Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Citizen Control, Indeed 

An email I sent today. Visit www.CitizensUnited.org to see what I'm talking about.
I heard you folks this morning on KSFO in San Francisco and was going to purchase the "Border Wars" DVD. I was looking around the site, and liked your slogan of "Dedicated To Restoring Our Government To Citizen Contol". Music to my ears.

I'm a libertarian and believe that the Constitution is the "play book" for the federal government. Well, it's supposed to be.

Explain to me, how you can advocate "citizen control" yet produce a video clip that not only supports NSA spying on US citizens, but uses BS scare tactics to do it?

We have myriad laws - FISA in particular - that give the government all of the leeway they need to follow leads and do searches if there is reasonable cause. They have the ability to use their judgement to "wiretap" (for lack of a better term) anyone -even American citizens- that they believe are doing or intending harm to the country. They just have to have the judiciary review their judgement shortly thereafter.

Judging from your video, are you suggesting that it is acceptible to disregard the Constitution because there's too much paperwork? The, "Your life depends on it" hyperbole should embarrass you.

If we continue to grant more and more power to the federal government in the name of safety and security, the terrorists have won. The terror has succeeded. There's a reason the founding fathers limited the scope of the government.

WWJD? What Would Jefferson Do? Would he cave to the terrorists or would he stand proud, defending the Constitution - possibly with his life - because he knew that at times, freedom has a price?

We all know the answer to that question. What I want to know is, how you can produce such a piece, yet falsely state you want control of the government returned to the citizenry?
This country was founded on principle, honor and self-reliance. We cannot continue to prosper if we fold up our tent every time a boogie man pops up his head. We cannot abrogate selected portions of our Constitution, Bill of Rights and Amendments whenever an easier alternative presents itself. The price is too high.

Buck Up, America! Or America may no longer exist.


Friday, October 27, 2006

I Call BS! 

Do the math

There have been a number of stories about the recent profits made by the oil companies. The first to report was Exxon/Mobile who reported $10 billion in profits for this past quarter. Lots of money. Now, being the die-hard capitalist I am, I figure, "No big deal. They invested the money, they deserve a return on investment, regardless of how high it is."

Well, almost.

One thing I destest is a monopoly, or in this case an oligopy - a market controlled by a few companies. Oligopies have the opportunity, through collusion, to control prices. My gut tells me that's what's happening here. Perhaps.

Exxon came out and noted that they only make 10 cents on every gallon sold. Doesn't sound too bad. They even pointed out that the government makes four times that in taxes.

Then I started thinking about the massive amount of gas that would need to be sold to make those kinds of profits. At a profit of ten billion dollars, that means they would have had to of sold a hundred billion gallons of gas. In a 90 day period. Very, VERY doubtful.

The US consumes 22 million barrels of oil a day. A barrel is 42 gallons.

22,000,000 x 42 is 924,000,000 gallons a day.

924,000,000 x 90 days in a quarter is 83,160,000,000 gallons. That's 83 billion gallons. In total. From every producer that sells in the country. Plus, keep in mind that only 75% of our 22 million barrels a day is for fuel. The remainder is chemicals and other uses. So our total fuel usage is now down to 62 billion gallons for the quarter.

And Exxon says they sold 100 billion gallons all by themselves in that same period.

Now of course, Exxon and all of the producers sell their product around the world. But the US is the single largest user of oil in the world, so the bulk of sales would be here.

I smell a rat.

If someone can produce information refuting this, I'd love to see it. The way I see it, these companies are lying about their profits, and are most likely in collusion to keep prices high. Have any information to the contrary?


Thursday, October 26, 2006

You Owe Me 

And other maladies of the current generation

Good God Almighty, I'm starting to sound like an old geezer. The "current generation" is something my GRANDFATHER would say.

Anyway, I was snooping around Townhall.com, and ran across this blog entry. It's an entry about a commercial with Rosanne Barr extolling the virtues of increasing the minimum wage. You MUST click the Youtube entry and watch this video. Be sure to remove all types of heavy objects that you may be inclined to toss into your screen.

I swear, as I listened to this tripe, I felt the seams of my cranium beginning to separate as my brain prepared to explode. WTF is going on with twenty-something people?

I'm not going to repeat all of the points the blogger makes - she is spot-on across the board.

My overriding disgust was this girl's sense that it was someone elses fault she wasn't making more money. She whines about how she has to work "almost 40 hours a week" for her paltry income. Waaaaa! Oh, and she lives at home and is not yet in school.

This fetid piece of crap almost comes to tears over her "plight". Why do I see her knocked up, spitting out welfare babies in the next couple of year?

I think I've mentioned here before the conversation my wife and I have had with our two boys since the fifth grade. Basically, once they graduate high school, if they want to live in my house, they have two options. Plan A is to be a full time student in college AND have part time employment. Plan B is, should they decide not to attend college, they must pay 1/4 of our monthly household expenses. In advance each month. With mortgage, taxes, insurance, food, gas and electric, repairs and maintenance, phone, cable, water and garbage, their portion would run around $2000 per month (California is expensive, folks). No tossing mom and dad a couple hundred bucks. That means that, skill-less and right out of high school, they'd need to make about $15 an hour before taxes. And that's just to pay me. Oh, and living in my house while they make up their mind is not one of the options. I have to have their answer by the college registration deadline.

My oldest son, who graduated from high school last year chose Plan A. Bright boy. We'll see if my younger son - who graduates this year - has the same good sense.

If they want to grow up and be a blight on society, they'll not do it under my roof. I think we've instilled a sense of self-reliance in both of our boys, but the proof will be in the pudding.

The parents of that poor wretch in the video don't seem to understand that they're not helping their daughter by coddling her. They're perpetuating her belief that - despite her ability to change her circumstances - her plight is the fault of someone else, and that mom, dad or the government need to come to her aid.

The sad thing is, all three probably will.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Speech We'll Never Hear 

My Fellow Americans

As your President, I am called upon to make many difficult decisions. These decisions are intended to allow me to carry out my constitutional duties as your leader. Foremost of these is the preservation of our nation.

Our world is in turmoil. We have radical Islamists bringing a Holy War to our very shores in an effort to convert us to their religion. We have rogue nations in Asia and the Middle East that threaten our very existence with the development of nuclear weapons. We have tin-pot dictators in the Caribbean and South America which foment anti-American sentiment in our very backyards.

America has an addict-like dependence on crude oil. This addiction has caused us to forge alliances with many countries which satisfy this addiction. While these alliances bring us our oil, they also provide funding to the very groups who wish us harm.

Sadly, it is likely that in the very near future, our strongest ally in the Middle East – our main region for oil imports – will succumb to a nuclear attack. I believe that Israel has the strength and the will to defeat her enemies, but regardless of the outcome, the flow of oil from the region will be seriously disrupted, if not discontinued for a significant period of time.

Without this oil, America as we know it will cease to function. As your President, I cannot stand idly by and allow this to happen.

It is time for a change.

I am challenging all Americans to not just reduce, but to eliminate our dependence on foreign crude oil by the year 2015. This is a daunting challenge, but one upon which our very survival depends.

America consumes a staggering 22 million barrels of oil each and every day. Domestically, we produce 8.7 million barrels, which represents forty percent of the total. The remaining 13.3 million barrels must be imported.

This is unacceptable.

Our biggest opportunity lies with fuel-based uses of oil. Over 75%, or 16 million barrels a day of our consumption is in the form of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and heating oil. Another 17%, or 3.7 million barrels is consumed as products, such as plastics, fertilizer and other chemicals.

My plan for the elimination of our 13.3 million barrels a day of imported crude has two distinct paths: Conservation and increased domestic production. I’ll speak in a moment about how we will meet our challenge, but first, I want to present our goals.

My plan calls for a 50% reduction in the use of crude for fuel and a 50% reduction in the use of crude for plastics and chemicals. Combined, this will reduce our foreign imports by nearly 10 million barrels a day.

My plan also calls for increased domestic production of 2 million barrels a day.

All told, my plan would reduce our dependence by 12 million barrels a day. I said earlier that this plan was not to reduce our dependence, but to eliminate it. I’m going to place that burden on the backs of every-day Americans. Conserve, cut back, do without. Innovate, take risk, be bold. I know there is at least the 1.3 million barrels a day we can all eliminate.

Here is how we’re going to whip this addiction. Through a combination of American ingenuity, the profit motive and government incentive, we will be free of foreign oil within the next 10 years.

First, increasing domestic production. Florida, California and Alaska will all be opened for increased production. There is no scenic coastline or pristine wilderness more important than the survival of our country. Effective immediately, I am signing an Executive Order decreeing that all federal lands in these three states be opened to exploration and production.

Our goal of 2 million barrels a day is a conservative one. When Prudhoe Bay was at its peak of production, it was pumping this volume of crude. With our improved technology, 2 million barrels a day should be our minimum output.

Next, we are developing a multi-pronged package to increase our levels of conservation. The goal is to either reduce the usage of oil or develop another sustainable replacement.

Effective immediately, I am signing an Executive Order decreeing the formation of the Oil Alternative Project. This project will be empowered to do the following:

Finally, the Federal Government will begin the design and construction of nuclear energy plants. It has been too many decades since the last plants were built within our borders. Nuclear energy is some of the cleanest, safest energy produced in this world. The Federal Government will commit to spending $10 billion a year for the next 10 years on the design and building of nuclear energy facilities.

So what will all of this cost us? Over the next 10 years, between seed-money grants and nuclear facilities, we’ll spend $20 billion per year, or $200 billion in total. That equates to 0.7% of our national budget. The tax credits would run another $50 billion a year, at most. We can’t afford NOT to spend this money.

So there you have it, America. The gauntlet has been erected and we will now see if we have the will and the drive to meet this challenge. We’re Americans: We will not fail.

In closing, I have a few words for our current oil producing partners: You now understand our intent for the next 10 years. You know that we will slowly, but surely, no longer be a market for your product. Please plan accordingly. Also know that, in the interim, should a disruption occur to the flow of oil into our country, we will do everything – ANYTHING - necessary to protect the interests of our country. You can take that to the bank.

Thank you and God Bless America.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Connecting The Dots 

Bread, water (but no torture) for Condie

Dot One

Many of you know that the US maintains a list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations - FTOs. They do this for a number of reasons. The State Department website gives these five reasons:
  1. Supports our efforts to curb terrorism financing and to encourage other nations to do the same.
  2. Stigmatizes and isolates designated terrorist organizations internationally.
  3. Deters donations or contributions to and economic transactions with named organizations.
  4. Heightens public awareness and knowledge of terrorist organizations.
  5. Signals to other governments our concern about named organizations.
The page also describes what can happen if you assist one of these FTOs, in any way shape or form.
It is unlawful for a person in the United States or subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to knowingly provide "material support or resources" to a designated FTO.
It then defines "material support"
any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (1 or more individuals who maybe or include oneself), and transportation, except medicine or religious materials.
Finally, it lists all of the FTOs. Right near the top is this entry:
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade
Dot Two

Now all of you may not know who Al-Aqsa represents.
The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades (Arabic: كتائب شهداء الأقصى) are a Palestinian militant group closely linked to the Fatah political party and one of the most active forces in the al-Aqsa Intifada.
The Fatah party is Yasser Arafat's old political party. They used to be the primary political party of the Palestinian National Authority, but lost power when the "citizenry" elected Hamas to be their main voice.

It is important to understand that Fatah and Al-Aqsa are two sides to the same coin.
In July 2004, Ahmed Qurei, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority explicitly stated the relationship between Fatah and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades: "The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, military wing of the Fatah movement will not be dissolved and Fatah will never relinquish its military wing."
This is important: To dispute that Fatah and Al-Aqsa are not one organization would be like saying the US Marines are not part of the US Government.

Dot Three

The US is now funding terrorists.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla) has demanded that the Bush administration install safeguards to ensure that weapons and money provided to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas are not used in acts of terrorism against Israelis.
What?! We're still giving money to the Palestinians? Weapons?! Have we totally spun out of control?
Ros-Lehtinen, who heads the House International Relations Subcommittee on the Middle East, told WorldNetDaily that "with the representation within the ranks of Abbas' Fatah party of militants with ties to the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, there is a potential that our own weapons could later be used against our ally, Israel and potentially against U.S. priorities in the region."
[Sarcastic Asshole Alert] Ya think? Do you really think it's possible that the sworn enemy of Israel (and thus the US) would use US-supplied weapons against their neighbor? I'm sure that their armories are clearly segregated so that only weapons supplied by Iran, Syria and Egypt will be used against Israel. The US-supplied weapons will only be used for internal conflicts against Hamas. And during Parade Dress. Really. [/Sarcastic Asshole Alert]
Ros-Lehtinen promised that going forward she would spearhead efforts to ensure that American guns are not turned on Israel's Jews.
Oh. OK, I feel all better now.

How can Secretary Rice be allowed to do this? The fact that we're openly providing "material support" to an FTO is irrefutable. Why isn't she in shackles? Why isn't she in the cell next to The American Taliban?

But what do you do? Bush is a lame duck. He doesn't give a rat's ass what fall-out comes his way. He's out of here in two years. Let some other poor sap clean up the mess.

Mark my words: Someone, somewhere in this country is going to crack because of crap like this. Our president and his cabinet preach "tough on terror" out of one side of their mouths and openly support terrorists out of the other. Republicans that elected this dolt - twice - have got to be going out of their minds.

Someone is going to crack, and it won't be pretty when they do.


Monday, October 16, 2006

It's A Stampede! 

Mind numbing. Simply mind numbing.

I saw a piece on this over the weekend and was stunned for a lack of words to describe my horror.

A guy who is running for congress wanted to see how difficult it would be to sneak across our border from Mexico. Did he use stealth? Did he use the cover of darkness? Did he use a windy night to cover the pitter-patter of his feet as he crossed the border?

Naw. He used three elephants and a mariachi band. Really.
In Brownsville, he witnessed half a dozen men swim under one of the international bridges “with complete immunity” which in turn prompted him to take the immigration issue to the next level.

Bhakta decided to see if he could get an elephant accompanied by a six-piece mariachi band across the river.
If this issue weren't so serious, this would be funny as hell. Three elephants and a mariachi band are not even noticed by the Border Patrol until someone informs them of "elephant smuggling".
“If I can get an elephant led by a mariachi band into this country, I think Osama bin Laden could get across with all the weapons of mass destruction he could get into this country,” Bhakta said.
No shit. Yeah President Bush, let's keep pissing money away in The Sand Box. Nice prioritization for our limited resources.

Fucking jackass.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Moral Justification 

I feel like an old curmudgeon...

Wow, I didn't realize it had been so long between posts. Work and all. Anyway...

My level of frustration with our immigration and "special treatment" laws is coming to a boil. Two separate but related things happened today that just have my boxers all knotted up.

I've noted in the past that I'm in banking. We get umpteen notices and pronouncements from our regulators on a weekly basis. They concern everything from predatory lending practices, to interest rates on CD's to community involvement. The latest one I received, from The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) falls - supposedly - into that last category: Community Involvement.

It's racial preference in my book.

It was titled, "OTS Policy Statement on Minority Owned Institutions." When you cut through all of the feel-good pablum, it says that if you're a minority- or a woman-owned bank, and you get into trouble, we'll bail your ass out.

Here are their bullet points in italics, and my comments following each point:

Preserve the present number of minority depository institutions;

Why? What is so special about an institution that is owned by minorities? Why should they be given special treatment or be considered "better" than any other bank? They allude to the fact that these banks will serve the un-served.
OTS recognizes the important role of minority owned institutions in furthering the economic viability of minority and low-income communities.
What? A good loan is a good loan, regardless of where the loan is made. Our bank is in Oakland, California. Not exactly Beverly Hills. We lend to good, solid businesses. We make a good deal of money. I don't give a shit about the color of the skin of the owner. I want to know that he or she will pay me back. This crap about, "furthering the economic viability of minority and low-income communities" is code for, "if you make a shitty loan to a minority that wasn't creditworthy and it goes bad, we'll bail your ass out."

I wonder if, because of this government subsidy - and that's exactly what it is - when the bank does make money, if they pay extra taxes to repay the tax payers. If you guessed, "NOT", you'd have guessed correctly.

Preserve their minority character in cases involving merger or acquisition of a minority depository institution by using general preference guidelines;

Why would, "minority character" be any part of a business merger or acquisition? Why is being a minority seen as a good thing, in and of itself? If anything, it might HURT the minority bank. If they were profitable, and wanted to sell and take the money and run, another bank wouldn't consummate the deal, because the minority character would likely be lost. So the people that invested in the bank now own stock in an unsaleable bank! Great idea....

Provide technical assistance to prevent insolvency of institutions not now insolvent;

Nothing special. They do this with all banks. THAT is their job, not promoting minority ownership in banks.

Promote and encourage creation of new minority depository institutions; and

Again, why? Don't they like minorities? As I've shown above, by preserving the "minority character" of a bank, you make it less valuable. Why would a smart minority WANT to invest in a bank that was less valuable than other similar banks?

Provide for training, technical assistance, and educational programs.

Again, things like this are what the regulators are supposed to be doing for all bank. Focus, boys, focus.

Now, for the second part of my day....

So, on one hand we have the government actively participating in what can only be categorized as a racist policy. That is indisputable. If you're a white male, you need not attempt to avail yourself of these special privileges. You will be rejected not because of your character, your capital or your ability. You will be rejected soley because of the color of your skin. That's racism.

On the other hand, we have that same government neglecting to do its constitutionally mandated job of protecting its citizenry. Of guarding our borders.

And the results are being seen every day. And it ain't pretty.

A small example from today: I go to McDonalds for lunch (drive thru). I order the Big Mac meal, but I want the large fries with a small soda (the regular is medium fries with medium soda). Every fucking time, it's the same fight - "We can't do that sir. If you want the large fries, you must have the large drink." I don't want that, I say. I tell them I will pay for the large drink, but only give me a small one. This happens Every. Fucking. Time. Now, it might be tolerable if the order taker could understand what I'm saying, but not one single time have I had someone who speaks English well. Never.

Obviously, I have no proof, but I'd bet dollars to donuts that the vast majority of these order takers are illegal aliens (gasp!). I get people that are 17 and those that are 40. Not one of them can speak English with any fluency.

Fuck that. Time to fire off another letter (like the one I sent to Miller Brewing Company). I will no longer spend my money at McDonalds. If I find the same thing at other places (I eat a lot of fast food, and this has not been a problem elsewhere), I'll do the same damned thing.

Clearly, our politicians are bending over backwards to serve this "oppressed" constituency, be it minorities or illegals (or both, I guess). This constituency that does not include White American Males.

My only remaining clout is with my wallet and my voice. Unless we, on an individual basis, decide to say, "No More!", we have no moral justification to whimper under our breath about illegals or racist American law. It's time to stand up and be counted.


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