Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How the Government Created a Sympathetic Welcoming Audience for Edward Snowden's Revelations

An essay in yesterday's Wall Street Journal totally ignored one basic and overriding consideration while offering a defense of America’s intelligence establishment and harshly criticizing Edward Snowden’s leaks of the agencies’ practices. 

An open society can and will tolerate secretive security institutions only if and to the extent that citizens generally trust their government and, in particular, are confident that its official clandestine instrumentalities will not be turned against them.

The U.S. today has a government that:
 

*  Has been staffed at the highest levels by individuals who have cheated on their personal income taxes in ways that would lead to severe sanctions against less favored citizens;

*  Allows members of favored minorities to thuggishly assault and intimidate citizens who are racially less favored, as it did not long ago in the case of the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia;

*  Itself engages in criminal conduct as in the Fast and Furious gun-running case;

*  Fails to protect those serving it in hostile foreign environments and then lies about the resulting murders of its employees and falsely attributes their deaths to a nonexistent demonstration over an obscure video, as in the Benghazi case;

*  Allows leaders of its intelligence agencies to commit perjury in testifying before Congress about the extent to which and how their agencies are monitoring the activities and communications of the nation’s citizens, and to not only escape punishment for doing so but also to continue in their high offices; and

*  Uses its tax collecting agency to target its domestic political opponents, to make public for political purposes private information that the agency is legally obligated to maintain in confidence, and continues to refuse to hold  accountable those responsible for such transgressions.

A government that conducts itself in such a way forfeits the trust of its citizens, and no citizen can be confident of not being targeted by any of the government’s multitude of clandestine agencies.   This is particularly true when the government has enacted so many laws and laws of such complexity that any of its citizens can be destroyed by being subjected to prosecution at any time that he of she is targeted by anyone in high office. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Great Fear Behind New Alacrity Decree

California and San Francisco Bay Area authorities have ordered a speed up in the take down of the eastern half of the old San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge.  

They want it gone now if not yesterday.

The impetus for the rush is their greatest fear -- that an earthquake may render their pretty new and sparkling replacement structure, replete with multiple defects, unusable while the old one stands unscathed.  So they are insisting on quick action to remove that possibility . . . and guess who is bearing the cost of their alacrity decree.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Not a Government of We the (Walled-Out) People


This is the local (in-district) office of the politician posing as my congressional representative.

Actually the office is behind the thick (bullet and blast proof) plexiglass shield and the reinforced high-security-locked  door, which together ensure that neither my district's member of the U.S. House of Reprehensibles (formerly known as the "peoples' house") nor any member of the local reprehensible's staff ever risks interacting face-to-face with any ordinary constituent.

This is what the "government of the people, by the people, and for the people" has become at the hands of the corrupt sluggish swine now running it.

They fear the people . . . and they should.  So they wall the people out.

Incidentally, at the left end of the counter is a high security box that can be spun around to move papers and other items to and from the inner sanctum and the public waiting room.

Betcha lobbyists, corporate and union bosses, and bearers of big campaign contributions are allowed into the inner sanctum through the security barriers that keep ordinary citizens out . . . and out of, and without any influence or say about our governance.  Such influence and say is reserved for the elite special interest people allowed through the wall, and that explains our government today.

P.S.  The above is a view of the waiting room.  To even get that far one first has to pass through a courtyard replete with armed security guards, some in uniforms and others in plain clothes, and then through an interior security checkpoint that involves an airport-like metal detector with one's photo ID being withheld and even key rings being closely scrutinized.

Parked In My Neighborhood


What If . . . ?


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Our Increasingly Perilous World

Neither the U.S. nor its NATO allies have the will or the ability to stop Russia from regaining the dominance the Soviet Union exercised over whatever portions of its former empire Vladimir Putin chooses.

The strength of the once mighty western nations has been hollowed out through comfortable complacency and illusions of wealth.  Europe was content to shirk the expense and effort of maintaining any military strength, leaving that chore to the U.S.  Tired of that task, the once indispensable U.S. chose as its 'leader' an individual eager to follow Europe's lead while basking in the conceit that his oratorical skills and rhetoric would transform the world into a peaceful planet.

What we are left with is an America that is neither any longer really:

Liked or trusted,
  Nor respected or feared
By anyone of any significant stature. 

  Mr. Putin understands this.  And the lesson certainly is being learned by the realists in the Forbidden City intent on having China replace the U.S. as the dominant power in the Western Pacific.  The lesser nations in that Asian region already are adjusting to the change there.

The upshot of all this is that either Putin's Russia or China or perhaps both eventually will overreach and cross some real line that cannot be ignored.  At that point the hollowed-out west will be forced to take real -- rather than rhetorical and symbolic -- action. By then though, doing so will entail a presently unimaginable price in blood as well as treasure.  Worse still, unlike the run up to World Ware II, the tardy awakening and action may be too late to avoid the West being defeated and consigned to history's dustbin.


Follow the Money -- From American Taxpayers to the Kremlin


Let me see if I have this right . . . .

Ukraine buys almost all its energy (natural gas) from Russia.

Revenues from natural gas are a primary source of Russia's income.

Because of the recent disagreement between Ukraine and Russia, Russia is raising the price of natural gas it sells to Ukraine.

Ukraine is almost broke and can’t afford the increase in the natural gas price because it would be forced into bankruptcy.

President Obama just announced the United States is giving Ukraine $1 billion to assist in paying for the higher priced natural gas it buys from Russia.

So, the United States is actually giving Russia $1 billion because in reality, the money is just passing through Ukraine.

The first question:  Has Putin figured out a way to raise the price of his natural gas sales and make the U.S. pay for the increase?

Next question: Was he really in the KGB or was he actually a commodities trader?

If this analysis is accurate, Putin just got President Obama to pay him $1 billion by holding a press conference and trucking some troops across town from the Russian Navy base in Ukraine.

Next question: Who is the smartest guy in the room?

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Obama Modification

America's orating leader-from-behind has modified Theodore Roosevelt's admonition to "talk softly and carry a big stick."

The current policy is to:

Talk Strongly 
and
Carry a Feather Duster


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Humiliating Supplications

As he desperately scours the globe begging for a fig leaf to mask from public view the impotence of  the Obama administration, Secretary of Appeasement John Kerry is embarrassing the minority of American who still pay enough attention to the D.C. charades to be aware of what is being done by what passes for the U.S. government these days.



Senator's Miraculously Discovers Constititution

Isn't it a grand and miraculously stunning event that California's senior senator, the saintly Dianne Feinstein, belatedly has discovered the American Constitution?

All it took to bring that about was for the surveillance state she has steadfastly supported to extend its snooping on, and violations of the privacy rights of the rest of us to include her and her fellow overlords. So now she not only suddenly discovers the Constitution but also has her knickers in a bunch and is having a public hissy fit.

SC

SC

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

. . . and While on the Subject of Illusory Diplomatic Compromises

America's current administration now is closing ranks with the west's other depleted powers in demanding that Israel compromise with those committed to ending its existence.

They demand that Israel weaken its ability to defend itself by turning over more of its territory to Palestinians and Arabs who steadfastly demand all of it and adamantly refuse to recognize the Jewish state's right to exist.

The compromise that the west's depraved leaders demand is Israel's suicide on the installment plan.

The Conceits, Illusions, and Unreality of Diplomatic Compromises

America's faux president and his peers in the other  degraded nations that comprise what used to be Western Civilization are imploring Vladimir Putin to talk to them about resolving the "crisis" created by the barbarous despot's invasion of Ukraine.

The hapless and helpless appeasers are hoping for some kind of diplomatic compromise to mask  their impotence, incompetence, and inadequacies from the populations in the nation's they supposedly lead and the rest of the world.

Thus far, Mr. Putin has shown no signs of willingness to offer the western "leaders" anything like  even the transparent fig leaf Hitler gave their predecessors in Munich in 1938 after he invaded Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland.  Perhaps he will do so after he has consolidated his grip on whatever portions of the rewards of his aggression he is intent on retaining.  

All that he will demand in return is a compromise consisting not in his relinquishing all of the rewards of his aggression but of the western "powers" acquiescing in and publicly accepting his retained gains as legitimate.

Realpolitik is alive, well, and thriving in the east.  It has been replaced by platitudes and illusions in the west.

At some point the price of the disparity again will be paid in blood . . . as was Neville Chamberlain's "Peace in Our Time."   But in all likelihood the current crop of fatuous and strutting elitists will neither shed any of their own blood or still be around to bear any consequences for the costs of their irresponsibility.  The price will be paid and the burdens will be borne by less lordly  and less favored others.

For now, it's like watching Keystone Kops law enforcement begging a bank robber to talk about giving up a tiny token portion of his loot in return for being allowed to keep the balance as being rightfully his.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

But for Our Leadership Void . . . .

To see a cogent essay on how a real American president would have brought Putin's Ukrainian aggression to a screeching halt without resorting to the use of force, click here.

Despite Resets, Some Things Don't Change

Putin’s barbarous invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula has been characterized by Obama’s Secretary of Appeasement John Kerry as a 19th Century act in a 21st Century world.

Mr. Kerry apparently is oblivious to the fact that the behavior of thuggish dictators is immutable.  It doesn’t change with the passage of time, reset fantasies notwithstanding.


Messrs. Obama and Kerry, are deploying oratorical and diplomatic bumbershoots, emulating Neville Chamberlain as Mr. Putin continues in Crimea to replicate what he recently did in Georgia and what Hitler’s Nazi Germany did in the 1930s in Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland.  Both despots claimed to be acting to protect their people in the territories they invaded.  Their hapless American appeasers and enablers would be well advised to heed the adage that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Congress Rates Lower Than Toenail Fungus, Dog Poop, and Hemorrhoids

No, this is not from the Onion.

It's a real scientific poll conducted last fall by Public Policy Polling.

In the survey, PPP actually asked 502 registered voters what they have a higher opinion of, Congress or toenail fungus, and toenail fungus came out on top with 44% of respondents holding it in higher esteem than they do Congress, and 41% saying they have a higher opinion of Congress.

Toenail fungus' slight lead over Congress may be due to the fact that unlike Congress, you can now actually get rid of toenail fungus with laser treatment.

Sorry, there's no such thing as a laser therapy that can sterilize your budget and freedoms from unwanted intrusion by moldy CSPAN characters.

The survey also found a number of other things voters regard more highly than Congress:

Respondents had a higher opinion of dog poop (47%) than Congress (40%), probably because dog poop creates more shovel-ready jobs.

Voters also prefer hipsters (42%) to Congress (33%).

Hey, how many hipsters does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

You wouldn’t know, it’s kind of an obscure number.

How many congressmen does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Five hundred and thirty-five, but only if the following conditions are met: The light bulb will not be changed in an election year. A committee will study the light-bulb situation for at least a year. Taxes will have to be raised. A fair and proportionate number of the light-bulb changers will be from minority groups. No Social Security funds will be used to change the bulb. Each state and congressional district will share in the benefits of changing the light bulb. The blame for the failure of the present bulb will be assigned to the other party. The new bulb will be twice as bright as the old bulb. Because the new bulb is twice as bright as the old bulb, it will cost 130 times as much. A Blue Ribbon Panel will investigate the light-bulb failures and issue a mega-page report to the congress. A fact-finding trip to all countries known to produce light bulbs will be made by most congressmen and their wives. The CIA will investigate the Russian light-bulb-changing system. And finally, each and every congressman will send every one of his constituents a newsletter describing how he managed to get the light bulb changed almost single-handedly.

Voters were especially excited to rate Congress (31%) lower than hemorrhoids (53%), perhaps because you can at least experience mild relief from hemorrhoids, but there is no cream soothing enough for the kind of pain in the ass Congress is. 

 . . . From The Humble Libertarian

White House Get Salute From Putin


Fantasy

Mused on awakening this morning that our orator-in-chief would be as rough and tough and ruthless in dealing with America's enemies as he is with his domestic policy and political critics and friendly nation's such as Israel.

Obviously just a dream that isn't likely to become a reality.