Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tea Parties are being watched according to the Canada Free Press

More evidence emerging that that Constitution supporters are considered “domestic threats
By Douglas Hagmann & Judi McLeod

A report published today by Kurt Nimmo states that a Department of Homeland Security fusion center in Florida conducted surveillance on Ron Paul supporters and other political groups. A law enforcement sensitive bulletin dated 4 June 2010, issued by the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange, identified one event hosted by Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty that was subjected to official intelligence monitoring by that arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Nimmo notes that the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange was established with the assistance of an $850,000 Department of Homeland Security grant, which is your tax dollars at work. The center is specifically tasked with looking for terrorist leads.

As we detailed in our report dated 19 April 2009 , over a year before the Ron Paul event and today’s article, we informed readers of the existence of a FBI directive issued in March, 2009 that tasked FBI field offices to collect specific times, dates and locations of TEA party and other similar patriotic events. A second directive was issued the following month directing domestic intelligence agencies to perform covert video surveillance and data collection of the participants of the TEA parties. The directive instructed that surveillance was to be performed from “discreet fixed or mobile positions” and was to be performed"independently and outside of the purview of local law enforcement.”
Read all the details here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

End Runs around Congress

The President and the Congress have been stymied on some things, but that doesn't stop them. They have just begun to fight using these end runs. Thomas Sowell explains it well
Political End Runs
by Thomas Sowell
The Constitution of the United States begins with the words "We the people." But neither the Constitution nor "we the people" will mean anything if politicians and judges can continue to do end runs around both.

Bills passed too fast for anyone to read them are blatant examples of these end runs. But last week, another of these end runs appeared in a different institution when the medical "end of life consultations" rejected by Congress were quietly enacted through bureaucratic fiat by administrators of Medicare.

Although Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senator Jay Rockefeller had led an effort by a group of fellow Democrats in Congress to pass Section 1233 of pending Medicare legislation, which would have paid doctors to include "end of life" counselling in their patients' physical checkups, the Congress as a whole voted to delete that provision.

Republican Congressman John Boehner, soon to become Speaker of the House, objected to this provision in 2009, saying: "This provision may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia."

Whatever the merits or demerits of the proposed provision in Medicare legislation, the Constitution of the United States makes the elected representatives of "we the people" the ones authorized to make such decisions. But when proposals explicitly rejected by a vote in Congress are resurrected and stealthily made the law of the land by bureaucratic fiat, there has been an end run around both the people and the Constitution.

Congressman Blumenauer's office praised the Medicare bureaucracy's action but warned: "While we are very happy with the result, we won't be shouting it from the rooftops because we are not out of the woods yet."

In other words, don't let the masses know about it.

It is not only members of Congress or the administration who treat "we the people" and the Constitution as nuisances to do an end run around. Judges, including Justices of the Supreme Court, have been doing this increasingly over the past hundred years.
Read it all here. Dr. Sowell is a very knowledgeable man who goes on to give the history of the Progressives.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Wisdoms of VDH

You all know how I like this man's writings.  He has two websites I check regularly;
one is Works and Days , the other is Victor Davis Hanson's Private Papers .  He has some real jewels there right now.  Here are links to them.

The Obamaites’ About-Face
2011 Politically-Incorrect Resolutions
Paradoxes of the Present Age, Profound and Trivial
He does share his site with others and this one is by Bruce S. Thornton.
“No Labels,” No Democracy

Go read them all. I think Mr. Hanson is one of our great philosophers.

How's that wind energy working out?

I found this at Wizbang.
"wind power is about as dependable as, well, the wind."
posted by Rick quoting Don Surber
From the Scotsman: "Scotland's wind farms are unable to cope with the freezing weather conditions - grinding to a halt at a time when electricity demand is at a peak, forcing the country to rely on power generated by French nuclear plants."

Well, how bad could it be?

From the Scotsman: "Shortly before 5:30pm on [Monday and Tuesday], wind power production fell to 62MW and 61 MW respectively - just 2.5 per cent of its total capacity. At the same time on both occasions, the UK's electricity usage rose to about 60,000MW - one of the highest ever levels of demand. Electricity demand in the UK rarely rises above 60,000MW."

So let me get this straight, at a time when you need it most, wind power is about as dependable as, well, the wind.
Mr Surber isn't the only one questioning the feasibility of wind power:

After 30 months, countless TV appearances, and $80 million spent on an extravagant PR campaign, T. Boone Pickens has finally admitted the obvious: The wind energy business isn't a very good one.

The Dallas-based entrepreneur, who has relentlessly promoted his "Pickens Plan" since July 4, 2008, announced earlier this month that he's abandoning the wind business to focus on natural gas.

Two years ago, natural gas prices were spiking and Mr. Pickens figured they'd stay high. He placed a $2 billion order for wind turbines with General Electric. Shortly afterward, he began selling the Pickens Plan. The United States, he claimed, is "the Saudi Arabia of wind," and wind energy is an essential part of the cure for the curse of imported oil.

Voters and politicians embraced the folksy billionaire's plan. Last year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he had joined "the Pickens church," and Al Gore said he wished that more business leaders would emulate Mr. Pickens and be willing to "throw themselves into the fight for the future of our country."
How could an industry go wrong with people like Al Gore and Harry Reid leading the charge?
There's a lesson here for people with sense.

Arm yourself with these questions for 2011 and forever

Pajamas Media has this post by an ex-Soviet immigrant:
Question Insanity: What to Ask Progressives
An ex-Soviet immigrant goes Socratic on his liberal American critics.
by Oleg Atbashian

Dear Americans, these are some questions I have collected in 16 years of living in your country. Please see if you can answer them for me:

* If all cultures are equal, why doesn’t UNESCO organize International Cannibalism Week festivals?

* Why do those demanding “equal pay for equal work” never protest against “equal pay for little or no work”?

* Why has no politician ever run on men’s issues or promised to improve the lives of males?

* If all beliefs are equally valid, how come my belief in the absurdity of this maxim gets rejected by its proponents?

* Ever noticed that for the past thirty years, we’ve been hearing we have less than ten years to save the planet?

* Once a politician labels the truth as hate speech, can anyone trust him to speak the truth afterward?

* If a politician gets elected by the poor on a promise to eliminate poverty, wouldn’t fulfilling his promise destroy his voting base? Wouldn’t he rather benefit from the growing numbers of poor people? Isn’t this an obvious conflict of interests?

* How did the “war on poverty” end? Has there been a peace treaty or a ceasefire? Who is the occupying force and who are the insurgents?

* Why weren’t there demonstrations with anti-feudal slogans under feudal rule? And under Stalin, no anti-communist demonstrations? And under Hitler, no anti-fascist demonstrations? In a free capitalist society, anti-capitalist demonstrations are commonplace. Is capitalism really the worst system?

* If capitalism makes some people rich without making others poor, who will benefit when capitalism is destroyed?

* If the poor in America have things that people in other countries can only dream about, why is there a movement to make America more like those other countries?

* Why, on the rare occasions when Obama’s actions benefit America, does his base get angry? And every time his actions are hurting this nation, his base is happy? Who exactly are these people?

* If cutting out the middleman lowers the price, why are we paying the government to stand between us and the markets?

* If racial profiling is an abomination, what do you make of the last presidential election?

* After Eric Holder called Americans a nation of cowards, what has he done personally to help the situation?

* If diversity training benefits everyone, why do those classes mostly consist of white heterosexual males?

* Why is a huge poisonous cloud over a volcano considered magnificent — but a smokestack over an American factory is ugly and harmful?

* How many Kyoto Protocols are rendered pointless by one medium-sized volcanic eruption?

* Why is burning gas in my car hurting the planet, but setting fire to housing developments in California is saving it?

* Why does Hollywood glamorize drug addicts, criminals, liberal Democrats, and mentally challenged people? What do they all have in common?

* How come Hollywood can always find a good side in thugs, but never in businesspeople? What was the last movie that pictured a self-reliant, industrious man as a role model?

* If it’s capitalist greed that forces Hollywood to exploit the lowest human instincts, why didn’t the same greed force Hollywood to exploit America’s patriotism and make war movies showing the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as a force for good? Wouldn’t one such film bring more green cash than all the anti-American flops in the recent years? Where was Hollywood’s capitalist greed then?

* How come those calling Sarah Palin a “bimbo” often look like part of Paris Hilton’s entourage?

* If there are no absolutes and family is an antiquated tool of bourgeois oppression, why is having gay marriage an absolute must?

* Would you know from the media coverage that there are more sex offenders among public school teachers then among Catholic priests? How come the church gets the blame and the Department of Education doesn’t?

* Why is the media so outspoken about sex abusers being priests, but avoids calling them homosexual pedophiles? Who are they afraid to offend?

* Why do those who decry modern civilization never live far from shopping centers and why don’t grind their coffee with a stone ax?

* If we are called a “consumer society” because we consume, why aren’t we also called an “excreter society” because we excrete? For that matter we also sleep, dream, talk, think, invent, play music, raise children, feel pain, get sick and die. Many of us work for a living. Why aren’t we called a “producer society” because we produce the things we consume? Who puts these labels on us and for what purpose?

* How come the unselfish Americans hate their country out of personal frustrations, while the selfish ones defend America with their lives?

* If describing terrorists as freedom fighters is justified by the journalistic principle of neutrality, what is the name of the principle that justifies describing U.S. troops as rapists and murderers?

* When the media portrays the killing of terrorists as “slaughter of civilians,” while slaughter of civilians is portrayed as “resistance to occupation,” is the media really being neutral? Whose side are they really on?

* If Hollywood types are so opposed to capitalism, why is there a warning against unauthorized distribution of their movies?

* Why is experimenting on animals cruel, but experimenting on human embryos compassionate?

* How come industrial logging is a crime against nature, but the destruction of forests by wildfires is a natural cycle of life?

* Why do those who object to tampering with the environment approve of tampering with the economy? Isn’t the economy also a fragile ecosystem where a sudden change can trigger a devastating chain reaction?

* Isn’t the latest economic crisis such a chain reaction?

* Aren’t most of today’s social ills the result of tampering with social ecosystems?

* Why is bioengineering bad, but social engineering good?

* If Al Gore is right and our consumption of the planet’s resources is a moral issue, doesn’t that make genocide an ethical solution? How about an artificial famine? What would Al Gore choose?

* If being a winner in nature’s struggle for survival is selfish, does being extinct make you an altruist?

* Since our planet’s resources are limited, wouldn’t the ultimate act of environmental activism be to stop eating and starve to death?

* How come those who hate humanity for its faults are called “humanists” but those who love humanity for its virtues are called “hate-mongers”?

* If economic ups and downs are natural cycles, why is the downturn always blamed on unbridled capitalism, but the upturn is the result of a wise leadership of a Democrat president?

* Why is there never a media story praising capitalism for the booming economy?

* Ever noticed that those who demand “power to the people” also believe that people can’t do anything right without government supervision?

* How exactly does dependency on the government increase “people power”?

* Why is there never a headline that says “Government program ends as its intended goal has been achieved”?

* How come so many anti-American radicals are wearing American brands, listen to American music, watch American movies, and play American video games on computers designed by American engineers?

* Why do advocates for higher taxes have accountants advising them how they can pay smaller taxes? Wouldn’t you expect them instead to seek advice on how to give away more of their income to the IRS? Or at least not to hire accountants at all?

* Can you name one person who paid the IRS more than he owed because he trusted the government to put his money to good use?

* Did it occur to any of the 9/11 Truthers that a government conspiracy to murder thousands of people would have also included a plan to rub out a few troublemakers?

* If U.S. oil companies own everyone in Washington, how come they allowed Congress to grill them for the alleged price gouging — and to broadcast it on C-Span?

* Why didn’t Congress also grill Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin, and a guy named Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz Bin Abdulrahman Bin Faisal Bin Turki Bin Abdullah Bin Muhammad al Saud?

* Why are windfall profits a problem when they enrich U.S. companies that pay billions in taxes — but when Hugo Chavez uses the same windfall profits to fund Marxist guerillas in Colombia, it’s not a big deal?

* If George W. Bush was an oil-thirsty dictator, why couldn’t he in eight years get permission from Congress to drill in ANWR? And why didn’t that failure in any way hurt his dictatorial reputation with the media?

* If it’s true that the media emphasized bad news and harassed President Bush only because they competed for ratings, what changed now? Aren’t they worried that today’s emphasis on good news from the White House will destroy their ratings and make journalism irrelevant?

* And finally, if all opinions are equal, how come a liberal who disagrees with a conservative is open-minded, but a conservative who disagrees with a liberal is a bigot?

I hope you will find my questions handy. Feel free to pass them around and propose some of your own in the comments below.
In this post he had a story that preceded this list, read it here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Obama, Honduras and Venezuela

I am not condoning the Wikileaks actions, but I have to admit there are some things we wouldn't have known without them.  On the whole I think we have learned a lot about this administrations intriques because of them.  But if your only source of news is MSM you may never learn the most of it.  Because I read daily I found this from Commentary magazine.
Honduras, Obama, and Occam’s Razorby
by Rick Richman 
In the Wall Street Journal yesterday, Mary Anastasia O’Grady wrote that cables released by WikiLeaks show that the administration knew Honduran President Manuel Zelaya had threatened Honduran democracy — but supported him in order to offer President Obama a “bonding opportunity” with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and a chance to ingratiate himself with Latin America’s hard left.

I have a simpler explanation — not inconsistent with O’Grady’s analysis but closer to the common theme in Obama’s foreign policy in other areas. The day after Zelaya was removed, Obama pronounced it a “coup.” That snap judgment remained American policy even as more and more facts contradicting Obama’s description emerged.
Go read the rest and be sure to link to the WSJ article if you can.  It reinforces the view of how badly America's foreign policy has been handled under this administration. It is an embarrassement.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Assange --- poor little leaker.......

You know what just creams me? Assange, that's who! He's claiming that the U.S. is picking on poor little him when I happen to know who he's picking on and that he started it! How can he spill all those secrets and claim he's being picked on?! The gall!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Obama Healthcare bill is rationed medicine

A J Strata has combined it all in one long post on the changes that will negatively impact healthcare.
Our Health Care At Risk
Beginning with the blow dealt to sick children:
In an unintended consequence of the new health care law, drug companies have begun notifying children’s hospitals around the country that they no longer qualify for large discounts on drugs used to treat rare medical conditions.
Taking medicine from a sick child – and people say there are no death panels? Poor sick children, with rare diseases. That is where Obamacare went to get some needed money to cover people who don’t even want to buy insurance?
The next target of Obamacare is the elderly of course – whose reward for a long and productive life feeding the bureaucratic beast is to be short changed at the end, when their needs arise:
Want an appointment with kidney specialist Adam Weinstein of Easton, Md.? If you’re a senior covered by Medicare, the wait is eight weeks.
How about a checkup from geriatric specialist Michael Trahos? Expect to see him every six months: The Alexandria-based doctor has been limiting most of his Medicare patients to twice yearly rather than the quarterly checkups he considers ideal for the elderly. Still, at least he’ll see you. Top-ranked primary care doctor Linda Yau is one of three physicians with the District’s Foxhall Internists group who recently announced they will no longer be accepting Medicare patients.
“It’s not easy. But you realize you either do this or you don’t stay in business,” she said.
More death panel thinking. It is called triage – deciding who shall be sacrificed when medical resources are short and cannot be applied to all.
Was this unforeseen? Hell no! One only needs to look at the results of government run care in the UK to see the pending disaster waiting us if we don’t undo Obamacare ASAP:

Financial pressures may mean junior doctors are not given training posts within the NHS and the overall number of places at medical school could drop, a report has said.

This is despite extra burdens on the health service, including European rules limiting doctors’ hours, more hospital admissions and people living longer than ever before, according to the study from the UK Royal Colleges of Physicians (RCP).

Those specialties dedicated to looking after very ill people are facing particular strain, it said.

Bureaucrats ran the UK NHS into the ground. There are endless horror stories of patients left to die in long lines, or left to rot in substandard facilities, or who died to botched surgeries.
Go read it all to see the terrible consequences.

E J Dionne has a biased view of the political parties

He has a Washington Post opinion piece that is so misinformed it is surreal.  It looks okay to start with but two of the middle paragraphs shows how delusional the man actually is.
The basic difficulty arises from a false equivalence they make between our current "left" and our current "right." The truth is that the American right is much farther from anything that can fairly be described as "the center" than is the left.
Indeed, there is no far left to speak of anymore. Even among socialists - I'm talking about real ones - almost all now acknowledge the benefits of markets, no longer propose state ownership of the means of production, and accept the inevitability of inequalities in wealth and income. What they oppose is the rise of extreme inequalities that are antithetical to both a healthy democracy and a healthy market economy.
 Those two paragraphs are so wrong they make the rest of the article unimportant. If those are his views his discussion is delusional.
Read it all, I think you will agree with me.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tithing and taxes

I have heard this said before but Jay Tea at Wizbang had a very good take on it.
How Much Is Enough?
Last week, Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT) held forth for hours on the floor of the Senate, giving full voice to the leftist ideals of shared sacrifice, shared burdens, shared wealth -- basically, the idea that nothing is yours, but everything is ours. In the midst of his assault on individual rights and individualism, he posed an interesting question: how much money is enough for people to make and keep? At what point is someone "rich enough?"

Interesting thought. Let's turn it around: how much money is enough for the government to take from someone? At what point has someone contributed their "fair share" in taxes, fees, duties, and all those other euphemisms for "the government wants your money."

I have some very devout Christian friends. They tithe to their Church -- 10%. Sometimes it's a struggle for them, but they do their best to live up to what they see as their duty to God.

If God can get by on 10%, why should the government need more? The government just has one country; God has the entire universe. And, it can be argued, has a hell of a lot more responsibility than the government.

(Just don't try to vote Him out of office. It was tried once, and didn't end well.)
There is more, go here to read the rest.

A song in tribute to the military, I won't Untie the Ribbons

Okay, so I am being a proud mother here, but I love this song.  It is a tribute for the military and my son and co-writer want to contribute 1/3 of the meager earnings to the military. Meager means 1/3 of $1.25 or 99 cents depending whether it is downloaded from CDbaby or Amazon.  It is free to view on You Tube.

The back story on it is this. During the Vietnam era the mother of the vocalist started a song/poem which she never finished. Her daughter, the vocalist Shavonne, asked my son to finish it, music and words. She wanted to surprise her with it for Christmas. He did it in time for Sunday. She is now in her 80's and was delighted with it. He co-wrote, produced and published it. I’m prejudiced but I am not the only one who loves it. It has had nearly 1000  plays on YouTube since last Monday.

Update: I first thought this was for An 80th birthday, so if that is what I told you, I was wrong.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Links, Dec 12, 2010

It's hard to believe it is almost 2011, but time flies when you are getting old!
It's a busy day so here are some links to what I think are important articles.

From the New York Times a scary thought:
As the Ground Shifts, Biden Plays a Bigger Role

From the Boston Globe an article on SSI. I know for a fact that schools try to get people to have their children diagnosed with ADHD or anything that can get the on those rolls. -it's a long one:
The other welfare
A legacy of unintended side effects

From American Thinker - it's a long one, too:
An Extraordinary Speech

From the Washington Post: - In my opinion this is when all the hate and vitriol began.
Bush v. Gore, 10 years later

From The Hill - more apologizing.
Obama expresses regret to foreign leaders over WikiLeaks

From the Washington Post - now we know why he is so grouchy lately.
Obama kicks his smoking habit

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Predictions: Climate, Populations, etc

This is just a middle portion of a post on PowerLine blog,  You will want to read it all.

In 1980 Ehrlich famously made and lost a bet with Julian Simon based on Ehrlich's predicted scenario of resource scarcity. George Will recalled the bet in a good column on the global warming scare:

Paul Ehrlich, a Stanford scientist and environmental Cassandra who predicted calamitous food shortages by 1990, accepted a bet with economist Julian Simon. When Ehrlich predicted the imminent exhaustion of many nonrenewable natural resources, Simon challenged him: Pick a "basket" of any five such commodities, and I will wager that in a decade the price of the basket will decline, indicating decreased scarcity. Ehrlich picked five metals -- chrome, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten -- that he predicted would become more expensive. Not only did the price of the basket decline, the price of all five declined.

Will added a footnote to this history: "An expert Ehrlich consulted in picking the five was John Holdren, who today is President Obama's science adviser. Credentialed intellectuals, too -- actually, especially -- illustrate Montaigne's axiom: 'Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know.'" There is much more to the story, making it of current interest, as John Hinderaker noted in "Politicizing science."

Good Teachers equal good education

That is a statement that truly should go without saying. But just this morning I read a piece that showed a poll blaming parents for childrens bad education. I have had many discussions with people who say teaching to the test is a bad thing. I think if they are teaching to the test they are at least teaching. This article looks at just that, teaching to the test, but what it is really showing is that teaching to the test or not we need more good teachers.
Foundation: Growth in test scores is sign of good teacher
By Nick Anderson

While debate rages in the education world about how to measure effective teaching - or whether it is even possible to do so - research funded by a prominent advocate of data-driven analysis has found that growth in annual student test scores is a reliable sign of a good teacher.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation reported that and other preliminary findings Friday from a $45 million study of teacher effectiveness in several cities.
"In every grade and subject we studied, a teacher's past success in raising student achievement on state tests was one of the strongest predictors of his or her ability to do it again," said Vicki Phillips, who oversees elementary and secondary education grants for the foundation.
In many cases, officials are moving toward "value-added" analysis - that is, the growth in achievement that occurs in a class from one school year to another, measured in large part through gains on state tests. There are many technical issues with how such analysis is conducted. Often teachers are not assigned to subjects that a state assesses. Students might rotate among teachers on a daily or weekly basis for certain lessons.

At certain ages and in certain circumstances - which can vary wildly depending on family background - students might be more or less ready to have an academic growth spurt.

Teachers unions and other skeptics have cited these and other arguments as reasons to move cautiously on value-added analysis. But in the D.C. public schools and many others, growth in test scores is now an ingrained part of teacher evaluation and pay. President Obama has encouraged this movement through the $4 billion Race to the Top education grants.
The preliminary Gates findings are based on test data and student surveys from public school systems in New York, Dallas, Denver, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., and Hillsborough County, Fla. Also participating in the study are Memphis and Pittsburgh schools. Researchers were drawn from the Educational Testing Service and several major schools, including Harvard and Stanford universities and the University of Virginia.

The central finding indicates that teachers with "value-added" ratings are able to replicate that feat in multiple classrooms and in multiple years.
There is more here. Go read it all. You owe it to our nation's future to understand all about how our children are being educated.

A Washington Post editorial on ethanol

The Washington Post probably doesn't realize how left wing it is and has been. All the reporters when asked will say they are "moderates" and would be shocked! Shocked! that we think otherwise.  This is a factual editorial and it is against ethanol.  If I had access to Lexus/Nexus I suspect I could do a search and find they were for it before they were against it. But, this is their take today.
Wasting tax dollars on ethanol
IF YOU'RE wondering which of America's leaders are serious about cutting wasteful government spending, you might start by examining who's behind the effort to extend tax breaks to America's corn ethanol industry, which expire at the end of the year.

For decades, the idea behind corn ethanol has been that fuel derived from the crop could diminish America's dependence on distasteful foreign regimes for fuel - it's done some of this - and cut carbon emissions - it's done little of this. Congress established an overlapping and expensive system of subsidies, requiring that billions of gallons of ethanol be blended into the nation's gasoline, slapping tariffs on foreign ethanol and handing those who blend the fuel into gasoline a tax credit of 45 cents a gallon.

In other words, the government pays the industry for the privilege of selling to a captive market, spending $6 billion in 2009 on the tax credits alone. Without the tax credits, the amount of corn ethanol produced would still increase over the next 10 years, the Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri calculates. Yet the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that taxpayers still pay $1.78 to replace a gallon of gasoline with its energy equivalent of corn ethanol. The numbers are far worse when put in terms of greenhouse gases. The CBO reports that it costs a staggering $750 to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions one ton by burning corn ethanol - and the CBO makes some generous assumptions to get even that figure.

Yet because the policy directs cash to farm states that are rich in political influence, lawmakers are rallying to save this payoff from expiration. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who insisted Sunday that President Obama's fiscal commission didn't go far enough in its deficit reduction plan, has paired with Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) to press for renewal of the gratuitous corn ethanol tax credit and the ethanol tariff through 2015. Typically, the farm lobby has won out on such issues. But this year it's meeting stronger than usual opposition from a bloc of fiscal conservatives and environmentalists, backed by such strange bedfellows as Tea Party organizer FreedomWorks and ultra-liberal pressure group - even Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Al Gore.

An extension of the corn ethanol provisions shouldn't be part of the deal that's emerging on the Bush tax cuts, and if it is, senators should remove it from the resulting legislation. While they're at it, lawmakers should reconsider their blending mandate, too. There are far better ways to address oil dependence and greenhouse emissions.
I agree. I laud them for their honest facts today, but I didn't realize I had such strange bedfellows.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Oil, gas, get it right here at home.

From The Canadian Globe and Mail
North America: The new energy kingdom by Neil Reynolds

The American Petroleum Institute reports that the United States produced more crude oil in October than it has ever produced in a single month, “peak oil” or not.

This reversal of trend helps explain why U.S. domestic production for the year will be 140,000 barrels a day higher than last year (which was 410,000 barrels a day higher than 2008). Although the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says U.S. production will decline next year, who knows?

Could these numbers reflect the beginning of the end for U.S. dependence on Mideast oil? Well, in fact, they could be. As Forbes magazine publisher Steve Forbes optimistically asserted the other day, the whole world is “awash in energy.”
This is what one of my family members tells me also. Read the rest here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Are you worse off under Obama

If not you may be the exception. According to Bloomberg news .
More than 50 percent of Americans say they are worse off now than they were two years ago when President Barack Obama took office, and two-thirds believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.

The survey, conducted Dec. 4-7, finds that 51 percent of respondents think their situation has deteriorated, compared with 35 percent who say they're doing better. The balance isn't sure. Americans have grown more downbeat about the country's future in just the last couple of months, the poll shows. The pessimism cuts across political parties and age groups, and is common to both sexes.
Read it all here.

You never know what you will find out by reading Michael Yon on Facebook

He linked to this it is from the blog Chandler's Watch.
Taliban Has Received As Much As $1 Billion From The United States; Astounding, Simply Astounding
Up to $1 Billion in U.S. Aid Winds Up In Taliban Coffers
By Ed Barnes
Published October 22, 2010
Attacks, like this one at the Torkham Pakistan border crossing, were part of scheme by the Taliban to raise the level of corrupt payments from American subcontractors trying to deliver gas and goods along a key supply route to Kabul, experts say.

As much as $1 billion in U.S. aid has been diverted from programs meant to stabilize Afghanistan and has wound up in the hands of the Taliban and other insurgency groups, war analysts and government auditors say.

In fact, they say, graft has gotten so bad that the U.S. government estimates that only about 10 percent of the aid budget actually reaches the people in Afghanistan who need it.

“Right now corruption is more important than the politics,” Michael Thibault, co-chairman of Congress’ independent and bipartisan Wartime Commission on Contracting, told “I have been there seven times in the last year and the estimates I have been told are that 20 to 40 percent of the aid funding goes to corruption.”

“The problem,” he said, “is the Afghan culture and the subcontracting practices of the companies that do business there.”

In the past few weeks investigations by the U.S. Senate and the inspector general of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have focused on how guard services that surround U.S. bases have been compromised by the Taliban, jeopardizing the safety of American troops, and how one company, DAI of Bethesda, Md., involved in rehabilitation was forced to pay $5 million in protection money to Taliban-connected groups.

“Virtually every transaction in Afghanistan involves some degree of payoff,” says Christine Fair of Georgetown University’s Center for Peace and Security Studies. “Everyone is getting a piece of the money. If you want to get a clinic built, you have to make sure everyone in the village is paid off.”

“It is now the cost of doing business in Afghanistan,” she explained, attributing much of the most serious corruption to the “lack of a security footprint” by U.S. troops. For example, without the U.S. military guarding major transport routes, the safety of supply convoys and other key transportation has been left up to private companies. And that, she says, has formalized a massive protection industry that is run, in many but not all cases, by the Taliban.

“We should be surprised not that convoys are attacked, but by how few get attacked,” Fair said.

That is the same assessment that Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, gave to President Obama more than a year ago, according to Bob Woodward’s book, Obama’s Wars. “All the contractors for development projects pay the Taliban for protection and use of the roads, so American and coalition dollars help finance the Taliban,” Woodward wrote.

Fair explained that the practice has become so deeply ingrained in the economic life of the country that it is often a crucial element in events that appear not to be related to corruption. She cited as an example the recent closing of the Torkham border crossing with Pakistan in the Khyber tribal agency. That closing, which blocked a key military supply route, was generally perceived as a dispute with Pakistan over the killing of four Pakistani soldiers by an American drone strike.

But, said Fair, “In reality it was a re-negotiation of the protection rates” along the route to Kabul, the Afghan capital. The border closing and the burning of supply trucks allowed drivers, contractors and everyone in the chain of corruption to up their rates because of new hazards, she said.

One consequence of the widespread corruption has been to encourage peaceful areas to take up arms — not because they have a political agenda, but to get a part of the graft money. According to Barmak Pazhwak, a senior project officer with the United States Institute for Peace, when peaceful villages see the money that flows into restive ones, they quickly figure out that a few well-timed incidents will bring them money.
Read it all.

One of the things we have learned from Wikileaks concerning Climate Gate

Apparently our state department and CIA were interested in getting the right political solution at the Copenhagen climate meeting.  Those cables have been released and pounced upon by reporters.  This is from Pajamas Media but the first stories about  it came out of the UK's Guardian newspaper.  This is the Pajamas Media summation.
WikiLeaks Cables Confirm Worst Fears of Climate Skeptics
by Charlie Martin
Just a year ago, the Climategate files — a collection of emails, data, and computer source code — were somehow purloined from the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit and made public. Pajamas Media was one of the first news organizations to cover them, with the first breaking news story out within hours of their first discovery (“Hacker Releases Data Implicating CRU in Global Warming Fraud“).

The full consequences are not yet clear, but the files’ release probably led to the collapse of the Copenhagen climate conference — to which the Obama administration had committed no little amount of political capital — and certainly contributed to the public’s increasing skepticism about the supposed consensus of climate science.

On December 3rd, the Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom published one of a series of stories based on the cables, this one titled “WikiLeaks cables reveal how U.S. manipulated climate accord.” The United States really was applying considerable political and diplomatic pressure on other players; the scientific “consensus” had long since been subsumed by the pressure to score a political win. As the Guardian put it:

Hidden behind the save-the-world rhetoric of the global climate change negotiations lies the mucky realpolitik: money and threats buy political support; spying and cyberwarfare are used to seek out leverage.
The bribes — sorry, I mean promised aid — was no mean amount of money. The Guardian reports amounts in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars. The government of the Maldives set their price at $30 million. With a population of roughly 300,000, that is $100 per person in a country where the average household gets by on $450 a year.

This pressure, however, wasn’t limited to financial transactions: the United States was developing intelligence on the other participants in the conferences.

Seeking negotiating chips, the U.S. State Department sent a secret cable on July 31, 2009, seeking human intelligence from UN diplomats across a range of issues, including climate change. The request originated with the CIA. As well as countries’ negotiating positions for Copenhagen, diplomats were asked to provide evidence of UN environmental “treaty circumvention” and deals between nations.

At the same time, foreign powers — most probably at least including the People’s Republic of China — used sophisticated social engineering and cyberwar methods to get leverage in the upcoming negotiations.
There is much more on this, go here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I am not the only one who calls it an attack

Marc A. Thiessen writing in the Washington Post also calls it an attack. He says it better than I do.
He says:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got one thing right last week - she described WikiLeaks' disclosure of hundreds of thousands of classified documents as "an attack." Indeed, it was the third such attack in five months that WikiLeaks has launched against the United States and its international partners. WikiLeaks itself has described its struggle in military terms. Founder Julian Assange recently posted a Tweet from one of his supporters declaring: "The first serious infowar is now engaged. The field of battle is WikiLeaks. You are the troops."
 He also has access to more information than I do so we learn this:
Last week, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed that the United States does in fact have the offensive capabilities in cyberspace to take down WikiLeaks, but that the Obama administration chose not to use them. This failure to act prompted a patriotic hacker who goes by the name th3j35t3r (the Jester) to attack WikiLeaks himself, repeatedly taking down its Web site.
I am surprised though, that he makes no reference to this:
Wikileaks is willing to tell the world's terrorists where the best spots to hit us are, that is an attack.

Remember Pearl Harbor

Dec. 7th, 1941. A long, long time ago. The older folks of that generation have left us. I was a child that day. I remember it well. I am 74, those who remember it well will be here maybe 25 more years, many will not.

We who are here need to make sure it is never forgotten. Just like 9/11 we were attacked. I am afraid many who were alive on 9/11 have forgotten that was an attack on our nation.

We have been attacked in more subtle ways since then. Many of those attacks have been ignored as attacks agains the nation. In fact we are undergoing one of those attacks right now. When anyone is willing to release our state secrets to expose them to the world, that is an attack. Did you realize Wikileaks is willing to tell the world's terrorists where the best spots to hit us are, that is an attack.

We overcame the attack of December 7th.  Can we overcome the attack on our country today?  We are attacked in so many ways. Let us remember Pearl Harbor, let us pray we can come together and throw off those who would destroy us today.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Have you read Sarah Palin's new book?

I have not. But after reading this review by Melissa Cloutier I am planning to order it.
Sarah Palin: America By Heart, A Review
She starts with this:
Over Thanksgiving, I read Sarah Palin’s new book, America by Heart : Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag. My first thought after finishing it? Wow, that was good. My second thought? If someone gripes about her from now on, I’m going to respond,”Have you read her book?” When the opinionated person says, “No.” I’m going to say back, “Talk to me after you’ve read her book.”
After some talk of criticism, its meaning and purpose, she goes on to say:
Here is what I believe about Sarah Palin: She is a political force of nature. She should be taken seriously. She has a tremendous amount of political capital and would be a contender if she chooses to run in 2012.

In addition, Palin has driven the political debate since President Obama has taken office. She, more than any other Republican, has been a philosophical counter-point to Barack Obama, and really, to the establishment Republicans in Washington, D.C.
Her book deserves to be read on all these grounds. And anyone who claims to be an intellectual but refuses to engage intellectually by refusing to read her book deserves to be ignored.
To the book.

You know how your mom told you that in polite company one does not discuss sex, politics and religion, and for good modern measure, race? Evidently, no one had that conversation with Governor Sarah Palin. Her book covers all the unspeakables and takes the issues on in her characteristically direct manor.

The tone of the book is refreshingly open. That is, she addresses many challenging and politically incorrect topics with alacrity. Her opinions will make many people angry, once they summon the gumption to read them. Her opinions will force other politicians to answer difficult questions, should the press have the gumption to ask them.
At this point you need to go over and read it all. She has a listing of all the subjects covered and discusses why they are important.
Read the review and then buy the book.  N
Note: unlike many bloggers, I do not get any money from Amazon links.  On second thought, maybe I should work on that.

The Washington Post wants the truth in movies about the Plame affair

They went to the extreme for the Washington Post of writing not a review but an editorial about it. I was in total surprise at their honesty. I commend them for it and am posting part all of it here for you.
Hollywood myth-making on Valerie Plame controversy
WE'RE NOT in the habit of writing movie reviews. But the recently released film "Fair Game" - which covers a poisonous Washington controversy during the war in Iraq - deserves some editorial page comment, if only because of what its promoters are saying about it. The protagonists portrayed in the movie, former diplomat Joseph C. Wilson IV and former spy Valerie Plame, claim that it tells the true story of their battle with the Bush administration over Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and Ms. Plame's exposure as a CIA agent. "It's accurate," Ms. Plame told The Post. Said Mr. Wilson: "For people who have short memories or don't read, this is the only way they will remember that period."
We certainly hope that is not the case. In fact, "Fair Game," based on books by Mr. Wilson and his wife, is full of distortions - not to mention outright inventions. To start with the most sensational: The movie portrays Ms. Plame as having cultivated a group of Iraqi scientists and arranged for them to leave the country, and it suggests that once her cover was blown, the operation was aborted and the scientists were abandoned. This is simply false. In reality, as The Post's Walter Pincus and Richard Leiby reported, Ms. Plame did not work directly on the program, and it was not shut down because of her identification.
The movie portrays Mr. Wilson as a whistle-blower who debunked a Bush administration claim that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from the African country of Niger. In fact, an investigation by the Senate intelligence committee found that Mr. Wilson's reporting did not affect the intelligence community's view on the matter, and an official British investigation found that President George W. Bush's statement in a State of the Union address that Britain believed that Iraq had sought uranium in Niger was well-founded.
"Fair Game" also resells the couple's story that Ms. Plame's exposure was the result of a White House conspiracy. A lengthy and wasteful investigation by a special prosecutor found no such conspiracy - but it did confirm that the prime source of a newspaper column identifying Ms. Plame was a State Department official, not a White House political operative.
Hollywood has a habit of making movies about historical events without regard for the truth; "Fair Game" is just one more example. But the film's reception illustrates a more troubling trend of political debates in Washington in which established facts are willfully ignored. Mr. Wilson claimed that he had proved that Mr. Bush deliberately twisted the truth about Iraq, and he was eagerly embraced by those who insist the former president lied the country into a war. Though it was long ago established that Mr. Wilson himself was not telling the truth - not about his mission to Niger and not about his wife - the myth endures. We'll join the former president in hoping that future historians get it right.
I've posted it all here but if you want to see it for yourself go here. Do be sure to follow all the links.  And I want to add, "Well done, Washington Post."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Hurricane season that wasn't

Well actually, they were but they didn't come here.  Hurricane season is over, but the Weather Channel hasn't relaxed, they are "on it" for the winter storms. American Thinker has some thoughts on the past season.
Apocalypse Now! (Or Pretty Soon, Anyway)
By Jeffrey Folks

November 30 was the last day of the Atlantic hurricane season. Those with six-month memory spans will recall that back in May, forecasters at NOAA were predicting "an extremely active" hurricane season, with 14 to 23 named storms and three to seven major hurricanes. The mainstream media was quick to enlarge NOAA's predictions, speculating that storm damage would exceed that of 2005, the year of Katrina. The environmental radicals who populate mainstream newsrooms were licking their chops, panting at the chance to broadcast images of storm victims hanging out on rooftops and to link the devastation to climate change.

As it was, nothing happened. Of the nineteen named storms, none struck the U.S. Aside from some isolated damage in a few Caribbean and Central American outposts (and, uncharacteristically, in Newfoundland), none did major damage.

Oh, well -- there's always 2011, and it's not too early to start prognosticating. The year 2011 will undoubtedly be a highly active hurricane season, with a number of powerful storms striking populated stretches of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. The devastation will be immense. Maybe we will finally learn our lesson and stop drilling for oil, mining coal, and chopping down trees.
Or maybe, since hurricanes have refused to cooperate, environmental radicals can turn to something else.
The Weather Channel didn't come by their predictions out of the blue,

An article from Science magazine published in September makes the case that human activity is causing the mass extinction of ocean life. Authored by John Alroy of Australia's Macquarie University, the article claims that human activity is responsible for extinction of marine life at a rate many times greater than that of the past. As Alroy puts it (assuming from the start that a "current crisis" exists), "The current global crisis may therefore permanently alter the biosphere's taxonomic composition by changing the rules of evolution."  
Read the rest here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell? What about it?

Politico tells us what these people think.
Marines, Air Force don’t endorse ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal

Marine Commandant Gen. Jim Amos and Air Force chief of staff Gen. Norton Schwartz will tell a Senate panel Friday they do not recommend Congress change the law to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.
These men are trying to protect the boots on the ground, I think they should be listened to.
“Based on what I know about the very tough fight on the ground in Afghanistan, the almost singular focus of our combat forces as they train up and deploy into theater, the necessary tightly woven culture of those combat forces that we are asking so much of at this time and finally the direct feedback from the survey, my recommendation is that we should not implement repeal at this time,” Amos said in prepared testimony for the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Schwartz echoed the concern. My best military judgment does not agree with the study assessment that the short-term risk to military effectiveness is low,” Schwartz said, adding that full implementation of repeal should not occur until sometime in 2012.

The service chiefs’ concerns about “open service” are not a surprise, though their “best military advice” puts them at odds with their boss, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and their commander in chief, President Barack Obama, both of whom want Congress to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy this month.

But the recommendation of Army chief of staff Gen. George Casey — seen as a wild card in the contentious debate — is far more nuanced.

Casey represents a service that is wholly in the fight in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, where many combat forces have higher rates of concern about repeal. “Implementation of the repeal of DADT would be a major cultural and policy change in the middle of war,” he said, adding that it is also doable.

“It is my judgment that we could implement repeal with moderate risk to our military effectiveness and long-term health of the force,” Casey said.
Read it all here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Are we finally to be rid of ethanol? There is hope.

From Hot Air
End of the line for ethanol?
by Ed Morrisey
Has the federal government’s appetite for ethanol ended? A bipartisan group of Senators signed a letter today calling for an end to subsidies and tariffs designed to protect and enhance domestic production of ethanol, which has been until recently the darling of the alternative-energy movement. In a sign of how far ethanol subsidies have fallen from favor, the letter addressed to both Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell has the signatures of such liberal luminaries as Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, and the newly-elected Chris Coons:
In a clear sign of momentum against ethanol subsidies, a bipartisan group of more than a dozen senators has signed onto a letter urging Senate leaders to let the subsidies expire during this Congress, a move that could put many officials in a tricky political spot and could even have ramifications for the 2012 presidential raceThe letter, which I obtained from a source, was authored by senators Dianne Feinstein and Jon Kyl, and includes a number of Democrats and Republicans, including John McCain, Susan Collins, Richard Burr, and Mike Enzi. This is key, because the question of whether the subsidies should expire is emerging as a key test — just like earmarks — of whether Republicans are serious about reining in spending and the deficit.

While this issue could divide Dems along regional lines, it’s more directly relevant to the GOP. With leading GOP senators now coming out for letting the subsidies expire, this could up the pressure on Republican senators who backed the subsidies in the past, such as Chuck Grassley and Orrin Hatch, putting them on the wrong side of what may emerge as a key litmus test for the Tea Party and potentially dividing the GOP caucus.
Read more here.  I think it would be a good thing for our food supplies and the extra we are paying for our gas just might go away.

Counting the cost of electric cars

I like this post from Maggie's Farm.  It's a blog I check every day.
99 MPG?

Only if you don't count the coal you are burning to power up the batteries. In reality, these "green" scam cars are worse for mileage than diesel.

Somebody here posted that some greenie told them that electricity was clean, and came from the wall. I picture lots of mice in the walls on treadmills, powering generators. But even those mice have to be fed.
Posted by The News Junkie

One of the Reason Elections Count

The  different government agencies who make "regulations" where lawmakers have not been able to pass laws may have met their match.  In many cases it is to be hoped they have.
This is from Politico.
GOP plans strategy to stymie EPA
Republicans plotting their offensive against the Obama administration’s environmental policies are eyeing a powerful weapon that would force the Democratic-held Senate to schedule votes on nullifying controversial regulations.
“We’re not going to let EPA regulate what they’ve been unable to legislate. And if I’m chairman, we’re going to have a very aggressive, proactive schedule,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the likely incoming chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, told POLITICO.
There's much more Read it here. 

Michael Yon asked and received Wikileaks opinion from Sec. Gates

Just got this Email from Office of Secretary Gates

Q: WikiLeaks: Post-WikiLeaks reaction. What's your sense on whether the information-sharing climate and environment created after 9/11 to encourage greater cooperation and transparency among the intelligence communities and the military led to these three massive data dumps?

And how concerned are you now there may be an overreaction to clamp down on information dispersal because of the disclosures?

A: SEC. GATES: One of the common themes that I heard from the time I was a senior agency official in the early 1980s in every military engagement we were in was the complaint of the lack of adequate intelligence support. That began to change with the Gulf War in 1991, but it really has changed dramatically after 9/11.

And clearly the finding that the lack of sharing of information had prevented people from, quote/unquote, "connecting the dots" led to much wider sharing of information, and I would say especially wider sharing of information at the front, so that no one at the front was denied -- in one of the theaters, Afghanistan or Iraq -- was denied any information that might possibly be helpful to them. Now, obviously, that aperture went too wide. There's no reason for a young officer at a forward operating post in Afghanistan to get cables having to do with the START negotiations. And so we've taken a number of mitigating steps in the department. I directed a number of these things to be undertaken in August.

First, the -- an automated capability to monitor workstations for security purposes. We've got about 60 percent of this done, mostly in -- mostly stateside. And I've directed that we accelerate the completion of it.

Second, as I think you know, we've taken steps in CENTCOM in September and now everywhere to direct that all CD and DVD write capability off the network be disabled. We have -- we have done some other things in terms of two-man policies -- wherever you can move information from a classified system to an unclassified system, to have a two-person policy there.

And then we have some longer-term efforts under way in which we can -- and, first of all, in which we can identify anomalies, sort of like credit card companies do in the use of computer; and then finally, efforts to actually tailor access depending on roles.

But let me say -- let me address the latter part of your question. This is obviously a massive dump of information. First of all, I would say unlike the Pentagon Papers, one of the things that is important, I think, in all of these releases, whether it's Afghanistan, Iraq or the releases this week, is the lack of any significant difference between what the U.S. government says publicly and what these things show privately, whereas the Pentagon Papers showed that many in the government were not only lying to the American people, they were lying to themselves.

But let me -- let me just offer some perspective as somebody who's been at this a long time. Every other government in the world knows the United States government leaks like a sieve, and it has for a long time. And I dragged this up the other day when I was looking at some of these prospective releases. And this is a quote from John Adams: "How can a government go on, publishing all of their negotiations with foreign nations, I know not."

To me, it appears as dangerous and pernicious as it is novel."

When we went to real congressional oversight of intelligence in the mid-'70s, there was a broad view that no other foreign intelligence service would ever share information with us again if we were going to share it all with the Congress. Those fears all proved unfounded.

Now, I've heard the impact of these releases on our foreign policy described as a meltdown, as a game-changer, and so on. I think -- I think those descriptions are fairly significantly overwrought. The fact is, governments deal with the United States because it's in their interest, not because they like us, not because they trust us, and not because they believe we can keep secrets. Many governments -- some governments deal with us because they fear us, some because they respect us, most because they need us. We are still essentially, as has been said before, the indispensable nation.

So other nations will continue to deal with us. They will continue to work with us. We will continue to share sensitive information with one another.

Is this embarrassing? Yes. Is it awkward? Yes. Consequences for U.S. foreign policy? I think fairly modest.