. Obamessiah followers attacked him for his simplistic and out of touch rhetoric.

Until now

White House says economy is sound despite 'mess'
Mar 15, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - The economy is fundamentally sound despite the temporary "mess" it's in, the White House said Sunday in the kind of upbeat assessment that Barack Obama had mocked as a presidential candidate.

Obama's Democratic allies pleaded for patience with an administration hitting the two-month mark this week, while Republicans said the White House's plans ignore small business and the immediate need to fix what ails the economy. After weeks projecting a dismal outlook on the economy, administration officials - led by the president himself in recent days - swung their rhetoric toward optimism in what became Wall Street's best stretch since November.

During the fall campaign, Obama relentlessly criticized his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, for declaring, "The fundamentals of our economy are strong." Obama's team painted the veteran senator as out of touch and failing to grasp the challenges facing the country.

But on Sunday, that optimistic message came from economic adviser Christina Romer. When asked during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" if the fundamentals of the economy were sound, she replied: "Of course they are sound."

"The fundamentals are sound in the sense that the American workers are sound, we have a good capital stock, we have good technology," she said. "We know that - that temporarily we're in a mess, right? We've seen huge job loss, we've seen very large falls in GDP. So certainly in the short run we're in a - in a bad situation."

Just a week ago, White House Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag declared that "fundamentally, the economy is weak." Days later, Obama told reporters he was confident in the economy.

"If we are keeping focused on all the fundamentally sound aspects of our economy, all the outstanding companies, workers, all the innovation and dynamism in this economy, then we're going to get through this," Obama said, striking a tone that his top aides mimicked.

[to read the rest of the article, click on the title link]


What is interesting is - all during the campaign - attack Bush for: Guantanamo, the economy, ruining friendships around the world ... and then when you win - ruin friendships around the world, sink the economy (as a percent) lower than in all of Bush's 8 years combined, and play word games with Guantanamo and leaves things basically alone, continue rendition, continue attacks inside Pakistan (even though they are an ally) ... amazing how pathetic and hypocritical Obamessiah followers are, not to mention the Leader.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Over the Hill: Age 27

Old age begins at 27: Scientists reveal new research into ageing
The Mail Online
5th March 2009

Old age is often blamed for causing us to misplace car keys, forget a word or lose our train of thought.

But new research shows that many well-known effects of ageing may start decades before our twilight years.

According to scientists, our mental abilities begin to decline from the age of 27 after reaching a peak at 22.

The researchers studied 2,000 men and women aged 18 to 60 over seven years. The people involved – who were mostly in good health and well-educated – had to solve visual puzzles, recall words and story details and spot patterns in letters and symbols.

Similar tests are often used to diagnose mental disabilities and declines, including dementia.
The research at the University of Virginia, reported in the academic journal Neurobiology Of Aging, found that in nine out of 12 tests the average age at which the top performance was achieved was 22.

The first age at which performance was significantly lower than the peak scores was 27 – for three tests of reasoning, speed of thought and spatial visualisation. Memory was shown to decline from the average age of 37. In the other tests, poorer results were shown by the age of 42.

Professor Timothy Salthouse said the results suggested that therapies designed to prevent or reverse age-related conditions may need to start earlier, long before people become pensioners.
He wrote: ‘Results converge on a conclusion that some aspects of age-related cognitive decline begin in healthy, educated adults when they are in their 20s and 30s.’

There is some good news, though. The report states that abilities based on accumulated knowledge, such as performance on tests of vocabulary or generalinformation, increase until at least the age of 60.

War on 2 Fronts: Against Terror and Idiots

What I find most distressing is the near failure of most people to hold intellectually stable ideas - rather than adhering to the inflexible of either ideological extreme. I have recently decided that few people have character or honor, despite what they may believe concerning themselves. Most are wrapped up in their worlds, so addicted to what they have been brought up to believe, they cannot see. It is unfortunate. Unfortunate that someone recognizes the Emperor has no clothes, and due to the 'get along' mentality, most of the 'friends' cannot see, leaves few friends - in large part due to their lack of character, and what remains, are the few addicted to reading tripe such as the New York Times.

There have been a few times in my life I have thought - please, stop the merry-go-round, and let me off. For a few brief moments, I hoped. It is perhaps what exists in the back of our minds when it comes to extra terrestrials - that maybe someone/thing will come and take us away from all this. There are potential drawbacks - we become their food on some distant mother ship, but I suppose we could get around that by waiting for the return of some who tell of worlds of beauty far away without the New York Times and dishonorable people.

March 15, 2009

Pentagon Rethinking Old Doctrine on 2 Wars

New York Times

WASHINGTON — The protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are forcing the Obama administration to rethink what for more than two decades has been a central premise of American strategy: that the nation need only prepare to fight two major wars at a time.

For more than six years now, the United States has in fact been fighting two wars, with more than 170,000 troops now deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. The military has openly acknowledged that the wars have left troops and equipment severely strained, and has said that it would be difficult to carry out any kind of significant operation elsewhere.

To some extent, fears have faded that the United States may actually have to fight, say, Russia and North Korea, or China and Iran, at the same time. But if Iraq and Afghanistan were never formidable foes in conventional terms, they have already tied up the American military for a period longer than World War II.

A senior Defense Department official involved in a strategy review now under way said the Pentagon was absorbing the lesson that the kinds of counterinsurgency campaigns likely to be part of some future wars would require more staying power than in past conflicts, like the first Iraq war in 1991 or the invasions of Grenada and Panama.

In an interview with National Public Radio last week, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made it clear that the Pentagon was beginning to reconsider whether the old two-wars assumption “makes any sense in the 21st century” as a guide to planning, budgeting and weapons-buying.

The discussion is being prompted by a top-to-bottom strategy review that the Pentagon conducts every four years, as required by Congress and officially called the Quadrennial Defense Review. One question on the table for Pentagon planners is whether there is a way to reshape the armed forces to provide for more flexibility in tackling a wide range of conflicts.

Among other questions are the extent to which planning for conflicts should focus primarily on counterinsurgency wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what focus remains on well-equipped conventional adversaries like China and Iran, with which Navy vessels have clashed at sea.

Thomas Donnelly, a defense policy expert with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said he believed that the Obama administration would be seeking to come up with “a multiwar, multioperation, multifront, walk-and-chew-gum construct.”

“We have to do many things simultaneously if our goal is to remain the ultimate guarantor of international security,” Mr. Donnelly said. “The hedge against a rising China requires a very different kind of force than fighting an irregular war in Afghanistan or invading Iraq or building partnership capacity in Africa.”

But Mr. Donnelly cautioned that the review now under way faced a familiar challenge. “If there has been one consistent thread through all previous defense reviews,” he said, “it is that once the review is done, there is an almost immediate gap between reality and force planning. Reality always exceeds force planning.”

It is already is obvious, a senior Pentagon official said, that the Defense Department will “need to rebalance our strategy and our forces” in a way that reflects lessons from Afghanistan and Iraq. Exactly how that happens will be debated for months to come and will then play out in decisions involving hundreds of billions of dollars, involving the size of the Army, as well as such things as the number of aircraft carriers and new long-range bombers.

Michael E. O’Hanlon, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, a liberal-centrist policy organization, said that senior Pentagon officials knew that the new review needed to more fully analyze what the rest of the government could bring to national security.

“We have Gates and others saying that other parts of the government are underresourced and that the DoD should not be called on to do everything” Mr. O’Hanlon said. “That’s a good starting point for this — to ask and at least begin answering where it might be better to have other parts of the government get stronger and do a bigger share, rather than the Department of Defense.”

Among the refinements to the two-wars strategy the Pentagon has incorporated in recent years is one known as “win-hold-win” — an assumption that if two wars broke out simultaneously, the more threatening conflict would get the bulk of American forces while the military would have to defend along a second front until reinforcements could arrive to finish the job.

Another formulation envisioned the United States defending its territory, deterring hostility in four critical areas of the world and then defeating two adversaries in major combat operations, but not at exactly the same time.

The Bush administration’s most recent strategy, completed four years ago, added requirements that the military be equipped to deal with a broad range of missions in addition to war-fighting, including defeating violent extremists, defending American territory, helping countries at strategic crossroads and preventing terrorists and adversaries from obtaining biological, chemical or nuclear weapons.

But Pentagon officials are now asking whether the current reality, with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq already outlasting World War II, really fits any of those models. “One of the things that stresses our force greatly is long-duration operations,” the senior Pentagon official said. “It’s the requirement to continue to rotate forces in over many, many rotations that really strains a lot of the force.”


First, the first paragraph written by Shanker may well have an error in it, or Shanker is simply a wanker. For nearly six decades the United States had a military policy to be able to wage a world war on two different fronts in two different parts of the world simultaneously. That policy became formalized by US action against Germany and Japan in World War II, and was only reinforced in military policy after the war ended with the rise of the Soviet threat and communism from China and the USSR.

When the Wall fell, US policy shifted, and by Clinton's term, bases around the world were being closed, even within the US - closed. The army was shrunk, divisions disbanded, planes sent to the graveyard, ships scuttled or put in dry dock.

This policy was in place from 1992-93 until 2001, when Bush began rebuilding the military, often at odds with Democratic members of Congress.

Obama made it clear when he was campaigning that he would cut out unnecessary programs, and work with our allies. Working with allies means - NOT planning for war in two different areas at the same time, because we would depend upon our allies to assist us, when needed.

Shanker has no idea what he is talking about, except, he is espousing what is hoped for by the military - a larger better supported military. It will not happen, not under Obama.


Make Mine Freedom - 1948

American Form of Government

Who's on First? Certainly isn't the Euro.