Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Juxtposition XXIV


Hot Dog

A Twit Tweeting.
Isn't it funny ... a Republican would fall on his sword.  A Democrat calls on his lawyer.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Map Tells

I have three profound problems with the push for Palestine statehood as proposed in his recent pronouncements by our president, The Barry.

If the "1967 borders with mutually-agreed-on land swaps" is the starting point of negotiations between Israel and the Hamas/Fatah cabal ... what is the end-point?  If the Israelis are, as a starter, reduced to this minimal land profile, what land do they then have left to agree mutually to swap for, say, Jerusalem or its West Bank settlements?  The answer is: Nada.  (It already has given back the Gaza Strip and the Sinai.)

If the Palestinians (according to The Barry) are to have a "contiguous" state, then the Israelis, by definition, will be left with a non-contiguous state.  Is this realistic ... or a sinister formula for Israel's annihilation?

And the most obvious oversight by The Barry is his conveniently ignoring the Palestanians' uncompromising demand for the "right to return," or the ability of persons who once lived in what is now Israel to return there ... along with their children, their grandchildren, and soon, their great-grandchildren.  If one marries this demographic nightmare with Hamas's charter's call for the destruction of Israel, then the result clearly is equivalent to tying a honey-covered missionary to a fire-ant hill ... not a very pleasant demise.

Afterthought: The Barry's two gaffs in England yesterday (toasting the queen during "God Save the Queen" and signing the guest book at Westminister Abby "24 May, 2008"  tells me (once again) that he has difficulty with the details of life and protocol.  To me, this mirrors his inattention to the details listed above in his speech on the Israeli/Palestinian peace process.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Connecting the Dots

Last Friday, a man whom I have admired greatly, George Mitchell, abruptly resigned his position as the U.S. Envoy to the Middle East (see: George Mitchell Leaves.) Now, less than a week later, President Obama makes a stilted speech on the Middle East ... the main point of which was to call for Isreal to return to its pre-1967 borders with the Arab world.  This is obviously a shock to Israel and many thinking Americans ... particularly one day before Israel's Prime Minister, Netanyahu, is planning to visit the White House.  If Netanyahu now cancels this meeting I would not be the slightest bit surprised.

But the real point of this blog post is ... is this why George Mitchell resigned?  I sure hope so.

Bonehead Moves

The Obama administration has made a few good and even gutsy decisions ... like icing Osama bin Laden and the surge in Afghanistan.  However, it has also made and continues to make far too numerous bonehead moves.  I offer the following as but a few examples:

- Abrogating our anti-missile defense agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic.
- Obamacare ... along with something more than 1,300 wavers to mostly large businesses and unions.
- This past January, the opening up of diplomatic relations with Syria ... just in time for the bloody anti-government uprisings there.
- Sending our warplanes into Libya almost two months ago while assuring the American public that this incursion would last for "days not weeks."  It is still going on.
- Trying to keep the Boeing corporation from opening a manufacturing plant (for its Dreamliner airplane) in South Carolina because it is a "right to work" state.
- Appointing of 37 executive-branch czars ... unvetted by Congress.
- Helping (along with Ben Bernanke) to destroy the value of the U.S. dollar.
- Spending almost one trillion dollars of U.S. taxpayer money on a "stimulus" bill which did nothing to create private-sector jobs.  It just briefly saved public-sector jobs in many states ... which jobs are now being cut due to continued economic malaise.
- Taking Arizona to court over its new anti-illegal-immegration laws.
- Disclosing British military secrets to the Russians as grease-on-the-skids to get them to ratify the START treaty.
- Meeting with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt shortly after his inauguration.
- Federalizing two car companies, the student loan industry, and some financial companies (AIG, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.)
- Demagoguing on the illegal immigration issue, the balanced budget issue, the political contributions from foreigners issue, the collective bargaining issue, the racial equality issue, the Tea Party issue, the environmental issues, the Israel/Arab issue, the oil depletion allowance issue, etc.
- The "Cash for Clunkers" program.
- Trying to bring Islamic terrorists to trial in U.S. civilian courts.
- Placing a moratorium on new oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico while, at the same time, fronting Brazil $2 billion for them to develop its own off-shore oil resources.
- Providing 85 drone aircraft to Pakistan right before we found Osama bin Laden ensconced there.
- Refusing to proffer or pass a 2011 federal budget ... and offering only a grossly irrational one fo 2012.
- The (mis)handling of the BP oil spill ... including extorting $20 billion out of BP.
- (Just in.) A call for Israel to return unilaterly to its pre-1967 borders with the Arab world.

Now, take the ratio of good decisions to bonehead moves to determine a President's worth.  Any number greater than one qualifies a President for Mount Rushmore. The Barry so far doesn't seem even to qualify for a footnote to history.

Oily Proposal

Semantics are wondrous things.  Many politicians, including some Republicans, are now calling for the elimination of oil industry "subsidies" as one small way of closing our heinous budget deficit.  These subsidies supposedly total $4.4 billion per year (see: Oil Industry Subsidies.) This is a very small amelioration (less than 0.3%) considering that our budget deficits are now running around $1.6 trillion per year.

Now, I am old enough to remember what these oil-industry "subsidies" really are.  They used to be called "oil depletion allowances."  These allowances were meant to equate to "depreciation" in other industries.  In other words, as an oil company either purchased or leased the mineral rights to a piece of land ... and then extracted the oil, there was a reduced value to this land since the oil was being extracted.  Thus oil companies were thus allowed to "depreciate" this depleted oil deposit to allow them to then go and buy or lease other land to look for more oil.

Can we thus call the ability of General Motors to depreciate the machinery (robots, machine tools, etc.) it uses to make cars an "auto-industry subsidy?"  If we did, all hell would break loose.  Now maybe the formulas used to calculate oil depletion allowances need to be reformulated given the new technology used in oil extraction.  But to eliminate these oil-industry "subsides" entirely is but another step in our tree huggers' attempt to emasculate the United States' energy-producing capabilities.  This is a little like playing Russian Roulette with five bullets in your six-shooter.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Trumping Our Lenders?

The way I understand it, Donald Trump keeps his bankers in a bit of a predicament.  He owes them so much money that they can't afford to pull the plug on him.  All his properties are supposedly mortgaged up to their hilts and, although he usually and continually makes payments on these mortgages, he, often enough, refinances them for more working capital.  And occasionally, he let's one of these puppies be euthanized  (e.g., the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City) to keep his creditors fearful.  (See: Legal Zoom and Daily News.)  He clearly has a very intimidating negotiating style based upon the leverage of his leverage.  But mostly his total indebtedness just keeps growing ... and growing ... and growing. Effectively, he seems to maintain his lavish life style off of the reverse-vigorish of these banking bets.

Does this all not sound a lot like how the United States Treasury and our Federal Reserve Bank operate?  Only, whereas The Donald does not seem to have any limit to his hubris (and borrowing), The Barry does have an increasingly skeptical Congress which thinks that maybe enough indebtedness is enough. Yesterday, the United States's debt limit was reached and Congress refused to increase it. And no matter how much gorilla dust Timothy Geithner and Ben Bernanke throw up about the calamity that will eventually ensue from this event, I think that the United States's bankers here and around the world may just be a little more disciplined than Mr. Trump's. (See PIMCO Selling)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Another Closing, Another Show

There is a bit of nostalgic news today that once touched my life ... that famous celebrity bistro, Elaine's, is soon closing ... after Elaine (Kaufman) herself died this past December.  See: Elaine's Closing.

Now for the nostalgia -- back when I was single in New York City, I was a bit of a regular at a bar called Tinker's at 74th Street and Second Avenue.  One evening in 1964 at around nine in the evening, a rather heavy-set Jewish woman with horn-rimmed glasses came into this bar and started chit-chatting Tinker (Ward).  They appeared to be close friends.

After a bit, both she and Tinker told most of us bar regulars that we were all invited to go to another bar further uptown ... a bar that this imposing woman was just opening.  We all piled in a few cabs and tumbled out somewhere in the high eighties.  We then previewed what appeared to be another nondescript bar that was about twice the size of Tinkers.  I say “previewed,” because, there were just a few other people in the bar arranging tables and getting ready for the real opening in a day or two.  I took no real notice of the bar’s name.  We were all treated to a few drinks ... I can’t remember who bought, Tinker or this woman ... and then filtered back to Tinker’s to finish our evenings in our usual libertine manner. 

I found out much later, after this new bar had become quite famous, that what we had previewed was “Elaine’s.”  Maybe it was my imagination, but I always felt that the few times I went into Elaine’s thereafter, Elaine would look at me sideways ... like she was trying to remember who I was.  I never told her.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The End is Near

There are three doomsday predictors now in the news.  Viz:

- This Saturday, May 21st is believed by many Evangelical Christians to be the Rapture -- or Judgement Day when good Christians will ascend directly into heaven while the rest of us will suffer, at the best, a long-lasting purgatory. See: The Rapture.  I'm hoarding lots of reading material.

- For some reason (lack of space?), the Mayan calendar ends on December 21st, 2012 (as per transposition to our calendar).  See: Mayan Terminus. This has caused additional consternation among many of the people who expect to live beyond this Saturday's Rapture.   I, myself, truly hope that this prediction only applies to Mayans.

- Many Iranians, including Ahmadinejad, expect the 12th (Shiite) Muslim Imam to emerge soon (perhaps August 22nd of this year) from a well somewhere and declare that the end of the world is at hand (what Christians call Armageddon.)  See: 12th Imam.  Does this then mean that the Iranians may have developed one or more A-bombs?

The fact that these three different apocalypse-predictor groups seem to agree that ultimate times will soon be upon us is a little disconcerting ... and don't forget, I haven't even included Al Gore's dire warnings.

Credit Blogging

Your blogger has somewhat anticipated this story -- the French Socialist head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has been accused of attempted rape of a New York City hotel chamber maid and his DNA has been collected as evidence.  See: Dominique Strauss-Kahn).  In a post here twelve days ago it was discribed how the U.S. has lent its credit cards to the IMF and the rest of the world (see: The High Cost of Linguica). Now we find out that our credit cards are being used for $3,000 per night suites at swanky New York hotels ... but apparently not for condoms.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Alligator Alley

President Obama spoke to his Latino base yesterday in El Paso, Texas and mocked the Republicans for asking for greater border security before tackling immigration reform.  In what has become a typical Obama rhetorical twist he chided his opponents by saying, "Maybe they'll need a moat. Maybe they'll want alligators in the moat [to stop illegal immigration]."  Now, I could be wrong (as I have occasionally been in the past), but being snide does not come across as being presidential.  Jibing your opponents may be a self-satisfying strategy when you are way ahead on the scoreboard.  But, if Obama wants to work with these same people sometime to get reasonable immigration reform accomplished, I doubt that such banal tactics will work when the game is tied.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Killing Osama

This morning on "Morning Joe" someone (I think Jonathan Alter) said that, as a result of Obama's pledge to close down our Guantanamo prison for terrorists, no new prisoners have been sent there since Obama was inaugurated ... or to any other rendition location for that matter.  And as a consequence, American forces have been killing those Islamic terrorist who have been captured ... just like that ultimate terrorist, Osama bin Laden, was recently tapped.

On one hand this decision appeals to my lust for revenge, but, just as logically, I have a problem with this apparent Obama policy.  Without capture and interrogation (even torture when necessary) of these prisoners, from whence is our future deep intelligence going to come?  And without this information, how are we eventually to win our war against Islamic extremists?  And, even more ironically, isn't "two in the hat" the ultimate enhanced interrogation technique ... so decried by this administration?

Al Qaeda Typo

My friend Dennis has pointed out a typo in the Al Qaeda manifesto.  As it turns out bin Laden was met by 72 vegans.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The High Cost of Linguica

The European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have agreed to bail out the Portuguese economy to the tune of some $116 billion. See: Portugal Bailout  This is after the fact that these same parties had bailed out (with almost equally large largess) Greece and Ireland last year.  Now, seeing that the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank in large part back in 2008-2009, bailed out the major European banks (see Bernanke's Secret) and that the United States is a major contributor to the IMF (See: U.S and the IMF), it seems that the United States is once again handing our (over-extended) credit card to the rest of the world. 

Not only is the United States expected to pay the very high cost of defending the free world, but now, it seems, we must pick up the tab for their profligate social-engineering policies too.  Enough!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Snuff Pictures

Here is that famous picture of the President and his top advisers in the White House Situation Room watching real-time TV from the Navy Seal attack on Osama bin Laden's compound outside Islamabad in Pakistan.  Those brave soldiers each had a video camera on his helmet ... sending back virtual images of what was going on during the killing of bin Laden, his son, his wife, and as many as 19 others.

I doubt that few watching this bloody event had ever seen such drama as they were there and then experiencing.  And consequentially, I also doubt if Obama and his posse will ever again react in quite the same detached and cerebral way again to our terrorist threat.  At least, I hope not.

Update:  We are now told that the video feed from this raid was cut off for these White House viewers for at least the critical 20-25 minutes.  See: Here  (And bin Laden's wife was only shot in the leg.)  Now I know there is something called the "fog of war," but the communications out of the Obama administration about this bin Laden operation has been so sloppy and contradictory that I'm not sure now what to believe.  I am embarrassed by their ineptness.  (And why must we get this raid video factoid from the British press?)

Are We F-ing Crazy?

The United States is to supply Pakistan (the same ones who apparently were harboring Bin Laden for six years) with 85 Raven drone aircraft ... for whatever lame purpose.  See: Drones to Pakistan   We also are providing Pakistan with something over $4 billion of foreign aid per year.  See: Foreign Aid to Pakistan  What did Lenin once say ... "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them."?  Only now, we are giving them the rope.

Monday, May 02, 2011

I Have an Idea

Pictured above is the compound outside the capital city of Islamabad in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was killed yesterday by Navy Seals.  I think that, in order to commemorate this great event, we should build a church (or, at the very least, a U.S. consulate) on this site.  We can call it "outreach."