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Bloviating Zeppelin: December 2008

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Israel Stands Firm; Postulating



Various organizations (as well as black Moonbat Cynthia "Unsinkable Cindy Brown" McKinney) have lobbied heavily against Israel having the present ability to defend itself despite two constant years of Hamas launching rockets and lobbing mortar rounds from the Gaza Strip into Israel proper. It is estimated that roughly 10,000 to 11,000 rockets and rounds have hit Israel in that time, equating to 12 to 13 strikes per day.

Despite this international pressure (oddly enough, the US has been strangely silent on the issue both from Bush and the president-elect), Israel has decided not to suspend its own defense:
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israel rejected international pressure to suspend its air offensive against Palestinian militants whose rocket barrages are striking close to the Israeli heartland, sending warplanes Wednesday to demolish smuggling tunnels that are the lifeline of Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers.

Hamas has, in fact, stepped up its rocket attacks. Video of IDF targeting Grad missile launches here. Hamas rockets also struck a kindergarten in the Israeli city of Beersheba. The Israel Air Force has been bombing various Hamas-operated tunnels used for smuggling along the border of Gaza and Israel.

Major media coverage of Israel having the temerity to actually defend itself revolves around so-called "Israeli aggression" in concert with the "poor Palestinian people."

I should like to remind everyone, however, of this one very important and salient fact regarding the "poor Palestinian people" within the confines of Gaza: Hamas was elected, democratically, by "the people" in this area. They actively selected Hamas as the governance of choice therefore, of course, endorsing the utilization, by Hamas, of rockets and mortars against the people of Israel. Therefore, the choice was made and the options are simple:

1. Stop the rocket and mortar attacks against Israel or
2. Expect that Israel will continue to kill Hamas terrorists with resulting collateral civilian deaths

I should also like to remind everyone tending to "bleed" for the "Palestinians" that at no time has any other Middle Eastern or sympathetic state or nation offered to provide land, to host or embrace, arms outstretched, their fellow Arabian brethren and sistren.

And that brings me to the second major point:


Whilst considering this situation I wondered, in reverse, what the reaction of the United States would be if, for example, Mexico began to lob similar rockets and mortars from Agua Prieta into the community of Bisbee, Arizona, resulting in deaths on US soil? My guess would be that America would not wait two years to send either an air strike against the town or troops on the ground. My guess is that the US would turn Agua Prieta to rubble.

With that in mind I managed to find, during my internet travels, a Belfast columnist who actually supports the idea of Israel defending itself -- and she poses the same question I do:

Israel — the only country in the world not permitted to defend its own civilian population against attack.

Not without the usual, predictable international outcry anyway. If, for the last six months the south coast of England had been daily bombarded with rockets fired by a terrorist outfit in control of, say, Germany ? if people in the region had been forced daily to flee to bomb shelters ? if men, women and children were being killed on a regular basis ... you’d imagine it would have made widespread global headlines. That there would be considerable sympathy for the civilians involved.

And if British forces were to retaliate against the terror group by launching air strikes against its bases — not primarily as a “revenge” operation but in a direct attempt to neuter those rocket attacks. . .

Would there be quite the same backlash in the British media against this as there has been this week against the Israeli response?

What else were the Israelis expected to do in this situation? Sit back and take it? And hope that the plight of its civilians might galvanise the rest of the world into putting pressure on the terrorist Hamas?

Imagine: a female columnist who has more balls, by herself, than all in the UK government. God bless her.

On the other hand, upon more reflection, would the US truly have the courage to mount a defensive attack? With either Bush or the president-elect in office?

I should like to think so. I remain not entirely convinced.

How sad is that?

Happy New Year.

BZ

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Ebola Virus


The Ebola virus has raised its ugly head once again.

Ebola, for those unfamiliar, is a ragingly-lethal hemorrhagic virus which was the topic of the 1994 Richard Preston book, The Hot Zone. Ebola is "one of two members of a family of RNA viruses called the Filoviridae. There are five identified subtypes of Ebola virus. Four of the five have caused disease in humans: Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan, Ebola-Ivory Coast and Ebola-Bundibugyo. The fifth, Ebola-Reston, has caused disease in nonhuman primates, but not in humans." Remember that last sentence.

Ebola consists of a single strand of RNA, the most base, rudimentary of genetic coding, unlike, for example, the double-helix of humans. The Ebola virus does one thing and one thing only: it exists solely to replicate.

Ebola first emerged in 1976, literally from the dust and dirt of Africa. Because it is neither living nor dead, it can lie dormant until encountering tissue forms. Like the worst scene from a horror or science fiction film, Ebola literally dissolves the host from within -- humans included. Symptoms begin with a headache, backache, then progress to a complete collapse of every system and bleeding/tissue leakage (hemorrhaging) from all orifices, accompanied by seizures. Ebola has an 80% fatality rate and there is no cure or treatment.


People can be exposed to Ebola virus from direct contact with the blood and/or secretions of an infected person. Thus, the virus is often spread through families and friends because they come in close contact with such secretions when caring for infected persons. People can also be exposed to Ebola virus through contact with objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with infected secretions.

With all this in mind, two recent notations:


Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said one woman died on Sunday, while another man succumbed in Mweka on Christmas Day.

MSF is treating 24 other suspected Ebola cases at isolation units in the villages of Kaluamba and Kampungu.

It is monitoring 102 people who may have had contact with the virus. The latest outbreak in Western Kasai province emerged in late November.

MSF said there is fear and confusion among local civilians and health staff as rumours circulate of suspected cases or deaths from the disease.

It is the first Ebola outbreak in Africa since February and the fourth in DR Congo since 1976. The highly infectious bleeding fever kills 80% of those it infects and there is no known cure.

Then:


The Plum Island researchers also isolated the Reston-Ebola virus from 6 of the 28 swine samples tested. This marks the first time the Ebola virus has been isolated from swine.

The Ebola virus belongs to the Filoviridae family to which humans and other primates are susceptible. It was first reported in the Ebola River Valley in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976. Human pathogenic strains can result in fatality rates of 50 to 90 percent.

Now, reference the sentence highlighted in red above, regarding Ebola Reston. However, as with concern involving H5N1 avian flu, is it absolutely certain that Ebola cannot transition from the porcine to the human community?

Happy New Year.

BZ

Monday, December 29, 2008

Again, Big Brother Is Here

First, your car is chipped.


Answerable with information stored by your local, state and federal governments.

Think that's fantasy? It's already starting in the state just north of Fornicalia. Read on:
A year ago, the Oregon Department of Transportation announced it had demonstrated that a new way to pay for roads — via a mileage tax and satellite technology — could work.

Now Gov. Ted Kulongoski says he’d like the legislature to take the next step.

As part of a transportation-related bill he has filed for the 2009 legislative session, the governor says he plans to recommend “a path to transition away from the gas tax as the central funding source for transportation.”

What that means is explained on the governor’s website:

“As Oregonians drive less and demand more fuel-efficient vehicles, it is increasingly important that the state find a new way, other than the gas tax, to finance our transportation system.”

According to the policies he has outlined online, Kulongoski proposes to continue the work of the special task force that came up with and tested the idea of a mileage tax to replace the gas tax.

The governor wants the task force “to partner with auto manufacturers to refine technology that would enable Oregonians to pay for the transportation system based on how many miles they drive.”

The online outline adds: “The governor is committed to ensuring that rural Oregon is not adversely affected and that privacy concerns are addressed.”

When the task force’s study and test were in the news in 2006 and 2007, critics worried that the technology could be used to track where vehicles go, not just how far they travel, and that this information would somehow be stored by the
government
[of course those are valid concerns; it's a small box affixed to the vehicle's electronic system: how would you know?]


Here's the long and short of it: because, as a good driver, you're doing as you're told -- that is to say, driving less and using less fuel, producing less carbon -- you're also strangling a governmental source of revenue. So, to make up for this shortfall because you, the citizen, are doing the so-called "right thing," it's time to remove more of your privacy and liberties by chipping your car, so that you can be taxed further.

I should like to point to another example: back east, when citizens used less power in a community, as the government has been asking via public service announcements for years, the local power generation utility began losing revenue. Therefore, though the citizens were using less power their rates went up.

Further, if Oregon is thinking of this strategy, you know other states are also. Let's also do what I call the Logical Extension: if the government is monitoring you via electronic nanny for mileage, the insurance companies will demand access to whatever information is collected as well, and the states will take their cut of cash for providing this information, against you, to your insurer.

And what if your car is hacked by someone wishing to have less mileage? What happens if, when a person is chipped, your entire life is hacked?


BZ

Sunday, December 28, 2008

BZ Predicts Possible Insurrection?


Of course, my dear readers, this couldn't be true. I'm nothing but a Rightist Moonbat.

Eh? See my previous posts here and here.


A new report from the U.S. Army War College discusses the use of American troops to quell civil unrest brought about by a worsening economic crisis.

The report from the War College’s Strategic Studies Institute warns that the U.S. military must prepare for a “violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States” that could be provoked by “unforeseen economic collapse” or “loss of functioning political and legal order.”

Entitled “Known Unknowns: Unconventional ‘Strategic Shocks’ in Defense Strategy Development,” the report was produced by Nathan Freier, a recently retired Army lieutenant colonel who is a professor at the college — the Army’s main training institute for prospective senior officers.

He writes: “To the extent events like this involve organized violence against local, state, and national authorities and exceed the capacity of the former two to restore public order and protect vulnerable populations, DoD [Department of Defense] would be required to fill the gap.”

Freier continues: “Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order … An American government and defense establishment lulled into complacency by a long-secure domestic order would be forced to rapidly divest some or most external security commitments in order to address rapidly expanding human insecurity at home.”

So, it can't happen here, you say?

BZ

Saturday, December 27, 2008

What Was Expected


I earlier wrote that tensions were rising in the Gaza Strip and that this stemmed from Hamas' sending rockets and mortars into Israel. Benyamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud Party, said "Right now we have to go from passive response to active assault."

That was five days ago.

A response from Israel has now occurred. BBC video here. Reuters video here.

Israel strikes demolish Hamas compounds, kill 192
By IBRAHIM BARZAK
Associated Press Writer
Published: Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008
GAZA CITY,
Gaza Strip -- Israeli warplanes retaliating for rocket fire from the Gaza Strip pounded dozens of security compounds across the Hamas-ruled territory in unprecedented waves of airstrikes Saturday, killing nearly 200 people and wounding 270 others in the single bloodiest day of fighting in years.

This action was, in my opinion, long overdue. But now watch so-called "world opinion" prove, once again, that anti-Semitism is alive and well in all the media outlets as writers, editors and producers excoriate Israel and embrace the poor Palestinians -- conveniently forgetting, of course, that Hamas lives solely for the destruction of Israel and the extermination of all Jews.

BZ

Led To Fiscal Slaughter



I wish I could proffer a bountiful, positive post in reference to Christmas. It just isn't in me right now. For that I apologize up front though, truthfully, I'm surprised if anyone is really trolling the internet for anything but gifts at this point. Thanks for stopping by; I'm about to depress you.

For the more historically minded, it's a time for nostalgia. The past comes alive as Chicago 's grand tradition of corruption is sustained for another generation. As the Chicago Tribune once wrote, 'corruption has been as much a part of the landscape as corn, soybeans and skyscrapers.' According to the Chicago Sun-Times, as of 2006, when Blago's predecessor, George Ryan, was sent to prison for racketeering, 79 elected officials had been convicted of corruption in the past 30 years. ... The New York Times -- which, according to Wall Street analysts, is weeks from holding editorial board meetings in a refrigerator box -- created the journalistic equivalent of CSI-Wasilla to study every follicle and fiber in Sarah Palin's background, all the while treating Obama's Chicago like one of those fairy-tale lands depicted in posters that adorn little girls' bedroom walls. See there, Suzie? That's a Pegasus. That's a pink unicorn. And that's a beautiful sunflower giving birth to a fully grown Barack Obama, the greatest president ever and the only man in history to be able to pick up manure from the clean end."


In regards to Blagojevich, the investigation is creeping closer, ever-closer to our president elect.

The president-elect himself was questioned by federal investigators.

In terms of spending, the president-elect advocates a stimulus plan that could total as much as $1 trillion dollars.

We've already, literally, pissed away billions and billions of dollars to ungrateful, arrogant and irresponsible banking institutions, investment firms and corporations (see my post here), to the point where I believe, if this trend continues, there could be actual public insurrection in this country.

And will the trend continue?

Robert Romano from GetLiberty.org writes:
George Bush has made a gentleman’s agreement with robber barons and union thugs. And there is no question that after the Big Three automakers are done pouring through the $17.4 billion in “bridge loans” they have soaked from the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)—i.e., the taxpayers—that they will again return to the federal government on their knees, begging for more.

There is no reason to believe that either these companies’ managements or the union bosses will ever honor the original terms of the loans. After all, that would involve concessions. And why concede anything when the American taxpayer is on the hook—and can’t get off?


The 2008 deficit is already at a projected $1 trillion—with the potential to reach $1.5 trillion, if Congress passes the massive stimulus bill now under consideration. Jobless rates—and claims—continue to rise. Over 11,600 pork projects—costing upwards of $17 billion—were included in bills this year. . .

And Congress just ended the year by giving itself a 2.8 percent pay raise.

The $4700/member raise would go into effect in January of 2009, raising the average congressional salary to $174,000. The raise is part of an automated process incorporated in a bill Congress passed in 1989.


For how long can this stand? For how long can we as a country stand? How long will we consent to be sheep led to Fiscal Slaughter? How long will we allow the political fat to become fatter, the political rich to be richer, behind irresponsible, inconsiderate fiscal policies and spending packages, heedless of the source?

You, me, we, are all viewed as nothing but endless founts of labor from which Washington and other government entities may tap at any time for any sheer whim. There need be no real reason or need other than "we want to" or "my political friends would like more" or "I owe a debt to another politician across the aisle."

There is no accountability, there is no stopping this Juggernaut because, quite frankly, at this time No One Cares.

And I do not see it getting anything but worse for 2009.

Merry Christmas, America. Now bend over and grab your ankles.

BZ

Friday, December 26, 2008

San Francisco: Again, Home of the Idiots

So, let's postulate you're a good little guilty overeducated LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) "person," customarily white, and you want to fly from SFO (San Francisco International) to some other point on the planet.

Yet, here you sit, fretting, wondering what it is you can possibly do to offset the massive, distracting, horrible vapor trails you see in the sky (vapor trails or contrails themselves, of course, being a government conspiracy in and of themselves), as well as that ghastly, tree-killing air-warping exhaust from those nasty Pratt & Whitney engines, not to mention the chemicals, metals, plastics and manufacturing processes utilized by overbearing Western Civilizations enabling you to fly in a thin aluminum tube to your destination.

Yet, as assiduously guilty as you may well be, some clearly overbearing presence -- like your job or your family, for example -- mandate that you despoil the skies and the earth by stepping foot into said aluminum tube.

What's a guilty LGBT to do?

I know: SFO "certified" carbon offset credits! Oh, and can I get CCOC gift cards?

Read more inanity, dearest BZ devotees:

The experimental program, scheduled to start this spring, would make SFO the first airport in the nation - possibly the world - to offer fliers the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets.

"We'd like people to stop and consider the impacts of flying," said Steve McDougal, executive vice president for 3Degrees, a San Francisco firm that sells renewable-energy and carbon-reduction investments and is teaming up with the airport and the city on the project. "Obviously, people need to fly sometimes. No one expects them to stop, but they should consider taking steps to reduce their impacts."

But where would this money -- not tax deductible -- go? Here's some wonderful GOWP (Guilty Overeducated White Person) doublespeak:

While the carbon offsets purchased at kiosks can't be seen or touched, they are an actual product with a specific environmental claim whose ownership is transferred at the time of purchase," Krista Canellakis, a 3Degrees spokeswoman said.

In summation, isn't it marvelous that all GOWPs can assuage their hurted hearts and throw their cash to another corporation and another governmental entity -- precisely the entities they don't trust at this point -- unless -- oh yes, these corporations or governmental entities are cloaked in the appropriate Religious Leftist Doublespeak Global Warming Dogma. Which is, after all, predicated solely upon emotions.

Aren't emotions wonderful (sound of BZ swooning)?

BZ

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, Pt II





BZ

Merry Christmas!

My good pal Denny sums it up:

Hope your Christmas is fulfilling, merry, filled with family happiness and good cheer!

Stop cruising the internet (unless you want to track Santa Claus, here). Go back to your family and dinner.

BZ

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fomenting Civil War


From Associated Press via Yahoo News:

AP study finds $1.6B went to bailed-out bank execs
Banks that have their hands out in Washington this year were handing out multimillion-dollar rewards to their executives last year.

The 116 banks that so far have received taxpayer dollars to boost them through the economic crisis gave their top tier of executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses and other benefits in 2007, an Associated Press analysis found.

That amount, spread among the 600 highest paid bank executives, would cover the bailout money given to several banks that have shared in the $188 billion that Washington has doled out in rescue packages so far.

The AP compiled total compensation based on annual reports that the banks file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The 116 banks have so far received $188 billion in taxpayer help. Among the findings:

-The average paid to each of the banks' top executives was $2.6 million in salary, bonuses and benefits.

-Lloyd Blankfein, president and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs, took home nearly $54 million in compensation last year. The company's top five executives received a total of $242 million.


But furthermore, what of the absolute arrogance of the recipients, the refusal to be accountable? Read this:
But after receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation's largest banks say they can't track exactly how they're spending the money or they simply refuse to discuss it.

"We've lent some of it. We've not lent some of it. We've not given any accounting of, 'Here's how we're doing it,'" said Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money. "We have not disclosed that to the public. We're declining to."

The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked four questions: How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what's the plan for the rest?

None of the banks provided specific answers.

"We're not providing dollar-in, dollar-out tracking," said Barry Koling, a spokesman for Atlanta, Ga.-based SunTrust Banks Inc., which got $3.5 billion in taxpayer dollars.

Some banks said they simply didn't know where the money was going.

This, ladies and gentlemen, isn't Washington's money. It isn't local money or any kind of government money at all.

This is your money.

There is only one source of money: yours. You possess the blood-vein from which all of government taps.

Billions of dollars to banks, investment firms, accounting firms and now corporations. Billions and billions of dollars proffered to those who are only assured to continue on the same path to fiscal destruction. Billions and billions of dollars pissed away with absolutely no accountability whatsoever. And there only exists a future of these same entities coming back again and again and again to feed at the governmental trough. A trough filled by you and me. A trough we are mandated to fill and refill by governmental fiat.

Further, the government wants to see my books once a year?

I want to see their books. Open. For everyone. All the time.

And I want to see consequences -- just as there would be consequences for my irresponsible spending. I cannot spend money I do not have. I would eventually be arrested, and suffer consequences.

Government spends anything it wishes with little if any oversight.

Listen to me, my United States government: if you actually wish to foment insurrection, mass insurrection, violent insurrection, even a civil war, then you simply keep on this path.

How long are We The People, the source of this cash -- which is the result of the blood, sweat and tears of our labors -- going to acquiesce and continue to allow this behavior to run unchecked?

This is simply too egregious to ignore. And I am of sufficient anger that I must end this post now.

BZ

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tensions Rise In Gaza

As Christmas rapidly approaches, nerves are fraying in the Gaza Strip.


The two frontrunners in the race to become prime minister (of Israel) after a snap election in February both vowed to topple Hamas, which has run Gaza since violently seizing power there in June 2007.

Militant rocket and mortar fire continued on Sunday, the Israeli army said, reporting that one person was slightly wounded. A Palestinian medic said a woman had been injured in northern Gaza by shrapnel from a tank shell but the military denied firing in the area.

"Israel must topple the Hamas rule in Gaza and a government under my command will do just that," Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, leader of the governing Kadima party, was quoted as saying by Israeli media.

"Israel must react when it is fired upon, must re-establish its force of dissuasion and stop the rockets."

Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the right-wing Likud party which is leading in opinion polls, echoed the sentiment.

"In the long run, we have no choice but to topple Hamas rule," he was quoted as saying by the Ynet news website as he toured the southern Israeli town of Sderot, which has borne the brunt of militant rocket attacks from Gaza.

"Right now we have to go from passive response to active assault."

And if Bibi Netanyahu indicates an assault is called for, chances are good it will occur and is needed.

Knowing this, ships filled with "activists" are arriving in the area:

Gaza – Ma’an – A ship of civil society activists from around the globe arrived in the Gaza Strip from Larnaca Port in Cyprus Saturday morning after being accosted by Israeli warships.


So the terrorists can shell Israel with the support of the population of Gaza, and the IDF's (Israeli Defense Forces) hands are tied by lawyers.

I just don't have words to show my anger over how sick the decision making process has become when it comes to think about how to best defend the Jewish people.

If we would have operated this way in 1948, Israel would never have been born -- we would have been defeated.

Turn the IDF loose with one objective victory and tell the Chief of Staff: "if you can't produce, resign or be fired."

Egypt is now weighing in on the Gaza Strip. From The Jerusalem Post:

We say such a move would have devastating consequences, devastating humanitarian consequences," Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki told the Post in a telephone interview. "This is something we cannot accept or condone under any terms."

The logic of those persons making decisions for Israel continue to amaze me: why would you possibly go out of your way to not only comfort those who only wish you to fall, but insist on placing them directly next door to your own home?

There will be more violence for Christmas. And the rockets continue.

BZ

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Majel Roddenberry Passes Away


Majel Roddenberry, once know as Majel Barrett and star of the first Star Trek pilot where she played "Number One," died of cancer on Saturday.

Following the pilot, she was cast a Nurse Christine Chapel, assistant to Dr. Leonard McCoy. When the original Star Trek series was canceled, she last was cast as the computer voice of the starship Enterprise in The Next Generation series, as well as next year's remake.

She married the creator of the Star Trek franchise, Gene Roddenberry, in 1969 following the cancellation of the original series. She became Majel Barrett Roddenberry.
NEW YORK -- Majel Barrett Roddenberry, the widow of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry, has died. She was 76. Roddenberry, an actress who appeared in numerous "Star Trek" TV shows and movies, died Thursday of leukemia at her home in Bel-Air, Calif., her representative said.

At Roddenberry's side were family friends and her only son, Eugene Roddenberry Jr. Gene Roddenberry died in 1991.

I've always been a devotee of Star Trek and its series of spinoffs and films. It is a sad day for Star Trek fans, indeed.

BZ

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Words Mean Everything: FEES vs. TAXES


The Demorats in Fornicalia are making, this week, what is termed an "end run" around everyone in the state, regarding taxation. It is no secret that Fornicalia is literally billions and billions of dollars in debt:

Treasurer Bill Lockyer, the board chairman, had warned the Legislature last week that the unprecedented halt in funding would be necessary if lawmakers did not immediately address a $14 billion deficit in the fiscal year that ends in June. The hole is forecast to grow to $42 billion over the next 18 months.

I'll make it brief and simple: what the Republicans forecasted in 2007 has now become reality in Fornicalia. From last year's Republican Caucus Briefing Report:

No taxation without representation has been a firm principle in our nation’s history since its inception. This principle prohibits government officials from adopting taxes without the approval of those who will be taxed. Furthering this policy, the California State Constitution requires state taxes to be approved by two-thirds of the elected members of the Legislature, and local taxes be approved by a direct vote of the people. However, because these vote counts are often difficult to meet, many newly adopted assessments have been passed off as “fees” rather than taxes to avoid the two-thirds approval requirements.

A package of bills passed both Fornicalia houses this week with no Republican support at all. If it can happen here, it can happen in your state. And, as Hugh Hewitt says, it is nothing but lawlessness.

Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- California’s budget deficit will reach $41.8 billion over the next 19 months, a record shortfall forcing officials to look for ways to pay bills as they brace for the state to run out of cash.

When in doubt, improvise with bullshit, smoke, mirrors, lies, half-truths and outright manipulation. With this in mind Fornicalia Demorats passed a package of bills which removed the horrendous word TAX and instead substituted the word FEE.

According to them, it made all the difference in the world, allowing them to circumvent the Fornicalia Constitutionally-required 2/3rds vote to pass a TAX.

Read the difference:

Taxes Versus Fees
In general, a tax is a mandatory financial charge or other levy imposed on an individual or a legal entity by a government agency. In other words, a tax is not a voluntary payment or donation, but an enforced assessment. In contrast, a fee is a charge paid in remuneration for services directly received by the fee payor.

Based on these definitions, the distinction between the two should not be as complicated as some would make it. Essentially, if a government assessment is compulsory and the payer does not derive a direct benefit or service from that assessment, it is a tax. However, some tax-and-spend lawmakers have attempted to blur the lines. Why? To make it easier for politicians to fund programs that, if presented to the people as a tax, would not pass muster.


You want taxes? How about this (California Dems Push Billions in Higher 'Fees' to Skirt Law):

The proposal they made Wednesday would eliminate an 18-cent-a-gallon excise tax on gas and a fluctuating sales tax on gas, replacing them with a 39-cent-per-gallon fee. Democrats also were seeking to raise the state sales tax by 3/4 of a cent, tax oil produced in California, add a 2.5 percent surcharge on state income taxes and force independent contractors to pay taxes up front.


Our only hope at this point: Governor Schwarzenegger refused to sign this series of bills.

Today.

And tomorrow?

Words mean everything. Why have Conservatives refused to grant "marriages," for example (despite that, in Fornicalia, gays can already have Civil Unions which grant every right to their signators as those affixed to marriages -- such as benefits, hospital visits, etc.), to gays? Because words mean everything. A "marriage" denotes a union between one man and one woman. Plain and simple. A tax is a tax -- and in Fornicalia requires 2/3rds passage.

Unless you call it something else.

This is a perfect example. Words mean everything.

"Tax."

"Fee."

These are TAXES.

BZ

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh So True



BZ

P.S.
I lost power so I couldn't post this morning although, for whatever reason and despite the massive amounts of snow on the ground and in the trees, my dialup seems to be working as well as ever -- for dialup. For now.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Knives Infinity


As a person who is armed wherever I go (usually my personal Sig Sauer P239), I am known to pack heat and a knife.

The knives I carry can range from my ridiculous 17" Condor Jungle Bowie in custom nylon neck/back sheath (concealed, can be pulled from behind the neck), to a Spyderco Police or my first utility knife, a Spyderco Delica.


If you're like me and enjoy carrying a knife because they can also be an amazingly-convenient tool (always nice to have one when you want one!), I would refer you to Kris Anderson's brand new internet site, Knives Infinity. Kris just started his own online knife business and, as you already know, starting a new business is not only tough in and of itself but, during these hard times, doubly difficult.

A check of his clean, professional, easily-navigable website reveals that he sells Benchmade, Buck, Kershaw, Spyderco, Boker, Gerber and many other knives. You can get multi-tools (love my Leatherman), axes, sharpeners, machetes, saws, shovels and other accessories. Too much stuff to list here!

Check him out: Knives Infinity.

BZ

P.S.
(Hint: guys like knives for Christmas)

The Largest, Most Immediate Threat To The United States?


Mexico.

In the December issue of Forbes magazine, the cover story is "Mexican Meltdown: The Next Disaster" by Jesse Bogan, Kerry A. Dolan, Christopher Helman and Nathan Vardi, subtitled: Narco violence is exploding--just as oil prices are plunging and Mexico is bracing for a deep U.S. recession.

From the story:

This year, through mid-November, there have been 4,300-plus drug-related deaths in Mexico, compared with 2,500 in 2007. Edgar Millán Gómez, who oversaw the joint efforts of the army and federal police, was assassinated in May in his home in Mexico City. Roberto Velasco Bravo, a federal chief of criminal investigations, was shot in the head a week earlier. The narcotraficantes have infiltrated the highest levels of law enforcement, including, allegedly, Mexico's principal link to Interpol and its former senior drug czar. Mexico, once again, is battling the ever powerful gangs. "It has been a fierce bloodbath," says Felipe González González, president of the Senate public security commission and former governor of the central state of Aguascalientes. "We have more dead than you have in Iraq."

We have more dead than you have in Iraq.

Think about that for a moment.

It's now so bad the Bush Administration policy wonks and bureaucrats are actually getting concerned themselves. Up to now, one of Bush's largest failures as far as Conservatives are concerned is his refusal to secure our borders, his inclination to cozy up to Mexico and his disdain for the Minutemen, Ramos and Compean.

In that light, prepare to be amazed by these truthful but self-evident, Captain Obvious-type statements:


But there is urgent concern north of the border about a potential strategic threat. "We're fixated on Iraq and Afghanistan, but from a homeland security perspective, right here on our border, isn't this more important?" asks Fred Burton, a former State Department counterterrorism official, now a vice president at Stratfor in Austin, Tex.

Washington, D.C. is fretting, too. "The consequences for both our countries in the near future and the not-so-near future could not be greater," says John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, a.k.a. the drug czar. "The consequences if President Calderón fails and the institutions of government, at least in the northern part of his country, become controlled by terrorist mafias--well, we worry about ungoverned spaces far away from the U.S., and this is right next door."

Please note, however, you're not hearing or reading this from our sitting president or those immediately around him. And if you think it's going to get better under our president elect -- you'd best think again.

Continuing from the story:

The explosion of narco terror comes alongside a precipitous drop in oil prices and the crushing effects of a deep U.S. recession. The climate of fear is kicking the life out of the economy. The second wave of the global financial crisis is playing out in the developing world--and right on our doorstep. After expanding by 3.2% in 2007 to $900 billion, Mexico's GDP growth will slow to 1.5% this year and tumble to somewhere between zero and 0.7% in 2009, predicts Raúl Feliz, an economist at CIDE, a Mexico City think tank that specializes in economics and politics. While some of that meager expansion will come from government stimulus spending, its hands are tightly tied because state-owned oil monopoly Pemex (Petróleos Mexicanos) contributes 37%--$80 billion in 2008--of federal revenue. Next year analysts expect a plunge in petrodollars. Unemployment will jump from its current 4.1%. Throw in part-time workers, who account for roughly one-third of GDP, and the jobless figure soars to 10%. Feliz expects that number to reach 12% next year.


More Captain Obvious:


The cartels are also taking a big toll on business. "U.S. companies are worried about the safety of their workers," says Maria Luisa O'Connell, president of the Border Trade Alliance in Phoenix, Ariz. "Drugs have become such a big problem." As they have for the business community throughout Mexico. As a result of many high-profile kidnappings and murders, one of the most vibrant businesses in the nation is security--bodyguards and armored vehicles. An executive can shell out as much as $500,000 a year to protect himself and his family, reports Stratfor.


Kidnappings? Ransoms? Thinking South America? No; think Mexico:


Chronic fear of kidnapping, or worse, is driving more and more Mexicans north to the U.S. Alejandro Junco, proprietor of one of Mexico's largest dailies, El Norte, recently moved his entire family to live in Texas. Pablo Jacobo (Jack) Suneson Bautista, owner of Marti's, a high-end arts and crafts gallery on Guerrero Avenue in Nuevo Laredo, refuses to let his kids come home to work in the business. "No way," he says. "I am just afraid they might be singled out or there might be some kind of kidnapping attempt." No one knows how many Mexicans are fleeing. But Arturo Rolland, a broker at Latin Credit Mortgage & Realty in San Diego, guesses that maybe 100 families a month are moving from Tijuana to the Chula Vista/San Diego area to seek safety. Some because gangsters "are using Facebook and MySpace to track people and their relatives," says a source at the Asociación de Empresarios Mexicanos, an entrepreneurs group in San Antonio.


Is Mexico's drug violence affecting us now? Of course; read on:

The Gulf cartel has dug its claws into the Atlanta area, as shown by a federal indictment in September of 34 of its members who authorities say were organized into distribution and transportation cells. The feds say the leader, 20-year-old Edgar Rodríguez-Alejandro, was taking orders from the highest levels of the Gulf cartel in Mexico until he was arrested in May with 12 kilos of cocaine and $7.7 million, a slim fraction of the 16,000 kilos of cocaine and 116 weapons recently seized in the U.S. Two cells of Shorty Guzmán's cartel in Atlanta were tracked and 20 indicted in December 2007.


But moreover, what about that wonderful and giving Meridia Initiative from the Bush Administration (a "multi-year proposal to provide equipment and training to support law enforcement operations and technical assistance for long-term reform and oversight of security agencies.") where the US has planned to provide $500 million to Mexico in Fiscal Year (FY) '08, and another $450 million in FY '09? Read this statement:


What about help from the Mérida plan? "The money is going to the wrong side of the border," contends Congressman Ted Poe (R--Tex.). "With the infiltration of law enforcement and so many corrupt officials in Mexico, we don't want that equipment used against us."


Here's a newsflash: you let more Mexicans into the United States and you're going to get Mexico. Plain and simple. I've written this so many times: demography is prophecy. You want more dead Americans, leave the borders porous. You want politicians and officials even more corrupt and, beyond that, your military and your law enforcement infiltrated with corruption, violence, death -- armed with their current tools? Leave the borders porous. You want more entitlement payouts, more persons taking from the system instead of giving? Leave the borders porous. You want to have the United States in the future precisely resemble Mexico now? Leave the borders porous.


This monster sits, literally, at our back door. It's scratching and clawing to get in. It's already killed a few family pets. And its eyes are locked on your throat.

Build the wall. Build it high and build it deep. Link it up. Remove illegal invaders from entitlements. Raid businesses who hire illegal invaders. Prosecute the owners. No more sanctuary cities: remove all federal funding from towns and cities encouraging this practice. Enforce the laws. Stop lawful American citizens from being murdered, raped and beaten at the hands of illegal invaders. Utilize the Sheriff Joe Arpaio model (THIS JUST IN: SHERIFF ARPAIO'S OFFICE ARRESTS FOUR ACORN ACTIVISTS FOR DISRUPTING A MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING!) for dealing with illegal invaders when other agencies refuse to do so. And all we have to do is enforce the current laws on our books.

So you think Texas Fred is a bigot, a racist, a nutjob, an idiot for wanting to protect his state, his country, to seal our borders both north and south?

You'd best just think again.

BZ

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Moving To Sharia?


Are the United States moving toward Sharia and its laws?

Moving? No; we're already there in portions of the US already. Hat Tip to Yid With Lid:

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – On the day Muslims around the world began to celebrate Eid al-Adha, Fatuma Mohamed was at the Mall of America (MOA), far away from where she would normally say her prayers.

But she and other Muslims needed to take time from the activities of the mall and find a quiet area to pray as Muslims do during the festival that commemorates Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his only son for God.

“I said my prayer right at that corner,” Mohamed said, pointing to the spot.

Another Muslim, Amran Ali, did the same.

“I had to say my prayer at a corner,” Ali said. “I was stared at, but no one bothered me.”

This year Muslim leaders from the Twin Cities area were able to persuade MOA, the largest enclosed mall in the United States, to set aside a room for prayers.

“I learned quite a bit from my last meeting with the community,” said Douglas Reynolds, MOA’s security director.

But Mohamed and other Muslims did not know there was a prayer room, even though MOA and Muslim volunteers had intended to have eight posters in three languages, (English, Somali and Arabic) to be displayed at all entrances to the mall.

“I didn’t notice any signs,” Mohamed said.

Reynolds said many might have missed the signs because MOA and the Muslim leaders did not advise the community about the prayer room before this week’s observance of Eid al-Adha. The signs also went up too late in the day, Reynolds said.

“It would have been nice to get the message out to the community earlier,” Reynolds said. “The signs were also not available until 4:30 p.m.”

He promised that MOA would “do a better job next time.”

Wonderful. The Mall of America is apologizing for not having kissed the ass of Islam earlier. They got their "prayer room" and they are still ungrateful.

Prayer rooms for Christians? Perish the thought, you bigot and racist.


BZ

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday, In Consideration of Monday


"Snow Day." Again. Such it is with Life. At least in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

When the snow came down on everything Sunday night and continued into early Monday, the writing was on the proverbial wall. It was a Snow Day. But moreover, a "Global Warming" Snow Day because, after all, it can be not only too hot to indicate Global Warming -- it can now be too cold -- it's Global Warming.

So I called in "Global Warming" to work. And when my ass hurts and my back stings because I shoveled all my "non-existent snow" (due to Global Warming, of course) off my deck, I suppose I should just chalk it up to: Global Warming!

Isn't it con-veeeee-nient, as the Church Lady says. Global Warming, during the winter, just happens to fall onto the rather resplendant altar of the Leftists. They categorically state they have no religion but, of course, you and I know that they do.

I can temporarily update on the internet (though I still can't get my car out), so here's a photo of yesterday. I also just watched a resident try to get up the hill in their front wheel drive car, which stalled. Looks like her husband came to the rescue in an older, heavy 4X4 pickup and towed her up the hill.

I got the car dug out -- somewhat. I may try to get up the hill later today. Still no plow-truck.

BZ

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Day The Earth Stood Still


I'll immediately "cut to the chase" regarding the newly-released remake of the classic 1951 science fiction film starring Michael Rennie: avoid the remake. It is terrible.

The original film is a science fiction classic; in my opinion easily one of the five best SF movies ever made. Director Robert Wise (1914 - 2005; editor, Citizen Kane, director, Run Silent, Run Deep; West Side Story; The Haunting; The Sound of Music; The Sand Pebbles; The Andromeda Strain; Star Trek: The Motion Picture to name but a few) incorporated some remarkable things in this film, to include Bernard Herrmann's captivating score (first ever to use the theremin), its stark black-and-white aspect, simple but incredibly-convincing special effects (the shadow of Klaatu's ship following perfectly underneath to its landing point in the park), and a robot that was and still is ominous and believeable.

Whereas Klaatu in the 1951 original came to warn Earth about the dangers of war, nuclear arms and spreading our planet's violence into space -- what do you suppose is the new theme of Klaatu's warning?

Take a moment. Time's up.

Yes: Global Warming.

Klaatu says the planet is not ours -- though he fails to say quite precisely to whom it does belong if not its inhabitants.


I'm sorry, that's just the final straw, folks. The producers have taken a wonderful tale, mashed it with over-the-top special effects, limp performances, a kid you'll hate in an instant and, at the end of one hour and fifty minutes, you'll ask yourself why you spent the $10+ dollars.

There is no one in this film in which to relate, least of all Klaatu. Perhaps the best I can say is that Keanu Reeves hit his marks; he is, after all, in focus. That is the best I can write of Mr. Reeves.

I am so tired of "alien space craft" being portrayed as balls of light. I am so tired of special effects trotted across the screen for little other meaning than their simple presence; the character of Gort was completely digitized and slaughtered -- along with the "plot." The panderingly-obvious "product placement" is even worse. And then this mangled, bleeding lump is plopped at the religious altar of Global Warming.

For those of you who are devotees of the original film: stay away, as you will be angered. For all others: save your money. Rent or purchase the original The Day The Earth Stood Still. Mr. Wise did so much more with so much less -- and it is so much more enjoyable.

See videos of the original here and here, please.

BZ

Dialup

Again, when I'm home on the weekends my dialup isn't cooperating. It is refusing to let me post photos or allow any other action that requires more than a minute or two. It then decides to disconnect itself.

A local company that has an RF system I was considering is apparently run by persons who don't wish my money. I've had to badger them to do their jobs, so I can only conclude that 1) the economy isn't affecting them in the least and that they have so many customers they can afford to ignore me or 2) they are incompetent. I chance to venture it's the latter.

As I don't suffer fools lightly, it's time to investigate satellite. My TV satellite in winter, however, goes out with very high winds and/or heavy snow, so I suspect satellite internet would do the same.

In any event, it's about time for my dialup to knock me off the internet. I'll be back to posting tomorrow. And yes, it's snowing outside. Wish I could post a photo.

BZ

Saturday, December 13, 2008

When William Ayers Visits My White House


You know that, during at least one occasion in the Obama presidency, domestic and unrepentant terrorist William Ayers will be invited to the White House at the behest of Barack Hussein Obama.

William Ayers, who said: ''I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough.'' And: ''Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents, that's where it's really at." And: ''Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon."

William Ayers, the Victim: “It’s all guilt by association. They made me into a cartoon character—they threw me up onstage just to pummel me."

Can you imagine being a Secret Service agent assigned to the presidential detail at that point?

Can you imagine that piece of filth walking in the same hallways upon which Ronald Wilson Reagan trod?

You can be guaranteed that William Ayers will expectorate on a presidential portrait or urinate on the carpet. Or worse. In my hallowed house. In your hallowed house.

And he and that act will be protected by not only Barack Hussein Obama but the DEM/MSM as well.


You just wait and see if I'm not proven correct.

BZ

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Note To America:



After more than 7 years since 9/11, we can now issue a verdict: Islamic terrorists have won our hearts and minds. Let's thank those who made it happen: the U.S. government, European governments and the mainstream media. It's time to stop placating or being intimidated by Islamic front groups who masquerade as civil rights groups. In 2007, the perversity of [this] was demonstrated when the FBI released its annual 2007 hate crime reports. Of the total 1,628 victims of anti-religious hate crimes, 69.2% were Jewish and 8.7% were Muslim. Yet by my still unfinished account, there were at least 40 times more stories last year about Islamophobia than about anti-Semitism. The Mumbai massacre was a heavily planned plot carried out by Islamic terrorists. Period. Memo to Obama: Until the onus of responsibility is put on Islamic 'civil rights' groups that want to ban free speech and claim that anyone who uses the term Islamic terrorist is a racist, there is no hope of winning the battle."
--Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism Steven Emerson

Please note that "Steven Emerson is an internationally recognized expert on terrorism and national security and a best-selling author. Mr. Emerson serves as the Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), an organization he founded in 1995 following the PBS broadcast of his documentary film Jihad in America. Since 9-11, Emerson has testified before and briefed Congress dozens of times on terrorist financing and operational networks of Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and the rest of the worldwide Islamic militant spectrum."

Again, Historical Alzheimers, anyone? Bueller?

BZ


P.S.
Books I recommend by Mr. Emerson:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hope For Hollywood Conservatives?


Andrew Breitbart, he of the breitbart.com aggregator, is angling for a different angle on Hollywood, the arts and entertainment:
After playing supporting roles to big names in media and politics, Andrew Breitbart is poised to become the protagonist in his own story.

The publisher of the online news aggregator Breitbart.com helped launch and run two of today’s most influential media and political punditry websites, Arianna Huffington’s left-leaning The Huffington Post and Matt Drudge’s right-leaning Drudge Report. He offers little about his past with Drudge, where he was a part-time editor who once at a dinner party jokingly called himself “Matt Drudge’s bitch.” He compares the comment to President-elect Barack Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau groping the breast on a cardboard Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). Of Drudge, Breitbart says only, “I don’t work there anymore.”

Now the politically conservative Breitbart, 39, will debut his own collection of original material in his Big Hollywood group blog, a new home for right-of-center voices that want to sound off on the interplay of popular culture and politics.


An interesting idea, to debut on January 6th of 2009. And a nice hat-tip to The Canadian Sentinel for the info.

BZ

Fornicalia's "Call In Gay" Day


In my state, Fornicalia, it's "Call In Gay" Day:
'Day Without a Gay' is latest protest against California gay marriage ban
4:36 AM, December 10, 2008
Gay-rights activists are encouraging people to “call in gay” to work today to demonstrate how integral gay people are to American society.

“We are here, and we are not second-class citizens, and we deserve the same rights as everyone else,” said Julio Perez, a restaurant manager in Chicago who is planning to take the day off.

Oh please. Just get over it. Proposition 8 passed in Fornicalia. You know who this hurts? Gay business owners, predominantly gay businesses or businesses serving the LGBT community. Plus, you arbitrarily decide not to appear for work? AWOL. Docked pay. Or fired.

The people who are gay and work for my agency? Guess what? They showed up for work.

Me too.

BZ

Overwhelmed

I know, here, deep in my heart, that this really is the greatest, most powerful, most wonderful country on the face of the planet.

But sometimes I just get overwhelmed:

Our politicians are decomposing with corruption on most every level, all the way up to the White House. Our president-elect says he had "no contact" with the corrupt governor. See the above photo and the one in my post under this one.

Our Leftist media will do their best to minimize and/or eliminate any negative issues involving our president-elect.

Undeserving corporations and financial institutions are rewarded for greed and failure: the Big 3 now have their bailout.

Individuals are swayed by this greed and corruption.



Our borders are porous and no government entity is interested in securing them; Americans continue to die resulting from the actions of illegal invaders.

States, counties, cities are bordering on bankruptcy because they refuse to cut spending.

Sometimes I just want to retreat to a cave and pull the rock closed behind me.

BZ

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Where There Is Smoke?



CHICAGO (CBS) ― Full release from U.S. Attorney's Office:
Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff, John Harris, were arrested today by FBI agents on federal corruption charges alleging that they and others are engaging in ongoing criminal activity: conspiring to obtain personal financial benefits for Blagojevich by leveraging his sole authority to appoint a United States Senator; threatening to withhold substantial state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members sharply critical of Blagojevich; and to obtain campaign contributions in exchange for official actions – both historically and now in a push before a new state ethics law takes effect January 1, 2009.

Further, from ABC News:

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich wanted President-elect Barack Obama "to put something together…something big" in exchange for going along with Obama's choice to fill his vacant US Senate seat, according to an FBI affidavit unsealed following the Governor's stunning arrest.

"I've got this thing and it's f***ing golden, and, uh, uh, I'm just not giving it up for f***in' nothing. I'm not gonna do it. And I can always use it. I can parachute me there," Blagojevich said in a phone call secretly recorded by the FBI on November 5, the day after the election, according to the affidavit.


Corruption in Chicago? Corruption in Illinois? How could this possibly be true?

Say, isn't president-elect Barack Hussein Obama from . . .

BZ

End of Story

The Supreme Court of the United States has spoken:


08A407
DONOFRIO, LEO C. V. WELLS, NJ SEC. OF STATE
The application for stay addressed to Justice Thomas and referred to the Court is denied.

This issue, at least with regard to the Donofrio case, is ended.

But, in my opinion, legitimate questions remain.

Why has Barack Hussein Obama spent literally millions of dollars to obfuscate and deter? Why not simply kill those wearing tinfoil hats and proffer the documents, expose those accusing him as frauds and charlatans? This is, on its face, a remarkably easy issue to quash.

Or has an historic and, in truth, shocking precedent been set? And how will this precedent be viewed or, more importantly, interpreted in the future by those seeking higher office with, shall we say, not America's best interest in mind and heart?

This is a very uneasy day and decision for me.

Your thoughts?

BZ

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Purposefully Reduced Flow of Fuel


Just when you thought you might be getting a bit of an economic break in terms of the price you're paying for fuel at the pump -- gird thy loins, it won't remain that price for long:

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose for the first time in seven days in New York after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ president said there was consensus for a “significant” production cut when the group meets next week.

A “severe” cut may be needed to halt the decline in prices, group president Chakib Khelil told the Associated Press in a Dec. 6 interview. Slowing world economies will trim global demand growth to 0.2 percent next year, the International Energy Agency said Dec. 5.

As a comedian once said: "Drink up, Shriners."

BZ


P.S.
Posting, temporarily, on a computer not my own. And the company I've contacted for an alternate internet source is evidently not particularly interested in acquiring my money as they've not yet re-contacted me.

Am I the only noticing that, in this economy, businesses large and small, commercial and retail, and still pretty much indifferent towards the customer? I find this quite stunning; no one seems much to care.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Blog

I'm trying to get on the internet. My dialup won't allow this.

I hope to solve this problem in the next week. Please bear with me. I am not going away. I am simply knocked off the internet for now.

BZ

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Big 3 Bailout

Today, the Big 3 automakers arrive back in Washington with their hats in one hand, and the other hand outstretched, palm up, for free money. This time they arrived in their own hybrid vehicles, as opposed to their corporate jets. Not a good PR move on their part, that first time.

They arrive to ask for $34 billion dollars, in front of the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee.


I've already indicated that I believe a Big 3 bailout is a very bad idea. And 61% of Americans think so too.

Fiscally speaking -- not politically speaking -- it is a very bad idea. Here's why, via a supporting example:

Sales of Chrysler vehicles are down 50%; GM vehicle sales are down about 40% and FoMoCo vehicle sales are down 30%. Capitalism and the free market say that Americans want "foreign" products more than "domestic" products (though that's a topic for an entirely separate blog post). The consumers have voted with the feet and their checkbooks; they want cars from an automaker invested in a diversity of automobiles, from small and frugal, to mid-sized to large; pickups, SUVs, cars, wagons, crossovers. The vehicles must be reliable, they must be reasonably priced, they must be well styled, they must incorporate the latest technology. And any automaker must be lighter, mobile, ready to re-tool for current and coming trends.

But is it the individual autoworker responsible for the plight of the Big 3, or is it the management of the Big 3? Let's consider, as an example, GM's former vehicle plant near Fremont, Fornicalia:

The General Motors vehicle assembly plant in Warm Springs, which opened in 1962, was that region's largest employer. The plant was shut down due to inefficiency and a host of other problematic issues, not to mention high absenteeism. It was then known as one of the worst assembly plants in the auto industry.

In 1984 that GM plant was sold to Toyota, with the agreement that GM would market Toyota vehicles under a GM badge, and the joint-venture auto assembly plant was called NUMMI. This resulted in the Geo and Chevrolet Prizm (a re-badged Toyota Corolla). As of this month, the NUMMI plant produces the Toyota Corolla compact car, Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, the Toyota Matrix hatchback, and the Pontiac Vibe hatchback.

But here's the kicker: after Toyota took the plant over, they hired back the exact same workers who were employed there under GM; it went from worst to first within 2 years. Now, this same plant is an award-winning facility which ranks, with other Toyota plants, among the most productive manufacturing operations in North America. GM places around 12 managers each year at the plant to learn lean techniques and has improved quality enough across the rest of its operations for it to show through on J.D. Power quality rankings.

The bottom line is this: with the right management, with the right Leadership, with the right vision, any Detroit carmaker could have made it and can make it now. It's NOT the responsibility of the US taxpayer to bail out the Big 3 for inept management and lack of Leadership.

Let the companies that cannot support themselves fail under Chapter 11. Reorganization will occur and bring a leaner, meaner company or companies. Let the chips fall where they may. Capitalism abhors a vacuum -- and any vacuum created by a loss like that will be filled. There shall be pain. But it will be temporary.

On the other hand, be very cognizant of why Washington, at the behest of Pelosi and Reid, want to provide bailout cash to American automakers: so that they decide what the Big 3 companies will produce in terms of "green" vehicles. It doesn't matter if they'll sell or not. It's just a matter of, at this point, e-mo-tions. And, quite frankly, social engineering.
BZ