sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Obama Pride: Legacy of Scandal Free Administration

Former Chief of Staff David Axelrod is proud that the Obama Administration has been scandal free:

You wouldn't want to buy a car, a house or swampland from Mr. Axelrod, a proud member of Chicago's political machine who followed Barack Obama to Washington DC. I'm not saying that Mr. Axelrod is not an accomplished liar. That's self-evident.

Moving on.

32,000 emails have recovered in IRS targeting probe. You'll recall sworn testimony again and again that all of Lois Learner's e-mails were destroyed. The "dog ate the homework defense" appears to be cracking. Amid many serious scandals that are laid at the feet of President Obama, this one looks most like the old Watergate case. 

To throw a little salt on the wound:

Records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that former IRS official Lois Lerner received $129,300 in bonuses between 2010 and 2013,
Over a three-year period, Lerner, the head of the tax-exempt division at the heart of the IRS targeting scandal, received a 25 percent retention bonus—averaging $43,000 a year—on top of her regular salary.
The Obama Administration really wanted to keep her around. You'll recall that President Obama boldly declared that, "there isn't even a smidgen of scandal" in the IRS targeting investigation undertaken by Congress. That's right up there with "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor --period!"

The IRS has an image that's nearly impossible to tarnish, so to many, the IRS targeting scandal doesn't rise to the level of one such as BATFE's program of "walking" firearms across the US Border with Mexico to drug cartels --- that ended up killing hundreds in Mexico and two US Agents --- that we know of.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Front-loading Bribes

Pay to play (pay for access) is the oldest trick in the book and lobbying is possibly the third oldest job on the planet behind prostitute and fortune teller.

Some conservatives are irked by the fact that Hillary Clinton's foundation has drawn in over $2 billion in the past decade or so. Yes, she claims to be dead broke, but "broke" means different things to different people. At that's how the Clintons see it.

Hillary, mindful of the limitations of a president or cabinet officer getting direct bribes, decided to front-load them as the Democratic Party's only apparent candidate for the US presidency. Conservatives are angry. The cynic in me would suggest that is because they (a) didn't think of it first and (b) have a field of twenty candidates, each of whom is dragging the sack for money.

Hillary Clinton has a large rolodex and she is clearly a rain maker as is former President Bill Clinton. If you want them to fly somewhere for a day, you need to hire an executive jet (whether it's Bill or Hillary, it's good manners to hire a 'hostess' or two for the trip) and fork over another $10 million. The presence of Team Clinton can often make the difference between winning and losing business.

President Obama has the "advisory council". Joining will set you back $500K. It brings access. If you're George Soros, Obama calls you, you don't need to call him. And that's how it works. It worked the same way for George W. Bush (I'm not on my high horse). 

At this point, I wonder if it can work any other way.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Destination Mars

Mars One is a program that is trying to develop funding for a one-way trip to Mars by raising money from a reality television show. Though I realize that the people (primarily from The Netherlands) who came up with this are serious about it, but to me, there is an undercurrent of 'scam'.

Read more at the Mars One website.

It will begin with habitats on Earth where would-be Mars One astronauts train by living in an Earthbound simulator...until the spacecraft is built.

Yes it's a one-way trip. Once you leave, there is no mechanism that will return you to Earth. Therefore anyone who leaves, will need to buy the t-shirt first, before departing. If you are a serious scientist instead of a dreamer, you will realize that the Martian soil is toxic to bacterial life and to mankind. I'm not suggesting that it can't be terraformed given time and effort, but I think that it's unlikely that the hapless participants in the Mars One reality TV show would do anything but to to Mars and die - providing that they were able to ever lift off from Earth and survive the journey.

More than 200,000 men and women from around the world responded to the first call for astronauts and the selection process wound that number down to 100 finalists who are going to compete for final launch slots on the reality show. You can read their bios for yourself... If I was going to select people for the reality show, and the flight to Mars I'd include the entire Kardashian family which brings with it racial diversity (including in-laws), the Mob Wives (as companions for the mostly male crew) and people who currently work in the West Wing of the White House and do so well managing the nation - time to let them branch out to a new career on Mars.

Meanwhile, back home on Earth, you never know how things will end up.

But BEFORE YOU GO, sound off below on who you would send to Mars as part of the (likely ill fated if it ever lifts off) one-way trip to Mars.
Yes, Pretty Jenny, we know that your ex-husband would make an excellent Mars One astronaut...
I can't believe but what LSP would nominate the Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. 
However, these are all guesses on my part. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Jihadi Bride Redux

It's not Islamophobic - it's all in good fun. The magazine cover dates from 2004 before the War on Terror was transformed into a "foreign contingency operation", bringing peace in our time to a troubled world.
Certainly, I understand that poking fun at Muslims means that I myself might be setting myself up the same way that the staff of Charlie Hebdo did in France. The nearest Jewish deli is quite some distance from where I live, so the terrorists will have a long way to go to pick a "random" target beyond little old me.
Meanwhile, today at the White House:

Democratic Party Questions

President Obama: How do I undercut Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his upcoming visit to Washington to address Congress?
Administration officials have discarded the idea of President Barack Obama himself giving an Iran-related address to rebut the two speeches Netanyahu is to deliver during his early March visit. Those ideas have been discarded because of the fear they have that PM Netanyahu will rake in  higher ratings than President Obama, who is neither particularly popular nor is he credible in many circles.
Other ideas are still on the table -- all of them include heavy pandering to pet members of the Press. Brian Williams, a former pet, is no longer included on the list.

Democratic Party: How do we reverse the huge 2014 midterm losses?
While Hillary Clintons' supporters have already coronated her Queen of America, there are those in the Democratic Party who feel that the coronation is not a "done deal".
Democratic Party leaders did some soul searching, analyzed their problems, and made recommendations for winning in the future. The results were published in the Democratic Victory Task Force Preliminary Findings and in summary, they feel that they need more narrative to voters.

Democrats want more “narrative” to help them win back the people in "fly over country". 
This is a problem because the bitter people who cling to God and Guns are none too fond of Hillary Clinton, their intended candidate. The Democratic Party's iconic leaders (Obama and Clinton) both agree that the following traits are common among radicals:
  • Heterosexual and believe in traditional marriage
  • Believe that militant Islam is a threat to America
  • Own firearms 
  • Oppose abortion except in cases of incest, rape or where the mother's life is threatened.
The problem with this philosophy is that it doesn't wash with many people who live in fly-over country.
"The Task Force recommends creating a National Narrative Project to work with party leaders, activists, community organizers (from whose ranks Barack Obama sprang) and messaging and narrative experts to create a strong values-based national narrative that will engage, inspire and motivate voters to identify with and support Democrats… 
In order to win elections, the Democratic Party must reclaim voters that we’ve lost including white Southern voters."

Pres. Obama's Friends: How can I steal more government money?

In September 2013, Jeri Wright, daughter of Reverend “God Damn America” Wright, and 12 other Democrats were charged with embezzling $16 million in Federal health grants that should have gone to AIDS charities and other programs for the poor and needy.

More than one of the defendants had direct ties to President Barack Obama.

In March 2014 Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s daughter Jeri was found guilty on eleven counts that included money laundering and lying to federal agents.

This week US District Judge Sue E. Myerscough sent Jeri Wright to prison.
Jeri L. Wright, the daughter of President Barack Obama’s former pastor and lifelong friend, is headed to jail after a federal judge on Monday revoked a deal that allowed her to remain free as she awaits sentencing on a money-laundering conviction. 
U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough ruled that there was probable cause to believe that Wright committed a theft while she was free on bail and ordered Wright detained by U.S. marshals in Springfield, according to Sharon Paul, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in the Central District of Illinois. 
Wright’s attorney, Victor P. Henderson, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Then again, it's Chicago...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

White House Strategy

The Obama Administration announced a strategy with a logo for countering Fundamentalist Islamic Terrorism. I don't know if they plan to drop leaflets (below) around the world from the Philippines and Indonesia to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Tunesia, Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, etc. But if they do, I'm sure that terrorism will go away.

My first take on this was a bit rude, so I'll tone it down and say that it's naive in the extreme. There is a culture in Islam that causes a significant number of its members to want to murder other people. Clearly it doesn't apply to all Muslims. The solution (above) may fit for the US or the West, but is clearly out of sync with the Muslim Middle East.


Are handguns erotic? The jury is out. In the deep blue liberal hells, where they are wielded by criminals against unarmed citizens, they can be fearsome. In free states with open carry laws where gun crime is very low (because criminals find themselves dead), they take on a more reassuring glow (yes, it is partly because of the tritium night sights).

In the world of liberals, advice to would be rape victims is that women need to try to induce vomiting or to urinate to ruin the rapist's mood. Conservatives suggest that the woman pull her Glock and make him barf and piss himself. Different strokes.


No weathered carpet or piece of driftwood in the background. No random ammunition lay-out designed by a set expert. Just 14 rounds of Hornady .45 ACP+P+ in an old first generation Glock 21, first purchased in the late 1980's (with 10K+ rounds through it).
The backdrop is not fancy. It's just the living room floor.

There are some mods you can see and some that you can't. The guide rod is titanium and the recoil spring is very taunt, which makes for very slick cycling and very light recoil when firing +P+ ammunition. Some people prefer calibers other than .45 ACP for handguns. I say let the tool fit the job and leave it at that.

The handle located on the rear of the slide allows the operator to clear a jam or operate the slide with one hand if the other one is occupied or injured. You can hook the handle onto a belt, onto a door, fence post, etc. to operate the slide. The non-standard barrel is one inch longer than OEM and is just for looks... Yes it's threaded, but that's stylish.

As with a woman (because it's YouPorn), there is no safety catch on a Glock handgun. You have to show self restraint at times and at other times it's double tap and a failure drill...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Seeing is Believing?

This is what the world would look like if cell phone radiation was visible
Many people are surprised when they discover that less than 1 percent of the electromagnetic spectrum is visible to the human eye. Think about that for a moment. Take the rainbow for example, the existence of the rainbow depends on the conical photoreceptors in your eyes; to animals without cones, the rainbow does not exist. If they can’t conceive the idea of one in their head, does it mean that rainbows don’t exist? We can’t see most forms of radiation and radiation emanates from many forms of technology.

Then again, we use them and they work, so we believe in them. It's just an interesting twist on faith and the concept of "what's real"?

Once you crack the books on quantum mechanics, things get much weirder. It's almost as if we are living in "The Matrix".

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Suicide does not discriminate.
RIP Captain Jamie Brunette, USAF
February 15, 2015
22 - That's how many American veterans will commit suicide today. That's how many commit suicide every day as a national average. 

The Chris Kyle story, his life and his death at the hands of a fellow veteran who was suffering from his experiences  underscores the problems that many veterans are going through. 

I had a "suck it up sailor" attitude myself until this particular problem almost added an in-law family member of mine to the twenty-two-a-day number. 

My family member served with the US Navy and when he came home from Afghanistan, he was screwed up. I mean, really screwed up. I don't usually write about this sort of personal thing on my blog but I am today as part of the Sunday Sermonette. We'll call him Joe.

I am personally furious that this number - 22 per day - even exists. To give all credit to the US Navy, as soon as they became aware of Joe's problem, they made working with him and getting him help a priority. Joe was suicidal and I'm not talking about pretend drama queen suicidal. The Navy put him on medication, watched him closely and helped him transition to a civilian job in the Navy. Today, over a year later, I'm pleased to report that he's off meds and his life seems to be mending. 

For every success story, there are 22 failures each day in  America. 

The Los Angeles Times is quick to point out that of the twenty-two suicides per day, most are not young people just back from the war. The article tries to diminish the statistic by suggesting that older veterans who took their own lives are somewhat less valuable or important than the young veteran suicides.

CNN indicates that the twenty-two suicides per day number is low and that the true number may be much HIGHER. The article is worth reading.

Former defense secretary, Leon Panetta, called the 
suicide rate among service members an epidemic.
(CNN Story, cited above) Every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That's a suicide every 65 minutes. As shocking as the number is, it may actually be higher.

The figure, released by the Department of Veterans Affairs in February, is based on the agency's own data and numbers reported by 21 states from 1999 through 2011. Those states represent about 40% of the U.S. population. The other states, including the two largest (California and Texas) and the fifth-largest (Illinois), did not make data available.
Who wasn't counted?

People like Levi Derby, who hanged himself in his grandfather's garage in Illinois on April 5, 2007. He was haunted, says his mother, Judy Casper, by an Afghan child's death. He had handed the girl a bottle of water, and when she came forward to take it, she stepped on a land mine.

When Derby returned home, he locked himself in a motel room for days. Casper saw a vacant stare in her son's eyes. A while later, Derby was called up for a tour of Iraq. He didn't want to kill again. He went AWOL and finally agreed to an "other than honorable" discharge. 
Derby was not in the VA system, and Illinois did not send in data on veteran suicides to the VA.

Update: "Joe" and family came by the house for about an hour this afternoon. It is gratifying to see how far he has come and where he is now from rock-bottom.  Sometimes you have to take the slogan, "The only easy day was yesterday" to heart and push through it -- and at other times you have to accept that you can't always do it alone. If it hadn't been for the US Navy recognizing the problem and helping at the level that they did with this one wounded warrior, he could have very likely been one of the twenty-two who commit suicide each day. There were a lot of us in his family - me included -  who pitched in and helped, but in the old days, the Navy would not have lifted a finger. I want to give them credit for changing and helping rather than flushing injured and troubled sailors out with the bilge.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Some guys cruise porn sites for fun. To me that's a lot like a starving man watching somebody cook and eat a perfectly marinated ribeye steak in front of them. Women read romance novels and bought Fifty Shades of Grey in record numbers to lend substance to their kinks -- apparently.

Looking at handguns leaves you with a more achievable fantasy. (LINK

To me, one who is not a particularly huge fan of Ruger handguns, there is a world of difference between an out-of-the-box Ruger and one that has been spruced up by Gemini Customs.

These are all Ruger SRH Alaskan Guide Guns in .454 Casull.


This is my favorite of the Gemini Custom SRH Alaskan handguns pictured here primarily because of the V-8 porting. The porting helps control the muzzle climb from a .454 round fired from a short barreled handgun. I would have done something else with the hammer - so it's not precisely how I would have ordered the modification, but, it's very close to perfect for this particular handgun.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Trivia: Whose Baseball Card is displayed at CIA HQ?

When baseball greats Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig went on tour in baseball-crazy Japan in 1934, some fans wondered why a third-string catcher named Moe Berg was included. Although he played with 5 major league teams from 1923 to 1939, he was a mediocre ball player. 

Casey Stengel once said: That is the strangest man ever to play baseball. When all the baseball stars went to Japan, Moe Berg went with them and many people wondered why he went with the team. Moe spoke 15 languages including Japanese.

Wikipedia Link

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thought for the Day

Happy Lunar New Year

If you're not keeping track (or even if you are) today ushers in the year of the sheep/goat.

Happy Tet to each of you!

I have no plans to shoot firecrackers (to scare away demons) or visit dead relatives, who are said to walk on the Day of the Dead/New Year. Neither do I plan to burn "hell money". Nor will I bark at the Moon (any more often or with more gusto than I do now).

I suspect that today will be more or less like every other day for me.

I don't know which Buddhist copied my 
face for this mask -- but job well done.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Boko Haram Update

Notes from the War with Jihadist Islam

Boko Haram (meaning: "Western education is forbidden"), officially called Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'Awati Wal-Jihad, جماعة أهل السنة للدعوة والجهاد‎, and Jamā‘at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da‘wah wa’l-Jihād, "Group of the People of Sunnah for Preaching and Jihad", is an Islamic terrorist movement based in central Western Africa with a membership of about 10,000. They are philosophically and financially linked to al Qaeda and ISIL. That means that they associate with the Saudi Arabian Wahhabist  network. It is that network, which is also called al Qaeda, that carried out attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001 and so forth.
In Nigeria, during the first half of 2014, the group killed over 2,000 people and kidnapped over 500 people including 276 schoolgirls from Chibok. 1.5 million people have fled the conflict zone in northern, northwest and central Nigeria during the past year.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon was politically correct yesterday in repeating the mantra that there is no military solution to Boko Haram. On the other hand, he is also wrong because there always is a military solution for a given time frame, set of resources and a specific objective. Often, states cannot afford the price of a permanent solution, so they accept containment, for example, as a substitute for extermination.

The military solution in Nigeria is the extermination of Boko Haram, meaning the killing of all its members, supporters and sympathizers. Nigeria's containment strategy is an abject failure.

Extermination would require costs that Nigeria is unwilling to bear, such as the near destruction of an important tribe in northeastern Nigeria and the incarceration of many important northeastern politicians. Nevertheless, in a living systems analysis, infestations can be totally wiped out, but the price is often high.

A military spokesman announced that Nigerian troops in a coordinated air assault recaptured two towns in northeastern Nigeria. The Nigerians never liked French-speaking African soldiers outperforming them. Some Nigerian units appear to be improving their "game" now that there is competition. Some Nigerian politicians from the northern states recently have decried that he performance of the Nigerian Army was so poor that it required help from Chad and Niger.

The Camaroon Army killed 86 Boko Haram fighters and detained another 1,000. Five Camaroon soldiers died in clashes in the Waza district near the border with Nigeria.

Press reports from Niger and Cameroon indicate the leaders are taking a more sophisticated approach to controlling Boko Haram, than that used by the Nigerians. They are investigating and detaining hundreds of Nigerian sympathizers. 

Authorities in Niger said that they now have more than 160 Boko Haram suspects from the Diffa region in southeastern Niger. Leaders in the Francophone countries of central Africa have a systemic insight that attacks do not just happen. They are the violent manifestations of a violent system that depends on local sympathizers for support.

What should the American role be?

My sense is that the ISIL/Boko Haram infestation needs to be monitored, but it's an African problem requiring an African solution - essentially extermination, which is politically incorrect in the US.

If America lacks the resolve to deal with the ISIL/Boko Haram/al Qaeda problem, it should stay out of it. A timid American approach wherein we are afraid to even call this problem "Islamic Terrorism" is unlikely to add to a meaningful solution.

China has considerable mineral and mining interests in the region. Absent US leadership, they are asserting themselves quietly.

Cause and Effect

Yes, the Obama Administration now contends that the rise of ISIS is directly related to unemployment problems in the Middle East. For you cynics, that is in line with the Ft. Hood shooting by Nidal Hasan trying to "kill the Crusaders" being an act of workplace violence.

As in Paris, where the White House insists four Jews in a kosher market were randomly selected for slaughter, the statement condemning IS beheading 21 Egyptians omits a key fact: all were Christians.
Speaking of the Chapel Hill, N.C., murder of three Muslims, President Obama, as his FBI began an investigation into whether it was a "hate crime," issued a statement saying that "no one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like or how they worship." 
No such sentiment or statement was made by President Obama condemning as a religiously motivated hate crime in the September 2014 beheading of an Oklahoma Christian woman by a former co-worker for not heeding his demand to convert to Islam or die.
ISIS is only the latest Islamic Terror Organization to target Christians because they are Christians. From the Christian-influenced Yazidis in Iraq to the Christian schoolgirls targeted by Boko Haram in Nigeria, Christians worldwide have had their churches bombed and burned and themselves murdered, all because of what they believe and who they are. PresidentObama refuses to acknowledge or even mention this fact. 

I wonder why that is?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

First Extraterrestrial Submarine

Earth, Moon, Titan relative size comparison
Saturn's moon, Titan, has a bulk super rotating stratosphere (LINK) which has the effect of homogenizing the temperature - which is cold by any standard. Weather on Titan that dips below -290 degrees Fahrenheit is not out of the ordinary.

These super low temps, combined with an atmosphere roughly 1.5 times as dense as Earth's, have resulted in a few extraordinary bodies of liquid methane and ethane. Titan is the only body in the Solar System beside Earth that has liquid lakes on its surface. This presents an opportunity to dive beneath the liquid lakes.

NASA is working up a (very early) model of a submarine drone that could do just that—one that will likely be nuclear-powered, weigh a ton, and come equipped with a seafloor camera, sampling system, and other fancy futuristic robotic accoutrements by 2040... which means that I will be dead by the time it gets there. Many details remain to be sorted out, including how to get the craft to Titan (Boeing's X-37 is a possibility), how to land it (parachute drop), and while there, how to communicate with Earthlings (planar phased-array antenna).

More information about Titan's atmosphere is available from Ashima Research (here).

Monday, February 16, 2015


In honor of Woodsterman...proud purveyor of blonde jokes.

A few days ago a friend was having some work done at the local garage when a blonde came in and asked for a seven-hundred-ten.

They all looked at each other and another customer asked, 'What is a seven-hundred-ten?'

She replied, 'You know, the little piece in the middle of the engine, I have lost it and need a new one.'

She explained that she did not know exactly what it was, but this piece had always been there.

The mechanic gave her a piece of paper and a pen and asked her to draw what the piece looked like.

She drew a circle and in the middle of it wrote 710.

He then took her over to a car just like hers which had its hood up and asked, 'Is there a 710 on this car?'

She pointed and said, 'Of course, it’s right there.'

Things to Think On

Barack on Vacation (again)

Your tax dollars at work


Brian Williams (NBC News) - an American hero

Sunday, February 15, 2015

It's a Matter of Perspective

A Tale of Two Tampons (Sermonette)

As best I recall, residents of Tampa, Florida are called tampons... aren't they?

Do homeless lives matter? I'm sure that many of this blog's readers are torn on the topic -- but it's the subject of this Sunday Sermonette.
(TAMPA, FL) A man and woman escaped injury this morning after they were dropped into the back of a sanitation truck while sleeping in a dumpster in Tampa. 
Hillsborough County deputies say Donald L. Jordan, 37, and Lisa Sirbella, 49, likely became intoxicated at the Seminole Hard Rock & Casino before falling asleep in the dumpster at the WaWa store at Orient Road and Hillsborough Avenue around 5 a.m. Jordan told deputies that the pair was visiting Tampa from Kissimmee. 
Radmas Valasquez, the driver of the Progressive Waste Solutions truck, emptied the dumpster into his truck then discovered the pair after hearing yelling and banging from the back end of his truck while on his route, deputies say. After he was unable to get them out, deputies say law enforcement and EMS crews responded and removed them from the truck. 
The sheriff's office says Jordan smelled of alcohol, was slurring his speech and was acting aggressive when deputies approached him. 
The pickup was one of Valasquez's first stops of the day, so there wasn't much trash in the truck at the time of the incident, deputies said. 
Jordan and Sirbella were transported to Tampa General Hospital after complaining of back pain, deputies said.
Though it can't be proved definitively (because nobody either cares or takes headcounts, one of the major causes of death in the hard core homeless community comes to people who live in dumpsters and are dumped and compacted in the normal course of business. In cold weather they tend to burrow down under the garbage like a 'Trenton Tick' (I'm not picking on your homies, Race Bannon - that's what the dumpster dwellers are called in the progressive paradise that is Trenton, New Jersey).

And now to my point. Progressives need to take up the chant "HOMELESS LIVES MATTER" and they should set up some sort of volunteer corps to check each dumpster in America the evening before trash pick up. If Michelle Obama wanted to show what she's made of, she and her kids (flanked by an army of Secret Service Agents) could go through a thousand dumpsters each night in the DC metro area ahead of the trash trucks -- just trying to find a job that she can do since she isn't fond of being first lady and going on lavish vacations all the time.

First lady Michelle Obama responds with enthusiasm
to her new "I can't breathe" campaign...
The Secret Service could handle the homeless de-lousing mission once Michelle found somebody to save. Since the Service's selection process these days has shied away from the tradition uber professional protective service to accommodate certain minority hiring practices on the president's and first lady's details, its a mission that I think that they could pull off.

The Secret Service could also spray Lysol on the recovered homeless so that Michelle saying "I can't breathe" will be interpreted correctly. Some of the pissy, maggot covered winos who are somewhere beyond ripe have lives that matter too and need to be embraced and returned to live useful lives. Michelle Obama is the perfect choice to make that happen.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Grey (Rule 5)

Valentines Day is nearly my least favorite holiday (behind Kwanzaa and September 11, the day President Obama said we should use to honor community organizers). But this year, there is a Valentine's Day feature film in the movie theaters that is porn/soft porn dedicated to what women say that they want. Yes, I'm writing of Fifty Shades of Grey. Based on a series of books by the same name.

As I understand the ratings, it's what Hollywood is now calling a "hard R".

I've always held the opinion that kinks are a private matter between consenting adults, so I am not judging -- but a number of wives and girlfriends of friends of mine who read the books are looking forward to being wined, dined and 69'd along with whips and chains - constituting a form of foreplay blended with Cinderella.

Trailer and Review:

Whatever your preferential form of Valentine celebration turns out to be, I hope that it works. It used to be that candy was dandy, but liquor worked quicker. Now, things are much more complicated.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Clarifying the Situation in Yemen

US SECSTATE John (Swiftboat) Kerry
In the ongoing push and pull between Iranian backed Shiia  and Al Qaeda (AQAP) backed Sunni Islam, Yemen is presently devolving to a lower level of political organization. The devolution will continue until there is a clear winner - and there is no telling when that will happen.

The Obama Administration declared that Yemen was a success story. NOBODY familiar with Yemen would have ever made that claim, but US Secretary of State John Kerry, desperate for a "victory" made that boast - echoed by his boss, the equally clueless Barack Hussein Obama.

Before I go over what is happening in Yemen now, I must first revert to art and a quote from my novella, "The Black Scorpions: Outsourced War" wherein the main character reflects on the nature of the nation of Yemen and its people:
He closed his eyes briefly turning back to the years Dr. Brown asked about. Yemen presented a completely different lifestyle than anything Deever experienced up to that point. Everything that crawled in Yemen was toxic. Chiggers and sand fleas were uncomfortable, scorpion venom hurt and the antidote tasted like old burned transmission fluid. Deever brought a case of scorpion anti-venom with him from the Marine Corps, so the stings weren’t fatal. Taken as a whole, the biting, stinging insects were better than the people who lived in the inhospitable shit hole that is modern Yemen. 
He found Yemen to be a nation of warring tribes who thought they were living in the eleventh century. The people of Yemen struck no sympathetic cord. They lived to fight as they clawed with each other for advantages in life. For sport, they threw their six-year-old sons into human cockfights to defend family honor, as wagers were quietly uttered and dirty currency passed. Every day, the Yemeni people proved themselves to be savage, heartless beasts feeding on each other’s barbarism. They were sneaky as jackals, cowardly when confronted, hateful and malevolent.
Yes, I sugar coated it. So much for art. Now let's look at what's going on today and what it may mean. Al-Qaeda/Ansar al Sharia irregulars took control of the 19th Infantry Brigade in Bayhan, a town in southern Shabwah Governate. Al Qaeda captured 60 soldiers belonging to the Shiite Houthi faction, but released them through the intervention of local tribal leaders. They terrorists/militants (however your sensibilities let you slice it) kept the weapons in addition to the recruits that they raised from the ranks of the 19th Infantry BDE.

The news narrative about what happened at Bayhan is not credible. The garrison apparently chose to side with the southern Sunnis, led by AQAP, and the reports of a clash are probably part of the cover story. This incident could be the opening event in a southern Yemen Sunni uprising against the northern Shiite Houthi militias...which is the point.
In Yemen, there is a conflict between different factions of Islam, each claiming that a different number of angels can dance on the head of a pin. I suspect they also open their eggs from different ends.
In the past weeks, multiple, lower tier news services have reported rising Sunni hostility against the Houthis. Opposition to a Houthi takeover in Sana'a reportedly is bridging local, tribal disputes to unify Sunnis against the Houthis, who are a Shiite sect. The CIA was not taken by surprise, but the US State Department failed to take warnings seriously (sound like Benghazi?)

The key question is whether Yemen shall remain a unified state. In instability analysis, control of the center - Sana'a - always is the objective of groups seeking to maintain a unified Yemen. That may no longer be the case. The Iranian backed Houthis' takeover of Sana'a signified their commitment to maintaining a unified state. Their move into Bayda indicated their intention to control all of Yemen. The Houthis invited the Sunnis to join the new political arrangement, under Houthi domination. That ruse failed.

The commitment of Sunni tribes and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to a unified Yemen remains unknown. The defection of a single army base is ambiguous about larger political ambitions. If the Sunnis intend to maintain a unified Yemen but not under Houthi domination, their forces will take control of southern Yemen and eventually will build sufficient strength to challenge Houthi control of Sana'a. The alternative is to create an alternative center of power -- such as Aden -- thereby fragmenting Yemen again. If that is the objective, the Sunnis will not march north, but will fortify the south, seize all Yemen army assets, declare secession and invite a civil war.

US Involvement

With more than 60,000 soldiers, the Yemeni National Army had the numbers and capabilities to stop the Houthis months ago, but never received the order to protect the constitutional order. The US was deeply involved in forming, equipping and training this force. The key word in that sentence - "was".

Today, Yemen looks like a banana republic in which the army stays neutral, but is willing to serve the winner of the political struggle, provided it gets paid.

A Houthi spokesman said the US vehicles that were confiscated yesterday would be returned. The vehicles are to be transferred to the UN for safekeeping. The spokesman said that the confiscation and harassment was all a misunderstanding.

Hope and Insurance Co-Ops

ObamaCare created nonprofit insurance co-ops in several states. Naturally, they have turned into multibillion dollar cash sumps. In order to start them, the Obama Administration provided $2.5 billion in (essentially) no-interest loans that the states don't necessarily have to pay back.

The cost of taxpayers underwriting 500,000 enrolled in one of the 23 co-ops that ObamaCare spawned, works out to $17,000 per enrollee, according to an analysis by the Daily Signal, a news site started by the Heritage Foundation. 
The loans were supposed to provide the co-ops a years-long cushion to get their premiums right. But even with all this help, one of them — CoOportunity Health — is already insolvent, forcing its roughly 68,000 enrollees in Iowa and Nebraska to switch to other plans. 
Just months before it went belly-up, CoOportunity was being hailed "as one of the most successful of the 23 such health-insurance co-ops organized nationally," according to the Des Moines Register. 
The Community Health Alliance in Tennessee froze enrollment this January after posting an $8.5 million loss in the first nine months of last year.
I'm guessing that the now disgraced NBC Evening News Anchor, Brian Williams never reported this debacle of near Biblical proportions.

These are likely to be the first of many such financial problems. A Standard & Poor's report out this week found that all but five of the co-ops had negative cash flow through Sept. 30, and 11 had bigger loss ratios than CoOportunity. S&P also found that "medical loss ratios" — the percentage of premiums that go to pay medical claims — were "hopelessly high" for several co-ops, a sign they enrolled too many high-cost patients.

The Co-Ops were designed by Jonathan Gruber (remember him, he's the one who went around the country confiding that ObamaCare is essentially a scam) and others to convince the American tax payer that the President's flagship plan is not a single-payer system since the states set up their own exchanges...except they really didn't. They were funded by federal deficit spending and now they're essentially bankrupt. I know, you're all shocked.

Congress will end up folding Obamacare into medicaid so that it will go away from whence it came. The president won't have his Obamacare triumph wing to brag about in his Presidential Library, and he's none too happy about that.

However, there is unlikely to be a tribute to him built by a grateful Israeli government either in the museum to his presidency. It's true that he's still popular among American Jews in Hollywood, who keep writing him checks. I still can't figure that one out.