Previous month:
March 2009
Next month:
May 2009

Democrat party faces tough decisions on California Propositions 1A-1F ...

Imagine you were a democrat politician faced with a critical vote … how would you react?

[  ] Vote YES on Proposition 1A-1F and extend the collection of taxes another two years and continue to fund our outrageous and profligate spending as well as providing financial support to the unions who give us campaign funds and voter drives.

[   ]  Vote NO on Proposition 1A-1F and give the California taxpayer, one of the most highly taxed people in the nation, a break. And cut our social engineering, special interest projects and district pork projects spending to close the budget gap.

According to the Sacramento Bee …

“Dem Party resolutions committee endorses May 19 ballot measures”

“The resolutions committee of the California Democratic Party endorsed all the measures on the May 19 ballot after heated debate this afternoon.”

“The measures now move to the floor for a vote of the full convention on Sunday, where the ‘no’ campaign must muster 60 percent of the delegates to block the party's official endorsement.”

“The most contentious debate came over Proposition 1A, the ballot measure that would constrain future state spending and extend the tax hikes approved by the Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in February.”

Not all is as it seems …

Wink-wink, nod-nod: don’t worry, Proposition 1A is not really a spending cap or limitation, it contains a loophole which allows spending to rise as tax revenues rise.

“Assemblyman Kevin De León, a Los Angeles Democrat and member of the resolutions committee, spoke in favor of the measure, calling it ‘painful,’ but added, ‘We must have 1A.’"

“Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who helped negotiate the package, sat in the front row during the proceedings. After the vote, the Sacramento Democrat said he and other backers of the measures have ‘a strong case to make’ to the full convention on Sunday.”

The deal was negotiated behind closed doors with the democrats taking the lead. The only input from Republicans were the “give me” provisions to secure the three Republican votes necessary to secure the deal. In a candid admission, the republicans voted on which three republicans, the minimum number to assure victory, would be sacrificed to save the rest of those who took tax pledges from an outraged public.

Spinning the story …

“Mike Roth, a spokesman for the No on 1A campaign, called Friday's vote ‘a faction of the Democratic establishment that rubber-stamped a Republican plan.’"

Like the democrats will vote for fiscal responsibility …  (Yeah, right!)

"There will be a vigorous debate on Sunday where the real voice of the Democratic Party will be heard," Roth said.”

“Earlier in the afternoon, Art Torres, the outgoing party chairman, predicted that the party would not oppose any of the measures.'”

"I doubt if the convention will oppose any of them," Torres said in his final press conference.”

What is really at stake is the future of democrat slimeballs and their republican weasel counterparts … 

"What's at stake on these resolutions is the future financial credibility of California," Torres said.”

Bottom Line: Give me liberty or give me debt …

It is bad enough that the democrats have abused their long-term one-party rule of California to turn the Golden State into a giant refuge camp for illegal aliens and a money machine for special interest developers, contractors and such. All aided and abetted by a RINO (Republican Governor) who is so desperate to be the “big man” and be loved by the people that he sacrificed what little principles he may have originally had and acted more like a liberal democrat.

It is time to stop these corrupt and complacent politicians in their tracks.

-- steve

CALIFORNIANS: ON MAY 19TH --

VOTE NO ON PROPOSITIONS 1A-1F – SAVE YOUR MONEY AND JOB FOR THE UPCOMING DEMOCRAT HARD TIMES …

Capture2-11-2009-6.56.12 PM


Reference Links …

Capitol Alert: Dem Party resolutions committee endorses May 19 ballot measures


“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



Is the OBAMA Administration planning to endanger Israel? (Updated)

Update: 05-04-09 Emanuel: Thwarting Iran hinges on Israeli-Palestinian talks

"Thwarting Iran's nuclear program is conditional on progress in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, according to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Israeli TV reports said Monday that Emanuel made the comments in a closed-door meeting the previous day with 300 major AIPAC donors."

This is complete and utter bullshit! Israel is facing an existential threat and history has proven that every Israeli concession in the peace process has left them weakened, without land and with an even greater threat to their population. The Palestinians have proven that they do not want peace, their leaders continue to retain power and funding by threatening their neighbors and there is no one person or group which speaks for the people. Years of inculcated hatred of Jews and other infidels conditions their thinking and providing them with a two-state solution as a reward for their terrorism without a corresponding period of absolute peace is insane. As for trusting Iran, you need to be a Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama to buy their brand of bullshit as anything more than delaying tactics while they perfect their nuclear weapon. 

And rest assured, once they have that weapon, the game being played in the Middle East will be changed forever. And, God Forbid, they use that bomb against Israel, I am sure that the American people and oil interests will not countenance an anhiliating nuclear strike against Iran.  Israel is on their own and cannot trust anyone but themselves to insure their survival. Especially a democrat who talks out of both sides of his mouth -- and only then with the aid of a teleprompter.  

Update: 05-01-09 Great Analysis of Obama/Israel Situation

Norman Podhoretz weighs in with a great article, "How Obama's America Might Threaten Israel" in the current issue of Commentary Magazine. It is a must read article for anyone trying to make meaning out of the Obama Administration's viewpoint on Middle Eastern relations with respect to Israel.

Original blog entry ...

While the mainstream media is concentrating on the “swine” flu and Obama’s 100th day in office, are they deliberately hiding a news report that would pose serious problems for U.S.-Israel relations.

Reported by the DEBKAfile  …

“Talks on Iranian corridor for US troops, supplies to Afghanistan on fast track”

“On March 27, DEBKA-Net-Weekly 390 revealed exclusively Barack Obama's plans ‘to transform the Khomeinist Islamic Republic's clenched fist against America into a helping hand by formally asking Tehran to permit the passage to Afghanistan of fresh US troops, weapons and supplies across Iranian territory.’"

Collaborating with the enemy that is assisting terrorists and insurgents to kill American soldiers?

“In its follow-up of April 3, our military sources reported that US defense secretary Robert Gates, Chief of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and transport command chief Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, have laid before the president a detailed plan, which had been cleared in back-door meetings between US and Iranian officers.”

“DEBKAfile's sources ask how much leverage against Iran's drive for a nuclear bomb will be left to Washington when the US becomes dependent on Tehran for its war supplies to Afghanistan.”

“Tuesday, April 28, US envoy Dennis Ross set out on an extensive tour for pouring oil on troubled waters in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar. He is accompanied by the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, Lt. Gen. John R. Allen, and National Security Council official Puneet Talwar.”

Playing a dangerous game with traditional enemies …

“Like secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who promised in Beirut this week that the US was not selling Lebanon out by dealing with Syria, Ross will try and reassure America's Arab friends that Washington's new ties of friendship and strategic cooperation with Tehran will not be at their expense.”'

In a culture where the enemy of my enemy is my friend …

Egypt is signally its willingness to team up with Israel to counter those ties, with Saudi Arabia quietly following suit.”

Operational specificity?

“According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly's April 3 report, the US Air Base at Al Udeid in Qatar would be the main hub for the air corridor taking US transport planes over the Persian Gulf, crossing the Iranian border and flying over southern and central Iran up to their destination, the US airbase near Kandahar in southern Afghanistan.”

“The sea route would hinge on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' main naval base at Chah-Bahar, which is situated on the Arabian Sea near Iran's border with Pakistan.”

“DEBKA-Net-Weekly's Iranian sources note that Chah-Bahar has two sections, a small, run-down civilian harbor for small craft arriving from India and Pakistan, and a spanking new, modern military facility, home to Iran's main submarine force.”

“The US planners rated this section of Chah-Bahar an ideal port of call for US provisions to reach Afghanistan by a predominantly sea route. From this Arabian Sea port, consignments would head north through Iran's Sistan-va-Baluchistan up to the Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan border intersection and then turn east by convoy to their destination at Kandahar.”

Impact on Iran’s nuclear ambitions …

Is it possible that a deal between the United States and Iran would include an Iranian promise to not attack Israel with nuclear weaponry in exchange for some form of normalized relations with the mullahs? And fall short of halting their nuclear weapon development under the guise of possible increased inspections of their developing peaceful (wink-wink) nuclear energy resources.

Iran is already in deep trouble …

Demographic analysis tends to indicate that Iran is in deep trouble as their birth rates are plummeting and the availability of young men to defend its government, oil and borders are rapidly declining. Not only does an increased religious influence repress the birth rate, but the actual undesirability of life under the mullahs is repressive in and of itself. The nation becoming more and more desperate to stay viable and relevant as time progresses.

Why this might be an important indicator of things to come …

While the talking-head generals are busy talking strategy and tactics, those that really know what is about to happen are talking about logistics. And, this Debka article is short on strategy and long on logistics which lends a certain amount of credence to the story.

The Biden Prophesy …

“ABC News' Matthew Jaffe Reports: Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., on Sunday guaranteed that if elected, Sen. Barack Obama., D-Ill., will be tested by an international crisis within his first six months in power and he will need supporters to stand by him as he makes tough, and possibly unpopular, decisions.”
" ‘Mark my words,’ the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. ‘It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.’"
" ‘I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate,’ Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities. ‘And he's gonna need help. And the kind of help he's gonna need is, he's gonna need you - not financially to help him - we're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right." <Source>

Indefensible actions, unknown consequences and the unknown road …

I, personally, do not have a great deal of faith in any leader who requires pre-written speeches and “remarks” delivered with a TelePrompTer to sound coherent. Obama’s almost unbelievable reliance on the prompter only reinforces my beliefs that he lacks core values and cannot easily speak extemporaneously about his beliefs, ideas, knowledge and his ideological path for America. Or perhaps, that is what he doesn’t want to discuss as many in America might find it either incomprehensible or abhorrent.

At some point in time, the American people will have to answer a single question about their leaders, be it Obama or any other leader. How many Americans will have to die before we collectively decide, as American citizens, where political perfidy and diplomacy ends and treason begins?

What I do know …

The Middle East has always been a tinderbox of seething tribal warfare and the industrialized nation’s dependence on oil reserves has fueled a buildup of more sophisticated arms and provided the funds to purchase political influence in the capitals of the world – ours included.

With a limited number of exceptions, we are facing leaders who care nothing for their people other than as cannon fodder to insure their own survival. Religion and fear motivate their citizens. Human rights are almost non-existent. And they hate our guts – primarily for the potential to expose their followers to a life which would result in an overthrow of their kingdoms and result in a long torturous death for themselves and their most ardent followers.

While Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doesn’t exactly run the country, his anti-Israel and anti-American rhetoric cannot be ignored. Here is a religious nutcase who wants to bring about the return of his God’s emissary by precipitating a catastrophe. When are people going to take these despots at their word?

It’s not the Iranian people that’s the problem …

Take a walk down Westwood Boulevard, South of Wilshire Boulevard (near the UCLA campus) and you will find scores of Iranian shopkeepers. Reasonable people who practice their religion in peace and acceptance. Friendly people who want nothing more than to earn a living, educate their children and prosper. And these are the very same people who travel to Iran and see what the mullahs have wrought. Of course, one suspects that foreign agents are at work within the community to tamp down resentment and dissent over what their former nation has become. This is the world the mullahs are afraid we will export. A cadre of infidels who will corrupt their power base and lead to revolt.

In some instances, Saudi Arabia is far more devious, treacherous and dangerous as they are actively exporting wahabism around the world and it is often in these Mosques that Jihad is being preached. They will do anything to protect their Kingdom -- including involving the United States in a manufactured war.

What might Obama do?

Unfortunately, I do not have a direct line to George Soros and others of his ilk who fervently wish that the United States was transformed into just another member of the international community – to be manipulated by those possessing enough wealth to buy political influence. And I fear that no one really knows what Obama might do. Or even the person behind the prompter who tells him what to say. Unfair, you argue. I am being mean-spirited and petty. You bet – look at this President’s background, associations and current political actions. Now tell me why I should have faith in his brand of hope and change?

This is an ongoing story and it might even be covered in the mainstream media as soon as the hoopla over Obama’s 100-day non-accomplishments simmers down.

Truth be told, the problem of the Middle East is potentially solvable. First, we implement a crash program of nuclear energy generation and reduce our foreign dependence on oil – as well as stop providing money to support these toxic regimes. By financially isolating these nations and refusing to sell advanced weaponry (and sanctioning those that do), there might be a workable solution to the Middle East problem. And second we deal with the Palestinian issue by encouraging each of the major Arab nations to designate a portion of their lands as a permanent Palestinian refuge – much in the same way that Israel was created by the British with a stroke of a pen on a map in the hot afternoon sun.

Quite unlikely in a world run by wealthy and influential individuals for their own benefit. 

-- steve

P.S.  The thought that Rahm Emanuel, whose father was an Israeli (Irgun) freedom fighter (terrorist if you are being politically correct and taking the Arab viewpoint), will somehow convince Obama to increase support for Israeli causes is highly doubtful. Especially given Obama's previous associations with Louis Farrakahn and Reverend Wright -- both of whom appear to be anti-Semitic, racist and and anti-American. It is unknown how Hillary Clinton will behave in this stituation -- given that she needed the support of Orthodox Jews to win her New York Senate Seat. 


“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



Spinning Obama's 100 days in office: the media myths continue ...

Thank you to Politico.com who published an article titled “100 days: What Obama wants you to read.” The well-written piece contains 7 key message points that are being put forth by the Administration in their attempt to keep the mainstream media, many of who are already in the tank for Obama and his far-left activist agenda, focused in their propaganda efforts.

But, they also leave their fingerprints on all subsequent articles and programs … as well as giving us an easy way to analyze his actual performance.

“Here are seven things the White House wants reporters to write:

  • Obama is a promise-keeper. 
  • Obama is a game-changer. 
  • Obama is the decider. 
  • Obama’s not in the bubble. 
  • Obama is not FDR. 
  • Obama is FDR. 
  • Obama is one cool cucumber.

And here is the truth as I see it …

Obama is a promise-keeper, rewarding those who are corrupt, complacent or incompetent with high-ranking positions in return for their support. Doling out billions of dollars to special interests, including the unions, housing activists and others who were able to “get out the vote.”

Obama is a game changer as he radically moves this center-right nation closer and closer to a socialistic nation relying on soviet-style central planning and governmental intervention in all matters, big and small. Obama has done more to insure the bankruptcy and continued corruption of the political/special interests cabal than any previous president.

Obama is a decider, picking and choosing among options that are presented to him without doing any of the heavy lifting that was apparent in the Bush and Clinton regimes. He has decided to keep many of the Bush-era programs in place, but decided simply to re-name them lest he be associated with actions which he loudly condemned during his candidacy.

Obama is not in the bubble is the political-speak equivalent of an oxymoron. Of course he is in the bubble; the President by virtue of his position is always surrounded by advisers and supplicants. To the extent that Obama stages interactions with his friends and others in the larger community, most of them have been pre-vetted to insure that they conform with Obama’s outlook on life and do not present a questioning or disruptive viewpoint that might be used by Obama’s political opposition. More than former President Bush, this man is not only in the bubble – he created the bubble. When all is said and done, merely observing Obama’s actions proves him to be an “elitist.”

Obama is not FDR any more than FDR was FDR. The reference to FDR is a synthetic compilation of actions, outcomes subject to  media and historical musings. When Obama declares himself not to be FDR-like, he is referring to all of the negativity surrounding the FDR presidency and the fact that his actions prolonged the great depression and moved this nation closer towards socialism. FDR was all about creating victims and big government as the solution.

Obama is FDR in that he wants to be thought of as the savior of a nation and the right man at the right place at the right time. That is he wants to be associated with the mantle of greatness – even though that mantle is more fiction than fact.

Obama is “cool as a cucumber” is an apt description, although a more descriptive one would be that Obama is a “detached” president. Viewing everything from on high with his elitist viewpoint and superior attitude. I believe his is the ultimate “empty suit.” Telegenic and as articulate as un-enlightened as the fictional Ted Baxter who also relied on a TelePrompTer and the words of others to sound intelligent. Remove the TelePrompTer and he is hard pressed to appear both knowledgeable and presidential.

The real Obama remains an unknown quantity …

I know of no other President whose past personal history is shrouded in mystery and whose past associations are so dark and nefarious. Able to clear up the controversy about his citizenship by simply ordering the authorities to release his original birth certificate, he has chosen not to do so. He has also refused (à la Bill Clinton) to release his health records. In addition, he has revealed little or nothing about his past friendships or associations during his early years.

I know of no other president whose history is replete with examples of high-accomplishment while simultaneously not utilizing those accomplishments for any particular purpose. Almost as if the attainment of the title were enough to move him forward on a progressive path.

And I know of no other President who has allowed the Congress to set the final agenda in crafting “signature” legislation without exerting more input and control – other than to sign what was placed in front of him.

My impression of the sum total of President Obama’s first 100 days is that he appears to be a more toxic president that Jimmy Carter and will do more lasting damage to the United States than any other president in the history of the nation. He is a stage-managed empty suit who won office based on his so-called “black” background (even while technically being half-white) and the fact that a large portion of the media so thoroughly demonized the Presidency of George Bush – that merely running as the anti-Bush/Cheney was enough to overcome the tipping point and move him into office.

And like Rush Limbaugh, I do not wish him to succeed in turning our nation into a bankrupt, entitlement-driven, corrupt society that panders to special interests and makes our nation into the world’s largest Chicago or Detroit.

Feel free to disagree with me via the comment’s block at the end of this blog entry or via the e-mail link found under my picture.

Be well, be safe and take care of yourself and your family first.

-- steve











Research Links …
100 days: What Obama wants you to read - Politico.com Print View


“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



IRONY: Official who authorized scary "photo op" overfly of Manhattan also served as a Director of failed IndyMac Bank ... (Updated)

Update: (02): 04-29-09 It seems that there might be more to this story ...

"The F-16 had a red tail which signifies it was from the 100th Fighting Squadron, the famous Tuskegee Airmen, reactivated in 2007. Perfect flyover shot for tonight's speech - the 100th FS representing an all Black squadron from WWII. I mean if you just needed any old F-16, there were many closer than Alabama. Pic clearly shows red tail."  <Source> <Photo Source>

There seems to be evidence that this was just more than a routine photo shoot authorized by a rather low-level White House functionary. Why else would they use an F-16 clearly identified with a historic black fighter squadron?

Update: (01): 04-29-09 It seems that Louis Caldera also had trouble holding his position at the University of New Mexico ...

"University of New Mexico President Louis Caldera, who has had several disagreements with the school's regents over the past year, announced Wednesday he will take an immediate leave of absence. Neither Caldera nor the regents - who had called a special meeting Wednesday to discuss the president's contract - detailed what led him to resign. The university released a statement saying that by mutual agreement, Caldera would not seek an extension of his contract as president beyond its July 31, 2007, expiration. Over the past year, Caldera and the regents disagreed on efforts to tighten admission standards and over a program to give bonuses to top administrators - a program the board initially supported."  <Source> Caldera reportedly received $700,000 and a position as a tenured law professor as part of the settlement.

Apparently like Obama, apparently Caldera has parlayed his ethnicity and high-achievements into several imporant positions. But, he is either extremely unlucky or, like Obama, fails upward as a reward for leaving a messy situation behind.  But the most damning item that I could find is his association with La Raza, an openly racist organization whose moto is (For the race, everything; for others, nothing).

During his time in the Clinton administration, Caldera also worked closely with former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. Caldera also has ties to several Latino organizations, including the National Council of La Raza, where White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs head Cecilia Munoz worked. <Source> Like Obama, Caldera is believed to have associated himself with the group as a matter of convenience and to enhance his standing in the Latino community.

Original Blog Entry ...

Did the Obama Administration throw Louis Caldera under the bus?

Louis Caldera, identified by the Obama Administration as the Director of the White House Military Office which coordinates military operations for the White House, is responsible for authorizing the flyover which scared the bejesus out of New Yorkers, many of whom looked up and saw a 747 being trailed by fighter jets and though they were about to be involved in another 9/11 terrorist incident.

Caldera, with a history of outstanding educational credentials (West Point BA, Harvard MBA and law degree) and professional accomplishments (Clinton appointee as the Secretary of the Army) was also a Director of IndyMac Bank from 2002 until its government takeover by the FDIC in 2008. He was also associated with the A.H. Belo Corporation as a "Director at Belo's failing newspaper division from 2000 to 2008, a period in which the company's newspaper division saw catastrophic decline and circulation scandals." <Source>

Which raises the question of poor timing or poor judgment. Or simply a loyal troop expected to fall on his sword for the “great one?”

From the announcement of his Indy Mac Board appointment … 

(May 13, 2002)  “The Company also today announced (a) the appointment of Louis Caldera to serve on IndyMac's Board and (b) the appointment of both Louis Caldera and Lydia Kennard to serve on the Board of Directors of IndyMac Bank.”

“Mr. Caldera, 46, is Vice Chancellor for University Advancement of The California State University System, the largest four-year university system in the Country. Prior to joining CSU, Mr. Caldera held two appointed posts in the Clinton administration. He served as Secretary of the Army from 1998 to 2001 and Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service from 1997 to 1998. Mr. Caldera was elected to three terms in the California State Assembly, representing the 46th District, located in and around downtown Los Angeles, from 1992 to 1997. During his tenure with the California State Assembly, Mr. Caldera chaired various financial committees, including the Banking Committee. Prior to his election to the Assembly, he worked as a deputy county counsel for the County of Los Angeles and as an attorney in private practice, including at the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers.”

“Mr. Caldera currently serves on the board of directors of Belo Corporation and has served on numerous boards and commissions, including the National Commission on the Senior Year in High School, the Panama Canal Commission and the Pacific Counsel on International Policy. He was recently honored with the Department of Defense's Distinguished Civilian Award and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Chairman's Award. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.” <Source>

Bad judgment or a cover-up?

Some of us in the blogosphere are wondering if the Obama Administration got caught filming footage to be used in a future Obama campaign – which would clearly be an illegal political activity.

The cover-story that the Air Force needed a new photo of Air Force One and the Statue of Liberty to hand out as a thank you to people associated with Air Force One visits to airports seems quite lame. Especially when existing photos could have been used or the plane simply photo-shopped into a photo of the Statue.

Considering the running costs of $60,000/hour for Air Force One plus the costs of the F-16 fighters and other associated costs (reportedly a total of $328,835) , it does not seem to be a cost efficient measure by a White House facing a dire fiscal emergency. The announcement that the “photo op” was only part of a routine training mission also rings hollow; especially when one considers that the FAA threatened people with federal sanctions should the news leak out to the public.

Their excuse that they did not want the low-flying aircraft to be a target also rings somewhat hollow as the aircraft must fly low on landing and take-off and is prepared to deal with such contingencies.

Eventually the truth will emerge. Until then, it is all part and parcel of an Obama Administration which features curious associations and seems to operate on style over substance.

-- steve

Just asking ... Could this be another democrat practice of parking past and future democrat officals in regulated financial institutions?  Especially considering that Henry Cisneros, the disgraced former Secretary of HUD under Clinton, was also on the Board of Directors of Countrywide Funding (Indy Mac was founded by Countrywide) almost up until its forced takeover by Bank of America? 


“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



Arlen Specter: Another Corrupt "Professional" Politician?

Update(02): Never let it be said that I do not listen to my readers ...

One asked me what I would have Specter do?

The answer is simple. Resign your office and run under your new party's designation thus giving the people you serve, your constituents, the final say on your party affiliation.

And one said that I slandered hard working honest whores -- I will retract my former usage and denote Arlen Specter as a quisling.

"Quisling, after Norwegian politician Vidkun Quisling, who assisted Nazi Germany to conquer his own country, is a term used to describe traitors ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quisling"

Yes the language may be harsh, but it is appropriate considering that the Obama Administration is bent on enlarging government, raising taxes, reducing personal liberties and moving the country towards European socialism -- complete with lack of economic growth, high unemployment, toxic employee unions and a weakened military. To become the final vote in sealing the deal for total democrat control of the Senate and to turn your back on 28 years of Republicanism -- all for self-preservation in the political arena is dispicable and should be noted as such. In my opinion, to allow President Obama to campaign for or with him in the 2010 election cycle would be the ultimate "finger" to his constituents, to his party and to his country.

Update(01):  What we have here is a political whore -- engaging in the politics of personal preservation, rather than acting out of principle or on behalf of his constituency. A professional politician who claims that after 28 years of service, he was  "not prepared to have that record obliterated by the conservative primary electorate."

Can this man be trusted in any party? Probably not! Once a turncoat, always a turncoat. Like supporting the worst and most costly piece of legislation in the history of the United States in exchange  for what?

Original blog post ...

Surprise! Arlen Specter (R-PA) is about to switch parties to become a democrat in the 2010 election cycle. Considering his past liberal votes, often against his own Republican Party, one should not be surprised or shocked by this revelation being reported by Human Events.

“HUMAN EVENTS has learned from staff sources that Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa) is about to announce his switch to the Democratic Party.”

“Specter, a five-term Republican and ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is facing a tough primary challenge next year from former Club for Growth president Pat Toomey.  He was one of the three Republicans to support President Obama’s stimulus bill, and his liberal approach to many issues -- from his devoted opposition to the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork to his support for illegal alien amnesty programs -- earned him a low ACU rating of 43 in 2006.  This switch will give the Democrats their 60-seat filibuster-proof majority.”

Should he be sued by his constituents and donors?

Specter’s announcement might be actionable on the grounds that he allegedly misrepresented his intentions and allegiance when running for office and collecting donations from voters and others who believed his candidacy was based on his support of the Republican Party. Fraud, misrepresentation and taking money under false pretenses comes to mind.

Should he be recalled and an emergency election held?

Considering that the voters of his state voted for a candidate based on his representations that he would faithfully execute his office as a Republican, might it not be reasonable, especially considering his past voting records, to now remove him from office based on his alleged material false statements of support for the Republican Party.

Should he be deemed a “pariah” in both parties?

Considering a Senator must, first and foremost, be a person of their word, is it not logical to assume that once a person is declared a “turncoat” that they can no longer be trusted to faithfully execute the duties of any office?

Will the Republican Party immediately revoke his party membership and sanction him for the obvious misrepresentation of his position?

Another Arnold Schwarzenegger?

By all accounts, Specter was considered a RINO (Republican In Name Only) much like California’s Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who often appoints democrats to high positions in his administration, appoints termed-out democrats to lucrative boards and commissions, fails to veto outrageous democrat spending and, in my opinion, has been a single-man wrecking crew for the State of California.

With our nation facing grave danger from corrupt or complacent politicians who seem to pursue their own personal and professional interests above the interests of the people they were sworn to represent, is it not time to clean out this nest of vipers before they cripple the nation with their social engineering and profligate spending.

As for RINO weasels like Specter and Schwarzenegger, can you really trust them to do the people’s business if they cannot be trusted to keep their word to the voters who elected them?

Capture2-11-2009-6.54.19 PM

-- steve


“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



Mayo Clinic backs Microsoft health records storage site, so what?

Big deal! And in every sense of the word, it is a big deal. An association between the Mayo Clinic and Microsoft’s Health Vault initiative. A big deal for both of them; and not necessarily for you.

Why would you want a central repository of your medical records?

Not having to fill-out those damn duplicative forms each and every time you visit a doctors office. Hand-carrying x-rays and reports from doctor to doctor. It does have its attractions.

But, while it seems like a great idea at first, upon closer examination, you may want to reconsider allowing any commercial vendor, including Microsoft, Google or others to store your medical records.

My objections are extremely simple:

One, your medical records may be incomplete and contain conflicting information.

It is a fact that a doctor’s file is a chronological hodge-podge of test results interspersed with your doctor’s notes and impressions. The copies of the test results may be faxed results from the lab and somewhat illegible. Your health changes from period-to-period and the results of tests and impressions may be extremely time-sensitive, with older records being of more or less importance as time moves forward. Over-size records such as x-rays, MRI scans are often stored separately from your medical record and may be accessible only on demand.

For those who see a PCP (Primary Care Physician) and then a referred specialist, the information may be stored in two or more places and be duplicative of information stored elsewhere.

Many doctors do not want to assume the time, expense and responsibility for converting your paper documents into electronic format. And those records which are mass-scanned into imaging systems are often less than legible. Doctors who use the same data and reach conflicting conclusions may introduce even more danger into the review process if one set of records is automated and one is not.

Two, your doctor may not have the time, ability or willingness to review your history thoroughly.

Doctors, on a fifteen-minute rotation schedule are not apt to take the time and effort to review your records unless you bring up something very specific. Specialists are more likely to review records from other specialists within their specialty than a more thorough history. In many instances, your interaction with a nurse taking a preliminary history is more important to the process of obtaining quality care than you might think. The nurses are the ones with more time, more receptivity and more willingness to accept your written materials.

Much of the benefits of the commercial records systems are based on, and in my opinion incorrectly, their availability during an emergency. However, emergency room physicians are taught to take nothing for granted and often conduct their own tests. Supplementary medical information may be helpful in determining a diagnosis or treatment plan, but for the most part, ER doctors do not spend a lot of time in record reviews, relying mostly on a patient’s oral history. Many ER physicians, nurses and clerical staff might have a great deal of reluctance to sign-on to a third-party site to retrieve medical information about which they know little or nothing. Especially if the site can convey harmful viruses and malware into their trusted and protected systems.

Three, records must be stored in a common, easy-to-use format which allows a doctor to drill down to the data that is required to deal with the matter at hand.

As you must know from following the news, few doctors are capable of accessing and analyzing records contained on external systems. This is the basis for President Obama’s healthcare initiative that would develop common data formats and interchange methods. And, when that happens, all of the information may need to be re-formatted or, in some cases, ignored in hardcopy (paper and film) files. As of now, most data is stored in a somewhat proprietary record format specific to a particular software vendor. While their are standards (such as HL7), use is optional and far from mandatory.

Four, there is the probability that your medical records will remain inaccessible in a true emergency.

In a wide-spread disaster, there is no time for the luxury of being able to access medical information from the field. Information stored in a multiplicity of electronic sites may be just as unavailable as paper records stored in a doctor’s office.

Five, your records, no matter how well-maintained, no matter how large and strong the vendor who maintains your records, may become unavailable or compromised in various ways.

We have learned from the compromise of medical records at the world-class UCLA hospital that it is often employees with full and complete access that divulge confidential information. Whether for personal curiosity, profit or revenge, it happens more frequently than you might suspect.

Your vendor may, for various and sundry reasons, become unable to provide your records in a timely manner.

And certainly, one would expect that there are few or no provisions to electronically export your formatted data to another healthcare records system maintained by a competitor.

And six, these records can be accessed and used in ways that are unintended by the user who does have some reasonable expectation of privacy.

More on that later.

And these are just a few of my basic concerns.

So let’s see if the Mayo Clinic endorsement changes any of the pertinent facts or concerns …

Mayo Clinic backs new personal health record site

According to the Associated Press …

“The Mayo Clinic has combined its medical expertise with Microsoft Corp.'s technology in a free Web site launching Tuesday that will let people store personal health and medical information.”

“The Mayo Clinic Health Manager, as the site is called, is one of many emerging services for so-called personal health records. The sites, from companies such as Microsoft and Google Inc. and major health insurers, are meant to give people an easy way to stash medical information and transfer it to a new clinic, hospital or specialist. But those providers aren't necessarily ready for such an electronic revolution, which for now means it takes some work on the patient's part to set up and maintain the records.”

“The Mayo Clinic Health Manager uses Microsoft's HealthVault system to store medical histories, test results, immunization files and other records from doctors' offices and hospital visits, along with data from home devices like heart rate monitors.”  

“Anyone can sign up for an account, not just Mayo Clinic patients. Users can give access to different slices of their health information to doctors and family members as the need arises.”

In an emergency, do you want to be the one to authorize each individual doctor, facility, pharmacy and others to access your medical data?

“The site prompts people to get started by answering questions about their family medical history and current and past health problems, allergies and medications. Based on that information plus age, gender and other factors, the site recommends additional tasks _ scheduling a mammogram, for instance _ and articles for further reading.”

As far as I am concerned, much of this personal information can be considered anecdotal and should be segregated from verifiable medical information from authorized and trusted sources. The fact that the system will provide follow-up information points to some level of third-party integration possibly with unknown or unexplained commercial relationships. And the system may say nothing about the selection of a competent, caring physician other than to provide a list of  physicians associated with a particular facility, group or organization.

“In the health care system of the future, sites like Mayo Clinic's might connect seamlessly with pharmacies, hospitals and doctors' offices to update records. Today, however, while Microsoft's HealthVault system can connect to some pharmacies, insurance companies and providers, most doctors have yet to invest in an electronic system. For patients, that means typing the results of surgeries, lab tests and other information into the Health Manager themselves.”

Not only will patients not have access to their full medical records, but the danger in typing-in medical records by an untrained person is dangerous and can be extremely deadly if one misspells a single drug or refers to it by a brand name unknown to the doctor without further research. And there is always the possibility that a patient may decide to omit or edit medical details which makes the validity and usefulness of the entire record useless. What doctor, in his right mind, would rely on medical records that could be altered by the patient or any third-party? There is a reason doctors suspect patient-provided information.

Example:  Digoxin: Digitalis preparation (trade name Lanoxin) used to treat congestive heart failure or cardiac arrhythmia; helps the heart beat more forcefully. "Digoxin" is a common misspelling or typo for: dioxin, any of several toxic or carcinogenic hydrocarbons that occur as impurities in herbicides. <Source> And there are any number of frequent misspellings – including those made by doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers.

Continuing with the Mayo story …

Privacy advocates urge people who want to set up a personal health record online to read the fine print. Deven McGraw, director of the health privacy project at the Washington-based Center for Democracy and Technology, said sites like the Mayo Clinic Health Manager aren't currently covered by national laws that specify cases in which health care systems can access and share information without patients' consent.”

The basic law covering the security of health information, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is never mentioned – not even once. 

The devil is in the details …

As I have said on a number of occasions, the devil is in the details – or in this case – the privacy and usage agreements that control the user’s acceptance of the conditions set forth by Microsoft to use their Health Vault product.

From: www.healthvault.com … 

HealthVault Information Site Service Agreement (Last updated: June 2008)

“This Service Agreement applies to the HealthVault information site at www.healthvault.com, which is referred to in this Service Agreement as the “Service.” These terms do not apply to the Microsoft HealthVault Account or to other programs or device drivers that work with the HealthVault Account. Those have separate agreements. This applies to your use of the Service including updates that you use while this Service Agreement is in force.

You need to read and understand each individual agreement and how they may interrelate and it is your responsibility to check multiple sites on a daily basis to find policy and procedure changes. Not for me!

Please note that we do not provide warranties for the Service. The Service Agreement also limits our liability. The terms are in sections 8 and 9, and we ask you to read them carefully.”

There are no guarantees that the service will be accessible if and when you need it.

“2. How you may use the Service.

In using the Service, you will:

    • obey the law;
    • obey any codes of conduct or other notices we provide;
    • obey the Microsoft Anti-Spam Policy;
    • keep your Service account password secret; and
    • promptly notify us if you learn of a security breach related to the Service.”
“3. How you may not use the Service.

In using the Service, you may not:

  • use the Service in a way that harms us or our affiliates, resellers, distributors, and/or vendors (collectively, the “Microsoft parties”), or any customer of a Microsoft party;
  • use any portion of the Service as a destination linked from any unsolicited bulk messages or unsolicited commercial messages (“spam”);
  • use any unauthorized third party software or service to access the Microsoft instant messaging network (currently known as the .NET Messenger service);
  • use any automated process or service (such as a BOT, a spider, periodic caching of information stored by Microsoft, or “meta-searching”) to access and/or use the Service;
  • use any unauthorized means to modify or reroute, or attempt to modify or reroute, the Service;
  • damage, disable, overburden, or impair the Service (or the network(s) connected to the Service) or interfere with anyone’s use and enjoyment of the Service; or
  • resell or redistribute the Service, or any part of the Service.”
“4. Privacy.

“We consider your use of the Service to be private. However, we may access or disclose information about you, your account and/or the content of your communications, in order to: (1) comply with the law or legal process served on us; (2) enforce and investigate potential violations of this Service Agreement; including use of this Service to participate in, or facilitate, activities that violate the law; or (3) protect the rights, property, or safety of Microsoft, its employees, its customers or the public. You consent to the access and disclosures outlined in this section.”

Note the section about compliance with the law. In some cases, vendors have turned over information with nothing more than an administrative request or data has been provided by security personnel with tied to their old agencies. In many cases, vendors will not notify you before turning over information thus depriving you of a chance to quash the request with a challenge as to its legality or breadth. Even worse, your insurance company can access this data by simply providing a “release” that you signed as a condition of insurance – even to the extent of using this information to deny your claim or store your information in a third-party medical database maintained by the insurance industry.

We may use technology or other means to protect the Service, protect our customers, or stop you from breaching this Service Agreement. These means may include, for example, filtering to stop spam or increase security. These means may hinder or break your use of the Service.”

“In order to provide you the Service, we may collect certain information about Service performance, your machine and your Service use. We may automatically upload this information from your machine. This data will not personally identify you. You may read about this information collection in more detail in the HealthVault Information Site Privacy Statement.”

Even though a vendor may claim that information collection does not contain personal information, almost all documents produced by the major software vendors may contained embedded codes known as GUIDS (Globally Unique IDentifiers) which can link the document to the software and system which produced the file. These codes are often transmitted to the vendor as part of the software registration process.

“6. Microsoft authentication network.

We may provide you with credentials on our authentication network to use with the Service. You are solely responsible for any dealings with third parties (including advertisers) who use our authentication network, including providing such parties any information and the delivery of and payment for goods and services. This Service Agreement applies to you whenever you use the credentials you obtained with the Service. When you use our authentication network to gain access to any site, the terms and conditions for that site, if different from this Service Agreement, may also apply to you in your use of that site. Please refer to the terms of use for each site that you visit. We may cancel or suspend your access to our authentication network for inactivity, which we define as failing to sign in to our authentication network for an extended period, as determined by us. If we cancel your credentials, your right to use our authentication network immediately ceases.”

“7. How we may change the Service Agreement.

We may change this Service Agreement in our discretion by posting new applicable terms and conditions. If you do not agree to the changes, then you must stop using the Service. If you do not stop using the Service, then your use of the Service will continue under the changed Service Agreement.”

“8. WE MAKE NO WARRANTY.

We provide the Service “as-is,” “with all faults” and “as available.” We do not guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of information available from the Service. Microsoft gives no express warranties, guarantees or conditions. You may have additional consumer rights under your local laws that this Service Agreement cannot change. We exclude any implied warranties including those of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, workmanlike effort and non-infringement.”

“9. LIABILITY LIMITATION.

You can recover from Microsoft only direct damages up to an amount you pay Microsoft for this Service. You cannot recover any other damages, including consequential, lost profits, special, indirect, incidental or punitive damages.”

“This limitation applies to anything related to:

    • the Service,
    • content (including code) on third party Internet sites, third party programs or third party conduct,
    • viruses or other disabling features that affect your access to or use of the Service,
    • incompatibility between the Service and other services, software and hardware,
    • delays or failures you may have in initiating, conducting or completing any transmissions or transactions in connection with the Service in an accurate or timely manner, and
    • claims for breach of this Service Agreement, breach of warranty, guarantee or condition, strict liability, negligence, or other tort.

It also applies even if:

    • this remedy does not fully compensate you for any losses, or fails of its essential purpose; or
    • Microsoft knew or should have known about the possibility of the damages.

“Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitations or exclusions may not apply to you.”

“10. Changes to the Service; If we cancel the Service.

We may change the Service or delete features at any time and for any reason. We may cancel or suspend your Service at any time. Our cancellation or suspension may be without cause and/or without notice. Upon Service cancellation, your right to use the Service stops right away.” 

“Microsoft HealthVault Information Site Beta Version Privacy Statement ("Last updated: June 2008)”

“Microsoft is committed to protecting your privacy. This Privacy Statement applies to the data collected by Microsoft through the HealthVault information site at www.HealthVault.com (the "Site"). It does not apply to data collected through the Microsoft HealthVault Account, other programs that work with the HealthVault Account, or other online or offline Microsoft sites, products or services. This is a preliminary disclosure and may not be exhaustive.”

So what do we know now?

One, we know the vendor is not responsible, on any level, for errors, omissions, availability, backup, retention or any other thing – including the adherence to any local, state or federal privacy requirements. Except possibly to refund the money you have already paid for the service. Which, the service being free, means being responsible for NOTHING!

Nice!

You are relying on the information being available only to find out it is unavailable because your account was canceled. There is no mention of a backup method that would allow you to keep your information safe in the case of a vendor mishap. There is also no mention about if and when such information is (if ever) purged from the system. And there is nothing that would keep the vendor from selling the information in an aggregated form (without specific identifiers) which does not stop information users from attempting to identify individuals using information from other databases. 

There is nothing to prevent an insurance company, using your own signed release, to access these records for any purpose under the sun.

Bottom line …

You have a system that may or not be useful, you have a vendor who may or may not act appropriately in your best interests and you have a medical system that will, in all likelihood, not use the system. And you don’t know if the data is secure and always available; so why bother?

This is not meant to disparage the necessity of maintaining authenticated medical records under strict privacy legislation or the efforts of any vendor or organization that is attempting to enter the field of health records. It is meant as a “full disclosure” cautionary note for first adopters to insure that they understand the basis on which they provide private and non-public information to a commercial enterprise.

What I would do …

Having some degree of familiarity with both medical systems and data processing, I would consider the following.

If I had a specialty condition or poor health, I would consider putting together a summary of current information about myself. Starting with a list of my physicians, their contact information and their specialties. I would compile a list of my drugs including their purpose, dosages, and frequency of use. I would ask my doctor to review the information and provide the results of any specialty information which he believes may be relevant should I require emergency medical care. I would then have this information duplicated and stored in several secure locations. Possibly turned into microform (e.g. microfilm) or an electronic image and placed with a trustworthy person or organization.

I would be more inclined to trust an organization such as MedicAlert in Turlock California before I would trust Microsoft, Google or any other Johnnie-come-lately commercial vendor. They have a long history of providing services to patients and a good record regarding patient data confidentiality. Caveat: read their user agreement thoroughly as it may contain some of the same disclaimers as commercial service providers. But all things being equal, they have my personal trust and respect for their past good works and performance.

Be well, be safe and take care of yourself and your family first.

-- steve

Reference links:

Mayo Clinic backs new personal health record site - washingtonpost.com

OBAMA STIMULUS: COMPROMISING YOUR HEALTH RECORDS FOR POLITICS AND PROFITS|OneCitizenSpeaking

Danger: The SINGLE most important key to protecting your health records! | One Citizen Speaking

Microsoft HealthVault: Can you trust Microsoft or any other commercial vendor with your health information? One Citizen Speaking


“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



What will Obama's TelePrompTer say in the President's 100-day news conference with hand-picked, pre-screened "journalists?"

Welcome to another snooze-fest, where President Obama can look Presidential while delivering another lecture to the American people. Or recount the Administration’s great 100-day milestones and achievements. I wonder if he plans to congratulate the Navy on the rescue of hostage and mention the FBI to be politically correct?

Perhaps the message should really be: “Don’t look behind the curtains – the wizard is really a TelePrompTer operator. My only question is whether or not he will use his Stevie Wonder (look right, left, right, left) prompter or the big machine at the back of the room which leaves him looking straight at the America he is attempting to subvert with his egregious domestic policy and almost non-existent foreign policy which seems unseemly and overly apologetic.

According to the Associated Press …

“Obama plans prime-time news conference Wednesday”

“President Barack Obama will hold his third prime-time news conference on Wednesday, his 100th day in office.”

“Obama will answer questions from reporters in the East Room beginning at 8 p.m. EDT, the White House said.”

Now that he does not have to pay for extensive media coverage for his continuing campaign, will he hold one  press conference per month to distract the American public from what he is really doing behind the scenes?

Will the headline be: “Breaking news: Obama says nothing new nor substantive!?” As they say, stay tuned …

-- steve

Reference links:

Obama plans prime-time news conference Wednesday


“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



The Global Warming Paradox: Can a man-made computer model's "output" be accepted as FACT?

The goal of computer models are simply to simulate the past physical experience to the greatest degree possible and then to use the same calculations to project a likely future experience.

Models usually fall into two basic categories: those which accept historical data as input and by a process of curve-filling or pattern recognition attempt to match some time-slice of reality and those which use equations purported to describe physical phenomena and attempt to match some time-slice of reality. The fact that the model’s output appears to match some time-slice of reality is often the primary factor in the acceptance of the model’s validity.

But, truth-be-told, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. We have cellular automata models which use very few computational rules and produce beautify pictures of what appears to be two-dimensional representations of leaves and shells. However, they do not tell us anything of the physical reality of leaves and shells. Such is a computer program that purports to match a line on a chart and extend its results into the future. 

Let us consider computer modeling where the sum of real life decisions determines the over all performance of the system: the stock market. To date, their are no successful computer models that have been able to predict the future of the stock market. Some models, for very short time periods, appear to match the reality observed in the marketplace. Often, long-term predictions based on longer cycles often appear to match the reality observed in the marketplace. Under both scenarios, unforeseen and by definition  unpredictable circumstances, known in the industry as black swan events, totally baffle all observers who then return to their models to see if, using hindsight, there were tell-tale signs of the black swan event.

The sum total of all weather phenomena greatly outweigh the factors found in the stock market in both number and scope. In many cases, we derive data from our limited observations, only to find that the data is valid for a limited set of circumstances.

If we were able to successfully model the global climate, we certainly would be able to extend the range of our weather forecasts which are currently limited by increasing mathematically-generated noise in the methodology.

So, pardon me why I exhibit a healthy degree of skepticism in accepting the output of computer models as fact. As they say, appearances can be deceiving. Something I witnessed first hand when UCLA’s Dr. Yale Mintz was running global weather models on UCLA’s IBM 7044/7094 Mod II Direct Coupled System in the Health Sciences Computing Facility. The coding for the work was in FORTRAN IV and was done by a number of people led by an astounding guy, Dr. Akio Arakawa. Work on these models preceded the work at Goddard and continues today. While the UCLA computers were considerably less powerful than today’s supercomputers and our understanding of physical phenomena and computational methodology has greatly improved, the results are still something less than globally reliable over long time spans.

A skepticism born of reviewing those credible scientists who predicted a mini-ice age, a planet dying of pollution and other severe consequences which were cited as reasons for implementing public policy – and which have not come true over the many years since the predictions were made.

Even worse that the acceptance of of the output of computer modeling as absolute, irrefutable fact is the use of this information to form the basis of public policy which seem self-serving when applied to those who want to enlarge government, increase taxes and limit the freedom of citizens. And especially in the use of specious science to reward special interests with grants, subsidies and non-competitive monopolistic advantages.

Topsy-Turvy Science …

Therefore, I am extremely skeptical when I read …

As reported by AFP …

Cleaning up skies choked with smog and soot would sharply curtail the capacity of plants to absorb carbon dioxide and blunt global warming, according to a study released on Wednesday.”

“Plant life -- especially tropical forests -- soak up a quarter of all the CO2 humans spew into the atmosphere, and thus plays a critical role in keeping climate change in check.”

“Through photosynthesis, vegetation transforms sunlight, CO2 and water into sugar nutrients.”

Makes CO2 sound more like a live-giving beneficial substance than a demonized life-limiting greenhouse gas. 

“Common sense would suggest that air pollution in the form of microscopic particles that obstruct the Sun's rays -- a phenomenon called ‘global dimming’ -- would hamper this process, but the new study shows the opposite is true.”

I find it ironic that they mention common-sense when discussing perceptions of counter-intuitive subjects. But then, of course, in the age of hyper-politicalized science, there is nothing common about common sense.

"Surprisingly, the effects of atmospheric pollution seem to have enhanced global plant productivity by as much as a quarter from 1960 to 1999," said Linda Mercado, a researcher at the Met Office Hadley Centre in Britain, and the study's lead author. ‘This resulted in a net ten percent increase in the amount of carbon stored by the land,’ she said in a statement.”

“Global dimming was especially strong from the 1950s up through the 1980s, corresponding to the period of enhanced plant growth, notes the study, published in the British journal Nature.”

“Research published last month found that dimming has since continued almost everywhere in the world except Europe. The explanation for this botanical paradox lies in the way particle pollution reflects light.”

“Even if plants receive less direct sunshine, the presence of clouds and pollution scatter the light that does filter through such that fewer leaves -- which is where photosynthesis occurs -- wind up in total shade.”

" ‘Although many people believe that well-watered plants grow best on a bright sunny day, the reverse is true. Plants often thrive in hazy conditions,’ said colleague and co-author Stephen Sitch.”

I would think that common sense would suggest that this depends on the botanical characteristics of the individual plant and that such a generalization about what people think really doesn’t substitute for a factual basis for their beliefs.

“This process of diffuse radiation is well known. But the new study is the first to use a global model to calculate its impact on the ability of plants to absorb CO2.”

“The findings underline a cruel dilemma: to the extent we succeed in reducing aerosol pollution in coming decades, we will need to slash global carbon dioxide emissions even more than we would have otherwise.”

Which of course, assumes facts not in evidence and the lack of further confirmatory research.

" ‘Aerosols offset approximately 50 percent of the greenhouse gas warming,’ Knut Alfsen, research director at the Centre for International Environmental Research in Oslo, Norway, said by phone.”

“Without this particle pollution, he said, average global surface temperatures would have increased by 1.0 to 1.1 Celsius (1.8 to 2.0 Fahrenheit) since the start of industrialisation, rather than 0.7 C (1.25 F).”

More supposition based on modeling. From a paper on “Aerosols: Volcanoes, Dust, Clouds and Climate”

“This persistent ignorance about aerosols — their direct and indirect effects, and even their concentrations — was the largest single obstacle to attempts to predict future climate, especially for a given region. Funding agencies accordingly pushed vigorous and costly efforts to measure aerosol effects, and significant results accumulated in the early 21st century. Yet different computer models still gave substantially different results, and if some issues were settled, new puzzles appeared in theoretical papers or field studies to provoke new controversies.” <Source>

Are you willing to gamble your future and the social, political, economic and military future of your nation based on modern fortunetellers who use silicon chips instead of crystal balls?

“The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted that average global temperatures will rise before 2100 by 1.1 to 6.4 C (2.0 F to 11.5 F), depending on efforts to curb the gases that drive global warming.”

Any increase above 2.0 C, the panel said, would unleash a maelstrom of human misery, including drought, famine, disease and forced migration.”

Common sense would have you questioning whether or not a slight rise in global temperatures would actually be beneficial for colder climes like those in Alaska, Canada, Russia and elsewhere. And if the historical migration of people away from scare resources towards plentiful resources would actually open new opportunities for those that made the move. Since we are speaking of a gradual increase in global temperatures, the movement towards new vistas may part of the historical movements of people around the world. There is nothing new, surprising or extraordinary about these movements. Some scientists have suggested the decay and movement of certain civilizations were based more on the failure of governments to manage available resources than to suspect global warming.

Common sense would also demand that you ask if there is an optimum global temperature which benefits the maximum number of the Earth’s inhabitants. Since historic records, including climate proxies (ice cores, tree rings, etc.), have indicated that the Earth has been much colder as well as much warmer and that carbon dioxide levels have been much greater as well as lower – including times predating modern industrialization, why should we worry excessively about nature’s pre-ordained course.  Other than, of course, to further adapt our shelters to nature’s vagaries and to insure that we have adequate supplies of water, food and energy.

One must question the motives of any government which eschews the use of relatively clean, reliable, reproducible nuclear energy to drive desalination plants and provide power to its citizens on the basis of politicians and their special interests. To tell me that large parts of the world will become more desert-like, is to make me consider Southern California and Israel. Both desert areas with thriving populations. There will always be desert areas and barren wastelands. There will always be nomadic people eaking out an existence as they track towards more abundant natural resources. Such is the way of nature and the way of the world.

Only politicians, in their infinite hubris thinks man can, with their infinitesimal ability to influence nature on a global scale, can legislate solutions to change global climate. Somewhat like England’s wise King Canute who wanted to demonstrate for his sycophants the relative power of man and nature and commanded the tide to stop. Well the tide did not stop – and neither will nature.

Speculation, supposition – call the output of the computer model what you will …

“To stay below that threshold, carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere must be kept below 450 parts per million (ppm). The current level is about 385 ppm.”

Amazing how the above paragraph manages to convey the impression that we are speaking of incontrovertible fact – when we are discussing the output of a climate model.

“A major scientific review released last week at the United Nations showed that warming is itself limiting the capacity of plants to take up CO2, and that an increase in two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) would transform forests from a sink into a net source of CO2.”

I call bullshit! Let us look at the situation as it appears to be. First, the rise in carbon dioxide lags (follows) the rise in temperature by 600 –1000 years; hardly a causal factor. Second, the rise in the lagging carbon dioxide can be more easily explained, not by global warming, but by the outgassing of carbon dioxide dissolved in the oceans. Much like the CO2 given off  to the atmosphere by a warming bottle of soda. And third, I am willing to consider the gross effects of the solar output, the Earth’s planetary path (nearer or farther from the Sun), the Earth’s precession,  inclination and rotational dynamics, oceanic dynamics and the effects of the largest greenhouse gas of all, water vapor (clouds) before I will cede political power to a corrupt government who continues to pander to political special interests.

“When plants die, the carbon they store is released into the air.”

An accurate observer might also note that the plant’s decay and thus continue a cycle of soil enrichment that provides yet another cycle of life to emerge from the rot and decay.

Bottom line …

I believe in global climate change and the use of computers to help us understand the physical universe. I am a great supporter of pure and applied science research for the benefit of all mankind.

I also believe that science, especially science which requires massive resources, has been hyper-politicalized by politicians who are now demanding a personal and political payback from their investment in scientific endeavors. 

And it’s just that I cannot bring myself to allow any government to act egregiously in enlarging their power, confiscating private wealth for public purposes and limiting a citizen’s freedom based on a politician’s use of speculative science. As one who has programmed computer models and is familiar with the use of assumptions and computational shortcuts to make life easier for the modeler, I cannot seem to overcome my distaste for the way politicians are manipulating science.

My suggestion is that we continue to fund scientific research and postpone political agendas, many arising from people who do not wish America well, until we receive more conclusive findings. Considering that CO2 lags temperature rise by 600-1000 years, we not only have a great deal of time to research the answer – we may also find advanced technologies in sheltering, food and water management as well as technological answers to help us better cope with nature in the coming years.

As for the politicians who are counting on the fact that they do not have to produce tangible results that their egregious actions are effective, or even measurable against the background noise of natural climate variability, I say: SCREW YOU! Vote these duplicitous bastards out of office before they destroy our Nation and turn it into a third-world banana republic.

-- steve

Reference links:

Air pollution helps plants blunt climate change: study


“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



NBC: The dangers of a corrupted media ...

From what I have heard on radio, seen on television and read in magazines and newspapers, NBC, under the management of Jeff Zucker and Jeffrey Immelt has made a conscious decision to support the Obama Administration – possibly to secure access to additional funding and ginormous contracts for General Electric, the parent of NBC.

To me, this sounds like they may have forsaken all journalistic ethics and compromised any value they have previously enjoyed as a fair and honest news broker.

Unfortunately, in time of potential crisis, this time the swine flu, their trustworthiness as a source of unbiased news is so suspect as to be utterly worthless.

I believe that both Jeff Zucker and Jeffrey Immelt have made a deal with the devil and that stockholders should demand that the GE Board of Directors appoint an independent counsel to investigate the matter. Perhaps headed by former GE CEO Jack Welch who, far from being a choirboy, cares for GE, the institution. And in spite of being responsible for the appointment of Immelt, has the integrity and balls to run a fair investigation for the Board and their shareholders.

Me, I am angry that any major news organization,purporting to be fair, would allegedly blow off its audience in favor of courting favor with the government – thus destroying faith and trust in their news coverage.

-- steve


“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



JANET NAPOLITANO: INCOMPETENCE, PLAYING POLITICS OR SOMETHING ELSE? (Updated)

Update: 04-27-09  Why Janet Napolitano is fronting the Administration's public face on the flu outbreak?

It seems that the Obama Administration has failed to fill the position of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services or any of the 19 key departmental position.

I was also very much surprised that the President was out playing golf while his "staff" was busying announcing a "public health emergency." It seems that Obama has claimed that the situation is under control and that his team (DHS Secretary Napolitano, ex-CIA operator John Brennan as the Deputy National Security Adviser and the only one with medical training, Dr. Richard Besser from the Centers for Disease Control.) Not exactly encouraging.

Original blog entry ...  

With the headlines screaming ominous warnings about the widespread appearance of a previously unknown “swine flu,” the possibilities of a major pandemic, why is the Secretary of Homeland Defense NOT taking proactive measures to screen or test passengers arriving an U.S. ports from Mexico and attempting to shut down border crossings before a major outbreak occurs in the United States.

Headlines from the DrudgeReport which are used by many of the major news media as an idea source book or showprep on issues of importance ...

Capture4-26-2009-1.48.35 PM

US says not testing travelers from Mexico for flu

According to Reuters Alert Net …

“The United States is not testing airplane travelers from Mexico for the swine flu virus that has heightened fears of a possible pandemic, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Sunday.”

" ‘Right now we don't think the facts warrant more active testing or screening of passengers coming in from Mexico,’ she said at a White House briefing.”

There is no doubt in my mind that this will be a major test of the Obama Administration should this “swine flu” become a major problem in the United States and be associated with a significant loss of life. And I am still worried about Vice President Biden’s pronouncement that Obama will face a real test in the near future and appear to the American Public as failing to do the right thing.

Certainly Janet Napolitano’s reputation is one the line. And a shaky reputation that is – she has no real experience other than being a Governor of a “border state.” She has no direct experience in military or intelligence matters. Why people feel that governors of  border states have excellent credentials on immigration and security is beyond me. One only need look at Arnold Schwarzenegger to see another liberal “know nothing” political hack  in high office.

She fits the classic profile of a democrat nominee for high political office: a democrat, a woman and a lawyer. In addition, many compare her to a previous Administration democrat, Janet Reno. And like the other Janet, questions continue to swirl through the political community about her sexuality. To the good side, she appears to be well-liked by Arizonans and is said to be single-mindedly focused on her job.

I also remain worried about what the Administration may do to “capitalize” on this upcoming emergency – per Rahm Emanuel’s prescription that a good crisis should never be wasted in moving your political agenda forward.

Be well, be safe and take care of yourself and your family first.

-- steve

Research Links:

Reuters AlertNet|US says not testing travelers from Mexico for flu

OneCitizenSpeaking|Just asking: how will Obama spin this "emerging" swine flu crisis to his political advantage -- to grab even more government power?


“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