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Bloviating Zeppelin: May 2009

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.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

END

Very sad.  We're packing up the room and leaving the Fornicalia coast, Ft. Bragg and Mendocino, to go back home.  While it's been in the high 90s there, it's been in the 60s, cool, foggy, with blue sky and huge waves.  Today is a driving day.  Take care; see you tomorrow with, hopefully, more photos from the trip.


Back to reality.  A reality I was trying to escape.

BZ

Politicians and Judges Have GOT To Be Hurt!


The more that any state's politicians or judges remain unhurt and unscathed in budgetarily tough times, the more they remain Imperial and Imperious.  And the more the average citizen suffers because those two groups don't suffer the same consequences for their negligent actions.


For example, in Fornicalia, the state where I live, from the CapitolBasement.com:

The governor continues to dribble out new rounds of cuts. The Chron's Matthew Yi reports, "California state employees would lose 5 percent of their pay under the latest proposal by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to help close a widening budget deficit, his spokesman said Thursday.

 

"The plan is expected to be unveiled today as part of $3 billion in new cuts that come on the heels of $5.5 billion in proposed cuts that were announced Tuesday.


Yes, there are cuts in the offing -- to possibly include essentially shutting down the entire State Parks system.  But just who gets cut and why?  Read on:

"The only state workers who would not face a pay cut are legislators and court workers, who have their own budgets."

"The pay cuts would affect 235,000 workers under the Republican governor's control. The state's judicial and legislative branches would be exempt because they are autonomous, but McLear said employees who work for constitutional officers would receive a pay cut."

And therein lies the massive problem and the disconnect.

Judges and state politicians are purposely exempt from these cuts "as they have a different budget unit."  Or some such rationalized and -- oddly enough -- convenient thing.

Two very important things need to occur:

1. Budget cuts needs to affect all State of Fornicalia workers, to include those elected and appointed.  If their check reads STATE OF CALIFORNIA at the top, those officers and their staffs need to feel the pain felt by each and every citizen during difficult budgetary times.

2. All politicians need to be fiscally penalized when a yearly budget isn't brought in on time.  This would occur on a state level on down to a county and city level as well.  For each day past the due date, politicians would be penalized that day's pay.  And the pay, once a budget was met, would not be due retroactively.  For each day past the budget due date, that pay is lost.  Period.

Only when and if there are actual consequences to poor or late decisions -- as in the real world -- will these persons begin to understand that logic and common sense must rule each and every day.

BZ

Friday, May 29, 2009

Obama Administration: Dissension Will NOT Be Tolerated


It is a truism that Sonia Sotomayor, Mr Obama's 54-year-old nomination for SCOTUS to replace retiring Justice Souter, said in a 2001 lecture in re her Hispanic (read: Puerto Rican) background:


“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life."

It is also true that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs warned those persons with questions or curiosities about Mr Obama's nomination that they'd be labeled racists and sexists if they did or said anything that could remotely be interpreted as being less than fully and completely supportive of Sotomayor:

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs issued a pointed warning to opponents of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination Wednesday, urging critics to measure their words carefully during a politically charged confirmation debate.

“I think it is probably important for anybody involved in this debate to be exceedingly careful with the way in which they’ve decided to describe different aspects of this impending confirmation,” Gibbs said.


This was in response to the comment of Newt Gingrich where he reacted to Sotomayor's 2001 statement above.

In her Wall Street Journal column on Friday, conservative commentator Peggy Noonan panned Gingrich for Twittering that Sotomayor should withdraw because a white judicial nominee would have to if he made a similar statement on race.

Is this a wrong statement by Gingrich, or a correct statement?  I personally believe it to be true.  So, what's the fuss?

The fuss is: dissension will not be tolerated by the Left and, apparently, not much on the Conservative side as well, considering the reactions by various so-called Conservatives.

BZ

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Read Obama's Lips: MORE NEW TAXES


From The Washington Post:


With budget deficits soaring and President Obama pushing a trillion-dollar-plus expansion of health coverage, some Washington policymakers are taking a fresh look at a money-making idea long considered politically taboo: a national sales tax.

Common around the world, including in Europe, such a tax -- called a value-added tax, or VAT -- has not been seriously considered in the United States. But advocates say few other options can generate the kind of money the nation will need to avert fiscal calamity.

At a White House conference earlier this year on the government's budget problems, a roomful of tax experts pleaded with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to consider a VAT. A recent flurry of books and papers on the subject is attracting genuine, if furtive, interest in Congress. And last month, after wrestling with the White House over the massive deficits projected under Obama's policies, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee declared that a VAT should be part of the debate.

"There is a growing awareness of the need for fundamental tax reform," Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said in an interview. "I think a VAT and a high-end income tax have got to be on the table."

Ladies and gentlemen, readers of this blog, you have got to understand one primary thing: you, me, us, we have all been taken for a ride by Mr Obama.  He has outright lied to ensure his installment into the White House.

Once present, the gloves are off and the primary agenda is to ensure The Chicago Way becomes The Washington Way, along with any number of social experiments embraced -- up to and including actual Socialism.  Some Conservative pundits, writers and radio hosts -- such as Hugh Hewitt -- chastise fellow Conservative callers, readers and bloggers for using the "S" word -- Socialism.  I believe this to be simply too accommodating and "understanding" of the situation and bordering on disingenuous.

Part and parcel of this entire mess is a situation that, in actuality, will work to Mr Obama's benefit.  Started and embraced by the prior Bush Administration by way of TARP I -- a completely wrongheaded action -- the current economic crisis will allow Mr Obama to quite take full advantage of said crisis and, thusly, to institute any number of onerous restrictions, regulations and taxations.

You wish a national tax, ladies and gentlemen?  I do believe your wish may soon be granted.  And the US Mint's presses continue working overtime.

BZ

P.S.

The Heritage Foundation has an excellent article from 2005 entitled "Beware the Value-Added Tax."

America is one of the few nations without a value-added tax (VAT), but there is growing pres sure to impose the levy. In simple terms, a VAT is a type of national sales tax. However, instead of being collected at the cash register, it is imposed on the “value added” at each stage of the production process.

However, many people dislike the VAT. Supporters of limited government oppose the tax because it makes it easier for politicians to expand the size of govern ment. By contrast, some on the left oppose the VAT because of its one redeeming feature—it is a con sumption-based levy and therefore not as easy to use for economically destructive income redistribution.

Even back in 2005, The Heritage Foundation thought:

Although it is a relatively non-destructive way to collect revenue, a VAT would be a serious mistake for the United States. The only condition that would make a VAT acceptable is complete repeal of all income taxes and a constitutional amendment that prohibits Congress from re-imposing taxes on any type of income. But this is not a realistic option, which is why the VAT should be stopped.

The Heritage Foundation believes that a VAT will do the following:

- Expand the cost of government.

- Inadvertently increase income tax rates.

- Slow economic growth and destroy jobs.

What, specifically, is a VAT?

A VAT is levied on the “value added” to goods and services as they pass through each stage of the production process. There are two ways to impose a VAT, and both require businesses of all types to serve as tax collectors. The most common form, the credit-invoice VAT, operates somewhat like a sales tax. As explained by the Congressional Budget Office:

[The credit-invoice VAT] is typically administered by taxing the total value of sales of all businesses, but allowing businesses to claim a credit for taxes paid on their purchases of raw materials, intermediate materials, and capital goods from other businesses.[1]

By imposing a tax on receipts but then allowing a credit for VAT taxes collected at earlier stages of production, the credit-invoice VAT taxes the “value added” by each business. The total tax, regardless of the stage of production at which it was collected, ends up being added to the final sales price.

No matter how many steps there are in the pro duction process, a fixed percent of the final price of the product would represent the value-added tax, just as a retail sales tax is a fixed percent of the final product price. However, unlike a sales tax, the cost of the VAT to consumers would be hidden. Unless politicians took the unlikely step of requiring retailers to state explicitly the portion of the sales price that is due to the VAT, consumers would be unaware of the tax.[2]

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Mendocino Coast















My wife and I decided to stay a little longer on the Fornicalia coast, in the small northern town of Mendocino, in Mendocino County.  We can hear the constant ocean waves crashing right outside our door every hour of every day.

Whilst in Mendocino, I came across an absolutely pristine 1961 MG-A 1600 MKII convertible, as you can see above.  This car was so immaculate as to suggest that it surpassed its having been issued from the original factory (as an aside, click on every individual photo for its larger parent version).

I pedaled along a number of local bike paths, took more photos (on my wife's camera, not mine -- which I had forgotten), drank beer, ate seafood, signed us both up for a 110-minute deep tissue massage, visited KOZT, The Coast (95.3) for a bumper sticker, hit La Costena, Harvest Market, the Mendocino Cliffs, and watched seven nights of sunrises and sunsets.

I have one more night.  As you might guess, I'm not "doing" much politics right now.

I can only hope you enjoy the photographs.

God bless.

BZ

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Courts: Win One, Lose One

1. FORNICALIA SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS GAY MARRIAGE BAN:


But allows the marriages of those already wed to stand.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The California Supreme Court has upheld a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, but it also decided that the estimated 18,000 gay couples who tied the knot before the law took effect will stay wed.

The decision Tuesday rejected an argument by gay rights activists that the ban revised the California constitution's equal protection clause to such a dramatic degree that it first needed the Legislature's approval.



Mr Obama acquires the best of both worlds with this nomination: a female and a minority.  The first of likely two more nominations during his term, Obama gets to set the literal agenda for this nation by seeking to control the United States Supreme Court.

His nominee, Sonia Sotomayer, is currently a federal appeals court judge for the 2nd Circuit, which oversees Vermont, Connecticut and New York states.  She is known for ruling against white firefighters in a discrimination case where the City of New Haven, Connecticut threw out the results of a promotional exam when "too few" minorities yielded sufficiently high scores.  That case, oddly enough, is now before the US Supreme Court.

As a federal district judge in 1995, she ruled against baseball owners and for baseball players in that contentious labor strike which resulted in the cancellation of the season.

Mr Obama, if you recall, wants judges who do naught much more than "empathize."  Mr Obama also believes that "compassion" is required to interpret the Constitution.  It would appear, once again, that the law and precedent will have little if anything to do with court decisions and that the workings of foreign nations will be considered equally or moreso than our founding document.  With the current configuration of Congress confirmation is pretty much a sure thing.  The GOP will likely stand back and kvetch only.

You win some, you lose some.

BZ

Monday, May 25, 2009

God Bless America's Warriors



My father, RICHARD LEE ALLEY, WWII USAAC, USAF pilot veteran and BZ, ca 2007.


"To be a warrior is not a simple matter of wishing to be one.  It is rather an endless struggle that will go on to the very last moment of our lives.  Nobody is born a warrior, in exactly the same way that nobody is born an average man.  We make ourselves into one or the other."
- Carlos Castenada

"I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory.  I love only that which they defend."
- JRR Tolkien

"Courage is fear holding on a minute longer."
- Gen. G.S. Patton

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.  Rather we should thank God that such men lived."
- Gen. G.S. Patton

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."
-Winston Churchill

"That's what it takes to be a hero, a little gem of innocence inside you that makes you want to believe that there still exists a right and wrong, that decency will somehow triumph in the end."
-Lise Hand

"Ώ παίδες Ελλήνων, ίτε ελευθερούτε πατρίδ' ελευθερούτε δε παίδας, γυναίκας, θεών τε πατρώων έδη,θήκας τε προγόνων νυν υπέρ πάντων αγών." ("Forward, sons of the Greeks, liberate the fatherland, liberate your children, your women, the temples of your ancestral gods, the graves of your forebears: this is the battle for everything.")
-Aeschylus

God bless our warriors, God bless this nation, God bless America, the best and last hope for this entire planet.

BZ

Sunday, May 24, 2009

An Engineer's Guide To Cat Yodeling




I needed a larf.

BZ

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bike & Tower


This is a view of my work site from multiple thousands of feet. The photo shows the area when it was a USAF SAC (Strategic Air Command) Alert Pad, attended by B-52s carrying nuclear weapons.

I chose the name "Bloviating Zeppelin" for my blog as I opine on politics, and I am not a small person. In 2004 and 2005, I happened to lose roughly 80 pounds. I have mystically managed to put a good deal back on, much to my chagrin.

As you can see, there are a number of roads here at work where I may walk, "run" or bike. I am trying to lose weight once anew.

Above, you can see my new bicycle, a Trek Navigator 2.0, with 21 speeds, a very comfy saddle for my ample derriere and an upright riding position in consideration of my ailing back.

Above the bicycle is a tower, originally utilized for security on the site.

My daily regimen at work consists of numerous laps on the bicycle, then it gets parked at the foot of the tower. From there, as many times up and down the tower as I can muster. I'm actually becoming consistent and religious in my daily workouts.

I'm starting to feel a lot better these days.

BZ

Friday, May 22, 2009

On Holiday

Dearest Readers:


I sit now at a small table on the top floor of a hotel overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  The sun is about to set and, from the veranda, I can hear the foghorn.  

I customarily live in a PC world but write this from a MacBook Pro laptop -- one my wife purchased for me earlier this year.  I'm still not facile, in any way, on this thing because I use it so rarely at this point.  I have a PC at work and at home; the MacBook has been reserved for trips and so-called special occasions.  My wife "inherited" my 17" HP Pavilion zd8000 laptop; I now have the MacBook for my portable needs.  I can still barely make it work.  I'm suspecting I'll have to take some classes at my local Apple Store.  I purchased the "Teach Yourself Visually MacBook" book, the "Rough Guide to Macs & 10.5 Leopard."  It still hasn't sunk in.  Yes, I really am that thick.

In any event, my point: I'm away from easy posting but I've backed up a number of drafts so that I am "not gone," so to speak.  I did this in case I couldn't figure out how to post new photographs.  But that is immaterial because, in my rush to pack, I only included my smallest camera -- you know, the one with the DEAD BATTERIES.

I am literally on holiday from Thursday, May 21st to Wednesday, May 27th.

And May 27th is the day my father's house is turned over to its new owners.

But that's another topic entirely.

A topic I'm seeking to escape for a few days.

BZ

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Credit Cards: Screwing The Conscienscious, Reliable Payer


WHAT YOU DIDN'T READ ABOUT S.235 and H.R.627:

Sure, there have been changes proposed to the credit card industry.

But what you likely didn't hear is this (from the NYTimes):


Now Congress is moving to limit the penalties on riskier borrowers, who have become a prime source of billions of dollars in fee revenue for the industry. And to make up for lost income, the card companies are going after those people with sterling credit.

It is estimated that the average American credit card debt is $10,000. My credit card debt: $0. I pay off my card every month. I've done this for almost 30 years. I've worked long and hard to establish my credit rating of 830. As of this writing, my one credit card has a limit of $58,000.

But that result didn't come without a price itself; I "did without" many things for many years because I held to this tenet: if I couldn't pay it off in one month -- I either didn't make the purchase or, rarely, I applied for a small loan from my credit union. I established a pattern of paying off small loans rapidly. I worked overtime or other jobs in order to accomplish this. The amounts my lender made available to me gradually increased to the point where, with sterling credit, the real purchasing power -- when absolutely necessary -- lay with me and not the store, dealership or business.

How will the screwing of conscientious card users be accomplished? To continue:


Banks are expected to look at reviving annual fees, curtailing cash-back and other rewards programs and charging interest immediately on a purchase instead of allowing a grace period of weeks, according to bank officials and trade groups.

People who routinely pay off their credit card balances have been enjoying the equivalent of a free ride, he said, because many have not had to pay an annual fee even as they collect points for air travel and other perks.

“Despite all the terrible things that have been said, you’re making out like a bandit,” he said. “That’s a third of credit card customers, 50 million people who have gotten a great deal.”


So you've done without, you've sacrificed, you've handled your credit like an adult, eh?

BOHICA, Reliable American Consumer.

Thank you, Mr Obama. Thank you, federal government.

BZ

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Sheep Dare To Baa -- A Little

Voters just handed Demorat-led Fornicalia politicians in Sacramento their ass in a special election of six propositions that, in essence, sought to keep recent taxes and/or add taxes. And this in a time of nasty, economic turmoil.


Let me also write this: those propositions wanted to keep and add taxes -- on top of Fornicalia's having recently doubled the vehicle registration fees and increased state and income taxes -- to the tune of roughly an additional $1,600 per family per year!

Would you be shocked and appalled that Fornicalia voters rejected EVERY tax proposition, and only supported a measure which would curb politicians' pay hikes in budget deficit years?


Under Arnold Schwarzenegger, the best governor the states contiguous to California have ever had, people and businesses have been relocating to those states. For four consecutive years, more Americans have moved out of California than have moved in. California's business costs are more than 20 percent higher than the average state's. In the past decade, net out-migration of Americans has been 1.4 million. California is exporting talent while importing Mexico's poverty. The latter is not California's fault; the former is.

If, since 1990, state spending increases had been held to the inflation rate plus population growth, the state would have a $15 billion surplus instead of a $42 billion budget deficit, which is larger than the budgets of all but 10 states. Since 1990, the number of state employees has increased by more than a third. In Schwarzenegger's less than six years as governor, per capita government spending, adjusted for inflation, has increased nearly 20 percent.

Governor Schwarzenegger had promised to cut police and fire services if these propositions were rejected. I voted no. I work in local law enforcement. But I could NOT vote for additional taxes and fee hikes just to see these funds pissed away by Sacramento Demorats and Republicans. Perhaps I have helped to hold the knife which will slit my own throat. But I could not have voted any other way.

Sacramento politicians: the sheep are beginning to baaaaa just a little louder. Keep pushing and you just might see a transformation to sheepdogs -- and then wolves.

THIS JUST IN: FORNICALIANS, PREPARE FOR AN ADDITIONAL GAS TAX --

From the Hogue Blog:

My sources inside of the Capitol have told me that the majority party is ready to offer a statewide emergency “gas tax” to back-fill the general fund. It will be done without the super majority vote of two-thirds, and be labeled as a temporary gas fee (tax) hike - something that can be done with a simple majority vote because it is revenue neutral. The Democrats will simply lower another fee (tax), and increase the “gas tax” from 44-cents to 57-cents per gallon of gas.

As WMD recently out-pointed: the politicians will screw you sheep for the cash they demand, one way or the other.

BZ

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fornicalia Special Elections & Pursuit Question:

Fornicalia residents are voting today, Tuesday, on six propositions, numbered 1A through 1F. They are essentially ALL scams to squeeze cash out of Fornicalia taxpayers so that Sacramento politicians can waste MORE of it. Bottom line?


VOTE NO ON ALL PROPOSITIONS.

Even Prop 1F: vote NO. It doesn't go far enough.

Residents of other states: if this crap starts here in Fornicalia, it's coming soon to your state, if not there already. Scrutinize your propositions very carefully; the trend is now to squeeze in tax hikes couched under the guise of "making up" for the current budget deficit.

YOU ARE THE WATCH COMMANDER:

You are the Lieutenant or Watch Commander for the police department on whose shift your officers are conducting a pursuit. Watch the pursuit video here for background information, first.


You are responsible for the actions and conduct of the officers on your shift.

After watching the above video, you will have some decisions to make. I would like you to make your decisions not necessarily on what you think the policy is for this particular department, but instead on what you personally believe is proper or improper conduct for officers in your area.

Your decisions should consider:
  • How was the pursuit itself conducted?
  • Would you have allowed the pursuit to continue and, if not, at what point would you have ordered the pursuit to cease?
  • Once the suspect exited the vehicle and took leg bail, then decided he couldn't jump the fence in time to escape officers and gave up, was the response of the initial contact officer appropriate? Was the application of force, in your opinion, acceptable, borderline, or egregious?
Consider also, as you must, that you realize this video will appear on your local media.

Now, read the full article here, and also here. Then:

What are your decisions with regard to this officer, and why?

BZ

P.S.
Another local and recent pursuit for you to view; this time a drunk chick fled and received the PIT. Check it out.

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's Bad To Be A Republican



Americans grow happier as they age, surveys find. And a new Pew Research Center survey shows the tendency is holding up as the economy tanks.

Happiness is a complex thing. Past studies have found that happiness is partly inherited, that Republicans are happier than Democrats, and that old men tend to be happier than old women.

Why is this?

BZ

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Ruminations

My parents' gravesite.

The house, for sale then and now sold where, for 60+ years, my family existed. It runs in our veins, it seems larger than life. And it will soon be forbidden to visit. I freely admit: I am having a very, very difficult time handling that aspect. This house will no longer be mine to visit or claim. At best, in the future, I could drive by. But what once was so familiar, what was once so comforting, was once so assumed -- will soon be occupied by Strangers. Strangers. Do you understand? Can they understand? Every memory I have of growing up -- I have it THERE.

I gave my parents a kitten from a cat I owned when I was first married, in 1982. They named their cat Scooter. Though I customarily got along famously with any and all cats, that cat hated my ass and I hated it back as well. It would never relinquish any opportunity to scratch me, and I never relinquished a chance to kick it or slap it. This mat still exists on the front of my parents' house, but only for a few more days.

They loved their cats. They had Pixie, a Lynx Point mix -- and my mother won the 1964 award for Best Household Pet at the Sacramento Cat Fanciers Association -- and a trophy -- behind Pixie. Who was then killed a short time later by a local Labrador Retriever named Pat whom I vowed to kill by meat tainted with rat poison. It barked and barked and barked. It later died.

When Scooter died, my father vowed he would never have another cat. He said it was because the cat was a pain-in-the-ass. In truth, it was because he loved the cat too much and didn't want to experience more death. He'd had enough. He'd invested too much of himself in an animal and he found that issue too painful. I could never convince him otherwise. He rumbled around in his house, after my mother's passing on May 14th of 2002, entirely alone. By his own choosing. I could never convince him otherwise.

Last week, the Estate Sellers entered my life. I don't blame them; they have a job to do and they do it wonderfully, precisely, considerably, professionally, tactfully, sensitively. They are and have been eminently wonderful. Here is the dispassionate photo of a sellers table displayed in MY living room in MY house. My first gut response: GET THE FUCK OUT. YOU DON'T BELONG HERE. Your PRESENCE is an abomination! But then I had to remember: not my house. Not for much longer. Calm the hell down.

It is my job to get over the transition of my family's house to another's house. But I will be the first to admit that this transition, amongst other familial issues, is keeping me up nights. I've not been sleeping much for the past few months, since February 11th.

Most days I purposely try to avoid specific thinking. I try to embrace uninvolved problems, issues, pursuits, tasks.

But at night, when the sun recedes, I am not so quite effective. I may wake at 2 or 3 am, then try not to disturb my wife. But my mind refuses to shut down, and still refuses. At night. In the dark. When it may wander where it does and is not so otherwise occupied.


I am old. I am rather old. And this should not, theoretically, shatter nor disturb my advanced world. But it still manages to do so, to my very own personal and sighing chagrin.

Here is my father's car in front of my cabin, last night. I will have to sell this car. It's a great car with few miles but that's not the point. It's another issue and aspect with which I must deal and put aside. I just want to drive it and remember.

I have boxes and boxes and boxes of my parents' items in my house. I don't have a garage so these boxes are littered all over my first floor. I will be eliminating some of my very own possessions so that I can accommodate theirs.

But I keep asking and postulating: shouldn't I just give it all up? After all, they're just things?

And more importantly, this question: what is the true cost of memories?

BZ

Saturday, May 16, 2009

House Speaker Liar Pelosi vs CIA:


The Demorats are starting to cringe when Speaker Pelosi speaks.

They're worrying about smoke damage.

Even Leon Panetta, Democrat, current CIA Director, wrote to his personnel on Friday, 5-15:

Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values. As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing “the enhanced techniques that had been employed.” Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened."

First, Speaker Pelosi disavowed any knowledge of enhanced "torture" methods.

Then she parsed her words.




The Washington Post counters her lies here.

This is just not looking good for Madame Speaker Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

Rush Limbaugh thinks that Madame Speaker should resign. Good damned luck, Rush.


Newt Gingrich thinks that Pelosi is vicious and dishonest, here.



The charge that the C.I.A. lied to her is an extremely serious one. She is now at war with the C.I.A., and it has the means by leaking selectively of destroying her, and I suspect it will do that."

She is now debating, like Willie J, what the definition of "is" is.
Then there is this; did she mis-speak?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, her eyes wide, her hands gesticulating wildly, on Thursday laid out a third version of what she knew and when she knew it about the Bush administration's interrogation policies, edging ever closer to debating what the meaning of the word "is" is.
I say: there are consequences to one's actions.

BZ

Friday, May 15, 2009

Air Force One Over New York


Quite any number of bloggers and pundits have weighed-in regarding the recent $390k AF1 photos taken above the Statue of Liberty.

None of them, that I've seen, have commented on the released photo itself -- which is largely an abortion on toast.

As you can see (click on each image for a much larger result), this photograph appears to obviously have been taken inside another aircraft and through an aircraft window. The shot is therefore cheapened markedly.

Do you not see the reflection in the upper-right portion of the photo which clearly delineates a darker aspect on the right, a lighter aspect on the left?

And do you not see a darker aspect on the lower right portion of the photo? As though -- for example -- the photo were taken through another aircraft window?

Above is the original photo. Beneath that is a photo that I lightly PhotoShopped in order to make it slightly more palatable.

And the White House couldn't do this?

Incompetents in coordination, incompetents in photography. Any of you Obama bastards ever hear of the Rule Of Thirds?

BZ

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Considered: Taxing Your Health Benefits

Demorats consider this is one way to fund ObamaKare:

The idea of taxing employee health-care benefits to raise money for an overhaul of the health system is gaining strength in Congress, although it drew criticism from Barack Obama when he was campaigning for president.

Experts lined up Tuesday before the Senate Finance Committee and said it is one of the best ways to pay for a health-care overhaul. Many top Democrats support the concept.

But here is the reality:

Americans will say to themselves silently or publicly:

"Screw this. If you tax me then I'm going to ensure I get my money's worth."

Which means:

Health care visits for their own sake -- going up.

And with more persons entered into the system to make a point or otherwise: unable to handle.

You want federal Health Care? You want ObamaKare?

Then you'll get the courtesty, consideration, rationality, proportion, logic, efficiency and provision of your local DMV. Or your local VA hospital.

Just ask a couple of soldiers awaiting consultation.

BZ

Dick Morris: A Lone Voice

. . . in the Republican wilderness:

Gen. Colin Powell is wrong to say that the Republican Party must move to the center: Now is not the time to try for triangulation.

This is a time for the party to stand firm on its principles until this nation again comes around to the GOP's way of thinking. This process will be driven by the consequences of President Obama's program.

The challenge brought by Obama is no longer just theoretical: He means to pass the ultimate leftist agenda and has the votes to do so.

As a result, our nation will be unrecognizable well before the 2010 elections. Business will march to a beat drummed in Washington. The top producers will be hounded by confiscatory taxation. A majority will pay nothing or receive government welfare. Our health-care system will be destroyed. Illegal immigrants will be well on their way to citizenship.

Obama's brave new world will be the subject of the 2010 elections. We believe that his Congress will be swept from power as a result.

We think that inflation will join a lingering recession -- giving us recess-flation -- and that high unemployment will continue. Voters will recognize the damage to their health care as bureaucrats weigh in to prevent them from getting the care they need. Our security and defense failures may well have cost us Pakistan, and the nightmare of a nuclear-armed terrorist state may have already come true (even before Iran).

All America will be watching the Obama fallout, and Republicans must be seen as a clear alternative -- a strong voice for reversal of the harm the president will have inflicted -- if they are to benefit from this catastrophe.

If the GOP is seen as a moderate force, a party just looking to split the difference, voters will cynically conclude that there is no distinction between the parties.

There is a season for triangulation and a season for confrontation. When America faces a new challenge -- such as what the financial crisis now poses -- we look to the left and right for new answers. We want the debate to rage. Those who seek to paper over are ignored. Such was the fate of the first President Bush in 1992 and of Sen. John McCain in 2008.

But once the debate has raged and the alternatives have been fleshed out, voters want a consensus, a Hegelian synthesis, on how to move in a new direction. They want to extract the best from each alternative and combine them. This is triangulation (a term coined by Dick Morris).

To ignore the demand for synthesis and insist on continuing the debate is to suffer the fate of Sen. Bob Dole in 1996 and Sen. John Kerry in 2004.

This process -- polarization, debate, synthesis and action -- is how America has always moved ahead. We are not Japan; we use the debate to see the options. And we are not Italy or France; we come to conclusions and act upon them, eventually leaving the debate far behind.

Now another great debate has been born. The thesis is democratic socialism. The antithesis is free-market capitalism.

The Obama Democrats have posed the challenge. It's up to the Republicans to fight along these lines. Compromise is not an option, yet.

At some point, the synthesis will set in. But now is the time for clear alternatives and sharp disagreement. Only later can we hope to extract America from the leftist clutches into which it has fallen.

So what do we have? What voices in the proverbial wilderness? It seems that two voices have predominantly been heard and read recently: Dick Morris and Dick Cheney.

When the Left skewers Dick Cheney and he's far out of power, I know he must be doing something correctly. And Dick Morris states what many of us believe in our core: don't give up.

In fact, react in a polar opposite fashion to "tenting."

Make clear definitions. Stick to our Conservative guns. If exclusion occurs then so be it. Damn. I'm almost pulling on the flap of the Texas Fred tent. But I'm not yet quite ready to completely concede the GOP. I'm still inclined to continue the fight.

Because, I posit: morals and ethics and common sense doesn't change year-to-year and doesn't bend to the prevailing prairie winds. Right is right -- now, in the past, and in the future.

Some things really are Constants.

BZ

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Press: Up What?


Chris Muir has equaled, in three small panels, pages of truth.

BZ

Why Conservatives Will Never Win:


Jim Knapp, a writer from The Sacramento Citizen, has written an article first appearing in The Sacramento Insider, entitled "Why Conservatives Will Never Win."

In this article he writes, in part:

Conservatives will never win because they can't organize, it's that simple. While they claim to be the "silent majority," they are silent for a good reason; they are unable to speak with a unified voice, or for a common cause. They ramble on about taxes, big government and social programs, yet nothing will change because they simply can’t organize, and much of their leadership cannot be honest with the public.

Take the Tea Party "movement," it evolved (only via heavy marketing by FOX news, despite vehement denials) in response to the largest political shift in American history, so they had their protests, FOX news doubled their ratings, then, nothing...zero...nada...

Republicans surely can’t help conservatives; The national & state GOP have divined that the Party needs to shift further to the Left to compete with Democrats. The California GOP recently provided the necessary votes for the largest tax increase in the state’s history. Our “Republican” Governor has outspent his predecessor, the disgraced & recalled tax-and-spend-liberal Gray Davis, by some 45%!

The GOP appears to be imploding, citizens are leaving the party in droves, even former GOP campaign superstar Joe the Plumber. Nationwide, less than 24% are now registered as Republicans. For the first time in history, those registered as Independents outnumber those registered as Republican or Democrat. Independents, America’s largest registered group, have no party representation, and besides the disorganized TP’ers, there is no third party remotely on the horizon. So where does that leave the average conservative? Out in the cold, without a political party, our wallets being fleeced, our childrens futures being threatened, all while being force fed government cheese.

Mr Knapp wraps up:

For full disclosure, I am a conservative, and not a Bush/Clinton era neo-conservative, but an old-school-America-first-anti-illegal-immigration-gun-toting-tractor-drivingflag-waving-Pat-Buchannan-loving-paleo-conservative. This leaves me and tens of millions like me, without any political representation and very frustrated. I believe that we ARE in fact the silent majority; I believe that we could take back our country from the grasp of socialism and I believe that the movement could easily evolve into a third party movement...there has been no better time in our history for a third party; if only we could get a few of the so called "conservative" organizers out of our way.

Once written, a very large Fornicalia "conservative organizer" named Mark Meckler (who organized the Sacramento, Fornicalia TEA Party) responded in the comment section of the listed article, again in part:

Perhaps in your world view, where the only thing that matters is the formation of a third party, what we have done is "nothing...zero...nada." In my world, having activists for fiscally responsible government involved constantly and at all levels of government, holding officials' feet the fire, represents a turning point in recent American politics. I'm proud to be involved in that, and proud of all the real folks on the ground around the nation who are volunteering their time and efforts, and making it happen. You can criticize them if you like, but what are you doing to change things other than complaining about those who are actually doing the hard work on the ground?

The tea party movement itself has existed for all of two and a half months. I'm sorry you expect more out of those of us who are trying to grow this nascent movement into a permanent national force. We're honest, hard working volunteers doing the best we can. Perhaps you could assist us in doing the things you claim we are failing to do, instead choosing to lie, whine and write about things of which you clearly know so little. And perhaps, if you think a third political party is the appropriate route to take at this time, you can get up from behind your computer, put your boots on the ground and get organizing. If you can do it honestly, without the types of intentional libel, incorrect assumptions and innuendo that make up the majority of your writing in this article, I for one will support you in doing so. I think any attempt to rattle the current power structure is worth doing, and rather than attack you for doing something, I'd support you in your honest efforts. Me...I'm not a politician, have no desire to be a politician, and don't like political parties. I understand they are necessary in our system, but I don't personally want to form or be part of one. You seem to want to form one. So I think you should.

People have written most recently about the possible formation of a Third Party. This primarily because the Republican Party seems to be purposely stepping away from a Conservative philosophy and wants to acquire, quote, "more persons under the tent."

I submit the following to be Truths with regard to Conservatism:

  1. Conservatives are up in arms because President Bush abandoned the very First Tenet: fiscal Conservatism and smaller government;
  2. More of "everyone" in the Republican Tent and you have no more GOP; you have the Demorats;
  3. If the Republican Party were to once again truly embrace Conservatism and not abandon its voter base and core philosophies, it would find itself again flooded with cash and votes.
This current iteration of the Republican Party still doesn't seem to "get it" -- which is why its foundation of Conservatives are fragmented and leaving the party, disaffected, cast aside, ignored.

It's not simply an axiom but a truism when I and others write: "I didn't leave the GOP; the GOP left me."

Question:

Can the GOP be resurrected?

BZ

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Guaranteed Failure For American Automakers


If you wish to ensure that American automakers -- at this point, Chrysler, Ford, GM -- fail, Mr Obama, then simply keep to your current course.

And make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen; Mr Obama is clearly agenda-driven and that agenda is this:

  • Corporations bad;
  • Bigger corporations worse;
  • Unions and workers good;
  • Government best;
  • American cars too big;
  • Too representative of an overbearing America;
  • America needs to be humbled;
  • Obama will do the humbling;
  • With him in charge, of course: The Decider;
Therefore, with Mr Obama essentially in charge of larger corporations, with larger banks, investment centers and other firms, he will be afforded the ability to enable this aforementioned agenda and more.

With that in mind, it is no surprise, is it, that not only is GM to seek bankruptcy (Are there any of my readers who couldn't see that writing on the wall last year?) but that it is considering leaving Detroit behind?

Again, what I'm about to write will come as little shock to the bulk of my readers, but more writing is clearly on the wall and that is this:

Mr Obama is guaranteeing the absolute failure of the entire American auto industry.

When Chrysler is forced to merge with Fiat -- the blind leading the blind -- Americans will receive the Fiat 500, Alfa Romeos and other "winning" vehicles with very poor JD Power ratings in customer satisfaction. All of these will be roughly the side of a breadbox. And customer satisfaction is the very last considered aspect of Mr Obama in this regard.

GM will likewise be forced into selling tin boxes.

Ford will find it more and more difficult to compete with automakers with the backing and force of the federal government behind them.

Ethanol-fueled vehicles will continue to be forced upon the public (ethanol being one of the most corruptive -- fiscally and due to its source, corn, and environmentally -- scams ever foisted), as will hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles. Mr Obama will force electric vehicles upon the nation despite the fact that he, his minions and the Religious Left refuse to allow any electrical generation stations to be built (in Fornicalia, Religious Lefties are blocking construction of a multiple-mile transmission line down the state which will be effectively allow movement of larger amounts of electricity). This is purposeful insanity.

And here is how the American public will vote: with its feet and its closed checkbooks. It will purchase non-American-branded vehicles who provide a product they actually want. At first, the federal government will mandate these vehicles be purchased by federal authorities -- in order to keep the UAW working.

And do you actually want American automakers who are co-ruled by the UAW? Who, with the UAW in the proverbial Drivers Seat can also shut down American automakers on a whim?

I won't stand for that. I won't be purchasing American tuna cans. And poor ones at that.

Americans don't want to be shoved into tuna cans. They don't want to be shoved into matchbox apartments in high-rise concentrated cities. They don't want to be crammed into mass transit trains with its concomitant Japanese Shovers.

And so, when Americans don't willingly embrace tuna cans, the federal government will also, then, purposely ensure you must fiscally embrace tuna cans.

It will slap, at minimum, a $2.00 per gallon tax on gasoline. That will be above-and-beyond what OPEC decides to add to the price of a barrel of oil when you still don't bring up your consumption due to the coming inflation and the economy.

The government is saying: you either "willingly" go along or it will purposely hurt you.

Do you understand? Hurt you.

BZ

Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Trek






I attended a late afternoon showing of the newly-released JJ Abrams-directed (TV series "Lost" amongst others, and affiliation with movies such as Mission Impossible III and Cloverfield) film "Star Trek" on Saturday and, frankly, was prepared to completely despise it up to, and including, walking out.

Instead, I found myself riveted to my seat, smiling, laughing, enjoying the character interplay and the dazzling special effects for two hours and six minutes.

There are a few iconic areas in my life -- things I held dear whilst growing up -- and one of them was, no surprise, Star Trek. I can clearly recall the years 1966 to 1969 quite specifically because I was watching the original series, every week, during that time. I loyally followed the series, held the cartoons quite at arms' length and hated them, read and collected all the James Blish paperback adaptations, David Gerrold's The Making of Star Trek, purchased a script copy of "Amok Time," then attended every Star Trek movie produced. As the television series and iterations expanded I watched when I could.

I suppose I could summarize the film this way: it isn't what you would expect and, further, if you'll only accept past iconic images you'll be disappointed. This movie's "original" Enterprise is much-modified from the 1966 version, to include essentially every aspect of that age's technology. Logically, this should come as no surprise. Produced by ILM, it is likewise no surprise the special effects are frequently breathtaking -- when they're in focus and the camera isn't shaking.

And there's my one rub with JJ Abrams. Yes, from the first opening second to the last, this film is essentially non-stop action. Little time to catch your breath. And there were portions when I just wanted a few moments to do precisely that, grab the camera operator and pin him to the floor. But this is part of Mr Abrams's style. If you don't mind this aspect, I doubt you'll find much with which to object in Star Trek.

Yes, you know the characters. Yes, they are easy to pick out. And, quite luckily (or purposely so) their interplay is much like you would want: they seem to readily assimilate and mold themselves into a group prepared for great adventure. I particularly enjoyed the work of Simon Pegg as Scotty, and Karl Urban as Dr McCoy. Zachary Quinto (Sylar from the TV series Heroes) is physically close to Spock but the voice will have to grow on me. Likewise, I'll have to work with Chris Pine as James Kirk. Casting Bruce Greenwood (you see him, you'll instantly know him) as Captain Chrisopher Pike was a stroke of brilliance.

At my advanced age, I'm occasionally smart enough to know that nothing can stay the same and to embrace change when that change is actually positive. I entered that dark room with like thoughts. And I exited refreshed and hopeful.

Yes, this is yet another iteration of the Star Trek franchise but, in my opinion, is well worth allowing for its own path and its own set of adventures.

Go see it. Imax should be incredible.

BZ

P.S.
Click on the photographs for much larger and detailed images.