Tuesday, September 30, 2008
As I also said in my last post, and as have many others, it falls directly into the lap of the Democrats. It was a straight line party vote to allow Fannie and Freddy to balloon out of control. Too many Democrats were getting fat on this cash cow to have any form of change to stop it from imploding. Obama is in the mix with $125,000 in donations from the 'twins'. Just how did he vote on the fix? Present?
Not one word is heard on the main stream media about fault except, of course, 'it's the Republicans mess for the Democrats to clean up' screams the media and the Democrats. It has always been this way with the liberal Democrats, accuse others, loudly, of your own afflictions.
keep the faith.
How the Democrats Created the Financial Crisis: Kevin Hassett
Commentary by Kevin Hassett
Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- The financial crisis of the past year has provided a number of surprising twists and turns, and from Bear Stearns Cos. to American International Group Inc., ambiguity has been a big part of the story.
Why did Bear Stearns fail, and how does that relate to AIG? It all seems so complex.
But really, it isn't. Enough cards on this table have been turned over that the story is now clear. The economic history books will describe this episode in simple and understandable terms: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac exploded, and many bystanders were injured in the blast, some fatally.
Fannie and Freddie did this by becoming a key enabler of the mortgage crisis. They fueled Wall Street's efforts to securitize subprime loans by becoming the primary customer of all AAA-rated subprime-mortgage pools. In addition, they held an enormous portfolio of mortgages themselves.
In the times that Fannie and Freddie couldn't make the market, they became the market. Over the years, it added up to an enormous obligation. As of last June, Fannie alone owned or guaranteed more than $388 billion in high-risk mortgage investments. Their large presence created an environment within which even mortgage-backed securities assembled by others could find a ready home.
The problem was that the trillions of dollars in play were only low-risk investments if real estate prices continued to rise. Once they began to fall, the entire house of cards came down with them.
Take away Fannie and Freddie, or regulate them more wisely, and it's hard to imagine how these highly liquid markets would ever have emerged. This whole mess would never have happened.
It is easy to identify the historical turning point that marked the beginning of the end.
Back in 2005, Fannie and Freddie were, after years of dominating Washington, on the ropes. They were enmeshed in accounting scandals that led to turnover at the top. At one telling moment in late 2004, captured in an article by my American Enterprise Institute colleague Peter Wallison, the Securities and Exchange Comiission's chief accountant told disgraced Fannie Mae chief Franklin Raines that Fannie's position on the relevant accounting issue was not even ``on the page'' of allowable interpretations.
Then legislative momentum emerged for an attempt to create a ``world-class regulator'' that would oversee the pair more like banks, imposing strict requirements on their ability to take excessive risks. Politicians who previously had associated themselves proudly with the two accounting miscreants were less eager to be associated with them. The time was ripe.
The clear gravity of the situation pushed the legislation forward. Some might say the current mess couldn't be foreseen, yet in 2005 Alan Greenspan told Congress how urgent it was for it to act in the clearest possible terms: If Fannie and Freddie ``continue to grow, continue to have the low capital that they have, continue to engage in the dynamic hedging of their portfolios, which they need to do for interest rate risk aversion, they potentially create ever-growing potential systemic risk down the road,'' he said. ``We are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk.''
What happened next was extraordinary. For the first time in history, a serious Fannie and Freddie reform bill was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. The bill gave a regulator power to crack down, and would have required the companies to eliminate their investments in risky assets.
If that bill had become law, then the world today would be different. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, a blizzard of terrible mortgage paper fluttered out of the Fannie and Freddie clouds, burying many of our oldest and most venerable institutions. Without their checkbooks keeping the market liquid and buying up excess supply, the market would likely have not existed.
But the bill didn't become law, for a simple reason: Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the committee, signaling that this would be a partisan issue. Republicans, tied in knots by the tight Democratic opposition, couldn't even get the Senate to vote on the matter.
That such a reckless political stand could have been taken by the Democrats was obscene even then. Wallison wrote at the time: ``It is a classic case of socializing the risk while privatizing the profit. The Democrats and the few Republicans who oppose portfolio limitations could not possibly do so if their constituents understood what they were doing.''
Mounds of Materials
Now that the collapse has occurred, the roadblock built by Senate Democrats in 2005 is unforgivable. Many who opposed the bill doubtlessly did so for honorable reasons. Fannie and Freddie provided mounds of materials defending their practices. Perhaps some found their propaganda convincing.
But we now know that many of the senators who protected Fannie and Freddie, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Christopher Dodd, have received mind-boggling levels of financial support from them over the years.
Throughout his political career, Obama has gotten more than $125,000 in campaign contributions from employees and political action committees of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, second only to Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman, who received more than $165,000.
Clinton, the 12th-ranked recipient of Fannie and Freddie PAC and employee contributions, has received more than $75,000 from the two enterprises and their employees. The private profit found its way back to the senators who killed the fix.
There has been a lot of talk about who is to blame for this crisis. A look back at the story of 2005 makes the answer pretty clear.
Oh, and there is one little footnote to the story that's worth keeping in mind while Democrats point fingers between now and Nov. 4: Senator John McCain was one of the three cosponsors of S.190, the bill that would have averted this mess.
(Kevin Hassett, director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, is a Bloomberg News columnist. He is an adviser to Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona in the 2008 presidential election. The opinions expressed are his own.)
The fraud and out right lying, cooking the books, about the what was happening in Fannie and Freddy by members of our government tells volumes about how these same people that will be put in charge of fixing the problem they created will react after the money starts to flow again. They stole us blind before and they will do it again now.
Get on the phone right now and tell your Representatives to vote on this new bill hammered out by Rep. Ryan - it's good as we can expect given the short time they have had to get it down and needs to be past. Make sure it is the new version and not the old one proposed earlier in the week. The vote will take place on Thursday or Friday.
Call Now !!!! Keep the faith, we are fighting to save the world. It's who we are.
WHY BAILOUTS SCARE STOX
By ALAN REYNOLDS September 18, 2008 --THE federal bailout of insurance giant AIG is the latest in a series of panicky interventions that add a capricious element of /political uncertainty/ to the market for financial stocks. In essence, these bailouts give bondholders more protection than they'd otherwise see - at stockholders' expense. It's probably true that "something had to be done" in the case of AIG, the nation's largest insurance company with operations in 130-plus countries. But doing something could have meant doing /something else/ - such as offering a secured bridge loan while AIG engaged in some orderly asset sales.
As it is, the US government is charging AIG an interest rate above 11 percent for a well-secured two-year loan of $85 billion. That rate properly includes a fat risk premium above the Treasury's two-year borrowing cost (about 2.2 percent) - but the government is /also/ greatly diluting AIG stockholder equity by taking a 79.9 percent stake in the company.
The nation's largest insurance company has been virtually nationalized, surely a draconian solution.These surprises are always rationalized as a means of "stabilizing markets" or "restoring confidence" - yet the AIG deal is not the first "bailout" to inspire more terror than calm. Left alone, financial markets usually work out the best possible deals among competing interests. Whenever the feds have gotten involved, by contrast, they've taken sides in the tension between stockholders and creditors - invariably throwing stockholders overboard.
Owners of common stock are supposed to be last in line during an /actual/ bankruptcy, getting leftover scraps after creditors pick a firm's assets to the bone. But in anything /short/ of that, patient stockholders stand a decent chance of eventually seeing some recovery in the share price, if and when the firm gets back on its feet. And in the recent crises, bankruptcy was involved only in the case of Lehman - the one time the feds kept their hands off.
From Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Fed chief Ben Bernanke on down, top officials have shown too little confidence in markets and too much confidence in themselves. As a result, anyone who's still holding stock in a financial firm now faces a big new /risk premium/ - because these companies are now subject to compulsory mergers on unfavorable terms (as with Bear Stearns, where the feds initially tried to force stockholders to take just $2 a share) or quasi-nationalization.
This new risk of forced mergers or a government takeover artificially depresses the stock prices of vulnerable firms. And Standard and Poors incorporates equity prices into its credit ratings - so the risk can also bring a downgraded credit rating. And a credit-rating drop triggers regulations that oblige the company to increase its capital - while simultaneously making it nearly impossible to raise capital.
Heavy-handed federal bailouts started this mutually reinforcing spiral rolling downhill by scaring anyone still holding stock in similar firms. And other regulations make it more likely to end badly.What regulations?
Here are two obvious ones:*Capital standards:* These are supposed to discourage more debt than a firm can handle (excess leverage), most obviously by making sure it doesn't have too much debt relative to equity (the market value of its shares). But the new Basel standards try to dictate which sorts of debt are least risky and which sorts of capital are most secure - by looking backward at irrelevant history. The Basel rules have often proved harmful and rarely helpful.*Mark-to-market accounting:*
This means that you have to write your assets down to what they're worth today. Yet putting a market value on securities backed by a bundle of mortgages is nearly impossible right now. Those assets /do/ have value, because most mortgages are paid. But they're very hard to sell in a market now obsessed with playing it ultra-safe. So mortgage-backed securities are illiquid: They can't quickly be converted to cash without taking a big loss. Firms holding too many hard-to-sell but solvent securities may likewise be illiquid, but not truly insolvent. Mark-to-market, in other words, is artificially turning a big problem into a disaster.
So let's be careful about looking to more government regulation as the solution - and ponder the unintended consequences of "bailouts" of foreign creditors at the expense of domestic stockholders.Every blunder of government regulation invites an understandable impulse to give failed regulators more money and power. Yet financial markets invariably notice looming financial problems (e.g., Enron) /months/ before credit-rating agencies notice anything amiss - regulators even lag behind the rating agencies.
In the process of turning US taxpayers into /involuntary/ stockholders in AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, federal bullies shoved the voluntary stockholders into the ditch. Bear Stearns stockholders weren't treated much better.If you're still brave enough to own stock in other financial firms not yet blessed with such enlightened assistance from the feds, those precedents should make you nervous. So how could anyone possibly expect these "bailouts" to improve market confidence?
Alan Reynolds is a Cato Institute senior fellow and the author of "Income and Wealth/."Home
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I am convinced that our congress is totally worthless.
They, as a collective body, have only one thing in mind when they come up with ideas like the CAFA fuel mileage standard and that is, how will this help me get reelected and how much money can I scam from lobbyists to throw our own manufactures under the bus.
The members of our congress, for the most part, are completely lacking in any native intelligence. It's like they do things that the average person would never do or even think of doing because they make no sense.
As I mentioned many times before, the Marxist socialist Democrats, members of the New Socialist Progressive Party, NSPP, and some RINO Republicans, have only one thing in mind and that is the destruction of our way of life in America. They want a socialist government with themselves in power. Remember the Soviet Union? That is there goal. Never believe the story that they just want what's best for 'the people'. What a joke!
Keep the faith - fight on. Never give up!
How to Save Detroit And $50 Billion
September 10, 2008
By HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR.
For a sum small compared to their revenues but large in relation to their market caps, the Detroit auto makers were all over the two conventions. Their lobbyists had something to sell -- a plea for $50 billion in federal loans. Congress practically owes us this money, Ford, GM and Chrysler argue -- because Congress slammed us with new fuel mileage mandates that will cost us $100 billion to meet.
John McCain caved. The White House is in the process of caving. Barack Obama didn't need to cave. But before rushing to pass the legislation, there's an easy way to save $50 billion or whatever part of these loans wouldn't be paid back: Just repeal the fuel economy rules.
It must infuriate the auto makers how readily their critics attribute their problems to their own incompetence. Then how to explain that GM is thriving in Europe, selling small cars that get lots of miles per gallon? Buick is among the biggest selling brands in China. GM is running away with Latin America.
The Big Three's problem, to be blunt, is North America. They should have pulled out long ago. Not only did history saddle them with a UAW labor monopoly that their foreign competitors have managed to avoid. Even that might not have been fatal had Congress not enacted its "corporate average fuel economy" rules in the 1970s.
Look at gallons consumed, miles driven, barrels imported or emissions emitted: CAFE has had no significant impact on energy consumption. Its sole practical effect has been to inflict on Detroit the need to produce, with high-cost U.S. labor, millions of small cars designed to lose money. ( The Slickster's bold)
CAFE has to be the most perverse exercise in product regulation in industrial history. It confronted the Big Three with the choice only of whether to lose a lot of money, by matching Toyota and Honda on quality and features; or somewhat less money, by scrimping on quality and features and discounting, discounting, discounting. Rationally, they scrimped -- and still live under a reputational cloud in the eyes of sedan buyers. Yet notice that their profitable product lines, in which they invest to be truly competitive -- such as SUVs, pickups and minivans -- hold their own against the Japanese and command real loyalty among U.S. consumers.
Let us have a moment of nonflagellating realism. Toyota is as capable of poor market timing as GM or Ford -- witness its multibillion-dollar bet on the Tundra pickup. It flies in the face of human and business realities to imagine that, generation after generation, Detroit hired idiots while Toyota recruited geniuses -- though that's the usual explanation of Detroit's troubles.
Had CAFE not existed, there is no reason the Big Three today could not be competitive.
As businesses do, they would have allocated capital to products capable of recovering their costs. Investments in fuel efficiency would still have taken place -- to the extent consumers valued those investments. That is, if they were profitable. If Washington found this unsatisfactory, it could have done as the Europeans do and raised fuel taxes to coax the public to make different choices. Politically inexpedient? Well, yes, but that doesn't mean CAFE is an effective substitute.
It isn't and never was."When exposed to the piercing light of economic analysis, the alleged benefits of more stringent CAFE standards burn away," Robert Crandall of the Brookings Institution wrote here last year. "Too bad these proposals will not be subjected to economic scrutiny before they become law."Yup. We won't second-guess Detroit's political behavior during its 30-year fuel economy captivity, which consisted mostly of offering lip service to Congress's delusions.
It might have done as Volvo, Mercedes, BMW and others did, and simply paid fines for failing to meet the targets. No doubt its friends in Congress advised that doing so would only make its political situation worse.
Having squandered the domestic auto industry's capital on millions and millions of cars that lost money, now Congress will squander the taxpayer's capital. It will lend the auto makers $50 billion to invest in fuel efficiency innovations that, by definition, won't command from car shoppers a price high enough to cover the cost of making them. Which makes it very unlikely we will get the $50 billion back.
Bottom line: Fifty billion won't turn CAFE into effective policy. It will do just fine, though, as an indicator of Washington's willingness to throw good money after bad rather than admit the folly of its own long-running handiwork.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
What we are facing is something far worse than just financial gain or loss, we are in the throws of a moral crisis like never before. We have allowed our government to become irrelevant. Our elected government has morphed into a bunch of self serving money grabbers that don't give a damn for the country or it people. It's about getting and keeping power long enough to become wealthy and powerful. Nothing else matters.
The question I have, does anyone care what congress has to say and, when they say it, do you believe what they say? Does congress have credibility? According to the last pole taken, 9% thought they did. That is the lowest in history. I know it's lower than that today given the performance record that has come to light in recent days with the collapse of Fannie and Freddy.
Keep your eyes open on this one as this will be a 'water shed' saturation to reflect on in November. Keep this in mind when you go to pull the lever for Democrats as they are directly responsibility for this mess.
No? Don't believe it? It started in 1996 with Bill Clinton, Franklin Raines, Barney Frank, Jim Johnson, Christoper Dodd and Jamie Garlick and I think with Rep. Mudd had a hand in this thing to. Of course all the Democrats voted straight line to defend the operation when McCaine demanded better oversight.
The they looted the Fannie and Freddy of 230 million in wages and bonuses. Barney Frank is under investigation for 'cooking' the books, Raines has to be a part of this as well, to show more money so he and others could get bigger bonuses and wages. All Democrats!!
Ever wonder why Nacncy Pelosi doesn't call for an investigation into how this all happened? -da - Everyone that is involved are Democrats. Here is a Pelosi term that she used to deflect scrutiny of Democrats in congress. She used it on Republicans. Now we will use it on her and her fellow Democrats - They are a culture of corruption.
The following has a lot to say about us that stand on the side lines wonder what is going on and deciding we are too busy to get involved - we will just let this all play out. Of course when we wake up one morning to find we don't have a life anymore, what will be the first thing that comes to mind? We will find someone to blame.
We will find we are in chains and not know it - wait - many of us are in chains now and they don't know it and don't care!! How can this be - How can 48% of the voting public vote for John Kerry? How did the Democrats get in control of congress in '06? Who voted for these people? Look at the mess we have now in congress since they took power - what have they accomplished in the last two years? Nothing except create disaster.
Keep the faith - we must fight on all levels to win.
Subject: FW: A German's View on Islam
A German's View on Islam. This is by far the best explanation of the Muslim terrorist situation I have ever read. His references to past history are accurate and clear. Not long, easy to understand, and well worth the read.
The author of this email is said to be Dr. Emanuel Tanay, a well known and well respected psychiatrist. A German's View on Islam.
A man, whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II, owned a number of large industries and estates.
When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism. '
Very few people were true Nazis,' he said, 'but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen.
Then, before we knew it, they owned us and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.'
We are told again and again by 'experts' and 'talking heads' that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace.
Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the spectra of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.
The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history.
It is the fanatics who march.
It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide.
It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. I
It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor-kill.
It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque.
It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning andhanging of rape victims and homosexuals.
It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers.
The hard quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the 'silent majority,' is cowed and extraneous.
Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant
China's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.
The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.
And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were 'peace loving'?
History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence.
Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.
Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.
As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.
Lastly, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand.
So, extend yourself a bit and send this on and on and on! Let us hope that thousands, world wide, read this and think about it, and send it on - before it's too late.
Emanuel Tanay, M.D.2980 Provincial St.Ann Arbor, MI 48104734-997-0256
Monday, September 22, 2008
I have posted on this in the recent past but there is always new information to consider when seeking the truth.
Keep the faith.
Heritage Foundation reports:
At what may be a monumental cost to American taxpayers, the federal government has seized control of financial behemoths Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two vestiges of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society that subsidize mortgages. Many analysts have deemed their instability a threat to the American economy.
Now that the seizure is official, some planners on the Left support growing government control over mortgages and housing even further.
But that's not the right solution. Heritage experts chart out what the government's next steps should be-starting with the break-up and privatization of Fannie and Freddie.
"The next President and Congress should allow Fannie and Freddie in their current form to wither to extinction," J.D. Foster, David John and Stephen Keen argue. "The private sector is ready, well-prepared, and subject to the proper incentives to continue to ensure a steady flow of correctly priced capital to America's housing markets."
The Fannie and Freddie takeover is the latest case of politicians disregarding free enterprise ideals when politically expedient, the International Herald Tribune reports. That's why it's so important that The Heritage Foundation continue its work to educate lawmakers about the importance of holding true to these principles.
- David Talbot
Sunday, September 21, 2008
The important thing here is if we don't have enough energy now there won't be a generation in the future that will have to worry about energy consumption. Most of their would-be foreparnets died from exposure. Sound extreme? Think about it with environmentalists standing in the way of coal fired plants, more oil exploration and recovery as well as refusing to build nuclear power plants, the cleanest of all energy generations systems.
As we all know these systems take five to six years to build or more and place on line, where as fossil fuel powered units can be on line in half the time. What is the motivation of the liberal Democrats like Pelosi and Reid to turn their backs on this problem by refusing to even talk about the ever increasing need for energy?
I believe they want to wait until after the election, and believing they we win and control congress, will say ' we care and the Republicans don't. We will take care of you. We will dirll now and save the country'. If they don't win. I believe the battle will continue as the congress, controlled by liberal Democrats, will block every attempt to increase our domestic energy supplies.
Just think, if we could stop buying most of our oil from over seas, our trade deficit would be lowered by 700 billion a year. Why are the Democrats against this? Why do the Democrats hate the American people? Better yet, why do the Democrats hate America?
Keep the faith why you ponder these questions before November. Join the battle to save our country from the Democrats.
BLACKOUT BRITAIN WARNING
Sunday September 7,2008
Britain is “quite simply running out of power” and blackouts are almost inevitable within the next few years.
This is the stark warning from the head of an energy think-tank who believes power cuts could be serious enough to spark civil disorder. Campbell Dunford of the respected Renewable Energy Foundation said: “It’s almost too late to do anything about it. Nothing will stop us having to pay very high prices for power in future.“If we pull our finger out now we can limit blackouts but it’s going to be pretty grim whatever happens.”Gordon Brown pledged last week to end Britain’s reliance on the “dictatorship of oil” but Mr Dunford believes the Prime Minister’s new interest in the security of energy supplies may have come too late.
Only last Thursday, National Grid issued an urgent call for power after a series of power station breakdowns. Suppliers were asked to bring all their available generating capacity online, including costly oil-fired stations.
In May, hundreds of thousands of people in Cleveland, Cheshire, Lincolnshire and London suffered blackouts when seven power stations were closed.The electricity industry estimates it needs to spend £100billion on new stations to ensure supplies.
The “retirement” of a string of nuclear and coal-fired power stations will see 37 per cent of the UK’s generation disappear by 2015, partly because of EU environmental directives. An REF report predicts that the neglect of the power infrastructure will lead to a series of grim consequences, particularly electricity and gas price rises as Britain could be held to ransom by such foreign energy producers as Russia.
Blackouts could force the Government to impose electricity rationing, last seen in the Seventies. The REF report says the Government “should prepare itself to intervene with social policy to prevent hardship and maintain order”. It criticises ministers for focusing too heavily on such untried renewable energy sources as wind and tide power, rather than making sure that secure new power generation was put in place. The report concludes: “A near fatal preoccupation with politically attractive but marginal forms of renewables seems to have caused a blindness towards the weakening of the UK’s power stations and a dangerous and helpless vulnerability to natural gas.” The REF warns that as many as nine million people could be plunged into fuel poverty, defined as spending more than 10 per cent of their income on energy bills.
Ministers are already under massive pressure to do more to help people trapped in fuel poverty this winter because of soaring prices. Up to six million families are expected to face a stark choice between heating and eating following the series of massive energy price rises that have made a mockery of Labour’s target to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016. Mr Dunford said worse was to come: “Certainly we’re going to be heading to eight or nine million in fuel poverty.“The people who are vulnerable are old people and the single mums. They rely on power.“If you are a single mum 14 storeys up in Hackney, you depend on electricity for everything in your life, even the water pumped to your flat, the lifts, the food and so on.“There’s a very real chance that power, will not even be there when you need it. That’s when you start worrying about social disorder.”
Ministers have launched a belated plan to plug Britain’s energy gap, including the construction of a string of nuclear power stations. Power stations take up to a decade to build though and many experts believe the Government’s move has come too late.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
This is just for fun, so kick back and enjoy the play on words - if you don't at least smile at some of these you must be having a hard time coming to grips with reality.
But hey, not to worry, just think about how cool it would be to be a conservative where knowing the truth about life and it's ups and downs will definitely bring a smile to your face. After all, as the saying goes, "know the truth and the truth will set you free".
Heh - so relax and enjoy the freedom by keeping the faith, being able to laugh is winning the battle. I edited out some that were not ' smiley' ones.
Philosophy of Ambiguity For those who love the philosophy of ambiguity...here's to you!
2. One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor....
3. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
4. If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?
5. The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.
6. I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman,"Where's the self-help section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.
7. What if there were no hypothetical questions?
8. If a deaf person swears, does his mother wash hishands with soap?
9. If someone with multiple personalities threatens tokill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?
10. Is there another word for synonym?
11. Where do forest rangers go to "get away from itall?"
12. What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?
13. If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish hiswages?
14. Would a fly without wings be called a walk?
18. If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?
19. Why do they put Braille on the drive-through bank machines?
21. What was the best thing before sliced bread?
22. One nice thing about egotists: They don't talk about other people.
24. Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoyadultery?
26. If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest drown too?
27. Can an atheist get insurance against acts of God?
28. If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?
29. Whose cruel idea was it for the word "lisp" tohave "S" in it?
30. Why are hemorrhoids called "hemorrhoids" insteadof "assteroids"?
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Can this be happening in America?
His idea for America is to build a socialist state that answers all questions for all occasions by a power that is control entirely by him from Washington. Will his grab for power include violence? Check out William Ayers resume, Obamas close friend.
You are known by the company you keep!
Keep the faith.
Resume of a Terrorist:
Obama's Buddy Ayers August 31, 2008 by Jim Kouri -
While the likes of the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and other news organizations have their reporters digging for dirt on Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain's choice for vice president, their savior-in-waiting Barack Obama is getting a free ride at the expense of truth. It's no secret that the denizens of America's newsrooms want Obama sitting in the Oval Office, but Americans are being purposely duped by the Democrat National Committee's volunteer publicists, formerly known as the mainstream news media.
If it weren't for talk radio and the blogosphere, even what is known about Obama and his friend, former Weather Underground domestic terrorist and leader William Ayers, would only be a paragraph or two in the backpages of most newspapers, or a sentence or two on most TV and radio news programs.
On Friday night, one of America's top talk show hosts -- who happens to be an attorney and worked in the Reagan Justice Department as chief of staff -- recited a list of terrorist acts that would elicit envy from Osama bin Laden. Mark Levin had his listeners glued to their radios or PCs as he read the resume of a man who should be serving life in prison instead of enjoying a tenured professorship at a major university and entertaining a possible US President in his home.
Because of so-called "prosecutorial misconduct" Ayers escaped what could have been a life-sentence.
As I write this "resume of a terrorist," I find it difficult to understand how a man who is running for president of the United States would even know someone as anti-American and destructive as William Ayers. Plus, Ayers, his wife and their comrades at the Weather Underground are cop-killers. And Obama doesn't just know him personally -- he's a close friend with Ayers. Here is the "resume" of an American terrorist:
7 October 1969 – Bombing of Haymarket Police Statue in Chicago, apparently as a 'kickoff' for the 'Days of Rage' riots in the city October 8-11, 1969. The Weathermen later claimed credit for the bombing in their book, 'Prairie Fire.
'8-11 October 1969 – The 'Days of Rage' riots occur in Chicago in which 287 Weatherman members from throughout the country were arrested and a large amount of property damage was done.
6 December 1969 – Bombing of several Chicago Police cars parked in a precinct parking lot at 3600 North Halsted Street, Chicago. The WUO stated in their book 'Prairie Fire' that they had did the explosion.
27-31 December 1969 – Weathermen hold a 'War Council' meeting in Flint, MI, where they finalize their plans to submerge into an underground status from which they plan to commit strategic acts of sabotage against the government. Thereafter they are called the 'Weather Underground Organization' (WUO).
13 February 1970 - Bombing of several police vehicles of the Berkeley, California, Police Department .
16 February 1970 – Bombing of Golden Gate Park branch of the San Francisco Police Department, killing one officer and injuring a number of other policemen.
6 March 1970 – Bombing in the 13th Police District of the Detroit, Michigan. 34 sticks of dynamite are discovered. During February and early March, 1970, members of the WUO, led by Bill Ayers, are reported to be in Detroit, during that period, for the purpose of bombing a police facility.
6 March 1970 – 'bomb factory' located in New York's Greenwich Village accidentally explodes. WUO members die . The bomb was intended to be planted at a non-commissioned officer's dance at Fort Dix, New Jersey. The bomb was packed with nails TO INFILICT MAXIMUM CASUALTIES UPON DETONATION.
30 March 1970 – Chicago Police discover a WUO 'bomb factory' on Chicago's north side. A subsequent discovery of a WUO 'weapons cache' in a south side Chicago apartment several days later ends WUO activity in the city.
10 May 1970 – Bombing of The National Guard Association building in Washington, D.C..
21 May 1970 – The WUO under Bernardine Dohrn's (Ayers' current wife) name releases its 'Declaration of a State of War' communique.
6 June 1970 – The WUO sends a letter claiming credit for bombing of the San Francisco Hall of Justice; however, no explosion actually took place. Months later, workmen in this building located an unexploded device which had apparently been dormant for some time.
9 June 1970 - Bombing of The New York City Police Headquarters.
27 July 1970 - Bombing of The Presidio army base in San Francisco. [NYT, 7/27/70]
12 September 1970 – The WUO helps Dr. Timothy Leary, break out and escape from the California Men's Colony prison.
8 October 1970 - Bombing of Marin County courthouse. [NYT, 8/10/70]
10 October 1970 - Bombing of Queens traffic-court building . [NYT, 10/10/70, p. 12]
14 October 1970 - Bombing of The Harvard Center for International Affairs [NYT, 10/14/70, p. 30]
1 March 1971 - Bombing of The United States Capitol . ' [NYT, 3/2/71]
April, 1971 – abandoned WUO 'bomb factory' discovered in San Francisco, California.
29 August, 1971 - Bombing of the Office of California Prisons . [LAT, 8/29/71]
17 September 1971 - Bombing of The New York Department of Corrections in Albany, NY [NYT, 9/18/71]
15 October 1971 - Bombing of William Bundy's office in the MIT research center. [NYT, 10/16/71]
19 May 1972 - Bombing of The Pentagon . [NYT, 5/19/72]
18 May 1973 - Bombing of the 103rd Police Precinct in New York
28 September 1973 - Bombing of ITT headquarters in New York and Rome, Italy . [NYT, 9/28/73]
6 March 1974 - Bombing of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare offices in San Francisco31 May 1974 - Bombing of The Office of the California Attorney General.
17 June 1974 - Bombing of Gulf Oil's Pittsburgh headquarters .
11 September 1974 – Bombing of Anaconda Corporation (part of the Rockefeller Corporation).29 January 1975 - Bombing of the State Department in (AP. 'State Department Rattled by Blast,' The Daily Times-News, January 29 1975, p.1)
16 June 1975 - Bombing of Banco de Ponce (a Puerto Rican bank) in New York .
September, 1975 – Bombing of the Kennecott Corporation .
October 20, 1981 - Brinks robbery in which several members of the Weather Underground stole over $1 million from a Brinks armored car near Nyack, New York. The robbers murdered 2 police officers and 1 Brinks guard. Several others were wounded.1981 'Guilty as hel*. Free as a bird. America is a great country,' Ayers said when interviewed by David Horowitz.
September 11, 2001 'I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough.' Ayers is quoted in a New York Times article.
Message to the News Media: Instead of trying to dig up dirt on Sarah Palin, why don't you cover indepth stories such as the Obama-Ayers relationship just for starters. If you need more leads for stories regarding Senator Obama and other unsavory characters, contact me at this publication.Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's the new editor for the House Conservatives Fund's weblog. Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old Texas rancher, whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man.
Eventually the topic got around to Obama and his bid to be our President.
The old rancher said, "Well, ya know, Obama is a 'post turtle'." Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a 'post turtle' was.
The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a 'post turtle'."
The old rancher saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued to explain.
"You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, he doesn't know what to do while he is up there, and you just wonder what kind of a dumb ass put him up there!."
AT THE BARBERSHOP
John McCain and Barack Obama somehow ended up at the same barbershop. AsThey sat there, each being worked on by a different barber, not a word was spoken. The barbers were even afraid to start a conversation, for fear itWould turn to politics.
As the barbers finished their shaves, the one who had Obama in his chairReached for the aftershave. Obama was quick to stop him saying, "No thanks, my wife Michelle will smellThat and think I've been in a whorehouse,"
The second barber turned to McCain and said, "How about you?" McCain replied, "Go ahead, my wife doesn't know what the inside of a whorehouse smells like."
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Americans have this sense of 'secure destiny' built into their very souls - nothing can happen that will change their personal lives as long as they live here. Well, I think that is about to change. We can not save everyone that gets into trouble nor should we try.
I to have that feeling. I never thought I would ever see over half of our government admit to being socialists, not directly but their personal agenda fits the Marxist precepts. I never thought I would see half of the population support a Marxist socialist agenda. But here we are in the twenty first century and a huge number of citizens believe Barack Obama is the one to lead us to new horizons. Barack is a far left of center as anyone in history to run for President of the United States.
We live in dynamic times which means we have to adjust our thinking to cope with these changes and not be bowled over by meaningless rhetoric from those the promise much but can not deliver anything of substance. We know what will happen - our history has shown us what to expect if we allow these people in power.
As for the Detroit big three auto makers, they must 'stand and deliver' or shut the doors.
Keep the faith though, things are not nearly as bad as they look on television - the fight goes on.
Detroit's Blackmail Attempt Is Beyond Shameless*
By PAUL INGRASSIA September 8, 2008*
It was only a matter of time, unfortunately. And now that Michigan is an election-year swing state and Detroit's auto makers are posting sales declines topping 20% each month, the time has arrived. The issue of a government bailout for General Motors, Ford and Chrysler is moving to center stage.
Barack Obama has said yes to this proposal early on, and last week John McCain climbed on board. So much for change and fighting pork-barrel spending. We're moving beyond moral hazard here, folks, and into a moral quagmire. At least the Chrysler bailout of 1980 was structured so that taxpayers could reap a reward for taking a financial risk on the company's future. That's not what's happening now.[Ingrassia]David Gothard
Late last year, in its energy bill, Congress authorized $25 billion of low-interest loans to high-risk borrowers -- a strategy perfected by home-mortgage lenders in recent years. In this case the high-risk borrowers are the loss-plagued Detroit car companies. The loans are supposed to help them develop new, fuel-efficient cars, and retool their factories to produce them. Detroit, not being satisfied with this taxpayer largess, wants $50 billion.This is bad public policy for reasons of philosophy, practicality and precedent. And by the way, this is a dumb idea for the car companies too, simply in terms of their own self-interest.
Philosophically, if the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae debacles teach us any lesson, it is that subsidizing private profits with public risk is a terrible idea. Implicit government backing has led the managements of these two companies to make reckless investments that have backfired badly. Now government backing has become explicit, and under the plan announced by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson yesterday, taxpayers likely will pay billions to keep Fannie and Freddie solvent -- with the exact amount uncertain.
The Detroit Three got into their current quandary by making decades of bad decisions, with some help from the United Auto Workers union. Yet despite the current crisis, General Motors is still paying dividends to shareholders, the car companies are paying bonuses to executives, and the private-equity billionaires at Cerberus who bought Chrysler are trying to reap enormous rewards from their risky investment. Meanwhile the UAW's Jobs Bank -- which pays laid-off workers for doing nothing -- remains in place.
Of course, we can all hope that shareholders do well, that executives reap handsome rewards for work well done, that the Cerberus billionaires make more billions on Chrysler, and that workers get paid on whatever terms the car companies agree. But we taxpayers shouldn't subsidize any of this. The only reason we should bail out any private company is the risk that its demise would wreak havoc on the entire economy. Bear Stearns conceivably passed the test; its collapse could have threatened the U.S. financial system, and the government didn't make the mistake of bailing out shareholders or management.
But just what calamity are we trying to avoid by subsidizing loans to Detroit? That we'll all be sentenced to the indignities of driving Hondas, Mazdas or BMWs? Toyota and Honda, the current leaders in hybrids and alternative-fuel technology, did their research and development on their own dimes.
Even if Ford, GM and Chrysler were to go out of business -- and it's highly unlikely that all three will simply cease to exist -- there will be plenty of good cars for Americans to buy. And many will be made in America, even if they carry foreign nameplates. Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai and other foreign car companies have expanded greatly their U.S. manufacturing operations in recent years. They're doing so because Americans are buying their cars.
As a practical matter, Americans could choose to buy more Detroit cars. Frankly, they should -- considering such outstanding products as the Ford Focus, a fuel-efficient and comfortable compact, and the Chevrolet Malibu, a terrific new mid-sized sedan. But they're not. Americans are voting with their dollars, which is their right.
And what about the precedent the government would set? If we bail out Detroit, where do we stop? The newspaper industry is in financial trouble because more readers and advertisers are turning to the Internet. Newspapers are good for democracy -- Thomas Jefferson said he would choose newspapers over government, after all -- so shouldn't they get low-interest government loans to help them adjust to the Internet? Of course not, and ditto for Detroit.
If Detroit's auto makers would apply more than knee-jerk analysis to what's being proposed, they would reject it quickly. No matter what their spin, including the patently absurd claim that government-guaranteed, below-market loans aren't a bailout, loan subsidies will paint them in the public mind as corporate welfare recipients that can't compete on their own. That can't be good for sales.
More fundamentally, the last thing these companies need just now is more debt. They are leveraged to the hilt, and risk climbing into a financial hole from which they'll never recover. Better to raise money by selling more assets (e.g., Ford's recent sale of Jaguar and Land Rover) or raising more equity -- even if new investors would require management changes or other measures.
All this said, if Detroit's short-sightedness and political expediency make a bailout inevitable, let's make sure taxpayers stand to get rewarded for their risk. In 1980, the government didn't lend any money directly to Chrysler, instead guaranteeing loans to the company made by private lenders, mostly banks, in the amount of $1.2 billion (bailouts, like everything else, were cheaper back then). But in return, the government got warrants to buy Chrysler stock at a very low price. When Chrysler staged its spectacular recovery and paid off the bank loans seven years early, the warrants soared in value and the government earned some $400 million.
Then CEO Lee Iacocca tried to get the government to forego its profits -- he even got into a telephone shouting match with Treasury Secretary Donald Regan. But Regan, backed by President Reagan, stuck to his guns. One other stipulation: any low-interest loans to develop fuel-efficient cars should be made available to all car companies, not just the Detroit Three. The law passed by Congress last year is framed to make this highly unlikely. But if developing fuel-efficient and alternative-energy cars is deemed worthy of taxpayer subsidies for public-policy purposes, it's just common sense not to put all our eggs in Detroit's basket.
*Mr. Ingrassia, a former Detroit bureau chief for this newspaper, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for his automotive coverage. He writes on automotive issues for The Journal, Condé Nast Portfolio and other publications.**Write to* Paul Ingrassia at email@example.com
If we only have someone else's knowledge in bits and pieces, that is, someone else's agenda, we can't make informed decisions that we must make to lead good and honest lives. The choose is ours to make - we can open our minds to all available information that surrounds us from all sources, sift out that information that doesn't meet even the basic rules of common sense, then retain and store the information that we believe is founded in fact for future use.
The alternative is to allow ourselves to become mere puppets, dancing at the end of a string to the tune of people and organizations we don't know, and, worse, don't care.
As this little story points out - we have the right to choose how our lives will be lived. If we decide it is to difficult to make these decision, then you also have to be able to live with the consequences.
Keep the faith - choose to fight the good fight.
John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood
and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"
He was a natural motivator.
If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the
employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.
Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, "I don't get it!
You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?" He replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or ... You can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood.
Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.
Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept
their complaining or... I can point out the positive side of life. I choose
the positive side of life."
"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.
"Yes, it is," he said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations.
You choose how people affect your mood.
You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life."
I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.
After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.
I saw him about six months after the accident.
When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins...Wanna see my scars?"
I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.
"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my
soon-to-be born daughter," he replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live."
"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. He continued, "...the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me
into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I
knew I needed to take action."
"What did you do?" I asked.
"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said John. "She asked if I was allergic to anything 'Yes', I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity'."
Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."
He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his
amazing attitude.. I learned from him that every day we have the choice
to live fully.
Attitude, after all, is everything .
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34.
After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Keep the faith - the battle goes on anyway.
The Real Culprits In This Meltdown
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
Posted Monday, September 15, 2008 4:20 PM
Big Government:* Barack Obama and Democrats blame the historic financial turmoil on the market. But if it's dysfunctional, Democrats during the Clinton years are a prime reason for it.
Obama in a statement yesterday blamed the shocking new round of subprime-related bankruptcies on the free-market system, and specifically the "trickle-down" economics of the Bush administration, which he tried to gig opponent John McCain for wanting to extend. But it was the Clinton administration, obsessed with multiculturalism, that dictated where mortgage lenders could lend, and originally helped create the market for the high-risk subprime loans now infecting like a retrovirus the balance sheets of many of Wall Street's most revered institutions.
Tough new regulations forced lenders into high-risk areas where they had no choice but to lower lending standards to make the loans that sound business practices had previously guarded against making. It was either that or face stiff government penalties.
The untold story in this whole national crisis is that President Clinton put on steroids the Community Redevelopment Act, a well-intended Carter-era law designed to encourage minority homeownership. And in so doing, he helped create the market for the risky subprime loans that he and Democrats now decry as not only greedy but "predatory."
Yes, the market was fueled by greed and overleveraging in the secondary market for subprimes, vis-a-vis mortgaged-backed securities traded on Wall Street. But the seed was planted in the '90s by Clinton and his social engineers. They were the political catalyst behind this slow-motion financial train wreck. And it was the Clinton administration that mismanaged the quasi-governmental agencies that over the decades have come to manage the real estate market in America.
As soon as Clinton crony Franklin Delano Raines took the helm in 1999 at Fannie Mae, for example, he used it as his personal piggy bank, looting it for a total of almost $100 million in compensation by the time he left in early 2005 under an ethical cloud.
Other Clinton cronies, including Janet Reno aide Jamie Gorelick, padded their pockets to the tune of another $75 million. Raines was accused of overstating earnings and shifting losses so he and other senior executives could earn big bonuses.
In the end, Fannie had to pay a record $400 million civil fine for SEC and other violations, while also agreeing as part of a settlement to make changes in its accounting procedures and ways of managing risk. But it was too little, too late. Raines had reportedly steered Fannie Mae business to subprime giant Countrywide Financial, which was saved from bankruptcy by Bank of America.
At the same time, the Clinton administration was pushing Fannie and her brother Freddie Mac to buy more mortgages from low-income households. The Clinton-era corruption, combined with unprecedented catering to affordable-housing lobbyists, resulted in today's nationalization of both Fannie and Freddie, a move that is expected to cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.And the worst is far from over. By the time it is, we'll all be paying for Clinton's social experiment, one that Obama hopes to trump with a whole new round of meddling in the housing and jobs markets.
In fact, the social experiment Obama has planned could dwarf both the Great Society and New Deal in size and scope.There's a political root cause to this mess that we ignore at our peril. If we blame the wrong culprits, we'll learn the wrong lessons. And taxpayers will be on the hook for even larger bailouts down the road.
But the government-can-do-no-wrong crowd just doesn't get it. They won't acknowledge the law of unintended consequences from well-meaning, if misguided, acts. Obama and Democrats on the Hill think even more regulation and more interference in the market will solve the problem their policies helped cause.
For now, unarmed by the historic record, conventional wisdom is buying into their blame-business-first rhetoric and bigger-government solutions.While government arguably has a role in helping low-income folks buy a home, Clinton went overboard by strong-arming lenders with tougher and tougher regulations, which only led to lenders taking on hundreds of billions in subprime bilge.
Market failure? Hardly. Once again, this crisis has government's fingerprints all over it.
Monday, September 15, 2008
As this article points out, the 90's mentality, under the liberal boot of defeatism and restructuring our military to reflect the liberal agenda of 'more dialogue' and less violence to accomplish the need for world wide statesmanship in conflicts, resulted in a downsized military popularized by generals that were, and still are, in the camp of the same liberal Democrats that want to defeat the military and America today.
Witness the liberal congress that fought 'tooth and nail' to crush victory in Iraq. The liberal Democrat and their puppet generals will continue to work to reduce American influence world wide. The Georgian disaster is just the first test of our will to stand and be counted. As we all know, we failed the first test.
Keep the faith, join the battle for the new American military.
Cold Warriors and the Georgian Crisis
September 6, 2008
*By Tony George* http://www.americanthinker.com/tony_george/
Russia's bait and switch plan using South Ossetia militiamen to goad the Georgian Army into an ill-advised attack and then ride to the rescue of its newly minted Russian citizens, was a masterful operation using all of the tools in the combined arms and services toolbox. And while there will be no new Cold War the Russian offensive into Georgia has revealed that despite our individual unit superiority, our military is no longer the global hyper-power as touted by the Pentagon's PR machine.
Russia went into Georgia to accomplish its regional goals simply because Putin realized that a weakened West could only respond with a lot of shouting and diplomatic finger-pointing. Debate continues on even the basic issues of whether or not Georgia is even worth defending to retain as a valued ally; I happen to think that beyond any discussions of promoting democracy, that we are perilously close to losing a key geo-strategic linchpin in the GWOT and a vital roadblock with which to counter Putin's brand of resource nationalism.
Many urge the West to get serious about rebuilding their militaries to deal with the situation. This will be tough to do since the West has all but ignored the lessons of combined arms warfare in the years after the Cold War. Witness Germany's proposed garage sale of Leopard II main battle tanks to Turkey a few years ago. We must realize that institutionally, the military and their adolescent cohorts in the legislatures of the US and Europe are equally responsible for our lack of preparedness to militarily play the Great Game.
In the last several years, the Cold War itself has become a pejorative term for old fogey, ancient warrior, unthinking robot, geo-political simpleton -- you get my drift. In fact, Army Training and Doctrine Command sent out its guidance four years ago that we must divest ourselves of all of those old Cold War tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP). Essentially, everything related to the Cold War must go. To which I would ask, like what -- defeating the enemy using all the means at hand?
The messengers went out to the Army's service schools inculcating a new breed of Soldiers to not look back at what the cavemen had accomplished. Perhaps these revisionist history and diversity sessions were well-intentioned. But they nevertheless came across as classes in generational disrespect instead of acknowledging the Cold Warriors' achievements and victories in battle.The popular notion that the Cold War was won almost without a shot being fired is misleading. It was obviously not a general conflict, but a global cat-and-mouse game which inevitably produced real casualties.There were, in fact, plenty of shots fired; on the training and maneuver ranges, during reconnaissance overflights (Francis Gary Powers, anyone?), while protecting our installations, and during regional proxy wars that the powers that be would like you to forget.
If these engagements don't get your attention, how about this: the Cold Warriors have in fact gone into a real hot war. In terms of the armed forces' organization, equipment, and training, Desert Shield and Desert Storm saw the pure raw power generated by modern combined arms forces as they outmaneuvered and outfought Saddam's army. This wasn't a pushover because the Iraqis were a complete bunch of bumpkins; it was a victory because Saddam took on the best trained and equipped Coalition on the face of the planet. The Cold Warriors had gone hot, and well, what did the world expect? That we would fret and wring our hands over every Hellfire strike or neighborhood raid like they do now?
Desert Storm was the real dagger in the heart of Soviet communism and it was delivered by the Cold Warriors who built upon the foundation of decades of vigilance and preparation. The Soviet Union was desperately trying to influence the crisis while salvaging one of their client states and best customers in Saddam Hussein. At one point, Iraq's armaments consisted of 57 percent Russian produced weapons. That's a lot of revenue down the drain if the Coalition attacked.
While Gorbachev stubbornly held on to the idea of a viable USSR, then-Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze resigned in December 1990 to leave Tarik Aziz alone at the bargaining table in a futile effort to convince Secretary of State James Baker to call off the Coalition. While we were able to gauge relative strengths globally and deploy an entire Army corps from Europe to the Middle East to ensure victory, the Soviets were rendered irrelevant; unable to muster or move trained forces to the battle area. This was a scenario that would come back to haunt us in 2008.
Almost immediately after the ODS victory parades in Washington, DC and NYC, the intelligentsia proceeded to cheapen our Cold War victory. Sober thought pieces appeared in the nation's newspapers philosophizing on the reasons for the demise of the Soviet Union.
Despite just having witnessed the awesome display of combat power in the Gulf, deep thinkers ruminated on the favorite idea of the day that Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines didn't matter; it was the only the economic factors that caused the Soviet empire to dissolve from within. One writer even went so far as to proclaim that it was US-made blue jeans that had a more significant impact than the deployment of Pershing II missiles or the refitting of Army units with the new M1 tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles.
The American left has always had a soft spot for the USSR, and in its death throes, continued to invent excuses for its failures much as it has been doing since the 1930s. Today is no different. Now we have TV shows to thank for winning the Cold War. While you are admiring Larry Hagman don't forget to thank those who froze their hind ends off on the DMZ in Korea on the East German border for several decades.
Ironically, Russia has just shown off its capabilities. The Russian tanks of August and airborne units that just invaded Georgia went on a general offensive in some of the most difficult terrain on Earth. The combined arms team has again made its mark in a grand fashion -- even over the mountain passes of the Caucasus. And unlike our incomplete victory in the Gulf War, the Russians exercised their power to utterly defeat their enemies and to destroy the Georgian infrastructure.
The question then comes up: why has it been so painful and so long to achieve a similar victory in Iraq? A large part of the answer can be found in one of the most incomprehensible shifts in warfighting philosophy during the 90s drawdown. That time saw not only a severe reduction in manpower and capabilities, but also witnessed an Army ignoring the inherent fighting ability of the combined arms team while simultaneously refusing to resource its operations, instead preferring to tout the benefits of going light.
Later, in the aftermath of victory in OIF, the leadership in theater was reluctant to commit the heavy combined arms team even though the means were at hand to pursue and destroy enemy forces moving into the Sunni Triangle. One gets the impression that what should have been a basic employment of forces is now in the "too hard to do" category.In a then-hotly debated article at the end of 2005, Brigadier Nigel Aylwin-Foster of the British Army wrote about changing the US Army so it would be more proficient at conducting counter-insurgency operations.
I find much to argue with the good general on COIN theory and practice, but overlooked is his assertion that the problem is not that we are refusing to divest ourselves from the Cold War, but quite the opposite, that the Army ‘de- professionalised' during the 1990s. He says that the"...culmination of the Army's post Vietnam re-professionalisation came in the `91 Gulf War, when the Army was probably 'the most integrated and professional yet produced by the USA.
However, over the next 6-8 years it became more bureaucratised, centralised and correspondingly less professional. It was just starting to recover from this when 9/11 happened and it became unavoidably committed to such extensive and challenging operations."In other words, the leadership has become bogged down in minutiae and has failed to adapt according to tried and true warfighting principles.
Iraq really isn't an argument about COIN versus conventional war; it's a failure of the profession of arms to do what is right to achieve victory. "Improvise, overcome, and adapt" has become "regroup, do another plan, and then re-train ad infinitum."The US military's reaction to Russia's attack is all too typical.
In Patrick Casey's blog from August 15th, he relates an AEI event where Lt. Col. Bob Hamilton of the U.S. Army, who had just returned from Tbilisi, said,"...the American capacity-building program in Georgia has been focused on developing the skills necessary for conducting counterinsurgency and counterterrorism missions -- not for prosecuting a "full-spectrum maneuver war." An inexperienced senior leadership corps, limited command and control capabilities, and a severe numerical disadvantage against Russia further hindered the Georgian military."
This is as much an excuse for the US assistance effort as it is for Georgia's Army; that is, they just weren't trained in the right form of tactics for a specific situation. Lt. Col. Hamilton's view that they were trained only for COIN is wrong; basic combined arms training did take place. In reality, Georgia's military was built around the logistically cheapest solution possible to satisfy a GWOT requirement to support the Coalition in Iraq, and secondarily provide a springboard for NATO membership.
There was not an intensive, long-term effort to develop a modern warfighting institution. Its four operational brigades were primarily straight-leg infantry with only one composite tank-mechanized battalion, which could not hope to match its Russian counter-part in numbers, in maneuver proficiency, or command and control (we provide all the C2 the Georgians in Iraq need, you see).
Today, the US military does not approach the problem from an operational perspective, but rather from an inside the beltway program analyst viewpoint. If funding was cut from GWOT for Georgia's military establishment, the Pentagon reaction would have been to find another partner for the Coalition, but it would largely ignore the significance of losing a valuable ally in the geo-strategic Caucasus.Lt. Col. Hamilton's rationalization of Georgia's defeat shows that we are a personification of Rainman.
If everything is in place, the terrain is just right, and the enemy cooperates, then we'll do just fine. If these conditions aren't met, well it's time to fund another study, and anyway it's the President's fault that we're fighting there in the first place.
There are more questions than answers at the moment concerning the political- military miscalculations involved in this tragedy. For example, the lack of warning, or perhaps the lack of providing the information to Georgia's government, or maybe that President Saakashvili ignored the warnings are all possibilities which should be examined. An army just doesn't swoop in with a couple of motorized rifle division equivalents with airborne units in a day without some pre-positioning. The signs have been evident for weeks with the typical ploy which entails mobilization for large-scale exercises used as a cover, and then remaining in the area after the exercise is complete.
Yet, as I cautioned at the beginning of this article, there will be no renewed Cold War as we once knew it. Russia certainly wants to regain control of the "near-abroad" - those countries that once were part of the Soviet Union. But Ukraine is a much different problem for the Russian military. And as mentioned in other pieces in AT, the demographic problems the Russians are facing are huge. Not only do they not have replacement birth rates, but military age males are suffering from HIV/AIDS and multi-drug resistant TB at ever increasing rates.
If Russian PR is to be believed, the stuff you hear about "re-structuring" the Russian military into a smaller, more efficient force is because they can't staff the units they have now. But as Georgian veterans of the fighting in the 90s can attest, the Russian units' battle drills are quick and violent - they will hold the field of battle come hell or high water if the opposition show any signs of weakness.
Our problem is that we choose not to fix the disastrous policies of the drawdown and to build a force to protect the democracies we have helped to develop, and to guard what is clearly in our geo-strategic interest. Criticize the President if you must. But don't forget a military and Congressional establishment hell-bent on achieving US military irrelevancy beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. They are concerned instead with the latest round of DoD earmarks. It's time to regain our Cold Warrior mentality and get back in the game.
*Tony George is a pseudonym*/*Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/09/cold_warriors_and_the_georgian.html* at September 06, 2008 - 10:49:36 PM EDT
Sunday, September 14, 2008
The race is through the woods for 40 miles with at least twenty very sharp climbs - some short and some not so short - several steep single track down hills that were rocky and with sand traps at the bottom. Mud puddles every where!
What made it worse was it started to rain about twenty minutes into the race. I finished in little more than four hours and then it really started to rain. I was never so glad to get to a finish line in my life.
At any rate, here is a few slogans that should be used on the campaign trail by the Republicans. Good ones.
"I cling to my guns when I'm hunting moose and cling to my religion when I'm taking care of my family."
"I can play basketball. Can Barack Obama hunt?"
"Hey,Hillary! How you like THEM apples!"
Reagan is back, and this time he's a woman.
Hanging out with terrorists is not experience!!
America still makes 'em like we used to.
Gov. Palin: The American Maggie Thatcher!
McCain Palin, Obama flailin'
McCain-Palin, An American team without question!
President McCain will have Air Force One...Vice President Palin will have Barracuda One!
Our VP is better than your President
Obama wants to raise taxes and kill babies. Palin wants to raise babies and kill taxes.
McCain/Palin - From Tucson to the Yukon
Sarah Palin-Making Clinton sweep up the Glass!
Palin was hunting moose in the snow, while Obama was snorting snow up his nose.
"The Hands That Rocked The Cradle Will Rule The Country"
"McCain/Palin: The Only Way To Prevent Obamanation!"
"Some days you're Palin, some days you're the moose."
Sarah Palin's friends hunt, fish, and contribute to society. Obama's friends rob, steal, and blow up the Pentagon.
"Hey Obama, don't mess with this Momma!"
-- "I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this I believe--that unless I believe, I should not understand."Saint Anselm of Cantebury
"We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe."
Venerable John Henry Newman
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The Democrats find that the only way to gain some of their lost ground is to fabricate information on the war, health care, and, of course, the economy. Even a person that is visually impaired, PC lingo, can see that the liberal Democrats are scared and must resort to any mean possible to try and defeat the Republicans.
As witnessed at the Democrat convention, it was all bad news on the economy and that electing McCain would mean more of the same. This article from the Wall Street Journal lays out just what President Bush has done in the last 7 years to make our economy grow and be more resilient to down turns that can and will occur from time to time.
We are in one of those down turns now. We have been in this saturation before, and when given some thought, heaven forbid, our lives haven't really been challenged all that much in the way we live - right? Look around. What are other people doing. How many people that you know are losing their homes and headed to the park to live in a carb board box? Sure, some peole have made bad decesions but this happens every day of every year. Think it through.
If you want to take the time to check history, it becomes clear this happens on a regular bases in our economy and the world economy as well. This following article is very informative in that the information is gathered from several sources that are free from outside influences, I believe, for the most part.
Keep the faith - life in the fast lane hasn't slowed all that much as I see it! The battle for common sense goes on!
Bush Has a Good Economic Record*
By KEITH MARSDEN September 3, 2008 WSJ
Successive speakers at the Democratic National Convention poured scorn on President Bush's economic record. The clear aim was to justify the party's call for "change," and to undermine support for Republican presidential nominee John McCain. His election would mean a "third Bush term," delegates groaned. [Bush Has a Good Economic Record] Corbis
Yet Democrats cited no good evidence for their claims that the administration has produced a stagnant economy, widening disparities of income and wealth, high unemployment, and a heavy burden of government debt (supposedly resulting from an unwise military intervention in Iraq). How does the performance of the U.S. economy really compare with other advanced economies over the eight years of George Bush's presidency?
Data published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, the International Comparison Program (ICP) (a cooperative venture coordinated by the World Bank) and the U.S. Census Bureau allow a nonpartisan, factual assessment. Here are some of the findings:
U.S. output has expanded faster than in most advanced economies since 2000. The IMF reports that real U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average annual rate of 2.2% over the period 2001-2008 (including its forecast for the current year). President Bush will leave to his successor an economy 19% larger than the one he inherited from President Clinton. This U.S. expansion compares with 14% by France, 13% by Japan and just 8% by Italy and Germany over the same period.
The latest ICP findings, published by the World Bank in its World Development Indicators 2008, also show that GDP per capita in the U.S. reached $41,813 (in purchasing power parity dollars) in 2005. This was a third higher than the United Kingdom's, 37% above Germany's and 38% more than Japan's.
The ICP study found that the average per-capita consumption of the U.S. population (citizens and illegal immigrants combined) was second only to Luxembourg's, out of 146 countries covered in 2005. The U.S. average was $32,045. This was well above the levels in the UK ($25,155), Canada ($23,526), France ($23,027) and Germany ($21,742). China stood at $1,751.-
The U.S. spends easily the highest amount per capita ($6,657 in 2005) on health, more than double that in Britain. But because of private funding (55% of the total) the burden on the U.S. taxpayer (9.1% of GDP) is kept to similar levels as France and Germany. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 84.7% of the U.S. population was covered by health insurance in 2007, an increase of 3.6 million people over 2006. The uninsured can receive treatment in hospitals at the expense of private insurance holders.
While life expectancy is influenced by lifestyles and not just access to health services, the World Bank nevertheless reports that average life expectancy in the U.S. rose to 78 years in 2006 (the same as Germany's), from 77 in 2000.
Income and wealth distribution.
The latest World Bank estimates show that the richest 20% of U.S. households had a 45.8% share of total income in 2000, similar to the levels in the U.K. (44.0%) and Israel (44.9%). In 65 other countries the richest quintile had a larger share than in the U.S. Investment has been buoyant under President Bush. According to the ICP, outlays on additions to the fixed assets (machinery and buildings, etc.) of the U.S. economy amounted to $8,018 per capita in 2005 compared to $4,963 in Germany and $4,937 in the U.K. Higher taxes on the upper-income Americans, as proposed by Mr. Obama, are likely to result in lower saving and investment, less entrepreneurial activity and reduced availability of bank credit. Lower-income Americans would be among the losers.
When considering the distribution of income and wealth in the U.S., another factor that should be taken into account is the sharp rise in the number of immigrants. The stock of international migrants (those born in other countries) in the U.S. grew by nearly 10 million from 1995 to 2005, reaching a total of 38.5 million according to the World Bank. The inflow of migrants may have restrained the growth of average income levels in the bottom quintiles. Nevertheless, their earnings still allowed immigrants to remit $42 billion to their families abroad in 2006, double the level in 1995. So the benefits are widely spread among the families of immigrants remaining abroad -- an important U.S. contribution to the reduction of poverty in these countries.
The U.S. employment rate, measured by the percentage of people of working age (16-65 years) in jobs, has remained high by international standards. The latest OECD figures show a rate of 71.7% in 2006. This was more than five percentage points above the average for the euro area.
The U.S. unemployment rate averaged 4.7% from 2001-2007. This compares with a 5.2% average rate during President Clinton's term of office, and is well below the euro zone average of 8.3% since 2000.
Debt interest payments.
The IMF reports that the interest cost of servicing general government debt in the U.S. has averaged 2.0% of GDP annually from 2001-2008, compared with 2.7% in the euro zone. It averaged 3.2% annually when President Clinton was in office.
The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been largely absorbed in a relatively small increase in the defense budget (to 4.1% of GDP in 2006 from 3.8% in 1995). A much higher proportion of U.S. income was devoted to the military during World War II and the Korean War.
The evidence shows that much of the Democratic Party's criticism of President Bush's economic record is wide of the mark. True, the economic slowdown now affecting most advanced countries will likely result in rising unemployment over the coming months. But thanks to sensible policies pursued by the Bush administration (not always with adequate support from a Democratic-controlled Congress), the U.S. economy is sufficiently flexible to keep unemployment below the 7.7% peak reached in the last postrecession year of 1992.
The main risk is that, if elected, Barack Obama will pursue a "social justice" strategy. This would encompass higher taxes on entrepreneurs, savers and investors, more direct government intervention in the economy, and protectionist policies (including revoking existing trade agreements) aimed at safeguarding the jobs of his union backers in "old" industries and public services. If so, the pain is likely to be more widespread and prolonged.
*Mr. Marsden, a fellow of the Centre for Policy Studies, was formerly an adviser at the World Bank and a senior economist in the International Labor Organization.*