Global Warming: The Pretense of Knowledge

The Assertion …

Those who believe in anthropogenic (man-made) global warning are putting forth the assertion that there exists a simple, positive correlation between atmospheric carbon, chiefly in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the global mean temperature of planet Earth.

And by extension …

And by extension, if we can control atmospheric carbon dioxide, we can exert a positive control over the global mean temperature.

Supported by computer models …

This assertion is seemingly supported primarily by computer models which embody some, but not all of the energy transfer mechanisms thought to occur in our dynamic planetary processes.

The “output” …

The mere fact that we can produce an “output” which appears to correlate with the global mean temperature may no more significant than watching computer programs (cellular automata) with a limited number of simple rules produce pictures which appear to be two-dimensional representations of natural structures (shells, leafs, etc.) – but in reality do very little to add understanding of the natural and physical process which appears to produce this representation of a physical phenomenon. A picture of a tree is hardly a scientific description upon which to base public policy.

This ludicrous interpretation is analogous to those who have identified apparent, and possibly coincidental, patterns in stock prices, but still fail to predict the market, let alone manipulated the underlying factors which would lead to a predictable outcome.

Enter the politicians and their special interest kingmakers …

Therefore, we find politicians trying to mold human behavior in order to achieve global results – which is, in actuality, based only on the pretense of knowledge. Using data derived piecemeal from faulty historical records and climate proxies and integrated over the spheroid we call planet Earth.

Which leads the rational thinker to the conclusion that the emperor truly has no clothes and is merely exhibiting the pretense of knowledge rather than the actual knowledge itself.

If one is to base public policy on science, the basic requirements of good science demands that the phenomenon be both observable and measurable. And yet we cannot separate our man-made efforts from the background of nature’s climate variability without the consideration of time frames long beyond our lifespan.

Which is not a problem for politicians as their preferential time frames are often given in terms of election cycles . Time spans of sufficient length to see them out of office and not politically, morally or financially accountable for their actions.

The burden of their public policies fall mainly on you and me – never on those who are insulated from their decisions by wealth, power, privilege or position.

That the outputs of computer models, which are manipulated by politically-motivated activists is naively accepted as “science” by the politicians and an uncritical media – is to posit the proposition that global warming is a mad-made political scam of historical and monumental proportions.

The fact that the underlying subject matter originates with the United Nations and coincides with their desires for strictly controlled population growth, a one-world government and an ultimate goal to become the final arbiter of political, financial and social policies only adds to my suspicion that any public policy that can be used to control nature’s awesome and still mostly-understood forces is bound to be bogus.

That is not to say that there are not reputable scientists studying the issues related to global climatology and planetary dynamics, but that their work is being misunderstood and misrepresented by those who are pursuing their own self-interest agendas leading to political power and personal profit.

Might I remind you that no real scientific consensus currently exists other than that posited by politicians and those scientists (often administrators) whose career and continued funding is dependent upon governmental or quasi-governmental (NGOs) institutions. And they do not know, with any degree of certitude, whether or not our global temperature is regressing to some unknown mean or remains in some pattern of unknown periodicity and amplitude. 

Therefore, I was somewhat dismayed with Al Gore’s recent appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which was characterized to the public as “testimony” although it was not delivered under oath and was not vetted by any "testimony” by reputable scientists of opposing viewpoint. The very same Al Gore whose off-shore investment company raises serious “conflict of interest” issues and some of whose past assertions relating to the impact of global climate change have now been proven to be either false or misleading.

And while there appear to be other cyclical physical phenomena which also correlate to a greater or lesser degree with the historic data, these explanations are ignored or even given short shrift as they do not lead to the conclusion that man can alter the course of nature through public policy any more than a king can command the heavens to stand still.

I honestly believe that the science is so unsettled as to preclude the necessity of public policies to alter that which may very well be unalterable. The simple fact that all agree that the historical record demonstrates that the rise in carbon dioxide lags the rise in the global mean temperature tends to rule out carbon dioxide as the cause of global climate change. However, it does not rule out that the rise of CO2 is associated with the warming of the oceans; giving rise to increasing carbon dioxide levels much in the same way a warm soda releases CO2 into the atmosphere. Based on the scenario of warming oceans, one might want to consider that our planet's path around the sun is the primary causal factor and that the moderation of CO2 will result in little or no effect on the real world’s global mean temperature. 

It is also my opinion that good public policy should mandate a reduction in ground, water and atmospheric pollution – rather than giving out indulgences (credits paid for by the public) to continue polluting based on the growth of a forest somewhere else on the planet. The entire cost, of course, to be borne by the taxpayers who will be required to finance this madness. All to the financial benefit of those who want to engage in the type of Wall Street financial manipulation that has brought us to the present financial crisis.

And that those who want to control energy production as a means to control population growth and human behavior would find a more receptive world if they embraced nuclear energy as being sustainable, cost effective and relatively non-polluting over energy sources which must be heavily subsidized to be even moderately successful.

I am but One Citizen Speaking and I invite you to prove me wrong with more than just links to individual scientific papers and limitless speculation about the nature and meaning of temperature rise.

-- steve

P.S.

I would like to credit Nobel Laureate Friedrich August von Hayek and his 1974 Prize Lecture in Computational Economics titled “The Pretense of Knowledge” for  the inspiration required for this essay.

I am reminded of a quote from Sir Isaac Newton, discoverer of the Law of Gravity. He said, “If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Each succeeding generation stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before them. Hopefully unburdened by today’s modern politicians who produce nothing by self-serving public policy to provide some advantage to the special interests that support their political campaigns.


“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



Bye, Bye Mainstream Media ...

How it must gall the print media to see their corporate empires crumble as readers and advertisers desert the traditional newspaper for the electronic media. And the rest of the mainstream media to see their viewers and listeners desert the traditional news broadcast for AM talk radio and the Internet.

Even those members of the mainstream media who maintain an Internet presence don’t get it. Perhaps because they are trying so hard to shore up their crumbling corporate enterprises that they have become merely a repeater of government and corporate handouts – and sources for pro-Obama/democrat commentary which defies all common sense when you are citing journalistic ethics and impartial neutrality as your stock in trade.

From Malibu to Manhattan, I do not know of a single person who believes that either the Los Angeles Times or the New York Times is not in the tank for Barack Obama and the liberal democrats. Occasionally publishing the other side in order to give some semblance of covering the news. I don’t know, perhaps they are being held hostage by their trade unions and forced to support the union’s far left liberal democrat position. In any event, fair and balanced has gone out the window.

How can I trust the journalists to fairly cover our government, our newly-elected President and his Administration’s policies when they were so far in the tank for Obama and his fellow left-leaning liberal democrats. I ask myself, are they withholding or shading the bad news? Or even worse, bagging on George Bush and the past administration in order to amplify the new administration’s accomplishments.

These are the people who no longer “speak truth to power” or adequately vet candidates. If they did, why are so many democrat candidates, including the President, now being exposed for past actions? No matter how much the mainstream media seeks to repeat the “Woodward and Bernstein era,” they have lost my trust – and my contribution to their bottom line.

I miss the “Evening Outrage …”

It has been a long time since I paid for a newspaper subscription. The Los Angeles Times was just too damn big to read thoroughly – and, in my opinion, too damn biased to the left to be taken seriously. And my favorite local paper, the Santa Monica-based Evening Outlook evaporated into the morass that was Copley Press and was finally closed on March 13, 1998 after 123 years of local reporting.  I miss the local coverage by reporters like Ed Moosbrugger  and Pat Alston who could be counted on for a “straight up” account of the events. No editorial shading there. And this was in a town known as the “People’s Republic of Santa Monica” which continues, to this very day, to define left-wing liberal democrat politics. While the paper did express its editorial opinion, which sometimes went against everything I believed in, the paper and the reporters were well-respected – no advortorialising or  slanting the coverage.

Times change and so do communication’s protocols …

My junior high journalism class reinforced my appreciation for the print media. Their place in the universe was secured by the very reason that newspapers could devote more time and attention to a story which was little more than an sensational soundbite teaser and a few basis facts on the radio. Where magazines were counted on to provide in-depth pieces which even transcended newspaper type accounts in that they were composed with a degree of fairness, sometimes with a fully-disclosed editorial slant.

But today, I listen to drive-time radio (AM) to hear the arguments and wailing on all sides of the political spectrum. I check the Matt Drudge’s site (www.drudgereport.com) as that serves to highlight what is important and a precursor to what will appear in the general news media. Occasionally, I will use Matt’s links to visit a columnist or traditional newspaper. If anything, I will scan either the Wall Street Journal or Investor's Business Daily. Occasionally, the Washington Post or the New York Post. I have TiVo set to record news and commentary from Fox and some financial programs on a channel which shall remain nameless – as they shamelessly promoted Obama as the second coming of the messiah. Much of the time, the programs are simply deleted without watching to make space for newer programs.

Thus I have the immediacy I want, something to fill my drive-time hours and coverage of other events should it be of interest.

Professionally, I subscribe to industry related RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds and receive e-mail bulletins from favored sources. My magazines tend to be business or hobby-oriented and not of a news or political nature.

And if I am angered, I very rarely write a letter to an editor or comment online to an article,. I express myself on my own blog – which, from entry one, is something I describe as a experiment in personal communications that beats yelling at the television or pounding the dash of my car.

And, in and off itself, this dooms the great majority of the print media and traditional mainstream broadcasters. Not only do I not trust them to deliver the straight news, I abhor the intrusion of entertainment production values into the mix.

And when one considers the public’s acceptance of cheap and cheesy reality shows interspersed with faux-crime dramas, television has indeed become the vast wasteland predicted almost 50 years ago by former Federal Communications Commission Chairman, FCC Chairman Newton Minnow.

“When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better.”
“But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.”
“You will see a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And endlessly commercials — many screaming, cajoling, and offending. And most of all, boredom. True, you'll see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few. And if you think I exaggerate, I only ask you to try it."

Ditto for today’s mainstream media where “if it bleeds, it leads” and celebrity reigns supreme. Where politicians are treated as celebrities and promoted like toothpaste.

And the sad thing for the mainstream media is that I am not alone in my views.

-- 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

“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



AL GORE: A FEW MORE INCONVENIENT QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS APPEARANCE BEFORE A CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE ...

Today, Congress and the media were complicit in providing a forum to former Vice President Al Gore in order to commercially advertise and advocate for his global warming initiative. All of which leads me to ask a few inconvenient questions:

Question One: Why the Senate Foreign Relations Committee  and not the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works?

While a case may be made for hearing Al Gore’s speechifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the basis of their oversight of international treaties that would be used to implement any foreign agreements relating to global climate change, it is my contention that this presentation would have been more carefully considered under the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, whose Ranking Member, James Inhofe (R-OK) has done extensive work to shed light on the issue of global climate change and which is more than a rubber stamp for majority democrat positions which lead to bigger government, higher taxes and the incremental reduction in the freedoms of the average United States Citizen. 

Question Two: While it is widely assumed that you cannot lie to a Congressional Committee, why was Al Gore’s so-called testimony not submitted under oath?

It seems prudent to me that if any Senate Committee accepts what they widely characterize as “testimony,” that such information be submitted in a sworn statement by someone who is administered an oath to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Question Three: Where the scientists who can refute Al Gore’s one-sided view of global climatology and why were the American people denied access to such testimony in order to present the issue in a fair and balanced manner?

The purpose of solicited testimony is to present Congress and the American people with the background information needed to develop effective, efficient and informed public policy legislation. It is not to promote the positions of a single political party or advocate for the self-serving enlargement of government; at least not without be subject to further scrutiny.

Question Four: Why is nobody questioning Al Gore’s apparent conflict of interest since he owns an interest in an enterprise which will be the recipient of any government funding for global warming?

Congress is known to cast a jaundiced eye on oil company executives when they are testifying, under oath, for the need to increase offshore drilling or executives and others who testify for the need to greatly expand our nuclear energy capabilities if we are ever to achieve some measure of energy independence.

Question Five: Why is Al Gore’s commercial enterprise based off-shore and out of reach of United States regulatory agencies which regulate financial offerings of a commercial nature?

Here is a former Vice President of the United States seeking billions of dollars for his pet project and yet his main commercial enterprise, Generation Investment Management, LLP  is based in London where it is regulated by the Financial Services Authority rather than the more stringent United States Regulatory Agencies and Commissions. For all intents and purposes, this company appears to be just another unregulated hedge fund that is preparing to capitalize on “cap and trade” programs as well as manage a global pool of capital in making so-called “green” investments. It should be noted that the brains behind the enterprise is David Blood, formerly the chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Amusingly, the firm is nicknamed “Blood and Gore” based on the founder’s last names.

Gore’s other major effort,the Alliance for Climate Protection, is based in the United States and by their own literature is “aiming to persuade people of the importance, urgency and feasibility of adopting and implementing effective and comprehensive solutions for the climate crisis" Of course the Alliance for Climate Protection is a 501(c)3 organization and contributions made to the Alliance are tax deductible.

Question Five: Why is no one challenging Gore’s assertion that Carbon Dioxide is the prime trigger and/or contributor to global warming when CO2 is more plant food than pollution?

Statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee As Prepared

The dangerous and growing threat – a crisis (of course nobody would listen if there were not an artificially induced panic over a crisis)

“We are here today to talk about how we as Americans and how the United States of
America as part of the global community should address the dangerous and growing
threat of the climate crisis
.”

Need for immediate action … (quick, before you have time to think about it or adverse scientific facts are revealed)

“We have arrived at a moment of decision. Our home – Earth – is in grave danger. What is at risk of being destroyed is not the planet itself, of course, but the conditions that have made it hospitable for human beings. Moreover, we must face up to this urgent and unprecedented threat to the existence of our civilization at a time when our country must simultaneously solve two other worsening crises.”

Linking real problems with artificial ones … (a prime example of the left’s attempting to create equivalency between clear and present dangers and not-so-clear and not-so-present dangers)

“Our economy is in its deepest recession since the 1930s. And our national security is endangered by a vicious terrorist network and the complex challenge of ending the war in Iraq honorably while winning the military and political struggle in Afghanistan.

Truth be told, the current effects of this recession are less than those that occurred under another democrat administration, that of Jimmy Carter. And, of course, we need to gratuitously throw in “ending the war in Iraq” to appease those who do not wish us well – but continue to fund the democrat party.

“As we search for solutions to all three of these challenges, it is becoming clearer that they are linked by a common thread – our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels.”

“As long as we continue to send hundreds of billions of dollars for foreign oil – year after year – to the most dangerous and unstable regions of the world, our national security will continue to be at risk.”

“As long as we continue to allow our economy to remain shackled to the OPEC rollercoaster of rising and falling oil prices, our jobs and our way of life will remain at risk.”

I wonder if Al Gore has noticed that the current economic crisis was caused by the Wall Street Wizards who were playing games with the type of derivatives Al Gore and others propose for the energy markets, the extreme leverage of the banks as they sought to juice their investments, the unregulated non-insurance insurance that was sold to the ratings agencies to convince them to place an “investment grade” rating on junk securities, and the actions of unregulated hedge funds like the one he is currently running in England?

“Moreover, as the demand for oil worldwide grows rapidly over the longer term, even as the rate of new discoveries is falling, it is increasingly obvious that the roller coaster is headed for a crash. And we’re in the front car.
Most importantly, as long as we continue to depend on dirty fossil fuels like coal and oil to meet our energy needs, and dump 70 million tons of global warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, we move closer and closer to several dangerous tipping points which scientists have repeatedly warned – again just yesterday – will threaten to make it impossible for us to avoid irretrievable destruction of the conditions that make human civilization possible on this planet.”

Not only is this hyperbole of the worst kind … but he could have just said – implement a nuclear solution for power and 80% of your problem disappears, but nooooooo…. that would not serve the interests of the anti-war, anti-nuke, anti-America crowd.

“We're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change.”

“For years our efforts to address the growing climate crisis have been undermined by the idea that we must choose between our planet and our way of life; between our moral duty and our economic well being. These are false choices. In fact, the solutions to the climate crisis are the very same solutions that will address our economic and national
security crises as well.”

Al Gore is dead wrong: these are correct choices – we should not cede our sovereignty, our economic future and our personal freedoms to benefit Gore and his fellow travelers as they make billions on the road to converting American into socialism. Our moral duty is to make America stronger, not weaker. And to base our actions on unproven and inaccurate “computer models” marks Gore as a self-serving dupe of those who do not wish the United States well. (Think George Soros whose funding is behind major initiatives to destroy American infrastructure)

“In order to repower our economy, restore American economic and moral leadership in the world and regain control of our destiny, we must take bold action now.”

Yes, I agree. We must take back our government from corrupt and self-serving politicians. We should tell Gore and those of his ilk to pound sand – preferably in Saudi Arabia.

“The first step is already before us. I urge this Congress to quickly pass the entirety of
President Obama’s Recovery package
. The plan’s unprecedented and critical investments in four key areas – energy efficiency, renewables, a unified national energy grid and the move to clean cars – represent an important down payment and are long overdue.”

“These crucial investments will create millions of new jobs and hasten our economic recovery – while strengthening our national security and beginning to solve the climate crisis.”

This is not true – and there are severe unintended consequences to allowing the democrats unfettered access to these funds – most of which are giant pork barrel projects for those who helped the democrats to win office.

And still no mention of nuclear energy …

“Quickly building our capacity to generate clean electricity will lay the groundwork for the next major step needed: placing a price on carbon. If Congress acts right away to pass President Obama's Recovery package and then takes decisive action this year to institute a cap-and-trade system for CO2 emissions – as many of our states and many other countries have already done – the United States will regain its credibility and enter the Copenhagen treaty talks with a renewed authority to lead the world in shaping a fair and effective treaty. And this treaty must be negotiated this year. Not next year. This year.”

Out credibility comes from our combined strength and resolve … not for appeasing European Socialists who are on their way to becoming the next conquest of IslamoFascists.

“A fair, effective and balanced treaty will put in place the global architecture that will place the world – at long last and in the nick of time – on a path toward solving the climate crisis and securing the future of human civilization.”

Complete and utter bullshit …

What chutzpah – solving the climate crisis, securing the future of human civilization? This man is corrupt, stupid and delusional. Of course, this is all aimed at the Messiah, the political deity who will either save us from extinction or move us down the road to socialism and a dictatorship. Where is this asshat’s proof of what he is saying. At this point it time it is all conjecture posed by those who have a self-serving agenda and whose scientific opinions have been compromised by political machinations.

“I am hopeful that this can be achieved. Let me outline for you the basis for the hope and optimism that I feel.”

“The Obama Administration has already signaled a strong willingness to regain U.S.
leadership on the global stage in the treaty talks, reversing years of inaction. This is
critical to success in Copenhagen and is clearly a top priority of the administration.

Developing countries that were once reluctant to join in the first phases of a global response to the climate crisis have themselves now become leaders in demanding action and in taking bold steps on their own initiatives. Brazil has proposed an impressive new plan to halt the destructive deforestation in that nation. Indonesia has emerged as a new constructive force in the talks. And China’s leaders have gained a strong understanding of the need for action and have already begun important new initiatives. Heads of state from around the world have begun to personally engage on this issue and forward-thinking corporate leaders have made this a top priority.”

This is complete and utter crap …

“More and more Americans are paying attention to the new evidence and fresh warnings from scientists. There is a much broader consensus on the need for action than there was when President George H.W. Bush negotiated – and the Senate ratified – the Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992 and much stronger support for action than when we completed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.”

Where are the non-political scientists testifying under oath? Where is the proof? In the mathematical models of an ethically-compromised computer modeler who is manipulating the raw data?

“Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist Dr. John S. Theon, the former supervisor of James Hansen, NASA’s vocal man-made global warming fears soothsayer, has now publicly declared himself a skeptic and declared that Hansen ‘embarrassed NASA’ with his alarming climate claims and said Hansen was ‘was never muzzled.’ Theon joins the rapidly growing ranks of international scientists abandoning the promotion of anthropogenic global warming fears.”

“Theon declared ‘climate models are useless.’ ‘My own belief concerning anthropogenic climate change is that the models do not realistically simulate the climate system because there are many very important sub-grid scale processes that the models either replicate poorly or completely omit,’ Theon explained. ‘Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it. They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists. This is clearly contrary to how science should be done. Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy,’ he added.

“As Chief of several of NASA Headquarters’ programs (1982-94), an SES position, I was responsible for all weather and climate research in the entire agency, including the  research work by James Hansen, Roy Spencer, Joanne Simpson, and several hundred other scientists at NASA field centers, in academia, and in the private sector who worked on climate research.”

“Award-winning NASA Astronaut and Physicist Walter Cunningham of NASA’s Apollo 7 also recently chastised Hansen. ‘Hansen is a political activist who spreads fear even when NASA’s own data contradict him,’ Cunningham wrote in an essay in the July/August 2008 issue of Launch Magazine. ‘NASA should be at the forefront in the collection of scientific evidence and debunking the current hysteria over human-caused, or Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). Unfortunately, it is becoming just another agency caught up in the politics of global warming, or worse, politicized science,” Cunningham wrote.”  <Source>

According to Cunningham …

“NASA should be at the forefront in the collection of scientific evidence and debunking the current hysteria over human-caused, or Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). Unfortunately, it is becoming just another agency caught up in the politics of global warming, or worse, politicized science. Advocacy is replacing objective evaluation of data, while scientific data is being ignored in favor of emotions and politics.”

“There are excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations of the Sun and the Earth’s temperature, while scientists cannot find a relationship between industrial activity, energy consumption, and global temperatures. But global warming is an issue no longer being decided in the scientific arena.”

“Saying the Earth is warming is to state the obvious. Since the end of the ice age, the Earth’s temperature has increased approximately 16 degrees Fahrenheit and sea levels have risen a total of 300 feet. That is certain and measurable evidence of warming, but it is not evidence of AGW—human-caused warming.”

“We can track the temperature of the Earth back for millennia. Knowing the temperature of the Earth, past or present, is a matter of collecting data, analyzing it, and coming up with the best answer to account for the data. Collecting such data on a global basis is a NASA forte.”

I believe in global climate change, but there is no way that humans can influence the temperature of our planet to any measurable degree with the tools currently at their disposal.”

“Any human contribution to global temperature change is lost in the noise of terrestrial and cosmic factors.”

“Our beautiful home planet has been warming and cooling for the last 4.8 billion years. Most recently, it has been warming—be it ever so slightly—but there is nothing unusual about it! The changes and rates of change in the Earth’s temperature, just since the Industrial Revolution, have occurred many times in our climatic history. While climate scientists generally agree that the Earth’s temperature is always changing, not many of them would say that humans are responsible for those changes.”

None of this is to say there are not legitimate reasons to restrict emissions of any number of chemicals into the atmosphere. We should just not fool ourselves into thinking we will change the temperature of the Earth by doing so.” <Source>

According to AL Gore’s “testimony …”

“The elements that I believe are key to a successful agreement in Copenhagen include:

  • Strong targets and timetables from industrialized countries and differentiated but binding commitments from developing countries that put the entire world under a system with one commitment: to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other global warming pollutants that cause the climate crisis; 

Binding commitments which institutionalize control over our respective economies and populations.

  • The inclusion of deforestation, which alone accounts for twenty percent of the  emissions that cause global warming;

The halt to industrialization in third-world countries.

  • The addition of sinks including those from soils, principally from farmlands and grazing lands with appropriate methodologies and accounting. Farmers and ranchers in the U.S. and around the world need to know that they can be part of  the solution;

Further control over the world’s food supply and a possible move to legislate “vegetarianism.”

  • The assurance that developing countries will have access to mechanisms and resources that will help them adapt to the worst impacts of the climate crisis and technologies to solve the problem; and,

Wealth redistribution from the United States to other countries to either mitigate the financial impact of our policies on their economies and possibly as reparations for our damage to their portion of the planet with our outrageous and profligate behaviors.

  • A strong compliance and verification regime.”

The creation of an extra-judicial, world-wide police force that can bridge sovereignty issues as they interfere with the economies (and military) of other sovereign nations.

“The road to Copenhagen is not easy, but we have traversed this ground before. We have negotiated the Montreal Protocol, a treaty to protect the ozone layer, and strengthened it to the point where we have banned most of the major substances that create the ozone hole over Antarctica. And we did it with bipartisan support. President Ronald Reagan and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill joined hands to lead the way.”

Cite bi-partisanship and throw in the work of a few revered conservative icons.

The Al Gore dog and pony show: Earth in the Balance – Part II … 

“Let me now briefly discuss in more detail why we must do all of this within the next year, and with your permission Mr. Chairman, I would like to show a few new pictures that illustrate the unprecedented need for bold and speedy action this year.”

The blind leading the blind …

“Thank you Mr. Chairman. I am eager to respond to any questions that you and the
members of the committee have.”

The questions should come from climate scientists not politicians who rarely read and/or understand the legislation they are voting on. Most politicians are vain, stupid and motivated by self-interest. And while they pretend to represent their constituencies, in reality, they represent the power players and special interests who funded their campaign and the groups who could turn out large vote counts.

Question Six: Why are those who have mismanaged our economy pushing so hard to allow stimulus and other governmental funds to be used to combat as yet unproven climate change public policy initiatives?

There is no doubt in my mind that billions of dollars of the taxpayer’s money have been siphoned off by nefarious corporations and individuals for uses never intended by Congress or the taxpayers whose pocket is being plucked by those of dubious character. By distracting and confusing the public about the exact use of these so-called bailout or stimulus funds, those who are complicit in the crime of the century will escape scot-free; and with enough money to faithfully reward those politicians and bureaucrats that enabled the theft; either through campaign contributions, honorariums and future employment for them and their relatives. 

Question Seven: Why do the global climate change poobahs never mention nuclear energy as the most effective way of curbing pollution and achieving energy independence which would strengthen our nations and insulate us from foreign domination by oil and gas blackmailers?

The short answer is that the “peace at any price” appeasers, the anti-nuke brigade of the Marxist/Communist party and others who do not wish us well have co-opted the environmental movement as a source of funding and as a political action weapon against the United States. Our enemy has learned how to generate funding from weak-minded individuals who profess to be “do-gooders” and to use our own laws against us – whether to cripple our economy by reducing water flow to Southern California (to save the delta smelt) or to cripple our military (by disallowing the use of sonar that is necessary to protect our coastlines from foreign vessels). Occasionally, these people will mention nuclear energy – which is green, sustainable and scalable – in the same breath as wind power, wave power, solar power and other unreliable, unscalable energy generators which require government subsidies to be commercially viable. Citing of course, forty-year old reactor technology and hoary tells of nuclear terror from the Chernobyl days.

In the same way low-level conflict is promoted by arms dealers, we find our enemies, the energy companies and the politicians complicit in milking the productivity of the American citizen for their own personal purposes. Wealth transfer to the rich and powerful while weakening the United States.

And the most important final question: How does one maintain accountability for funds when the very character and nature of global climate change precludes measuring and tracking any so-called progress improvement?

It is a fact that any man-made effort to control climate change cannot be directly measured as the global temperature measurements are little more than extrapolated estimates in regional areas and that any true effect on the global mean temperature will not be seen, if ever, for hundreds of years – long after we are dead and the money has disappeared into the pockets of a few wealthy families which will continue to control local and global politics through their purchased politicians.

Of course, there are artificial measures, such as tons of CO2 allegedly eliminated which are all based on corrupt reporting systems run by those with the most to gain from fudging the numbers.

The quiet revolution – funded by us!

Before we consider the traitorous nature of our politicians who are ceding political control to environmentalists and freebooters who are attempting to loot our treasury and enslave us in more government regulation and lifelong debt, perhaps we should open our eyes and stop this craziness before it continues past the tipping point: when we have lost control of our government to those who purchased it for a pittance and those who we are forced to serve via our everyday labor.

As never before, we face an enemy that is close to conquering the United States without a single shot being fired. By using our own politicians and citizens as a culpable fifth column who are willing to sell out America in exchange for campaign dollars, a comfortable lifestyle and the chance to feel good about themselves.

Funded by our enemies and those who do not wish us well, evildoers have infiltrated education, the government, the media and other critical infrastructure. It is these people who, wittingly and unwittingly, are advancing the causes of worldwide socialism. A threat far greater than IslamoFascism as it is not a clear and present danger – it is hidden among the many words and deeds of our corrupt and possibly well-meaning politicians as they continue to pursue a policy of fiscal neglect and social change.

Even the media cannot be trusted to sound the alarm – they are smitten with celebrity and the sound of their oh so politically correct voices. Imagine John Wayne meeting with Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez or any other dictator and proclaiming that one one hand they appear to be murderous thugs, but on the other hand they appear to want the best for their people? Hard to imagine, unless you see an unrepentant Marxists-like liberals  like Sean Penn and Danny Glover spout such nonsense.

We are doing it to us. Middle America is being compromised by those from Manhattan to Malibu by way of Washington, D.C..

The acid test is simple: nuclear energy will provide us with energy independence, dramatically lower pollution, abundant and cost effect electrical power and will solve many of the problems that are claimed to be associated with global warming. So why are these global warming alarmists and others not pushing this solution.

Could it be that what I said about the infiltration of our infrastructure by the Marxists/Socialists/Communists and their old-style anti-war and anti-nuke agenda is running rampant in the United States – funded by a variety of liberal sources, both foreign and domestic – and being advanced by their fellow travelers? 

That’s the way I see it. Prove me wrong.

What can YOU do?

Am I the only one who noticed that we are proposing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on climate research and computer modeling -- even though Al Gore tells us that the science is settled and that the majority of the scientists concur with his conclusions. Either the models are flawed and cannot be relied on to support a $6 TRILLION dollar policy decision -- or Al Gore is right and everything has already been determined. In my opinion, Al Gore is nothing but a jumped up grifter arrogantly demanding action and hoping nobody important calls "bullshit."

Before we spend more of our hard earned dollars on speculative climate ventures promoted by the socialists, communists, anarchists who have infiltrated the environmental movement in order to weaken the economy and military posture of the United States; before we cede our sovereignty to foreign-based organizations, panels and commissions which would be allowed to use the United States Courts to enforce their will upon American companies and people – let us prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that global climate change is more than just the natural variability of natural weather cycles and that the money that will be used to mitigate its effects would not be better spent on curbing pollution and becoming energy independent which will do more to improve our climate that the bullshit carbon cap and trade system that will only benefit the politicians, the Wall Street Wizards and our enemies.

You will notice that Senator John Kerry and other politicians and those with a vested interest, for either personal, professional or for profit reasons, speak in terms of certainty, of established scientific fact, in terms of crisis, catastrophe and the cost in human lives. With little more than climate models and supposition, these people want to, for their own purposes, dominate the United States and push it toward European socialism. They speak of the catastrophe that will be fall Earth if temperature rises only four degrees. And yet, it should be taken with a grain of salt. For those of you who are only enough to remember the United Nations’ dire predictions for a world beset with unbridled population growth – our nation, as well as the rest of the world, would have already experienced catestrophic breakdowns in social order and massive starvation. The United Nations was wrong then and they are wrong now. The difference is that nobody will be able to prove that our carbon reductions are having a climate effect, now, in our lifetime, and not for hundreds – if not thousands – of years. You must ask yourself, do we want to cede control of our nation to a group of politicians and special interest entities? The fruits of our labor, or more importantly, our freedoms? I think not.

Do not elect ideologues or political hacks that spout self-serving nonsense merely to get elected. Avoid those Marxists who, in the guise of liberal democrats, would sell out the United States to gain even a modicum of personal wealth and power.

Before we can do good for the world, let us consider doing good for ourselves.

Be well, be safe, and protect your life and money – nobody will do it for you unless they are on your payroll.

-- steve

Quote of the day: “Congress is like the weather, with a purpose that changes from day-to-day and can be predicted over the short term by taking the temperature of the surrounding public.” – 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:

Watch Gore’s “testimony” – Note: there is a late start to the committee hearing and you might want to scroll forward to 21:35 where the action commences and the sound begins. (Talk about wasted bandwidth)

Statements:

Senator Kerry's Opening Statement
Senator Lugar's Opening Statement

Witnesses:

The Honorable Albert A. Gore, Jr, Former Vice President of the United States, Nashville, TN


“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



Accounting for failure or the failure of accounting? (Updated)

UPDATE 02-04-09 IT'S ABOUT TIME ...

The Nationa Law Journal is reporting ... 

"Minnesota accounting firm has been hit by lawsuits alleging that it failed to detect problems in two separate Ponzi schemes -- the purported $50 billion investment scam by New York financier Bernard Madoff and the $3.5 billion alleged "electronics" scheme by Thomas Petters."

"The suits against McGladrey & Pullen, a national 100-office auditing firm in Bloomington, Minn., and similar suits stemming from the Madoff scandal against accounting firms KPMG, Ernst & Young and BDO Seidman, point up the likely spread of litigation as financial victims attempt to recover massive losses."

Original blog entry:

The blame game …

Once again we are presented with politicians running off at the mouth about the systemic causes of today’s financial crisis. Partially to diffuse and depersonalize blame and partially to deflect their own complicity in the meltdown of financial markets and institutions. 

There are those who blame President Bush for encouraging a laissez-faire, hands off policy when it comes to regulatory policies and then need for stringent oversight.

There are those who blame the Administration’s politicalized Agencies for faithfully executing what they believed to be the President’s policies.

There are those who blame Congress for using financial legislation to reward some special interest friends and punish others. For urging a relaxation in loan documentation for a politically valuable class of voters consisting of ethnic, racial and social class minorities; all in the guise of providing affordable housing.

There are those who blame the Wall Street Wizards for creating and marketing derivative products with dubious values.

There are those who blame the mortgage industry for allowing uncreditworthy borrowers to obtain loans for properties that they could never afford. And for manipulated appraisals and documentation.

There are those who blame the Federal Reserve for artificially manipulating interest rates to encourage the ever-expanding global pool of capital to seek refuge in the mortgage market.

And there are those who blame the consumer and commercial credit ratings agencies whose models failed to protect against a trend of uncreditworthy borrowers and suspicious loans.

Who enabled those who participated in the financial crisis?

And while all of these parties are partially to blame, one group stands out as not being publically excoriated for enabling the massive failure of today’s financial and social institutions. A group at the heart of almost every singular and institutionalized fraud. A group which overlooked their implicit charter to the people of the United States and their profession.

ACCOUNTANTS!

Behind each and every fraudulent company and transaction stood a legion of accountants. Some representing well-known signature firms, others lesser known but regionally powerful.

So how does a practitioner of a profession who signs a statement that: in their learned opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of  the institution being audited; escape the consequences of their actions?

Escape, evasion and lawyer’s letters …

While we freely admit that it is possible for an organization to hide material facts from its auditors and that sampling may fail to reveal an ongoing fraud, what excuse can be made for the accounting profession?

A profession which wrote the rules that enabled the creation and accounting for derivatives?

A profession which wrote the rules regarding “off balance sheet” transactions which hide mounting risk and losses from the parties which rely on the accounting profession to protect the public, the shareholders and the counterparties involved with the enterprise?

A profession which stretched the limits of financial prudence and credulity in continuing to report on the ongoing activities of fatally flawed enterprises which they knew for certain were insolvent; that is that the losses had wiped out the shareholder’s equity and forced the firms into short-term borrowing to meet the costs of day-to-day operational expenses?

A profession which saw executive compensation bonuses and individual expenses that represented a significant impairment of the firm’s working capital and said nothing – not even a peep in the footnotes.

And a profession which now is working on loosening even the current standards as they implement European-style accounting which is even more subjective and compromising than the current United States accounting model.

How the hell can we trust our government and those firms who are receiving billions of the taxpayer’s hard earned dollars when we know the accounting system is flawed and its practitioner’s corrupted by those who reward them with audit and consulting business?

HOW DOES THE ACCOUNTING PROFESSION REDEEM ITS HONOR AFTER BEING COMPLICIT IN ONE OF THE WORST FINANCIAL DISASTERS IN AMERICA.

And, even worse, how does the government demonstrate to its constituency, the people of the United States, that the nation’s books are true, correct and accurate? That the taxpayer’s money is fully accounted for and that even the “black money” used in covert operations has not been stolen by some nefarious party?

The government knows its accounting systems and controls are deficient …

The government dictum, “as long as it is disclosed somewhere,” it provides us with political deniability has never been truer.

Consider this report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) …

“WASHINGTON (December 15, 2008) - For the 12th year in a row, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) was prevented from expressing an opinion on the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government—other than the Statement of Social Insurance—because of numerous material internal control weaknesses and other limitations.”

“While significant progress has been made in improving financial management since the federal government began preparing consolidated financial statements 12 years ago, three major impediments have continued to prevent us from rendering an opinion on the accrual basis consolidated financial statements over this period of time.” 

Let’s review: 12 years in a row after the program was implemented 12 years ago = the accounting has never been accurate and the government’s books have never been balanced!

“Those include serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense, the federal government’s inability to adequately account for and reconcile intragovernmental activity and balances between federal agencies, and the federal government’s ineffective process for preparing the consolidated financial statements.”

“[Acting Comptroller General of the United States, Gene] Dodaro also noted three additional material weaknesses related to improper payments, information security, and tax collection activities.”

“Dodaro added that at least three major agencies did not get clean opinions – the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).”

No surprise here!

Who can we trust?

A country who can perform millions of computations per second to place a manned space vehicle on the moon certainly can design an accurate and effective accounting system. However, considering the national political priorities and the institutionalized political corruption, perhaps this accounting fail is by design rather than by accidental happenstance.  

If we are not able to trust the accounting profession to eliminate, isolate or disclose all of the sophisticated accounting dodges to provide the public with true and correct information, perhaps we should eliminate all restrictions to entering the accounting field and allow anyone to hold themselves out as a CPA – after seeing the results of this financial disaster, I am not so certain that the accounting profession’s stars function any better than lawyers who, as advocates, will shade and bend the truth to accommodate their client’s needs – even as they profess to be professionals and officers of the court.  

In the final analysis …

There is but one principal accounting principle that should be remembered:

Solvency represents the ability of an enterprise to pay its bills and service its debt without government intervention and accounting fictions.

And one warning to the accounting profession:

We need accountants who can cry “bullshit” when the public is being deceived – and if they are found complicit in enabling deceit; jail seems a nice place for them to remain while they study honest accounting techniques.

What can YOU do?

Perhaps we should ask our politicians to end the fiction of a fiscal year so as to enable ordinary people to understand the true expenditures and budgets on the same calendar basis the majority of citizens use for their accounting.

Perhaps we should demand that our politicians delay the implementation of IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) until they are proven to be better than the current United States GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles).

Considering the financial disaster brought about by the use of derivatives and other sophisticated financial instruments, perhaps we should demand that derivatives be outlawed until the government creates rules and regulation for their creation, use and marketing and that an exchange is established to add transparency to all derivative trades.

Likewise, we need the government to prohibit the use of credit default swaps by companies which do not create actuarially sound reserves and hold these instruments out as unregulated insurance. Especially considering that there may be 55 TRILLION dollars worth of CDS paper floating around the firmament – waiting to consume companies like a blast furnace consumes paper.

Bottom line: demand that our elected officials re-think the accounting profession, its rules and practitioners before we trust them with another trillion dollars of the taxpayer’s hard earned funds.

-- steve

Quote of the day: “Trust but verify!” – Ronald Wilson Reagan

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:

Fiscal Year 2008 Financial Report of the United States Government| Treasury Department and Office of Management and Budget


“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



Cloud Computing: a growing threat to personal freedom and security?

The magic computer in the clouds …

No matter how they spin the story, the major technology companies who are touting “cloud computing” are simply repeating the history of data processing with new equipment, software and communications protocols. The so-called “cloud” concept is as old as “time sharing” when people used terminals to connect to extremely expensive mainframe computers and simply paid for their small slice of time. Since you paid for only the computer power you used, it was a very reasonable price to pay for accessing enough computer power to do the desired job at hand.

Enter the personal computer …

After time-sharing and the introduction of mini-computers, the micro-computer revolution was born. In a period of approximately 27 years, starting approximately in the 1980’s, almost everyone who wanted a personal computer was able to obtain one. Operating systems and applications software steadily improved to the point where they contained so many unused features than only incremental and/or cosmetic improvements could be made. The great fortunes which were made on the need for ever increasing hardware requirements and software upgrades was starting to significantly slow. Especially since personal computer users began to realize that they had their word processors, spreadsheets and databases and that there was little or nothing to gain from continually upgrading either the hardware or the software. They were comfortable with the technology and the software and saw little need to continually invest in new computers and the next whizbang version of the software which did diddly squat to improve their personal productivity.

So, to combat the falling prices of hardware, the increasing uselessness of the next version of your expensive productivity suit (word processor, spreadsheet, slide presentation, database) and the introduction of “open source” equivalents which could be accessed for little or no investment – the major players decided to simply monetize the delivery of software services. That is, return to timesharing, by offering “pay as you go” software services.

Is a major announcement on the way?

In addition to offering “on the web” access to the traditional application suite, rumors now continue to swirl around the possible introduction of a “virtual disk” which would allow a user to store all of their data on a remote computer for little or no cost. Virtually guaranteed (pun intended) to attract an audience who still believes that there is a free lunch and that mega-corporations and the government is willing to provide free services for its citizens without some form of compensation.

Do no evil … (yeah, right)

For those of you in data processing and those who are power users, you may recognize the unofficial mantra of Google: “Do no evil.” Google which has made its fortune (and the fortunes of its investors) on supplying superior search engine technology, is now attempting to use its megabuck capital investment in hardware, software and communications infrastructure to compete with Microsoft’s Windows-brand application software by turning to web-based application programs and the offer of free data storage on their systems. To be sure, Microsoft, having experienced a very slow start in Internet technology, is trying to mount a competitive offer to protect their brand from the Google onslaught. In the process, Google has morphed from a rather idealistic organization into an extremely large behemoth and a corporation that will do anything to keep their position in the pantheon of computing giants. 

But let us consider the RAMifications (couldn’t resist the pun) of such developments.

Eventually, you will pay for the computer power you consume …

Someone will eventually pay the piper, and we are betting it will be the end user. No matter what a corporation may say or do, they are still required to produce quarterly profits to support their stock prices. Not to mention paying for all of their employees, hardware, software, power, cooling and everything else that is necessary to offer their services to the marketplace.

Your data is valuable, not only to you, but to a wide variety of commercial and governmental entities. So whether you pay directly or subject yourself to advertising in exchange for access to remote computers, you are paying a price.

The devil is in the details …

Let us consider for a minute, some of the details which will often be buried in the minutia of the EULA, the End User License Agreement.

We guarantee nothing …

Most user agreements covering software services are made on what is known as a “best efforts basis.” That is, we will try our best to provide the services you desire, but we cannot guarantee that your data will not be lost, that our service will always be available, that you will be able to retrieve your data in a timely fashion, that evil-doers will not be able to access your personal data using advanced technology, or that our trusted personnel will not sell your data to the tabloid press. And, if any of these things happen, we are not liable for the consequences of these actions – and if by some chance we are liable, your recovery is limited to the amount of money you have paid us for the month in which the problem occurred. And, by the way, you must enter into binding arbitration and never, never bring a class action lawsuit against us. Of course, it’s not this simple as these conditions are often buried in pages of dense print with references to additional documents which are subject to change at any point in time. Of course, should you choose not to accept these conditions, don’t use our service.

We may troll your data …

We may, to protect ourselves from various and unspecified threats, examine your data for whatever we decide to look for; be it commercial secrets, child pornography, bad mouthing our service and so on. However, we may also sell your data, in aggregated form without personal references or specific data items, to those who want to use this treasure trove of electronically accessible data for research – and possibly to improve our search algorithms to meet your personal needs. Not to mention, delivering more targeted advertising to your eyeballs.

We may sell you out …

Being gutless wonders, we cave at the mere mention of legal action. Should someone file a copyright infringement notice under the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), we might disable all or a portion of your account with little or no notice.

Of course, we cooperate with the government and will provide all of your information to them in exchange for little more than a “free pass” also known as an administrative summons.

Again, you can’t sue us or seek redress as we have your signed user agreement that says we told you what could happen.

And before you reply that trusted employees with monitored access would never gaze upon your personal information, let me simply point to the disclosures of non-public personal information to the tabloids by medical personnel – who were subsequently fired after the damage was done.

The increasing danger of XML …

For those who do not immediately recognize the acronym, it stands for “eXtended Markup Language” and provides a set of data tags to identify the components of your data and make these data elements more accessible. The following example should give you an idea of how powerful this technique can be for searching and retrieving data.

<Name>John Q. Public</Name> <PersonalIdentificationDetails SocialSecurityNumber = “555-55-5555” DateOfBirth = “01/01/1980” DriversLicenseState = “WA” DriversLicenseNumber = “ZZ4049585” DriversLicenseExpiration = “01/01/2012” />

<MedicalCondition DiseaseCode = “9999” DiseaseName = “Horrible Disease” />

<ComputerAccessCode> 4543-AC37-EF56-8494 </Computer AccessCode>

As you can see, a computer search would be able to easily separate out critical information that would be of interest to insurance companies deciding whether or not to insure you or the government wanting to link your data to a particular computer, communications IP address, date and time.

And lest you doubt the power of XML data tagging, consider that the default mode of Microsoft’s latest Office Suite is tagged XML – note that the familiar extensions now are .docx, .xlsx, etc.

And even worse, courtesy of the Hollywood media moguls who want to keep their offerings under lock and key, all electronic output produced on your computer (including documents, graphics, and audio-visual files) is likely to contain embedded GUIDs (Globally Unique IDentifiers) which can be associated with your software purchase and computer use during the registration process.

Encryption?

The smartest thing when storing information on foreign servers that are under control of others is to use heavy encryption. However, I can point with absolute certainty to encrypted data which can be hacked with no more than a commercial program costing less than $100. Consider also that certain encryption algorithms used to protect computer data have already been compromised and there are those who believe that some of the most stringent encryption algorithms may have mathematical backdoors – ones that require the type of massive computing power of federal agencies.

And, one must consider that XML tagging in and of itself increases the vulnerability of protected works as the data tags are well-defined, universally available and comprise a surprisingly large portion of the data being encrypted. For those who routinely decrypt data, knowing something about the data being protected is always a leg up in the process.

It gets worse …

Very few people have heard of CALEA , the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. It is  a United States wiretapping law passed in 1994 (Pub. L. No. 103-414, 108 Stat. 4279, codified at 47 USC 1001-1010). In its own words, the purpose of CALEA is:

”To amend title 18, United States Code, to make clear a telecommunications carrier's duty to cooperate in the interception of communications for Law Enforcement purposes, and for other purposes.”

Considering that those companies who are offering Internet computing services are often considered to also be telecommunications carriers, the extension of CALEA to data services is a given.

Your choice …

Whether or not you choose to use Internet-based software or store your information on remote computers not under your control is up to you.

What can YOU do?

Read the licensing agreement and make sure that you understand the limits of the offering company’s liability if something should go wrong.

Should you choose to use “cloud” computing, it is suggested that you consult legal counsel to determine if your data, which may contain NPI (Non-Public Personal Information) such as names, account numbers and financial details, is subject to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the FTC Safeguards Rule or your state’s privacy initiatives.

If the information is of a critical nature, determine a fail-safe method for backing up the data and preserving it in a format that can be used in an emergency. Remember: any major natural disaster is likely to disrupt or delay access to your data. One need only remember the big institutions who were left without their web sites when 4 out of 10 diesel generators failed to respond to a start command.

For those who want to access their computers over any available Internet connection, it is suggested that you investigate using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or use one of the commercially available remote access services. Again, security precautions are required to protect you, your data and the innocent parties which may also be involved.

It is my personal position that you never want to mix personal and professional data on any single server and that your professional obligations may preclude using systems and software which you do not directly control.

In all cases, demand that your legislators pass a personal privacy law that unequivocally protects your financial and medical data – as well as mandates stiff criminal penalties and civil compensation for any and all security breaches.

If you are interested in the protection of your personal privacy, you might want to consider joining the Electronic Frontier Foundation (www.EFF.com) which is a solid bulwark against those who would electronically compromise our freedoms.

At one point in time, I was a great believer in the efforts of our government to act ethically and to pursue and prosecute those who would interfere with our Constitutionally-guaranteed rights. Unfortunately, we are now experiencing a hyper-politicalization of government agencies. When media concerns mean more than justice. Where document classification is used to hide mistakes and surveillance techniques used against political enemies. And worst of all, friends are rewarded and enemies punished.

Unless we start electing honest politicians, the America we know will simply disappear into the cesspool of third-world nations. 

-- 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:

WIRETAP IMMUNITY: BEYOND CALEA? |One Citizen Speaking

SECURITY ISSUES: MICROSOFT + YAHOO, CALEA, FISA, PATRIOT ACT and MONITORING THE PUBLIC |One Citizen Speaking

LOSING OUR PRIVACY ONE DEVICE AT A TIME (PART II) |One Citizen Speaking

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

“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



What can you believe in?

January 2o, 2009  was a monumental day which should be officially memorialized …

2009tombstone

When one considers the last minute deals and the character of the incoming Administration, it appears that the public trust and faith in our government has died.

We have entered the realm of political celebrity, where good intentions and a well-crafted speech serve as a measure of accomplishment – even though little or nothing may have been accomplished.

Where the special interests reign supreme and those who contributed mightily to the campaign are now expecting their rewards.

Where the media is afraid to jeopardize its corporate interests by telling truth to power and is complicit in sycophantically covering up the stone cold truth.

Where the word “crisis” is used to suspend the normal rules and conventions of the government, to allow egregious acts of self-interest and public deception to take place on the national stage; often without a fight or words of dissent.

While observing the pageantry and solemnity surrounding the inauguration, I became even more convinced that Barack Obama was, up until now, an empty slate upon which the voters projected their own wants, needs and desires.

Truly a symbol of hope and change … if one looked only at the rhetoric and ignored the actions of the politicians and their political parties.

It is almost inconceivable that slightly more than half of those who took the time and trouble to vote ignored the environment of corruption and special dealing which surrounded Barack Obama. And, most importantly, ignored the fact that Obama was, at best, a dupe or an opportunist when he associated with those who were corrupt, harbored anti-American sentiments or were judged to be unrepentant domestic terrorists.

That a good portion of Barack Obama’s personal history has remained hidden from public scrutiny and shrouded in mystery. And the portion of what has been revealed surrounded with contradiction and controversy.

That his party, the democrats, by means fair and foul, have managed to corrupt the election process by their suspicious voter registration drives and election practices which, in some cases, count more votes than citizens voting.

That his staunchest supporters rely on the precepts of moral equivalency to justify their actions; to claim that President Bush and his Administration led the way in corrupt, special interest dealings. All under the guise of inoculating themselves from future blame by claiming the roots of any corruption and/or crisis should be attributable to the Bush regime.

So I ask again, “what can you believe in?”

And there is but one answer: YOURSELF!

It is time to take defensive measures …

It is time to take defensive measures and insulate yourself from the physical, emotional and spiritual consequences of a government which has proven to be increasingly out of control.

A government where Orwellian definitions indicating black is white, up is down and good is evil abound. Where lawyers parse sentences to find favorable meaning where there is none. Where profligate spending on special interest projects which never work or are canceled before the acid test of everyday usage abound.

Where people are encouraged to sacrifice for the common good, even though that good benefits only the special interests.

It is time to take matters into your own hands. To manage your own health and physical well being, to isolate yourself from those who are crazy-makers and demanding that you blindly follow their latest schemes, to educate yourself when education is being dumbed down and perverted by social activists, to protect your own employment future when CEOs simply shed employees to improve their bonuses and to manage your finances in an age when the government wants you to spend yourself further into debt claiming it is your patriotic duty to help spend our way to a strong economy.

We can no longer trust those institutions which have failed America. Education which is more about union control and supporting minorities than it is about providing a sound basis for adult maturity. Finance, where those who you trusted to prudently manage your finances, gambled on speculative derivatives to earn outrageous bonuses in the tens, and sometimes, hundreds of millions of dollars.

And unfortunately, this same toxic environment extends to local and state governments. Where personal self-interest pervades party politics and those who do not wish America well are busy enabling our enemies, both foreign and domestic, to take over our cities, states and federal government without a single shot being fired. Using the tools of political correctness, multiculturalism and diversity to further divide and conquer our legal citizens.

There is much that is right with America and there is every chance that this recession will turn the corner soon. But we need to take action now. To position ourselves to benefit from bad times as well as good times. To become strong enough to lend support to our families and our communities.

Beginning YOUR journey …

Today, the day after the inauguration, should be a solemn day. A day in which you begin your journey into the future. Putting aside all of the past angst and confusion over politics and moving forward with your own programs that benefit you. In essence, your inauguration into the world of YOU!

To this end, I am going to dedicate a portion of my time to building a web site that will be dedicated to self-protection and the encouragement of personal achievement.

Join me in becoming personally proactive …

If you should wish to join me on the journey, you can sign up for my free report on job loss related panic at www.aminext.com or by clicking on the site logo below.

subscribe to aminext.com

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for reading my OneCitizenSpeaking blog and encourage you to sign-up for the future benefits yet to come.


“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's inaugural address: Don't blame anyone, he told you what he plans to do!

Perhaps it is just me?  That there is some flaw in my character which encourages me to see some inkling of  unpleasant truths to come; while those about me applaud and cheer the arrival of a new President. Perhaps it is because I have closely followed his campaign rhetoric and compared our President’s talking points with his actions, or in some cases, lack of action.

I will freely admit that our government, starting with the Carter years and moving through the Bush 43 years, has left much to be desired. In terms of the rise in self-interest governmental corruption. Of purchasing photo-ops with foreign dictators who issue worthless proclamations in return for cold, hard American cash, commodities and technology.

Therefore, it is with some trepidation that I read President Obama’s inaugural address; starting from the part that is of interest to me.

“My fellow citizens:”

I am inheriting a mess …

“That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood.

"Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred."

"Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age." 

"Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered."

"Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.”

“These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics.”

These are the facts and they are undeniable.

And many in America are discouraged and despondent …

“Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.”

“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real.”

“They are serious and they are many.”

“They will not be met easily or in a short span of time.”

Again, these are the facts and they are undeniable. 

Promise and the hope born of change  …

“But know this, America they will be met.”

You have elected me and I will assume I have a mandate for change …

“On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.” 

“On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.”

“We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”

This is an American President speaking to his fellow American citizens: “The God-given promise that all Americans are equal, all Americans are free, and all Americans deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”

“In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given.”

Our individual God-given rights are a given: they arise from God and have absolutely nothing to do with government. And it is through a willing amalgamation of our individual strengths that our nation becomes great.

“It must be earned.”

It does not have to be earned, it is our right as individuals who have banded together in self-governance. And while it does not have to be earned, it has to be nurtured. Nurtured by individuals who recognize the natural law and the benefits of free association for mutual assistance.

“Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less.”

“It has not been the path for the faint-hearted for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.”

“Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.”

True! 

Immigration …

“For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.”

“For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.”

“For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.”

“Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life.”

They sacrificed much, and in many cases made the ultimate sacrifice, so all could live in a land where freedom and liberty was the rule rather than the exception. 

“They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.”

I disagree. They saw America, not being bigger than the sum of the individual ambitions, but as the nation that allowed for mutual freedoms, the willing combination of individual achievement for a common good, a structure that could and would defend its individual citizens from a common enemy that would have us as indentured servants to their ideologies.

“This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished.”

Our spirit, knowledge and ingenuity remains strong. But our capacity has been greatly diminished as we have outsourced critical industries and essential materials to foreign countries so that we may enjoy lower taxes and the benefits of cheap labor. If anything, the venality of some, caused in part by overly restrictive government policies, has sold out a portion of our vital national capacity to foreign sovereign nations by outsourcing and allowing the outright purchase of critical industries by those who do not wish us well. What combination of business and political forces allowed the covertly hostile Chinese Army to use a former Navy installation, located next to our most populous city, to ship thousands of uninspected cargo containers throughout our nation?

A slap at the former Administration?

“ But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”

Lofty and necessary goals …

“For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.”

“All this we can do. And all this we will do.”

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans.Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

Yes, these goals should be accomplished and it is not a matter of those who question those who dream big. It is a question of jurisdiction. Many of these goals should be accomplished by private corporations as there is no Constitutional mandate for our federal government to own and operate what has been, in the past, the purview of private industry – possibly acting under local and state regulations.

There is a fundamental misconception about money in Washington. It doesn’t belong to them, it belongs to the individual taxpayers who earned it. Perhaps the recovery funds should be disbursed to the states in proportion to their original contributions. And then, on a state level, grants made to private contractors who will agree to return this money to the people through lower costs and fees. All I know, from past historical reference, is that the federal government is structurally incapable of managing large sums of money without waste, fraud, corruption and malfeasance. Why should we believe that this Administration, mostly comprised of those who served past Administrations, with the task of doing something that they were unable to do previously?

It’s a new game? 

“What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.” 

Perhaps the cynics, myself included, understand all too well that an evil confluence of politics, politicians and their special interest friends have created this crisis and are now attempting to use it to further their own political and personal ends. Who were the people who told us to invest in America, place our money in banks, trust that the regulators would strictly enforce prudent and sound money-handling practices? The cynics, at least in this case, have a right to be skeptical – they were the ones who lost 50% or more of their assets due to the malevolent greed of an elite few, unobserved by their so-called government regulators, some of which also profited mightily from this lack of oversight.

Why should I believe a politician who has risen through his self-serving actions through a corrupt Chicago political machines and finessed his way into the White House? Because he is telegenic and speaks well when using a TelePrompTer? I don’t care if he is white, black, purple or green – I care that he is honest and competent;  not a newbie who will make it up as he goes along or fall prey to malevolent advisors who may have their own agenda and be serving another master. Damn the media for not doing their job in protecting America from those who seem to spend more time calculating political spin than producing solid public policy.

We have trusted billions of dollars to those who confirm the fact that there was no reason behind that particular amount other than it needed to be a “big” number. And regardless of the leadership change at the top, or the new faces in Congress, it is the same old political masters who are pulling the strings.

Wrong question …

“The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.”

The correct question is: does the Constitution of the United States empower the federal government  to provide these services or should their provision be a state function, subject to voter approval?

“Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward.Where the answer is no, programs will end.”

This is no more than feel-good social engineering. Yes it would be nice to create high-paying jobs for everyone, provide them with the best health care and usher them offstage with a cushy retirement package. Truth be told, we only do this  for our politicians and those who are politically well-connected.  One need only look at the job security, salaries and perks of government workers (many represented by public service unions) to see that they are isolated from much of the pain found in the private sector. Enlarging government and raising taxes to accomplish your lofty goals is far less attractive than portrayed by the political spinmeisters. For those who do not recognize what is happening here, it is socialism. Centrally-planned actions to manage the collective. A subversion of individual responsibility in favor of more government entitlements.

And should they return our economy to relative health; I say relative because they will need to deal with the value-robbing inflationary billions pumped into our economy, they will soon need to create another crisis to continue their oppressive political behavior. I predict this might be a global warming, “save the planet” issue.

Accountability …

And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Politicians and their special interest friends have never been fully accountable to the American people. Billions of dollars associated with government projects have disappeared without a trace. And the government, in spite of the fact that we can compute the orbital trajectory to put a man on the moon, cannot develop a trusted accounting system nor can they develop a system which tracks visitors (both inward and outward) to the United States. But of course, we already know the answer: it is not incompetence, it is obfuscation and corruption by design – for the sole purpose of plausible political deniability and to mask the money flowing to those special interests who support today’s politicians.

If President Obama was serious about accountability, let him purchase an off-the-shelf copy of an accounting program and force each and every government agency to use it. No more funny budgeting or allocations to obscure funding accounts. No more funny squirreling of in hidden accounts to be used as a uncontrolled slush fund.

Free market capitalism and regulatory powers …

“Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.”

The sad fact is that the regulators did not enforce the regulations already on the books or succumbed to the assault of loophole bearing lawyers with enough arguments to tie the matter up in court for years. When politicians, many of whom are lawyers, are allowed to use special interests to draft legislation and permit ambiguous wording we can rest assured that the result will be “legalized fraud.” How many citizens know that Congress voted – and President Clinton signed – a bill which exempted those who created toxic securities from state gaming laws? Yes, that’s right! These people knew they were gambling and did not want any state to prosecute them for engaging in a prohibited act.

“The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.”

This is government-forced wealth re-distribution couched in terms of “our common good.” No – it is robbing the hard-working, law-abiding American taxpayer of the fruits of his labor at the point of a gun – and giving it to someone who the politician deems worthy. Socialism!

“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.”

We can thank George Orwell for writing a book in which the government claims “up is down,” “right is left” and evil is good.”

Remember the quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin, “He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither?” Well that is exactly what the Obama Administration is asking. They are asking us to cede a portion of our freedom and liberty for the safety of a governmental entitlement. In the case of so-called “global warming,” giving up the right to use energy as we wish – and conserve for the good of all. To sacrifice our men and women to guard the bridges and infrastructure we are building in Iraq when our own infrastructure is crumbling and is in desperate need of repair or replacement.

Consider for a moment the  war in  Iraq. We opt for ridiculous rules of engagement that place our people at greater risk to protect those who openly support the enemy. Because our politicians lack the strength of character to draw a line in the sand and explain the consequences of stepping over the line. They are reluctant to use appropriate force when necessary. These politicians have gotten more combat soldiers killed than necessary. We know Iran is behind the production and importation of deadly and sophisticated IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) and has nuclear ambitions – so they talk to each other over opulent dinners, convincing themselves that America is more secure when they don’t act aggressively toward our enemies. They are more afraid of the media and foreign leaders than they are of the American public – because they know that Americans, especially today,  do not want to be disturbed from their American Idol television program to face the cold, hard truth that we are ceding our liberty to the enemy in return for a modicum of safety. Knowing that Americans will vote for the telegenic candidate with oratorical skills and a “feel good agenda.” Perhaps America deserves this particular wake up call?

“Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations.

The peril was death by hanging as a traitor. The charter was our Constitution. And it has been protected by the blood of Patriots. So, ask yourself, why are they so hell-bent in moving beyond its wise guidance and trying to nullify those portions which protect man against the tyranny of the government. Yes, folks – the Second Amendment. The very same Second Amendment that Barack Obama and Eric Holder, his nominee for Attorney General, claim applies to the collective and not the individual. Self-defense and the possession of a handgun in New York and Washington will get you a felony conviction and a jail sentence. At the same time those who would rob, maim, rape and kill you walk around armed – for it is only the law abiding citizen who must be disarmed. Nothing mentioned about the criminal, many of whom are poor minorities with their own ideas about wealth re-distribution.

Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.”

Note to Obama: we will never give them up, period! And we lead by example. Our country may have flaws (mostly caused by criminals, politicians and their cohorts), but there is not a greater country on the face of the Earth. We have always led the way – offering protection, with our blood when necessary, to others. There is no lead “once more” – we may be despised by governments and those they educate to hate us – but we are admired by all those who recognize that they are being oppressed. Name one other country where people will risk their life to exit their country to enter America. How many people illegally steal across Saudi Arabia’s borders in search of freedom and opportunity. 

Talking to our enemies, negotiating with evil ...

“Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.”

Our cause is our God-given freedom and the right to self-defense. Our cause is just an unequivocal. As before, our unwillingness to protect ourselves will be our undoing. Showing humility and restraint to those who demand we become subservient to their religion and their nation was the cause of 9/11. Bowing before an ruthless enemy which declares everyone “not of the faith” to be the enemy will present particular challenges to this new President. And for the sake of America and its continued survival, let us hope he is up to the challenge. 

By definition, negotiation involves some form of compromise where the parties are willing to come together, each taking a little bit less of what they want, in order to pursue a mutual benefit. But I ask you, what benefit should be conferred on evil and those who do not wish us well?

“We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort even greater cooperation and understanding between nations.”

We cannot simply request a hostile power cooperate with America or even the world community. Check your history. UN Sanctions against Saddam Hussein; universal condemnation of Iran’s nuclear program. Yada, Yada, Yada.  

Obama’s War: Afghanistan …

“We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan.”

We may withdraw our troops to their bases and limit their activities, but the drain on our finances will continue as we provide limited support to Iraq and make a full-assault on Afghanistan. I am not so sure that Obama won’t simply agree to allow the Taliban back into a coalition government (similar to Iraq) and continue to supply all parties with taxpayer money -- and then call it a victory.

“With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.”

Global warming remains one of the greatest political scams ever perpetrated by the far left environmentalists whose movement has been infiltrated by socialists, communists and anarchists as a method of pursuing the political action agenda while receiving tax-exempt funding as a non-profit. This represents a great threat to our freedom and serves as a vehicle to increase taxes, enlarge government and reduce our liberties –- all to fight an improbable proposition which takes hundreds of years to manifest results.

Talking tough for the right…

“We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”

Our strength is in our diversity …

“For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers.We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.”

Let’s all sing …

“Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah”

“Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah”

“Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah”

“Oh Lord, kum ba yah”

Overcoming centuries of conflict with a smile …

“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

But enough about Saudi Arabia (rimshot). The thought that any American, an infidel by any Muslim’s standards, can change a religion that demands death or subservience to anyone not of the religion is beyond ludicrous, it is downright dangerous. Until the religion is reformed and the church is separated from  dictator states, there will be no meaningful Middle East reform or peace in Obama’s lifetime – let alone in in first or, heaven forbid, second term. To hang your Administration’s collective hat on the hopes that there is something resembling a “moderate” Muslim in Arab or other Muslim countries is to be whistling Dixie while walking past the graveyards of generations of soldiers. Obama will probably appoint low level envoys (with Hillary Clinton’s permission should she be confirmed) to come forth with meaningless meeting protocols and accords which will change nothing.

It is unknown whether or not President Obama will support Israel – especially if they attack Iran. Something I thought might occur prior to Obama’s inauguration, but which has been masterfully delayed by the Hamas fighters working on Iran’s payroll.

Re-distributing the wealth …

We will involuntarily tax the people of the United States to buy the cooperation of world leaders; re-distributing the wealth to those less fortunate who are not citizens of our great nation. Including funds for those who leaders who steal our money, subjugate their people and openly mock us for our naiveté and weakness. 

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.

“And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect.”

Not only shall we capitalize on the hard work of Americans to make your worlds better, but we shall change our mode of living so that the differences between us are diminished – all under the guise of saving the planet from global warming.

“For the world has changed, and we must change with it.” 

Those that do not wish us well seem to have won the war of words, of ideas and ideologies – for President Obama is saying that we must change our lifestyles to match those of others. How very European. How very socialist.

A tribute to the troops who have protected us from the evil that Obama now wants to embrace and reward with both recognition and funding …

“As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment a moment that will define a generation it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

True Americans will realize that our troops are the guardians of OUR liberty, embody a spirit of service to OUR nation and willing to find meaning in something greater than themselves – America and all of its legal citizens.

“For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.”

“It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.”

These are acts of free will, not coerced by any central government or politician. These are helping hands which are freely extended to neighbors and those similarly situated within our great nation. And when we see that we can assist those outside of our own city, state and country, we do so freely and without being compelled to donate our money, time and effort. We help because we are Americans – not because our government takes our tax money and helps those who take our assistance, not with gratitude; but with a sense of entitlement.

Our challenge as Americans …

“Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.”

“What is demanded then is a return to these truths.”

Our challenge, as Americans, is to elect honest politicians who recognize the value and worth of each and every American citizen, who realize that they exist to do our bidding, to act for our benefit and to give up their self-interests in order to serve the American people. It is one thing to speak of values and of worthy ideals – and then to corrupt them for political self-interest. To politicians, all of the words that describe Americans: hard working, honest, courageous, tolerant, curious, loyal and patriotic, should not form the basis for coercing fellow citizens into serving politicians and their political party; and allowing them to drain the fruits of our labors away so that they may retain office by pandering to the special interests with their own agendas. To elect politicians who do not divide us along racial, ethnic, religious or financial lines; but rather unite us as Americans to better ourselves and, by extension, America herself.

New era or old failed ideas?

“What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.”

“This is the price and the promise of citizenship.”

The price of citizenship is to individually strengthen ourselves first, because only the strong can contribute willingly to others and to his country. But we are not, as some may assume, citizens of the world who should have the world’s burdens placed upon our backs to further weaken us, individually and collectively. Again, we must separate our individual charity and that which is forced upon us by politicians operating in their own best interests. Truth be told, the promise of citizenship is to preserve our way of life, to assure that we remain free and prosperous, to leave a lasting legacy to our children … and to voluntarily share our blessings  when we, as individuals, deem it appropriate.

There are actions taken by our politicians which are not authorized under our Constitution. Actions made possible by the tortured twisting of words and interpretations born of whole cloth. We need to return to our Constitutional roots rather than become a manipulated collective.

“This is the source of our confidence the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.”

Our destiny is far from uncertain. It is the manifest enjoyment of our God-given rights with as little intrusion as possible from a government which has wildly grown beyond anything imagined by our forefathers. While our guiding principles have remained constant, it is the politicians who are bending America to the will of those who can afford to manipulate the media, raise large campaign funds and to insure that their membership will vote as they are told.

“This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.”

While we have made great racial strides in electing a bi-racial fellow citizen to office, it should be said, on this solemn occasion, that the man who has been elected, and his political party, has never been afraid to divide Americans by race, ethnicity, religion and class to gain a political advantage. While it is a magnificent achievement for any American to become the President of the United States, it should be noted that his election was more a confluence of events in which a highly polarized nation was voting against a president and his political party than voting for the candidate for office. Aided and abetted by a media who had ceded their journalistic ethics and could no longer tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Also aided an abetted by prodigious fundraising, some of which might have come from foreign sources who saw in this candidate, a kindred spirit and willingness to further drain America’s coffers and weaken her in relationship to other nations.

“So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned.The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

‘Let it be told to the future world that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].’"

Let us not forget that we were fighting for our survival against a foreign oppressor, one that would summarily confiscate the fruits of our labors in the form of taxes. And impose other egregious sanctions on our budding band of liberty-seeking Americans. Those who have gone before us have fought and died to determine our own destiny.

And I find it highly ironic that we are now engaged in a similar fight against those who would confiscate the fruits of our labors in the form of taxes. Maybe indirectly, to support a burgeoning government with ever-growing power – but confiscate the fruits of our labors nevertheless.

We are fighting an internal enemy and we must all realize that we could lose our America, and our freedoms, without ever having fired a shot in self-defense. Our freedoms and the fruits of our labor are slowly disappearing in a morass of laws, rules and regulations designed to exert control over Americans in the guise of keeping us safe and benefiting society. Until one sad day, we will wake up and find that we have committed the egregious and felonious act of living life as we have lived it in the past.

“America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”

Let us hope that newly-elected President Obama realizes that it is our individual strengths which make us strong; and when willingly combined with the strengths of others, makes us invincible as a nation. It would be a sad day for America to see our nation become Europe, an allegedly civilized society that exists for the good of the collective – and those of wealth and power who manage it in their own self interests.

While I hope a President Obama will turn from his previous path and take a step towards the light, I am cognizant of his past political environment and the fellow travelers who have assisted his journey to the White House. But, as an American, I do hope that President Obama has the courage and the wisdom to move beyond politics and the manufactured media image of Abraham Lincoln to achieve the greatness of a Lincoln. While it may be unlikely, one of the greatest things about American and Americans is that it is possible.

Thank you for reading my blog. Be well and be safe.

-- steve

The Quote of the day is actually a few quotes from that great statesman, Winston Churchill, who most definitely knew something of war and statesmanship.

“All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.”

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

“When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.”

Reference Links:

Obama's inaugural address|Washington Times

flag


“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



Special interests queue-up for disguised bailouts and special privileges ...

We are now seeing national companies attempting to overcome their failed business models and seek government funding of unsustainable programs.

Some like the automakers, could realize substantial savings by disintermediating  their  outmoded distribution network of dealers which have been pampered and protected for years by politicians who were the recipients of substantial campaign funds. By compressing the dealership network into regional distribution centers and enabling “manufacturer-direct pricing, the consumer would benefit greatly. Present-day dealers, many of whom sit upon valuable real estate or who are closing their doors, could still act as repair stations – only this time around with more competitive repair pricing and faster services. The days of waiting a full day for a simple repair at a dealership should come to an end. The focus will be on customer service and benefit rather than a “take it or leave” it business model which features predatory practices every bit as onerous as those found in mortgage lending.

So why are we not surprised …

So why are we not surprised when Sprint attempts to sell their outmoded and failing “push to talk” technology and attempt to carve out a “gatekeeper” profit for processing Internet traffic.

At one point in time, I was a Nextel fan and thought that the walkie-talkie features of a handheld mobile phone were “peachy keen.” As time went on, the devices appeared to become less attractive and the service less reliable. Finally pushing us over the edge and discarding our Nextel units in favor of Verizon phones.

According to Reuters …

Sprint pitches $2 billion emergency network to Obama

“Sprint Nextel Corp., the third biggest U.S. wireless company, wants the government to fund a $2 billion emergency network to make first responders better able to communicate during disasters.”

This is an admirable goal: multi-service interoperability. However, considering the costs of the dispatching, networking and delivery of classified and specialized information via a patchwork of local, state and government systems, one would assume that there is much, much more to this goal than claiming an ability to provide a turn-key system.

For those who want to perform a common-sense reality check, consider what is about to happen during the upcoming inauguration. Some cellular service might be blocked as a precaution against remote detonated explosive devices. Not to mention the sheer number of people who might be trying to connect to others, perhaps to upload high-bandwidth phone-based pictures, video and sound files.

Without a major disaster implementation plan, of which communications is of the utmost concern – but not the only concern, one needs to consider the problems experienced during hurricanes and earthquakes which impaired first-responder communications. Not to mention the freaky reception patterns in metal-shielded locations.

“The company, a major supplier of equipment including push-to-talk phones used by police and fire departments, pitched its 5-year plan to President-elect Barack Obama's transition team in a letter on January 6, which was made public on Friday”.

“A Sprint official described it as a ‘ready to deploy emergency communications system that can be programmed to be interoperable with existing public safety networks.’"

If this system is so great and advantageous, why are investors in Sprint stock not funding the venture as a pilot product whose effectiveness and efficiency can be gauged during an actual emergency? Or is this another “all or nothing” pitch which requires further “study” contracts, pilot projects and other incremental costs?

“Obama's transition team has sought ideas from industry to solve communications problems that surfaced during disasters like the September 11 attacks on the United States and Hurricane Katrina.”

Perhaps the answers should be filtered through the professionals who work for the Department of Homeland Security rather than given to politicians who are ill-equipped to read legislation they are sending to the President, and would be hard-pressed to understand the details of a complicated communication’s system.

The real pitch …

There is no doubt in my mind that telecommunications carriers compete on confusion and chaos, multiple-bundling schemes with an almost infinite combination of dates, prices and services which is designed to bamboozle the consumer into paying much more for a simple service offered by other carriers.

Everybody is getting “stimulus” or bailout funds, why not us?

“Sprint officials, who are also lobbying lawmakers, hope to include the proposal in the billions flagged for technology in the economic stimulus plan working its way through Congress.”

Calling “bullshit!”

“Sprint's plan calls for 100 satellite-based light trucks that would respond to emergencies, and 100,000 or more mobile handsets and equipment at up to 40 pre-selected sites.”

The sites would allow for equipment to be shipped and arrive anywhere in the United States within four hours.”

Common sense tells me that  a four-hour over-the-road delivery of equipment at 60 miles per hour (unlikely in a disaster area) limits the range to 240-miles. Delivery of equipment by rail, aircraft and boats is far more difficult and complex. The four hour limit therefore is bullshit considering the number of sites and amount of equipment described in this report! Of course, the plan could rely on a fleet of military and state helicopters –- but four hours? One needs only to consider how long it takes to place water-dropping helicopters and other aircraft on scene in California.

While there might be ways to make this work, it is extremely unlikely in a wide-spread regional emergency.

Pre-staged equipment caches, unless well-maintained and continually tested, tend to deteriorate into obsolete technological junk extremely fast – especially as new technologies are deployed. There is no guarantee that the entire stockpile of costly equipment would not become worthless in a matter of a few short years.

Competition?

“Sprint has been struggling with market losses to AT&T Inc and Verizon Wireless, a venture between Verizon and Vodafone Group Plc.

“Motorola Inc developed and supplies handsets for Sprint's iDen network, which is often used by emergency workers.”

Single source suppliers using proprietary methodology is not the way I see the contracting process going. We are talking simpler, easier-to-use systems; not complex and fragile systems that require a confluence of good luck to operate under adverse conditions.

Whoops … look what these bastards are trying to sneak through … an end to network neutrality …

“A second Sprint proposal submitted to the transition team is for the Federal Communications Commission to look at re-regulating prices on telephone lines that route phone and Internet service.”

“Those lines are now controlled mainly by AT&T and Verizon, the remnants of the old Bell phone company monopoly that existed until 1984. Sprint says it spends one-third of the operating costs for its 60,000 cell sites to use the special access lines.”

Not only is this totally anti-competitive, but it would also insure a significant rate increase to the consumers and others who use these services.

Bottom line: in a time when foreign countries have better telephone and Internet networks than the United States and costs, which should have dropped long ago are increasing, we should not be subsidizing any company that cannot compete on its own – and without significant government subsidies.

Perhaps, as a cost-savings effort, we should demand that all government agencies re-verify those who are using mobile phones which are not necessary to their jobs. It has been reported than many cell phones have been issued to desk jockeys who have landlines and rarely work outside of their offices. Not to mention those who cross personal and professional message traffic on taxpayer-funded devices.

What can YOU do?

Just say NO!

Unless Sprint can make a compelling, competitive case for proven and demonstrable technology that will not be obsolete in the next few years; as well as providing matching investor funds – I say NO to a bailout of Sprint.

As for Sprint’s push for re-regulation – HELL NO! Anyone who pays a local or state utilitiy bill based on regulated tariffs knows that costs continually rise, services continually degrade and the regulated utilities continue to grease the political wheels.

Do not allow the common carriers to continue bribing politicians with campaign contributions when the politicians should be serving their constituents. Monitor campaign contributions (including those of lawyers, lobbyists, unions and public relations counsel) for disguised payments.

Emergency services are one thing: corruption and malfeasance in the contracting process is quite another.

- steve

Quote of the Day: “Details are the playground of the devil and his political representatives.” -- 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:

Sprint pitches $2 billion emergency network to Obama | Technology | Reuters


“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



Banks don't commit financial crimes, people do -- so where is the prosecution of the people involved?

Lloyds TSB Bank PLC was graciously allowed to pay a fine of $350,000 for falsifying wire transfer records and enabling Iranian and Sudanese banking clients to access the United States banking system – a violation of clear and unambiguous financial sanctions against the two countries.

According to the Manhattan District Attorney …

“Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the British bank, Lloyds TSB Bank plc (“LLOYDS”) in settlement of a ‘stripping’ scheme in which the Bank caused the falsification of the records of New York financial institutions and enabled its Iranian and Sudanese banking clients to access the U.S. banking system in violation of federal sanctions prohibiting such conduct.  As a result, LLOYDS will pay fines and forfeiture totaling $350,000,000. 

“In the agreement LLOYDS admits that from 2001 – 2004, LLOYDS falsified the business records of banks in Manhattan by engaging in a systematic process of altering wire transfer information to hide the identity of its clients.”

“This process allowed the illegal transfer of more than $300 million on behalf of Iranian banks and their customers; the Iranian banks involved included Bank Melli, Bank Saderat, Sepah Bank and others. While LLOYDS voluntarily exited the Iranian business by 2004, the Sudanese business, which resulted in the illegal transfer of over $20 million, continued into 2007, after the beginning of the investigation.

Support military purchases, dual purpose technology, terrorism?

“The transfers were made to buy goods and services from U.S. companies and to finance the purchase of goods and services from foreign vendors that sought payment in dollars.”

Question: Did the United States companies know who they were dealing with? 

What is a deferred prosecution agreement?

“Mr. Morgenthau said that today’s settlement was the result of a joint investigation undertaken by the District Attorney’s Office and the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”).  As a result of the settlement and Deferred Prosecution Agreementwith both the District Attorney’s Office and DOJ, LLOYDS has agreed to adhere to best practices for international banking transparency, to cooperate with ongoing law enforcement investigations, to conduct an internal review of past transactions, and to pay the fines and forfeiture.”

Deferred Prosecution: “Legal deal where in response for public acknowledgement and/or payment of a fine/restitution and/or co-operate in ongoing investigations, corporations can escape prosecution. Should the corporation comply with the conditions in the agreement for a specified period, the indictment is dismissed.”  Source>

Background …

“The United States government prohibits certain countries, entities and individuals from accessing U.S. financial institutions and the U.S. banking system.  These sanctions are administered and enforced by the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (‘OFAC’).”

“New York banks use sophisticated computer systems to monitor and screen all wire transfer activities to ensure that the banks do not engage in prohibited transactions.  The banks depend on these automated systems to prevent sanctioned entities from accessing the United States banking system.”   

“The investigation revealed that LLOYDS engaged in a systematic practice of ‘stripping’ wire transfer information.  Stripping is the practice of removing wire transfer information that would identify that the transfers originated from a prohibited source.  By stripping out the originator information, the wire transfers could pass through the screening software used by New York banks that would otherwise have rejected or frozen them for further inquiry.  The stripping of wire transfer information in this manner made it appear that the transactions originated at LLOYDS in the United Kingdom rather than the sanctioned banks.”

Our allies?

It is unclear whether or not this prohibited activity was perpetrated in the United Kingdom, and if so, I would expect the British government to sanction the individuals involved. However, if it happened in New York, I would expect our government to sanction those who created, implemented and supervised the scheme.

“The investigation of LLOYDS focused primarily on its handling of accounts for financial institutions from two designated countries: Iran and Sudan. Knowing that they could not legally access U.S. banks, Iranian and Sudanese banks with accounts at LLOYDS sought to evade U.S. sanctions.”

“Beginning in the mid-1990s, LLOYDS began removing any information from Iranian and Sudanese wire transfers that would trigger the detection systems at New York correspondent banks.  To execute this policy, LLOYDS personnel removed any information that identified the payment messages as originating from Iranian, Sudanese or other sanctioned countries.  The falsified wire transfers would then be processed undetected by the OFAC filters in place at the U.S. banks.” 

The trigger …

“Mr. Morgenthau said that the investigation into LLOYDS’ stripping activities grew out of an investigation into the suspicious movement of money by alleged Iranian front companies and charities.  Specifically, the District Attorney’s Office began an investigation in 2006 into the relationship between the Government of Iran and two New York entities, the Alavi Foundation and Assa Corporation, which jointly owned an office building located at 650 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. During the course of this investigation, the District Attorney’s Office uncovered evidence that LLOYDS was engaged in the illegal transfer of funds into Manhattan on behalf of sanctioned Iranian banks.  At about the same time, the District Attorney’s Office learned that DOJ was engaged in an investigation of similar stripping activity at other banks

According to Bloomberg News

“Last month, federal prosecutors in the U.S. sued to gain control of a 36-story Manhattan office tower they claim belongs to the Iranian government’s Bank Melli. Farhsid Jahedi, President of the Alavi Foundation that owns a 60 percent stake in the tower, also was arrested for destroying documents.”

Strong deterrence would be a few jailed banking executives  …

“Mr. Morgenthau said that the Deferred Prosecution Agreement is designed to send a strong message of deterrence to other banks.”

Whoop-de-do …

Important mitigating factors that led to the agreement were that LLOYDS exited the Iranian business voluntarily before being contacted by the District Attorney’s Office, provided full cooperation with the investigation from the time it was contacted by prosecutors, readily admitted its criminal wrongdoing, and agreed to conduct an extensive internal look-back at its misconduct to identify the real parties in interest in the stripped transactions.”

Why we need vigilance ...

"The Iranian businessman was looking for high-quality American electronics, but he had to act stealthily: The special parts he coveted were denied to Iranians, especially those seeking to make roadside bombs to kill U.S. troops in Iraq. With a few e-mails, the problem was solved. A friendly Malaysian importer would buy the parts from a company in Linden, N.J., and forward them to Iran. All that was left was coming up with a fake name for the invoice. Perhaps a Malaysian engineering school? "Of course, you can use any other company as end-user that you think is better than this," the Iranian businessman, Ahmad Rahzad, wrote in an e-mail dated March 8, 2007."

"The ruse succeeded in delivering nine sensors called inclinometers to Iran, the first of several such shipments that year and the latest example of what U.S. officials and weapons experts describe as Iran's skillful flouting of export laws intended to stop lethal technology from reaching the Islamic republic."

"Despite multiple attempts by the Bush administration to halt illegal imports -- including sanctions against several Dubai-based Iranian front companies in 2006 -- the technology pipeline to Tehran is flowing at an even faster pace. In some cases, Iran simply opened new front companies and shifted its operations from Dubai to farther east in Asia, the officials said".  (For the rest of the story, click here.)

Our enemies walk among us …

Facilitated by lawyers, lobbyists, public relations firms and sham United States companies or divisions of foreign-registered companies, our enemies are often allowed free and easy access to our banking system, media for the purposes of propaganda and to purchase goods and services which they procure on behalf of some “neutral” transfer agent in a neutral country.

What can YOU do?

While programmatic systems can trap some of those who wish the United States harm, like most criminal activities, it often takes an informed tip to create official interest in he case. If you know or suspect that foreign nationals from hostile countries appear to be operating inside the United States, let your friendly FBI know about it by contacting your local field office.

Demand that the government prosecute the people who designed, implemented or enabled the prohibited practice as well as the organization. Like they say: guns don’t commit crimes, people do! The same applies to corporations: the corporation cannot be jailed, only people can be jailed. While these deferred agreements are money-makers, the perpetrators of financial crimes are often allowed to skate free; and thus send the wrong message to the financial community: getting caught and paying a fine is just another cost of doing business.

And let us not forget, that if you are rich enough and have political connections, you might be able to buy a pardon after the fact. See Bill Clinton’s last day in office pardon of Marc Rich and Pincus Green who allegedly traded oil from Iran during the Iranian hostage crisis and evaded United States taxes. Both fled to Switzerland. <Source>

Eric Holder …

Consider a Department of Justice employee who ignored the procedures of his own agency and went directly to the White House with a pardon request that was likely to be denied by the Department of Justice.

Do you want this man as our next Attorney General … and what did he get for his efforts on behalf of those seeking pardons?

Not so coincidentally, Barack Obama’s nominee for Attorney General, Eric Holders, allegedly facilitated the pardon of both Rich and Pincus. You may wish to read the New York Times article, “Panel Says Top Justice Dept. Aide Held Information on Rich's Pardon” which states: “The most controversial pardon went to Mr. Rich, a commodities trader who fled the country in 1983 rather than face trial on charges of tax evasion, racketeering and trading with the enemy [IRAN]. The report says that Mr. Rich's lawyers tried to circumvent prosecutors, who would oppose the pardon, and take their case straight to the White House.”

“Mr. Holder, the report says, played a major role, steering Mr. Rich's lawyers toward Jack Quinn, a former White House counsel. Mr. Rich hired Mr. Quinn, whose Washington contacts and ability to lobby the president made the difference, according to the report. It says that Mr. Holder's support for the pardon and his failure to alert prosecutors of a pending pardon were just as crucial.”

“The report says Mr. Holder became involved through a chance encounter with Gershon Kekst, a prominent public relations strategist who has advised Mr. Rich since 1997.”

-- steve

Quote of the day: “The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be.” - Paul Valery

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:

Lloyd's Bank Deferred Prosecution|New York County District Attorney's Office


“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



Are the Russians stepping up their propaganda war in America?

I was very much surprised to see a headline story on the Drudge Report announcing “Pravda: Earth on the Brink of an Ice Age...” What made this story somewhat unusual is that the story was originated by Pravda, a Russian publication with an historical link to the government and its propaganda apparatus.

Pravda was leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991.

According to Pravda.Ru …

“At that time, a very serious split occurred in the editorial office. Over 90 percent of the journalists who had been working for Pravda until the coup d'etat of 1991 quit their jobs. They established their own version of the newspaper, which was then closed under government pressure.”

“These journalists had to take their fight to cyberspace, and the Internet newspaper PRAVDA On-Line was launched in January of 1999, the first Russian newspaper of its kind. We think that both the newly registered newspaper and PRAVDA On-Line (you are now on its server) have an equal moral right to continue the history of the newspaper that was closed by then-President Boris Yeltsin in August of 1991. The number of journalists that work in the head offices of both publications is comparable with the number of journalists who worked for Pravda at the time it was closed.”

“In spite of the fact that the journalists of both these publications are still in touch with each other, we have different conceptions about news about Russia and the world. The newspaper Pravda analyzes events from the point of view of the Party's interests, whereas PRAVDA On-line takes a pro-Russian approach to forming its policy.”

“Wouldn't you agree that this gives more diversity to the world?”

The link led to a well-designed American-style webpage that could have been published by any American newspaper.

Along with the features were items such as:

  • Russia: Conversation between President Medvedev and Gazprom CEO (relating to the current gas distribution crisis)
  • Opinion: Neo Warfare
  • Science: Earth on the Brink of an Ice Age
  • Society: Man Dismembers His Wife by Mistake
  • Business: Economic Manipulation as Political Strategy
  • World: The tower of Babel of the European left
  • Hotspots and Incidents: Israel, you are Serbia now
  • Sport: Dakar Argentina: Kamaz in front!
  • Photo Report: Brooke Berk demonstrates bikini
  • Photo Report: Cheerleaders: Healthy body and soul
  • Why God Didn't Have a Beginning?

A diversified mix of articles designed to capture the broadest possible audience. (Perhaps the New York and Los Angeles Times should take heed?)

In the “Breaking News” Section we find …

  • Israel launches massive military operation against Gaza Strip 
  • America chooses its future
  • Russia to retrieve its status of world's strongest superpower

Again, interesting subjects, except for the last item which is definitely speculative conjecture of a political nature and could be classified as propaganda.

Implicit dangers: But are there dangers hidden in the web pages or in the content?

In this day and age of Cyber-War, one can easily imagine the collection of non-public personal information from those who visit the website and wish to participate in online discussions. One can also appreciate the danger of replying to an online advertisement or link with credit card information. To note, Russia remains one of the hotbeds of criminality in the world and the technical expertise of their hackers is second to none. Cheap pirated software and pornography provide attractive lures to those seeking materials of this nature. All with the risk of computer system compromise.

And let us not forget the potential for subtle anti-American propaganda. This is not the heavy-handed obvious anti-American rhetoric of the past, these are carefully crafted and tested messages that are designed to introduce fear, uncertainty and doubt into discussions involving American politics and commercial operations.

Especially targeted at those far left liberals and others who already distrust and despise our nation and often believe that we are the instigators of much of the world’s problems. People who are unhappy with their lives, looking for social contacts and will accept alternative external solutions for their unhappiness.

The content is intriguing and interesting …

Make no mistake about it, the content is thoughtful and well written. The subject matter makes sense, especially if the audience member is predisposed to believing what is being written.

In the matter of anthropogenic (man made) global warming (AGW), the article’s information appears consistent with my beliefs and the science of the day.

“The AGW theory is based on data that is drawn from a ridiculously narrow span of time and it demonstrates a wanton disregard for the ‘big picture’ of long-term climate change. The data from paleoclimatology, including ice cores, sea sediments, geology, paleobotany and zoology, indicate that we are on the verge of entering another Ice Age, and the data also shows that severe and lasting climate change can occur within only a few years.”

“While concern over the dubious threat of Anthropogenic Global Warming continues to distract the attention of people throughout the world, the very real threat of the approaching and inevitable Ice Age, which will render large parts of the Northern Hemisphere uninhabitable, is being foolishly ignored.”

Weather (pun intended) or not  I believe the last part of the article pointing to the sudden possibility of serious global cooling is immaterial. But it does pose the question, why are the scientists who are modeling our global climate change patterns not perceiving this particular threat – or are they pursuing a “political” agenda in order to receive additional funding and recognition of their activities? And if this is true, what else might the government and its allied special interests be telling us?

As you can see, the process of introducing doubt into the geo-political conversation is extremely easy and unless one is trained in critical thinking and the is able to recognize subtle propaganda, it is possible for America’s enemies to wage a low-cost propaganda campaign using little more than attractive stories in an “alternative and recognized news source” on the web. 

But of course, the old saying “sometimes the paranoid are correct in their suspicions” is also true. The tagline on the website, "Pravda.ru forum. The place where truth hurts," simply makes me wonder whose truth is hurting.

What can YOU do?

Demand your local school system return to a curriculum which features the basics: reading, writing, arithmetic, history and critical thinking. Leaving the social activism featuring the far left liberal multiculturalism, diversity and political correctness for college-level political science classes. It is time we stop dumbing down our nation’s children and curtailing their growth by mainstreaming people who have language difficulties, discipline or other impairments into the classroom. Set aside language proficiency schools for those who need to acquire a working knowledge of English. Stop teaching subject matter classes in Spanish. Restore shop and craft curriculums for those who will not be going on to college and need to learn a useful trade in order to succeed and prosper.

Do not elect school boards that mix politics with education. Recall or prosecute those who waste funds on special interest infrastructure or divert funds away from the classroom. Demand that the administrator/teacher ratio be reduced and that teacher’s be required to take competency tests in their subject matter specialties.

Demand that union influence in the school systems be strictly curtailed – possibly using the funds collected from non-union employees in lieu of dues to be placed directly back into classroom programs without any additional administrative overhead.

Change local and state legislation to remove funding initiatives for education as the link between funds expenditures and the quality of education is tenuous at best.

As for accessing foreign websites, be very careful never to provide non-public personal information or make purchases using credit cards, replacement checks or other methods which can be used to drain your bank accounts or facilitate identity theft. Should you wish to purchase foreign goods, ask your credit card issuer for a one-time number which will facilitate your purchase.

Although much of the political threat comes from within, using our laws and regulations against us and collecting information using American subsidiaries, you can never be too careful when dealing directly with foreign powers.

-- steve


Quote of the Day: “He who laughs last has not yet heard the bad news.” -- Bertolt Brecht

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:

Earth on the Brink of Ice Age|Pravda.Ru


“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