“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, January 31, 2014

Use the Farce, Luke

It Takes A Greener Potemkin Village

(Reuters) - China will look into establishing a nation-wide trading system for pollution permits as part of efforts to use market mechanisms to help clean up its environment, the country's top environment official said.

They'll look into it, but in reality, China is sitting on a sea of coal with a very high sulfur content as essentially their only in-house source of energy and they're not about to go all Al Gore on us.  But hey, that Kyoto thing that the world beats up the United States for not signing in 1997 because of the big China-sized loophole in it, it's working out great.  See the skies over Shanghai lately?  They're even sending some of their pollution over here along with their shipping containers full of lead-sodden baby pacifiers.  Share and enjoy.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Is REVOLUTION possible against the overwelming force of government?

KIEV — The Globe and Mail

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his entire cabinet resigned Tuesday as the country’s parliament met in an extraordinary assembly to consider proposals to end months of violent protests across the country.

Mr. Azarov’s resignation is unlikely to satisfy the demands of the protesters or opposition leaders who have taken to the streets for months demanding that President Viktor Yanukovych step down.

Reports emerged Tuesday that the resignation may even lead to Russia reconsidering its $15-billion bailout offer to Ukraine.

But President Vladimir Putin said Russia would honour its obligations even if the opposition formed the next government. The loan was to “support the people of Ukraine, not the government. It’s the people, the common people that suffer,” Mr. Putin told a news conference after talks with European Union leaders in Brussels.

However, he said Russia would be monitoring Ukraine’s economic health closely as the loan needed to be repaid.

Last week, Mr. Yanukovych offered to replace Mr. Azarov with the main opposition leader, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. However, Mr. Yatsenyuk turned down the proposal.

“In an effort to provide for additional opportunities for a social political compromise, to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, I’ve decided to offer my resignation as Prime Minister,” Mr. Azarov said in a statement Tuesday. “The conflict in the state threatens the social and economic development of Ukraine and threatens the entire Ukrainian society and every individual citizen.”

Mr. Yanukovych accepted the resignation of Mr. Azarov and named former central banker Serhiy Arbuzov as interim prime minister. The president will now try to form a new government

During Tuesday’s parliamentary session members voted to repeal most of the anti-protest measures adopted earlier this month to crack down on the protests. They also voted to consider an amnesty for protesters who have been arrested. Both proposals were supported by the Party of Regions, the party of Mr. Yanukovych which holds a majority in parliament.

Mr. Yanukovych agreed last week to scale back the laws and he has said he would consider an amnesty for those who have been arrested, providing protesters cleared the streets of the many barricades they have erected.

On Tuesday, Parliament suspended for the day without considering the amnestry proposal. The debate is supposed to resume Wednesday.

Most of the streets around the parliament were blocked off by hundreds of police wearing riot gear. Police also put up a series of concrete blocks to restrict access along a main thoroughfare.

Throughout the morning thousands of supporters of Mr. Yanukovych streamed into a park in front of the parliament, many arriving by bus from various regions. By 10 a.m. the park was filled with people waving the Party of Region’s blue and yellow flag and wearing bright red stickers saying “Stop Maidan”, a reference to the protesters. A television screen had been set up on a giant stage to broadcast the parliamentary debate and party officials gave periodic speeches denouncing the protesters for “prostituting Ukraine for the Europeans” and suggesting that the anti-Yanukovych movement was a “CIA plot to take over the country”.

“I support the legitimate policies of the president who I voted for,” said Illena Obelets, who manages a government housing project in Kiev and came to show her support for Mr. Yanukovych. She accused the protesters of having fascist elements, saying they have broken laws and illegally forced out 10 regional governors who had been appointed by the President. “I think every person has the right to voice their own opinion but that right has passed the barriers of normalcy. Some of [the protesters] are very radical protesters. … I think that in Canada this would not be possible.”

Another pro-Yanukovych supporter, Zhana Harnesh, said the protesters should be put in a cage and thrown in jail. “The authorities we have are within the law and they were chosen by the electorate. No one has the right to change that,” she said.

But not everyone shared that view. Walking down a street near the parliament, Yuri Ivanovych pointed to a line of police and sneered; “These are the people who beat us up.”

The “maidan is for the people,” he added. “It defends human rights.”

Inside parliament, the debate was tense, with one opposition member showing up wearing a bulletproof vest. “This is my moral protest against what’s happening,” author Maria Matios, a member of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform told reporters. “I never would have thought that we’d be living in the cross hairs of a Kalashnikov.”

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Flawed Priorities

•Ban abortion with Constitutional amendment. (Party platform plank, Aug 2000)

•Try again with the Human Life Amendment, no rape or incest exception (Aug 2012)

•Constitutionally define marriage as one man & one woman. (Aug 2012)

•Jail time and school drug testing deters drug use. (Sep 2004)

•The Broader Middle East Initiative spreads democracy. (Sep 2004)

•School, libraries should ban porn from their computers. (Aug 2000)

•Afghanistan is liberated and the American people are safer. (Sep 2004)

•One percent cut in military pensions to pay for subsidies to farmers (Budget, Jan 2014)

Monday, January 27, 2014


We had the financial crisis, the meltdown, and then a string of bad ugly economic numbers fought off by a FED with QE and the stock market climbed up significantly from the bottom it hit.  Now, the economic numbers are starting to look ok, the FED is tapering QE, but the markets are shaking.  Will we see an improving economic climate with a falling stock market much as we saw a declining economy with a rising stock market?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Republican Machine Circa 1898

An excerpt from "The Bully Pulpit" by Doris Kearns Goodwin

"...Unlike other political bosses, Senator Platt "did not use his political position to advance his private fortunes."  He lived simply and had few interests beyond the powerful network he had meticulously constructed and nurtured over the decades.  To keep control of the political organization he required regular revenue from the corporate world "in the guise of contributions for campaign purposes" and donations for "the good of the party."  These sums were distributed to his select candidates for the state legislature with the "gentlemen's understanding" that they could be counted upon for important votes, particularly when an issue touched upon the corporations that fueled the machine.  The public had small awareness and less understanding of this threat that Roosevelt labeled the "invisible empire".
                                       "The Bully Pulpit", Doris Kearns Goodwin, Blithedale Producitons, Inc. 2013

I wonder what the invisible empire looks like today?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Are Israel's critics fueling a new anti-Semitism? - CBC debate Jan 24, 2014

While driving in to work this morning this debate was playing on my car radio.  I thought of you all while listening to it.
It is relevant to the recent discussions here with respect to the notion that criticizing Israel is a new variation of anti-Semitism.
It is well worth the listen.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

NAACP official sez sole black Republican senator is just a ventriloquist dummy

But it's the Tea Party that's really racist, see, that's the important thing to know.

An NAACP official suggested Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black Republican in the Senate, is a GOP puppet.

"A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy," said Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP. "The extreme right wing down here finds a black guy to be senator ... and then he goes to Washington, D.C., and articulates the agenda of the Tea Party."

The comments by Barber, made this weekend ahead of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, were first reported by The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C.

Scott, who was appointed by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to his post, said Barber is an example of "what not to do" when honoring King's legacy.

"To reflect seriously on the comments a person, a pastor, that is filled with baseless and meaningless rhetoric would be to do a disservice to the very people who have sacrificed so much and paved the way," Scott said in a statement. "Instead, I will honor the memory of Dr. King by being proactive in holding the door for others and serving my fellow man. And Rev. Barber will remind me and others of what not to do."

Scott reflected on how he was raised by a single mother, nearly failed high school, started his own business and got himself elected to Congress, first as a House member in 2010.

"As a proud South Carolinian, I see and have experienced the hopes and dreams of Rev. King," Scott said. "I am thankful to live in a country where people are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. I have benefited from those who sacrificed, suffered and even died so that I might live in a place where freedom is real."

Scott is on the ballot this year as he seeks to serve out the last two years of Jim DeMint's term. DeMint resigned to become president of the Heritage Foundation. Scott is the first black Republican elected to Congress from South Carolina since Reconstruction.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Breaking News.  Palestinians arrested for attempting to murder Americans again.

Palestinians, Residents of Jerusalem arrested for plotting to suicide bomb the US Embassy in Tel Aviv.

More updates.

The three, all Palestinians, allegedly planned simultaneous terror attacks on Jerusalem's International Convention Center and the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. They were arrested Dec. 25

Meanwhile, those cut from the same clothe are threatening the Olympics.

Sochi Olympics terrorism threat: Two more Islamic 'black widow' suspects identified

Let's all remember that this ain't the 1st time the Olympics were threatened...

The Munich Massacre. Palestinian Liberation Organization's attack on Israeli athletes.


Like or not, wanting to admit it or not....

The WORLD is learning what is like to be an Israeli.

Today, we are all Israelis...

More details reported from Debka.  

The Jerusalem court and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) disclosed Wednesday, Jan. 22, that three Palestinians were in custody having been recruited by al Qaida for three separate suicide operations in conjunction with 5 North Caucasian terrorists due to enter Israel as tourists on fake Russian passports.

The weather in Normandy was rainy but the restaurants and company more than made up for it

A friend of mine asked what we should have. I made the error of saying it all looked so good.


After too much wine and a local apple cordial, they wanted me to take their picture trying on my hat.

I could have sold that hat five times
Good fun ! 

Winter storm sweeps US, hits mid-Atlantic and Northeast, causing flight chaos and government office shutdown

A massive winter storm packing up to a foot of snow, strong winds and icy temperatures slammed into the northeastern United States on Tuesday, canceling flights, closing government offices and sending children home from school.
The sprawling storm, which stretched for a 1,000 miles between Kentucky and Massachusetts, could bury BostonpastedGraphic.pdf in up to 15 inches of snow while delivering 10 to 14 inches to Philadelphia, a foot in New York City and up to 10 inches in Washington, D.C.pastedGraphic_1.pdf area, the National Weather Service and Fox affiliates reported.
Authorities warned of heavy winds and hazardous driving conditions along the east coast as the storm, which began mid-morning, was expected to continue through the late evening hours, with the heaviest snow expected Tuesday afternoon and evening.
Schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky sent students home early on Tuesday or stayed closed for an extra day after the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday.
The storm put a damper on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's inauguration, forcing the cancellation of an evening party on Ellis Island. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick postponed his annual State of the State address, while the Philadelphia Flyers postponed their Tuesday night hockey game.
Both chambers of Delaware's General Assembly canceled sessions Tuesday.
Nearly 3,000 flights were canceled Tuesday, with airports from Washington to Boston affected. An additional 885 flights for Wednesday were called off as well. Amtrak planned to cut back train service in the afternoon.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reduced speeds on interstates and other major roads, and said it had already blown through more than half of its $189 million winter weather budget. 
"Lots of nuisance storms this season have meant that Penn DOT crews have been plowing and treating roads more frequently this winter," agency spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt said. 
The storm is part of a bitter blast of arctic air that is expected to sweep south into Iowa and as far east as Maine by Tuesday night, and remain entrenched through Thursday.
Paul Collar, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said highs could be in the single digits.
"It's not to the extent of the last outbreak, but it's still bitterly cold," he told The Associated Press.
Some areas across the U.S.-Canada border could see nighttime lows in the negative double digits in the next few days, he said.
Portions of Minnesota, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine were under wind chill warnings, meaning wind chills could be 34 degrees below zero or colder.
"With these temperatures you're going to have issues with exposed skin and frostbite, but not to the degree of severity of the last outbreak," he said, describing it as "a normal cold event you'd see in a typical winter."
The last blast of arctic air caused a propane shortage in several states, with some declaring energy emergencies to speed up deliveries.
David Field, the executive vice president of the Ohio Propane Gas Association, told Fox8.compastedGraphic_1.pdf that the Department of Transportation has issued a regional order loosening rules for propane transportation in 10 Midwest states. A similar order is in effect for 14 Eastern states, he said.
“The month of December brought historically cold weather, ice and snow, which further inhibited the transportation of propane. Demand for residential, commercial and agricultural heat soared,” Field told the station. "All these combined to prevent regional inventories from recovering and the existing pipeline and terminal infrastructure has been unable to recover.”
According to the Washington-based Propane Education & Research Council, more than 14 million families use propane to fuel their furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, outdoor grills, fireplaces, clothes dryers, and ranges.
Across the east coast, people tried their best to cope with the cold conditions.
Standing in Philadelphia's LOVE Park with snow swirling around her, visitor Jenn Byrne of Portland, Ore., said the nasty weather put a crimp in her plans to do a "giant walking tour" of the city. But she vowed to soldier on, taking cabs instead of trudging. She wasn't wearing snow boots.
"I'll keep going. Just the means of transportation will change a bit," Byrne said.
Others shrugged off the snow as well.
In Herndon, Va., where voters were casting ballots in a special election that was likely to determine control of the state Senate, Earlene Coleman said she felt obligated to make her selection: "It only made sense to come out and do my duty."
Construction worker Tony Cockrell, stopping for coffee at a Hagerstown, Md., gas station, said he planned to continue driving to work sites in western Maryland and northern Virginia to supervise the installation of insulation in building projects.
"If you don't work, you don't get paid," he said, adding that deep cold is good for business. "We're trying to get stuff insulated so it doesn't freeze up."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Do you remember Cyprus? Do you care?

On the 20th July 1974, Turkey launched a massive military invasion against Cyprus, a predominantly Greek independant island state of the Eastern Mediteranean. By the 18th August 1974, the Turkish invasion forces had occupied 37% of the island's territory and proceeded to ethnically cleanse the areas under its military control of its Greek population.

In total, over 160.000 Greeks from over 150 towns and communities, who made up the overwhelming majority of the population of the Turkish occupied areas and one third of the total island's population, were forced to leave their homes and have since been prevented by the illegal occupation regime from returning there.

Russia-Georgia conflict
Georgia and Russia went to war in August 2008 over South Ossetia, which along with Abkhazia split from Georgia after the Soviet Union crumbled in 1991,
The 2008 conflict resulted in Russia recognising both breakaway regions as independent countries and stationing thousand of troops there in what Tbilisi considers a de facto occupation.
Meanwhile, Moscow battles against North Caucasian armed groups who are seeking their own independent state.

The Chinese Communist government led by Mao Zedong which came to power in October lost little time in asserting a new Chinese presence in Tibet. In October 1950, the People's Liberation Army entered the Tibetan area of Chamdo, defeating sporadic resistance from the Tibetan army.

Muslims Training with US Army Attempt Kidnapping of 12 yr Old Girl in Missouri – Authorities Drop Charges

I realize the Prophet (pbuh) went in for the pre-pubescent girls, but it doesn't fly here in America.

WAYNESVILLE, Mo. • Pulaski County authorities have dropped charges against two foreign military officers who were training at Fort Leonard Wood when they were arrested.

The Rolla Daily News reports that Mohammed Mahmoud Omar Mefleh, of Jordan, and Antoine Chlela, of Lebanon, were charged in October with enticement of a child and harassment. Court records say the men allegedly approached a 12-year-old girl at a bus stop and asked her to enter their vehicle.

Pulaski County prosecutor Kevin Hillman said Friday that the charges were dropped as part of an agreement that includes the men paying the cost of their incarceration. Hillman says they were taken by Fort Leonard Wood officials, and he expects them to be out of the U.S. by Monday. Under terms of the plea, they will not be allowed to return to the country. The men were taking courses at Fort Leonard Wood when they were arrested.
(Missouri Today, January 18, 2014)

Monday, January 20, 2014

As of 20 January 2014, Iran ... has ceased enriching uranium above 5 percent U-235

Iran starts implementing nuclear deal, IAEA report shows

Reuters | Jan 20, 2014, 02.38 PM IST

VIENNA: Iran has halted its most sensitive nuclear activity under a ground-breaking deal with world powers, a confidential UN atomic agency report obtained by Reuters showed, paving the way for the easing of some Western sanctions.

The report by the International Atomic Energy also said Iran had begun diluting its stockpile of uranium enriched to the fissile concentration of 20 percent - a level that took it closer to the capability of producing fuel for an atom bomb.

The IAEA report to member states said: "The Agency confirms that, as of 20 January 2014, Iran ... has ceased enriching uranium above 5 percent U-235 at the two cascades at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) and four cascades at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) previously used for this purpose."

It was referring to Iran's two enrichment plants, at Natanz and Fordow. Cascades are interlinked networks of centrifuge machines that enrich uranium. Iranian state television earlier said Iran had suspended 20 percent enrichment at Natanz and that inspectors were heading to Fordow.

"The suspension of 20 percent enrichment has started at the Natanz plant and the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors are going to the Fordow plant," state TV quoted the deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, Behrouz Kamalvandi, as saying.

The IAEA report also listed other measures Iran had agreed to under the interim accord with the six world powers - the United States, France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia.

Those included an undertaking that Iran would not build any more enrichment sites during the six-month agreement, a step meant to buy time for negotiations on a final settlement of Tehran's decade-old nuclear dispute with the six powers.

Enriched uranium can have both military and civilian purposes. Iran denies Western allegations that it has been seeking to develop the capability to make nuclear bombs, saying it wants only civilian atomic energy.

Kerry and Obama “to lead and to succeed”:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Conga Line - “There are two types of people in this world. People who hate clowns...and clowns. (Bobby Pendragon)”


By: Patrick J. Buchanan
1/17/2014 06:00 AM

“I’ve got a pen,” said President Obama early this week.
“I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions … that move the ball forward.”
“When I can act on my own without Congress, I’m going to do so,” the president added Wednesday at North Carolina State.
Thus did Obama signal that he will bypass Congress and use his executive powers to advance his agenda of national transformation.
This dismissal of Congress has gone almost unprotested. In an earlier age it might have evoked talk of impeachment. But not now.
For though Congress may be the first branch of government in the Constitution, with the longest list of enumerated powers in Article 1, its eclipse has been extraordinary.
Congressional powers have eroded or been surrendered. The esteem in which Congress is now held calls to mind Emily Dickinson: “It dropped so low in my regard/I heard it hit the ground.”
Congress boasts a 13 percent approval, a surge from its all-time low of 9 percent last fall before the budget deal.
While ex-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates expressed disappointment in Obama and Hillary Clinton in his book “Duty,” and was dismissive of Joe Biden, his view of Congress dripped with venom:
“Uncivil, incompetent in fulfilling basic constitutional responsibilities (such as timely appropriations), micromanagerial, parochial, hypocritical, egotistical, thin-skinned, often putting self (and reelection) before country — this was my view of the majority of the United States Congress.”
At Congressional hearings, Gates says he was “exceptionally offended by the constant, adversarial, inquisition-like treatment,” and lines of inquiry that were “rude, insulting, belittling, bullying, and all too often personal.”
Admirers of Obama, Hillary and Biden have all come forward to defend them. Where are the defenders of Congress from this searing indictment by Gates? Almost nowhere.
What happened to Congress? Not so long ago, school children were taught more about Sens. Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun and Daniel Webster than many of the presidents of that pre-Civil War era.
High among the causes of Congress’ decline has surely been the loss or surrender of its constitutional powers — to presidents, the Supreme Court and a federal bureaucracy Congress itself created.
Consider this. Under Article 1, Congress is entrusted with the power to “regulate commerce with foreign nations.”
With the exception of slavery, there was not a more divisive issue before the Civil War than the tariff question. In the Jacksonian era, South Carolina almost seceded over the tariff, and Andrew Jackson threatened an invasion.
Today, Congress first surrendered to the executive the authority to negotiate trade deals, and then passed fast track, denying itself the right to amend those treaties. Congress has restricted itself to a yes or no vote on what the executive negotiates.
The transnational corporations that finance campaigns are delighted.
But as a consequence of NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO, a third of U.S. manufacturing jobs and a huge slice of our manufacturing base have been shipped overseas, and we have run $10 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I.
The stunning industrial decline of the United States has been matched in two centuries only by the USSR.
Congress was granted the power to “coin money” and “regulate the value thereof.” But in 1913, Congress transferred that power to the Federal Reserve.
With the Fed as its steward, the dollar’s purchasing power had fallen to that of a couple of pennies in 1913. And the Fed was responsible for the stock market bubble that bought on the Great Crash of 1929 and Great Depression, and the real estate and stock market bubbles that brought on our own Great Recession.
Yet, the Fed is untouchable.
Though Congress was granted exclusive power “to declare war,” our last declared war was in 1941.
Obama today draws “red lines” and tells nations not to cross them or we bomb, and announces to the world that, in dealing with Iran, “all options are on the table,” meaning war.
But when did Congress authorize Obama to wage war on Iran? Never.
Nor did Congress authorize Bill Clinton to bomb Serbia.
While Congress was granted the power in the Constitution to restrict the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, that court has been on an ideological tear, remaking America without a nod to Congress.
The court has created new rights for criminal suspects out of thin air. It ordered all states to integrate public schools, even if that meant forced busing by race across cities. It declared abortion and homosexual relations to be constitutionally protected rights.
Congress often complained, but almost always did nothing.
Congress has behaved more timidly than the Court, whose justices serve for life. And unlike the president, Congress cannot act decisively or speak with a single voice. It’s a cacophony.
Sundered by party and ideology, with 535 members, and rules and regulations that inhibit decisions and impede action, Congress appears a 19th-century anachronism at sea in a 21st-century world.
Who looks to Congress today as the bulwark of our liberties?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”

100 Percent of Rapes In Norway Committed by Muslim Immigrants….

NARRATOR: “100 percent of assault rape between strangers were committed by immigrant non-western males, and 9 out of 10 of their victims were native Norwegian women. Some blonde Norwegian women have reportedly begun dyeing their hair black and many travel only in groups.”

So says the Norwegian Police, at any rate.  Here they have the Knock Out Game.  There in socialist paradise they have the Take Your Turn Game.  No, blondes don't always have more fun.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

When will a Chinese or Iranian Embassy be taken over and is there anything we can do to make it happen sooner?

With power and influence comes responsibilities....

Iran, seeking the crown or regional hegemony, blessed by the USA via Obama, is now a target.

Of Course, Iran is no stranger to kidnapping....

An Iranian diplomat was killed in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, on Saturday when he resisted gunmen who were trying to kidnap him near the ambassador's residence, the Iranian Foreign Ministry and Yemeni security sources have said.

Iranian Diplomats are now FAIR GAME as Currency.

And of course, China and it's global reach is also perceived as the new rich kid on the block.

Chinese workers are worth a few bucks.

One can only wonder if Iran and China are worried that the technic of kidnapping that both employed for decades are getting pissed that the chickens have come home to roost?

Let's remember the Iranian sponsored attack and ransacking of the British Embassy in 2011

Embassies are only sacred to the West.

Of course there was the Benghazi attack that murdered 4 American diplomats

Of course this all leads to the allowable and permissible usage of the "RED CROSS" or RED CRESCENT" Ambulance as actual military transports...

Or as Assad has done the TARGETING of Hospitals.

Maybe the GOOD thing that has come of the recent wars in the Arab world and the growing power of China is the abandonment of so called "Western Rules of War".

Maybe the targeting of schools, civilians, hospital and embassies is the new normal.

For which, this writer, thanks the Islamic peoples and the Chinese for ushering in the new normal.

Molan Labe

When you’re the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and you set up a booth at the largest gun show in the world, you’re gonna have to expect some shenanigans from the gun enthusiast attendees.

One particularly clever 2nd Amendment supporter snuck up to the ATF booth and committed one of the more hilarious acts of political commentary we’ve seen in a long time:

Sorry dude.

For those not in the know, “Molon Labe” has been taken up by 2nd Amendment defenders as a slogan meaning, “come and take them,” referring to firearms. It’s reportedly what Spartan king Leonidas said in retort to the Persian demand that they lay down their arms at the famous battle at Thermopylae. I’m told that since there is no perfect transliteration of the original Greek into English, “Molan Labe” is a reasonable version as well as the more traditional “Molon Labe.”

While we cannot condone vandalism, we salute the wit of the gun right advocate in his modest act of civil disobedience.

Friday, January 17, 2014

From Al Jeezera....

An Al Jazeera Arabic anchor recently asked his audience why Arab armies, and, in particular, the regime of Bashar al-Assad, in Syria, can’t behave more humanely towards civilians, like the Israeli and French armies do?

al-Jazeera sez: Spain becomes first country to rely on wind as top energy source

Spain is the first country in the world to draw a plurality of its power from wind energy for an entire year, according to new reports by the country’s energy regulator and wind energy advocacy group Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE).

Wind accounted for 20.9 percent of the country’s energy last year — more than any other enough to power about 15.5 million households, with nuclear coming in a very close second at 20.8 percent. Wind energy usage was up over 13 percent from the year before, according to the report.

This oughta make our friend Rufus Very Happy as he tilts against the dragon of Big Oil.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Watch those USB thumb drives gentlemen

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.

While most of the software is inserted by gaining access to computer networks, the N.S.A. has increasingly made use of a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the Internet, according to N.S.A. documents, computer experts and American officials.

The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target

Today the US Senate is about to vote Israel a virtual blank check — for war on Iran. The Israeli Firsters - AIPAC and Bibi Netanyahu will be given the ability to drag the American people into war.

As we approach the centennial of World War I, we will read much of the blunders that produced that tragedy of Western civilization.
Among them will be the “blank check” Kaiser Wilhelm II gave to Vienna after the assassination by a Serb terrorist of the Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand.
If you decide to punish the Serbs, said the Kaiser, we are with you.
After dithering for weeks, Austria shelled Belgrade. Within a week, Germany and Austria were at war with Russia, France and Great Britain.
Today the Senate is about to vote Israel a virtual blank check — for war on Iran. Reads Senate bill S.1881:
If Israel is “compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” the United States “should stand with Israel and provide … diplomatic, military and economic support to the Government of Israel in the defense of its territory, people and existence.”
Inserted in that call for U.S. military action to support an Israeli strike on Iran, S.1881 says that, in doing so, we should follow our laws and constitutional procedures.
Nevertheless, this bill virtually hands over the decision on war to Bibi Netanyahu who is on record saying: “This is 1938. Iran is Germany.”
Is this the man we want deciding whether America fights her fifth war in a generation in the Mideast? Do we really want to outsource the decision on war in the Persian Gulf, the gas station of the world, to a Likud regime whose leaders routinely compare Iran to Nazi Germany?
The bill repeatedly asserts that Iran has a “nuclear weapons program.”
Yet in both 2007 and 2011, U.S. intelligence declared “with high confidence” that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.
Where is the Senate’s evidence for its claim? Why has Director of National Intelligence James Clapper not been called to testify as to whether Tehran has made the decision to go for a bomb?
Why are the American people being kept in the dark?
Are we being as misled, deceived and lied to about Iran’s “weapons of mass destruction,” as we were about Iraq’s?
The bill says that in a final deal Iran must give up all enrichment of uranium. However, we have already been put on notice by President Hassan Rouhani that this is an ultimatum Iran cannot accept.
Even the reformers of Iran’s Green Revolution of 2009 back their country’s right to a peaceful nuclear program including enrichment.
Senate bill S.1881 imposes new sanctions if Iran fails to live up to the interim agreement or fails to come to a final agreement in six months.
Yet the Senate knows that Iran has warned that if new sanctions are voted during negotiations, they will walk away from the table.
Why is the Senate risking, or even inviting, a blowup in these talks?
When the interim agreement was reached, it was denounced by neocons as “worse than Munich.” Now the War Party piously contends this Senate bill is simply an “insurance policy” to ensure that the terms of the deal are met and a final deal reached.
It is nothing of the sort. This bill is a project of AIPAC, the Israeli lobby, designed to sabotage and scuttle the Geneva talks by telling Tehran: Either capitulate and dismantle all your enrichment facilities, or face more severe sanctions which will put us on the road to war.
What terrifies AIPAC and Bibi is not an American war on Iran, but an American rapprochement with Iran.
Who are the leaders of the push for S.1881? Sens. Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez, the biggest recipients of AIPAC campaign cash.
Last weekend, the Obama National Security Council finally belled the cat with a blunt statement by spokesperson Bernadette Meehan:
“If certain members of Congress want the United States to take military action [against Iran], they should be up front with the American public and say so.”
Exactly. For whether or not all these senators understand what they are doing, this is where their bill points — to a scuttling of the Geneva talks and a return to the sanctions road, at the end of which lies a U.S. war with Iran.
A majority of Democratic senators have thus far bravely bucked AIPAC and declined to co-sponsor S.1881. However, all but two Republican senators have signed on.
If, after Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, the GOP has once again caught the war fever, the party should be quarantined from the White House for another four years.
Press Secretary Jay Carney says that if S.1881 passes, Obama will veto it. The president should tell Congress that not only will he veto it, but that if Israel decides on its own to attack Iran, Israel will be on its own in the subsequent war.
Obama should order U.S. intelligence to tell us the truth.
Is Iran truly hell-bent on acquiring a nuclear bomb? Does Iran have a nuclear bomb program? If so, when did Tehran make that decision?
Or are we being lied into war again?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”