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HOW DO RINOs MATE? Terminator Schwarzenegger backs McCain

A match made in heaven. Two RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) who have a record of collaborating with democrats on their fiscally irresponsible and socially-engineered programs have joined forces.

My only question is what promises were made to Schwarzenweasel to obtain his endorsement. A prestigious Ambassadorship so that he continue his jet-set life style by wining and dining other politicians in exotic locations or maybe a presidential cabinet appointment as the "Secretary of Something."

From Breitbart News....

"Terminator Arnie will back McCain"


"Hollywood star turned California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is giving his backing to Republican presidential hopeful John McCain.
The endorsement will be a major boost in a narrowed race heading into next week's pivotal nomination contests in over 20 states."

Answer: Very, Very Carefully!

What can YOU do?

Remember: Schwarzenegger is NO HERO -- he only plays one in the MOVIES where he spouts pre-written lines.

Remember Schwarzenegger's attempt to sell-out the State of California to the democrats and failure to control democratically-controlled State spending which resulted in a $14 BILLION deficit. The terminator apparently supports citizenship for illegal aliens when politically expedient.

And don't forget McCain's attempt to promote the democrat agenda and sell-out the America with his SHAMnesty (McCain-Kennedy) legislation.

Both of these RINOs should be retired instead of elected. Consider Mitt Romney as the more suitable candidate for your vote.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Terminator Arnie will back McCain


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



WHO SAYS CELEBRITIES DO NOT RECEIVE "SPECIAL" TREATMENT? BRITNEY SPEARS TAKEN TO UCLA HOSPITAL WITH POLICE ESCORT (PART II)

UPDATE:

The Los Angeles Police Department is justifying its massive intervention in the Britney Spears matter by claiming it is a pubic safety issue caused by the numerous paparrazi on scene. If that is true: why do we not see "Press Photographer's Passes being scrutinized, tickets issues for illegal parking and arrests for interfering with police officers? Or even disobeying a lawful order to disperse? There are any number of was that the police can respond to the problem of crowd control -- and since this crowd is well-known to the authorities, as opposed to random citizens, the problem should have a far easier solution.

For more information on LAPD intervention activities, you may wish to view the Newsweek article at http://www.newsweek.com/id/107531

Original Blog Entry...

Once again, we see the intervention of the authorities in a celebrity's life...

According to the Associated Press...

"Britney Spears was taken from her home by ambulance early Thursday and escorted to a hospital by more than a dozen police officers as two helicopters followed overhead."

"A Los Angeles police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said the 26-year-old pop star was being taken to "get help" but did not give the ambulance's destination. The Los Angeles Times, citing unidentified authorities, said Spears was taken to UCLA Medical Center to be placed on a 'mental evaluation hold.' Center spokesman Mark Wheeler declined to comment to The Associated Press, citing privacy laws."

"Spears' police escort also included motorcycles and two cruisers."

With reports of "the Fire Department Paramedic ambulance being escorted by more than a dozen motorcycle officers, two cruisers and two police helicopters," I wonder if the Republican and democrat presidential candidates currently in Los Angeles feel slighted by the attention paid to a non-political person by the authorities.

I am sure that this will be spun as being justified by trying to prevent the paparazzi from interfering with a rescue ... I wonder how many of these photographers will be cited and prosecuted for interfering with a police officer?

No emergency: everything was planned in advance?

According to usmagazine.com...

"A source close to Britney Spears tells Usmagazine.com her early morning trip to the hospital was “ a carefully orchestrated intervention.”

"Lynne Spears — who arrived in L.A. Sunday night — 'flew out for it, and her lawyers have been coordinating all along with the Los Angeles Police Department,' the source says. 'They were ready and had everything in place.'

"The source adds that 'there was never a suicide attempt. Once her family convinced her to go, she went in willingly.'”

"Spears, the source adds, 'had been up since Saturday without any sleep. But that was a good situation for her to be in because she would be too exhausted to protest going in.'"

Because the hospital check-in was planned, 'there's a much higher likelihood they'll be able to extend her stay beyond the 5150,' the source says.

"5150 means that Spears can spend up to 72 hours in a locked mental institution and must be monitored by trained professionals like a psychiatrist or a nurse."

I wonder how many UCLA campus police will be diverted to her personal protection detail and the need to guard all of the hospital facilities while she is present? Meanwhile, has anybody heard from Dr. Phil?

What can YOU do?

Become a celebrity with lots of money to insure that you are always treated well by the authorities. Make sure that your lawyer makes the arrangements. Notify the press at least two hours before the planned event.

In celebrity escort situations, always question how much "official" intervention is really needed for crowd control and how many responders were higher-ranking officers. Normally, the paramedics and two officers is the norm unless the officers request backup and a supervisor. Very rarely do you see motor-officers and helicopters involved in escorting ambulances -- especially in non-life-threatening situations.

Be glad you are relatively normal as you wish the talented Britney a speedy recovery from whatever demons are driving her towards her bizarre antics.

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

My Way News - Spears Taken From Her Home in Ambulance

WHO SAYS CELEBRITIES DO NOT RECEIVE "SPECIAL" TREATMENT? BRITNEY SPEARS TAKEN TO HOSPITAL: 3 AMBULANCES & 9 POLICE VEHICLES!|January4, 2008 - OneCitizenSpeaking


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



[X] John McCain (R) -- CHECK HERE TO BE SCREWED

After today's Republican debate, I am more than ever convinced that John McCain should not be the Republican Party's nominee for President of the United States. I would much rather endorse Mitt Romney for our Presidential Candidate.

While I have a number of objections, I would like to present three -- backed by the observation that I am predicating my position of McCain's past actions rather than his sketchy rhetoric. Here are the three most telling reasons.

[X] McCain/Feingold

McCain/Feingold, also known as the "Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002," was designed to restrict dirty money in politics by controlling the use of soft money and limiting so-called "issue" ads by candidate-unaffiliated advertising by organizations.

Under the "soft money" provisions of the act, national political parties could not raise funds that were not subject to the Federal regulations. While this provision seems to be a good start in controlling quid-pro-quo influence fundraising, there are any number of loopholes which are currently being exploited.

Portions of this Act relating to "issue ads" were immediately challenged onconstitutional grounds relating to free speech. The remaining provisions gave rise to "527" non-profit organizations which exist "primarily to influence the nomination, election, appointment or defeat of candidates for public office."

The 527-organizations are not regulated by the Federal Election Commission, state elections commissions and are not subject to the same contributions as other organizations such as Political Action Committees. (PACs).

The impact of this legislation can be seen in the rise of the political influence of billionaire wing-nuts like George Soros and some of his financed organizations. This is a poorly crafted bill with numerous unintended consequences.

[X] McCain/Kennedy

McCain/Kennedy, also known as the "Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act ," was an attempt to craft a comprehensive immigration reform bill in response to those who wanted to legalize the availability of relatively cheaper labor, enhance union membership and to create a viable political voting bloc.

Unfortunately, this massive hard-to-read bill, crafted by democrats behind closed doors, would have provided amnesty to illegal aliens and insuring that they would be un-deportable by demanding that the government perform a security check within 24-hours.

While the law purported to fund a more secure border program, apparently there was no intention of ever executing this portion of the bill -- as witnessed by the de-funding of existing border protection projects by subsequent congressional actions.

Only a concerted outcry by concerned citizens helped to defeat this piece of egregious legislation.

The watchword should be never forget those who voted to subvert the sovereignty, safety and security of the United States while destroying our healthcare, education, judicial, retirement and social infrastructure.

McCain and democratic cohort Teddy Kennedy attempted to push this dangerous bill through Congress without any social, financial or environmental impact reports that normally accompany such omnibus and far-reaching legislation.

[X] McCain/Lieberman

McCain/Lieberman, also known as "The Climate Stewardship Act of 2004)," was an environmental bill crafted in response to the calls for a solution to global warming.

Unfortunately the problem only solved "American Warming" and would have severely impacted our economy while imposing higher taxes and further lifestyle restrictions on the ordinary American citizen. It was legislation created without a clear scientific basis, no solution to the problem and an apparent attempt to create a program for enhancing political control of the economy -- with no provable results that would be evident for hundreds of years. Bad, poorly-crafted, legislation.

The whispered strategy...

There are many Republicans who are now advocating for the election of John McCain on the theory that he is the only one "liberal enough" to beat far-left liberals like Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama -- based on his strong defense of the United States and his status as a genuine war hero. Besides, they add, it will give "us" the White House for four more years while we locate a suitable Reagan-style conservative to run the next time.

Folks, Ronald Reagan had rock solid principles and was unwilling to compromise on anything that hurt his beloved America. And it is foolish to believe that the Republican party can find someone in four years that would have the national name recognition and/or record of past achievement that would suggest his candidacy for the Presidency.

Proof: look at the relatively young and unknown, but telegenic,  junior Senator, Barack Obama -- inspiring rhetoric about "change" without either accomplishment or voting record. Ditto the junior Senator from New York, Hillary Clinton, who runs on her husband's record and whose accomplishments can be proven to be detrimental to our national defense and economy. If the Republicans could have found this upcoming conservative, no matter how young, he would be on the stage debating positions with the front-runner.

Potential Endorsements...

I am also worried about any deals McCain may have made to secure endorsements. Particularly deals involving Rudy Giuliani (Secretary of Homeland Defense, Attorney General, Supreme Court Judge), Mel Martinez (Secretary of Something), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Secretary of Something) and others.

The lesser of evils....

I firmly believe that John McCain will become a "Laissez-faire" (let it happen) president like our own fairly liberal George W. Bush. A product of his advisors -- for good or bad. Therefore I am endorsing Mitt Romney for our party's nominee.

Although I respect John McCain as an individual, a war hero who has sacrificed much for our liberty and freedoms and a man of his word, I must judge him more on his actions than on his rhetoric. Therefore I respectfully urge --

[X] VOTE NO ON McCAIN

What can YOU do?

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige, profits or potential position as the President of the United States.

-- steve

Quote of the day: A fellow who is always declaring he's no fool usually has his suspicions. - Wilson Mizner

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



GOVERNMENT-SPEAK: GEORGE ORWELL IS ALIVE AND WORKING FOR THE UNIONS IN WASHINGTON

Unions have a historical and unsavory reputation for using employee coercion in the almost all union activities; from unionization efforts to internal balloting.

A recent example reported by ex-President Clinton...

Just last week, in the somewhat suspect Nevada caucus procedures, former President Bill Clinton claimed that he had personally witnessed voter intimidation. According to published reports, Clinton saw a union representative telling workers to agree to caucus for Barack Obama or expect to get work assignments which would preclude them from attending the caucus events.

Caucus events, such as the one referred to above, are not secret and union representatives are well-aware of how their employees have voted. This providing extra muscle (no pun intended) to the union's real and perceived power.

Knowing ex-President Clinton, had this attempt been made on behalf of his wife, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, one assumes, given his past behavior, that nothing would have been said.

The union wants to intimidate workers everywhere with their thuggery -- and Congress appears ready to facilitate their power grab in exchange for votes and campaign contributions.

Now the unions want to eliminate the "secret ballot" in union organizing activities in favor of using a ballot card check-off system which removes any protective secrecy from the process.

Which leads us to examine the misleadingly-named "Employee Free Choice Act" (H.R.800) which was drafted "To amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts, and for other purposes."

And which provides an alternate "ballot card check-off system" which can be used in lieu of a secret ballot in union organizing efforts. And I guess the "other purposes" is to garner votes and campaign funds for legislators willing to subvert the protections offered by the "secret ballot process."

Corrupt anti-American legislation from corrupt members of Congress?

In an Orwellian world where words often mean the opposite (up means down, good means bad, free means slavery), the certain members of Congress have the gall to label a freedom-suppressing bill, the "Employee Free Choice Act."

Employee Free Choice Act of 2007 - Amends the National Labor Relations Act to require the National Labor Relations Board to certify a bargaining representative without directing an election if a majority of the bargaining unit employees have authorized designation of the representative (card-check) and there is no other individual or labor organization currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit.

According to TheUnionLabelBlog.com...

"But a card-check system would offer even more room for intimidation of workers. A union card can be signed by workers at any time during an organizing campaign, which can take many months. Union organizers can pursue workers in their homes, at churches and civic clubs, and at watering holes after hours. Workers’ family members can also be intimidated during this process. So much for a 'free choice' for employees."

"The bill assaults workers’ rights in other ways, too. For example, it would make it a crime for management to raise pay or improve working conditions while a plant is being organized. So the only way to get a raise would be to get the campaign over with and bring the union in. Such an arrangement might strike some as government-mandated intimidation."

The matter is now before the Senate...

This ignominious bill, which serves as a slippery slope to the downgrade of  citizen rights, has passed the House, mostly with a vote mostly along party lines. The individual votes of the democrats (228 votes - aye, 2 votes - no), Republicans (13 votes aye, 183 votes - no) can be found here courtesy of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. 

What can YOU do?

Recognize this bill as an insidious assault on freedom and liberty of the American citizen.

Recognize the signs of corrupt congress members who are pandering to the union special interests in exchange for votes and campaign contributions.

Pressure your Senators and the current crop of candidates in this election cycle to disavow the bill and to insure that all union organizing activities are conducted with a secret ballot.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

Quote of the day:

In politics you must always keep running with the pack. The moment that you falter and they sense that you are injured, the rest will turn on you like wolves. - R. A. Butler

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Continue reading "GOVERNMENT-SPEAK: GEORGE ORWELL IS ALIVE AND WORKING FOR THE UNIONS IN WASHINGTON" »


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



SCAPEGOAT: FRENCH BANK POINTS TO LONE, LOW-LEVEL EMPLOYEE AS THE SOURCE OF BILLION-DOLLAR LOSSES

UPDATE: 02-28-08 THE BANK APPARENTLY KNEW...

According to Reuters, "Jerome Kerviel, the trader blamed by Societe Generale for heavy losses, had a trading deficit of 2.2 billion euros ($3.2 billion) as early as June last year, an adviser to his lawyer told Paris Match. The French bank unveiled 4.9 billion euros of trading losses last month but has since said that Kerviel was 1.4 billion euros ahead at the end of December, a gain on which it has to pay tax."

If one believes this news account, the bank knew and tacitly approved of Kerviel's high stakes positions -- or it would have taken action sooner. Therefore, this tends to confirm my suspicions that the bank's leadership needed a scapegoat in order to retain their cushy jobs and provide a plausible reason for excessive losses from subprime and collateralized debt obligations -- over and above those provided to the media as estimated losses.

Original blog post...

How convenient...

According to Associated Press reports...

French Bank Says Trader Hacked Computers

PARIS (AP) - Societe Generale said Sunday that a trader who evaded all its controls to bet $73.5 billion - more than the French bank's market worth - on European markets hacked computers and "combined several fraudulent methods" to cover his tracks, causing billions in losses.

A thief, ego-driven trader, or convenient scapegoat?

"The bank says the trader, Jerome Kerviel, did not appear to have profited personally from the transactions and seemingly worked alone - a version reiterated Sunday by Jean-Pierre Mustier, chief executive of the bank's corporate and investment banking arm."

Complicity with others?

"But, in a conference call with reporters, Mustier added: 'I cannot guarantee to you 100 percent that there was no complicity.'"

One man against the system?

"Kerviel's lawyer said the accusations of wrongdoing against his client were being used to hide bad investments by the bank related to subprime mortgages in the United States."

"'He didn't steal anything, take anything, he didn't take any profit for himself,' the lawyer, Christian Charriere-Bournazel, told The Associated Press by telephone. 'The suspicion on Kerviel allows the considerable losses that the bank made on subprimes to be hidden.'"

Paid off to take the fall?

"Officials said Kerviel was cooperating with police, who held him for a second day of questioning Sunday, seeking answers to what, if confirmed, would be the biggest-ever trading fraud by a single person."

"The questioning was 'going very well and the investigation led by the specialists of the financial police is extremely fruitful,' said Jean-Michel Aldebert, head of the financial section of the Paris prosecutor's office."

"Kerviel was giving 'very interesting' explanations, Aldebert added. 'From what he told me, he was fine psychologically.' He refused to say whether Kerviel might face preliminary charges."

"Kerviel, 31, has not been seen in public since the bank's bombshell revelation Thursday that his unauthorized trades resulted in 4.9 billion euros ($7.1 billion) in losses."

A scapegoat?

"Kerviel's lawyer said the trader made money for the bank through 2007 and has since been 'thrown to the wolves of public opinion.'"

"'He made profits for the bank until Dec. 31. From Jan. 1, he took risky positions like all traders,' said Charriere-Bournazel, who is also president of the Paris bar association."

Were the reported outsize losses really caused by the alleged unauthorized trading or were they caused by management's heavy-handed panic selling of the positions?

"Societe Generale took three days last week to sell or offset with hedges his contracts, which amounted to bets on whether market indexes would rise or fall. But the bank sought Sunday to counter suggestions that its sell-off had caused already falling markets to plummet further than they otherwise might have done. The bank said it unwound Kerviel's positions in 'a controlled fashion.'"

"Kerviel's lawyer cast suspicion on the way Societe Generale unwound the position, saying it did so in 'totally unusual conditions.'"

"'This decision was driven by other motives,' he claimed, without elaborating."

Setting the stage for the malfeasance of others?

"Societe Generale said Kerviel misappropriated other people's computer access codes, falsified documents and employed other methods to cover his tracks - helped by his previous years of experience when he worked in other offices at the bank that monitor traders."

A convenience of timing?

"A complicating factor was that the bank was finishing work that Sunday on details of a separate announcement about the size of the multi-billion-dollar charge it would take for bad bets on mortgage-related investments in the U.S. News of that misstep was delayed until Thursday, when along with the fraud losses, the bank said it would take a 2.05 billion euro ($2.99 billion) write-down."

"It was the bank's most detailed explanation yet of the debacle that has further rattled the banking industry, already reeling from the subprime mortgage crisis in the U.S. Some observers have said the crisis could also leave the bank vulnerable to a takeover."

"An aide to French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested the state could step in to prevent any possible hostile bids."

What can YOU do?

Watch in amazement how this major financial story plays out in the press. At this point in time, not enough information is known to provide definitive facts -- although this situation has the look and feel of the beginning of several good books and possibly a movie.

Remember most major financial crimes are perpetrated by insiders -- people who have been ostensibly security-checked, vetted as to suitability and handed the "keys to the kingdom." Aided and abetted by superiors who are too stupid or lazy to properly supervise their charges as well as subordinates who fear the loss of the jobs. Almost a perfect catch-22 of crime.

Realize that all top-level executives are skilled at making lemonade from life's lemons. That is, they will use any opportunity to fob off responsibility for their cumulative and inappropriate actions onto the nearest expendable employee or group of employees. This is the same mentality which allows executives to sleep at night while knowing full well that the hundreds of layoffs to improve the organization's bottom line was actually done to protect their outsized year-end bonus.

While we may never be privy to the actual truth of what happened in an particular corporate fraud, we should adopt the standards of the United States Navy and call for the firing of the senior leaders on whose watch the malfeasance occurred.

Common sense: follow the money first, followed by job preservation second and then ego-driven actions third.

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

French Bank Says Trader Hacked Computers|Associated Press


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



OBAMA ENDORSED BY "TRADITIONAL" DEMOCRAT TED KENNEDY

What is an endorsement by a lying, often drunk lecher worth?

According to Politico.com...

Ted Kennedy embraces Obama 

"Rejecting a personal entreaty from President Bill Clinton, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) plans to endorse Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president in a joint appearance on Monday [01/28/08], Democratic sources said."

"Democrats said the endorsement will help Obama with traditional Democratic groups where Clinton has been strong — union households, Hispanics and downscale workers."

"Also, the nod by the most experienced member of the Senate adds significant standing to Obama, who is working to prove he has the experience necessary to be president."

"The announcement stunned Senate colleagues, who had expected Kennedy to remain neutral until the increasingly vitriolic nominating contest with Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) settled out."

“'This is the biggest Democratic endorsement Obama could possibly get short of Bill Clinton,' said a high-level Democrat."

Traditional democrat groups?

Traditional, if by that you mean the groups associated with big-money fat-cat bloated lying and corrupt democrat politicians?

It is this liberal democrat group that is responsible for decades of failed social programs, including the national disgrace of a sub-standard educational system which panders more to teacher's unions and school administrators than to the students who so desperately need to know our national history and to develop a means to earn a living based on the common skills of reading, writing and arithmetic.

It is this liberal democrat group in their quest for power that has led to the marginalization of family values in favor of perverse lifestyles and toxic coalitions among the fringes of American society.

It is this liberal democrat group who would deny you the right to self-protection while imploring you to leave your personal safety and security to the "authorities" who they damn well know cannot be every place they are actually needed. 

These are the people that attempted to subvert America's sovereignty, in concert with the current Administration, to accord illegal aliens a form of super-citizenship which left them with rights and privileges not available to ordinary, law-abiding, citizens. 

While the media is complicit in portraying Ted Kennedy as the "elder statesman" of the democrat party, the truth is somewhat different -- and much uglier. How Ted Kennedy escaped jail...

It appears that the ONLY reason Ted Kennedy remained out of jail was due to the money, privilege and respect associated with his family name. And it appears that the ONLY reason Ted Kennedy was allowed to remain in the Senate after his disgraceful and cowardly actions at Chappaquiddick was out of America's reverence for his assassinated brothers: President Robert F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Under any other circumstances, Ted Kennedy would have been just another dynastic drunk lecher playing at politics until his death.

According to Wikipedia...

"The Chappaquiddick incident refers to the circumstances surrounding the 1969 death of Mary Jo Kopechne, a former staff member in Senator Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign. Edward Kennedy was driving a car with Kopechne as his passenger when the Senator drove off Dike Bridge into the channel between Chappaquiddick Island and Martha's Vineyard. The Senator swam to safety, but Kopechne died in the car."

"Kennedy said that he dove down several times attempting to free her and, after exhausting himself, rested for twenty minutes, then walked back to the Lawrence Cottage where the party had been held. At the Lawrence Cottage, Kennedy summoned his cousin, Joe Gargan, and another friend, Paul Markham, to return to the scene of the accident. Kennedy sat in the back of a white Plymouth Valiant rental car that Kopechne had used that day. Though there was a working telephone at this location, the group waited 10 hours before they contacted the police. Ted Kennedy then returned to the submerged car with Gargan and Markham who then resumed trying to reach her. The group claimed that the tidal current prevented them from reaching her for fear of being swept out to sea. However tidal records indicated that the tide was running in the opposite direction at the time of the supposed attempted rescue."

"Kennedy pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and received a suspended sentence of two months in jail."

It was later determined that had Kennedy sought immediate help from a nearby residence instead of allegedly fleeing to protect his reputation for a potential presidential bid, Kopechne would have never died a horrible death from drowning -- while clawing at the back window of the car in an attempt to seek safety. 

What can YOU do?

Ask yourself who it was that denied Mary Jo Kopechne her vote as well as her civil rights?

Ask yourself if the Ted Kennedy-style, big money-big corruption politics are what you want to see in the future?

Ask yourself what did Barack Obama's people tacitly promise Kennedy and his cohorts to obtain the endorsement?

And ask yourself, why a telegenic, well-spoken junior Senator without any real record of accomplishment should be elected to the highest office in the land -- ostensibly on the basis of his race and ability to eloquently say nothing other than the word "change" in as many words as humanly possible?

We are at an historic crossroads, when our voting decisions can greatly impact the United States social and economic fabric for tens of years to come. Don't squander your vote on an "Emperor with no clothes."

Become informed on the issues -- and if you can still stand it -- vote for the least odious politician and the one with a conservative view.

Do not be mislead: consider the important issues first -- national security and the protection of our nation from our enemies, both foreign and domestic; immigration reform which can change the social and economic fabric of our nation almost overnight; the preservation of our economic viability in the world marketplace; the repair and replacement of our crumbling infrastructure; the downsizing of a bloated bureaucratic government and the elimination of waste and corruption that would reduce the nation's dependency on ever-increasing taxes and fees.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

Quote of the day:

All politicians are to some degree frauds and charlatans. The only difference between them is that some prove it by opening their mouths. -- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Ted Kennedy embraces Obama - Politico.com


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



January 27, 2008: STEVE'S RELATIVELY RANDOM MUSINGS

UPDATE: 01-31-08 Attorney General Edwards?

Famed columnist Robert Novak who rarely wrong is now claiming...

"Illinois Democrats close to Sen. Barack Obama are quietly passing the word that John Edwards will be named attorney general in an Obama administration."

"Installation at the Justice Department of multimillionaire trial lawyer Edwards would please not only the union leaders supporting him for president but organized labor in general. The unions relish the prospect of an unequivocal labor partisan as the nation's top legal officer."

UPDATE: 01-30-08 FED CUTS FED FUNDS RATE BY 50-BASIS POINTS

The Fed just cut the Federal Funds rate today; more to influence public opinion than to stabilize the economy. Unfortunately, we still face the actions of a toxic media with a not-so-well-hidden agenda to provide tacit support to the democrat party which will nullify any temporary burst in public sentinment with a continuing barage of negative stories that will cast the Administration in a bad light. I also believe in coming months, the public will learn that one or more major banks may have initiated the FOMC cuts by secretly indicating that they were close to insolvency and unable to maintain their legally-required core capital reserve ratios.

From the Federal Reserve...

"The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower its target for the federal funds rate 50 basis points to 3 percent."

"Financial markets remain under considerable stress, and credit has tightened further for some businesses and households.  Moreover, recent information indicates a deepening of the housing contraction as well as some softening in labor markets."

"The Committee expects inflation to moderate in coming quarters, but it will be necessary to continue to monitor inflation developments carefully."

"Today’s policy action, combined with those taken earlier, should help to promote moderate growth over time and to mitigate the risks to economic activity.  However, downside risks to growth remain.  The Committee will continue to assess the effects of financial and other developments on economic prospects and will act in a timely manner as needed to address those risks."

Original Blog Post...

The stupidity of Republicans...

No sooner did the President and the Congress announce their plan to initiate a government give-away, I mean "economic stimulus," than the legislators started loading up the "sure to pass" bill with all kinds of special interest pork and unrelated issues. The President needs to take the upcoming "State of the Union" address to define the Republican position: no pork, no un-related issues or there will be a Presidential veto. I am not sure that President Bush has the "cojones" to get in front of a popular issue in such a manner as to highlight the newfound "conservatism" of the Republican party.

As for the stimulus effort -- it is mostly a public relations effort designed to instill confidence in the American public. With all of the money being printed by the Fed for use in bailing out the Wall Street Wizards and supporting our foreign aid to nations that despise us, this is a drop in the fiscal bucket. A more powerful metaphor: scooping a bucket of water out of the deep-end of the pool and pouring it in the shallow-end. Overall, it means nothing! A feel-good action to prove that the legislators and others who have mismanaged our economy are sympathetic to the less fortunate. By less fortune, I specifically refer to the CEOs who were rewarded with multi-million dollar handshakes for almost killing their respective companies and causing the shareholders significant monetary loss.

The Fed Outlook...

Coming on the heels of an almost historic (first time in 18 years) cut of 75-basis points (3/4 of one percent), it is believed that the Federal Reserve will, once again, cut the Federal Funds rate by another 25- to 50-basis points in their next two-day FOMC (Federal Open Markets Committee) meeting scheduled for January 29th/30th.

My FedWatcher program is indicating that, as of January 24th, the Federal Reserve would have to cut the Federal Funds rate by 62-basis points (5-year outlook) or raise rates by 18-basis points (10-year outlook) to return to a neutral inflationary stance. Translation: they may be willing to reduce the rates by up to 50-basis points in the next meeting, but must change their guidance to indicate that there might be rate hikes as  economic conditions improve.

Capture1-26-2008-7.27.26 PM

Media and democrats promote the "R" word...

It seems, at least to me, that the media, with their not-so-subtly hidden bias favoring the liberal democrat agenda, continues to talk down the American economy. By continually repeating negative news ad nauseum, they are encouraging what appears to be a self-fulfilling prophesy. Perhaps it is time for a stronger rebuke of the media. Are they so blind that they cannot see that talk radio and the Internet news continues to prosper while their own franchise remains in decline? My suggestion, cancel your newspaper subscription as well as your general news magazines... and head for a more open forum that actually encourages more discussion than a few well-chosen "op-ed" pieces and reader feedback. 

Barack Obama's big lie...

According to the Associated Press, "Barack Obama routed Hillary Rodham Clinton in the racially charged South Carolina primary Saturday night, regaining campaign momentum in the prelude to a Feb. 5 coast-to-coast competition for more than 1,600 Democratic National Convention delegates."

"The choice in this election is not about regions or religions or genders," Obama said at a boisterous victory rally. "It's not about rich versus poor, young versus old and it's not about black versus white. It's about the past versus the future."

Any observer of American politics will tell you that the democrat party is all about religion, race and class warfare. By pursuing their divide and conquer strategy, they maintain a very large coalition which they will hope provide enough bodies to turn the election's tide. However, historically, when elected, democrats only throw crumbs to their constituencies and supporters while reserving the spoils for their inner circle. A classic case of "do as I say, not as I do!" As to the future: all parties concerned would like to return to the days of Clintonian manipulation of the government where friends are rewarded and enemies severely punished.

Barack Obama & John Edwards...

By all political accounts, John Edwards is a loser.  He is a trial attorney who has made his fortune on the back of medical tragedies. He has a palatial, energy-sucking, mansion and campaigns on a theme of "Two Americas" which plays the classic "class card:" the privileged rich vs. the unappreciated and un-rewarded oppressed poor.

So why is John Edwards about to be rewarded for being a loser? Simple, he is attracting  just enough voters to affect the clear party leadership of either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.

Which leads us to wonder if the rumor is true that some operatives in Barack Obama's camp have openly discussed the appointment of John Edwards as the Attorney General of the United States should he drop out of the race and endorse Obama.  If Obama is elected, I hope that the Senate's "Advice and Consent" function prevails to deny the unqualified John Edwards the chance to assume either the mantle of Attorney General or, even worse, an appointment to the Supreme Court.

The new media darling: John McCain?

What to make of the media's fascination of the upcoming race between the liberal, and often wrong, John McCain and his more conservative colleague Mitt Romney?

For those of you who want to protect our nation from its enemies, both foreign and domestic, as well as secure our borders, John McCain should definitely not be your choice as the Republican nominee.

Although much is made of McCain's personal integrity and his personal trials and tribulations faced while existing as a captured POW -- it is wise to remember that a man or woman with convictions can still be dead wrong in their viewpoint and actions as well as promoting toxic legislation.

One need only consider McCain's attempt to curtail free speech with his McCain-Feingold campaign reform legislation -- which gave rise to the malevolent influence of George Soros in American politics.

Or consider the McCain-Kennedy SHAMnesty legislation which could have subverted the sovereignty of the United States and insured that our healthcare, educational, judicial, retirement and social infrastructure would be forever negatively impacted. This was legislation that was crafted behind closed doors and was dumped on the legislature without sufficient review or any financial or social impact study having been performed.

This is a man who would make a great vice presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton. One of his most prominent backers is the liberal democrat, Joe Lieberman.

At this point in time, he is definitely a liberal, a RINO (Republican In Name Only) and someone far from being a fiscal and social conservative.

Arnold Schwarzenegger...

Speaking of RINOs, I continue to be annoyed by Arnold Schwarzenegger's support for the California Propositions 94/95/96/97 which makes huge concessions to 4 Indian tribes with massive gaming operations. Among the concessions: allowing the Indians to audit their own operations and then report the results to the State; allowing the Indians to perform their own environmental impact studies; penalizes the State should they allow any other third-parties to engage in gaming operations within the State; and does not designate a specific use for the funds -- bound to lead to legislative misuse to support special interests. All in return for a miniscule increase in state income and unknown political contributions in the future.

If the legislature was serious about raising California's revenue from gaming operations, they would avoid exclusive relationships and open the entire industry to qualified and licensed gaming operators -- all being regulated under standardized laws which insure fair, honest gaming and a fair share of the proceeds to be used to repair or replace California's crumbling infrastructure.

Sylvester Stallone backs John McCain & Chuck Norris backs Mike Huckabee

Another celebrity endorsement surfaces as Stallone endorses McCain. However, people should remember that both Stallone and Norris ONLY PLAY heroes -- they are NOT HEROES IN REAL LIFE! They are accomplished individuals with a multiplicity of talents, but neither one's word counts for much more than any other celebrity endorsement. Same with Oprah Winfrey and her endorsement of Barack Obama. These people are accomplished illusionists -- capable of repeating another's written word with conviction and sincerity. They are trained and talented performers whose endorsement should be taken with a grain of sand.

What can YOU do?

Plan for an economic downturn. Use your economic stimulus "windfall" wisely.

If you are in California: vote against extending term limits for California's power elite who brought us this current fiscal crisis. Vote against Indian gaming propositions. And vote to enforce the regulations which keep the legislature from diverting our fuel taxes to general spending use.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

Quote of the day:

Fortune does not change men, it unmasks them. - Suzanne Necker

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



I AM UNHAPPY WITH MY NEW LAPTOP... A CAUTIONARY TALE

UPDATE: 03-12-08 THE SCREEN IS FAR FROM PERFECT

The screen still needs to be tilted at the perfect angle or the images fade to black -- somewhat like those polarized privacy screen devices that prevent your traveling companion from reading what you are viewing. My older VGN-S150 screen looked better. But we can't all live in the past. It happens mostly when viewing graphics.

UPDATE: 03-01-08 DISCOVERED A NICE FEATURE IN VISTA

Today I discovered that Visa has a great voice recognition program that can be used to convert your words into computer commands and that will support dictation into Microsoft Word (Office 2007 Suite) documents. It appears to have a high degree of recognition accuracy after some easy training (by reading sentences in training mode).

However, like eveything Microsoft, it is not always an easy road to achieve productinvity. The system failed to recognize my Plantronics GameCom|Pro 1 Headset with a USB/audio Interface and advanced digital signal processing (DSP) features. While the system acknowledged that I was speaking into the microphone, the error message said that the computer did not hear me. Therefore, I was precluded from implementing this great system until the headset was recognized. But, being somewhat of a techie geek, I simply hacked the registry entry that said that the recognition function was completed (changing a zero to a one) and went on to amaze myself with the ability of this Vista sub-system to make my life a little bit easier.

It appears this feature is even nicer than Dragon Naturally Speaking (Version 8 and 9) and is can easily justify the purchase of the Vista operating system. Sometimes Microsoft gets it somewhat right -- but fails to widely promote the feature.  Today, in spite of all the other Vista-related crap, I am a happy camper with my new toy.

UPDATE: 02-06-08 APPARENTLY MICROSOFT AGREES WITH ME...

Word (pun intended) is leaking out about a brand new Microsoft Operating System dubbed "Windows 7" which will serve as a VISTA replacement. I sincerely hope that it is not another 15-gigabyte behemoth that requires enhanced audio/visual/cpu requirements which would immediately obsolete my new Vaio laptop. But, as with all things Microsoft, it is all FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) until the sytem is released to manufacturing. At least I can look forward to Vista's "Service Pack One" next month.

Previous blog entry...

My previous laptop, a Sony VAIO (VGN-S150, circa 2004) loaded with Windows/XP was a good machine. It was light, convenient and an all-around great tool for mobile computing.

So I decided to stay within the Sony family and purchase another Sony VAIO (VGN-FZ240E circa 2007). Unfortunately  the computer came pre-loaded with bloat-ware from companies with little or no relevance in my world (AOL, SYMANTEC) and applications which are desirable (Adobe Acrobat Professional 8, Windows Office 2007) but are demo copies.

But most offensive was Sony's decision to pre-load Microsoft's Windows/Vista operating system... a bloated, slow and extremely foreign O/S with very few benefits and lots of drawbacks. And they wonder why corporate America is not adopting Windows/Vista with the same enthusiasm that techies and users greeted Windows/XP.

So, being somewhat of a geek, I decided to wipe the disk clean and load the more desirable, in my point of view,  Windows/XP operating system. However, being an uber-geek, I decided to research the operating system downgrade before committing time and effort to the project.

Luckily, I found that some of my geeky friends on the Internet had already tried it... and ran into troubles. Mostly because the XP operating system did not load SATA (Serial ATA) hard disk drivers and would not recognize the hard disk for the initial install.

A call to Sony's 24/7 hotline yielded an answer by a warm body who needed to ask his supervisor if what I was doing was: one, legal; and two, even possible. Sad to say, no help was forthcoming other than to mention I might find some help on Sony's web site. About par for the course -- and, of course, I was at least pleased that the customer service representative spoke understandable English and wasn't located in the Philippines or somewhere in India.

Yes, there is a way to slipstream (a technical term denoting a operation not easily performed by newbies or amateurs) the Windows/XP operating system, Service Pack 2, and the required hard disk drivers.  Basically you pre-load Service pack two onto the XP-base, add the drivers, and create a gimmicked CD that looks like a Microsoft installation CD.

Major problems...

Backup Issues

It seems that the backup program I used to capture all of my files is not compatible with Microsoft's Vista O/S and I will either have to re-load the files to another machine or purchase an upgraded program. Since the the vendor of the original program was purchased and merged into a larger company, I am not even sure that the surviving company still supports the product or the backup format. (Update: The vendor has a new format and does not support the older XP-compatible program)

Imagine, if you will, religiously backing-up all of your financial, medical and other important files like a good camper -- only to find that they are not portable to another machine. This is one major problem that is facing almost all organizations which routinely upgrade hardware and software. Hence, you should always ask your backup system vendor if their program is backward and forward compatible before you scrap your old hardware.   

Considering the incompatibilities of many programs with Windows/Vista, one needs to decide whether to restore programs which may not even function using your new hardware and software. In fact, considering the necessity of restoring the operating system's registry settings for your desired program -- makes the restore process almost an impossibility.

Recommendations: One select backup software that is compatible for the widest range of computers. Do not perform an image backup if you are planning to transfer files to a new machine, it is far better to perform a "file" backup, so the restoration of individual files is easier to organize. Clean-install any desired applications and restore only your data files.

Little-Known Tips

For systems where you may have lost or misplaced the activation serial number, it may often be found in the program's Help menu -- under the "About" section. Another nifty way to develop a nice printed installed software list (along with some of the associated software key values) is to use Belarc's "Advisor" program which may be freely obtained at http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html.  

Security Issues

It is a hard-and-fast rule, one does not connect to the Internet unless they are protected with a firewall and adequate anti-virus software. (This is mostly aimed at Windows PC users as there are few active viruses that were created for Apple's MAC or other LINUX/Unix operating systems.

So I needed to uninstall the pre-loaded bloated junk from Norton/Symantec and install a light, sophisticated Anti-Virus program from Israel's ESET (www.eset.com). After years of user complaining, Symantec now provides a removal tool that will remove all of their programs from your computer. At least they finally did something right. It is a shame when a fine company falls prey to the Wall Street "beat the quarter" syndrome and loses its essential core values. Oh well, live and learn. 

Catch-22 

However, before downloading Eset's fine security software, I needed to enable my wireless connection (easy to do) and set-up my e-mail connection so that I might receive ESET's e-mailed download instructions. OK -- fair enough! Then I needed to uninstall any other anti-virus program and proceed with the install. In my case, it was easier done than said.

Mail issues

Once you have decided on an e-mail program, you must decide whether or not to import your exisiting mail files into your new system. This is sometimes harder than it seems since the formats between Windows versions and Windows programs are not always consistent. I keep three ongoing folders for important e-mail. One is labeled "software" and contains all of my e-mail concerning my software -- including registration information, user names, passwords and other support material. The other file is named "important" and it contains, you guessed it, important stuff. The third file is named "do it next" and its name is self-explanatory. Should all else fail, I simply highlight the entire contents of my folder and send it to my new machine as a single e-mail. Not an elegant solution, but one that works across different formats. I also set my new system to leave my e-mail on the server until I am sure that everything is as it should be. I can delete it from the server at my convenience -- but I can never re-capture lost e-mail. (Update: it is easier if you save all of your files in database format (.dbx) including the important folders.dbx -- and then use the import facility in Winmail -- and you are good to go!) proving other people have similar problems.)

Fonts

While most people simply use the fonts supplied by the respective software vendors, some of us have customized or favorite fonts which we want to make available to our application programs. Therefore, do not fail to backup your favorite fonts before converting to the new system.

The hassle of uninstalling unwanted programs

For people just transitioning to Windows/Vista from Windows/XP -- this is a major hassle. Even with all their "user interface experts," Microsoft always manages to build a system layer-by-layer that is not easily understood and far from being intuitively usable. (For that, you need a MAC: learn once -- do it consistently) Just like the load of crap that Microsoft pushes when they explain that right-clicking to obtain a context window is INTUITIVE.

Anyway, removing unwanted programs is a time-consuming pain as some of the larger programs do a reverse install using their install software which first has to check your system capabilities. Oh, for the days of the fast, clean deletion of a program directory without wondering what system-killer remnants remain in your "registry" file.

Time for a pet peeve... or two

One of the reasons why I hate Microsoft's approach to operating system design is that they removed all of the individual initialization files (.ini files) and placed all of the settings in a big, bloated database called the "system registry." Errors in this file can cripple your machine faster than the speed of sound.

And my other pet peeve is that you need to re-boot your machine over-and-over to install or remove programs. It might have been so much easier and nicer if they simply has a process flag that could be set that told the machine not to load the "X" flagged program and to load the "E" flagged program instead. That would allow you to boot your machine at your convenience. The program that you just loaded still would not be accessible until you re-booted your machine -- but at least it wouldn't interrupt your other computer chores that had nothing to do with the newly installed program.

Wait -- another pet peeve -- yes, it's a Microsoft one. You buy a pre-loaded computer or even an operating system installation disk -- and then you have to download any number of program patches to bring your system current. What happened to the omnibus download? Oh, I remember, it's called a "service pack" and one will be out shortly for Windows/Vista (SP1) and Windows/XP (SP2).

I'm watching you...

Built into the case lid of my new VAIO is a 1.3 mega-pixel camera -- aimed directly at me while I sit here in my underwear writing this blog entry. Unnerving to say the least -- especially since you do not know when some rogue program can activate the camera and built-in microphone. Shades of big brother. Oh well, a piece of opaque tape and the problem is solved. Be sure to check your "Flash" program settings to make sure that the camera and microphone are not enabled by default.

What should I load?

I have decided to keep all of my basic development tools on my larger desktop computer with the more standardized software. So I have chosen to load the basics onto my new machine.

  • Microsoft Office Professional 2007
  • Adobe Acrobat Professional Version 8
  • Microsoft Live Writer (Final Beta before going live)
  • SmartDraw (Great for diagramming)
  • Miscellaneous utilities for file manipulations.

This should keep me productive until Sony decides to provide a method for downgrading the Microsoft Vista Operating system -- or I decide that I really can't live with Vista and all of its security prompts.

What can YOU do?

Plan for upgrading your software and hardware periodically. Don't wait until you are in the middle of a hardware crisis to think the unthinkable. Consider if your new hardware will support your old media format and if the software will recognize the data that it contains.

Use your upgrade opportunity wisely. Consider this the time to re-load only your most productive programs and files. Just because you find yourself with another 200 gigabytes of storage, does not mean you have to fill all of the disk with files you are too lazy to delete. Considering the time and effort it takes to backup all of these files -- it is a smart move to get rid of all those "just in case" downloads that can be easily re-created from the Internet. 

Observe the sage advice: newer is not always better or more effective or efficient ... perhaps old, tried-and-true has benefits which outweigh the lure of a shiny new toy.

Dispose of your detritus wisely. Shred your old diskettes, CDs and DVDs. Properly dispose of computer hardware -- which, today, is considered a form of hazardous waste. (Peeve: the stores collect $6.00 up-front as an electronics recycling fee -- and you still have to make the effort to properly dispose of the system -- wonder whose political pockets that money may be found?) 

-- steve

Quote of the day: 

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important. - Bertrand Russell

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



"RISKY" BUSINESS: WHY BAILOUT THE INSURERS? Machinations to preserve their customer's portfolios?

The Wall Street Wizards seem ready to engage in any action, no matter how stupid and unreasonable it may appear to be to rational investors, to protect their own MBS (mortgage Backed Securities) and CDO (Collateralized Debt Obligations) portfolios and avoid disclosing how reckless they have been with their investor's funds. Recklessness to the point of being legally liable for all losses.

Bailing out the insurers to prop up the perception of value in toxic portfolios...

Perhaps I do not fully understand the situation and cannot rationalize the actions of the derivative gurus in terms of street-speak, but something seems wrong about the need to bailout insurers who have provided guarantees to those who thought that they were mitigating their risk by paying premiums to avert catastrophic occurrences. Guarantees of insurance and buy-back agreements that the ratings agencies evaluated as conferring "investment grade" status on something which could turn malevolently toxic in a real estate downturn. 

If the risk was based on fraudulent representations by those seeking insurance for their toxic financial products, nullify their coverage and let the selling institution suffer the consequences. Even if it means the insolvency of a financial institution. Force the institution into liquidation and throw their well-heeled executives out into the street. Or better yet, investigate whether or not these executives actually deserved their bonuses (based on funny numbers) and seek full restitution.

De-securitization...

For the paying borrowers, and even those who face foreclosure, divorce the underlying asset from the securitization and place their value in a "recovery" pool to be shared proportionately with those exerting claims.

As for the insurers... liquidate their assets. It's not like this has never been done. My life insurance company, General American Life Insurance, could not meet their capital requirements on a single day and the Missouri Insurance Commissioner stepped in and arranged for their sale to another well-capitalized firm. Since I was one of the insured/stockholders, I received at least some value from the billion dollar transaction.

Where are the regulators?

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't insurance a tightly regulated industry with an explicit demand that any offered insurance be backed with an actuarially sound program? Where insurance coverage over and above the prudent coverage limits imposed by the regulatory authorities and sound business practice must be  "re-insured" with other carriers or a consortium of carriers to cover the associated risk?

So why am I reading Mark DeCambre's article " Bond Insurer Bailout Faces Hurdles" in the Financial Services section of TheStreet.com with a queasy feeling?

"A bank-sponsored bailout of the troubled bond insurance sector seems more like wishful thinking than market savior."

Does this mean that the banks who have been the recipient of billions of Federal Reserve funds plan to transfer some of this money to prop up their own toxic mess?

"Rumors leaked Wednesday of a massive rescue plan led by New York Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo drove the tattered shares of financial guarantors MBIA (MBI) and Ambac Financial (ABK) through the roof, but the cold, harsh reality of the complexities of such a move is now starting to smack the stocks again.

"'Clearly it is important to resolve issues related to the bond insurers as soon as possible,' Dinallo wrote in an emailed statement. 'However, it must be understood that these are complicated issues involving a number of parties and any effective plan will take some time to finalize.'"

"Dinallo declined to comment further through a spokesman. 'Complicated,' however, is perhaps understating the fact that some of this insurance provided by these once obscure firms, now at the eye of the credit storm gripping Wall Street, is meant to backstop losses on now-shaky debt structured -- in some cases literally -- by rocket scientist cum bankers."

"Scuttlebutt on the Street yesterday implied that the subprime-battered wonder twins Citigroup (C) and Merrill Lynch (MER) , among others, might pony up billions to help out the guarantors, also known as monoline insurers."

"Citi and Merrill and a host of financial institutions should indeed have an incentive to try and prop up the troubled firms, considering that they act as counterparties, providing additional protection for investors in the form of derivative securities known as credit default swaps that could amount to big losses for them should the guarantors go under."

Mark's salient point...

"But involving firms already swooning from their own misadventures in finance would be a laughable notion, given that both Citi and Merrill have racked up tens of billions in losses tied to mortgage-tainted securities, forcing them to turn to foreign and domestic investors to raise cash to shore up their own balance sheets."

I must be crazy... why would insurance by any entity that can't assume the full financial risk of what they insure add any value to an already toxic transaction?

"At stake for monolines is some $2.4 trillion to $2.6 trillion of municipal bonds and structured debt, such as collateralized debt obligations or CDOs, that have plummeted in value as credit markets have dried up. By many accounts, there could be a ripple effect for the financial markets if monolines suffer further downgrades to their credit ratings, as such debt would become riskier to own."

Playing the ratings game...

In many ways A.C. Nielsen is more honest about their television ratings than the so-called "Ratings Agencies" are about the amount of actual due diligence they perform before issuing a rating to their paying clients.

"As a group, the rating agencies have been accused of being late to the game in properly assessing the risk inherent in underwriting insurance linked to opaque debt. The rising concern about the monoline insurers from the agencies is that these firms do not have sufficient funds to cover claims, should defaults in the mortgage market result in defaults and losses in mortgage-linked securities."

The shell game continues...

"Still, monolines have engaged in a mad dash of capital-raising in an attempt to shore up their coveted ratings. "

"MBIA has already raised about a $1 billion via a cash injection by private equity firm Warburg Pincus, which also agreed to backstop a preferred share offering that has, since it was first offered, fallen in value to about 70 cents on the dollar in the secondary market. And Moody's still is trying to determine if MBIA needs more."

The acid test...   

In accounting, their are two accepted ratios used for liquidity analysis. The first one is named the current ratio and is simply computed by dividing the firm's current assets by the current liabilities. Any value over 1.00 tends to indicate that the firm can meet their day-to-day payments. However, the second one, the acid test ratio, subtracts the value of any fluctuating or illiquid stock from the current assets before the division by current liabilities.

Considering that there is an unknown value in the assets underlying these toxic securities, why not simply assume, for the purposes of institutional analysis, that there will be a 100% call on the insurance to make the investors whole. If the company has neither the capital or the re-insurance position to cover these losses, somebody, including the firm's oversight regulatory agency, is at fault and the regulator should initiate conservator proceedings against the insurance firm.

What might the insurers be hiding?

Three scenarios come to mind. One is a daisy chain of indirectly-controlled subsidiaries who siphoned off premium dollars while not actually insuring the risk. Or that some of these re-insurance agencies are registered as "off-shore" entities which sucked up the easy money and have no real assets backing their re-insurance play. Or that the entire industry is a giant daisy-chain of re-insuring each other's risk, knowing that a cataclysmic event that resulted in widespread devastation -- would simply trigger a government bailout. For most, they probably believed that the devastating event would be a natural disaster and not a man-made debacle caused by leveraging sliced-and-diced debt.

Even if...

"Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital, a man who is betting a fortune that some monoline's might fail, estimates that MBIA may need to raise as much as $10 billion to shore up its balance sheet."

"Dinallo says the bailout plan effort might take 'some time,' but time appears to be what many of the monolines don't have as their precious market share has been considerably eroded."

"Even should a Dinallo-led bailout get off the ground, the larger, more pressing issue for these firms is the damage that has been wrought on their reputations."

What happens over the next few weeks and months is anyone's guess. And money isn't the only problem.

Reputation? Market share?  Excuse me, but shouldn't someone be looking at their fundamental business model before allowing them to continue their somewhat "risky business?"

What is Buffett doing?

"To be sure, the sage of Omaha Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) has launched his own initiative in attempt to underwrite municipal debt -- a move that would put further pressure on financial guarantors."

Again, how can these firms continue to serve as "financial guarantors" if their real, verifiable assets remain unknown or are hidden off-shore?  Buffet appears to be smart "like a fox" by siphoning off the low-risk, high premium municipal business from those who are carrying coverage of un-priced,  illiquid financial instruments.

Instead of a hairy ball ... why not a ginormous hairy ball?

"Observers have suggested that creating a massive consolidation of the most troubled monolines might serve to stave off competition and prevent future failures. In the past, larger monoline insurers have purchased smaller ones. But how such a move would work is unclear in this environment."

Paulson's name surfaces...

In any event, many of these notions seem eerily similar to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's failed plan to bailout structured investment vehicles, or SIVs.

There was a reason that the plan failed. The structured investment vehicles not only lacked true transparency from investors and regulators, but they would have artificially created value where none truly existed. The purpose being to shore up the offering price of these toxic pieces of paper until they could be offloaded to foreign investors or to the financial unsophisticated as part of a "wink-wink" pension or other long-term investment scenario. That in addition to allowing the financial institutions to transfer the re-valued securities off their balance sheets (per FASB Rule 140) into footnote history.   

What value is it to the American taxpayer to bail out a corrupt, inefficient system that will not restore fiscal confidence using the old, broken model.

"Egan notes that a government bailout, while farfetched at this point, might be the only viable solution left for the troubled guarantors."

For those who are long-term observers of government and financial institutions, you might note that the trial balloon is always flying the "far-fetched" banner. 

What can YOU do?

Avoid supporting any government bailout of insurance companies and financial institutions which have created today's economic catastrophe.

While you cannot stop the Federal Reserve printing presses from pumping billions of dollars into our economy as they shore-up failing financial institutions, you can vote for someone who might, just might, restore fiscal prudence to the economic scene.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

Quote of the day: 

No good deed goes unpunished. - Clare Booth Luce

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Bond Insurer Bailout Faces Hurdles - News & Analysis - Financial Services - SCA - ABK


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



"THE OTHER WALL" -- Why am I not surprised that Egypt maintains a wall between themselves and the Palestinians? And why am I not surprised that it may be an attempt to "milk" more money out of the United States Treasury?

UPDATE(2): EGYPTIANS HAVING PROBLEMS WITH HAMAS

The Associated Press is reporting that...

"The border breach was engineered by Hamas to pressure Egypt to negotiate new border arrangements. Both Israel and Egypt have kept Gaza largely sealed in the past two years, especially since the violent Hamas takeover of the territory in June."

"Egypt faces a dilemma over how to handle the border crisis. If it acts forcefully against the Gazans, it could anger its own people, who sympathize with the Palestinians' plight. But if it does nothing, it risks infiltration by Islamic militants."

"Egypt has rejected any suggestion of assuming responsibility for the crowded, impoverished territory - a hot issue in light of comments this week by Israeli officials who said the border breach could relieve Israel of its burdens in Gaza."

UPDATE(1):  ISRAEL WANTS EGYPT TO SUPERVISE GAZA...

Reuters is reporting that ...

"Israel wants to cut its links with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip after militants blasted open the territory's border with Egypt in defiance of an Israeli blockade, Israel's deputy defense minister said on Thursday."

"Israel, which occupied the Gaza Strip in 1967, pulled troops and settlers out in 2005 but still controls its northern and eastern borders, airspace and coastal waters, and has imposed a blockade it says is meant to counter militant rocket fire."

"Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai said Israel wanted to wash its hands of Gaza altogether by handing over the supply of electricity, water and medicine to others. An Israeli security official said Egypt should take over responsibility."

"'We need to understand that when Gaza is open to the other side we lose responsibility for it. So we want to disconnect from it,' Vilnai said."

The original story...

It is an open secret, almost everybody in the Middle East hates and fears the Palestinians. Primarily because the Palestinians tend to bring chaos, corruption and a malevolent leadership into each area they inhabit.

According to the TimesOnLine...

"Hamas 'spent months cutting through Gaza wall in secret operation.'  The wall had already been sliced through before the explosions brought it down."

As tens of thousands of Palestinians clambered back and forth between the Gaza strip and Egypt today, details emerged of the audacious operation that brought down a hated border wall and handed the Islamist group Hamas what might be its greatest propaganda coup.

Hamas, which took control of the coastal territory last June after a stand-off with Fatah, has denied that its men set off the explosions that brought down as much as two-thirds of the 12-km wall in the early hours.

But a Hamas border guard interviewed by The Times at the border admitted that the Islamist group was responsible and had been involved for months in slicing through the heavy metal wall using oxy-acetylene cutting torches.

That meant that when the explosive charges were set off in 17 different locations between midnight and 1am the 40ft wall came tumbling down, leaving it lying like a broken concertina down the middle of no-man's land as an estimated 350,000 Gazans flooded into Egypt.

As Gazans flooded into Egypt, the strip's Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniya, called for an urgent meeting with his rivals in Fatah and with the Egyptian authorities to work a new border arrangement.

Mr Haniya called for the border crossing to be reopened "on the basis of national participation," meaning that Hamas would be prepared to cede some control to President Abbas and his Fatah-led government in the West Bank. "We don’t want to be the only ones in control of these matters," Mr Haniya said, speaking from his Gaza City office live on Hamas TV.

"Everything Haniya is saying is simply to exploit this situation to win political gains. ... It is a part of the problem, not the solution," said Ashraf Ajramim, a Cabinet minister in Mr Abbas's government. Israel refused to comment on the developments in Gaza.

The destruction of the wall prompted hundreds of thousands to cross into Egypt – and Egyptian border guards did not try to stem the tide of humanity.

Instead Rafah became a huge Middle Eastern bazaar. Thousands of people were herding back cows, sheep and even camels from Egypt into the Gaza strip. Others brought back motorbikes while many women lugged back cans of olive oil and men could be seen weighed down with jerry-cans full of fuel.

Moneychangers flocked to the border, offering Egyptian pounds and American dollars for the Gazans' Israeli shekels. The shops soon began to run out, however, and those returning were complaining of sky-rocketing prices.

Instead, many people jumped into taxis - or even on the roofs of taxis - to take themselves to El Arish, 45km away, the nearest town with shops.

Egyptian shopkeepers swiftly raised prices of milk, taxi rides and cigarettes, but that did not deter the Gazans, for many of whom it was their first trip out of the territory.

Some staggered back into Gaza carrying televisions, and others sported brand-new mobile phones. In Gaza City, prices of cigarettes - which had skyrocketed during the total blockade of the past week - fell by 70 per cent in a few hours.

Rami al-Shawwa, a 23-year old falafel vendor, said he planned to head to Egypt in the afternoon, after his brothers returned from there. He was going to buy waterpipe tobacco and just “smell some new air”.

This does not appear to be simply a matter of poor, oppressed people seeking freedom...

From the Los Angeles Times...

"The chaos in Gaza offered a diversion to Mubarak's domestic economic troubles, but the Palestinians also presented his government with a number of troubling scenarios: how long Egypt, a poor nation, can cope with a humanitarian crisis; the complicated and increasingly brusque dilemma over long-term border security with Israel; and the possible influx of militants who could add a dangerous element to Egypt's main political opposition group, the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood."

"Egyptians are historically sympathetic to Palestinians, 'so the crisis boosts Mubarak's image, but on the other hand problems can arise,' said Gamal Abdel Gawad, a political analyst with the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo. 'There could be militants, terrorists, smugglers and traders coming across. There is no security at the border and all kinds of people are flowing freely."

Pardon me for my cynical viewpoint... but something seems wrong...

There is no doubt in my mind that everything in the Middle East is about power and money. Religion is merely the backdrop that allows corrupt dictators (both religious and secular) to maintain their power over their people with a minimal amount of military force... and providing a righteous reason for all of their oppressive activities.

So I must ask myself, why would Egypt (and the Egyptian Secret Police) knowingly ignore this Hamas military operation to proceed? My only conclusion is that it was done for political purposes to help the Egyptian government restore some of their lost luster with the Arab world, to make a bid for increased United States foreign aid ... and possibly to provide the democrats with additional talking points about a potential flare-up in the region.

How long will it be before the United States starts pumping additional millions in "humanitarian" aid into the region?

Even though many Middle Eastern countries are openly hostile to the United States and its allies, this has not prevented a significant flow for American dollars into the region. While the American people hear mostly about U.S. aid to Israel, the media is not so quick to mention the additional sums of taxpayer money that is poured into corrupt foreign government rat-holes to be used to bolster the personal fortunes of its dictators before even a dime reaches the intended citizen-victims. 

Stepping back for a moment to November 15th, 2005, President Bush signed a 20.9 BILLION dollar aid package which included...

Bush Signs $20.9 Billion 2006 Foreign Aid Spending Measure

MIDDLE EAST, SOUTH ASIA, SUDAN

•   Israel -- $2.3 billion in military aid -- a $60 million increase over 2005 levels -- and $240 million in economic assistance;

•   Egypt -- $1.3 billion in military aid and $495 million in economic assistance, provided that Egypt undertakes "significant economic and political reforms which are additional to those which were undertaken in previous fiscal years";

•   Jordan -- $250 million in economic assistance;

•   West Bank and Gaza -- $2 million in development assistance for programs to be administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Moving right along to 2007

House Passes $21.3 Billion Fiscal 2007 Foreign Aid Spending Bill -- Representatives reject proposal to cut assistance to Egypt

"...$2.5 billion in aid to Israel, $1.8 billion for Egypt and $450 million for Sudan."

By some counts, the United States has pumped approximately  63.5 BILLION dollars into Egypt since 1948.

Where are the Arab petro-dollars?

Considering the BILLIONS of dollars invested by Middle Eastern potentates in the United States and elsewhere, where is their significant investment in their own region? For those who will immediately point to Dubai, I would like to remind my readers that Dubai produces nothing, it is an entity that was designed solely by its Ruler to serve as the hub of commerce where a tribute (in lieu of oppressive taxes) flows into the government's coffers. All of its infrastructure is designed to serve the wealthy and facilitate trade. Not to mention providing a convenient and somewhat comfortable (except in August) way to circumvent those pesky trade restrictions that prevent multi-national corporations from trading with designated "enemy" or "terrorist" states.

In the final analysis, while Islamic law prevents the collection of interest on a debt, the Arabs and others in the region prefer to invest in other relatively stable regions with the promise of a payback instead of their eternal clan warfare and giant humanitarian needs.

What can YOU do?

Recognize that there may be no rational political settlement for religious feuds which stretch back thousands of years. These people are tribal and their loyalties are both practical, complext and ever-shifting.

Realize that the Palestinian problem seems to be mostly a political issue... a corrupt government fighting over the billions of dollars that have poured into the region. One need only witness the personal wealth of Yasser Arafat billed by some as a "man of the people."

Realize that it may only be a matter of time until our politicians latch on to the plight of these poor people and demand more humanitarian aid and a solution to the so-called "Palestinian Problem." Perhaps it is just my cynicism, but I can't help wondering why our stupid politicians believe that the Palestinian people can manage a dedicated country when they can't even provide peace and prosperity in their own region? Perhaps it because they stupidly insist on sending rockets over the Israeli border and are actually fighting what could be their most promising ally in the region.

Also realize, that there are no "true" Palestinians in the sense that they were all Jordanians, Egyptians and other nationalities before the 1948 partitioning plan. And the these are the very same people who were ejected from their original countries -- lest they foment revolution against the country's rulers.

Should you wish to see the fine hand of the United Nations in this partitioning activity, check out the United Nations partition plan on Wikipedia...

"On 29 November 1947 the United Nations voted to terminate the British Mandate of Palestine by 1 August 1948 and, to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict in the British Mandate of Palestine, for a plan for the partition of the Mandate territory. The plan came to be called the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine or United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181. The plan was approved by the United Nations General Assembly by 33 votes to 13, with 10 abstentions."

Do not let emotion sway your common sense on this matter. For better or worse, the Middle East is engaged in a millennium-old clan war over power, property and money. It is not likely to change in the next hundred years unless there is a significant revolution in the region. Whether or not you like George Bush and the current Administration, he has done more to insinuate some democratic change into the region than any of  our past presidents. It is an experiment in democracy and the results are not likely to be known for decades. Which chagrins those who demand instant gratification and confuse talking with action.

Keep an open mind on the subject and a closed pocketbook. Perhaps we can demand that our presidential candidates re-frame the issue of foreign and humanitarian aid to require matching funds from those countries in the region. Perhaps on a five-to-one basis. Make the region's oil revenues work for the people with a right to their land -- so there will be a little less for the war-mongering, corrupt rulers. Perhaps they would all do well to take a lesson from Dubai's Ruler: exploit your own natural resources or build an infrastructure that supports peaceful trade and commerce.

-- steve

Quote of the day: There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened. - Douglas Adams

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Hamas "spent months cutting through Gaza wall in secret operation"|Times Online

Palestinians rush to buy goods|Los Angeles Times

As Gazans pour across, a region alters|Los Angeles Times

Palestinians continue streaming into Egypt|Los Angeles Times


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS