“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."

Monday, August 31, 2009

Keep things in Perspective.

Just some words to live by.

Charlie Rangel, tax-writing Kingfish of Democratic Ways and Means, don't speak no Spanish.

Just another day in the life of our esteemed Masters and Rulers, who en masse should be dragged out of their offices, waterboarded for good measure, put in orange jump suits, and replaced by citizen legislators.

The Absent-Minded Chairman

When normal people happen to “find” their own money, it might mean a twenty left in a winter coat, or discovering change beneath the sofa cushions. But if you’re Charlie Rangel, it means doubling your net worth.

Earlier this month the Chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. Congress "amended" his 2007 financial disclosure form—to the tune of more than a half-million dollars in previously unreported assets and income. That number may be as high as $780,000, because Congress's ethics rules only require the Members to report their finances within broad ranges. This voyage of personal financial discovery brings Mr. Rangel's net worth for 2007 to somewhere between $1.028 million and $2.495 million, while his previous statement came in at $516,015 and $1.316 million.

When you're a powerful Congressman and working diligently to increase tax rates to pay for President Obama's health-care plan, we suppose it's easy to lose track of one of your checking accounts. That would be the one at the federal credit union with a balance somewhere between $250,001 and maybe as high as $500,000. And when you're crunched for time and pulling together bills to pass in a rush, we guess, too, that you might overlook several other investment accounts, even if some of them are sizable, such as the ones Mr. Rangel missed at JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Oppenheimer and BlackRock.

Oh, and those vacant properties in Glassboro, in southern Jersey? Everybody in Manhattan tries not to think much about New Jersey, so those lots and their as-much-as-$15,000 value must also have slipped down the memory hole. (The New York Post reported yesterday that Mr. Rangel failed to pay property taxes for two of the lots, according to the county clerk's office.)

The Chairman probably isn't doing a lot of dining at KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell or Long John Silver's, either, which may explain why he didn't disclose the $1,001 to $15,000 in stock he owns in Yum Brands, the conglomerate that runs those chain restaurants. Compared to his undisclosed portfolio stake in PepsiCo—$15,001 to $50,000—that's practically a rounding error.

All lawmakers amend their financial reports from time to time, though rarely are the errors this extensive. Via email, a Rangel spokesman declined to offer details about how the errors occurred, noting that "Once the Ethics Committee completes its work, then we can answer questions in more detail." He added that Mr. Rangel is now "confident that his records have been subjected to an exhaustive and complete review, and that the amendments accurately reflect his financial interests."

Among other issues, Mr. Rangel is currently under investigation regarding his use of four rent-stabilized apartments at New York City's tony Lenox Terrace and soliciting donations with his official letterhead for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York, which was itself built with a $1.9 million earmark. Yet another part of the probe is his failure to report $75,000 in income from a rental villa at the beachfront Punta Cana Yacht Club, in the Dominican Republic.

Mr. Rangel blamed that last one on the language barrier because he doesn't speak Spanish. We can only imagine what language he speaks with his accountants and tax attorneys.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Do we love macho woman? Oh Yeah!

Don’t we all love a macho woman?

Joan McAlpine
Times on line
Women are now responsible for one in three drunken fights in Scotland’s city centres, we report today. Our country has a reputation for brawling, but we have no special claim on aggressive females. A report by the Ministry of Justice in England last year found that women are now responsible for an average of 240 physical assaults every day.

This apparent journey from lady to ladette is gaining pace, it would appear. Elish Angiolini may have smashed the glass ceiling to become our first female Lord Advocate. But rather than emulate her example of gender equality, too many girls are competing with the boys to smash bottles in each other’s faces. Angiolini herself spoke out about the pattern last year. Girls, she said, had been involved in the most horrific crimes, including torture, not merely as men’s willing helpers, but as lead perpetrators.

Most recently in Scotland, we had the case of Lisa Brown, 21, the pregnant student dropout convicted of murdering her mother Anne in a dispute about the custody of a child. Mrs Brown, a former nurse, suffered 49 injuries to her face and neck, then — possibly still alive — she was bundled into a sleeping bag and dumped in a Lanarkshire burn. The jury convicted Lisa’s lover John Wilson of the lesser charge of culpable homicide, believing him to have fallen under the young woman’s spell. Last week it was reported that prison staff were so concerned by the lack of remorse, or indeed any emotional response exhibited by Brown, that they called in doctors who concluded she may have Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism.

One cannot help but wonder if a similarly unfeeling male murderer would have aroused the same level of concern. Violent men are bad, violent women well, they must surely be mad. But if this is the case, there appears to be a collective rush towards insanity by some members of what used to be called the gentle sex. Whatever happened to sugar, spice and all things nice?

Then again, don’t we love a violent little vixen? The cult of the in-your-face, scantily clad female has been celebrated for several decades now. She reappears, along with her sullen pout, in different forms, but always as an erotic icon and usually involving leather. From Jane Fonda’s metal-breasted Barbarella to Angelina Jolie’s steely thighed Lara Croft, the message is the same: femininity doesn’t always come with frills, or even good manners.

GQ, one of the more suave men’s magazines, recently ran a glossy photo spread about the “25 sexiest violent women on film”. Among these “dangerous beauties” are the leather-holstered Jessica Alba in Sin City, Milla Jovovich, once described as “the reigning queen of kick butt”, in The Fifth Element, and Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct — better remembered for uncrossing her legs than her skill with an ice pick.

Beyond this mainstream, there is a whole genre of exploitation films with titles like Ten Violent Women and Girls in Cages, which are not so far away from sadomasochistic pornography. The messages they convey seep into the wider culture in two very different ways. For those men who are already frightened of women, they divide females into good and bad, with the latter the dominant category. Certain men interpret that as justifying their belief that women are hard bitches who deserve rough treatment.

Impressionable girls, however, can make a different, far more literal interpretation. They see fashion shoot surliness dressed up as girl power. Remember the boxing ring video for Christina Aguilera’s hit Dirrty? Those low-rise leather chaps were more fetishist than feminist, but Miss Aguilera tried to convince us it was all about “being strong”. This is just one example of “attitude” as the sexiest thing a girl can possess. But in hiding their vulnerability behind the swagger, are women not paying a terrible price? In imitating aggressive men, surely they will suffer as such men do — unable to express their emotional needs, locked in a world of false bravado.

Or worse. We report today on the work of researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University who spent 100 hours in city centre nightclubs monitoring and recording violent incidents.

Women participated in 36.8% of the fights, always involving others of the same sex. Almost a third (29.5%) of the females involved were injured or hurt. Sexual jealousy was blamed for most conflicts that, true to the catfight stereotype of those exploitation films, often involved hair pulling and slapping, sometimes with stilettos as weapons. And remember, these days most of them will have acrylic fingernails, which really ought to be covered by the knife laws.

Dr Alasdair Forsyth, senior research fellow at the university’s Centre for the Study of Violence and the lead author of the report, suggested we are seeing the rise of the macho female, who leaves male bouncers in pubs and clubs confused about how to respond.

Yet the harpy is no 21st-century phenomena. The mill girls of Lancashire and the jute lassies of Dundee were terrifying in their day. Factory girls didn’t waste much time perfecting the winsome glances and delicate speech of their upper class counterparts.

Many girls of my own generation were raised by mothers who came of age in the 1950s and wanted well mannered daughters who could conduct themselves with Doris Day decorum. But this was not a universal aspiration. I remember arriving in a large west of Scotland comprehensive in the 1970s, where a significant proportion of the teenage females could only be described as butch. These were sharp-tongued Hairy Marys immortalised in the vernacular street folk of Hamish Imlach and Billy Connolly. They were built like the brick lavatories that still stood outside a few tenements. They wore clumpy shoes with cream coloured tights that gave their lower legs the solidity of the ship funnels being constructed on the banks of the Clyde below.

These girls were merciless towards peers who displayed what were considered more middle class, feminine traits. If you didn’t walk like John Wayne, you would be accused of “mincing”. Carefully applied make-up and long shiny hair made you a “poser” (the hard tickets had their locks hacked off into “DAs” or ducks’ arses). A shorter skirt would provoke loud, crude comments about the wearer’s sexual continence. Anything above the knee made you a “boot”. Sometimes they picked a fight by “claiming” you in the park. They claimed their men in much the same way.

Funnily enough, it was always these butch girls who fell pregnant first. They weren’t so tough. Violence is never an expression of assertiveness. Rather, it is about a lack of confidence and control. It’s about fear. This is why lashing out is more often the response of those who are disempowered — the poorly parented lost boys and girls destined to repeat the pattern with their own offspring.

Researchers who have studied such women in Cornton Vale, the women’s prison, say their aggression is often related to experiences of family violence. Often, they have a negative approach to life. They believe the world is a hostile place and others are out to get them — much like those girls from school who would claim you for daring to make direct eye contact.

In the past, such girls had only a brief opportunity to flaunt their aggression. They were mothers shortly after leaving school, curtailed by their own fertility. Today, adolescence continues well into the third decade for some young people. Cheap alcohol increases paranoia and lessens inhibitions.

The difference now is that such women are no longer marginalised. They are celebrated in a world that suggests violence is a sassy expression of female sexuality. As Aguilera sang, that really is dirty. And dangerous, not least for the women themselves.

Overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom traded British honor for oil.

British Honor for Oil Program

Lockerbie bomber 'set free for oil'
Jason Allardyce Times on Line

The British government decided it was "in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom” to make Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, eligible for return to Libya, leaked ministerial letters reveal.

Gordon Brown’s government made the decision after discussions between Libya and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties. These were resolved soon afterwards.

The letters were sent two years ago by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, to Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who has been widely criticised for taking the formal decision to permit Megrahi’s release.

The correspondence makes it plain that the key decision to include Megrahi in a deal with Libya to allow prisoners to return home was, in fact, taken in London for British national interests.

Edward Davey, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said: “This is the strongest evidence yet that the British government has been involved for a long time in talks over al-Megrahi in which commercial considerations have been central to their thinking.”

Prime Minister Gordon Brown Lying through his teeth.

Two letters dated five months apart show that Straw initially intended to exclude Megrahi from a prisoner transfer agreement with Colonel Muammar Gadaffi, under which British and Libyan prisoners could serve out their sentences in their home country.

In a letter dated July 26, 2007, Straw said he favoured an option to leave out Megrahi by stipulating that any prisoners convicted before a specified date would not be considered for transfer.

Downing Street had also said Megrahi would not be included under the agreement.

Straw then switched his position as Libya used its deal with BP as a bargaining chip to insist the Lockerbie bomber was included.

The exploration deal for oil and gas, potentially worth up to £15 billion, was announced in May 2007. Six months later the agreement was still waiting to be ratified.

On December 19, 2007, Straw wrote to MacAskill announcing that the UK government was abandoning its attempt to exclude Megrahi from the prisoner transfer agreement, citing the national interest.

In a letter leaked by a Whitehall source, he wrote: “I had previously accepted the importance of the al-Megrahi issue to Scotland and said I would try to get an exclusion for him on the face of the agreement. I have not been able to secure an explicit exclusion.

“The wider negotiations with the Libyans are reaching a critical stage and, in view of the overwhelming interests for the United Kingdom, I have agreed that in this instance the [prisoner transfer agreement] should be in the standard form and not mention any individual.”

Within six weeks of the government climbdown, Libya had ratified the BP deal. The prisoner transfer agreement was finalised in May this year, leading to Libya formally applying for Megrahi to be transferred to its custody.

Saif Gadaffi, the colonel’s son, has insisted that negotiation over the release of Megrahi was linked with the BP oil deal: “The fight to get the [transfer] agreement lasted a long time and was very political, but I want to make clear that we didn’t mention Mr Megrahi.

“At all times we talked about the [prisoner transfer agreement]. It was obvious we were talking about him. We all knew that was what we were talking about.

“People should not get angry because we were talking about commerce or oil. We signed an oil deal at the same time. The commerce and oil deals were all with the [prisoner transfer agreement].”

His account is confirmed by other sources. Sir Richard Dalton, a former British ambassador to Libya and a board member of the Libyan British Business Council, said: “Nobody doubted Libya wanted BP and BP was confident its commitment would go through. But the timing of the final authority to spend real money was dependent on politics.”

Bob Monetti of New Jersey, whose son Rick was among the victims of the 1988 bombing, said: “It’s always been about business.”

BP denied that political factors were involved in the deal’s ratification or that it had stalled during negotiations over the prisoner transfer talks.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman denied there had been a U-turn, but said trade considerations had been a factor in negotiating the prisoner exchange deal. He said Straw had unsuccessfully tried to accommodate the wish of the Scottish government to exclude Megrahi from agreement.

The spokesman claimed the deal was ultimately “academic” because Megrahi had been released on compassionate grounds: “The negotiations on the [transfer agreement] were part of wider negotiations aimed at the normalisation of relations with Libya, which included a range of areas, including trade.

“The exclusion or inclusion of Megrahi would not serve any practical purpose because the Scottish executive always had a veto on whether to transfer him.”

A spokesman for Lord Mandelson said he had not changed his position that the release of Megrahi was not linked to trade deals.

Belarusian SU-27 crashes at Polish air show.

The two pilots were killed. A spokesman thought birds got into the engine, but from the video the aircraft looked close to a stall.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

US outpolls India as main threat to Pakistan. Pakistan leads World in nuclear weapon production. US to give$7.5 billion in aid.

U.S. Accuses Pakistan of Altering Missiles

Published: August 29, 2009
New York Times

WASHINGTON — The United States has accused Pakistan of illegally modifying American-made missiles to expand its capability to strike land targets, a potential threat to India, according to senior administration and Congressional officials.

The charge, which set off a new outbreak of tensions between the United States and Pakistan, was made in an unpublicized diplomatic protest in late June to Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and other top Pakistani officials.

The accusation comes at a particularly delicate time, when the administration is asking Congress to approve $7.5 billion in aid to Pakistan over the next five years, and when Washington is pressing a reluctant Pakistani military to focus its attentions on fighting the Taliban, rather than expanding its nuclear and conventional forces aimed at India.

While American officials say that the weapon in the latest dispute is a conventional one — based on the Harpoon antiship missiles that were sold to Pakistan by the Reagan administration as a defensive weapon in the cold war — the subtext of the argument is growing concern about the speed with which Pakistan is developing new generations of both conventional and nuclear weapons.

“There’s a concerted effort to get these guys to slow down,” one senior administration official said. “Their energies are misdirected.”

At issue is the detection by American intelligence agencies of a suspicious missile test on April 23 — a test never announced by the Pakistanis — that appeared to give the country a new offensive weapon.

American military and intelligence officials say they suspect that Pakistan has modified the Harpoon antiship missiles that the United States sold the country in the 1980s, a move that would be a violation of the Arms Control Export Act. Pakistan has denied the charge, saying it developed the missile itself. The United States has also accused Pakistan of modifying American-made P-3C aircraft for land-attack missions, another violation of United States law that the Obama administration has protested.

Whatever their origin, the missiles would be a significant new entry into Pakistan’s arsenal against India. They would enable Pakistan’s small navy to strike targets on land, complementing the sizable land-based missile arsenal that Pakistan has developed. That, in turn, would be likely to spur another round of an arms race with India that the United States has been trying, unsuccessfully, to halt. “The focus of our concern is that this is a potential unauthorized modification of a maritime antiship defensive capability to an offensive land-attack missile,” said another senior administration official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter involves classified information.

“The potential for proliferation and end-use violations are things we watch very closely,” the official added. “When we have concerns, we act aggressively.”

A senior Pakistani official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity because the interchanges with Washington have been both delicate and highly classified, said the American accusation was “incorrect.” The official said that the missile tested was developed by Pakistan, just as it had modified North Korean designs to build a range of land-based missiles that could strike India. He said that Pakistan had taken the unusual step of agreeing to allow American officials to inspect the country’s Harpoon inventory to prove that it had not violated the law, a step that administration officials praised.

Some experts are also skeptical of the American claims. Robert Hewson, editor of Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, a yearbook and Web-based data service, said the Harpoon missile did not have the necessary range for a land-attack missile, which would lend credibility to Pakistani claims that they are developing their own new missile. Moreover, he said, Pakistan already has more modern land-attack missiles that it developed itself or acquired from China.

“They’re beyond the need to reverse-engineer old U.S. kit,” Mr. Hewson said in a telephone interview. “They’re more sophisticated than that.” Mr. Hewson said the ship-to-shore missile that Pakistan was testing was part of a concerted effort to develop an array of conventional missiles that could be fired from the air, land or sea to address India’s much more formidable conventional missile arsenal.

The dispute highlights the level of mistrust that remains between the United States and a Pakistani military that American officials like to portray as an increasingly reliable partner in the effort to root out the forces of the Taliban and Al Qaeda on Pakistani territory. A central element of the American effort has been to get the military refocused on the internal threat facing the country, rather than on threat the country believes it still faces from India.

Pakistani officials have insisted that they are making that shift. But the evidence continues to point to heavy investments in both nuclear and conventional weapons that experts say have no utility in the battle against insurgents.

Over the years, the United States has provided a total of 165 Harpoon missiles to Pakistan, including 37 of the older-model weapons that were delivered from 1985 to 1988, said Charles Taylor, a spokesman for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The country’s nuclear arsenal is expanding faster than any other nation’s. In May, Pakistan conducted a test firing of its Babur medium-range cruise missile, a weapon that military experts say could potentially be tipped with a nuclear warhead. The test was conducted on May 6, during a visit to Washington by President Asif Ali Zardari, but was not made public by Pakistani officials until three days after the meetings had ended to avoid upsetting the talks. While it may be technically possible to arm the Harpoons with small nuclear weapons, outside experts say it would probably not be necessary.

Before Congress departed for its summer recess, administration officials briefed crucial legislators on the protest to Pakistan. The dispute has the potential to delay or possibly even derail the legislation to provide Pakistan with $7.5 billion in civilian aid over five years; lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the aid package when they return from their recess next month.

The legislation is sponsored by Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the top Democrat and Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Representative Howard L. Berman, a California Democrat who leads the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Congressional aides are now reconciling House and Senate versions of the legislation.

Frederick Jones, a spokesman for Mr. Kerry, declined to comment on the details of the dispute citing its classified nature but suggested that the pending multifaceted aid bill would clear Congress “in a few weeks” and would help cooperation between the two countries.

“There have been irritants in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship in the past and there will be in the future,” Mr. Jones said in a statement, noting that the pending legislation would provide President Obama “with new tools to address troubling behavior.”

Obama would trust US security to Turkey. Turkey?

You really have to be pooping me on this one.

Remember how well the US 4th Mechanized Infantry Division performed in the attack on Iraq? Oh that's right, they weren't allowed transit rights over Turkey. Our stalwart lion (Where have I heard that term before?) our so-called ally, Turkey, stabbed us in the ass. (Turks are major ass stabbers in case you didn't know.)

Well our shallow-rooted so called American president is thinking that missile defense should be moved to Turkey from Poland. That is his latest thinking about US missile defense.

You see, the thing is, if a missile defense system is in Poland and we really need to use it, the Poles will allow it. The Turks on the other hand, ass-stabbing knife in hand, may have other ideas if the system is needed against either the Russians or an Islamic neighbor.

The brilliance of our affirmative action, community organizing POTUS becomes clearer with each passing day.

Poland, watch your ass. Obama has your back.


U.S. Mulls Alternatives for Missile Shield

Published: August 28, 2009

BERLIN — The Obama administration has developed possible alternative plans for a missile defense shield that could drop hotly disputed sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, a move that would please Russia and Germany but sour relations with American allies in Eastern Europe.

Administration officials said they hoped to complete their months-long review of the planned antimissile system as early as next month, possibly in time for President Obama to present ideas to President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia at a meeting in New York during the annual opening at the General Assembly of the United Nations.

But they cautioned that no decisions had been made and that all options were still under discussion, including retaining the Polish and Czech sites first selected by President George W. Bush. The Obama review team plans to present a menu of options rather than a single recommendation to a committee of senior national security officials in the coming weeks. Only after that would the matter go to cabinet-rank officials and the president.

Among the alternatives are dropping either the Polish or Czech site, or both sites, and instead building launching pads or radar installations in Turkey or the Balkans, while developing land-based versions of the Aegis SM-3, a ship-based anti-missile system, officials said. The changes, they said, would be intended not to mollify Russia, but to adjust to what they see as an accelerating threat from shorter-range Iranian missiles.

People following the review, including anxious officials in Eastern Europe, said they thought that the administration was preparing to abandon the Polish and Czech sites. “It is clear that Eastern Europe is out of the epicenter of this American administration,” said Piotr Paszkowski, a spokesman for Poland’s foreign minister. “The missile defense system is now under review. The chances that it will be in Poland are 50-50.”

Dmitry O. Rogozin, Russia’s ambassador to NATO, said Moscow anticipated news from Mr. Obama in September. “I hope that Medvedev will take some good result from this bilateral discussion in New York, and maybe in October we will live in a new world in Russian-American relations,” he said.

Administration spokesmen said it was premature to discuss what the review would conclude or when it would be finished. “Our review of our missile defense strategy is ongoing and has not reached completion yet,” said Philip J. Crowley, a State Department spokesman.

The proposed system inherited by Mr. Obama envisioned stationing 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a sophisticated radar facility in the Czech Republic to defend against potential ballistic missile threats from Iran or other hostile nations. But Russia has long objected to what it sees as a threat in its own backyard and has insisted that the Obama administration abandon the plan as a sign that it is serious about improving relations.

Shifting an anti-missile system out of territory once dominated by Moscow might mollify Russian concerns without jettisoning the missile shield altogether. At the same time, it could set off criticism both at home and in Eastern Europe that Mr. Obama was caving in to Russian pressure.

Polish fears that the United States was having second thoughts were heightened after diplomats learned of a meeting last week in Huntsville, Ala., that included generals who oversee missile defense, including Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, head of the United States Strategic Command.

“What was revealing about such a high-level gathering was that the speakers did not discuss how and when the missile shield would be deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic,” said Riki Ellison, chairman of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a Washington-based lobbying group, who attended the meeting.

But administration officials rejected the assertion that a reformulated missile defense system would forsake Eastern European security. “We definitely are not abandoning our commitment to defend our European allies from a missile threat from Iran,” said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the review was not complete. “We are exploring options that will enhance the defense of our European allies.”

The cost of building the complexes in Poland and the Czech Republic could increase to more than $1 billion from $837 million, according to the Government Accountability Office, which published a report this month on preparations to deploy the system.

The cost estimates do not include support at the sites or the development, testing and procurement costs. The overall cost of establishing a modest ballistic missile system in Europe would exceed $4 billion through 2015, according to the G.A.O. report. Even at that, it said, “Congress does not have accurate information on the full investment required for ballistic missile defenses in Europe.”

The Bush administration strongly advocated a missile shield. Mr. Obama has been more skeptical, saying he will proceed only if it is financially and technically feasible. He has also told the Russians that the system would not be needed if they used their leverage to persuade Iran to drop its suspected nuclear weapons programs.

The discussions in Huntsville caused a stir among diplomats in Poland. Eastern European leaders worry that the Obama administration is playing down their security needs even though, they contend, Russia’s war with Georgia last year and increasing tension between Russia and Ukraine show the need for a strong American presence in the region.

“You can see that compared to the former Bush administration, the Obama administration is more interested in Russia, China and of course Afghanistan than Eastern Europe,” said Slawomir Debski, director of the Institute of International Affairs in Warsaw.

In Huntsville, General Cartwright made clear that the administration was focusing on the relevance, adaptability and affordability of any new programs, including missile defense, according to people who were at the meeting.

He also said that the United States had to take into account Russian sensitivities toward the missile shield for Eastern Europe.

Judy Dempsey reported from Berlin, and Peter Baker from Washington. Ellen Barry contributed reporting from Moscow.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Obama Administration continues to pick on Honduras

Obama men, Chavez and Zelaya.

Poor in Honduras

Rumaging for anything to sell.

Honduras gang violence

The Obama Administration is moving to punish Honduras for the heroic measures taken to enforce their own constitution in preventing Hugo Chavez wannabe, President Manuel Zelaya, from establishing another left-wing dictatorship in Latin America.

Zelaya had no constitutional right to try and change the constitution so that he could become another president for life, and was rightly prevented from doing so. In Obamanation, that is a criminal offense, so the Obama Administration is considering withdrawing US aid.

Honduras has 29% unemployment, and I can assure you being unemployed in Latin America is not the same as in the US. There is no such thing as unemployment compensation or other government welfare programs. You don't work, you don't eat and neither does your family. No job, no money. Your teen age daughter ends up as a hooker and your best hope is to get into the United States by any means. You do what you can to survive.


U.S. moves toward formal cut off of aid to Honduras
Thu Aug 27, 2009

WASHINGTON, Aug 27 (Reuters) - U.S. State Department staff have recommended that the ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya be declared a "military coup," a U.S. official said on Thursday, a step that could cut off as much as $150 million in U.S. funding to the impoverished Central American nation.

The official, who spoke on condition he not be named, said State Department staff had made such a recommendation to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has yet to make a decision on the matter although one was likely soon.

Washington has already suspended about $18 million aid to Honduras following the June 28 coup and this would be formally cut if the determination is made because of a U.S. law barring aid "to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree."

The official said that $215 million in grant funding from the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation to Honduras would also have to end should Clinton make the determination that a military coup took place.

About $76 million of that money has already been disbursed and a second U.S. official said this implied that the remaining roughly $139 million could not be given to Honduras should the determination be made.

Diplomats said that the United States had held off making the formal determination to give diplomacy a chance to yield a negotiated compromise that might allow for Zelaya's return to power.

Such efforts, however, appear to have failed for now and so the United States is taking steps -- including its decision on Tuesday to cease issuing some visas at its embassy in Tegucigalpa -- to raise pressure on the de facto government.

"The recommendation of the building is for her to sign it," said the first U.S. official said of the 'military coup" determination, saying this was a response to the de facto government's refusal to accept a compromise that would allow Zelaya to return to power ahead of November elections. (Editing by Jackie Frank)

Cash for German Clunkers meant Clunkers for Africa

AUTO INDUSTRY | 24.08.2009

Germany's car scrapping scheme may have backfired


Germany's car-scrapping bonus has had unwanted side-effects

The German government has decided not to renew its car scrapping scheme, citing costs. Yet there are also concerns that instead of being crushed here, many cars are being illegally shipped to Africa.

In an effort to stimulate consumer spending, the German government has provided a scrap bonus of 2,500 euros ($3,570) for two million old cars this year. On Monday, Germany announced it would not extend the subsidy, which has proved extremely popular.

Many Germans jumped at the chance to replace old cars with new ones. But instead of being crushed here, as planned by the program, many cars end up in Africa.

The German police association Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter (BDK) has been bombarded with press interview requests ever since it estimated earlier this month that since January at least 50,000 cars have been exported illegally, after their owners had been granted the scrap bonus.

For his calculation BDK Vice-Chairman Wilfried Albishausen, who spent part of his career fighting organized crime, adapted criteria which are generaly used for estimating drug trafficking.

"The risk of being caught is extremely low, as there is hardly any control," he told Deutsche Welle. "When someone is caught, punishment remains minimal. Thirdly there is a market for old cars in Africa and eastern Europe. And the German scrap industry is in a bad shape and therefore more willing to ignore the law."

Gottfried Hoell, chairman of the association for the German scrap industry, confirms what the police inspector assumes: 80 percent of the 1,400 officially registered scrappers, Hoell says, he trusts blindly. That leaves almost 300 whom he cannot trust.

Hoell understands the wrongdoers: "When a car scrapper has financial problems because of the bonus - because he is getting too many cars and has to rent extra space for them and at the same time sells less spare parts for old cars because the cars are no longer there - then of course when he gets an attractive offer in such a situation, he will not say no," he said.

Thousands of cars have not ended up being scrapped

During a recent visit to a scrap company in central Germany, Hoell met an interested African on the premises, who was willing to pay up to 2,500 euros for any bonus car.

That story doesn't surprise a Nigerian shipping agent based in the Rhineland. The man, who asked to remain anonymous, said he exports up to 150 cars a month to West Africa. He is not involved in illegal business himself, he said. But he hears stories of exporters taking old cars apart before packing them in containers. Once they reach their destination, they are put together again.

Business as usual

If two million German old cars are shredded, one would expect a lack of used cars. German used-car dealers confirm that their business this year sank to barely 20 percent of last year's turnover. But in an interview with German national radio Deutschlandfunk, a dealer in Cotonou, West Africa's main harbour of car imports in the Republic of Benin, said earlier this month he hadn't noticed any difference.

The Nigerian shipping agent has no problems either. "From my situation I don't think anything changed," he said. "From the business I have not noticed any change." The man exports mainly via Antwerp, where Belgian custom authorities may pay little attention to the German scrap bonus scheme.

But even in German harbours like Hamburg and Bremerhaven customs can do little more than check freight papers, said the BDK's Albishausen. "They just don't have the capacity to open up every single container. But when they check, they often find something. In Hamburg alone they detected nearly 50 cases of illegal used-car exports so far this year."

Five billion euros lost

If the bottom line is that the German government's environmental bonus stimulates the export of old cars, the environment may benefit very little. "With that program five billion euros are going down the drain," said spokeswoman Ulrike Fokken of the Deutsche Umwelthilfe, an environmental organisation in Berlin. "It is an old problem that Germany dumps its garbage in Africa," she added.

Scrapper Gottfried Höll laughs off the environmental justification, even for those cars that are demolished in Germany in line with the scheme. Before they are crushed all the parts can be removed, including the old engine, to live a second life in Europe. Or elsewhere.

Author: Patrick Vanhulle
Editor: Rob Mudge

Thursday, August 27, 2009

China taking steps to get rid of US Dollars

China has looked at what the Obamanation is doing to the dollar and is doing what any rational player would and should do; get out of the currency and into hard assets.

Once major holders start fleeing a currency, interest rates for debt denominated in that currency will rise. The US Government will quickly have to increase interest rates, choking private investment, reducing tax revenues and increasing deficits.

That seems to be our short term fate under "O-shit!"

Obama is an economic illiterate waddling down a path to national ruin, gosling Democrats in tow, some tighter to his ass than others.

It is not any one program, it is all of them, all based on a premise of infantile hope and heading towards disastrous change.

The next election cycle cannot come fast enough.

Hopefully by then Michael Jackson will be buried and there will still be some public buildings and roads not named after the Lion of the Senate.

With a little luck, the hapless Republicans, peckers stowed, will have rehabilitated themselves and some moderation can be restored.


Aug 26, 2009, 11:19 p.m. EST
China wealth-fund chief tips buying spree

LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- The president of China's well-financed sovereign wealth fund said his group plans a massive, ten-fold expansion of its overseas investment this year, according to reported comments from an interview Thursday.

China Investment Corp. President Gao Xiqing said the fund's foreign holdings will go from $4.8 billion last year to "several tens of billion dollars," Reuters reported, citing Gao's interview with Japan's Asahi newspaper.

Gao was quoted as saying CIC held about 90% of its management funds in cash or similarly liquid forms at the end of last year, but that this will change now that financial markets are no longer in a state of crisis.

Among possible new investments under consideration are Japanese companies and property, given prospects for a recovery in that country's economy, Gao said.

Reuters also cited unnamed sources from an earlier report as saying CIC plans to invest up to $2 billion in U.S. mortgages.

The Wall Street Journal has also reported recently that CIC has selected Morgan Stanley (MS 29.46, -0.07, -0.24%) and Blackstone Group LP (BX 13.21, +0.11, +0.84%) to oversee hundreds of millions of dollars in new investments.

Earlier this month, Chinese state media reported the CIC's first-ever annual financial statement, which showed a 2.1% loss for its global investment portfolio.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Democratic Lying of the Senate

The hope goes on and the bullshit will never die, but here is all you need to know about the lion:

“ On July 18, 1969, at approximately 11:15 p.m. in Chappaquiddick, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, I was driving my car on Main Street on my way to get the ferry back to Edgartown. I was unfamiliar with the road and turned right onto Dike Road, instead of bearing hard left on Main Street. After proceeding for approximately one-half mile on Dike Road I descended a hill and came upon a narrow bridge. The car went off the side of the bridge. There was one passenger with me, one Miss Mary [Kopechne], a former secretary of my brother Sen. Robert Kennedy. The car turned over and sank into the water and landed with the roof resting on the bottom. I attempted to open the door and the window of the car but have no recollection of how I got out of the car. I came to the surface and then repeatedly dove down to the car in an attempt to see if the passenger was still in the car. I was unsuccessful in the attempt. I was exhausted and in a state of shock. I recall walking back to where my friends were eating. There was a car parked in front of the cottage and I climbed into the backseat. I then asked for someone to bring me back to Edgartown. I remember walking around for a period and then going back to my hotel room. When I fully realized what had happened this morning, I immediately contacted the police. ”

-Testimony of Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Hezbollah in Venezuela, weapons to FARC and of course, Obama busts Honduran cojones.

August 25, 2009
Obama Screws Up Latin American Policy
By Mona Charen NRO

The lights are going out in Venezuela. The Chavez-controlled legislature passed an education bill on Aug. 13 that will extinguish the last glimmers of free thought in the country's classrooms. The law is such a caricature of revolutionary legislation that it almost seems like a joke, like something out of Woody Allen's "Bananas." But it's not funny for Venezuelans. Schools will now be required to teach "Bolivarian doctrine," a vague catchall for Chavez's sloganeering. They will be supervised by "communal councils" (read commissars from the socialist party) and the central government will decide who can and who cannot enter universities and the teaching profession.

The new law stretches government power beyond the schools, permitting the state to suspend media outlets that negatively affect the public's "mental health." This comes just three weeks after the government declined to renew the licenses of 34 radio stations. "We haven't closed any radio stations, we've applied the law," Chavez explained. "We've recovered a bunch of stations that were outside the law, that now belong to the people and not the bourgeoisie." Get it? They've been "liberated."

Chavez is also saving elections from the "bourgeoisie" by gerrymandering districts before he next offers himself to the voters. When his motorcycle-mounted goons attacked the offices of Globovision, the only remaining independent TV station, with tear gas and rocks, Chavez piously condemned the attacks. But Globovision is not long for this world. He is remarkably blunt about his aims. As The Economist magazine reported, the Venezuelan dictator cited the Italian communist theorist Antonio Gramsci on the importance of seizing control of a nation's key institutions in order to control the minds of the citizenry. The most important institutions to conquer, Chavez added, were the media, the churches, and the schools. Last year, some of the same Chavez thugs who tear-gassed Globovision stormed the episcopacy in Caracas after the Catholic Church criticized the president.
Chavez condemned that attack as well.

Hugo Chavez has invited Hezbollah into Venezuela, and chased most of the Jewish community out. He has sent advanced weaponry to the FARC communist insurgency that has been terrorizing neighboring Colombia for 40 years, and has spawned a bevy of imitators in Latin America. Next month, he will visit his good friend Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran.

And yet President Obama has been silent. It isn't as if he has a strict policy against criticizing other nations. He's been quick enough to condemn Israel for settlement policies and Honduras for ousting Chavez wannabee Manuel Zelaya.

No, the Obama administration has kept mum because Barack Obama, schooled in leftist fairy tales from the cradle, seems to believe that what the region requires from the United States is not leadership but contrition. He was hopeful after the Summit of the Americas, he said, because the leaders of Latin America could "at least see that we are not dug in into policies that were formulated before I was born." Chavez didn't need to hand Obama a copy of "The Open Veins of Latin America" because our president probably already believes 80 percent of what's in the book.

Far from condemning our hemisphere's little Mussolini, the Obama administration has courted Chavez. The Department of State declared Venezuela's willingness to exchange ambassadors a "positive development."
And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, displaying the cold-blooded indifference to human rights that has characterized her approach to China, said, "Let's see if we can begin to turn (the) relationship (with Venezuela)."

Meanwhile, our beleaguered ally Colombia, which has done so much to stem the drug trade and to develop centrist and stable governance, still waits for ratification of the bilateral free trade agreement. And it will continue to wait. When Sens. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., learned that the U.S. and Colombia were in negotiations to enhance cooperation against narcotraffickers, they expressed their dismay in a letter to the secretary of State, warning against closer ties with our most loyal ally in the region.

The Obama administration's reaction to the Zelaya case in Honduras and ongoing weakness toward Hugo Chavez reveal everything you need to know -- they don't know who our friends are.

Ted Kennedy is dead

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

If you are in the CIA, Quit!

CYA. Clean your desk. Update your CV and leave behind an ungrateful government led by a community organizer from Chicago. Get out of Dodge and let the Democrats and Left start doing some creative writing to explain their felonious assault on American security the next time America gets hit by her enemies. Do your duty and quit en masse to wake up action in Americans who can help.

You did your job, a dangerous job in dreadful times for people that do not have enough courage to object to this coming charade. False sympathy for terrorists and sanctimonious pronouncements from the loathing left are your present and future. The crusade has begun, and the Holderites will be supported by the non-intellectual slugs that lard the American electorate. The sanctum sanctorum of American Intelligence will be trashed and defaced.

Thank you for your service. Have a nice day.

One of the previously knifed by the Democrats and the left

Obama, wasting your wealth, wrecking your future.

Think this run-away national debt it bad? It gets worse. Look at THIS

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not enough troops in Afghanistan; Now what?

Keeping it real. The more the Taliban kill, the more encouraged they will become to kill more Americans. That is how they roll.

The Afghans will play a war of attrition longer than the US public will tolerate and the US military can afford. The Afghans have outlasted every adversary that has tried to beat them at that game on their turf. Afghanistan is a land locked tribal theme park that does not function as a country. It is a medieval narco-religious insane asylum where some good unfortunate people are trapped.

That is their misfortune. It is not our mission to help them. Theirs is a Darwinian fate. It is not our problem.
It is best to leave them alone.

If the Taliban make the mistake of allowing AQ to regroup in Afghanistan, we can respond in a way that the Taliban will regret.

In the not too distant past, the US military could have destroyed AQ camps at will, with weapons of our choice and killed them and their supporters on the cheap. That did not happen. Ask why not.

Who stopped the US from doing so? Americans stopped them. Government lawyers stopped them. American politicians stopped the US military from killing AQ in situ. If you choose not to kill your enemy and they escape and come back to kill you, you lose. You deserve to lose.

We spend hundreds of billions on weapon systems that can slaughter enemies wholesale. Use them. If we do not have the national stones to use those weapons, don't kid yourselves and think a GI knocking on an Afghan door is an acceptable alternative.

Go big or stay home.


U.S. Military Says Its Force in Afghanistan Is Insufficient

Published: August 23, 2009

BAGRAM, Afghanistan — American military commanders with the NATO mission in Afghanistan told President Obama’s chief envoy to the region this weekend that they did not have enough troops to do their job, pushed past their limit by Taliban rebels who operate across borders.

The commanders emphasized problems in southern Afghanistan, where Taliban insurgents continue to bombard towns and villages with rockets despite a new influx of American troops, and in eastern Afghanistan, where the father-and-son-led Haqqani network of militants has become the main source of attacks against American troops and their Afghan allies.

The possibility that more troops will be needed in Afghanistan presents the Obama administration with another problem in dealing with a nearly eight-year war that has lost popularity at home, compounded by new questions over the credibility of the Afghan government, which has just held an as-yet inconclusive presidential election beset by complaints of fraud.

The assessments come as the top American commander in the country, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, has been working to complete a major war strategy review, and as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, described a worsening situation in Afghanistan despite the recent addition of 17,000 American troops ordered by the Obama administration and the extra security efforts surrounding the presidential election.

“I think it is serious and it is deteriorating,” Admiral Mullen said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “The Taliban insurgency has gotten better, more sophisticated, in their tactics.” He added that General McChrystal was still completing his review and had not yet requested additional troops on top of the those added by Mr. Obama.

The American commanders in Afghanistan spoke this weekend with Richard C. Holbrooke, Mr. Obama’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Over the past two days, Mr. Holbrooke visited all four regional command centers in Afghanistan, and the message from all four followed similar lines: while the additional American troops, along with smaller increases from other NATO members, have had some benefit in the south, the numbers remain below what commanders need. The total number of American soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan is now about 57,000. It was unclear whether the commanders told Mr. Holbrooke exactly how many additional troops might be required.

Eastern Afghanistan, in particular, has been a trouble spot. On Sunday, during Mr. Holbrooke’s stop at the Bagram military base, Maj. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of the United States and NATO forces in eastern Afghanistan, told him and visiting reporters that the Haqqani network was expanding its reach. “We’ve seen that expansion, and that’s part of what we’re fighting,” he said. American commanders believe that the network, whose leaders Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin have been linked to Al Qaeda, are using sanctuaries in Pakistan to launch attacks against American and Afghan forces.

The problems in Afghanistan have been aggravated by what the American commanders call the Pakistani military’s limited response to the threat of militants based there. Although General Scaparrotti said that cooperation by Pakistan and the United States against the militants had improved recently, he stressed that it was important for the Pakistanis to keep up the pressure, particularly after the reported killing of the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud.

That echoed concerns from Obama administration officials who worry that with the absence of Mr. Mehsud, who was the Pakistani government’s enemy No. 1, the military would shift its emphasis away from the tribal areas where the Taliban and Al Qaeda operate. “They think it’s ‘game over,’ ” one senior administration official said. “It’s more like, ‘game over, next level.’ ”

The White House has been concerned about declining support for the war among the American public. After recent polls illustrating the decline, Admiral Mullen and Karl W. Eikenberry, a retired general who is the ambassador to Afghanistan, went on Sunday talk shows to discuss the direction of the mission.

“I’m certainly aware of the criticality of support of the American people for this war and in fact, any war,” Admiral Mullen said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And so certainly the numbers are of concern. That said, the president’s given me and the American military a mission, and that focuses on a new strategy, new leadership, and we’re moving very much in that direction.”

He said, “I believe we’ve got to start to turn this thing around from a security standpoint in the next 12 to 18 months.”

Mr. Holbrooke visited regional command centers in Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif and Bagram on Saturday and Sunday. Speaking to Afghan reporters at the NATO base in Mazar-i-Sharif, Mr. Holbrooke said that part of the new strategy would include reaching out to members of the Taliban who show a willingness to lay down their arms. Many Taliban fighters, Mr. Holbrooke said, “fight because they’re misguided, or because they want a job.”

“Anyone who renounces Al Qaeda and comes back to work peacefully in the Afghan system,” he continued, “will be welcome.”

American lawmakers intensified their criticism of President Hamid Karzai, saying his government had not done enough to crack down on corruption and the drug trade that fuels the insurgency. Senator Robert P. Casey Jr., Democrat of Pennsylvania, told reporters at a dinner on Sunday at the American Embassy in Kabul that he had told Mr. Karzai, “There’s going to come a time when the patience of Americans will run out.” Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, who was also at the dinner, said: “Time is not running out next week, but they have to show results. It’s the last chance.”

Concerns about fraud in the election have brought more complaints to Afghan officials. Mr. Karzai’s main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, told a news conference in Kabul on Sunday that the number of suspected irregularities had been “alarming.”

Afghanistan’s Election Complaints Commission said Sunday that it had made a priority of investigating 35 complaints, including allegations of ballot stuffing, voter intimidation and violence. The commission, jointly led by Western and Afghan officials, said it had received 225 complaints of irregularities.

Carlotta Gall contributed reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan, and Eric Schmitt and Brian Knowlton from Washington.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thank you for your service.

Semper fi

Hat Tip: Hugh Hewitt

Bad timing for a luxury vacation in Martha's Vineyard

This morning's polling by the recent Rasmussen survey has Obama at the lowest point yet recorded for his short presidency. He has a -14% "approval index." Only 27 percent now "strongly approve" of Obama's performance, while 41 percent "strongly disapprove." This comes out as he finds himself in Martha's Vineyard.

It is clear from the morning talk shows that many on the left feel that they have been sold a bill of goods by Obama. They may be unhappy but have no where else to go, but hey did not get Obama elected.

The people that got Obama elected were the white middle class that wanted to give him a chance. They did and they are not getting much back except a nagging fear that they made a mistake.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Britain should be ashamed and alarmed

There is nothing wrong with devolution by delegating power to local authorities. There is also nothing wrong with compassion. Like all things in life it is a matter of balance and degree. British authorities shirked responsibility in the Megrahi disgrace by claiming that the semi-autonomous Scottish government, which can take decisions independently of London on justice matters but not foreign affairs. The idea is preposterous.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband insisted Friday that Britain had left the decision solely to Scotland. If that is so Miliband should be fired or resign for being an ass. Libya clearly recognized the political impact of the release and took full advantage including handing out Scottish flags for the hero's welcome. The only thing missing was Megrahi in a kilt.

Kadhafi himself thanked Queen Elizabeth and Gordon Brown. What bullshit is being served from London.

If a country allows an internal entity to make decisions that have external political implications it has ceded sovereignty. To suggest otherwise is false. Just as false as the absurd idea of compassion that a convicted mass murderer needs to go home because he has cancer. Megrahi is a cancer, a human tumor that should have been dead years ago.

The only person convicted for the murders of 270 people in the bombing of an airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988 is free. Britain deserves scorn and shame.

White House Adds $2 Trillion to Deficit Forecasts and Obama goes to Martha's Vineyard

Ron Paul earlier this year.

How could anyone believe anything Obama says about any new spending program?

In the last three days Obama’s budget office announced the government’s deficit for 2009 will total $1.58 trillion, about $262 billion less than forecast in May. They said it is reduced because we will not be spending additional stimulus money.

Obama assures us that a comprehensive overhaul of the health care system will reduce costs. Sure. Got that.

Now we learn that there has been a slight miscalculation of $2 trillion in deficit projections. With that leaked President Obama took Air Force One to Martha's Vineyard for his first-ever presidential vacation, which the White House called "well earned."


White House Adds $2 Trillion to Deficit Forecasts

By Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 22, 2009

The nation would be forced to borrow more than $9 trillion over the next decade under President Obama's policies, the White House acknowledged late Friday, bringing their long-term budget forecast in line with independent estimates.

The new projections add approximately $2 trillion to budget deficits through 2019. Earlier this year, the administration had predicted that Obama's policies would require the government to spend $7.108 trillion more than it collects in tax revenue over the next decade.

An administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the report will not be formally released until Tuesday, said the change is due primarily to updated projections of economic growth that are far less rosy than data used when the White House released its first long-term budget outlook in February. At that time, the White House predicted the economy would shrink by 1.2 percent this year; in fact, the economy shrank at an annualized rate of 6.4 percent in the first quarter, the sharpest drop since 1980.

Critics called the administration overly optimistic, charging that Obama's figures masked the depth of the nation's fiscal crisis and falsely suggested that his policies would stabilize the nation's growing debt to China and other foreign creditors.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has predicted that Obama's policies would force the nation to borrow $9.1 trillion between 2010 and 2019. Like the White House, the CBO is scheduled to release an updated forecast on Tuesday.

Ramadan Kareem from B. Hussein Obamadan

"May God's peace be upon you."

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Garrison Girls

The Daily Mail specializes in the more important news that is fit to read. I applaud then for their service. And speaking of service, a group of military wives launched their own full-frontal assault today - bravely baring all in a nude calendar in honor of their husbands.

The 'Garrison Girls' - wives of men from all three Armed services - have bared all in a tastefully-shot set of black and white photos.

Each artistic picture depicts the girls - who are all between 19 and 40 and have no previous modelling experience - posing with flags and pieces of military uniform. 19 to 40, that works.

Kenny MacAskill, an astonishing fool and stooge of the left.

Kenny boy came to prominence inside the Scottish Nationalist Party through his activities in the left wing 79 Group and became a party office bearer. In the 1980s he led the "Can't Pay, Won't Pay" campaign in opposition to the Poll Tax.

After MacAskill became on MSP in 1999 upon the establishment of the Scottish Parliament as a regional list member for the Lothians he moderated his political position, seeing the development of the Scottish Parliament as the most achievable route for Scotland to become an Independent Nation State. In this respect he was regarded as having adopted a gradualist approach to Scottish independence in place of his previous fundamentalist position. He was one of former SNP leader John Swinney's closest supporters.

In 1999 MacAskill was detained in London before the Euro 2000 second leg play-off match between Scotland and England on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly. As he was not charged with any crime the incident did not affect his position within the SNP and he won re-election at the 2003 election.

In 2004, after John Swinney stood down as SNP party leader, Kenny MacAskill backed the joint leadership ticket of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. He had initially intended to stand for deputy leader himself on a joint ticket with Nicola Sturgeon, who would have sought the leadership. He gave way when Salmond reconsidered his earlier decision not to seek re-election to the leaders position. Upon their election as leader and depute leader respectively MacAskill was selected to be the SNP's depute leader in the Scottish Parliament, making him the shadow Deputy First Minister.

MacAskill authored a book, 'Building a Nation - Post Devolution Nationalism in Scotland', which was launched at the SNP's 2004 annual conference in Inverness. He has since edited another book 'Agenda for a New Scotland - Visions of Scotland 2020' and has co-authored 'Global Scots - Voices From Afar' with former First Minister Henry McLeish. WIKIPEDIA