“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, February 29, 2008

Obama's Amateur Hour Presidency

February 29, 2008
The danger of Obama's amateur diplomacy

Thomas Lifson American Thinker

After suggesting that he would invade our ally Pakistan and talk to our enemy Iran, Barack Obama has moved on to potentially damage our relations with Canada, our friendly neighbor and number one foreign oil supplier.

Under the terms of NAFTA, Canada is prohibited from cutting off oil exports to the US if there is a worldwide shortage or supply disruption unless supplies are also rationed to Canadian consumers by the same amount.

After the Hillary/Obama debate, Canada's trade minister pointed out that if NAFTA is re-opened, Canada might want to opt out of this clause, which would then leave Canada free to sell its oil to any other country for whatever price it could get.

Both Clinton and Obama have made a big issue out President Bush's alleged insensitivies to other countries. And now these two geniuses are blithely talking about canceling a trade agreement with our two neighbors on which both their economies now depend.

The Financial Times reports:

Beijing has signaled its interest in Canada's growing oil sector. Two of China's biggest energy groups, China National Offshore Oil Co and Sinopec, have invested in small Calgary-based companies with ambitions to extract heavy crude oil from oil sands in Canada.

So the Obama campaign has been caught in a lie and is potentially opening a door for China (among others) to become involved in our most secure source for foreign oil, where the oil sands contain deposits equal to those of Saudi Arabia, while alienating our best friends in foreign countries.

Do we really want to let this man into the Oval Office?

30 Second news over Tokyo

"I do know that al-Qaida is in Iraq and that's why I have said we should continue to strike al-Qaida targets, but I have some news for John McCain, There was no such thing as al-Qaida in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq."

"As commander in chief, I will always reserve the right to make sure that we are looking out for American interests. And if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad." Potential Commander-in-Chief, Barack Hussein Obama.


Well, Prince Harry got to do 10 weeks in country, going for as many as four days without a shower and taking fire while on patrol with the Ghurkas.

"It's very nice to be a sort of a normal person for once. This is about as normal as I'm ever going to get."

Now, thanks to a leak from the foreign media, he's leaving Afghanistan. That's too bad, now he must go back to the surreal world.

Heard: Karzai government controls about 30% of the country; Nato: 60%; Taleban: 10%.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

CIA: Follow the law, even if it's 'political' and to the country's detriment.

They will protect us.

CIA memo: U.S. will be lawful, vulnerable
By John McCaslin Washington Times
February 28, 2008

Inside the Beltway has obtained a memo written by CIA Director Mike Hayden to agency employees to "make very clear my position and that of the Central Intelligence Agency" when it comes to interrogative techniques used on terror suspects.

Bottom line: Always follow the law, even if it's "political" and to the country's detriment.

Dated this month, the memo comes on the heels of Congress passing a broad intelligence authorization bill, a major provision of which prohibits interrogation methods not authorized or condoned by the U.S. Army Field Manual.

While Mr. Hayden makes it clear to his staff that the CIA will adhere to U.S. law, he does not hesitate to say that the new ban, which the White House says President Bush will veto, spells danger for the security of the United States.

"If the Intelligence Authorization Bill becomes law, these procedures will be taken off the board for American interrogators [...] and they will be off the board," Mr. Hayden stresses. "CIA works within the legal and policy boundaries created by the American political process so there will be no conditions of threat or danger that would cause us to make an exception."

But he also says a prohibition on what the administration refers to as "enhanced interrogation" methods "is an important national decision and it will have a direct impact on our ability to gather intelligence and to detect and prevent future attacks."

In the memo, Mr. Hayden reiterates "with regard to waterboarding (as I testified before Congress), this technique is not part of CIA's current program, has been used in the past on only three detainees, has not been used for nearly five years, and the threat and operational circumstances under which it was previously used have changed dramatically."

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said earlier that he doesn't buy such assurances and warned that if Mr. Bush "vetoes intelligence authorization, he will be voting in favor of waterboarding."

But Mr. Hayden counters in his memo that if the bill becomes law it "would confine CIA interrogators to only those techniques authorized by the Army Field Manual. This manual, crafted in response to the abuses at Abu Ghraib [prison in Iraq], was designed for a different population of detainees, a different group of interrogators, and for different intelligence needs than in the CIA program.

"The manual meets the needs of the American military and is sufficient for their purposes but no one can claim that it exhausts the universe of lawful techniques available to the Republic to defend itself — techniques not useful or not suited to the Army's circumstances but fully consistent with the Geneva Convention and with current U.S. law.

"These are the techniques in the CIA interrogation program. Although they remain classified (as were some techniques in previous editions of the Army Field Manual), they have been fully briefed to the intelligence oversight committees and their lawfulness confirmed by the Department of Justice," he says.

Is a Googled World Anathema to the Fourth Amendment?

FOURTH AMENDMENT U.S. Constitution -
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.'

Why should your non-public business become part of a universal and perpetual record on the internet? If one does not want to borrow money, what right does someone have to keep, maintain and sell a dossier of your financial affairs? Why should someone be able to type in your address and get a satellite photo of your entire property? That used to be call a spy photo.

There is no right of privacy, but there should be, and a person should be able to opt out of an intrusive system that is only possible with the technology created in one generation. It is past time to to stop the continued erosion of a basic human need. We admonish a child not to stare so why should our private business be available to worldwide scrutiny?

We must allow a person to keep private affairs private. It is not a question of having something to hide. A person that wants privacy should not have the burden of giving their reasons for privacy. After all, that is private too.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Buckley on the Panama Canal

Buckley v Gore Vidal, Part 1

Buckley v Gore Vidal, Part 2

William F. Buckley v Noam Chomsky - Part One

Crops for Drought Areas

I will defer to Bobal for further comment on the potential significance to this exciting scientific breakthrough.

Scientists advance 'drought crop'
By Matt McGrath
BBC News science reporter

Scientists say they have made a key breakthrough in understanding the genes of plants that could lead to crops that can survive in a drought.

Researchers in Finland and the United States say they have discovered a gene that controls the amount of carbon dioxide a plant absorbs.

It also controls the amount of water vapour it releases into the atmosphere.

This information could be important for food production and in regulating climate change.

Water control

Plants play a crucial role in the regulation of the atmosphere by absorbing carbon dioxide from the air. They absorb the gas through tiny pores on their leaves called stomata and these pores also release water vapour as the plant grows.

In extremely dry weather, a plant can lose 95% of its water in this way.

Scientists have been trying to find the gene that controls the response of the stomata for decades.

Now teams in Finland and California are reporting in the journal Nature that they have found a crucial genetic pathway that controls the opening and closing of these pores.

The researchers say that this understanding could allow them to modify plants so that they continue to absorb carbon dioxide but reduce the amount of water released into the atmosphere, enabling them to thrive in very dry conditions.

On the way

Professor Jakko Kangasjarvi from the University of Helsinki says this work is the first step on that road

"It opens the avenue, it is still several years away but before this publication, there was no single component which would have so many different effects... there was no target to modify, now we know the target," he said.

While the experiments have been done in a variety of cress, the scientists say that the underlying genetic mechanisms are the same in many food plants, including rice.

It is believed that this new genetic understanding of how to control the amount of water that plants use could be commercialised within the next 20 years.

Obama and His Syrian Born Friend, "Tony" Rezko

Geez, I thought he was Italian

Antoin "Tony" Rezko and Barack Obama are deeply linked throughout his political career and have been friends since 1990. In 13 years in politics, Obama has recieved at least $168,000 in campaign donations from Rezko, his family and his business associates. One connection is Allison S. Davis, of Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland, the firm Obama joined in 1993 straight out of Harvard, which specialized in helping to develop low-income housing. Davis is a friend of Tony Rezko, who was one of the firm's top clients. Davis was and is a member of the Chicago Plan Commission, appointed by Mayor Daley.

Allison S. Davis was appointed by Gov. Blagojevich to the Illinois State Board of Investment, which controls state pension funds. The firm of Davis Miner helped Rezko's firm Rezmar get more than $43 million in government funding to rehabilitate half of their 30 buildings for the poor. How is that for government investing?

Did I mention that when Obama ran for the U.S. Senate, Rezko held a cocktail party at Rezko's home, picking up the tab for the reported lavish event. Obama's campaign staff has said it has no records to show who attended that party, or how much it cost. It happened on June 27, 2003.

In October 2006, Rezko was indicted for extortion of businesses seeking to do business with the Illinois Teachers Retirement System Board and the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. In addition, he has been charged with wire fraud for staging false transactions of his pizza stores in order to secure $10 million in loans from GE Capital. The case is being prosecuted by Patrick Fitzgerald who prosecuted the case against Scooter Libby arising from the CIA leak scandal.

February 26, 2008
The Obama-Rezko plot thickens (updated)
Thomas Lifson American Thinker

The UK Times reports that Barack Obama's involvement with Chicago slum landlord Tony Rezko, currently under indictment, may involve money originating from a British-Iraqi Middle East wheeler-dealer, Nadhmi Auchi, a convicted criminal.

Rezko, an Obama fundraiser, helped facilitate Obama's purchase of a $1.65 million mansion in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood for $300,000 below the asking price. The owner wished to sell both the house and an adjoining lot. Mrs. Rezko paid the full asking price of $625,000 on the same day that the Obamas purchased their luxury home. At a substantial discount. The seller denies that there was any connection between the two transactions. Later, a small portion of the land was sold to the Obamas so that they could expand their garden.

Senator Obama calls this arrangement a "mistake."

Now it develops that Mr. and Mrs. Rezko apparently lacked the money to make the purchase of the plot of land.

In a sworn statement a year later, Mrs Rezko said she got by on a salary of $37,000 and had $35,000 assets. Mr Rezko told a court he had "no income, negative cash flow, no liquid assets, no unencumbered assets [and] is significantly in arrears on many of his obligations."

Just weeks before the Hyde Park transactions, Auchi loaned $3.5 million to Rezko.

A company related to Mr Auchi, who has a conviction for corruption in France, registered the loan to Mr Obama's bagman Antoin "Tony" Rezko on May 23 2005. Mr Auchi says the loan, through the Panamanian company Fintrade Services SA, was for $3.5 million.

There is much yet to be learned about the web of transactions involved, but it now appears that money originating from a convicted Middle Eastern wheeler-dealer found its way to indicted Chicago wheeler-dealer Tony Rezko, and then weeks later provided the means for a nearly simultaneous land transaction that enabled the Obamas to buy their home for substantially below asking price.

It certainly doesn't look like change we can believe in, when it comes to Chicago politics.

Update: much, much more from Chicagoan Rick Moran, writing at Rightwing Nuthouse:

The Obama-Rezko relationship must be understood in the context of the influence peddling, the casual corruption, the cronysm, the favoritism shown in less than open bidding – all part of a city and state political culture where the politician, the businessman, and the crook frequently rub elbows and sometimes wear each other’s hats. Obama hiring the daughter of a Rezko associate to work in his office (after Rezko had helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for his campaign) is no big deal. But this kind of “favor” done for Rezko is a different story:

The Chicago Tribune
: “On June 13, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that as a state senator, Obama wrote letters to city and state officials supporting Rezko’s successful bid to get more than $14 million from taxpayers to build apartments for senior citizens. The Sun-Times said the deal included $855,000 in development fees for Rezko and his partner, Allison S. Davis, Obama’s former boss, according to records from the project, which was four blocks outside Obama’s state Senate district.
Obama now regrets his association with Rezko and has given $150,000 to charity in order to atone for his sins.

Sorry Barry but it don’t work that way.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wheat and Chaff

This may not be news to the EB regulars but I couldn't let it pass without a post.

  • China is experiencing its coldest winter in 100 years.
  • The coldest winter in recent memory has killed over 900 people in Afghanistan.
  • The coldest winter in 50 years has forced Tajikistan to appeal to the United Nations for aid.
  • There is a third more ice in Antarctica than is usual for this time of year.
  • The Northern Hemisphere has endured its coldest weather in decades and snow blankets more areas than at any time since 1966.
  • Jerusalem, Damascus, Amman, and northern Saudi Arabia report the heaviest snow falls in years and below-zero temperatures.
But the BBC was trumpeting the news that a glacier the size of Texas is rapidly advancing toward the ocean. More evidence, they claim of global warming even as some warn that we should prepare for cooler weather.
Ice pack belies global warming
Weather will be ‘normal’ in Northwest, scientist predicts

By Terence Day
For the Capital Press

SPOKANE - Atmospheric scientist Art Douglas says the world could be experiencing global warming or sliding into the next ice age. But in either case, Pacific Northwest weather will be near normal over the next few years.

Speaking Feb. 5 at the Pacific Northwest Farm Forum, the long-range weather consultant and professor emeritus at Creighton University said the region's weather may be about 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer in March, April and May, with precipitation above normal and gradual drying going into harvest.

The region should experience normal weather next fall and winter, he said.

However, weather in the region is likely to turn dry in 2009. Douglas said the Northwest is in a weather pattern similar to the pattern experienced in 1949-1963.

Douglas expects Montana and the Dakotas to be dry throughout 2008, and Canada and northern China will continue very cold with heavy snows into mid-spring, followed by a summer that is hot and dry.

"China will bake May to August," Douglas predicted, with temperatures about 3 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in northern China. Crops will experience drought, and the Olympics will experience dense smog.

Douglas reported Australia's weather is improving for grain production, but South America's wheat-producing regions face continued dry weather. South African growing conditions should be good in 2008.

Whatever the weather, Douglas said, it's not being caused by global warming. If anything, the climate may be starting into a cooling period.

Many were greatly alarmed at melting sea ice near the North Pole with about one-third of the normal ice pack melted by 2007. But Douglas said between November 2007 and January 2008 the entire Arctic Ocean froze over, with the ice pack forming farther south than normal. Ice is forming in places in Korea and Alaska where it normally doesn't, and Siberia's January snow cover was extensive.

"We've really never seen anything like this for many, many years," he said. And the impact has been enormous, with China importing coal "because of a super-cold winter."

The amount of sea ice is the largest ever seen in the Southern Hemisphere, and it has even snowed in Buenos Aires, Douglas said. "Within four or five months, it appears that a warming trend can go very rapidly in the other direction."

Douglas said the climate can quickly correct itself, restoring lower average temperatures in as little as two years.

He said he doubts global warming. He said if greenhouse gases were responsible for global warming, both the Arctic and Antarctic would be experiencing warming, but they aren't.

Douglas said he believes the weather patterns the world is now experiencing are regional phenomena and not a global pattern. He also noted that the warmest year on record was 1998, but questioned why, if we're in a warming trend, it hasn't gotten any warmer than it was that year.

Douglas said warming trends put more moisture in the atmosphere, resulting in more snow, which leads to cooling.

Americans don't understand, he said, that what Europeans fear is that we may be heading into a period of global cooling, which could push ice lower than Europe has experienced in modern times, creating problems for ports there.

After his speech, Douglas told a group of farmers who questioned him that alarm over global warming is analogous to alarm a few decades ago that the Great Salt Lake had shrunk so much that it could never recover. In only three years - in the 1980s - the lake was flooding farmland and endangering highways, industries and subdivisions, which prompted the state to build pumping stations to draw water into the desert to evaporate.

The System Shunt that Shut off U-Tube

Pakistan knocks out YouTube, for all


Associated Press

February 25, 2008

NEW YORK — Most of the world's Internet users lost access to YouTube for several hours Sunday after an attempt by Pakistan's government to block access domestically affected other countries.

The outage highlighted yet another of the Internet's vulnerabilities, coming less than a month after broken fiber-optic cables in the Mediterranean took Egypt off line and caused communications problems from the Middle East to India.

An Internet expert likened the cause of the outage to “identity theft” by a Pakistani telecommunications company, which accidentally started advertising itself as the fastest route to YouTube. But instead of serving up videos of skateboarding dogs, it sent the traffic into oblivion.

On Friday, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority ordered 70 Internet service providers to block access to, because of anti-Islamic movies on the video-sharing site, which is owned by Google Inc.

The authority did not specify what the offensive material was, but a PTA official said the ban concerned a trailer for an upcoming film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, who has said he plans to release a movie portraying Islam as fascist and prone to inciting violence against women and homosexuals.

The block was intended to cover only Pakistan, but extended to about two-thirds of the global Internet population, starting at 1:47 p.m. EST Sunday, according to Renesys Corp., a Manchester, N.H., firm that keeps track of the pathways of the Internet for telecommunications companies and other clients.

The greatest effect was in Asia, were the outage lasted for up to two hours, Renesys said.

YouTube confirmed the outage on Monday, saying it was caused by a network in Pakistan.

“We are investigating and working with others in the Internet community to prevent this from happening again,” YouTube said in an e-mailed statement.

A YouTube spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an e-mailed question on whether the clips that offended Pakistan's government had been removed. Several clips with interviews of Wilders were still up on the site Monday afternoon.

Two apparent errors allowed the outage to propagate beyond Pakistan, according to Todd Underwood, vice president and general manager of Internet community services at Renesys.

Pakistan Telecom established a route that directed requests for YouTube videos from local Internet subscribers to a “black hole,” where the data was discarded, according to Renesys. Pakistan Telecom's mistake was that it then published that route to its international data carrier, PCCW Ltd. of Hong Kong, Underwood said.

The second mistake was that PCCW accepted that route, Underwood said. It started directing requests from its customers for YouTube data to Pakistan. And since PCCW is one of the world's 20 largest data carriers, its routing table was passed along to other large carriers without any attempt at verification.

“Once a pretty big network gets an error like that, it propagates to most or all of the Internet very quickly,” Underwood said. As he put it, Pakistan Telecom was impersonating YouTube to much of the world.

Pakistan Telecom and the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority were unavailable for comment on Monday night local time. Rex Stover, vice president of sales for PCCW Global in Herndon, Va., said the company is still trying to figure out what happened and why.

John Palfrey, executive director for the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, said that while all the facts in the case are not yet known, it appeared that the repercussions were due to Pakistan taking a relatively heavy-handed approach in trying to censor YouTube.

“It points in many respects to the difficulty, if not the folly, in Internet filtering at the state level,” he said.

Misrouting occurs every year or so among the world's Internet carriers, usually as a result of typos or other errors, Underwood said. In a more severe example, a Turkish telecom provider in 2004 started advertising that it was the best route to all of the Internet, causing widespread outages for many Web sites over several hours.

“Nobody ran any viruses or worms or malicious code. This is just the way the Internet works. And it's not very secure or reliable,” Underwood said, adding that there is no real solution to the problem on the table.

While most route hijacking is unintentional, some Yahoo networks were apparently taken over a few years ago to distribute spam.

“To be honest, there's not a single thing preventing this from happening to E-Trade, or Bank of America, or the FBI, or the White House, or the Clinton campaign,” Underwood said. “I think it's a useful moment for people to decide just how important it is that we fix problems like this.”

A Guest Post From Barack Obama

Barack Obama was unfairly accused of illegal and indecent behavior by a fraud. His accuser, Larry Sinclair is a blackguard. I gave the story a lot of coverage.

Barack Obama will receive a lot more tough coverage here at the EB. I will do my best to make it fair.

Barack Obama makes some reasoned arguments for his economic views.

February 24, 2008
Obama's Economic Remarks in Lorain, Ohio Real Clear Politics
Barack Obama

LORAIN, OH - Our economy has been struggling for some time now. And as I've traveled across Ohio, I've seen the face of this economy - a mother who told me she can't afford health care for her sick child; a father who's worried he won't be able to send his children to college; and seniors who've seen their pensions disappear because the companies they gave their lives to went bankrupt.

I don't have to tell you about this. Folks around here have been directly impacted by the changes in our economy - whether it was the loss of steel jobs over the past few decades, or the closing of the Ford plant that was here for so long. And folks in this area are still worried about whether they're going to lose their jobs and how they're going to make ends meet if that happens.

Now, if we're honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge that we can't stop globalization in its tracks and that some of these jobs aren't coming back. But what I refuse to accept is that we have to stand idly by while workers watch their jobs get shipped overseas. We need a president who's working as hard for you as you're working for your families. And that's the kind of President I intend to be.

I've proposed a job-creation agenda that starts with making sure trade works for American workers. We can't keep passing unfair trade deals like NAFTA that put special interests over workers' interests.

Now, Senator Clinton has been going to great lengths on the campaign trail to distance herself from NAFTA. Yesterday, she said NAFTA was "negotiated" by the first President Bush, not by her husband. But let's be clear: it was her husband who got NAFTA passed. In her own book, Senator Clinton called NAFTA one of "Bill's successes" and "legislative victories."

And yesterday, Senator Clinton also said I'm wrong to point out that she once supported NAFTA. But the fact is, she was saying great things about NAFTA until she started running for President. A couple years after it passed, she said NAFTA was a "free and fair trade agreement" and that it was "proving its worth." And in 2004, she said, "I think, on balance, NAFTA has been good for New York and America." One million jobs have been lost because of NAFTA, including nearly 50,000 jobs here in Ohio. And yet, ten years after NAFTA passed, Senator Clinton said it was good for America. Well, I don't think NAFTA has been good for America - and I never have.

I didn't just start criticizing unfair trade deals like NAFTA because I started running for office - I'm doing it because I've seen what happens to a community when the factory closes down and the jobs move overseas. I began my career as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago, fighting joblessness and poverty in neighborhoods that were devastated when the local steel plant closed.

And it's because of this longstanding commitment to working families that I will not sign any trade agreement as President that does not have protections for our environment and protections for American workers. And I'll pass the Patriot Employer Act that I've been fighting for ever since I ran for the Senate so we can end tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas, and give those breaks to companies that create good jobs with decent wages here in America.

It's also time to let our unions do what they do best - organize our workers. If a majority of workers want a union, they should get a union. It's that simple. We need to stand up to the business lobby, and pass the Employee Free Choice Act. That's why I've been fighting for it in the Senate, and that's why I'll make it the law of the land when I'm President of the United States.

We can also invest in American jobs by investing in America, and rebuilding our roads and bridges. I've proposed a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank that will invest $60 billion over ten years. This will multiply into almost half a trillion dollars of additional infrastructure spending and generate nearly two million new jobs - many of them in the construction industry that's been hard hit by the housing crisis we're facing.

In addition, we've also got to do more to create the green jobs that are jobs of the future. My energy plan will put $150 billion over ten years into establishing a green energy sector that will create up to 5 million new jobs over the next two decades - including jobs right here in Ohio that pay well and can't be outsourced. We'll also provide funding to help manufacturers convert to green technology and help workers learn the skills they need for these jobs.

We know that all of this must be done in a responsible way, without adding to the already obscene debt that has grown by four trillion dollars under George Bush. We cannot build our future on a credit card issued by the bank of China. And that is why I'll pay for every part of this job-creation agenda - by ending this war in Iraq that's costing us billions, closing tax loopholes for corporations, putting a price on carbon pollution, and ending George Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

But in the end, enacting this agenda won't just require an investment. It will require a new spirit of cooperation, innovation, and shared sacrifice. We'll have to remind ourselves that we rise and fall as one nation; that a country in which only a few prosper is antithetical to our ideals and our democracy; and that those of us who have benefited greatly from the blessings of this country have a solemn obligation to open the doors of opportunity, not just for our children, but to all of America's children. That's the kind of vision I have for this country, and that's the kind of vision I hope to make real as President of the United States.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wars and Rumors of War

Israel is getting ready to invade Gaza
Lorna Fitzsimons
Wednesday, 20th February 2008

Lorna Fitzsimons talks to senior sources and concludes that, with heavy hearts, the Israelis are set to mount a military takeover of Gaza — a step that will leave the talks nowhere

This is not the way things were meant to happen. When Ariel Sharon ordered the removal of all Israelis from the Gaza Strip in 2005, leaders from around the world applauded. It was a clear message that Israel was willing to do almost everything it could to resolve the decades-long conflict with the Palestinians — including returning land without any assurances of peace and security. However, the initial optimism was quickly curbed by the grim reality on the ground: Hamas’s election victory in January 2006 and the sharp rise of rockets fired at communities inside Israel showed that unilateral withdrawal would not provide a better future for Israelis and Palestinians.

Today the number of rocket attacks on Israel is soaring. Senior Israeli diplomatic and military sources have indicated that there will soon be a large military ground invasion, reluctantly mounted by the Israelis, and a possible reoccupation of some of Gaza. If there is an invasion, Israel will have tacitly admitted that the experiment of unilateral disengagement has failed, leaving it at square one in its quest for peace with the Palestinians in Gaza.

It is hard to imagine how any sovereign state could tolerate the situation that Israel finds herself in today. Approximately 190,000 Israelis — the population of Brighton — living in southern Israel have been under attack for seven years. The 23,000 residents in the Israeli town of Sderot have been going through hell on earth: 30 per cent of them now suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, 90 per cent have experienced a Qassam rocket falling on their street; and over the past 18 months more than 1,600 cases of trauma have been recorded. An alarm system gives residents 15 seconds to seek shelter. Sometimes there are 20 attacks a day. Those who can afford to are moving further inside Israel, leaving the poor and elderly to remain. In a country of just six million people, the impact of all this is the equivalent of Newcastle, Preston or Derby being attacked daily.

And the attacks have intensified. In 2005, 401 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip; in 2006, there were 1,722. The belief that territorial concessions alone would provide greater security has collapsed as the rockets keep on coming. In the two and a half years that followed Israel’s total withdrawal, more than 3,700 rockets were fired at Israel — and that figure will be reached this year alone if rockets continue to be fired at the same rate as they have been in the first weeks of 2008. Since 2001, 24 Israelis have been killed and 620 wounded in rocket attacks launched from Gaza. The equivalent attacks on the UK in the same period would have seen 240 people killed and 6,200.

The situation is now even more precarious for Israel following the breach of the Sinai/Gaza border last month. From conversations I’ve had with intelligence sources, we know that Gazan terror organisations used the breach to upgrade their military capacity, bringing in arms and ammunition — and even operatives. Hamas and other groups now have rockets that are able to reach further inside Israel, placing even more people under the threat of attack.

A growing number of government sources now say privately that under the current conditions a major ground operation in Gaza is only a matter of time. Dr Zvi Shtauber, director of the Institute for National Security Studies, believes it is no longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ such an operation will take place. Dr Mark Heller, Israeli-Palestinian policy analyst, agrees, calling it ‘almost a statistical certainty’ that Israel will be ‘compelled to re-enter Gaza’. Last week defence minister Ehud Barak called for ‘a calm and calculated management’ of the ongoing crisis, but revealed that he had ‘instructed the IDF to complete preparations for the possibility of a ground invasion in Gaza’. Chief of Staff Lt-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi went further declaring the IDF were ‘ready to deepen and widen any offensive in the Gaza Strip’.

It is clear that any military action in Gaza is likely to be ugly, dangerous and costly in terms of lives on both sides. Rockets manufactured locally using improvised materials and crudely launched from highly populated areas are one of the hardest threats to remove. There is no single or specific group of targets whose elimination would bring about a cessation of rocket fire. This makes military action highly complicated and Israel may well find itself embroiled in a long and bloody campaign taking over large parts of the Gaza Strip.

Experts such as Dr Rory Miller, senior lecturer at King’s College London, warn that if Israel does re-enter Gaza it must do so for specific militarily achievable objectives rather than as a response to domestic public opinion in Israel. He warns that the latter would be ‘disastrous’.

The atmosphere in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s plane en route to Germany last week, however, reflected just how little enthusiasm there is to send in any troops at all into the Strip. ‘Anger is not an operational plan,’ Olmert said, indicating that the lessons of the 2006 war with Hezbollah have been learnt — you don’t take troops in unless all other options have been exhausted. But the alternative to invasion and stopping the rocket attacks is much worse; as an ex-parliamentarian I know that the first responsibility of any government around the world is to protect her citizens.

Last month I took a group of senior British editors to meet Amos Gilead, the irrepressible chief of the Israeli Defence Ministry’s political military-bureau. We met him just as the IDF announced its plans to limit the amount of fuel going into Gaza. The general argued emphatically that there was only one effective solution — invasion of Gaza. But, he argued, Israel was, in effect, deliberately fighting terror with one hand tied behind its back, choosing blockades and targeted assassinations specifically because there was widespread reluctance to reoccupy the land she had left voluntarily. He told the journalists, ‘We have one clear option open to us — to invade. We do not want to do this and so we’re trying everything, exhausting all other options to see if there is a chance this is avoidable.’

And that’s what makes Israelis so depressed about the situation today: the vast majority of Israelis do not want to have any presence in Gaza. They don’t want to rule over the 1.5 million people there. They thought they had fulfilled their part of the bargain over two years ago when Israel pulled out, forcibly removing Jewish settlers from their homes and leaving the communities they had built there. A large majority of Israelis supported that action with only 34 per cent opposing. In a country where everyone has a son or a brother serving in the army, there is little appetite for any large military operation that is likely to result in large numbers of soldier fatalities.

Israelis also know that there are likely to be significant negative knock-on effects on the negotiations with Palestinian President Abu Mazen if they do go into Gaza. The round of talks relaunched in Annapolis — where Prime Minister Olmert pointedly acknowledged the role Israel plays in causing Palestinian suffering — may well stall after an invasion. It will be almost impossible for any Palestinian to negotiate while there are tanks, soldiers and civilian deaths in Gaza. Olmert, who has staked his political future on successful negotiations — even instructing his foreign minister to meet her Palestinian counterpart on the day of last week’s suicide bombing — knows this more than anyone.

Hamas, as an Islamist, expansionist organisation that angrily rejects the status quo and Israel’s right to exist, has deliberately created this new reality. Never before has Hamas looked as irrelevant and as isolated as in Annapolis in November last year when almost every Arab state pledged their support to bringing Palestinian independence through negotiation and compromise. It is no coincidence that, threatened by Israel and the PA’s public commitments to negotiations and concerned that its popularity in the Palestinian street could dwindle, Hamas cynically whipped up a crisis in Gaza and on its borders. It has tried to create an alternative vision for the Palestinians: violent resistance and independence through war and bloodshed, and unfortunately it is succeeding.

More worryingly, military action in Gaza could have a detrimental effect far beyond the immediate borders of Israel and Palestine. In a conversation last week, a leading Egyptian moderate, Tarek Heggy, told me, ‘If Israel went into Gaza tomorrow and those pictures were broadcast throughout the Arab world, the implications for the rest of the region will be gigantic. They would create a lot of pressure on the moderate leaders.’

The recent breaching of the border with Egypt underscores Hamas’s decision to prevent any containment of the conflict to the strict limits of the Gaza Strip. Hamas is strategically pushing for an escalation that places its confrontation with Israel on a wider geo-political level — as just another front on what it wants to portray as the West’s ‘assault’ on Islam. A ‘spillage effect’, in which the clash between Israel and Hamas destabilises moderate players in the region is possible. And if it empowers Iran, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas will have succeeded. Israeli leaders fully understand this, but just cannot see another way of stopping the daily barrage of attacks coming into Israel. As one Israeli security analyst summed it up, ‘We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.’

Israelis have learnt never to say never when dealing with Middle East politics, and some Israeli analysts are now arguing that military action in Gaza may actually be a boost for the peace process. Israel has always been prepared to cede territory gained on the battlefield for acceptance and peace with its neighbours. If Hamas rejects that formula then perhaps Israel’s anticipated action may make room for a more moderate Palestinian leadership that accepts the Jewish state and sees compromise as the only path to an independent Palestine. However, I worry that this is no more than wishful thinking, given the rise in Palestine and the wider region of political Islam and the decline of secular nationalism.

It is of course far from clear how events in Gaza will play out. What is plain is that the past seven years of attacks — and the dramatic increase in the past few months — have been unbearable for so many Israelis. Israel has acted with a commendable level of restraint that in all probability no other country in the world would have shown when under attack. Israel may well have to re-occupy large parts of Gaza, essentially admitting that its 2005 experiment of unilateral withdrawal failed — it wasn’t able to bring security to the region by giving back Gaza without a clear partner for peace on the other side. And where will all this leave Israel? Back at square one, pondering her next step in the search for a land-for-peace deal.

Where Does Prophet Obama Stand on International Criminal Court?

From left to right: Ms. Fatou Bensouda, ICC Deputy Prosecutor, Mr. Kofi Annan,  former  UN Secretary-General, Judge Philippe Kirsch, President of the ICC.

I was hoping for a short cut to get rid of Obama. Larry Sinclair would have been fine by me. As usual it will have to be done the old fashion way and that is the right way and best way. Let the man rise or fall on his beliefs and ideas. It is time to get some specifics from the prophet Obama. Let's start with the ICC.

The International Criminal Court isn't discussed much in the presidential campaign, but few issues are more revealing of a candidate's perspective on the United States' legal and political relations with the rest of the world.

The court was established in 2002 to deal with cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Headquartered in the Dutch city of The Hague, it was conceived as a permanent successor to the Nuremberg tribunals formed to try Nazi leaders after World War II. It now has 105 members, including virtually all current U.S. allies, but not the United States itself.

President Bush has attacked the court relentlessly, saying it could subject Americans to politically motivated prosecutions abroad. He has renounced the 1998 treaty that created the court, pressed other nations to disregard it, and signed legislation - nicknamed the "Hague Invasion Act" by critics - authorizing military action to free any citizen of the United States or an allied nation held for trial by the court.

Republican presidential candidates generally share Bush's view, while Democratic candidates largely reject it."
San Francisco Chronicle


Europeans Hopeful US Democrats Will Rescue Trans-Atlantic Ties


Europeans think the next US president will be better. They hope a Democrat in the White House will reinvigorate trans-Atlantic ties. But the candidates aren't necessarily much more in tune with Europe.

Europeans' interest in the US primaries and caucuses is immense: leading German newsmagazine Der Spiegel even devoted its title story to Democrat Barack Obama last week, and the Internet is alive with young Europeans commenting on the campaigns in innumerable blogs and forums.

Many Europeans connect the election of a new US president with the hope for a new beginning in trans-Atlantic relations, which suffered setbacks due to numerous controversies, from George W. Bush's uncompromising approach to climate change to his foray into the Iraqi desert. To many Europeans, everything will get better once there's a new president. And if he or she is a Democrat, they believe, it's guaranteed.

Regardless of how passionately Europeans follow the duel between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Europe plays a negligible role in the top Democratic contenders' campaigns. Aside from a few sentences in speeches and essays, the two have hardly said a word about Europe.

And according to some, European hopes will likely be dashed.

"A fundamental new evaluation of the trans-Atlantic relationship will not take place," said Esther Brimmer, research director at the Center for Transatlantic Relations (CTR) at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.

But the tone will change.

"Obama and Clinton will make themselves out to be more cooperative, more international. And for every American president, Europe remains the most important partner," Brimmer said.

US won't allow Europe to dictate

On points of contention between the US and Europe, such as climate change or human rights, the Europeans could expect significantly more cooperation than in the past, she added.

But whether under a President Obama or a President Clinton, the US would demand the leadership role in fighting climate change. It would also refuse to let the Europeans dictate what should be done, Brimmer said. And it's inconceivable that a new president would ratify the statutes of the International Criminal Court (ICC), an issue that looms large for Europeans.

"With so much military personnel all over the world, the US doesn't want to be subjected to politically motivated accusations from other states at the ICC," Brimmer said.

But a new president wouldn't try to actively thwart the ICC, as the Bush administration did at the start.

And when it comes to Iraq and Iran's nuclear ambitions, a President Obama or Clinton would discuss the issues more closely with the Europeans, Brimmer reckoned.

Obama attracted attention last year by suggesting he would try to engage in direct talks with Iran. Clinton called the suggestion naive.

Grown apart

Brimmer said the biggest difference between the two Democrats in regard to Europe was that Obama wanted to set the course for where the US would be in 30 or 40 years, particularly in terms of climate change and international dialogue. Clinton, on the other hand, was focused on improving America's standing in the world in the near term.

This different approach "naturally influences the role Europe plays for the US in the mid-term," Brimmer said.

Though Bush's foreign policy may have caused a storm over the Atlantic, actually there had been a fundamental, structural change in the trans-Atlantic relationship, said Karen Donfried, vice president of the German Marshall Funds of the United States.

"The attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, hit the US at a time when the Europeans -- after the end of the Cold War -- felt safer than ever," she said. The US and Europe had not only developed different interests, but were also no longer united by a common enemy.

Polls reinforce that view: While Americans identify terrorism as the number one threat, Europeans say climate change is the biggest problem.

Finding a common cause

The rise of new 'super powers,' such as China and India could, however, bring Americans and Europeans closer together again, according to Donfried.

"The EU and the US must work together to integrate countries that come from outside this tradition into the global political system they have so clearly molded," she said.

In that sense, Obama and Clinton would certainly view Europeans as effective partners. But the "Europeans would have to finally get their house in order," Donfried said.

"In haggling over a new European constitution and the Lisbon reform treaty, the Europeans were so occupied with themselves that they were neither united enough nor did they have the necessary view of the outside world to be this effective partner," she said.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Larry Sinclair Lied. Fails Lie Detector Test.

Deception Indicated in Both of Larry Sinclair's Polygraph Tests by First Polygraph Expert
2/24/2008 2:15 PM

Dr. Ed Gelb, Former President of the American Polygraph Association was the Polygraph expert selected by He has done over 30,000 polygraph examinations over his long career. There were two polygraph tests administered by Dr. Gelb on Friday. the first polygraph asked Mr. Sinclair on his sex claims. The second polygraph test asked Mr. Sinclair on the drug use claims. There was deception indicated in both tests.
As mentioned yesterday Mr. Sinclair did pass his drug screen so there were no drugs in his system which could have interfered with the test. We have asked Mr. Sinclair on several occasions to put us in contact with the Limousine driver that he named for other news organizations earlier and for us on Friday that was supposed to corroborate his story. As of today he has still not put us in contact with the limousine driver whom he told us he stays in constant contact with.

It was our intention to get to the truth in this serious matter rather than have these allegations that were made almost a month ago drag on to election day. Due to the seriousness of this issue we made the results public today rather than waiting until Monday when we would have received the second expert's conclusions. When we receive the second expert's conclusions we will post those results as well.

We will have all of the written results posted on the site in the next week including video taken of the Polygraph testing so there will be full disclosure and transparency on our part and eliminate any suspicion of any wrongdoing or manipulations of the testing or the results by or the polygraph experts. Later this afternoon we will post the actual report by Dr. Gelb.

Barack Obama, Gay Sex, Crack, Larry Sinclair, Lie Detector Test.

The White House site has not yet posted the promised report, but YouTube is not responding. People are reporting from all parts of the US that YouTube is down. The results of the Larry Sinclair lie detector test were supposed to be up an hour or so ago.

These are some of the reports coming in off the site:

Posted by on 2/24/2008 2:05:56 PM
youtube down in New Jersey

Posted by on 2/24/2008 2:05:54 PM
Message to Obama SPAMMERS: Are you scared?

Posted by on 2/24/2008 2:05:47 PM
this is a joke we should all leave, so they cannot make tatla jerks
of us

Posted by on 2/24/2008 2:05:46 PM
youtube down in tn

Posted by on 2/24/2008 2:05:46 PM
Youtube down here in VA.

Posted by on 2/24/2008 2:05:43 PM
LAIRY actually kinda looks like LARRY from "PERFECT STRANGER"...OMG!

Posted by on 2/24/2008 2:05:40 PM
Que theme from JEOPARDY

Posted by on 2/24/2008 2:05:35 PM
no you tube in portland, oregon.. I wonder if they are broadcasting
this on you tube?


What will it take for Mexico to get the attention that other world hot spots receive from the media? Apparently drug wars are tolerated and ignored or perhaps it is a no-no to highlight the destabilization and threat on our southern border. Slowly we are learning that certain levels of narco-traffic and illegal immigration are considered just another cost of doing business with our southern neighbor.

Is Mexico's Drug War Escalating?


German tourist Jurgen Kohl was window shopping in Mexico's trendy Zona Rosa district last Friday afternoon when he saw a flash of brilliant light followed by a thundering bang and the sound of shattering glass. Minutes later, ambulances and police rushed into the street to find three blood-soaked people crying for help and the remains of a crude plastic explosives device. One of the injured died on the way to hospital. "Being in Mexico, I first thought it was an earthquake or something," Kohl said, visibly shaken from the blast. "I had no idea that bombs went off here."

No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing, which sent shock waves through the heart of the Mexican capital. But officials on the case have said they are investigating whether it could be the work of drug cartels reeling from a crackdown by President Felipe Calderon. Leftist guerrilla groups also have a history of bombing in Mexico, but they have normally hit political or commercial buildings at night without leaving casualties.

If drug gangs are proven to be behind the blast, it would show a worrying escalation in the battle between organized crime and the government. Since Jan. 1, drug cartel gunmen armed with huge arsenals of automatic rifles and grenade launchers have slain more than 30 police, soldiers and judges in ambushes and assassinations. The attacks come as Calderon has made record drug busts, sent 25,000 police and soldiers against the gangs, and extradited alleged kingpins to the United States.

While the Mexican crime families do not have a history of using bombs, explosive devices used to be a favored tactic of their associates in Colombia. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Medellin cartel responded to a government crackdown with bombs on street corners, cars and even one passenger jet, killing hundreds. Colombian gangsters have long been selling cocaine to the Mexican cartels, who smuggle it into the United States. "The cartels could be turning to this Colombian tactic of using terror to pressure the government to back off," said Mexican drug expert Jorge Chabat. "They may be trying to raise the political cost for Calderon of carrying out his campaign."

Police say the man killed in the blast was probably himself carrying the bomb because the device went off about a three feet from the ground, blowing out surrounding car windows but not causing a crater. "The man completely lost his hand. He surely did this when he was handling the explosive device," Mexico City Police Chief Joel Ortega told reporters.

If this is the case, the bomb may have gone off before it was planned, the detectives say. It exploded two blocks from Mexico City's police headquarters. A woman who received burns from the blast was being questioned by detectives in her hospital bed Monday while under police guard. Identified as Tania Vazquez, 22, the woman lives in the rough market neighborhood of Tepito, known as a center of drug dealing. Police raided her home on Sunday and took about $2,500 in cash and lists of phone numbers, officials said. No charges have been leveled against her at this time.

Living several blocks away from Vasquez was an alleged drug trafficker working for the powerful Sinaloa cartel named Rogelio Mena. Police had arrested Mena two days before the blast, along with six other men and an arsenal of weaponry including a Barrett anti-aircraft gun. He is being held for 90 days on suspicion of racketeering and weapons offenses. The Sinaloa cartel has been blamed for carrying out many of the attacks on police and soldiers this year. Federal agents say they also foiled an attempt by the gang to assassinate Federal Prosecutor Jose Luis Santiago, who oversees the extradition of high-level criminals to the United States.

The last bombings in the country were carried out by a leftist guerrilla group called the People's Revolutionary Army, which blew up sections of two pipelines of state oil monopoly Pemex in September. That group previously targeted other oil installations, banks and political buildings and has always claimed responsibility for its attacks.
The still unlearned lesson is that when one compromises with evil eventually one might be forced to submit to that evil. Columbia is a prime example. The cocaine cartels very nearly destroyed that country but the world's Human Rights NGOs seem to have forgotten the near anarchy which inevitably led to the bloodshed on both sides.

The situation is bad and getting worse with Chavez assuming the revolutionary mantle of Castro.

Larry Sinclair Update on Gay Sex and Drug Charges


Larry Sinclair's drug test came back earlier than expected. He was tested for any and all chemical substances including illegal drugs that could cause an inaccurate polygraph test result. There were no traces of any such substances found.

We are awaiting for the second polygraph expert to verify the original results and should have an answer by Monday. Video of the polygraph exam will be posted shortly."
I am going out on a limb here, but come to think about it, we don't have any advertisers to lose. It certainly seems as if these guys are painting a picture that will show positive results on this test. Maybe not. Will post the video as soon as it is out.

Arguments against Bio-Fuels

Bio-Foolish Behavior


Environment: In 2005, America used 15% of its corn crop to replace just 2% of its gasoline. Two new studies say use of biofuels will leave the world a warmer and hungrier place.

The law of unintended consequences has reared its ugly head once again, with a study published in the Feb. 7 issue of the journal Science.

According to University of Minnesota ecologist and study co-author David Tilman, converting the grasslands of the U.S. to corn for ethanol releases excess CO2 emissions of 134 metric tons per hectare (equal to 2.47 acres).

The reason is that plants, from grasses to trees, store carbon dioxide in their roots, shoots and leaves.

"I know that when I look at a tree that half the dry weight is carbon," says Tilman. "That's going to end up as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere when you cut it down."

"Any biofuel that causes land clearing is likely to increase global warming," says Nature Conservancy ecologist Joseph Fargione, the lead author of a second study also published in Science.

Fargione notes that ethanol demand in the U.S. has caused farmers to plant more corn and less soy. This has driven up soy prices and caused farmers in Brazil to clear more acres of rain forest to plant the increasingly valuable soy.

Tim Searchinger, an agricultural expert at Princeton University and lead author of the first study, says, "There is a huge imbalance between the carbon (released) by plowing up a hectare of forest or grassland from the benefit you get from biofuels."

According to Searchinger, "Corn-based ethanol, instead of producing 20% savings, nearly doubles greenhouse gas emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years."

So it's not surprising that 10 prominent scientists have written a letter to President Bush and other government leaders urging them to "shape policies to assure that government incentives for biofuels do not increase global warming."

Marcel Silvius, a climate expert at Wetlands International in the Netherlands, recently led a team that weighed the benefits of palm oil against the ecological harm from clearing virgin Asian rain forests for new plantations. He concluded that as a fuel, palm oil is more like snake oil, noting: "As a biofuel, it's a failure."

A team from Wetlands, Delft Hydraulics and the Alterra Research Center of Wageningen University produced a four-year study that detailed the environmental harm caused by the use of palm oil as an alternative energy source. The team zeroed in on Indonesia and Malaysia, where 85% of commercial palm oil is grown.

The study found that 1.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide go up in smoke every year from rain forest fires set to clear new land for biofuel plantations. An additional 600 million tons seep into the air from drained peat swamps. Those 2 billion tons of CO2 constitute 8% of the earth's fossil fuel emissions.

As we have noted, our increased use of corn for ethanol has driven up U.S. food prices across the board.

This process, Tilman notes, is "equivalent to saying we will try to reduce greenhouse gases by reducing food consumption. Unfortunately, a lot of that comes from the world's poorest people. We are converting their food into our fuel."

"We are witnessing the beginnings of one of the great tragedies of history," Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, said in a written statement. "The United States, in a misguided effort to reduce its oil insecurity by converting grain into fuel for cars, is generating global food insecurity on a scale never seen before."

To avoid drilling in ANWR, we are increasing emissions of the greenhouse gases previously absorbed by plants and encouraging that process around the world. Meanwhile, a world of hungry people watches us stick ears of corn into our gas tanks.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Paul Pots. Try and Keep a Dry Eye.

Larry Sinclair Completed 4 Hour Polygraph on Gay Sex and Crack Use With Obama.

This should be interesting. I am not sure that I believe it or just want to. Probably both.

BREAKING NEWS - Larry Sinclair Completed 4 Hour Polygraph Test Today

2/22/2008 8:45 PM

Due to security concerns, we had to move the Larry Sinclair Polygraph up a few days. We conducted it in secret today and the picture to the left is from one of the two arduous polygraphs Sinclair underwent today.

The process took four grueling hours, testing Sinclair's claims of sex and drug use separately and also including a drug screening to ensure that Sinclair didn't enlist any chemical assistance.

The results are being confirmed by a second expert and we'll have conclusive word, along with video of the whole thing, Monday or Tuesday. Check back then for more, including video the tests and, of course, the results.

T. Boone Pickens* on Oil Imports

*Nobody can come up with better names than they do in the American South.

You have to love this quote: "Pickens originally backed Rudy Giuliani for president. Asked what happened to his campaign, Pickens said: "My guy rode up in front of the grandstand and fell off his horse. I've never seen anything come and go as fast as Rudy's campaign."

Pickens: U.S. Faces Disaster over Oil Wealth Exodus Money News

Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008

One of America's most influential businessmen, legendary oilman T. Boone Pickens, says the nation's wealth is being plundered by oil exporters and the U.S. faces a potential financial disaster if our energy policy is not reformed.
Pickens, who correctly predicted that oil would top $100 a barrel, also says he expects oil prices to drop sharply in the near term.

Appearing on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Thursday morning, Pickens pointed out that the U.S. is currently sending half a trillion dollars out of the country each year to buy oil, in some cases from people who "are our enemies."

Said Pickens, "You take 10 years and you've got $5 trillion ... That's more than $1 billion a day.

"We can't stand that. Wealth is moving out of the country...

"Not one presidential candidate has addressed this … The candidates have to get up to speed on what energy cost is doing to our country." Pickens even turned on his own industry, oil, and called for an increase in alternative energy sources.

"If we do not get on the alternative energy bandwagon and if we don't have a global recession, we could be sitting on $150 oil in two years," he told CNBC.

Pickens touched on a number of other points:
  • Although he was originally against ethanol, Pickens now favors an increase in ethanol production, saying, "I'd rather have ethanol, and recirculate the money in the country, than to have it go out the back door on us."
  • "I think oil is going to back off," he said. "The weakest quarter is the second quarter. We'll drop $10 or $15 a barrel in the second quarter. I think we'll be back above $100 in the second half of the year."
  • Natural gas prices are too high and they can be expected to drop, according to Pickens, who is shorting both oil and gas.
  • Natural gas will become a "serious transportation fuel," Pickens predicted, adding: "We've got to get coal cleaned up and we've got to get natural gas into the transportation mix."
  • The U.S. should increase its use of solar and wind to meet the expected rise in electricity demand, locating those alternative energy sources in the Great Plains and "middle of the country," Pickens urged.
  • Barack Obama says the U.S. "should do bio diesel," said Pickens, "but that won't solve any problems."
  • He also said about Obama: "He talks about change. I haven't seen yet what he's going to change."
  • A windfall profit tax on U.S. oil companies would be "ridiculous," Pickens charged, saying: "You've got to keep the money in the industry."
  • Pickens originally backed Rudy Giuliani for president. Asked what happened to his campaign, Pickens said: "My guy rode up in front of the grandstand and fell off his horse. I've never seen anything come and go as fast as Rudy's campaign.

Pickens told CNBC he now backs John McCain for president. Asked if the Republicans can win the White House this year, he said simply: "Sure."

© NewsMax 2008. All rights reserved.

US Shoot Down of Satellite Is a Warning to Iran

And you can add others to the warning. The technological achievement is staggering and the diplomacy and security advantage should be obvious. The US has demonstrated that a first strike attempt by an enemy could come to naught, and the follow-up US retaliation would be nation ending. The system needs to be continually advanced and a new generation of unmanned fighter and bomber warplanes would insure US dominance for another generation. The consequences in not committing the resources are extremely dangerous. Some of you may want to think about that when contemplating a vote for Obama.

February 22, 2008
Satellite shoot-down is a clear warning to Iran
James Lewis American Thinker

Wednesday night's SM-3 shoot-down of a US spy satellite tumbling out of its orbit was a magnificent success for anti-missile defense. It meant hitting a bullet with a bullet, with only a ten-second time window for the shot. The hit was kinetic, meaning that there was no conventional warhead to explode, and the SM-3 hit the fuel tank of the bus-sized spy satellite right in the sweet spot in order to disperse the toxic propellant. The small pieces left over will now burn up in the atmosphere.

The SM-3 was traveling at 17,000 miles per hour when it hit the spy sat. The target was "cold," so that heat-seeking sensors designed to locate hot missiles were not even used. This was a last-minute modification of an anti-missile system for a special job, an extraordinary technical achievement, and one that is now sending ripple effects all around the world. The Chinese People's Army and the Russkis are all upset, poor babies. But this fast, off-the-shelf demonstration of US technical prowess was really a direct shot across the bows of Iran -- and also North Korea.

Why? Because the Russians and Chinese have had ICBMs for decades and never used them. They respond to the balance of terror in a rational way. But Iran and North Korea are constantly threatening us, unpredictable, and often crazy-sounding.

Just this week we heard official statements like this:

"The cancerous growth Israel will soon disappear... I am convinced that with every passing day Hizbullah's might is increasing and in the near future, we will witness the disappearance of this cancerous growth Israel by means of the Hizbullah fighters' radiation [therapy]."

Well, "Hizbullah" means "party of Allah," and that refers to the whole Khomeini cult, not just its Lebanese lapdog. So "radiation therapy" from the Party of Allah has a pretty clear meaning. Tehran's head guru, Ayatollah Khamenei, also explained that Allah hates any Iranians who don't support the nuke program. Exactly where he found that in the Koran wasn't explained.

Meanwhile, North Korea is in the middle of a succession struggle, always the trickiest time in family despotisms. The Syrians, too, have been getting NoKo help on nuclear power, according to Israeli sources.

The Iranian opposition group that keeps leaking the mullah's nuke secrets has just presented evidence that they really do have a working factory to make nuclear warheads, at a town called Khojir, built in cooperation with the North Koreans. Since fabricating ing a nuclear warhead is not difficult once you have the uranium or plutonium, this sounds believable. That news knocks the last leg out from under the rickety fantasy world of the last US National Intelligence Estimate.

So this is a crucial time to demonstrate to the rogues that the West can defend itself. That is why the administration chose this time to show off our anti-missile defense capability.

The brilliance of our anti-missile systems is that they can move and fast and stealthily from place to place. Aegis cruisers like the one that just shot down the spy satellite can be sent to any navigable sea in the world, very close to North Korea, Iran, and Syria. If Chavez ever buys missiles from his friends in Tehran, or if Castro's successor does, the US Navy can be in range the next day. Once we get laser weapons mounted on aircraft, we will have even faster and more flexible defenses. That technology is not far away.

So this is an historic moment for the good guys. For the first time since Stalin exploded an atom bomb in 1949 there is a working defense against nuke-bearing missiles and planes. Real civilizations -- large cities surrounded by farms to feed them -- have always depended upon walls, moats, and natural defenses. That is the only reason why we have the prosperity and culture that began with Sumer 6,000 years ago. But defense and aggression are always in a race -- the liberal fantasy that arms races are somehow abnormal in history is just ignorant.

What's different about the last half century is that city-killing weapons have put the aggressor at a major advantage, so that a High Noon standoff was the only answer. That horrific period is now passing as missile defenses come into their own. We are coming back to a more normal balance. That is a very good thing.

So when you vote in the Fall, don't forget who made missile defenses possible.

(Hint: It wasn't the Democrats).

James Lewis blogs at

Friday, February 22, 2008

Turkey Television Claims 10,000 Troops Assault Iraq

"Come over for some tea why don't you and oh by the way we assaulted
your northern borders today.

There does not seem to be much of a fuss about this in the media. It certainly is not a "Gulf of Tonkin" moment. AFP reports that Turkish President Abdullah Gul invited his Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talabani to Turkey in a telephone call Thursday night as he informed him of Ankara's ground operation in northern Iraq, Gul's office said Friday.

"During the call, our president conveyed information on the objective of the ground operation which began Thursday night," the statement said.

Gul also underlined Turkey's intention to boost bilateral ties with Iraq in all fields and invited Talabani to Turkey, it added.


Thousands of Turkish troops cross border into Iraq Times on Line

Turkish troops escalated their conflict with Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq today when thousands launched the country's first cross-border ground invasion since the 2003 American-led campaign.

The operation to hunt down guerrillas from the separatist PKK was announced by the Turkish military this morning, and came hours after Turkish warplanes and artillery bombed suspected rebel targets.

Turkey's private NTV television station said that 10,000 troops were taking part in the offensive and had penetrated six miles into Iraq, although these reports were unconfirmed by the military. Turkish troops have been massing on the northern Iraqi border for months.

The country's Dogan News Agency reported that the Habur border crossing, a major conduit for trade between Iraq and Turkey, had been closed.

Analysts believe that today's campaign is the biggest launched by Turkey against the Kurds since the 1990s, when a number of cross-border raids were carried out.

"The Turkish Armed Forces, which values Iraq’s territorial integrity and its stability, will return as soon as planned goals are achieved," the Turkish military said, announcing this morning's operation on its website.

"The executed operation will prevent the region from being a permanent and safe base for the terrorists and will contribute to Iraq’s stability and internal peace."

The military said its target was the PKK and that it would take care not to harm civilians. It warned that other militias in the area should "not act in enmity against the Turkish Armed Forces".

It is the first time the Turkish military have carried out a threat to launch a cross-border ground invasion following the decision of the Turkish Parliament to authorise the military to strike rebels in October.

International observers have expressed huge concern that any major confrontation between Turkey and the Kurds could lead to spiralling instability in Iraq, which has already been locked in sectarian violence since the 2003 invasion.

"Turkish ground forces have entered into northern Iraq for what we understand is an operation of limited duration to specifically target PKK terrorists in that region," Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, a US military spokesman, said, giving what appeared to be lukewarm American approval for the campaign.

"Turkey has given its assurances it will do everything possible to avoid collateral damage to innocent civilians or Kurdish infrastructure."

Turkey has conducted air raids against the guerrillas since December with the help of US intelligence, but it has only scarcely carried out so-called "hot pursuits" in which small units sometimes spend only a few hours inside Iraq.

It has been locked in a bitter battle with Kurdish separatists since the PKK began fighting for a Kurdish homeland in south-eastern Turkey in 1984. More than 30,000 people have been killed in Kurdish terrorist attacks and Turkish military operations since then.

Serbs Do Us a Favor and Burn Our Embassy

Quite simply, we never should have been involved with Kosovo for any reason. Kosovo is part of Serbia as New Mexico is to the US. No American President to date would tolerate a European country getting involved in a Mexican led move to encourage New Mexico to declare freedom and secede from The United States. It was a stupid decision by the Clinton Administration to have bombed Serbia over Kosovo.

If the Serbian government cannot find the police or troops to protect the US Embassy, leave it closed. What loss is there to the US if Serbs or Kosovars have a more difficult time coming to the United States?

I have felt for some time that the next Muslim attack on the US would come from white European Muslims and the region of former Yugoslavia is loaded with Islamic militants. There are also Serbian nationalists who despise the US and could be another source of terror. The entire region is a problem that we do not need. It is a good place to start a review on where true US interests are. Not there.

Serb Protesters Storm Vacant U.S. Embassy

Serbian nationalists opposed to Kosovo's independence storm the United States embassy in Belgrade, after a massive rally in the Serbian capital. Several hundred young men dressed in hooded sports tops and scarfs had broken into the premises on the main boulevard of Kneza Milosa. The embassy was not staffed at the time of the attack.

Angry demonstrators broke into an empty U.S. embassy in Belgrade on Thursday, setting fire to its facade and tossing documents out of windows to protest Washington's apparent support for Kosovo's independence.

Serbian police stood by as black smoke billowed from the embassy compound, which had been boarded up after rioters threw stones at the structure earlier in the week. Papers and chairs were thrown out of the windows, with doors wedged into burning window frames.

Protesters were later seen removing the embassy's American flag.

The attack follows a day in which an estimated 150,000 demonstrators protested against Kosovo's weekend declaration of independence from Serbia. Protesters waved Serbian flags and carried signs reading "Stop USA terror".

The subject of Kosovo's independence is extremely sensitive for Serbs, who consider the breakaway region the cradle of their medieval nationhood.