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Bloviating Zeppelin: January 2012

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.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Conundrums

I write this post on Sunday, in reflection of the day in general and a conflucnce of incidents that have somehow managed to place us all here, today, in this precise locus and flow of time and events.

I aim to tie it together; my aim may be off and I admit that freely up front. I am a small blog in a huge, HUGE pond and -- it still amazes me -- if I continue to have readers I can be placed into the "astounded" category.

I can only THANK my readers for sticking by me through thick and thin and all points in between. I am not the slickest blog or the prettiest blog or the most technical blog and -- again -- I admit this readily up front. I am akin to a Techno-Luddite.

That said, I can only hope that people may still continue to read me because I proffer some truths now and then.

Some truths that you can't or won't read on other media forms because people fear this. They fear the truth. They fear the consumate triumvirate of training, education and -- mostly -- experience.

Which leads me to an overall evaluation of our current state of Conservative Politics. As of today: Monday, 1-30-12.
Romney and Gingrich are fighting each other. My take on both:

ROMNEY:
Too slick for his own good. Never a hair out of place. I couldn't care less about his Mormonism -- BUT -- his Mormonism wasn't evidently sufficiently in place for him to object to abortions earlier. Or gay marriage. Or state-mandated healthcare. Or increased taxes. A publicly-hocked lugie wouldn't stick to his visage. And he has more money than Croesus. On the other hand:

Romney has a private business acumen that is rivaled by few. He took Bain Capital to new heights. He actually DID create NEW jobs as opposed to Obaka Spiritual Jobs. He turned the Olympics around. He is known, to a select few, as an Improver. You give him a private sector problem and he'll turn it around for profitability. The problem he must overcome is this: profit is now considered EVIL and, with it, himself as EVIL. Bottom line: if anyone can fix capital problems, it's Romney.

His religion keeps him personally faithful. But is everything else up for grabs? Is he what you wish to be when you wish him to be it?

But WHO is he -- exactly??

GINGRICH:
Yes, former Speaker of the House. And no one, NO ONE, disputes his innate intelligence. Wherever he goes, no one with a whit of brainpower denies that he's "the smartest man in the room."

That said, is he and will he be the most Sensible Man In The Room?

Truly, no one knows. Gingrich is Jekyll and Hyde. One face one day or moment, another face or moment another day or moment.

And like a number of men in power, he went through women like some people go through toilet paper. It's about the power. No more than that.

If it was terrible for Clinton, it should be terrible for Gingrich. But it isn't. Because things are skewed. Gingrich married his squeezes. Clinton just fucked them and moved on with impunity and predominantly wasn't called on it until the very end of his White House.

CLINTON vs GINGRICH:
The former wife of Newt Gingrich made reference to an "open marriage" and, now, Newt is taken to task for that.

Contrast and compare:

When was the last time, do you think, that Hillary and William actually enjoyed conjugal relations? Or even slept in the same zip code?

RON PAUL:
Mr Paul is a Truther and a Nutcase. He associates with white supremacists. He has great ideas about our monetary system and the Rederal Reserve. He tends to go Constitutionalist. He is for Less Government. No debt. States' rights.

He thinks drugs should be legalized. He thinks our borders should be porous. He thinks we should have no interest or reference to extranational affairs.

That crazy crap just can't stand.

And so: imagine that Republicans haven't come to a one-focal-length intensity point.

Illuminate me. Tell me where I'm wrong.

Hit me on second base.

BZ

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Thoughts: A Doctor Responds to The Greatest Generation


And this isn't simply a roundly e-mail, it's based in fact from the late 1990s regarding The Greatest Generation:

PRELUDE:

Stephen R. Ellison

Dr. Stephen R. Ellison is a native of San Marcos, TX and a graduate of Jack C. Hays high school in Kyle, TX. He received his B.S. in Biology from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, TX in 1987 before enlisting as a Private First Class medic in the U.S. Army, serving in the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, GA. He was the Enlisted Honor Graduate of his Ranger School class and participated in the parachute assault of Torrorrijos/Tocumen Airport, Panama during Operation: Just Cause.

In 1991, then Sergeant Ellison was accepted to medical school at the University Of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio on a U.S. Army scholarship. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree and promotion to Captain in 1995. His transitional internship was performed at Brooke Army Medical Center. He then served as the initial company commander and program director for the new Joint Special Operations Medical Training Center, Ft. Bragg, NC.

In 2001 he Graduated from the joint Brooke Army Medical Center – Wilford Hall Medical Center Emergency Medicine Residency in San Antonio, TX and was promoted to the rank of Major. While stationed at Ft. Hood, TX assigned to the 36th Medical Evacuation Battalion, Major Ellison was deployed in support of Operation: Iraqi Freedom during the initial phase of combat operations into Iraq. Attached to the 3rd Infantry Division, Major Ellison was one of the first medical personnel to arrive at Saddam Hussein International Airport on April 5, 2003 during the initial operations to secure Baghdad.

Dr. Ellison currently resides in Central Texas with his wife and children. He resigned from the Army in 2004 but continues to see many military retirees and dependents in the Emergency Departments he now attends.

RESPONSE FROM A DOCTOR:

RESPONSE FROM A DOCTOR

RE: Earn This:

Your note about the movie Saving Private Ryan touched me deeply. As you know I am a doctor specializing in Emergency Medicine in the Emergency Departments of the only two military Level One trauma centers. They are both in San Antonio, TX and they care for civilian emergencies as well as military personnel. San Antonio has the largest military retiree population in the world living here because of the location of these two large military medical centers.

As a military doctor in training for my specialty I work long hours and the pay is less than glamorous. One tends to become jaded by the long hours, lack of sleep, food, family contact and the endless parade of human suffering passing before you. The arrival of another ambulance does not mean more pay, only more work. Most often it is a victim from a motor vehicle crash. Often it is a person of dubious character who has been shot or stabbed. With our large military retiree population it is often a nursing home patient. Even with my enlisted service and minimal combat experience in Panama prior to medical school, I have caught myself groaning when the ambulance brought in yet another sick, elderly person from one of the local retirement centers that cater to military retirees. I had not stopped to think of what citizens of this age group represented.

I saw Saving Private Ryan. I was touched deeply. Not so much by the carnage in the first 30 minutes but by the sacrifices of so many. I was touched most by the scene of the elderly survivor at the graveside asking his wife if he’d been a good man. I realized that I had seen these same men and women coming through my Emergency Department and had not realized what magnificent sacrifices they had made. The things they did for me and everyone else that has lived on this planet since the end of that conflict are priceless.

Situation permitting I now try to ask my patients about their experiences. They would never bring up the subject without the inquiry. I have been privileged to an amazing array of experiences recounted in the brief minutes allowed in an Emergency Department encounter. These experiences have revealed the incredible individuals I have had the honor of serving in a medical capacity, many on their last admission to the hospital.

There was a frail, elderly woman who reassured my young enlisted medic trying to start an IV line in her arm. She remained calm and poised despite her illness and the multiple needle-sticks into her fragile veins. She was what we call a “hard stick.” As the medic made another attempt I noticed a number tattooed across her forearm. I touched it with one finger and looked into her eyes. She simply said “Auschwitz.” Many of later generations would have loudly and openly berated the young medic in his many attempts. How different was the response from this person who’d seen unspeakable suffering.

A long retired Colonel who as a young USN officer had parachuted from his burning plane over a pacific island held by the Japanese. Now an octogenarian, his head cut in a fall at home where he lived alone. His CT scan and suturing had been delayed until after midnight by the usual parade of high priority ambulance patients. Still spry for his age, he asked to use the phone to call a taxi to take him home then realized his ambulance had brought him without his wallet. He asked if he could use the phone to make a long distance call to his daughter who lived 70 miles away. With great pride we told him that he could not as he’d done enough for his country and the least we could do was get him a taxi home, even if we had to pay for it ourselves. My only regret was that my shift wouldn’t end for several hours and I couldn’t drive him myself.

I was there the night MSG Roy Benavidez came through the Emergency Department for the last time. He was very sick. I was not the doctor taking care of him but I walked to his bedside and took his hand. I said nothing. He was so sick he didn’t know I was there. I’d read his Congressional Medal of Honor citation and wanted to shake his hand. He died a few days later.

The gentleman who served with Merrill’s Marauders, the survivor of the Bataan Death March, the survivor Omaha Beach, the 101 year old World War I veteran, the former POW held in frozen North Korea, the former Special Forces medic now with non-operable liver cancer, the former Vietnam Corps Commander. I remember these citizens. I may still groan when yet another ambulance comes in but now I am much more aware of what an honor it is to serve these particular men and women. I am angered at the cut backs, implemented, and proposed, that will continue to decay their meager retirement benefits. I see the President and Congress who would turn their back on these individuals who’ve sacrificed so much to protect our liberty. I see later generations that seems to be totally engrossed in abusing these same liberties won with such sacrifice. It has become my personal endeavor to make the nurses and young enlisted medics aware of these amazing individuals when I encounter them in our Emergency Dept. Their response to these particular citizens has made me think that perhaps all is not lost in the next generation.

My experiences have solidified my belief that we are losing an incredible generation and this nation knows not what it is losing. Our un-caring government, and ungrateful civilian populace should all take note. We should all remember that we must “Earn this.”

Rangers Lead the Way!

Author’s Note: This letter was written as a personal correspondence to a friend, Mr. Gene Tuttle, in April 2000 while Captain Ellison served in the U.S. Army under the administration of then President Clinton. Although not intended for widespread circulation, the email was forwarded to many others and has continued to circulate around the world. It is hoped that this letter will help bring focus to the difficulties faced by those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces of the United States.

Dr Ellison’s article prompted the response, “From a Psychiatric Nurse” – ©Copyright April 2005 by Tish Mathis.

Majoribus ingenero dies.

BZ

P.S.
This is for you, Dad.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pushing The Envelope, Part VIII:

The human being has always pushed the envelope into and beyond the realms of danger. This is the eighth of various weekend postings displaying how restless Man is with the mundane and how he purposely crosses the threshold into danger willingly -- and sometimes unwillingly.



Car: 2004 Ford Mustang Cobra, 550 hp.

Bikes: Triumph Speed Triples.

BZ



Friday, January 27, 2012

Tom McClintock on SOPA and PIPA:

Again, how lucky I am that Mr Tom McClintock is my representative:



As I wrote here, SOPA and PIPA are dangers to our very own First Amendment.

It was reconsidered but only upon a hue and cry raised by the Groundlings of this nation. With Mr McClintock's voice officially and publicly included alongside!

The transcript here, and below:

House Chamber, Washington, D.C. - January 23, 2012

Madam Speaker:

Long ago, Jefferson warned, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground." The exceptions to that rule have been few and far between recently, and ought to be celebrated when they occur.

One did this past week with the announcement that supporters of the so-called "Stop On-Line Privacy Act" and the "Protect Intellectual Property Act" have indefinitely postponed their measures after an unprecedented protest across the Internet.

SOPA and PIPA pose a crippling danger to the Internet because they use the legitimate concern over copy-right infringement as an excuse for government to intrude upon and regulate the very essence of the Internet - the unrestricted and absolutely free association that links site to site, providing infinite pathways for commerce, discourse and learning.

It is not the Internet per se that has set the stage for the next quantum leap in human knowledge and advancement - but rather the free association at the core of the Internet. And this is precisely what SOPA and PIPA directly threaten.

But as dangerous as this concept is to the Internet, it pales in comparison to the danger it poses to our fundamental freedoms as Americans.

It is true that rogue web sites operating from off-shore havens, are stealing intellectual property and then selling it.

We already have very good laws against that, as evidenced by the arrest yesterday of Mr. Kim Schmitz and his associates in New Zealand, who now stand accused of operating one of the biggest of these rogue sites.

Theft of intellectual property is fundamentally no different than the theft of any other kind of property. It should be taken no less seriously than the thefts perpetrated by the likes of Bernie Madoff, John Dellinger or Willie Sutton.

It is no different and it should be treated no differently. In every such case, it is the individual who commits the theft and the individual who is culpable and accountable to the law. And it is the individual who is accorded the right of due process, including the presumption of innocence, while he stands accused.

This is what SOPA and PIPA destroy. Upon mere accusation, these measures would allow the government to shut down web sites, ruin honest businesses, impound property, disrupt legitimate speech and dragoon innocent third parties into enforcing laws that may or may not have been broken.

When property is stolen, we hold accountable the individuals who knowingly commit the act, and place the burden of proof on the accuser. The accuser must demonstrate to the satisfaction of a jury that the defendant stole property or that he received property that he knew was stolen.

Yes, it is a ponderous system. Yes, it means you actually have to provide evidence. Yes, it means you have to convince a jury. Yes, it means we can't catch and successfully prosecute every criminal. But the experience of mankind over the centuries has proven that this is the best possible way to protect the innocent and to protect our freedom while also punishing the guilty. In part, we punish the guilty to discourage others we might not be able to punish.

And as the arrests yesterday in New Zealand prove, it works. Let Mr. Schmitz and his confederates be extradited and let them have their day in court. Let evidence be presented. Let a jury be convinced of that evidence. And if convicted of one of the greatest thefts in human history, let us mete out the full measure of punishment provided by the law to stand as a fearsome example to others.

That doesn't and won't stop all theft and it isn't perfect. But to replace it with one where mere accusation can bring punishment or inflict ruinous costs upon innocent third parties, would introduce a despotic and destructive concept that is antithetical to the ancient rights that our government was formed to protect.

The developments of the last few weeks have saved the Internet and saved these fundamental principles - at least for now. But Jefferson was right that the natural order is for government to grow at the expense of liberty. That is why we have our Constitution.

And to the protection of that Constitution, the Internet has now empowered its rightful owners, "We, the People," to defend it more effectively than ever before.

Which leads me, Madam Speaker, to conclude that because of the events of this past week, we will see many more victories for freedom in the days and years ahead.


You can be guaranteed that the assaults upon our freedoms will continue under the current regime.

Thank you for reading.

BZ

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Brewer Stands Up To Obama


And a nice photograph it is, also.

Finally, a Republican who can stand up to Mr Obama. Directly. From ABCNews:

Longstanding tension between Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Democratic President Barack Obama flared into the public spotlight Wednesday just after Air Force One touched down in Phoenix.

Brewer, who was on the tarmac to greet Obama, hand-delivered a letter before engaging the president "intensely" for several minutes, including pointing her finger directly at him, according to Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown, acting as a pool reporter for other media outlets.

Accounts from both camps later said the terse talk focused on Brewer's book - "Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media and Cynical Politicos to Secure America's Border."

The book, which was released in November, describes a June 2010 Oval Office meeting between Obama and Brewer aimed at diffusing conflicts surrounding Arizona's controversial state immigration law and the administration's immigration policy.

It is of great interest that I note these thoughts from Governor Brewer:

Brewer complains in "Scorpions for Breakfast" that she and her staff were treated coldly by White House aides, prevented from taking pictures in the holding room outside the Oval Office and that their cell phones and cameras were "confiscated" by Secret Service.

"Too bad we weren't illegal aliens, or we could have sued them," she writes.

During her meeting with the president, Brewer said Obama was "condescending" and professorial, "lecturing" on his efforts to promote comprehensive immigration reform.

"It wasn't long before I realized I was hearing the president's stump speech," she said. "Only I was supposed to listen without talking. Did he care to hear the view from the actual scene at the border? Did the opinions and observations of the people of Arizona mean anything to him? I didn't think so."

"He was patronizing," she said. "Then it dawned on me: He's treating me like the cop he had over for a beer after he bad-mouthed the Cambridge police, I thought. He thinks he can humor me and then get rid of me."

Imagine that. Obama patronizing, arrogant, lecturing, thin-skinned. I am shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

BZ

Israel, Iran and Syria: Two Months To Conflict?


Candice Lanier in HumanEvents.com writes:

Recent events in the Middle East would indicated that Israel, Syria and Iran are all making preparations for a regional war. According to information acquired by DEBKAfile, the conflict would likely ensue some time within the next two months.

With that in mind, the Debkafile indicates that Mr Obama contacted Israeli PM Netanyahu in what was typified as an "angry phone call" following the unattributed killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan last Wednesday, Jan. 11th. The Debkafile writes that DC thinks Israel is going to attack Iran unilaterally. Following that phone call from Obama, in two words, Israel was pissed off. Further:
Debkafile's exclusive sources report that the differences between the US and Israel surfaced before the tough Obama-Netanyahu conversation last Thursday (January 12th -BZ). Political, military and intelligence officials privately voiced resentment over the strong and unusual condemnation the White House and Secretary Clinton issued over the death of the Iranian nuclear scientist.

By denying "absolutely" any US involvement in the killing, the administration implicitly pointed the finger at Israel – an unusual act in relations between two friendly governments, especially when both face a common issue as sensitive as a nuclear-armed Iran.

Obama seemed to suspect that Israel staged the killing to torpedo yet another US secret effort to avoid a military confrontation with Iran through back channel contacts with Tehran, while the administration's extreme condemnation is seen as tying in with its all-out campaign to hold Israel back from a unilateral strike.

Again with that in mind, it was Israel's Netanyahu who called off the joint powers exercise, Austere Challenge 12 -- and not Washington as reported -- because, as Debkafile notes:
Netanyahu acted when he judged the Obama administration's resolve to preempt a nuclear Iran to be flagging. His action also aimed at freeing Israel's hands for a unilateral strike on Iran's nuclear sites - if necessary.

Finally, from Debkafiles:
The new round of European sanctions will not stop Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon, Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned in a radio interview Tuesday, Jan. 24. debkafile: The Obama administration and EU delayed oil sanctions to July 1 for back-channel contacts to ripen and produce a fresh round of nuclear talks with Tehran. Barak stressed Israel's hand was always near the trigger and advised taking "very seriously" Israel's military option which had not been taken off the table.
LinkTo me, it appears obvious that Israel is on its own. Mr Obama has made it abundantly clear that he is no friend of Israel but still manages to find time to honor various and sundry Islamic persons and events, despite their clear goals.

Any intervention by any country or entity into Iran with regard to its nuclear program will be painful, very painful, for the United States or any Western Nation dependent upon Middle Eastern oil. I've written about this countless times, most recently here.

On the other hand, when the whip comes down, please remember that it was Mr Obama, the Demorats and the Religious Left who REFUSED to allow a Canadian oil pipeline into the country so that LOCAL and not MIDDLE EASTERN oil could more readily be supplied to the country.

We are sitting, ourselves, on the Bakken Reserves -- an oil field that is thought to be equal or larger than any extant in the Middle East. We have large, untapped fields of natural gas. We have huge fields of oil off our very own coasts. And another large field in Alaska's ANWR.

All of which we are NOT allowed to tap, so that we are FORCED to rely on the political intransigence of Middle Eastern countries, the chokepoint of the Strait of Hormuz, and all the hate and discontent that naturally brings.

When the lights go out, when the gas stops, when heating oil deliveries cease, perhaps it's time for these four words: "Thank you, Mr Obama."

BZ

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pelosi: No To Newt as President

What does Nancy Pelosi know that we don't know?



John King, CNN: "You make your case there passionately for President Obama. But also understand that this is a tough reelection climate for any president, Democrat or Republican in this economy. Because of your history with Speaker Gingrich, what goes through your mind when you think of the possibility, which is more real today than it was a week or a month ago, that he would be the Republican nominee and that you could come back here next January or next February with a President Gingrich?"

Rep. Nancy Pelosi: "Let me just say this. That will never happen."

King: "Why?"

Pelosi: "He's not going to be President of the United States. That's not going to happen. Let me just make my prediction and stand by it, it isn't going to happen."

King: "Why are you so sure?"

Pelosi: "There is something I know. The Republicans, if they choose to nominate him that's their prerogative. I don't even think that's going to happen."


Clearly, there is something more waiting in the wings

And, truth be known, I won't be surprised.

By the time you reach this point in national politics, you have sold your soul so many times that you have no idea who will reach for your body when you're dead.

Corruption, thy name is federal politics.

BZ

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Forgotten Washington Times Editorial From October of 2010:

A clear warning against Shariah Law.


Islamists say the Koran is destined to rule America. In fact, the Muslim takeover of the White House is not just an unfolding action plan but a directive from Muhammad himself.

In an interview Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” British radical Muslim activist Anjem Choudary made clear what he and his Islamist brothers have planned for the West. “We do believe, as Muslims, the East and the West will one day be governed by the Shariah,” he said. “Indeed, we believe that one day, the flag of Islam will fly over the White House.” He then quoted a hadith, or saying of Muhammad, as related by 10th-century Muslim scholar Al-Tabarani, that “the final hour will not come until Muslims conquer the White House.” Another version of the saying goes, “A small portion of Muslims will rise and conquer the White House.”
Many Americans believe this conquest is well underway, if not already secretly completed. President Obama was concerned enough about perceptions of his faith to address the question at one of his recent “backyard discussions” in New Mexico. Mr. Obama said he is “a Christian by choice,” which may or may not assuage the concerns of those who believe he is a Muslim by birth.

The president’s declaration of faith may not help with his vaunted outreach to the global Muslim community. A Gallup poll released last week showed that current approval of U.S. leadership in countries in the Middle East and North Africa is “similar or lower than what it was in 2008,” in some cases “erasing gains seen after the transition from the Bush administration to the Obama administration.” In no country was the approval rating above 30 percent. It’s fair to conclude that this experiment in engagement with Islam has failed.

As Mr. Choudary indicated, Islamist “engagement” with the United States is a holy obligation.

Last week, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the leading proponent of global Shariah law, held a conference on “Islam and Muslims in America” in cooperation with the American Islamic College in Chicago. OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu called on Muslims in the United States to become involved in all aspects of American life, including local and national politics. The Obama administration gave its imprimatur to the gathering by sending its own small portion, including special envoy to the OIC, Rashad Hussain, Dalia Mogahed who works with the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and Farah Pandith, the State Department’s special representative to Muslim communities.

The OIC is currently campaigning to have so-called “Islamophobia” recognized by the international community as a form of racism prosecutable under international law. This would include any expression the Islamists find offensive, which in practice would amount to a global gag order on any critical discussion of Islam. Last year, the Obama administration co-sponsored with Egypt a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution against “racial and religious stereotyping,” which offered cover to the Islamists in their drive to put any criticism of their religion off limits.

The leading countries in the OIC are among the least religiously tolerant in the world. In most cases, Christians, Jews, Hindus and others may not freely practice their faith, and under Koranic law, converts from Islam face the death penalty. The OIC has stated that any freedoms in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that conflict with Shariah do not apply to its members. If this is the type of cooperation the Obama administration is seeking to promote with Islam, then the “final hour” draws closer still. Mr. Obama said Jesus Christ died for his sins, but the United States continues to suffer for the president’s mistakes.

First, an amazing editorial predominantly ignored back in 2010 but, now in 2012, even more important.

Please read this editorial than contrast and compare it to what you experience with regard to your own religion. For you secularists, atheists and anti-theists, ask yourselves: what is it about Islam that you'd want to practice under duress or force or at the end of an AK-47 or scimitar?

Further: what other religion on the planet makes these threats?

Only one: Islam. A barbaric, misogynistic Death Cult.

Just a friendly reminder.

BZ

Monday, January 23, 2012

Iran 'definitely' closing Strait of Hormuz over EU oil embargo


First, from the UK Telegraph:

European Union nations have agreed on an oil embargo against Iran as part of sanctions over its nuclear programme.

With that in mind, Iran has its response. From FT.com:

Tensions in the Gulf could reach a breaking point as a senior Iranian official said Iran would “definitely” close the Strait of Hormuz if an EU oil embargo disrupted the export of crude oil, the semi-official Fars news agency reports.

The announcement came in response to a decision by the European Union on Monday to impose an oil embargo on Iran over the country’s alleged nuclear weapons program.

“The pressure of sanctions is designed to try and make sure that Iran takes seriously our request to come to the table,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.

However, with Washington’s decision to deploy a second carrier strike group in the Gulf, the EU’s attempt to pressure Iran economically could greatly increase the likelihood of all-out war in the region.

The Strait of Hormuz is the vital link between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

It is also one of the most strategic chokepoints in the world when it comes to oil transit.

With world oil output estimated at some 88 million barrels per day in 2011, the US Energy Information Administration estimated that some 17 million of those barrels passed through the Strait.

If economic sanctions sufficiently pressure Iran to retaliate by closing down the Strait, nearly 20 per cent of worldwide oil trade would be impacted, resulting in a massive spike in global energy costs.

With over half a million regular forces and an additional 120,000 personnel in the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard, analysts believe the consequences of a US-led war against Iran would dwarf recent Western-backed military incursions the Middle East.

I only have two words:

It's starting.

BZ

Super Bowl 46 Will Be: Patriots vs Giants


The first game, Baltimore Ravens vs the New England Patriots, was hard fought and could have been won by the Ravens. Final score? 23 to 20, Patriots.


The second game, San Francisco 49ers vs the New York Giants, was equally tough. Final score? 20 to 17, won in overtime by the Giants.

Both games were exciting, well fought, and very entertaining to watch!

Now: Patriots vs Giants. Just as in Super Bowl 42 in 2008, where the Giants won, 17 to 14.

Whom do you choose?

BZ

P.S.
Sore Loser award to SF 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh for refusing to be interviewed on Fox TV directly after the 49ers loss. Poor form coach, very poor form.




Sunday, January 22, 2012

Joe Paterno Passes


JoPa, dead at age 85.



BZ



Chihuahua, Mexico: Deadlier Than Afghanistan


[I was going to ease off the politics for today, but the information now revealed won't wait. -BZ]

According to CNSNews.com, the Mexican border state of Chihuahua was deadlier, in 2011, than the conflict in Afghanistan:

(CNSNews.com) – Organized crime-related deaths in one Mexican border state during the first nine months of 2011 exceed the number of Afghan civilians killed in roughly the same period in all of war-torn Afghanistan.

According to the Mexican government, from January through September 2011 2,276 deaths were recorded in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, which borders Texas and New Mexico.

A Nov. 2011 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report states that over nearly the same period – January through October 2011 – 2,177 civilians were killed in Afghanistan, where a U.S.-led war against the Taliban is underway. It did not provide a breakdown of responsibility for that period, but said that in 2010, 75 percent of civilian deaths were attributed to the Taliban and other “anti-government elements.”

Per capita, a person was at least nine times more likely to be murdered in Chihuahua last year than in Afghanistan. (Chihuahua has 3,406,465 inhabitants, according to Mexico’s 2010 census; the CIA World Factbookreports that in July 2011 the estimated population of Afghanistan was 29,835,392.)

But, of course, we need to ensure that our borders remain porous with our loving neighbors to the south.

And one thing not pointed out: because of the poor economy in the US, border incursions don't exhibit quite the rampant numbers once shown. Still, despite that, Mexico is deadlier than it's ever been. And that violence bleeds over -- literally -- into border states and border towns and border ranches in America.

Can you even fathom being an American rancher on the border? The illegal incursions? The trash? The trespassing? The violation? And the physical threat to you and your family from not just coyotes but drug cartels as well?

Further: could you fathom not just the indignancy, the indifference, but the pointed scapegoating of you and your fellow ranchers by the federal government?

The numbers diminish slightly; the violence and danger increases.

BZ



Saturday, January 21, 2012

Canada to America: You Won't Take Our Oil? China Will.


Just as I wrote this past Thursday, Canada has confirmed:

If America doesn't want the Keystone XL pipeline for a continued flow south to the Texas Chemical Coast, China would most certainly up the ante and take that offer, with a pipeline west from Alberta to the BC coast for blue water shipping.

From Bloomberg.com:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in a telephone call yesterday, told Obama “Canada will continue to work to diversify its energy exports,” according to details provided by Harper’s office. Canadian Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver said relying less on the U.S. would help strengthen the country’s “financial security.”

The “decision by the Obama administration underlines the importance of diversifying and expanding our markets, including the growing Asian market,” Oliver told reporters in Ottawa.

Currently, 99 percent of Canada’s crude exports go to the U.S., a figure that Harper wants to reduce in his bid to make Canada a “superpower” in global energy markets.

Mr Obama, with this completely ridiculous and uninformed decision based but upon incorrect ideology, jeopardizes this country on almost every level.

And here's a Newsflash: China also is jumping on Brazilian oil -- over the US as well. Imagine that.

BZ


Friday, January 20, 2012

Newt Gingrich: Kicked CNN John King's Ass in the SC Debate


And it, oddly enough, was somewhat difficult to find and isolate on the internet after it occurred.

Imagine that.

The reference via CNN:

To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question in a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine," Gingrich told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, the moderator of the CNN-Southern Republican debate.

Good for Gingrich, is all I can say. In his further comments, which are not yet transcripted, he took King to the damned woodshed. As well he should.

BZ

Blowout: Rick Perry Bows Out, Santorum Wins Iowa

And Rick Perry throws his endorsement to Newt Gingrich.


Now, of course, all the media gun barrels are pointed at Newt Gingrich and his personal life.

The group is now narrowed to four: Romney, Santorum, Paul and Gingrich.

BZ

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Obama: Killed The Keystone Pipeline, and Killing Our Nation


I've had to re-write this post twice.

Luckily, by now, I've managed to calm down. If 210/190 is calm.

Mr Obama has killed the Keystone XL pipeline proposal and, in perfect political form, blamed his rejection on the Republicans instead of his warped ideologies. And they are indeed warped.

Through the years I've attempted to be somewhat civil in my writings about Mr Obama. That said I've never, you may have noticed, placed the word "president" adjacent the name of Mr Obama, because I didn't believe then nor believe now that he deserves to have those two words immediately linked.

But I digress; for those unaware, the Keystone XL pipeline is a project wherein the company TransCanada proposes to build a 1,700-mile pipeline from Canada proper down into Texas and to Gulf Coast refineries. This $7 billion dollar enterprise portends, at minimum, some 10,000+ American jobs and is endorsed by many unions, the states involved, and Congress -- in some rather unusual bipartisan support.

Mr Obama also had until February 21st to decide. It was he who decided to make the early announcement -- absent further investigation -- a full month earlier than required. A further month that could have been utilized to "review" the issue.

From NationalJournal.com:

In a decision that quickly re-ignited a fierce energy debate, the Obama administration on Wednesday rejected the controversial Keystone XL pipeline because the 60-day deadline imposed by Republicans did not allow adequate time to review an alternate route through an ecologically sensitive area in Nebraska.

And that, on its face, is a bald LIE. Not a prevarication, not a mistake, not a misstatement -- it is a naked LIE.

The Keystone XL project has been under examination and the most severe scrutiny for the past three years. As you can see by the graphic, due to this scrutiny, the proposed pipeline has already been moved in order to accommodate various "aquifer concerns."


Luckily, Republican reaction was quick:
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, decried the news. “President Obama is about to destroy tens of thousands of American jobs and sell American energy security to the Chinese,” said Brendan Buck. “The president won’t stand up to his political base even to create American jobs. This is not the end of this fight.”

I should care to point out: make no mistake. This is not the move of a man who is clueless and uninformed; oh no. This is the very calculated and arrogant move of a man who operates under an anti-Capitalist, anti-American, anti-Corporate, anti-Constitutionalist aegis and who was schooled and swears allegiance to Alinsky. His associates, endorsements, friends and acquaintances bespeak volumes: Reverend Wright, Reverend Pfleger, ACORN, Blagojevich, William Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Saul Alinsky but to name a few. He truly believes that Cloward-Piven must be enacted in order to bring this nation into global sway.

Canada won't wait forever. It is already our Number One supplier of crude. And its government is quite disappointed that we didn't jump at this deal. And a deal it is.

Mexico is our Number Two supplier of crude. Of all places, Venezuela is Number Three. Imagine that.

Canada would rather deal with its southern neighbor but -- make no mistake -- deal it will. If not with the United States, then China is certainly waiting in the wings and will most certainly take advantage of a situation where it would "get over" on the US in three ways:
  • 1. By taking the oil from our very own back yard, and
  • 2. By ensuring the oil will be utilized to create a larger, more powerful and militaristic China
  • 3. To be used against us.
The only bright point:

Presidential representatives must also submit within 15 days a report to Congress detailing why the permit was rejected.

Obama also said that Keystone won't produce jobs.

Wrong.

Finally:

House Republicans have called Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to testify as early as next week on the Obama administration’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton formally sent a request to Clinton to come and testify at a hearing as early as next Wednesday, the day after President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.

This is, as I am wont to say, an "abortion on toast."

Mr Obama jeopardizes our national security and sovereignty. And wants to spend and spend.

Does this place Mr Obama into the category of a "traitor"?

BZ

P.S.
And here's a Reality Check: gas and petroleum already flows in massive quantities, through live pipelines, alongside the various rights-of-way of numerous railroads criss-crossing the entire nation. And, on those selfsame rights-of-way, optic cable has also been laid years ago.




Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wikipedia: Dark On Wednesday in the US


Wikipedia is going dark -- the English version -- on Wednesday, in protest of the SOPA - PIPA acts in Congress.

In a nutshell, the government will be deciding what sites, if this passes, you can visit. It will open a door that essentially won't be able to be closed again.

This, on its face, pisses me off on general principle. In this instance, I stand BIG Libertarian.

From the LATimes.com:

Wikipedia is among hundreds of websites that will be showing just how they feel about SOPA by going dark Wednesday.

The English-language version of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, will be shut down for 24 hours in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act and PIPA, the Protect Intellectual Property Act, now working their way through Congress.

Jimmy Wales, site co-founder, told the BBC's Martha Kearney on Tuesday morning that "tomorrow from midnight Washington D.C. time until midnight the entire day of Wednesday, we're going to blank out" the English version of Wikipedia and post a message of protest.

He told Kearney that the legislation makes "something like Wikipedia essentially impossible ... if the provider has to police everything that everyone is doing on the site."

Websites taking part in the so-called SOPA Strike include Mozilla, Reddit, WordPress and Boing Boing.

That said, check some of the revealing comments:

-If these bills are, in fact, enacted, users who stream copyrighted content 10 times in 6 months may face up to five years in prison. Ridiculous
Read & Decide: Are you for or against SOPA/PIPA? bit.ly/w0E1ar

-They left out one word In protect intellectual property... That would be...Corporate Intellectual Property. They can't stop the Chinese from Piracy: but they want to jail US citizens for downloading... Open Source!

-When corporations outsource OUR jobs and we go around them and stream copyrighted material we're the bad guys? HAHAHA This country is the laughing stock of the world for a reason, no wonder nobody likes us!

-These companies need to realise their business model must change. Nothing will stop the internet and the "sharing" of files. This reminds me of the buggy whip manufacturers who said cars would never catch on. Time for a change in thinking...

My two cents? Don't touch the internet. It's mean and corrupt, but it's also truthful and honest and wide open.

From CNNPolitics:
Washington (CNN) – The growing Internet protest–including a planned blackout by some websites Wednesday– against an online anti-piracy bill moving through Congress is "daunting," a Senate Democratic aide said Tuesday. The aide said the protest may be powerful enough to keep senators from voting to even take up the bill that until recently commanded rare bipartisan support.

I'll choose free speech over regulations darned near any time.

BZ

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Summer Oil War: It's Coming

Now may be the time for Americans to consider storing their larger SUVs, pickups and luxury vehicles in lieu of horses, bicycles or small cars -- or becoming independently wealthy.

Some experts are predicting anywhere from $5 to $10 per gallon gasoline in the United States by the summer, if Iran has its way and somehow either blocks or mines the Strait of Hormuz, or by any other means attempts or succeeds in blocking the flow of oil from the Middle East to other points on the globe -- to include, of course, the United States.

Oddly enough, at this time, the #1 export of the US is refined fuel. We are able to export this refined product because national consumption has decreased.

That said, we import the massive bulk of our crude oil.

Iran has already threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz.

US military representatives agree that Iran has the power to do this, which would impact not only US energy flow, but global energy flow as well. The US military indicates it has the ability to take steps to re-open the Strait of Hormuz choke point.

But would Obama even make that decision in the first place or, as he has expressed frequently, would he simply be "concerned" and "monitor" the situation?

Iran has made another statement with regard to the world's fuel supply:

CAIRO (AP) - Iran warned Gulf Arab oil producers against boosting production to offset any potential drop in Tehran's crude exports in the event of an embargo affecting its oil sales, the latest salvo in the dispute between the West and the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program.

The comments by Iran's OPEC governor, published Sunday, came as Saudi Arabia's oil minister was quoted the same day denying that his country's earlier pledges to boost output as needed to meet global demand was linked to a potential siphoning of Iranian crude from the market because of sanctions.

World oil markets have been jolted over concerns that Iran may choke off the vital Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for sanctions hampering its ability to sell its oil. Saudi Arabia and other key Gulf Arab producers have recently said they are ready to provide stable and secure supplies of oil.

Iran's official news agency IRNA said Sunday that the U.S. has relayed a message to Iran about security in the Strait of Hormuz. It gave no details, and there was no immediate comment from Washington.

The U.S. recently imposed sanctions targeting Iran's central bank and, by extension, refiners' ability to buy and pay for crude. The European Union is also weighing an embargo on Iranian oil, while Japan, one of Iran's top Asian customers, has pledged to buy less crude from the country.

Mohammad Ali Khatibi, Iran's OPEC governor, was quoted Sunday by the pro-reform Shargh newspaper as saying that attempts by Gulf nations to replace Iran's output with their own would make them an "accomplice in further events."

"These acts will not be considered friendly," Khatibi said, adding that if the Arab producers "apply prudence and announce that they will not participate in replacing oil, then adventurist countries will not show interest," in the embargo.

The point tips, my friends.

This may not end well.

BZ

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jon Huntsman: Pulled Out


Jon Huntsman has pulled out of the GOP presidential race.

I submit: no loss.

He tried to be everything to everyone.

Instead, he became nothing to anyone.

He has now endorsed Mitt Romney.

BZ

Venezuela: Maria Conchita Alonso v. Sean Penn


She's lived there. He hasn't.

From UsMagazine:

Cuban-born, Venezuelan-raised actress Maria Conchita Alonso hasn't held back with former costar Sean Penn -- publicly sparring with the outspoken star for his political views.

In 2010, the 54-year-old actress wrote an open letter bashing Penn (with whom she costarred in the 1988 film Colors) for his support of socialist Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. (Penn, 51, praised Chavez for his help in Haiti during an episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. He also met privately with Chavez in Venezuela in 2007.)

On Sunday, the former costars had a screaming match at LAX Airport. She later revealed in a radio interview to WMAL, "I said, 'You are a communist, Sean Penn.' He said, 'You are a pig!' So I said, 'And you are a communist asshole! Is it great to live the way you do as a communist?

Alonso admitted to WMAL she wanted to apologize "for calling Sean Penn an asshole. He is an intelligent man."

"But if someone calls me a pig, I am not going to turn the other cheek," she said. "But I don't regret calling him a communist.

I should also care to point out that Maria Conchita Alonso, in her 50s, is one of the hottest cinema chicks extant. You think women can't get hotter as they get older? Think again, ignorant one. And, a hot chick with a logical brain? OMG. The best of all possible worlds!

Further: she called Bullshit on Sean Penn. That, simply, is way sexy.

God bless her.

BZ

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Thank God for the American Atheists, Inc.

Of note on Sunday, from the Salt Lake Tribune:

The Utah Highway Patrol Association has signed a settlement agreement that sets a time frame for removing 12-foot-high crosses intended to memorialize state troopers killed in the line of duty.

The association is still reeling from an October decision by U.S. Supreme Court justices, who declined to hear the contentious First Amendment case over the appropriateness of the memorials on public land. The decision means that 10 of the 14 white crosses that currently sit on public land, either outside UHP offices or alongside a highway, must come down or be moved to private property.

All 14 of the crosses, whether on public or private lands, must have the UHP insignia removed. The state also has agreed to pay $388,000 in attorney’s fees.

Yes, those contentious and highly-offensive memorial crosses honoring fallen Utah Highway Patrol troopers who died in service, thank God they're being removed.

Reminds me of this e-mail I recently received:
After being interviewed by the school administration, the prospective teacher said: "Let me see if I've got this right.

You want me to go into that room with all those kids, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their T-shirts and instill in them a love for learning.

You want me to check their backpacks for weapons because they can no longer have lockers, wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and raise their sense of self-esteem and personal pride.

You want me to teach them how to register to vote, how to recognize inequality, be kind to the environment, love animals and hate capitalism.

You want me to check their heads for lice, recognize signs of anti-social behavior and make sure they pass all their final exams.

You also want me to provide them with the highest education and communicate regularly with their parents in English, Spanish, Vietnamese or Chinese, by letter, telephone, newsletter and report card.

You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps.

You want me to do all this and then you tell me: I can't pray."

Correct.

BZ

Saturday, January 14, 2012

49'ers 36, Saints 32


In what I thought was likely the most exciting game of the year, the San Francisco 49'ers pulled out a last-moment win against the favored New Orleans Saints, 36 to 32, in the NFC playoffs.

In the last two minutes, Drew Brees threw for a TD that put the Saints over the 9'ers.

In the last nine seconds, Smith threw to Davis for the confirming win.

What a game!

BZ

Allen West: The Best Solution


The media and Islamists are taking the Marine/Taliban incident to the troposphere.

I submit that Florida Representative Allen West has it nailed in an e-mail that he sent to The Weekly Standard, reproduced in full here (and WS had permission to print the e-mail itself):

I have sat back and assessed the incident with the video of our Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. I do not recall any self-righteous indignation when our Delta snipers Shugart and Gordon had their bodies dragged through Mogadishu. Neither do I recall media outrage and condemnation of our Blackwater security contractors being killed, their bodies burned, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah.

“All these over-emotional pundits and armchair quarterbacks need to chill. Does anyone remember the two Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who were beheaded and gutted in Iraq?

“The Marines were wrong. Give them a maximum punishment under field grade level Article 15 (non-judicial punishment), place a General Officer level letter of reprimand in their personnel file, and have them in full dress uniform stand before their Battalion, each personally apologize to God, Country, and Corps videotaped and conclude by singing the full US Marine Corps Hymn without a teleprompter.

“As for everyone else, unless you have been shot at by the Taliban, shut your mouth, war is hell.”

An excellent solution.

And that should be the end of that. No more kissing the ass of Islam. Period.

BZ

Friday, January 13, 2012

Obama: Raise Debt Ceiling AGAIN By $1.2 TRILLION DOLLARS


It's broken record time all over again: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.

Mr Obama and his administration is truly insane.

He believes it's time to kick the debt ceiling up again. In his mind it should never stop. There should never be a limit, no boundaries, no perimeter, no threshold that should never be exceeded. Just keep spending and spending and spending.

Though there likely is little if any gold in Ft Knox. Despite there being no gold standard. Despite there being no silver standard. Despite there being no backing of American cash except how people feel about American cash.

That concept in and of itself should be sufficiently frightening.

From The Washington Post:

President Obama formally notified Congress on Thursday of his intent to raise the nation’s debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion, two weeks after he hadpostponed the request to give lawmakers more time to consider the action.

Congress will have had 15 days to say no before the nation’s debt ceiling automatically is raised from $15.2 trillion to $16.4 trillion.

In a letter to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), Obama wrote that ”further borrowing is required to meet existing commitments.”

And my gosh, didn't we do all of this just the past summer? Why yes, we certainly did.

Don't you enjoy watching your nation self-destruct before your very eyes?

BZ



Thursday, January 12, 2012

Homeland Security Monitoring THE DRUDGE REPORT -- Homeland Security, Monitoring YOU?


I'm sorry, but this is getting rather silly.


More Gub'mint DoubleSpeak contained below (from The Atlantic Wire):
It's unclear exactly why, but the Department of Homeland has been operating a "Social Networking/Media Capability" program to monitor the top blogs, forums and social networks online for at least the past 18 months. Based on a privacy compliance review from last November recently obtained by Reuters, the purpose of the project is to "collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture.

Here's where I'll be Homeland Security Blunt for a moment.

Any government or administration fears two major points when it detects loss of control, possible insurrection or popular disagreement with a paradigm:

1. An armed populace, and
2. An informed populace, via communications; i.e., the internet

You're seeing both of these venues placed under the microscope for diminishment or removal by our current federal government. And I'm not wearing tinfoil right now. I'm merely stating the truth.

So: Homeland Security monitoring The Drudge Report? I am not placing myself into the Shocked Category. Perhaps even monitoring me? You? Who knows?

Because, apparently, the federal government needs to "collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture." Wondrous DoubleSpeak, yes?

And every day, the frog in the boiling pot gets his water temperature increased just a bit.

As a parting shot, think about this: how many times per day do you think you're captured on someone's camera, at work, in the street, at the ATM, in your bank, in any number of places?

And up to now -- have you even thought about your lack of privacy?

Who's Big Brother now?

BZ