sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Enabling Evil

I can only tolerate so much quibbling over the US Budget before my brain simply forces me to shift gears while the politicians posture, puff and build their personal fortunes.

But I want to fire a shot across the bow at those passive aggressive political creatures like Noam Chomsky, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Hussein Obama who build their careers on enabling evil. Thus begins my rant.

There is a strange sort of populist authoritarianism that has become all the rage in intellectual circles. The Left - and Obama in particular - have an way of locking arms with the mainstream media and applauding dictators who are swept into power by the "poor", who can always be counted on to cheer the empty promises of a tyrant offering an easy way out of poverty. Their mantra is always blaming the condition of the 'poor' on the usual scapegoats: the 'rich', America, Israel and capitalism. That those dictator's reigns inevitably turn to misery and bloodshed are ignored.

How many millions have the devastating socialist experiments of the last century killed? A quarter billion might be a good number to start with when we consider:
  • National Socialism - German Socialism: Liberals never want to concede that Hitler was an unabashed socialist.
  • Marxism Leninism - Russian Socialism: As practiced by Joseph Stalin and those of his ilk.
  • Maoism - Chinese Socialism: The 'Great Leap Forward' literally starved 50,000,000 Chinese (numbers provided by the current Bejing government).
  • The Petty Potentates: Pol Pot, Kim Il Jung (father, son and grandson Kim), Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Saddam Hussein and his Baathists (who practiced a peculiarly Middle Eastern strong-man form of socialism) - and the list goes on.
I'm discouraged to see this whole pattern cheered on by the American Administration with the likes of Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales who are building their head of steam to reach their full anti-human potential. Why are we seeing this happen over again once more? Didn't the world learn with a quarter billion crushed lives? The short answer is, no. It seems not.

Barack Obama's mother's milk was socialism, class envy, and a genuine hatred of the system that propelled him into office. So I guess that I shouldn't be surprised. The revolutionary myth, like religion, continue to thrive in an environment where even a hundred proofs of abject failure are insufficient to wean us from those primordial illusions that some (Obama, Carter, etc.) wish so profoundly to be true. After all, who doesn't want to see the wicked and arrogant put in their place? Who among the downtrodden and dispossessed can fail to be stirred by the promise of a world in which all men are equal and each has what he needs?

Obama paints himself (in his own mind) as one who offers a socialistic (apocalypse) option where he stands charismatically promising revolutionary defiance to the poor's oppressors. His promise to "fundamentally change and rearrange America" is proof enough of those intentions.

However socialism isn't a quick fix for anyone's social ills, no matter how much it's cherished by the mainstream media, progressives and the enablers of evil. And when you are persuaded that it might be, let those numbers - a quarter of a billion lives - and uncounted human misery roll around in your mind for a while.

Friday, July 29, 2011

America's Best

A dear friend of mine, compadre from the Old Days, passed away today. There's not much I can offer by way of final comment except to suggest that his life, well lived, is his benediction.

SFC John Granger US Army 
ODA3125




Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Is the US Govt 'smuggling' military grade weapons to Mexico?

Did you ever wonder where the drug cartels obtained ALL of those military grade weapons?

We know that Operation Gunrunner and it's child Operation Fast and Furious were clandestine operations in which over 2,500 civilian grade firearms were smuggled to narcotics cartels in Mexico. We know that was responsible for deaths and that the Obama Administration has been unsuccessfully stonewalling the Congressional investigation. 

But as Alice in Wonderland asked, "how deep does the rabbit hole go?"

The El Paso Times published an article suggesting that in addition to Gunrunner/Fast and Furious, that we've been supplying the Los Zetas Cartel with military grade weapons, unavailable to civilian gun dealers. Read about it HERE. (excerpted below)
The brutally violent Zetas drug organization may be smuggling military-grade weapons through El Paso and Columbus, N.M., to feed its ongoing battles against other cartels and to possibly disrupt the 2012 elections in Mexico.
Phil Jordan, a former director of the DEA's El Paso Intelligence Center and a former CIA operative, said the Zetas have shipped large amounts of weapons through the El Paso area.
"They are purchasing weapons in the Dallas area and are flying them to El Paso, and then they are taking them across the border into Juárez," said Jordan. Jordan said the Zetas were flying weapons caches out of the Alliance Airport in Fort Worth, and after they arrive in the El Paso vicinity, the Zetas smuggled them into Juárez.
"What's ironic is that the DEA also uses the Alliance Airport for some of its operations," Jordan said. "The Zetas were working out of a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in the Dallas area to smuggle the weapons to the border."
The DEA has its Aviation Operations Center at Alliance.
Robert "Tosh" Plumlee, a former CIA contract pilot, supported Jordan's allegations and said the Zetas allegedly also purchased property in the Columbus-Palomas border region to stash weapons and other contraband.
DEA Special Agent Diana Apodaca, spokeswoman for El Paso's DEA office, said the agency did not have any information about the Zetas allegedly operating in this border region. No one from the Border Patrol or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives returned calls Tuesday for comment.
"The military task force became concerned that its information about arms smuggling was being compromised," Plumlee said. "From the intel, it appears that a company was set up in Mexico to purchase weapons through the U.S. Direct Commercial Sales program, and that the company may have had a direct link to the Zetas."
Under the Direct Commercial Sales program, the U.S. State Department regulates and licenses businesses to sell weapons and defense services and training for export. Last year, according to U.S. statistics, the program was used to provide Mexico $416.5 million worth of weapons and equipment, including military-grade weaponry.
The program is different from the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program, which operates on a government-to-government basis.
Plumlee said military-grade weapons were found in a Juárez warehouse two years ago, and some of them were moved later to a ranch elsewhere in Juárez. Arms stash houses have also been reported in places across the border from Columbus and Antelope Wells, N.M.
Is this just Los Zetas being clever or is it a US Government sponsored operation? The question begs an answer and unfortunately there aren't any readily available. What is the Obama Administration up to? The question isn't merely rhetorical - because these violations of PUBLIC TRUST are very significant, if true. As bad as Operation Gunrunner was, this sounds even worse.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Characteristics of the Obama White House

In America today, the single-minded pursuit of the irrelevant by the self-important progressive movement has a poster child in President Obama. America's "golden age" of personal responsibility has been trashed; reason and truth trivialized in our society where the celebration of victimhood is the pinnacle of self-empowerment and self-actualization.

Between the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, a fundamentally fascist (i.e., anationalistic socialist) movement; and with the second wind that has been given to the remnants of the 20th century's failed socialist and communist 'experiments' (in which millions of people were slaughtered by the compassionate and progressive left), we have truly entered a golden age of narcissism.

(H/T Dale - for the graphic - right)

Consider the characteristics of the malignant narcissist:

1. Shamelessness: Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism, and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.
2. Magical thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.
3. Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.
4. Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person's ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.
5. Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an "awkward" or "difficult" person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.
6. Exploitation: Can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.
7. Bad boundaries: Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and are expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist there is no boundary between self and other.

The ideology of the political left in all its various iterations--socialist, communist, radical environmentalism, progressive; call it what you will -- is, at its core an essentially narcissistic and self-indulgent pursuit of power, with all the unhealthy psychological attributes that implies.

This is not to suggest that narcissism or sociopathy exit merely within the political left. Clearly it does not. But, having made that qualification, today's progressive leftist is steeped in and encouraged by an ideology that rewards only feelings and not critical thinking or truth; fantasy and not reality; and good intentions instead of actual outcome in the real world. The narcissists of this world (characterized above) lead the the poor, innocent and unsuspecting lefist into cognitive dissonance in his thinking patterns and wreak all sorts of misery and spiritual destruction on the people who are the targets of the leftists' supposed goodwill.

But they neither care nor notice, since the primary determinant of why they do what they do is to make themselves feel good; to escape for one brief moment the emptiness of their own individual souls and the self-hatred and rage that motivate them.

Democrats and those on the left HAVE NO MORAL OR ETHICAL STANDARDS TO BEGIN WITH (that's what moral relativism is all about), hence when their reprehensible behavior is exposed for all to see, they are utterly shameless about it. They have managed to convince themselves that they are, on the whole, morally superior to the common riff-raff (and certainly compared to evil Republicans and conservatives they perceive themselves to be virtual saints; champions of the poor and oppressed and leaders in goodness). For such a person how can any traditional rules of behavior apply? When you subscribe to an ideology that emphasizes how loving, compassionate, and caring and "reality-based" you are as its central theses, then you are home free! So, even when your reprehensible behavior is made public, then you are not mandated to feel any shame--shame is for losers. Think back for a moment to former Congressman Weiner, sending photos of his part to ladies nationwide from his chair on the floor of Congress.            

Many Democrats and certainly most leftists are completely shameless in the sense that they will never ever, for as long as they can possibly get away with it, going to admit to bad behavior. And in those rare cases where they simply cannot wiggle and maneuver and lie and deceive; or self-righteously tell you how wonderful they really are and all the wonderful things they have done for the 'little people'; they will simply pretend they are still virtuous and have been victimized in some way. What's sad is that they often believe it themselves.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Municipal Bankruptcy - Orange County (CA)

The US Bankrutpcy Code allows for counties and municipalities to seek bankruptcy protection under Chapter 9. No mention is made in the code for US States. The largest municipal bankruptcy in history occurred in Orange County, California and I managed the criminal investigation that resulted. Now, sixteen years later, a (90 page) report of that investigation will soon be available on Amazon.com, Kindle, on e-books and in book stores (on a for-order basis).

Orange County is the richest county in the richest half of the richest portion of the richest state in the richest nation on the planet. How did this happen? 

For the first time, the true story of what transpired, and who caused what is available to the public. This report is factual and is made without prejudice or bias. It's not written by a third party reporter or someone who had access to some of the facts. I had access to ALL of the facts and personally conducted most of the key investigative interviews. This is not a tell-all book in the sense of casting blame or pointing fingers. There was blame enough to be shared by everyone involved - The Orange County Board of Supervisors, The Orange County Treasurer, Merrill Lynch, Standard and Poors & Moodys Rating Services and other broker dealers.

***

On December 6, 1994, the County of Orange filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. County officials believed this action was necessary because of market losses to the Orange County Investment Pool (OCIP) estimated at the time to exceed $2,500,000,000. Due to a favorable selling environment, the actual losses were later tabulated at about $1,690,000,000. Citron managed funds worth $8 billion but had leveraged them to amounts from 158% to almost 300%. (The OCIP had been leveraged to $21 billion dollars.)

Orange County Treasurer Robert L. (Bob) Citron was the only Democratic Party politician within the Orange County Executive political community and the only one holding office on December 6, 1994 when Orange County declared bankruptcy. 

Citron pled guilty to six felony counts and three special enhancements. Charges also included filing a false and misleading financial summary to participants purchasing securities in the Orange County Treasury Investment Pool. The court ordered Citron to serve five years of supervised probation, and to perform 1000 hours of community service. Citron did not serve any time in prison. 

There are many lessons that can be drawn from this investigation, but perhaps the most striking one, which I believe that Bob Citron would agree with, was that he had absolutely no qualifications to manage funds of this magnitude. He ran for office unopposed for over twenty years, the public elected him because his name was the only one on the ballot. During the course of the investigation, I learned that Bob Citron kept his personal record of the funds, leveraged to $21 billion on the backs of a few manila folders. We obtained the ‘ledgers’ by way of a search warrant and they were duly booked as evidence. 

Orange County arrived at a settlement with Merrill Lynch & Co, Inc. in 1998. Merrill Lynch paid $400,000,000 in civil fines and $10,000,000 in criminal penalties to settle accusations that it sold inappropriate and risky investments to Orange County Treasurer Robert L. (Bob) Citron. The agreement stipulated that Merrill Lynch not admit any liability. It remains the largest criminal fine levied and collected in the history of the State of California. Orange County lost $1.69 billion and eventually recovered about $600 million in total, including the $400 million from Merrill Lynch.
From the Investigative Summary-
"Robert L. Citron, elected Treasurer, his Assistant Treasurer Matt Raabe, and the Director of Management and Budget, Ronald Rubino were in a position to have “saved” the County, had they chosen to put the responsibilities of their office ahead of their personal ambitions and egos. Auditor-Controller Steve Lewis should have known, and had he exercised even the basic responsibilities of his office, he would have known the danger to the County, which resulted from Citron’s disastrous investment policy. The Board of Supervisors, and in particular, Supervisor Roger Stanton failed to supervise those elected officials who directly diverted funds, and failed to detect those illegal acts. Neither did he heed both implied and outright warnings of the impending disaster. 
"Once the magnitude of the financial problem was known, Supervisor Stanton counseled other County officials, “do nothing, because if we do anything, it will be said that we could have done something.” (emphasis added) In large part the necessity of filing for Bankruptcy Protection under Chapter 9 resulted from the inability of the Supervisors to come to a decision. An eleventh hour bailout at very favorable interest rates had been arranged by J. P. Morgan & Co., which received the blessing of the Federal Reserve. That deal had been predicated on the acceptance of Orange County Government and their ability to appoint a Fiduciary. 
"Had it been accepted, the County would not have needed to declare bankruptcy, and the resulting expense associated with the “less than investment grade” bonds the County sold would have been far lower. That deal was not accepted because there was no willingness to do anything. The investigation showed there was no resolve at the highest levels of County Management to do anything but blame each other in the hopes of retaining their political aspirations for future (and higher) office. In that way, in addition to those set forth previously, both Steiner and Stanton showed a total disregard for their public trust and responsibility."
In a sense, it was politics as usual, and because of that, the lessons learned are as applicable today as they were in back then.

###


Saturday, July 9, 2011

ObamaNomics

Ovid writes [in Metamorphoses XI] that Dionysus found that his old schoolmaster and foster father, the satyr Silenus had disappeared. Apparently the old satyr had been drinking wine and had wandered away drunk, later to be found by some Phrygian peasants, who took him to their king, Midas. King Midas recognized him and treated him hospitably, entertaining him for ten days and nights with politeness, while Silenus delighted Midas and his friends with stories and songs. On the eleventh day, he brought Silenus back to Bacchus in Lydia. Bacchus offered Midas his choice of whatever reward he wished for. Midas asked that whatever he might touch should be changed into gold.

And things didn't work out quite the way that Midas wanted them to. The Obama Administration wants to create jobs but the unemployment rate keeps rising --- because job creation is not a function of government. It's a function of private industry. Government can get out of the private sector's way, which will naturally result in job creation. Or they can impede private industry with more taxes, regulations and worst of all, UNCERTAINTY. 

Every time the economy takes another dip, Obama takes the podium and talks about how happy days will soon be here again, if only he can spend MORE MONEY to 'spend our way out of a depression'. But it doesn't work that way - and horse apples will never be turned into gold. (H/T Dale for the graphic)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Casey Anthony - Mother of the Year

A jury of her peers found Casey Anthony (mother of the year) not guilty of murdering her baby daughter. And people howled. How could the jury do that?

However we need to take a big step back and look at it the way a "progressive" would (which is the leftist's code word for "Democrats"). I'm sure that there were some progressive people sitting on that jury.



Casey Anthony - from a Progressive Perspective - is a hero!

She wanted to party - (LINK to Casey Anthony Party Photos) and the baby got in the way. It happens to millions of American women. And there are a lot of women who feel that a baby would be a millstone around their necks. (roughly 4,000 babies are aborted in America every day (LINK)

Really, the Casey Anthony situation is very similar to the 1.4 million babies aborted (stats op cit) every year in America. They're inconvenient - they will potentially interfere with lifestyle, and they have to go. 

That's simply my view of the situation. And if you're outraged at her conduct, look around. That same philosophy abounds.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

INSINKERATOR - Buyer Beware!

About 4 1/2 months ago, I bought a replacement kitchen garbage disposal unit. Trying to get the best unit available, I bought the Insinkerator Evolution Excel (Serial No. 10031649882). The Excel is the 'Rolls Royce' of garbage disposals if you read the literature. I paid an insane $350.00 for the unit and the cord comes extra (not included with the disposal unit). I bought it because it they advertised it as being very quiet.

I strongly recommend that you consider buying a different product.

Please don't make the same mistake that I did.   Judge for yourself.

Just over four months later the entire lower seal has failed through routine kitchen use:


Just because I was STUPID enough to buy one of these units doesn't
mean that you have to follow in my footsteps.  Unless you've bought
one already. In that case -- you have my sympathy.

Insinkerator promises a hefty warranty that is not worth the paper that it's printed on. When I called the 1-800-558-5700 customer support number, nobody answered for fifteen or twenty minutes, but I was offered the option to leave a message. I punched '1'. The message said that the mail box was full and then bid me, "Good Bye!"

I bought the unit at Home Depot. Their in-store warranty only lasts for 90 days -- just short of the service life of the Insinkerator Evolution Excel. I have no problem with Home Depot. My problem is with the company and the JUNK that they sell to the public.

The cheap disposer unit that came with the house lasted 12 years. This unit didn't even make 6 months before it totally failed.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Treason - and a New Birth of Freedom

It was treason for those founding fathers to gather together in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Putting pen to paper condemned each of them to the gallows or the headsman's tender mercies. It was the brink that they couldn't step back from, and yet they did it.

A woman asked Dr. Benjamin Franklin as he left the hall what kind of government they created. He responded, "A Republic, if you can keep it." 

Sometimes I feel as if the Constitution hangs by a thread, and the Republic, under God has been diluted through the lusts of the 'progressive'. The 'new morality' is simply the old immorality. There's really no other way to couch it. We will survive so long as we are a moral nation. Yet the most dangerous place to be a black person is in the womb...in New York City. You can't separate the sanctity of life from the sanctity of freedom.

The men who signed the Declaration 235 years ago. Understood this. It's a pity that so many of us do not.
What manner of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists, 11 were merchants and tradesmen, and nine were farmers. They were soft-spoken men of means and education; they were not an unwashed rabble. They had achieved security but valued freedom more. Their stories have not been told nearly enough.
John Hart was driven from the side of his desperately ill wife. For more than a year he lived in the forest and in caves before he returned to find his wife dead, his children vanished, his property destroyed. He died of exhaustion and a broken heart.
Carter Braxton of Virginia lost all his ships, sold his home to pay his debts, and died in rags. And so it was with Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Rutledge, Morris, Livingston and Middleton. Nelson personally urged Washington to fire on his home and destroy it when it became the headquarters for General Cornwallis. Nelson died bankrupt.
But they sired a nation that grew from sea to shining sea. Five million farms, quiet villages, cities that never sleep, 3 million square miles of forest, field, mountain and desert, 227 million people with a pedigree that includes the bloodlines of all the world. In recent years, however, I’ve come to think of that day as more than just the birthday of a nation.
It also commemorates the only true philosophical revolution in all history.
Oh, there have been revolutions before and since ours. But those revolutions simply exchanged one set of rules for another. Ours was a revolution that changed the very concept of government.
Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people.
            - President Ronald Reagan
I wish you all the best of Independence Days. And may Freedom reign in the Spirt of '76!
 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It moves me!

In 1814, about a week after the city of Washington had been badly burned, British troops moved up to the primary port at Baltimore Harbor in Maryland. Francis Scott Key visited the British fleet in the Harbor on September 13th to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes who had been captured during the Washington raid. 

The two were detained on the ship so as not to warn the Americans while the Royal Navy attempted to bombard Fort McHenry. At dawn on the 14th, Key noted that the huge American flag, which now hangs in the Smithsonian's American History Museum, was still waving and had not been removed in defeat. The sight inspired him to write a poem titled Defense of Fort McHenry. 

The poem was eventually set to music that had originally been written by English composer John Stafford Smith for a song titled "The Anacreontic Song". The end result was the inspiring song now considered the national anthem of the United States of America. It was accepted as such by public demand for the next century or so, but became even more accepted as the national anthem during the World Series of Baseball in 1917 when it was sung in honor of the brave armed forces fighting in the Great War. The World Series performance moved everyone in attendance, and after that it was repeated for every game. Finally, on March 3, 1931, the American Congress proclaimed it as the national anthem, 116 years after it was first written.

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

It never ceases to move me.