sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bloody Mexico: Project Gunrunner

The Obama Administration has denied, obfuscated and is refusing to cooperate with the Congressional inquiry into the Project Gunrunner/Operation Fast and Furious scandal where the US Government facilitated the sale of over 2,500 firearms and 'countless hundreds of thousands of rounds of rounds of ammunition' to Mexican narcotics cartels. Some of those (US Govt.) firearms were used to murder US Customs and Border Protection Agent Brian Terry (left) on December 14, 2010.

Roger Hedgecock interviews Congressman Darrell Issa:

ATF claimed that an 'iron river' of weapons was flowing south to Mexico. After the dust clears, we find that THEY, THEMSELVES were the ones facilitating this iron river. Based on Congressman Issa's comments above, it appears that Attorney General Eric Holder had been personally aware of Operation Gunrunner and approved it.

Some ATF agents and supervisors strongly objected to the Obama Administration's program, and gun dealers (who were cooperating with ATF) protested the sales, but were asked by ATF to complete the transactions to elucidate the supply chain and gather intelligence. However, there have been accusations made by the very ATF agents who were conducting the operation that the ATF was attempting to boost statistics to 'prove' that American guns are arming the Mexican drug cartels and to further budget and power objectives (to enact stricter gun control laws in the US to curb private ownership of firearms).

The Obama Administration's objectives appear to be clear. They planned to use the Second Amendment  as political fodder by blaming law abiding gun owners for a serious crime problem (multi-billion dollar narcotics enterprise) that they could curb by blocking illegals at the US Border ==> but have chosen not to.

"This administration doesn't have the guts to address a porous border, they don't have the guts to build a wall, but they have the audacity to try and register law abiding gun owners in this country. It's not a serious approach to a very serious problem...Focusing on law abiding gun owners is not a legitimate law enforcement tool and should be dismissed immediately in pursuit of legitimate law enforcement needs." (Cox - NRA)

Perhaps we should merge ATF into Customs and Border Protection and put those agents on the borders capturing illegal aliens, and drug runners? WHY does ATF exist? Do we really need another 'alphabet agency'???

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I don't know if America can handle another Obama style "summer of recovery.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Wal-Mart’s core shoppers are running out of money much faster than a year ago due to rising gasoline prices, and the retail giant is worried, CEO Mike Duke said Wednesday.
“We’re seeing core consumers under a lot of pressure,” Duke said at an event in New York. “There’s no doubt that rising fuel prices are having an impact.”
The increase in oil prices in the US is the direct and proximate response to flawed US monetary policy and portents increasing inflation. Obama, the utopian socialist doesn't see it that way. Liberals feel as though 'there's always more money' and the US Taxpayer can be tapped again and again to fill the coffers. Obama launched his political campaign primarily so he can focus on campaigning and won't have to deal with pesky details of governance that he's passed off to Valerie Jarrett (right) and others.

How is the country doing? I think people can answer that question regionally. In Southern California, there are a lot of businesses closing and I can't recall seeing a single one opening - with the exception of a 'hydroponic store' that sells marijuana growing supplies to potheads. I went in and spoke to the guy and asked him how he was doing. He said that he hoped that the home marijuana market would have assured him of a profit, but even he is struggling. He showed me several examples. It's a pathetic economy that doesn't even support illegal marijuana grow operations.

I've heard that things are booming in Texas and in the oil drilling regions of the US where prices have led to full employment in that sector. I believe that is NOT a nationwide pattern and it will be interesting to find how much love is out there for Barack-the-campaigner.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Is Trump a Nightmare for the MSM?

Irrespective of how you feel about Donald Trump speaking about running for President of the United States, you have to admit that he's shown more moxie to the press than any of the other Republican presidential hopefulls. The 'field of Republicans' are all sitting in the weeds, hoping that Donald Trump will implode, but he's doing okay so far.

Trump is making the news circuit saying 'unpardonable things' and asking 'unpardonable questions' that make the plastic talk show hosts with their talking points look just a little foolish. Because the producers and managers have seen the same shows that we've all seen and KNOW that their people have come off second best against Trump, they now default to calling him a racist. When you have no argument left, you cry, "RACIST!" No, they don't cry racist when Congressman Allen West asks the same questions that Trump or Herman Cain do - but they're black and I'm sure that the liberal interlocutors feel that they're somehow traitors to their race.

Trump is calling Obama out and while it's worth watching, I see conservatives bristling at it. Why? I don't CARE if Trump is a RINO. I really don't. He says everything that all the Republicans should be saying. Pajamas Media made a list and I'm going to lift it from them because I couldn't do better. (LINK)
1) China is ripping us off. No question about that, is there? The Middle Kingdom has long manipulated its currency (the yuan) to the detriment of U.S. manufacturers, a de facto trade war which U.S. officials have often ignored because we need China to finance our debt (to fund ObamaCare and other socialist travesties because, you know, we don’t actually have the money). Recently a bipartisan congressional delegation led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid met with Chinese leaders to broach this exact issue, discreetly, no doubt, and ever-so politely. Trump calls it a disgrace and promises to retaliate in kind.
2) The Libya war is a disaster. Trump wants to know, and he’s not the only one: What are we doing in Libya? Who are the rebels we are supporting? Are they any better than Gaddafi? The confused and confusing “kinetic military action” in Libya is exactly what one would expect from a commander-in-chief with a conflicted view of America’s role in the world, a reflexive antagonism towards our military, and a foolish fetish for international consensus. Trump’s take? “I’m only interested in Libya if we take the oil.” Be still my heart.
3) Obama has not produced his original, long-form birth certificate. Talk about an inconvenient truth! Though this is an absolute fact, liberal journalists find it astonishing that anyone would find it suspicious. Indeed the media is more interested in portraying anyone interested in this issue as crazy (not to mention racist), than in actually investigating the issue itself.
"Donald Trump has provided a more concise and devastating critique of the Obama administration than anyone else in the thin GOP presidential bench. He lambasts the disastrous economic policies which have driven up gas prices, unemployment, and inflation. From someone whose candidacy is supposed to be a joke, it is a remarkably effective approach." (op cit)

Trump vs Romney?     (who do you like better)
Trump vs Gingrich?    (who do you like better)
Trump vs Huckabee?  (who do you like better)
Trump vs Palin?          (who has a better chance of winning)
Trump vs Pawlenty?   (who is Pawlenty??)

Yes, we may see some other Republican appear who will capture the imagination of the nation, but at the moment, the only one calling the campaigning Obama to task is Trump. Leave him alone - let him go and let's see what he can do. Is he the ideal choice for president? No. But the Republican bench is weak. Who knows what skeletons Trump will be able to shake out of the Obama closet?

Monday, April 25, 2011

BLOODY MEXICO: The Mérida Initative

Is the Merida Initiative a waste of US Taxpayer money?

During a dinner that the Mexican Attorney General hosted for a delegation from the U.S. Department of Justice, Undersecretary for the Interior, Geronimo Gutiérrez Fernandez said that the $1.6 billion Mérida Initiative, the United States' major effort to help Mexico fight the drug war, was too hastily crafted to be effective. (UK - Daily Telegraph)

Mexican soldiers patrol the streets of Acapulco (Reuters)

Undersecretary Gutiérrez has also said that he believed that Mexico had lost large portions of Mexico to the drug cartels, who were the de facto government. (op cit) The comments may not have been intended for a mass audience, but he's right. Mexico does not control a great deal of the territory within its national boundaries. If you don't believe me, take a vacation though Bloody Mexico on your own and see with your own eyes - hear with your own ears.
The Mérida Initiative (also called Plan Mexico by critics) is a security cooperation between the United States and the government of Mexico and the countries of Central America, with the declared aim of combating the threats of drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and money laundering. The assistance includes training, equipment and intelligence.
In seeking partnership with the United States, Mexican officials point out that the illicit drug trade is a shared problem in need of a shared solution, and remark that most of the financing for the Mexican traffickers comes from American drug consumers. U.S. law enforcement officials estimate that US$12 to 15 billion per year flows from the United States to the Mexican traffickers, and that is just in cash, i.e., not including the money sent by wire transfers. Other government agencies, including the Government Accountability Office and the National Drug Intelligence Center, have estimated that Mexico's cartels earn upwards of $23 billion in illicit drug proceeds from the United States. (Wikipedia)
The vast majority of illegal narcotic products (meth, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, etc.) crosses the Southern US Border. Would the US have been better served to have focused on FIRST blocking our Southern Border before moving on to provide billions in aid to Mexico?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

60 Year Old Soldiers

I've been hearing a lot of noise from Washington - and from the Debt Commission - soon to be replaced by a new debt commission that will study the same problems and come to the same results in December 2012, after the present federal election cycle has concluded...

The Draft?

What I hear them, and many conservatives saying is that we should reinstitute mandatory conscription of eighteen year-old Americans for service in the military for a term to be determined by the Commander-in-Chief who may or may not consult with Congress. -- no they don't come out and say it, but they must mean it when they seriously suggest age 60 retirement for soldiers.

The Debt Commission suggests that we should restructure military pensions so that service members can not retire until they reach age 60. (link above) What they're really saying is that we should begin to draft people to provide grist for the American military adventures, because we all know that sixty-year old soldiers would not provide the sort of service that we presently demand. Or maybe we simply plan to let them go somewhere between 45 and 50 and they can wait until age 60 to collect? That would be great for morale...

The benefits of an all-volunteer military are legion but the down-side is that somebody has to pay the soldiers/sailors/marines/airmen enough money to make a hitch attractive and to keep a percentage of those people who we've trained at great expense in the service until they have reached a point where they can retire.

There have been changes to the military retirement program over the years with an eye toward trimming the costs involved. If you really want to cut costs and don't care what the result is, draft people into service with imprisonment as an option if they object/refuse. It's been done before. Pay them little or nothing for service and those who hang on until they reach 60 may be able to retire. However that sort of military won't be the one that you see today.

Some jobs don't lend themselves well to age. Police officers, fire fighters and soldiers are right there at the top of the list. That's why these people are pensioned off earlier than other categories. Their working lives are spent more quickly than others simply because of what we expect them to do. It doesn't mean that they do it every day, but they are paid for what they might have to do.

Civilians run out of burning buildings, firemen run into them.
Civilians run away from armed felons, shooting and terrorizing. Police officers run toward them.
Civilians run away from gun and artillery fire on the battlefield. Soldiers run toward it.

But most 60 year old men and women can't run all that fast.

Easter Wishes

No one is exempt from tragedy or disappointment - God Himself was not exempt. Jesus offered no immunity, no way out of the unfairness, but rather a way THROUGH it to the other side. Just as Good Friday demolished the instinctive belief that this life is supposed to be fair, Easter Sunday followed with its startling clue to the riddle of the universe. Out of the darkness, a bright light shone.

The primal desire for fairness dies hard, and it should. Who among us does not sometimes yearn for more justice in this world here and now. Secretly, I admit, I yearn for a world "fault-proof" against disappointment, a world where my work always finds acceptance and my body does not grow old and weak, where sickness and terror do not run rampant. But if I stake my faith on such a fault-proof earth, my faith will let me down. Even the greatest of miracles do not resolve the problems of this earth: all people who find physical healing eventually die.

To be commanded to love God when we are left alone in the wilderness, is like being commanded to be well when we are sick, to sing for joy when we are dying of thirst, to run when our legs are broken (or our heart is). But this is the first and greatest commandment, nonetheless. Even in the wilderness, especially in the wilderness - you shall love Him.

~    ~  ~  ~    ~

Our family traditions for Easter come from Switzerland and follow the Old World style of celebration with the children. My four daughters still sing (as best they can) the Osterhaslein song -- Wieder gute Osterhase. (Alles für de eier!) It has nothing to do with faith or with religion, but it's all about fun, candy and presents. Who doesn't like to get a present? So we blend and create our Easter holiday to craft something that while anchored on personal faith, always includes family and even shirttail relatives - and sometimes their friends. I think that the largest gathering we've ever had was forty people, but that was some time ago. These days its usually under twenty. Today it should be between 14 and 20 depending on who comes and who decides not to. 

And from my family to all of yours, Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Movie Review: ATLAS SHRUGGED (Pt. 1)

Atlas Shrugged: Part I is a 2011 film adaptation of the first part of Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged, intended as the first in a film trilogy encompassing the entire 1,368-page book. The film was directed by Paul Johansson and stars Taylor Schilling as Dagny Taggart and Grant Bowler as Hank Rearden.

The book is a classic and telling Ayn Rand's story on the screen takes more time to develop than is usually possible in a feature film. The screenplay takes on the challenge by developing characters along side the important nature of the plot. As we enter the film, in late 2016, the United States is in the throes of a sustained economic depression caused by global turmoil and which has been worsened by government's attempts to fix them. As a result, gasoline prices are near forty dollars a gallon and passenger rail transportation has returned to being competitive in the marketplace.

The central message of the film is that civilization cannot exist where men are slaves to government and that destruction of the profit motive leads to the collapse of society. As we see events unfold around us in our daily lives, they bare a close resemblance to the plot (screenplay written contemporaneous with the beginning of the Obama Regime).  If you have any doubt that we're in trouble, track the price of gold.

The central message of the film has to be a 10 out of a possible 10.

Who is John Galt? The movie asks the question as the mysterious John Galt leads a strike as the producers withdraw their talent, imagination and genius, thus, stopping the motor of the world.
"So you think that money is the root of all evil? Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?" (Atlas Shrugged - the Novel) -- or prophecy.
I had a generally bad day today, but the movie was excellent and I am excited to see the next two installments. 
"One of the paradoxes of our age is the fact that the intellectuals, the politicians, and all the sundry voices that choke like asthma the throat of our communications media, have never gasped and stuttered so loudly about their devotion to the public good, and about the people's will as the supreme criterion of value - and never have they been so grossly indifferent to the people. The reason, obviously, is that collectivist slogans serve as the rationalization for those who intend, not to follow the people, but to rule them." (Rand)

WHO is John Galt? 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bloody Mexico - More Mass Graves

The recent disclosure covered by the Los Angeles Times, of 28 more corpses unearthed bringing the mass grave total to 145- with more coming up every day, was augmented by the arrest of sixteen San Fernando City municipal police officers by the Federal Attorney General (PGR).  This brings the arrest total of police officers to twenty-three in recent days.

It seems that if you dial 911 in Tamaulipas, Mexico, you get a cartel associate who shows up to your door. Complain about the police failing to protect you or your property from organized crime, and POP, you're the next carcass in the mass grave.

This is shocking to me because I understood that most of the victims who were disappearing in Mexico were either dumped in lime pits for their remains to 'vanish' or dropped into the Ammonia tanks in the Ammonia factory in Culiacan. Then again, these are Los Zetas who are handling the body count with mass graves. They have never been that subtle.

Additionally within the past 30 days:
  • At least one of the detained Zeta suspects reportedly confessed to kidnapping bus passengers in late March and killing and burying 43 of them.
  • Just this week, the bodies of 13 people were discovered in clandestine graves in the Pacific state of Sinaloa, near the city of Los Mochis. Two were identified as female university students kidnapped last fall, and a third was thought to be a doctor because of the clothes he wore. In the border state of Sonora, five bodies were unearthed near Nogales. And the tortured bodies of eight men between the ages of 18 and 25, all with a single gunshot to the head, were found dumped in western state of Michoacan. (LA Times Op Cit)
  • In another border state, Chihuahua, four young men, who witnesses reported seeing being hauled off by an elite police force March 26, were found slain, wrapped in black plastic bags, their hands bound. Three police officers are being held. (LINK)
And through it all, the Obama Administration's Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms continued to supply guns to these cartels through Operation GUNRUNNER. Two guns involved in the operation were found at the scene of a shootout in southern Arizona in December in which U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer Brian Terry was killed, prompting at least three inquiries on Capitol Hill.

Why isn't Border Protection a top priority of the Obama Administration? No more lip service Mr. Obama. We need to protect the nation from the potential Democratic Party voting block that's crossing the border.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bloody Mexico - Narco Blockades

Beheadings and assassinations in general can be tricky business. Part of the game requires that the one chopping the heads off with the machete, chop another day.

When you are on your Mexican vacation (the antidote for civilization), you may find that the traffic where you are has ground to a halt. Don't worry, it may simply be another one of those pesky "narcobloqueos", as they say in Mexico. It's important for the cartels to prevent access to first responders who might disrupt their plans. Narcoterrorists steal cars from motorists at gunpoint and use those cars - trucks, or busses to bar access to their escape routes.

If you're on a tour bus, don't feel that put out if it's boarded by masked armed men who demand you to hand over your valuables before they douse the seat you were just sitting on with gasoline and then torch the bus. That's simply how it works these days in Bloody Mexico. 

Blockades are both cost effective (since narcoterrorists use stolen vehicles) and they work. I wonder how long it will take for this strategy to catch on in the United States? Oh, don't worry. It can't happen here, the US Department of Homeland Security is on the job. Those are the same folks you see at the airport looking out for your welfare.

Did the mainstream media report any of this? Do you hear about it in the evening news or read about it in your newspapers? Isn't it frigging pathetic that you have to read about it on a blog?

Is the President of the United States doing ANYTHING beyond the 'for show only' measures to secure our Southern Border? I know that the liberal media and the Obama regime doesn't seem to take any of this seriously, but we do put hundreds of millions of dollars into fighting wars ten thousand miles away -- to keep us safe. 

What about the Mexican Border?

Oh, that's right, all those people down there are potentially high propensity Democratic Party voters! Now I get it!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Inept US Border Control

US Border control policy has become one of the administration turning illegal aliens back in much the way as a drover pushes cattle in one direction or another to avoid making arrests. In this way, they can demonstrate success. One other possible solution would be to make the border harder to cross, but then all of those potential Democratic voters who make it north --- wouldn't make it.

And then what would happen to the Mexican drug cartels who work so hard to get their product into American veins? Some people claim that, "they'll just find another way." While that may be true for a small percentage of the narcotics that come north, the vast majority would be stopped by a hard border.

The Obama Administration has not yet been able to form a coherent border control strategy to reduce the flow of illegal aliens and "take back" the portions of the US Border that are currently under the nearly complete control of organized crime.

A number of solutions have been posited and many of them have been set forth here on Virtual Mirage, but the US seems to be able to only focus on one thing at a time. The US-Mexico Border grabs the spotlight when a family is slaughtered by narcotics cartels, but now that we are in 'campaign mode', the Border issue will be put off again until somebody other than Obama becomes chief executive.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Tea Party Compromise?

Where can the Tea Party Compromise? 

Both Les Carpenter and Left Coast Rebel beat me to the Rand Paul piece from CNN's State-of-the-Union.

According to Rand Paul, conservatives have to be willing to accept cuts in the military's budget and liberals have to cut domestic welfare spending (that helps by them votes that keep them in power).
When asked about the debt limit, the next major battle in Congress, Paul reiterated his stance that he would only vote for an increase in the $14.3 trillion limit if the legislation is passed with a balanced budget amendment and “say from here on out this is the last time we’re doing it.”
I've heard some strident angry sentiments from hard core Tea Party members - that may not actually be tea party people, but they identify themselves as such. They suggest NO compromise and want only the most of conservative of voices within the Republican Party to be heard. If they prevail, the moderate independent voters will be split by the Democratic Party, ushering in another four years of Obama.

I think that the Tea Party needs to be true to its roots and push the balanced budget as Rand Paul suggests, but I think that conservative people are ill served if they remove so much of their voting base through bias that they end up with NOTHING that they wanted and fought for. The Constitution itself was a compromise between the interests of different states. Rand Paul is correct. We need to decide just how many wars we need to fight at the same time - keeping our nuclear options sharp, we need to balance the budget and that means curbing domestic spending considerably and get back on a sound fiscal track.

There are a lot of "Republican" candidates from the RINOs (Trump and Romney) on one side to the Libertarians like Ron Paul on the other. One day soon we need to get behind one of them. No candidate will bring everything 'we' want, but it's very important to move the lunatic liberals from power in the executive branch of government even if we're not individually in love with whichever candidate emerges.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

More Czars to Come?

The Obama solution to creating more czars more easily:

S. 679: Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011A bill to reduce the number of executive positions subject to Senate confirmation. 

The Founders intended that the President would make appointments with the advice and consent of the Senate (Article II, Section 2). Because of the large number of appointments made in modern America, the solution to dealing with this situation was to give the Senate authority to approve the appointment of cabinet heads. The 'smaller agencies' were left largely to the president to appoint personally. As the bureaucracy has grown, more and more of those agencies grew up like hydra's teeth sewn in the soil and the decisions they make directly impact the lives of Americans. Still, some of them required the pesky Senate to approve them. Open debate has a way of embarrassing the Obama Regime. Think of situations like that of Obama crony, Black Panther and communist, Van Jones. If you wanted to place Van in charge of the EPA or the FCC for example, the Senate would have to review his qualifications. It could be embarrassing. Enter S. 679.
"We've all been busy watching Obama golf, travel, and occasionally taking a break by pretending to care about America going into bankruptcy. But take note, the liberal/left in him never rests. It's odd how socialists never seem to have enough czars, and our Bureaucrat-in-Chief is no exception. He objects to having his czars who control major portions of the American civil and financial vetted by the Senate."
"Behold: The Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act (PAESA). It ought to be called the "Let's Shortcut the Constitution Act." Progressives have been trying since early in the Twentieth Century to replace constitutional restraints on executive power with bureaucratic "efficiency." (LINK)
Let's face it, getting things done the old Constitutionally mandated way takes time and the Senate, thrilled to find a way to clear their calendars, seems to be onboard with the new Obama initiative. The Democrats have Republicans in tow on this one including (but not limited to): Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Susan Collins (R-ME), Scott Brown (R-MA), and Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

How many and which agencies would be involved is still a closely-guarded secret. The United States Senate is supposed to be a watchdog. Over the years it has become far less so and if the Obama Regime has its way, the Senators (who are REALLY busy) will have one less thing to worry about. They are supposed to pay attention to and rule on presidential appointments. They are there to lens and cleanse and we pay them to do that. What are they going to defer to the executive branch of government next? Maybe they'll allow the US President to ratify all treaties between the US and foreign powers.

Having the US Senate give this vital function up is akin to the House of Representatives allow the president to handle the ways and means of the United States without Congress being involved. Think how much it would free up valuable Congressional time if they didn't have to worry about pesky budget matters.
"A good example of what Obama intends is his recent attempt to squelch free speech with a "fairness" plan that would "increase localism and diversity" while "spreading opportunity among a larger pool of viewpoints and beliefs." In other words, kill talk radio and with a little luck, kill Fox News along with it. The Chairman of the FCC is not a Cabinet Member, so why should the Senate have any say whatsoever in who sits on the Commission? Well, any agency that large, affecting that many people, with that much freedom of speech at stake, should require major vetting at least. This act would remove the Senate entirely from the process.
 "These agencies don't merely carry out orders, they create policy and implement it as determined by their particular czars. The EPA was intended to carry out the will of Congress and the people to clean up our air and water and protect the environment. But the agency grew and grew, and created policies that affect billions of dollars of the taxpayers' money while squelching American productivity. Does anybody doubt that the head of the EPA has more real power than, say, the Secretary of Commerce?" (op cit)
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Glenn Beck, Fox and the Nation

I'm still not sure what the real back story is with Glenn Beck, but I know that the job he held with Fox was valued by many viewers who wanted to find out what the heck was happening with the country. He provided a fountain of wisdom and sometimes depressing prognostications. In the PICTURE ABOVE, we see the graphic depiction of the end of an iconic run that Beck had.

The red phone never rang, the Obama regime never disputed a word that Beck said. An army of angry attorneys never descended on Fox. Beck said it and it must have been true -- all of it. Now we as a nation are faced with the reality of what he's said and it's up to us to either make a better nation, or not.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Public Employee Union Fights Back

Today, the California Supreme Court (each member of which had been appointed by a Republican Governor) unanimously turned down the County of Orange's appeal on a lawsuit regarding the Deputy Sheriff Pension Issue. COUNTY OF ORANGE v. ASSOCIATION OF ORANGE COUNTY DEPUTY SHERIFFS et al., Case #S191218

I know that a lot of the blog readers who browse this page consider public employees greedy and their unions to be an extension of that greed. In this case, the County has been working diligently for the past three years to strip retired police officers of 1/3 of their pensions.  They worked, they retired, in some cases many years prior. In some cases the officers since died and their widows/widowers are living on a fraction of that pension. The County, which negotiated the pension amounts years before, felt as if the Deputies received a better deal in the negotiation than they should have been entitled to.  So, 10+ years later they want to strip it from them.

The case brought by the County of Orange had been unanimously tossed out of trial, and appellate courts has now been decided by the Supreme Court and the only court that the County can appeal it to now it the US Supreme Court. The third unanimous decision against the County ends the $2.5 million dollar campaign made by (whacko bomb thrower) County Supervisor John Moorlach and his legal advisors. This vindictive campaign may end up costing the taxpayers of Orange County over $5 million.

Before the County of Orange filed their controversial and frivolous lawsuit in February 2008, three different outside law firms they had hired for legal counsel, warned them they could not win such a case. They were thrown out of Superior Court twice in 2009 without even a trial and unanimously thrown out of Appellate Court on a 3 – 0 vote this last January. 

All six of the State Supreme Court justices (there is presently one vacancy) ruled unanimously. They had 90 days to decide whether to take the case up and formally review the Appellate Court’s decision. They came to a quick, unanimous decision in only 6 working days. 
“The Deputy Sheriffs Association now plans to file in court for complete payment of our four years worth of attorneys fees for this frivolous, mean spirited lawsuit. By the time everything is over, the vindictive political judgment of John Moorlach and Mario Mainero will have cost the County a tremendous amount of time and money. It is both sad and unfortunate -- and a textbook example of abuse of our legal system.”
Everyone negotiates for pay and benefits. Taking on the retired for what retroactively looks as if it was too good for the workers is not right in any context. The Deputy Sheriffs didn't steal anything or take advantage of anything. They gave up pay in lieu of pension benefits and the County went along with it. Some conservative Republicans, eager to find a scape goat and I'm not going to officially name names (Chuck), find the current wave of public resentment toward the retired is a good place to jump on the band wagon. Unfortunately, the appellate court (three Republicans sit on that court) and the supreme court (six Republicans sit on that court) didn't agree.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'm Waiting for an Apology


Part of being over thirty is that you've heard it before. There's not that much that is new. During my life, the Left has made sweeping pronouncements and dire predictions of whats to come; should a certain policy they (the Left) advocate not be instituted.

They are ALWAYS wrong.

But they never apologize for their vast screw-ups. They never have to say that they're sorry.

* In the early 1970's there was an Ice Age that would inevitably hit us in twenty years.

* In the late 1980's they howled about the coming heterosexual AIDS epidemic that never materialized. Maybe it's because heterosexual men never decided to have anal sex with each other...

* Throughout the 1970's there was the coming massive overpopulation, leaving us all living in Soylent Green-like ghettos eating each other? Star Trek had an episode, and the radical left pounded the pulpit preaching it as if it would happen -- soon. So, how's life in your over-crowded urban ghetto working out? Had your daily-dosage of Soylent Green today? (Tasted oddly like chicken)

Today, the media continues to count on our collective amnesia and puts these people to the fore as modern-day Jeremiahs.

Here is an example today of a prediction loudly trumpeted just a few years ago:
HEADLINE: 50m environmental refugees by end of decade, UN warns

· States urged to prepare for victims of climate change 
· Natural disasters displace more people than wars

David Adam, environment correspondent
The Guardian, Wednesday 12 October 2005
Rising sea levels, desertification and shrinking freshwater supplies will create up to 50 million environmental refugees by the end of the decade, experts warn today. Janos Bogardi, director of the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the United Nations University in Bonn, said creeping environmental deterioration already displaced up to 10 million people a year, and the situation would get worse.
Notice the date of this prediction?
It was made in several "respectable" journals of "environmental science" 

Here is another such prediction, made a few years ago:

(LINK) Scholars are predicting that 50 million people worldwide will be displaced by 2010 because of rising sea levels, desertification, dried up aquifers, weather-induced flooding and other serious environmental changes. So says Andrew Simms, policy director of the New Economics Foundation in the United Kingdom and the author of a book titled, “Environmental Refugees: The Case for Recognition.”

It's 2011. The decade came and went. Where are the millions of refugees? Where is the predicted calamity? Did the 'pseudoscientists' give back their grant money?

The Mess in Libya

Libya is in the news - then it's not in the news.

Libyan rebels are freedom fighters - then they're suspected jihadists.

Gadhafi is considered for a 'role' in future Libyan politics - then he's not.

The African Union's peace initiative provides an olive branch - and it's rejected.

The world concerns itself with a massacre in Benghazi - but not Misrata where it appears that a large number of civilians are caught in the middle.

I think everyone in the Executive Branch of Government breathed a big sigh of relief when NATO (which is the US + EuroConfusion) announced that it had assumed responsibility for the Libyan can of worms. Now the United States can let the chips fall where they may without having Obama take any flack over it. 

The Libyan rebels don't want foreign troops on their sacred soil - but they'd be happy if NATO aircraft blasted everything in front of them a little more effectively. But on the ground where one group of people looks more or less like another from 20,000 ft, and BOTH friend and foe often shoot at jets, it's difficult to prosecute the close air support role. 
"NATO is unpopular among many insurgents, both because they believe it initially reacted slowly to government attacks and because it has killed almost 20 rebels in two mistaken bombings." (Reuters)
War is dirty and it's complicated on the ground. The so-called 'fog of war' obscures things and the power of military munitions chews through soldiers and civilians with equal ease. Meanwhile the mainstream media in the US has said, "Nothing more to see here, folks - move on, move on about your business."

The White House leaked a secret finding that authorized the US to send advisors in to aid the insurgency and presumably to provide some weapons to them. I suspect people in the Obama regime wanted to characterize him as tough? Frankly I don't know why they leaked classified information but it does happen all the time from the very top (why bother to classify it in the first place?). Obama's people also leaked that the CIA inserted personnel into Libya to assist with the air support mission. But the US is officially not really involved in this war because (wink) NATO is handling it.

I'd call it Obama's Secret War, but it's really not. It's a mish-mash of double speak without a coherent end-game and without a declaration of our intentions to the American public. The US forces on the ground (secretly - but the NY Times reported that the CIA is there because the Obama White House leaked it) are once again put in the position of being placed in harm's way without due consideration to what we're doing and WHY we are doing it -- because we're not doing anything. NATO is doing it.

What a goat rope!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Barbershop Wisdom

I had my hair cut today, in more or less the same way that it happens every 3 weeks to a month. My barber said, "Did you hear that the government was going to shut down?"

I replied, "Do you really care one way or the other?"

He said, "Nah, it's all posturing." And then he finished cutting my hair. 

He asked me, "What are we doing in Libya?"

It's not unusual for me to answer military style questions in the barber's chair even though I haven't served under military arms for quite some time now. I asked, "Do we have a policy? What IS the Obama Doctrine?"

He replied, "Damned if I know."

And so it went. 

I'd like to have a president who acted like an American and a President, who told us where he stood and spoke plainly to the world so he (and by extension, we) would not be misunderstood. The other guys in other barber chairs agreed with me:

1- We need to balance the federal budget. (good-bye ObamaCare)

2- We need to decrease our dependence on foreign oil by exploiting areas where we can drill, considering the use of clean coal and oil shale/sands as sources of oil. Being held hostage to our oil addiction by people who hate us makes no sense.

3- American allies are nations with whom we have reciprocal beneficial relationships. If they need aid, we should dig deep for our friends. Every other nation is not an ally.  We should help Japan in their moment of crisis. We should be very careful who we help and who we don't help in the Middle East.

4- We need to enable businesses to grow and prosper - whatever it takes, because what's good for them is good for all of us.

5- Illegal immigration is a problem. Narcoterrorism is a problem. Both of those problems could be solved by closing the Mexican border to non-official crossing. There should be pathways to citizenship. Legal immigration is good. If there are college age kids who were brought her as children illegally by their parents but they would like to become citizens, a 6 year hitch in the US Military would be a fair price for them to pay. I even think that we should pay them something while they serve (maybe half pay). Honorable service brings citizenship (do I sound like Robert Heinlein?). When they've served well and faithfully, give them the GI Bill and allow them to go to school on the taxpayers as a reward.

Liberals are out of touch. We (at the barber shop today) don't think that they ever get their hair cut, or if they do it's in some sort of over-priced salon where they also get pedicures and 'waxing' done.

Barbershop wisdom is common sense. There isn't much of that in the Executive Branch of Government or in Congress.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Democrat's Proposal

When the Democratic Party held power in the House of Representatives, they didn't come up with a national budget, they simply spent $3 trillion and "deemed" it to be sufficient for the needs of the nation. Many Americans operate on personal budgets because if they don't, they'll find themselves broke. (is there an analogy here?)

AND when we're considering deficit defeating measures, the Defense Department needs to be part of the equation. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Will Donald Trump be the Next President?

I haven't thrown my cracker in the soup yet but here goes.

Trump is an outsider and there are a lot of Washington insiders who want the job. There are also a lot of Republican hopefuls who are politicians - like the mealy mouthed RINO, Mitt Romney, like the fringe player, Ron Paul and the mainstream politicians like Newt Gingrich who do NOT want to see Trump run. And that makes me want to see him run.

Drop on over to Atlas Shrugs and watch the interview Trump did with Meredith Vieira (NBC). In the interview, Trump said that Obama did one thing well -- he ran for office. Other than that, he's been a dismal failure. He has challenged Obama to prove that he's a US Citizen ("I'll show you mine, you show me yours.") but doubts now that he was born in the US.


Trump has some things going for him:

1. Fiscal conservative who identifies with Tea Party values.
2. Has run companies, has made and lost money and knows the difference between the two.
3. His philosophy is AMERICA FIRST. And if there is a slogan for the Trump campaign, I think that will be the cornerstone. 
4. He's NOT a politician who speaks out of both sides of his mouth - and in a lot of ways, he's sort of a male version of Palin without the vast hate and spin from the mainstream media.
5. He would clearly restore America without apologies.
6. He's be good for business and business is good for employment.
7. He may not be super strong on foreign policy - or maybe on other policies, but with Trump, you can expect him to hire talent and lead.

How do YOU rate him against Palin, Huckabee, Romney, Gingrich and Pawlenty?

What do YOU think?

American Politics

It's tedious to listen to the doublespeak coming from the Democrats and their stooges in the mainstream media. Or am I the only one? There is not one whisper about the Democrats failure to formulate a budget last year, but endless howling over some very miniscule cuts to the budget that the Democrats want to cling to.

Obama's own debt reduction committee made draconian recommendations -- which he's forgotten about. The federal government is spinning the inflation we're all feeling, and telling us over and over again, "THERE IS NO INFLATION" in the hopes that if they tell us that enough, we'll believe it. They consider it politically viable to do that, to oppose budget reductions and to put off the inevitable crash until we hit the wall. 

Our national sense of greed and entitlement will be our undoing. And I wonder when enough is enough?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mother Earth

Earth is protected from harmful radiation from the Sun by it's hard metal core that produces a strong magnetic field. As we orbit the sun, there is a bow wave of pressure that forces cosmic rays and heavier atomic particles around the little planet we live on. Without it, everything on Earth would die.

The Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) mission has located a mysterious ribbon of energy that surrounds the solar system and protects us further from galactic and cosmic rays originating outside of the solar system.

LINK HERE "The finding, which overturns 40 years of theory, provides insight into the fundamental structure of the heliosphere, which in turn helps scientists understand similar structures or "astrospheres" that surround other star systems throughout the cosmos.
"The ribbon of energy was captured using ultra-high sensitive cameras that image energetic neutral atoms (instead of photons of light) to create maps of the boundary region between our solar system and the rest of our galaxy."
 Rendering of ribbon. Scientists have isolated and resolved the 
mysterious "ribbon" of energy and particles discovered in 
the heliosphere -- the huge bubble that surrounds our solar system 
and protects us from galactic cosmic rays. 
(Credit: IBEX Science Team/Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio/ESA)

I don't know how many planets like ours are out there. Without tectonic plates, there would be no dry land (no mountains), without liquid water, there would be no life, without a solid iron core there would be no magnetic field, and on - and on. I refer you to the linked article above for an interesting journey into the mechanisms that exist to protect fragile life on the Third Rock from the Sun.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bloody Mexico - Arming the Cartels

The Obama Administration and by extension the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has stridently blamed Americans guns shops (Free Republic) as the source of firearms for Mexican drug cartels. As we found with Operation Fast and Furious, a subset of Group 7 Operation Gunrunner, ATF's poorly conceived and mismanaged activities seems to at fault for the death of at least one Federal Agent. (CBS NEWS)

An arsenal seized by the Mexican Army - Weapons that were made in America, 
sold to Central American governments and then subsequently sold to or "stolen from inventory" by the Cartels.

However, Wikileaks has opened a new avenue of investigation to the real source of firearms flooding into Mexico. Last Tuesday, the Spanish language newspaper, La Journada published US diplomatic cables disseminated on Wikileaks that clearly indicate that the US is aware that the real source of military grade weapons and explosives is coming across Mexico's southern border. 
"Items such as grenades and rocket launchers are stolen from Central American armies and smuggled into Mexico via neighboring Guatamala." (US Embassy in Mexico to Washington DC - US State Dept. Message) The cables appear after three bilateral conferences on arms trafficking that took place between March 2009 and January 2010 in Cuernavaca, Mexico, Phoenix, AZ, and Tapachula, Mexico.
While there are 30,000 US Customs and Border Protection officers who patrol/protect/monitor the 1,926 mile US/Mexico Border, there are 125 Mexican immigration officials who monitor the 577 mile border between Mexico and Guatemala. (LINK) The Latin America Herald Tribune reports.

Who is more to blame for cartel weapons entering Mexico? Gun stores in the US, weapons sold at gun shows in the US or weapons crossing Mexico's SOUTHERN border?

The Obama Administration and ATF would have you believe one thing. The truth is very different.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Keeping Secrets (US Clandestine Service)

There is an old maxim that maintains that two people are able to keep a secret if one of them is dead. I don't know the source, but can identify with the sentiment.

How open should the US Government be when operating its intelligence and counterintelligence services? The question has been debated to death. (LINK) The Clandestine Service of the United States exists within the Directorate of Operations (DO) of the Central Intelligence Agency. A debate within the DO has raged for years on just how secretive the Clandestine Service needs to be.

N. Richard Kinsman (article linked above) writes, "If the Clandestine Service (CS) is rendered ineffective due to the Agency's inability or unwillingness to insist on rational and reasonable applications of openness to the business of intelligence, we will be found guilty of a self-inflicted intelligence failure that could prove fatal." Kinsman maintains, therefore, that a degree of openness is the key to a successful intelligence service.

The Clandestine Service (and the larger intelligence community) is driven by demands placed on it by foreign policy decisions made within the US Administration and Congress and by events that drive many of those policies that originate in other countries. 

Should the Clandestine Service even reside within the CIA? While that may sound like a radical question, its mission is clearly different from the mandate placed on the CIA as the nation's clearinghouse for intelligence. The Clandestine Service (LINK) is charged with collecting information from human sources and engaging in covert action at the direction of the President, while remaining responsive to Congress. Is the CIA "secret enough" to manage the business of the Clandestine Service? The present CIA is very politically correct within the Washington bureaucracy. Do we want a politically correct Clandestine Service? How secret is too secret. 

Here is your chance to comment and be heard!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Troubles in Federal Law Enforcement

It all comes down to leadership. Irrespective of the individual skill sets and investigative acumen of law enforcement agents/officers, the policies under which they operate are set by their individual administrations and ultimately by the President of the United States, chief of the Executive Branch of Government.

These articles on really bad decisions don't come from the agents themselves but from the policy makers who circumscribe what they are supposed to do in order to complete their mission. Goofy leadership results in some seriously flawed policy.

US Border Patrol

FOX NEWS: Federal Agents are told to reduce border arrests (LINK HERE)

Cochise (AZ) County Sheriff Larry Dever told Fox News that a supervisor with the US Border Patrol told him that the federal agency's office on Arizona's southern border was under orders to keep apprehension numbers down...and their job was "to intimidate them to make them go back".

Who came up with this hair brained scheme? I'm sure that it's an Obama Administration appointee.


Michelle Malkin reports (LINK HERE)

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives refused to produce documents for Congress regarding Operation: Gunrunner or to voluntarily provide any date for producing them. As a result, Congressman Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a subpoena to DOJ.

Why would Acting Director Kenneth Melson stonewall Congress?


It's not as if the FBI doesn't have enough problems. Now the Obama Administration wants to put a finishing blow on the principal federal law enforcement agency by putting Jamie Gorelick at the helm of the operation. You can read a well written pedigree of Gorelick's dismal record (LINK HERE).