Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Carbon Capture: Clean Coal or Taxpayers Get Taken to the Cleaners?

A funny thing happened while I was reading last week's issue of Ethanol Producer Magazine. A quote by a lawyer addressing a room full of ethanol producers caught my eye and link, link, click, click, I had fallen into the Alice's rabbit-hole future world of carbon capture. In this world there exists a potential industry for capturing that nasty pollutant exhaled by all sentient beings, CO2, and storing it underground, supposedly out of everyone's way. For a brief moment in time, at least, this industry will be highly lucrative for some lucky engineers because billions will be contributed by American taxpayers, you and me, for what the administration deems the good of the world.

My first unsuspecting step toward the rabbit hole occurred when I read a comment by Dave Crass, partner in a law firm that pays attention to such things as "carbon capture." Crass had a few words to the wise for his audience of ethanol producers:
Crass said the idea of a carbon cap-and-trade system is not going to die, even if federal lawmakers are unable to pass a bill. “If congress can’t do it, [President Barack Obama's] administration is going to,” he said. “Congress and the [U.S.] EPA are sort of in a little race to implement climate change regulation. If congress can’t agree on an approach, then the Obama administration is going to press forward with these regulatory approaches.
In Crass' humble opinion, then, it really doesn't matter what the American public desires or wants to pay for. What Obama wants, Obama gets. I can't say that any events I've witnessed since Obama's inauguration contradict that conclusion.

And then I came upon this little headline at Crass' Web site:
U.S. Department of Energy Makes $1.4 billion Available for Carbon Capture and Storage and Beneficial Carbon Dioxide Use
In a nutshell, the good ol' American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes provisions for funding "commercial deployment of carbon capture and storage technology," plus "innovative concepts for beneficial carbon dioxide use." I guess that Mother Nature has not supplied enough photosynthesis power to turn that CO2 stuff into corn, wheat, soybeans, and other primary sources of energy for human and other life forms.

Tune up your keypad, grant applications are due August 7, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Just tell the Department of Energy how you would use that money to "capture and sequester CO2 emissions from industrial sources into underground formations, including deep saline formations and deep geologic systems such as basalts, operating or depleted oil and gas fields, and unmineable coal seams," maybe "under a variety of geologic settings."

Or perhaps you could develop a "novel" approach for converting CO2"to usable products" other than the bubbles in your carbonated beverage.

Don't think somebody's not ahead of you though, way ahead. The International Business Times has been watching:

The U.S. Department of Energy took the next step to granting $1 billion to advance the "first commercial scale carbon capture and sequestration project in the country" developed by the FutureGen Alliance in Mattoon, Illinois. [italics mine].

Does this mean that FutureGen already has the billion on offer tied up? Or is this a different billion all together?


FutureGen is a "clean-coal" power plant project initiated under George Bush back in 2003. "Clean coal" in this case does not mean scrubbing the sooty black stuff out of emissions before releasing them into the atmosphere. No. Here in the U.S. we already have that technology. It means scrubbing the almost non-existent CO2 out of the emissions, in case some escaped and maliciously drifted over a soybean plant, causing it to grow an extra soybean or two.

The Department of Energy pulled its funding of FutureGen in January of 2008 as the result of cost overruns caused by inflation and through-the-roof increases in the costs of steel, concrete, and power-plant components. Those raw material costs were rising dramatically because other countries, like China and India, were building hundreds of coal-burning power plants, many without any kind of scrubbers. (The cap-and-trade bill that the House of Representives just passed ensures that American taxpayers pay China and other countries to scrub that black stuff out of their coal-fired manufacturing plants, or at least tell us that they did so--no inspectors required.)

Obama is giving FutureGen another chance, this time in the form of more than a billion dollars (to start), about a third of the projected La La Land cost, sans overruns. Obama has a large vocabulary, they say, but cost overruns, America has learned from experience, doesn't seem to have made it into his glossary.

The other two thirds of FutureGen's cost was supposed to be carried by 11 power companies from the U.S., UK, Australia, and China. Recently, two of the biggest stakeholders in the project, American Electric Power Co., and Southern Co. backed out of the deal, billion-dollar government handout notwithstanding.

There are a lot of reasons why a giant American power company might want to pull out of a "clean-coal" consortium in the middle of a war on energy use in the middle of a stock market collapse in the middle of a global economic crisis. Among those reasons, may be, just maybe, that it doesn't want one of Obama's czars moving into a corner office. One thing leads to another, and, these days, you never know.

The only thing you know for sure is: What Obama wants, Obama gets.

Just a thought.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Aloha Kumbaya: Hawaiians Ask Obama for Uighurs

When Robert Greenwell of the Hawaii County Council and Ed Coll and his buddies at the Kaua'i Alliance for Peace and Social Justice think aloha, a word that signifies many kinds of love and welcome, they think Uighur terrorist.

Recently, Greenwell and the Alliance independently wrote to Barack Hussein Obama asking him to send the Uighur terror campers at Gitmo to Hawaii where they can bask in warm sunshine and tender aloha.

Not that there isn't some gentle rivalry between Greenwell and the Alliance over which is the most empathic. Greenwell wants the Uighurs on his island, the Big Island of Kona, but the Peace and Social Justice crew want to entertain them on Kaua'i. Via Canada Free Press:
The idea isn’t to incarcerate the prisoners here, the councilman said, but to release them and begin a process of healing and forgiveness.… “I think if we want to be known as a place of love and aloha, this is a place to express it."
The Alliance for Peace and Justice agrees:
“What better aloha than this humanitarian gesture from Hawai‘i already known for its rich and diverse ethnic population? Hawai‘i can much more easily absorb these men than our Pacific Island neighbors in Palau."
It is a fact that the Gitmo Uighurs are holding out for better digs than Palau. They already have turned down a move to China, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, and Uzbekistan, because those are places that the ex terror campers wouldn't feel, well, safe. Palau, besides being short on Muslims and long on Christians, doesn't have an army to defend the Uighurs from kidnapping by the Chinese.

But would they like Hawaii any better, with that state's large population of Chinese?


Greenwell and the Peace and Justice pacifists better hope the Uighurs don't find out that North Korea is pointing nuclear missiles at the Aloha State. That could be a deal breaker.

Hat tip: Hawai'i Free Press
Related Posts:

Gitmo Uighurs Hold Out for a Better Deal
Released Gitmo Detainee Kills Children, Nurses, Doctor, Others?
Bermudians Tell Premier: Send 'Em Back to Gitmo

Which is More Fun: Bermuda or Tora Bora?
Uighur Update: How Sweet It Is
Bermuda and South Pacific Vacations for Chinese Uighur Muslim Terrorists

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Meditation: Hear, Hear, John Adams!

Robert G. Morrison at frcblog tells an amusing story about John Adams' famous prayer for the occupants of the White House:

My favorite John Adams story dates to the year 2000. Then, Bill Clinton occupied the Oval Office. That December, the Clintons invited their nearest and dearest friends to celebrate the two hundred years that the White House had been the Executive Mansion. They asked David McCullough to come and read from his wonderful biography of John Adams.

As the liberal Washington Post columnist Mary McGrory reported, McCullough ended with John Adams’ famous prayer, the one FDR had had engraved in the mantle in the State Dining Room:

“I pray Heaven to bestow the best blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.”

Miss McGrory wrote that when the prayer was read, all of Bill Clinton’s best friends looked at their shoes in embarrassment. Honest John Adams had crafted that inspiring petition in 1800. He hurled it like a javelin two centuries into the future and he punctured Bill Clinton’s pretensions with his pointed prayer. God bless John Adams!


Saturday, June 27, 2009

NY Democrat Arcuri against Cap & Trade, NY Republican McHugh for It!

NY Democrat Michael Arcuri did the right thing yesterday by voting no for Cap and Trade.

If you would like to join me in thanking Congressman Arcuri, click here. Democrats who stand with America and not against us need to hear that we are paying attention.

(Photo shows Arcuri with Utica, NY, National Guard in Afghanistan.)

On the other hand, NY Republican John McHugh was one of only 8 Republicans who want to join Obama in the Cap-and-Tax Pickpocket Party. John McHugh's contact info is here. McHugh might not care whether his constituents remember this vote: he's moving on.

Yes, welcome John McHugh as Obama's new Secretary of the Army.

Uh huh.

Gathering of Eagles: NY observed, "Now lets see how he deals with people for whom honor actually means something."

To find out the names and phone numbers of the other Cap-and-Tax Republicans and the 44 Dems who voted against the bill, go to this post at Michelle Malkin.

Related Posts:

Gov't Hires Imams to Give Money to Muslims: Iraq Vet Sues

Yes, it's true. If you've been following my blog, you know that the federal government has hired foreign imams to give money to Islamic charities that are involved in the prosecution of Christians and Jews and in the subjugation of women. Not just any imams, either.

Here's the latest insight via the Thomas More Law Center:

What ever happened to separation of mosque and state?

Related Posts:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Cap and Trade: 77 Cents More Per Gallon!

Via Michelle Malkin:
One in six U.S. refineries probably would close by 2020 as the cost of carbon allowances erases profits, according to the American Petroleum Institute, a Washington trade group known as API. Carbon permits would add 77 cents a gallon to the price of gasoline, said Russell Jones, the API’s senior economic adviser.
Call your Representative, here. If you've already called, call again. Some Congressmen are getting very nervous about a yes vote.


Related Posts:

Calling All Carbon-Based Life Forms: Cap and Trade Vote Today

All known life is carbon based. Carbon, combined with other elements, especially oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen, is the stuff of which life is made and on which all living organisms depend.

Today, the House of Representatives will be voting on a very dangerous scam known as Cap and Trade, which, under the guise of improving the environment, will penalize some of those who create carbon dioxide and reward some of those who use it, and vice versa. Razor-sharp lawyers in Congress have been cutting deals behind closed doors that decide which is which, based purely, they want you to believe, on what is best for the environment and what is best for you.

Squirrels, who create carbon dioxide by breathing, are exempt (so far), as are the trees they live in, which absorb the carbon dioxide exhaled by the squirrels.

Your favorite member of the animal kingdom will not be exempt, however, because pet food, pet toys, and veterinary supplies will go up in price.

In fact, in America, all food, energy, and manufactured goods, including medicine, will cost more as a direct result of Cap and Trade, but the environment will not improve as a result.

In China, though, food, energy, and manufactured goods will be exempt from Cap and Trade charges. That will be nice for the Chinese who get jobs that Americans used to have. Maybe your job.

Please tell your Congress: CO2 is okay by you, or face the biggest tax increase in the history of the U.S.

The economic slavery you prevent may be your own.

Contact your Representative here. Al Gore as been on the phone all week, and the last time that happened, the second largest oil reserve in the U.S. got handed to a big oil company. No joke.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Today's Massacre in Tehran

You can't say it better than this:

Published at Bookworm Room:

I got this email from Steve Schippert:

It’s graphic. There is no nuance. And it’s why I am done debating otherwise intelligent friends on the aptness, nay brilliance, of our president’s near silence in condemnation of the Iranian regime which today executed its own Tienanmen Square in central Tehran.

[snipped graphic photograph]

Bludgeoning women to death, who represent the greatest true threat to the regime. Herding bus loads of Iranians into the square and then unleashing hundreds of Basij upon them from their concealed staging area - a street-side mosque. With axes, rifles, hand guns, clubs and gas, they commenced the killing spree; throwing people off of pedestrian bridges, gang beating defenseless women, shooting into the crowd and wading into them with axes.


Today, I am done entertaining excuses for moral cowardice. Done.

My tears earlier today have given way to rage. Rage at a regime so brutally murdering the unarmed and peaceful. Rage at those who make eloquent excuses for a man who hesitates “because we don’t know how this is going to turn out.”

Yes we do. Count them. Quietly. To yourself.


Related posts:

Biggest Tax Increase in History Up for Vote This Friday!

Yesterday, proponents of Cap and Trade cut a last-minute deal with powerful American agriculturists that makes passage of the Waxman-Markley Cap and Trade bill (H. R. 2454) much more likely. Phil Kerpen, Policy Director of Americans for Prosperity described this horrific new tax burden at The Fox Forum:
Obama’s proposed Kyoto-style cap-and-trade plan would be the biggest tax increase in American history. It would hit every American who fills a gas tank, pays an electric bill, or buys anything that has to be grown, shipped, or manufactured.

Cap-and-trade is a way to impose a massive energy tax and pretend it’s not a tax. It puts a cap on overall greenhouse gas emissions, and establishes a market for companies to buy and sell the permits. In Obama’s version, the permits would all be auctioned off and the hundreds of billions of dollars would be used to fund higher government spending.

The hardest hit will be those least able to pay: lower income families, who spend a disproportionate share of their income on energy.

The so-called cap-and-trade energy tax would, according to the president himself, force energy prices to go way up. In an unguarded moment, speaking to The San Francisco Chronicle last year, Obama said: “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket… they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.”

The economic impact of imposing these huge new costs on energy consumers would be devastating. Even using the Obama administration’s own numbers, it would amount to a tax hike of $645.7 billion over the first 8 years, over $80 billion per year.

But as the cap becomes more and more strict over time, those costs would skyrocket into the trillions of dollars.

Prepare to be scared out of your socks if you read the entire article by Phil Kerpen, Policy Director of Americans for Prosperity.

Only a mighty response from the American public to Congress can stop this bill.

Call, fax, write.

Contact your Representative here.


Related Posts:

"Don't Get Sick after June": Congress Does Health Care

Constant Conservative brought readers' attention to an article in Commentary Magazine in which business and financial historian, John Steele Gordon, writes about the failure of three U.S. run health systems: the Indian Health Service, the Veterans Administration, and Medicare.

The Indian Health Service, Gordon pointed out:

delivers what it is pleased to call health care to two million American Indians living on reservations in thirty-five states. “Don’t get sick after June” is the standard advice, for by then the money allocated by Congress has mostly run out.

Indians on reservations are usually poor and often suffer from very high rates of alcoholism, obesity, and the problems that come with those conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. But as the Associated Press reports, “Indian health clinics often are ill-equipped to deal with such high rates of disease, and poor clinics do not have enough money to focus on preventive care. The main problem is a lack of federal money. American Indian programs are not a priority for Congress, which provided the health service with $3.6 billion this budget year.” That’s an annual budget of a measly $1,800 per Indian. No wonder the health statistics of a people that have been guaranteed free health care by the federal government since 1787 are so terrible.

And then there's the "even larger federal health care system, for veterans":

When it was found that thousands of veterans were put at risk for HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases by improperly sterilized equipment used in colonoscopies last February, an investigation was ordered. Three months later, it seems that not much has been done about the problem.

Of course, there's also Medicare, the U.S. government's health insurance program for people age 65 or older. It's a real treat for paperwork lovers, as I can personally attest from much experience wheeling aged relatives through its labyrinthian paths. If a Medicare recipient makes one of a number of teeny-weeny-eensy-beansy little paperwork errors, finding his or her way back into the Medicare Labyrinth can be a paperwork challenge equal to solving the New York Times crossword puzzle, except that it requires much more exertion and will take longer.

That might be because there is not just one Medicare. No. That would be so ungovernmentlike. There are four Medicares: A, B, C, and D. Courses on how to apply for Medicare A, B, C, and D are not only available, but recommended. No problem though. One could hardly expect anything but paperwork perfection from an elderly person who, on a good day, may be experiencing seriously declining memory, vision, hearing, and ambulation, among other faculties. Falling through the Medicare cracks is so common that, in some places, government programs even exist to help catch people who fall through those cracks. Of course, those programs come with their own sets of paperwork challenges.

Paperwork versus convenience. Based on your own personal experience, which do you think your federal government will choose?

As far as I can tell, the most effective way to keep health care costs down was perfected by Congress as a by-product of Medicare: Make it so damn difficult to apply and stay on track that old sick people on minuscule budgets who are legally quite eligible for health care benefits don't know that they are eligible, can't figure out how to access those benefits, or are too sick and infirm to access those benefits. That's a real cost-cutter. And it insures that the people most in need get beat to the benefits door by the semi-pro system manipulators who have been milking the system for their entire lives.

Despite the skill of Congress in making an entire segment of the population eligible for a benefit that many of them will never be able to access, Medicare is still a financial flop, accounting as it does for an enormous chunk of our national budget deficit and poised to account for a much bigger chunk of our national debt, a chunk so big that Obama is offering to reduce Medicare costs by folding Medicare into his nationalized health care program.

Huh? I have heard otherwise lucid-appearing people buy Obama's argument that a big government-run health care program can be made less expensive by extending it to include the entire population of the U.S. plus anyone who shows up here from any country, legally or illegally.

Back to Gordon:

I have an idea. Why not have the federal government demonstrate that it can provide adequate health care to American Indians, a promise it hasn’t kept for 222 years? Then demonstrate it can provide adequate health care to veterans, a promise it hasn’t kept for 79 years. Then demonstrate that it can reform and efficiently run the health insurance system called Medicare, which it has been been making a dog’s breakfast of for the last 44 years. And then, and only then, take over all of American health care.

Do the right thing. Call or write at least one congressman or senator today. Remember that, no matter what, they'll have Cadillac health coverage for the rest of their lives, so they won't quite get what you are talking about. (Cadillac is a GM product, but contact Congress anyway.) Obamacare is a life-changer, in a bad way.

  • Representatives' names and addresses here. Email and fax numbers here.
  • Senators' name and contact information here.


Related Posts:

The Obamacare Video You Must See

Deficit Spending: Suicidal Pickpockets at Work

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Obama Plans for U.S./Iran Independence Day Picnics Still On!

Speaking about Iran yesterday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, "If you watch the images that are on television screens ... I think that's clear, that justice has not been achieved."

With young people and even children dying in the streets of Iran, and injured people being hauled out of hospitals by police/thugs, could we call that an understatement?

But he insisted that Mr Obama's offer for diplomatic talks remained on the table.

He said: "Our long-term security interests, as it relates to the support of terrorism and their pursuit of a nuclear weapon, haven't changed. But our focus right now is not on that."

The State Department said invitations still stood for Iranian diplomats to visit US embassy barbecues on the July 4 national holiday for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Beyond belief.

July 4th is only 11 days from now.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said: "We have made a strategic decision to engage on a number of fronts with Iran.

"We tried many years of isolation, and we're pursuing a different path now."
Like partying together as Iranian seekers of political freedom are ruthlessly murdered and are buried.

Hope and change. Do champions of Obama really want to take moral responsibility for this?
Related Posts:

Obama Eats Ice Cream While Iran Burns
Messages from Iran: The Cost of Imagining Free Speech

The Obamacare Video You Must See

A Fight for our Way of Life: Socialized Medicine vs. A Voice from Our Past

~ Representatives' names and addresses here. Email and fax numbers here.

~ Senators' name and contact information here.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Gitmo Uighurs Hold Out For a Better Deal

If Guantanimo Bay is such a bad deal, why are the 13 Uighur terrorist campers remaining there digging in their heels and refusing to leave?

According to the Washington Post, the 13 Uighur detainees currently eating pizza at Guantanimo Bay already have turned down relocation offers to five different countries that have agreed to take them: China, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, and Uzbekistan. Now several of them are having trouble with the idea of giving up their accommodations at Gitmo and moving to Palau, a tiny South Pacific country which also happens to be a tropical paradise.

What's the problem with Palau? According to its constitution, Palau cannot grant citizenship to the Uighurs. So sad. More to the point, Palau is mostly Christian, in fact mostly Roman Catholic. Uighurs should be expected to rub elbows with Christians?

Where do the Uighurs want to go on your dime? The U.S. or Europe.

I'm not too worried about the Uighurs wanting to move next door to me. But if you live in a really nice neighborhood on a beach, with excellent local legal services, and a mosque nearby, you might be getting a little nervous.

Related Posts:

Released Gitmo Detainee Kills Children, Nurses, Doctor, Others?

Bermudians Tell Premier: Send 'Em Back to Gitmo

Which is More Fun: Bermuda or Tora Bora?
Uighur Update: How Sweet It Is
Bermuda and South Pacific Vacations for Chinese Uighur Muslim Terrorists

Released Gitmo Detainee Kills Group of Children, Nurses, Doctor, Others?

Read this at The Lambeth Walk.

Do champions for the release of Gitmo detainees want to take moral responsibility for this?


Cap and Trade Bill: Don't Save Your Breath on This One

On Friday, the Waxman-Markley Bill, otherwise known as HR 2454: American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, was put on the House Calendar, so it will be coming up very soon, most likely when you are paying attention to some other crisis.

There are lots of excellent reasons to oppose this bill, not the least of which is the danger to life of attempting to inhibit production of a compound exhaled by every living creature and absorbed by all plant life as part of the recycling process invented by Mother Nature at least one eon ago, before Al Gore won his Nobel Peace Prize and his Oscar.

More CO2, more plant life. More plant life, more food. More food, less hunger. Etc.

The planet's largest "CO2 sinks," that is, CO2 absorbers, are rainforests. My garden is a CO2 sink on a very much smaller scale. If the Waxman-Markley bill makes it into law, rainforest "owners" will be the recipients of huge carbon-tradeoffs from U.S. manufacturers. How much will Congress be sending American gardeners, farmers, fruit growers, and foresters for our little CO2 sinks? I don't plan on holding my breath, even though that would be one small step toward reducing CO2 so that China can have a bit clearer conscience about building all those coal burning power plants (one per day).

Besides plentiful plant crops, another path to good nutrition are plentiful good jobs. Here's how Waxman-Markley will affect jobs in America, as projected by the Heritage Foundation:
As a result of this regulation, job losses would exceed 800,000 annually for several years. The already-struggling manufacturing sector would be hit especially hard: durable-manufacturing employment will decrease by 28 percent; machinery-manufacturing job losses will exceed 57 percent; textile-mills employment will decrease by 27.6 percent; electrical-equipment and appliance employment will decrease by 22 percent; paper and paper-product jobs will decrease by 36 percent; and plastic and rubber products employment will drop 54 percent.
Of course, somebody will be getting rich (or is that richer?) via Cap and Trade. Just not you or your country.

For two more days, you can voice your opinion here courtesy of the Heritage Foundation. It just takes a minute.

Or you could pick up the phone.

Please do. House Speaker Pelosi wants this to be a done deal by what we still refer to as Independence Day.

(hat tip: Rockdalian at Bookworm Room)
Related Posts:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Meditation: God Bless the USA

As the world watches Iranians struggle for basic rights, it's an appropriate time for Americans to renew our resolve to protect and defend our hard-won freedoms.

Here Eric Dodge sings "God Bless the USA" at the O.C. Tanner Amphitheater in Zions National Park. You can read the lyrics below. Keep on dancing.

God Bless The USA
by Lee Greenwood

If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I’d worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.

I’d thank my lucky stars,
to be livin here today.
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

From the lakes of Minnesota,
to the hills of Tennessee.
Across the plains of Texas,
From sea to shining sea.

From Detroit down to Houston,
and New York to L.A.
Well there's pride in every American heart,
and its time we stand and say.

That I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

And I’m proud to be and American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Obama Eats Ice Cream while Iran Burns

Gateway Pundit reports:
Barack Obama finally spoke out against the actions by the regime [in Iran] and asked them to stop the "unjust actions."

Then he went out for ice cream...

President Barack Obama stands with daughters Malia Obama, 10, left, and Sasha Obama, 8, and orders frozen custard at The Dairy Godmother in the Del Ray area of Alexandria, Va., Saturday, June 20, 2009. (AP/Alex Brandon)

Messages from Iran: The Cost of Imagining Free Speech

Via Michelle Malkin:

Messages from Iran

Tales from the Nanny World: Why Doesn't the U.S. Just Declare Bankruptcy?

I received a moment of enlightenment recently when a well-educated health care professional proposed to me, with a straight face, what seemed to her an obvious solution to our out-of-control national debt: "Why doesn't the U.S. just declare bankruptcy?"

That question illustrates just how detached many Americans have become from the concept of personal and financial responsibility.

A large segment of the American population have become so accustomed to the Nanny State that they now believe in a Nanny World. In the U.S. version of the Nanny State, it has been possible to run up huge credit card debts and then dismiss them, without as a consequence losing food, shelter, clothing, or automobile, not to mention the numerous other possessions purchased with the debt. Life goes on as usual, more or less, but creditors stop calling. Not surprisingly, many folks have taken advantage of that fact, acquiring tens of thousands of dollars of goods and then declaring bankruptcy to rid themselves of their debt.

Perhaps it isn't surprising, then, that many voters assume that, when push comes to shove and our country's debt becomes really uncomfortable, we can just throw up our collective hands, keep the goodies that we purchased with our debt, and continue on pretty much as before.

So when President Obama proposes "to go on a multitrillion dollar borrowing spree that risks the "full faith and credit of the United States," to many people--if they even bother to notice--it's no big deal. Why should excessive national borrowing be different than excessive private borrowing? There's always a safety net, right?

Clearly not enough Americans are getting the picture that the safety net only exists because somebody else has created it and paid for it. What if that somebody else happens to be China?

As Investors Business Daily pointed out, Obama plans on spending almost a quarter (23.7%) of our gross domestic product for at least a decade. So, just for starters, plant a goodbye kiss on a quarter of everything you produce. Bye bye to all that effort and labor.

Just 2 1/2 short years from now, by 2012, public debt will reach 70% of GDP, and in 10 years, that debt will equal more than 80% of everything produced in this country in a year.

What were you planning on doing in 2 1/2 years? In 10 years? It's time to rethink what you are going to be able to do.

Even if Obama were not spending money like the country could declare bankruptcy one day and return to business as usual the next--even if we were being fiscally frugal--taxpayers are looking at paying income tax rates of 60% to 70% just to pay for existing entitlements.

American families over the last year have already lost 8% of their net worth — in part as a result of inept government meddling, past and present. For many of the same reasons, they are also buried under a mountain of mortgages and private-sector debts gone bad. On top of that, if the president has his way, they will soon be hit with more than a 100% increase in public debt (from $8 trillion this year to $17.3 trillion in 2019).

Furthermore, the Treasury (and taxpayers) will soon have to begin repaying to Social Security more than $5 trillion in payroll tax revenues that the government had taken from the trust fund and spent for earmarks and other purposes.

Enter the universal health care entitlement, on top of that 60% to 70% tax and work burden. Government sources tell us that will clock in at about $1.6 trillion. Hardy har har. A more realistic view, we are hearing, is $10 trillion.

Something tells me that none of the bean counters are considering the hugely increased wear and tear on national health due to work and worry.

Do yourself a huge favor and hound your Congressmen and Senators not to pass Obamacare:
  • Representatives' names and addresses here. Email and fax numbers here.
  • Senators' name and contact information here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bermudians Tell Premier: Send 'Em Back to Guantanamo

Bermudians don't seem to be as cheery about hosting four Muslim terrorist campers as news reports have been leading us to believe. In fact, the splash from the Uighurs' much-publicized dives into the blue waters surrounding the Island might be just powerful enough to sink the political career of Bermuda's Premier, Ewart Brown.

According to Bermuda's The Royal Gazette:
MPs are now preparing to vote on whether Dr. Brown should be kicked out because of his "reckless, autocratic and unaccountable" leadership style.

Opposition leader Kim Swan said the Premier's actions over the Guantánamo Bay affair — in which he failed to consult with the Governor or UK before bringing four Chinese Muslim prisoners to the Island — was just another example illustrating why he must be removed.


. . . Mr. Swan told the House: "I raise to introduce a motion of no confidence that this House has no confidence in the Government led by Premier Ewart Brown."

Mr. Swan added in a press statement: "Why have we moved a motion of no confidence?

"The public affairs of Bermuda are increasingly subject to the politics of one man rule under the Premier, Dr. Ewart Brown. We consider this unhealthy and not in Bermuda's best interest.

"This is not just about Uighurs in Bermuda, though that issue typifies a style of leadership that is reckless, autocratic and conducted with no sense of accountability to the people or, indeed, to Bermuda's Constitution. "The motion reflects concerns held by the general public but also our long-standing concerns about a host of public issues that have not been well managed.

"What we are seeking with this motion is a change of leadership for Bermuda — not necessarily a change of Government at this time — but a change that can get this Island back on a steady course, where we no longer are distracted by the antics of one man, where we can collectively get together, roll up our sleeves and start working on solutions that are best for Bermuda."
Brown responded on his Facebook page: "Imagine how the poor, innocent stateless refugees feel right now."

Presuming that these Chinese citizens really can be considered "stateless" (they don't have passports, Brown has stated), I think that Bermuda's Premier left out an important detail about their so-called "refugee" status. Abdul Nasser, Huzaifa Parhat, Abdul Semet, and Jalal Jalaladin, who currently are occupying luxury beachfront accommodations on the dime of American taxpayers, didn't acquire their "refugee" status as the result of a natural disaster. They chose to become "members or associates" of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, otherwise known as the Turkestan Islamic Party, a gun-toting, terrorism-plotting organization affiliated with al Qaeda, and so designated by both the U.S. and the U.N, not to mention China. Having made that choice, they traveled to Tora Bora in Afghanistan to learn how to use weapons in their jihadist cause. Then they got caught.

Hat tip: Vexed Bermoothes.
Related Posts:

Which is More Fun: Bermuda or Tora Bora?
Uighur Update: How Sweet It Is
Bermuda and South Pacific Vacations for Chinese Uighur Muslim Terrorists

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Break for Something Beautiful: The Living Camera

Came across this at The Worlds Best Films blog. In it, artist savant, Stephen Wiltshire, called The Living Camera, offers us a glimpse of a rare outpost of human intelligence.

Excerpted from the film Beautiful Minds: A Voyage into the Brain.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Laughing through Tears: Ali Khameini-ism of the Day

Via Yahoo:

TEHRAN, Iran – Iran has accused the United States of "intolerable" meddling in its internal affairs, alleging for the first time that Washington has fueled a bitter post-election dispute.

A state television channel in Iran says the government summoned the Swiss ambassador, who represents U.S. interests in Iran, to complain about American interference. The two countries broke off diplomatic relations after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. An English-language state-run channel quoted the government as calling Western interference "intolerable."


One more thing for Obama to apologise for?
Related Posts:

Obama, Ahmadinejad, and Confucius
Unemployment Figures: Up Up and Away
Assault on GM Gets Personal at Fox News
Cap and Trade Politico Hauls Green to the Bank
Just Another Square in a Rhino Skin Parka
Americans Spend More on Taxes Than on Food, Clothing, and Housing

Which is More Fun: Bermuda or Tora Bora?

From Brent Baker at Newsbusters comes this transcript of a Fox News Report in which Catherine Herridge interviewed the four Chinese Uighur former Gitmo detainees who may be-- even at this moment--swimming in the private pool attached to their pink beachfront cottage in Bermuda.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE: They say the worst moment at Gitmo came when the U.S. allowed Chinese interrogators to question them.

INTERPRETER: They were really harsh. They were threatening them.

HERRIDGE: Camp Iguana, the camp with the least restrictions, was the men's most recent home. Asked which was worse: Life at Gitmo versus China?

INTERPRETER: Of course it's China. There's no guarantee for human rights there.

That was a good question by Herridge, and a good followup might be: "Ask which was worse: Life at Gitmo versus Tora Bora."

Tora Bora, Osama bin Ladin's suspected former hang-out in Afghanistan, was the not-so-comfy abode of the Uighur terrorists before Gitmo. It just happens that that their terrorist training camp was run by a Uighur high level al Qaeda terrorist by the name of Abdul Haq, at least according to 10 of the 17 Gitmo Uighurs.

As reported by The Weekly Standard:

[A]ll four of the [Burmuda] Uighurs admitted during their combatant status review tribunals (CSRTs) at Gitmo that they received training in the Taliban’s Afghanistan. And all four of them received this training at an ETIM/TIP [Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement/Turkistan Islamic Party] terrorist training facility in Tora Bora, a key area once controlled by the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Three of the four Uighurs transferred to Bermuda also admitted that they had firsthand ties to senior terrorists such as Hassan Mahsum and Abdul Haq – the leaders of the ETIM/TIP. Haq was recently designated an al Qaeda terrorist by the Obama administration’s Treasury Department, which noted that he is also a member of al Qaeda’s elite Shura council. Mahsum [also a Uighur] was killed in a Taliban and al Qaeda stronghold in northern Pakistan in 2003.

One of the four men in the photo above, Abdulla Abdulqadir (in the white shirt), has reportedly been identified by ABC News as Jalal Jalaladin, who told U.S. authorities that Mahsum personally gave him weapons training.

Why would China be interested in these Uighurs, and why would the U.S. allow Chinese authorities to question them while they were imprisoned at Gitmos? The Weekly Standard offers some insight:
The ETIM/TIP is a U.S. and UN designated terrorist organization affiliated with al Qaeda and has attacked civilians in China, as well as reportedly plotted against other targets elsewhere, including the U.S. embassy in Kyrgyzstan. According to the State Department, ETIM/TIP members have also fought alongside the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. And last year the organization threatened to attack the Olympic Games in China.
Yep, gotta empty Gitmo quick.

Related Posts:

Uighur Update: How Sweet It Is

Bermuda and South Pacific Vacations for Chinese Uighur Muslim Terrorists

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New York Tea Parties Update

From Gathering of Eagles: NY comes this photo taken at Rockville Centre, Long Island's first Tea Party, held yesterday.

Favorite sign:
Taxes are revolting.
Why aren't you?

Scheduled for today is a Tea Party in Albany, New York.

Date: June 16, 2009
Location: East Capitol Park, Albany, NY
Time: High noon until three.


Update 5:30 p.m. EST:

So far, not much coverage of the Tea Party at the NY Capitol today. The Record of Troy, New York, counted almost 1,000 people at East Capitol Park (photos by Tom Killips). Here's a woman who's been paying attention to what's going on in Washington:

LoHud.com thought there were only a few hundred folks in attendance (photo by Heather Sennison):

Both news organizations agreed that people had converged from all over the state.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Obama, Ahmadinejad, and Confucius

Confucius is said to have taught that a secure government relies on three resources: plenty of food, lots of armies, and the confidence of the people. In the ideal world imagined by Confucius, the sage/ruler, when confronted with some kind of crisis, would reduce troop strength and restrict food supplies before taking the risk of contaminating the populace with doubt.

Funny how an observation can be more than two millennia old and still make sense.

Take Iran for example. Troops aplenty and food enough, but popular confidence in the government? That's not what street demonstrations are telling the world. (Hat tip: Legal Insurrection, for thoughtful posts on the Iran situation.)

No matter who says what, the power of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khameini and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will never be quite the same.

Iranians, like the parents of young imprisoned insurgents, are pleading for help, thus: “Obama, please help us, they are killing our young children.”

Good luck with that.

Obama, who apparently views himself as Supreme Leader of one of the world's largest Muslim countries, is losing the confidence even of Americans who were over the moon about him just a few weeks ago.

Unemployment (hunger, depression, fear) is way up, deficits (present and future taxes) are way way up, and debt (inflation, lost savings, insecurity) is way way way up. Just about everything else, including national defense, homeland security, and national pride, is down. It doesn't take a Confucianist to know that these factors are weakening the country and lowering Americans' morale.

Worst of all, as Confucius would view it, more people than ever are getting the message that Obama doesn't care about them. Certain people, certain groups, yes: "We buy votes." Other people, other groups, no: "Don't call us, we'll call you (never)."

Not too good for the confidence of the "other" groups, and there are a lot of those, including taxpayers, private investors, people with non-auto worker pensions, small business owners and the self-employed, non-"green" energy workers, diligent government accountants, Israeli sympathizers, polling inspectors, disabled veterans, GM and Crysler dealership owners who made the "wrong" political donations and their employees, strict constructionists, Tea Partiers, and, of course, conservatives of every possible stripe.

National defense is down, hunger is up, and, at breakneck speed, Obama is destroying the last of Confucius's three pillars of successful governance: the confidence of the American people in his ability to govern.

That places the responsibility for Americans right back where it belongs and always has belonged: It is up to each of us to maintain confidence in ourselves and our ability to preserve our way of life.

And Iranians will have to do the same.
Related Posts:

Unemployment Figures: Up Up and Away

Assault on GM Gets Personal at Fox News
Cap and Trade Politico Hauls Green to the Bank
Just Another Square in a Rhino Skin Parka
Americans Spend More on Taxes Than on Food, Clothing, and Housing

Uighur Update: How Sweet It Is

Courtesy the NY Times comes this photo of Khaleel Mamut, left, and Salahidin Abdulahat, two of the recently released Uighur terrorists, strolling along a Bermuda beach. Nice view, eh? To see a New York Times slide show of these former terrorist training campers living the good life, click here.

The cost to you? No big deal: just about $2 million per Uighur.

Let's see, if you earned $20 per hour, and worked 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, with no vacation or sick days, and never spent any of that money on food, clothing, rent, medications, or anything else, you could set one of these Uighurs up in a pretty pink cottage on a beautiful beach in only (calculate, calculate) a little over 48 years, that is, from the time you entered the work force at 18 until you retired at the age of 66.

All so you could hear them say: "We've changed our minds about the U.S."


Something tells me we won't be seeing that expenditure put to a referendum.
Related Post:

Bermuda and South Pacific Vacations for Chinese Uighur Muslim Terrorists

Unemployment Figures: Up Up and Away

In this chart, number cruncher geoff at Innocent Bystanders compares actual unemployment data (maroon dots) with unemployment predictions made by Obama's economic team (everything in blue).


That maroon actual unemployment trajectory shooting practically straight up is frightening, much more severe than Obama's own worst-case scenario "Without Recovery Plan" (light blue line), which he used to scare the living $787 billion of "stimulus" bucks out of taxpayers in just a few days.

No surprise to real-life unemployed workers, the maroon dots plotting real unemployment figures are headed in a completely different direction than the "With Recovery Plan" prediction (dark blue line). Commenting on the direction of actual unemployment, geoff said:
This trend is terrible – the [April to May] unemployment rate change was 60% higher than what was predicted, and is a larger increase than from March to April.
Obama keeps telling us that the stimulus package has been "saving jobs." Here, geoff answers the question, “How do you know that it wouldn’t have been worse without the stimulus?”

The answer is very simple: because the stimulus hasn’t happened yet. And everybody knows that. But I don’t think people understand how true it is. It is this true:


Reader, please note that the stimulus money spent as of mid-May is indicated by the maroon boxes at the bottom left of the graph. That relatively tiny amount is it and all of it! And that money has been spent mainly on Medicare (the purple area in the inset), with substantially less on Unemployment (the green blue area), and with a smattering thrown in for Food Aid (pink area) and even less for Education (lavender area). As geoff explains it:
We’ve barely spent anything so far, and everything we have spent (inset graph) has been devoted to minimizing suffering via social services, not stimulating the economy.
I keep running into people who "want to give Obama a little more time." Maybe their patience will run out when their jobs or businesses get flushed.

Hat tip: A Goy and his Blog

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Meditation: Thank You, Officer Johns and Holocaust Museum Guards

Like many others, I am feeling sorrowful appreciation for Stephen Tyrone Johns, the Holocaust Memorial Museum security guard who was murdered in the line of duty two days ago. He was a friendly soul, only 39 years old, and no one can replace him.

Officer Johns and two other security guards at the museum put themselves between a twisted murderer and a large number of museum visitors, including many children, family groups, and elderly folks, as well as museum staff members. They prevented terrible suffering at hard cost to themselves, with Officer Johns paying the highest price.

Thank you, heroes, and God bless you. When you were needed, you answered the call.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

New Andrew Klavin Video

Andrew Klavin has a new video at Pajamas TV. It's called, "Bumper Sticker Police."

Just 3 minutes, and I think you'll like it.

While you're there, take a few minutes to watch "Why Are Conservatives So Mean?"

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bermuda & South Pacific Vacations for Chinese Uighur Muslim Terrorists

From Times Online:

The British Government responded with ill-disguised fury tonight to the news that four Chinese Uighurs [pronounced we-gurs] freed from Guantanamo Bay had been flown for resettlement on the Atlantic tourist paradise of Bermuda.

The four arrived on Bermuda in the early hours, celebrating the end of seven years of detention after learning that they were to be accepted as guest workers.

But it appears that the Government of Bermuda failed to consult with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the decision to take in the Uighurs – whose return is demanded by Beijing – and it could now be forced to send them back to Cuba or risk a grave diplomatic crisis.

Bermuda, Britain's oldest remaining dependency, is one of 14 overseas territories that come under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom, which retains direct responsibility for such matters as foreign policy and security.


The four freed men – Abdul Nasser, Huzaifa Parhat, Abdul Semet and Jalal Jalaladin – were among 17 men from the largely Muslim Chinese minority groups still held in Guantanamo Bay.

After seven years of extra-judicial detention, the men did not appear to mind which island paradise they ended up in – and formally thanked for Bermuda for taking them.

“Growing up under communism, we always dreamed of living in peace and working in free society like this one,” Abdul Nasser, one of the four, said in a statement released through his lawyers. “Today you have let freedom ring."


For the past four years, the Uighurs have been held at Camp Iguana, a low-security facility in Guantanamo Bay, with views of the Caribbean and pizza deliveries.


Ewart Brown, the Bermudian Premier, said that the United States had agreed to bear the costs associated with relocating the men on the island.

In a statement, Mr Brown said the men have “the opportunity to become naturalised citizens and thereafter afforded the right to travel and leave Bermuda, potentially settling elsewhere", although he said that the resettlement of the inmates was still contingent on the advice from Britain.

By the way, the rest of the Guantanamo Uighurs will be at least temporarily rehoused on the South Pacific island paradise of Palau.

This certainly is interesting news for all of us who didn't take up residence in terrorist training camps in Afghanistan to enjoy (as the Uighurs claimed) the "freedom" there. I wonder how much consideration our empathic president gave to the effect on the morale of our brave military folks slugging it out in war zones and recovering from injuries in VA hospitals, and the feelings of their families slugging it out with the economy at home, when they hear about this one.


Graphic courtesy of Foreign Policy Blog. One picture certainly is worth a thousand words!

Laughing through Tears: Barney Frankism of the Week

Via Ian Swanson at The Hill:

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said he doesn’t think his intervention on behalf of a General Motors center in his district will lead other lawmakers to do the same thing.

“I don’t think this will lead to a pattern,” said Frank. . . .

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Assault on GM Gets Personal at Fox News

Fox News personality, Gretchen Carlson, wasn't happy when her parents' GM dealership in Anoka, Minnesota, which has been in her family for 90 years, got the pink slip from GM even though the dealership has consistently exceeded sales goals and employs 80 people.

But Carlson was even more upset to find out that another GM dealer, who lost a dealership in the first wave of GM shut-downs, regained that dealership after Minnesota Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar intervened (via Jeff Poor of Business & Media Institute).

It didn't help that her parents have to sign GM's "gun-to-the-head" wind-down agreement by Friday or lose their ability to sell the GM cars that they already have purchased. That agreement includes a gag order forbidding terminated GM dealers to speak to anyone except their employees about their loss of their business.

In the video below, Judge Napolitano describes why the treatment of terminated GM dealers is blatantly unconstitutional and unlawful six ways from Sunday. Charles Payne points out that Obama-run businesses like GM and AIG are being used as conduits to get money to other places. For example, last week GM lent a private equity firm $2 billion to buy Delphi out of bankruptcy and AIG was used as a conduit to offer $100 billion in aid to European banks.

This is not a surprise, Payne pointed out: We were told by Obama himself that redistribution would take place.

Thank you, Obama voters.

Glenn Beck adds that our stability as a nation is what has made us a good investment risk. What will happen to Americans when legal and financial outcomes that have been predictable in this country since its founding have been made unpredictable because contracts and laws don't mean anything anymore?

What choices will we make as individuals, when we can't rely on our Constitution and our legal system?

This video isn't pleasant, but I suggest you watch it anyway.