Monday, February 28, 2011

Conservatives – Leftist “Koch Habit” An Obsessive Illusion

It's a redistricting year, the Legislatures are in session, and, according to Mark Twain, no man's freedom or property is safe under such conditions.

Conspiracy theorists are out stalking the wilds for some explanation for all the hue and cry over collective bargaining, unions, health care reform, environmental regulation - and energy, clean, dirty, renewable or fossil finite - the worth of the dollar, and all that jazz.

In the “Church of the Poisoned Mind,” the political watchword is conservative equals greed of the corporate variety.

In the “Church of What's Happening Now,” the corporate story is all about taking lemons and making lemonade, creating jobs by selling it tax free and banking the profits to get the nation out of a deep, dark economic hole.

What do they have in common? According to the law handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC, it's all about the First Amendment right to freedom of expression, no matter if one is liberal or conservative, corporate, religious, an individual, a human being, or a incorporation filing with the Secretary of State of one of the United States or an offshore country. We are all equally human, whether we live in a tarpaper shack on the railroad track, a high rise luxury condo in Manhattan, or reside in a filing cabinet in some state capitol or island tourist paradise.

Which theory is right? Both, it appears. The truth is, there is a dialogue going on, it's nationwide, and it's heating up red hot in the central Texas D/FW Metromess-to-Laredo NAFTA corridor.

Texas conservatives came out swinging against liberal estimations of a billionaire benefactor who has funded Tea Party and Americans For Prosperity rallies and programs, David Koch.

According to a Power Line Blog entry published today, “It started last summer with Jane Mayer's New Yorker article, 'The billionaire Koch brothers' war against Obama.' Now the battle of Wisconsin has given the occasion for the left's renewed assault on the Koch brothers.

“Yet the assault against the Koch brothers has virtually no truth in it. It is an ideological mugging akin to Barack Obama's assault on the Supreme Court's Citizen United opinion, with similar motives. It is a cast study in the application of Aliskyite (Saul Alinsky of the Industrial Areas Foundation, Chicago) tactics, intended to silence the opposition,”

Austin's Peggy Venable, state director of Americans For Prosperity, made the news when “The New Yorker” magazine profiled Mr. Koch, CEO of the energy conglomerate Koch Industries.

Ms. Venable hosted a July 4th weekend summit held at a “chilly hotel ballroom in Austin,” wrote Jane Mayer of the magazine. She said it was funded by none other than Mr. Koch.

A training session for 500 Tea Party activists, the event was advertised as a “populist uprising against vested corporate power.”

It consisted, according to Ms. Mayer's article, of “a series of speakers denouncing President Barack Obama.

“Peggy Venable...warned that Administration officials 'have a socialist vision for this country.'”

It's a very curious turn of events, to say the least, because in April 2009, Melissa Cohlmia, a Koch Industries spokesperson, said Americans For Prosperity is “an independent organization and Koch companies do not in any way direct their activities.”

Later, she made another statement, saying “No funding has been provided by Koch companies, the Koch foundations, or Charles Koch or David Koch specifically to support the Tea Parties.

Mr. Koch told “New York” magazine, “I've never been to a Tea Party event. No one representing the Tea Party has ever even approached me.”

Ms. Venable, who draws a salary from Americans For Prosperity and has worked for various Koch-funded political groups, said, “We love what the Tea Parties are doing, because that's how we are going to take back America! I was part of the Tea Party before it was cool!”

At the event, a young woman named Sybil West, who blogs at, was feted as a citizen leader of the summit and Blogger of the Year. She wrote in her blog that Obama is “Cokehead in Chief.”

Environmental regulation is the chief thorn in liberals' sides when it comes to the Kochs' ideas.

Though the Koch brothers are libertarians who support gay marriage, the legalization of drugs, a radical reduction in taxes, a reduction in defense spending, and other far right causes aimed at maximizing the freedom of the individual through a shrug of Atlas' shoulers, their ideas just don't satisfy liberal sentiments.

A statement from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst's Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries “one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. Ditto Greenpeace, which branded the company as “kingpin of climate science denial.”

In a report, “The New Yorker” writer, Ms. Mayer wrote, “from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid Exxon/Mobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. Indeed, the brothers have opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies – from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program – that, in political circles, their idological network is known as Kochtopus.”

Koch Industries has been branded as “the Standard Oil of our time.”

The dialogue is just beginning.

Here's a sample of the conservative diatribe:

“What do Charles and David Koch, brothers who run the Kansas-based Koch Industries, have to do with Wisconsin's budget battle?

“Almost nothing, unless you occupy the left wing of the political system,” wrote John Hinderaker in today's Power Line Blog.

“There, you'll find a group of bloggers and commentators who are fixated on pinning the unrest in Wisconsin, and plenty of other supposedly terrible things happening in the country, on these two businessmen.”

Mr. Hinderaker went on to say that the Kochs contributed a mere $43,000 to the election campaign of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a figure that “represents one-tenth of 1 percent of the money that was spend on Wisconsin's 2010 gubernatorial campaign.”

He added that “...they also have a unique distinction: They are two of the very few billionaires in the country who actively contribute to libertarian and conservative causes. Consequently, many liberals have engaged in what can only be characterized as a vicious campaign to drive them out of public life.”

He discounts “the latest conspiracy theory” that holds that the Koch are part and parcel of a “provision authorizing the state to sell power plants it owns, with Koch Industries supposedly scheming to buy up cheap.”

Mr. Hinderaker attributed this conspiracy theory to “New York Times” writer Paul Krugman. The conservative blogger said “Krugman wrote on Thursday that 'there are enough suspicious minds out there that Koch Industries, owned by the billionaire brothers who are playing such a large role in Mr. Walker's anti-union push, felt compelled to issue a denial.”

“Never mind that the proposal has been around for years,” Mr. Hineraker countered, “that there is zero - absolutely no – evidence to support such a claim or that Koch Industries has said it has no interest in Wisconsin's power plants. For some, apparently, conspiracy theories trump reality.”

Well, all righty, then. Let's not let the facts get in the way of a good story! No matter who is or is not on the ballot!


"Meet Young Obama" - from the founder of the Marxist...

By John Drew

My first meeting with young Barack Obama raised strong feelings and left me with a positive first impression. At the time, I felt I'd persuaded a young man anticipating a Marxist-Leninist revolution to appreciate the more practical alternative of conventional politics as a channel for his socialist views.

I met Obama in December of 1980, a couple of days after Christmas, in Portola Valley -- a small town near Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. I was a 23 year old second-year graduate student in Cornell's Government Department, and had flown to California to visit a 21 year old girlfriend, Caroline Boss. Boss was a senior at Occidental College, where she had taken a class in the fall of 1980 with political theorist Roger Boesche. She met and befriended Obama in that class.

I had been an angry Marxist revolutionary during my undergraduate career at Occidental College. During my hyperactive sophomore year, in the fall of 1976, I founded the Marxist-Socialist group on campus and named it the Political Awareness Fellowship. As I recall, I developed this innocuous sounding name because there were so few students on campus as radical as I, and I was fearful of turning off moderate students who might be willing to learn more about Marxist theory...

Dr. Drew specializes in "lightning fast" grant writing, according to his bio.

State Cops Let Protesters Stay In Capitol - Some Join Up

Crowd chanted - Whose house? Our house! Whose house? Our house!...

Madison - State troopers told protesters they would clear the Capitol building at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

A big crowd massed at the building's entrances, chanting "Whose House? Our House!" - and "Let Us In!"

A protester drum corps formed at the State Street entrance. Off-duty police and firefighters joined the protesters who were sitting down, waiting to be arrested inside.

State troopers who were outside guarding the doors were polite--asking protesters to form a line if they wanted to enter; they only let more people in as protesters inside came out.

When 4:00 came and went, the troopers locked most of the entrances and stopped letting more people inside.

There were no arrests. Some protesters who wanted to leave filed outside peacefully, those who wanted to stay were told to move to a higher floor inside the building...

- compiled from on-scene reports -

Mas Que Nada - More Than Nothing - Mas Que Nada

East Of The Light

A Big Chief Tablet Tale
by The Legendary Jim Parks

Rudy saluted Bubba when he came out of the water after he
had lashed the ends of the purse seine back together in a
circle and we waited for the fish to gill off in it, to
become packed in the mesh in their panic..

He stripped and stood in a jock, staring into the sun
overhead, balanced on the rail outside the pilot house. His
hair looked blue, so black and glossy in the sun, his brown
Caribe skin sweating. He fought the grin that kept
threatening to capture his face, to make him burst into a long
series of giggles.

With a flash of white teeth, he shouted "Chingada!" and dove
into the ultramarine blue water beside the net where the
bull sharks had been eating in a frenzy, chopping up the
fish who were caught, tearing holes in the mesh, making the
water foam with a froth of reddish blood soon fading to
brown and dissipating to a green tinge in the warmth of the

The stream comes closer to the mainland U.S. there than
anywhere else - less than a mile.

It's not like that in the Keys, where there are chains of coral
reefs and islands. This is a huge limestone peninsula
washed by the warm water out of Africa and the Caribbean,
bound for the British Isles and the European continent,
thence back to the tropics.

In the stream, there are game fish and schools of mackerel,
tuna, jack, all competing for the needle fish, anchovy,
squid. You can see them from above - a thousand feet - a
shadowy gray stream within the deep blue stream, moving
along in a frenzy of feeding.

The boats work with airplane pilots who radio to let them
know where they are jumping at baits shoved to the surface
and sometimes out into the air. Everything moves briskly in
the stream, at about six knots, to the northeast.

As Rudy jumped, Hector shouted "Ai! Cojones!"

Bubba stood transfixed, watching as Rudy splashed back to
the side of the boat and climbed the rope ladder dangling
over the side.

He pulled Rudy's arm, boosting him back over the gunwale in
the crisp December air. They stood beaming at each other
for a moment, then they embraced, laughing.

"It is necessary, no, cabron? It is necessary," Rudy said.

Bubba grabbed him again and they hugged, taking each others'
crucifixes between thumb and forefingers and kissing them,
slapping each other on the back repeatedly.

Simultaneously, almost whimsically, they spit into the ocean
where the bull sharks still chewed at the net, the fish
blood foaming, the dorsal fins working it all into a froth.

Then they both put their clothes back on while the rest of
the crew slammed batten boards on the deck to panic the fish
in the water beneath her keel, to make them try to swim out
of the encircling pursed seine.

We drifted along to the northeast until the pilot in the
little 150 buzzed us and we started to feed the foot ropes
over the dishpan winches overhead, faking the loaded seine
down on deck, shoveling ice over the fish in layers, faking
another layer, then more ice, finally tarping the whole load
and heading for the inlet and the fish house, the twin V-8
turbo Detroit diesels singing in the engine compartment
under the fiberglass deck, the hull struggling to plane in
front of the propulsion nozzles proven in the shallow waters
of Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Brazil.

We headed back through the inlet, ignoring the other boats
stopped by Customs and the Marine Patrol, Coast Guard. It
was not our fate today.

Only we knew what lay beneath the stinking mass of fish and

It would be a long night and a longer day after.

We were heading home. We were East of the light. That
meant sewing up huge holes in the mesh, holes chewed by bull
sharks in a frenzy of feeding upon helpless Spanish mackerel
in the deep blue waters over the marl where tons and tons of
gold and silver and cannon and bronze nails lay at rest
after endless northeasters that blew it all to smithereens
long, long ago.

Cojones. Yes, cojones.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Don't you know that it's true...the world is a ghetto - WAR

Bioethics Commission To Probe Medical “Research”

"Dr. Robert" of the National Health practiced dentistry on The Beatles when he slipped LSD into their drinks at a dinner party, thus turning them on. It was at the time an experimental drug, tested on mental patients at VA hospitals, penitentiaries, and psychiatric institutions. Thus, the entire psychedelic craze, the "Summer of Love" of 1967, was nothing but a medical experiment gone global, viral. - The Legendary

Washington - Medical researchers operating during the period of the 1940's to 60's gave no regard to the medical concept of “First, do no harm.” They often made healthy people sick – without telling the test subjects what was going on and why they became so severely ill.

Research projects included squirting pandemic flu virus up the noses of prisoners in Maryland; giving hepatitis to mental patients in Connecticut; and such experiments as injecting cancer cells into chronically ill people at a New York hospital.

When the world learned last fall that U.S. Public Healh Service doctors infected healthy prisoners and mental patients with syphilis incarcerated by the brutal military dictatorship in Guatemala, the government was forced to apologize. At the time, it was also learned that many times the government participated in similar studies that involved making healthy people sick.

This resulted in at least one very public and quite embarrassing repercussion.

A Presidential Bioethics Commission will convene in Washington this coming week to study and give vent to the truth of what happened over a 40 year period beginning 80 years in the past and reportedly continuing until the 1960's.

The public has long known of the long-term syphilis study of 400 black men at Tuskegee Institute.

These cases are much different, however.

In the Tuskegee study, the subjects were first identified as having been infected with the disease and determining with which of the three well-known stages of its progression they suffered.

Over a period of many decades, they were not given adequate treatment for the disease – only palliative procedures were employed – even after the development of penicillin, a “wonder drug” that would have either cured them or mitigated the symptoms of their disease to a point where they could have lived in comfort.

The men who were studied were never informed of their medical condition so they could seek medical treatment elsewhere. It was only when a researcher came across records of the 40-year study that the truth became known about what happened during the Tuskegee Study.

In the cases that will be scrutinized starting Monday, otherwise healthy people were often given a disease for the purpose of research, even when the results clearly show that the experiment was done merely to satisfy the morbid curiosity of someone with the authority to violate the rights of a vulnerable person such as a convicted prisoner or a mentally ill person who had been locked up for his protection and the protection of society.

Similarly, the notorious Chicago gangster, bootlegger, pimp and tax evader Al Capone suffered from syphilis during his term of incarceration at the hell hole Federal Penitentiary at Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. Mr. Capone was often infected with the micro-organisms that cause the chronic disease of malaria. When these organisms became active in the suspension fluid of his brainstem, the expected side effect was to raise his body temperature to dangerously high levels in an experiment to see if the infection could be killed or controlled through that torturous means.

This caused him permanent brain damage, resulting in severe dementia, the kind that made him think during the last few years of his life after his release that it was reasonable to sit beside his Florida swimming pool and fish with an unbaited hook, whiling away the hours dressed in a bathrobe and chomping on an unlit cigar.

An old associate, the book keeper known as the “Greasy Thumb,” Jake Gusik, went to see him after his release at his Florida residence. When he left, he told newsmen waiting outside the gate, “Al's nuttier than a fruitcake.”

"When you give somebody a disease — even by the standards of their time — you really cross the key ethical norm of the profession," said Arthur Caplan, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics.

Though in rare cases the media mentioned some of the experiments, the copy was couched in the semantics of ceramics in the dialect of high glaze and focused on the wondrous prospect of conquering a dread disease through the altruistic volunteerism of test subjects who were laying down their health and their lives to assist in the medical research it would take to set the world right for a chance at a healthy future.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. These test subjects had no idea what was going on.

This type of unethical experimentation is a human rights violation that has resulted in the execution or long-term imprisonment of war criminals such as certain M.D.'s who served the Third Reich as members of the medical corps of the SS, the “death's head” squads of fanatical henchmen who carried out the “final solution” against Jews, Gypsies, Freemasons, persons who suffered from Downs Syndrome, mentally handicapped persons, convicted criminals, Communists, Socialists, and those adjudicated as insane.

Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Make 'em work, make 'em work...

Roland Kirk came from the midwest where he was accidentally blinded when he was still a young boy.

He is an arranger, composer, and interpreter of the only true American musical idiom - jazz - of the saxophonic type. Somehow, Mr. Kirk has found a way to play as many as three horns simultaneously and often solos on flute between choruses of fiery and smoking le jass hot as it leaves multicolored vapor trails in the night sky with its radial waves of double-4, be-bop-a-rooni-tooni, and other vibratory trajectories of audionic energy. Mr. Kirk often speaks of an invisible whip that motivates us all to frenzied heights of self-induced and ecstatic romping and stomping upon the sphere. Concert-goers at Newport and Montreux have long marveled at his audacious and bodacious ways, so much so that he is a Legendary character from the big muddy pantheon that drains this wild old continent, The New World. All hail Rahsaan. He hath prepared many paths upon which we might tread in our dainty little golden slippers, dear hearts.

And other words to that effect.


Pro-Union Demonstrations Coast To Coast

Samuel Wurzelbacher, who is known as "Joe The Plumber" in Tea Party circles, flew into Madison and addressed a Tea Party pep rally in protest of the collective bargaining rights of public school teachers, firefighters, and police officers.

Though union workers have offered to compromise by agreeing to sacrifice pension and health benefits, the Governor, Scott Walker, has refused to negotiate. He and Republican members of the Legislature want to strip them of their organized labor privilege negotiate contracts through collective bargaining.

Mr. Walker has said the bill would help close a projected $3.6 billion deficit in the 2011-13 budget.

Pre-school teachers make an average of $23,640 per year; elementary level class room instructors $51,240; secondary teachers $49,400; class room teachers in the 90th percentile $69,550, and entry level teachers average in the $30,000 range.

One little-known feature of the budget repair bill would allow the State of Wisconsin to sell on a no-bid basis aging coal-fired heating and electrical generation plants.

Rallies Held In Support Of Wisconsin Workers Coast To Coast

"MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Chanting pro-union slogans and carrying signs declaring "We are all Wisconsin," protesters turned out in cities nationwide to support thousands of public workers who've set up camp at the Wisconsin Capitol to fight Republican-backed legislation aimed at weakening unions.

"Union supporters organized rallies from New York to Los Angeles in a show of solidarity Saturday as the demonstration in Madison entered its 12th straight day and attracted its largest crowd yet: more than 70,000 people. Hundreds banged on drums and screamed into bullhorns inside the Capitol as others braved frigid weather and snow during the massive rally that flooded into nearby streets..."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Treasury Chief Geithner Denies Role In Mortgage Mess

Revisionism: re-writing history - one mortgage contract at a time - puts intense pressure on banks, home ownership, the basis of personal wealth

Rewriting the basic contracts that govern the parameters of personal wealth causes merchants, real estate operators, manufacturers, and big ticket marketers to have the heebie jeebies...Congressional investigations coming soon...

Jesus - Obama's guys scare the hell out of me. They are academics who still don't understand how contract law governs an economy. I understand numbers. Guys who should, don't. I'm certain that we are f___ed beyond imagining. Today I got a call from my 401K administrator asking if I wanted to make changes. I told him I wish I could take my money and put it into ammo and canned food and maybe a 55-gallon can of gasoline... - a local business man staring into the abyss from the edge of the precipice

The numbers are in and plain to see. The top 10 U.S. banks have $11 trillion of the $13 trillion in total banking assets.

There is a problem: With more than 7,650 U.S. banks federally insured, the banking oligopoly leads to a concentration of wealth at the top.


For Homeowners Who Still Have Equity

With the traditional FHA loan program a homeowner can get a fixed rate loan for up to 97% of the current appraised value of their home. Via the new Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) homeowners with conforming loans can now refinance up to 105% of the appraised value of their home. By taking advantage of Government Refinance Assistance you could save thousands of dollars on your mortgage payments over the next few years and have the peace of mind of knowing that your home is financed with a low fixed rate. Plus FHA allows homeowners in most states to get a cash out refinance for up to 85% of the current value of the home.

If you would like to learn if you are a candidate for a government-backed loan contact us today by filling in the contact form on the right. Also, if you are age 62 or older and have significant equity in your home you could look into a reverse mortgage — a type of loan that allows borrowers to remain in their homes until they die without making any further payments and in some cases allows the homeowner to receive regular checks from the equity in the home.

For Homeowners With No Equity

There are a few options for the millions of U.S. homeowners who owe more on their home than the property is currently worth. Here are a few:

1. FHA Streamline Refinance — If you are upside down / underwater on your mortgage and currently have an FHA loan then getting a refinance to an improved mortgage is possible if you have kept up with your mortgage payments. Contact us today if this applies to you.

2. A “Home Affordable Refinance Program” (HARP) loan — With President Obama’s new plan qualified homeowners can refinance a conventional first mortgage for up to 105% of the current value of the home (and in some cases 125%). However this program does not always work well for people who have second mortgages, credit scores below 680, or who currently pay mortgage insurance (PMI). Contact us in the sidebar to learn more about this program.

5. Loan Modification Programs — If you owe significantly more on your first mortgage than your home is worth or are on the verge of foreclosing your best bet is to seek a loan modification from your current lender. Loan modifications normally reduce payments by lowering interest rates or extending the loan period. Obama’s new “Home Affordable Modification Program” (HAMP) gives lenders incentive to modify troubled loans as well. See this page or contact us in the sidebar if you would like to discuss strategies for seeking a loan modification.

4. FHA short refinance — See here for details and the latest news on the new FHA short refinance program. The FHA short refinance program is a variation of the loan modification theme but involves principal reductions rather than just rate reductions. Like loan modifications this program requires the voluntary cooperation of your current lenders and that can be tricky.

5. Selling short — A short sale is when a homeowner sells a home for less than they owe. In many cases the lender(s) will accept the sales proceeds as payment in full. Click here to connect with an agent to investigate that route. The Obama administration recently announced a program designed to give incentive to more homeowners and banks to use this strategy.


A Frustrating Pattern: Banks Losing Documents

Like many other homeowners, Dahlmer says she's been tearing her hair out faxing in proof of income and tax documents, only to have the bank lose them.

For her that's especially hard because of her vision problems. Still, she takes notes about the process in huge print with a black magic marker.

Over the past year, she's repeatedly asked call center workers what's going on. She says they tell her, " 'I'm sorry, but you haven’t sent in the documentation.' "

Dahlmer says she has sent in all the documentation. But it gets lost again in a never-ending cycle. The bank then asks for something they never asked for before.

"It just goes on and on," she says.

Dahlmer says she's been getting all kinds of foreclosure-related junk mail, and that's getting her very nervous again.

After NPR contacted Bank of America, the bank says they're looking into Dahlmer's case and hope to resolve it within a few weeks.

Sharp Criticism From A Government Oversight Panel

A congressional oversight panel this year has been harshly critical of the Treasury Department for failing to enforce the agreements the major banks made to take part in the administration's HAMP program.

All of the major banks have been having similar problems — losing documents and rejecting homeowners who appear to qualify for unknown reasons. Hundreds of thousands of homeowners are now falling out of the federal program.

"The foreclosure modification effort has been a real mess," says Mark Zandi, the chief economist of Moody's Analytics. With millions of people facing foreclosure, he acknowledges that it's been a very difficult challenge for the banks. But, he says, "even considering that, it just hasn't gone well."

Blue Bossa -Rhapsody In Blue on blue en blue over blue

Into yo' blues, into yo' blues, into yo' blue blue blue blue - into yo' blues...Oh, yeah!

Crude Will Top $200 If Both Algeria, Libya Shut Down

Russians, eastern Europeans blame U.S. and western Europeans for "colonial attitudes" that led to "endless chain" of mideastern revolutions

Tokyo - An analyst for a major investment banking house said futures deliveries on light sweet crude could top $220 a barrel if both Algeria and Libya shut off production simultaneously.

Nomura Holdings, Inc., pointed to civil unrest that led Muamar Qadafi to vow to fight to “his last drop of blood” and the end of a 19-year state of emergency in Algeria as unruly crowds placed pressure on the two military dictatorships.

“If Libya and Algeria were to halt oil production at the same time, prices could peak above $220 a barrel and OPEC spare capacity will be reduced to 2.1 million barrels a day, similar to levels seen during the Gulf War and when prices hit $147 in 2008,” a statement from the bank read. During that time, the analyst noted, oil prices rose 130%.

Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon wouldn't go that far, but said that oil prices could stay “scary strong” for years. A major purveyor of natural gas that is “beginning to look cheap today,” according to Dow-Jones blogger Dave Kansas, the energy firm is up 4% on the news.

Dallas gas producer T. Boone Pickens of Mesa Petroleum fame predicted an end to the dominance of crude petroleum as the primary source of refinement choice and the emergence of natural gas as a major motor fuel in the near future as crude prices on April deliveries rose to nearly $100 on the New York market, and topped that at London, where Brent crude chimed in at $110.

The White House froze all Libyan assets, closed the embassy at Tripoli and advised banks to watch closely for suspicious transactions amongst top Libyan officials.

President Obama and Saudi Arabian government officials made soothing noises at week's end, saying OPEC would take up the slack if any such thing happened. Clearly, the world's financial analysts don't buy that line.

“By any measure, Moammar Gadhafi's government has violated international norms and common decency and must be held accountable,” said President Obama Friday night. He condemned “the Libyan government's contnued violation of human rights, brutalization of its people and outrageous threats.”


Pressure on the Dollar and the Euro continued to rise as the mideast revolutions progressed.

Southern European states of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain (PIIGS) are clearly in danger of a collapse of banks and currencies unless the rest of the European Union moves to bail them out once more.


According to the U.S. Treasury, American banks are in worse shape than at any time in recent history, with banks at risk of failing making up 12 percent of the nation's 7,657 federally insured banks. It is the highest level in 18 years.

The Treasury Department report confirmed that 22 banks have failed so far this year, compared to an overall failure of 157 banks in 2010.

Only a small fraction of federally insured banks – about 1.4% of which have assets above $10 billion – are driving the bulk of earnings growth, including the largest, which are Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Wells Fargo & Co.

Though the banks' income rose to an all-time high of $87.5 billion in the October – December quarter of 2010, compared to a $10.6 billion total for the same period of 2009, government officials called for more vigorous lending.

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair noted that there is little “upward momentum” to be seen.

“A key reason why revenues havent' grown faster is that loans have nnot been growing. It's not going as fast as I would like to see...I also think that banks need to get back to the basics of making loans.”

WHOSE FAULT IS IT? Osama bin Laden, says Qadafi

For a mideastern view of the problem, look to Col. Qadafi, who blames it all on Osama bin Laden, the Islamic radical scion of a wealthy Saudi Arabian construction family who bankrolled 9/11 attacks on America through the Al Qaeda terrorist organization while hiding out in a cave in Afghanistan.

Taxi Drivers, Target Cashiers Insist On Sharia Law

Friday, February 25, 2011

Democrats Go Down To Defeat In Wisconsin Assembly

Republicans cram budget repair bill down Democratic throats after 60 hours of debate, rambling speeches and hundreds of amendments failed in 3- day session

Madison – Shouting “Shame!” and “Cowards” at Republican Assembly members who marched out of the chamber after a lightning-quick vote, Democrats who defended collective bargaining had to accept defeat.

Three days of steady obstructionist tactics came to an end swiftly at 1 a.m. today when Speaker Pro Tem Bill Kramer (R-Waukesha) opened the roll and closed it within seconds.

Democrats looked around at each other in confusion, bewildered that on 13 of their 38-member delegation managed to vote in time, as Republicans stalked out of the state house in silence.

Hundreds of thousands of public employees have camped out in the rotunda of the building and on the state capitol grounds now for a week, protesting the bill, which would bring an end to collective bargaining and “closed shop” status in this prairie populist state. If Senators happen to pass the legislation, Wisconsin will join the ranks of states known as “right to work” entities, where union membership is not automatically assured workers if they are lucky enough to be hired in a shop where there is union representation.

Those who do not choose to join are not forced to join organized labor unions and made to pay dues. Workers who desire such representation must first win an election among all hourly paid employees, then allow union representatives to organize their ranks according to U.S. Labor Department regulations.

Though school teachers, firefighters and police officers have volunteered to compromise with an 8% across the board pay cut, Governor Scott Walker and other Republicans have refused. They want to completely dismantle the system as it exists in order to save some $138 million in budget deficit looming in the coming year.

The bill cannot be passed by the Senate until that chamber reaches a quorum. Some 15 Democratic Senators are hiding across the state line in Illinois. Gov. Walker sent state troopers to their Wisconsin homes to see if he could arrest as little as one member and force him to come to the Capitol to vote. None of the members have been located.
A little-known feature of the budget repair bill would allow the state government to sell outdated and "dirty" coal-fired heating and electrical generation plants located at penitentiaries, universities and hospitals to private industrialists such as David Koch on a no-bid basis. Mr. Koch recently donate more than $1 million to Republican candidates for office in the mid-term elections and personally bankrolls the Tea Party and Americans for Progress.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wisconsin Governor Sends State Cops To Pick Up Senators

In a shocking display of police power, Republican Gov. Scott Walker sent state troopers to the homes of absent Democratic State Senators in an effort to make a quorum show up to vote on a key piece legislation.

If only one Senator could be apprehended and brought back to Madison in police custody, the upper chamber could vote on a budget repair bill that includes selling “dirty” coal-fired heating and electrical generation plants to a billionaire who has nearly single-handedly funded the Tea Party and the Libertarian lobbying organization, Americans For Prosperity. The Democrats have been hiding out across the Illinois border to stymie the legislation.

In the State Assembly, Democrats introduced a flurry of amendments to the bill – literally hundreds of them, many frivolous – that had to be cleared before that chamber may vote.

Democrats do not have the votes needed to block the legislation once it comes up for a vote. They delayed the actions of the Assembly two nights in a row into the wee hours of the morning, sometimes shouting their displeasure with Republican tactics.
The marathon session in the Assembly was grand political theater, with exhausted lawmakers limping around the chamber, rubbing their eyes and yawning as Wednesday night dragged into Thursday.

A record number of protesters - mostly school teachers, but including other public employees such as firefighters and police officers - gathered outside the state capitol today, loudly expressing their disapproval. If the bill passes, they will lose their automatic privilege of collective bargaining as organized labor organizations and the state will become a "right to work" state under the terms of Section 14(b) of the federal Taft-Hartley Act.

Around midnight, Rep. Dean Kaufert, a Republican from Neenah, accused Democrats of putting on a show for the protesters. Democrats leapt up and started shouting.
"I'm sorry if democracy is a little inconvenient, and you had to stay up two nights in a row," Pocan said. "Is this inconvenient? Hell, yeah, it's inconvenient! But we're going to be heard!"

Democratic state Rep. Mark Pocan of Madison declared, "You can't dictate democracy. You are limiting the people's voice with this agreement this morning."

George Carlin on who really owns America

For the first time in more than a century, state legislatures are scrambling, looking for ways to cut educational expenses. Why? Because the real owners of America want a dumbed-down, docile population - people incapable of anything like critical thinking.

The real bosses of the legislators - the people who really own America - told them to cut the education budgets to the bone. Do it now. So, since they like their cushy little jobs with all the potential for graft, bribery and influence peddling, they are doing it.


What good would it do the real owners of America to have a well-educated population? They send all the jobs that require thinking power overseas, anyway. Nah, what they need are a bunch of dummies willing to do what they're told - or else - or else what? Why don't we try that one on for size?

Look at the events of the past month and explain to me why it wasn't all done to make your energy costs increase by - oh, 25% - right off the bat.

Why? Because of some kind of religious dispute between the Islamic and the Judaic faithful?

Nah. It's because the real owners of America like to see you spend as much of your hard-earned dollar on their product as possible. That's why.

All that other jazz is a smoke screen.

You're living in a state of war - I've never known anything else, and I'm in my 60's; there is nothing like economic prosperity.

The real owners of America have made every move possible to limit your earning power, shorten your life and make your chances at remaining healthy slim - and none.

So, g'head. Hate somebody. I'm sure you'll feel much better if you just cultivate your enemies. In this life, they are one of your most valuable possessions, I'm sure.

- The Legendary

Wisconsin Budget Bill Would Sell Off Dirty Plants – No Bids

Koch Industries “furiously” denying it will profit from such a deal

Madison – Aging black smoke power plants owned by the State of Wisconsin are up for grabs at no-bid bargain basement prices – if a budget repair bill closely allied with the union busting legislation pending happens to pass.

Liberal on-line news outlets such as MSNBC, Bloomberg, Salon, Gin and Tacos, and DailyKos are blaring reports that the proposed legislation would benefit the giant conglomerate owned mostly by the brothers Koch, David and Charles, billionaire supporters of the Tea Party, Americans For Prosperity, and other libertarian causes.

The heating and electical generation plants are located at penitentiaries, the University of Wisconsin, and other state government installations.

More moderate commentators like the Milwaukee “Journal-Sentinel” and Forbes, are calling the deal “unusual." Said Forbes writer Rick Unger, “At best, it is highly irregular that a state legislature would grant the executive the power to sell off or lease public utilities without a bidding process...At worse – well, I would hate to think that such a bargain could be struck all for the benefit of one company.”

At the heart of the matter is the fact that Governor Scott Walker has benefited from large political contributions from the ultra-conservative Koch brothers.

Gov. Scott was duped recently into believing he was speaking with Mr. Koch in a phone call placed as a hoax by a Buffalo on-line journalist who got him to talking about putting thugs and troublemakers in the huge crowds of people demonstrating at the Wisconsin state capitol against legislation that would end collective bargaining for teachers', fireman's and police officers' unions.

In fact, the Governor bragged to the “Buffalo Beast” editor that he was following in the footsteps of President Ronald Reagan, the former president of the Screen Actors Guild who served the FBI as a paid confidential informant during his tenure as a labor leader, later became the corporate spokesman for power plant builder General Electric, Governor of California and President of the U.S.

Stipulated in the power plant bill is the language that the Wisconsin Department of Administration “may sell any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state.”

The Koch Industries flacks responded by saying, “The power plant assertion is one more example of many falsehoods and speculation made by a vested interest that gets picked up and repeated over and over in the media.”

According to the Sierra Club acitivist Jennifer Feyerherm, who was quoted in the Milwaukee newspaper, “The state knows darn well that it has got compliance issues with these aging coal plants, and so the violations are going to have to be corrected...How the governor thinks he can put lipstick on that pig and sell huge financial and environmental liabilities to someone else, good luck. Bottom line, those plants need to be cleaned up.”

"Koch Whore" - Wis. Gov. Walker Falls For Prank Call

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker answers his master’s call

“David Koch”: We’ll back you any way we can. What we were thinking about the crowd was, uh, was planting some troublemakers.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker: You know, well, the only problem with that—because we thought about that…

Ian Murphy is the editor of a now-defunct upstate New York underground newspaper, "The Buffalo Beast," which now publishes exclusively on-line. He called Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and duped him into thinking he was fielding a call from billionaire political activist David Koch. The results have gone viral. Aside from being a real hoot, it's a total snapshot of power politics as played in real time by real politicos using real money - millions upon millions of dollars - to wag the dawg and make it come out their way.

According to Wikipedia, “In 1984, Mr. Koch founded, served as Chairman of the board of directors and contributed to Citizens for a Sound Economy, which separated into Americans For Prosperity. Mr. Koch continues as Chairman of the Board and gives money to Americans for Prosperity Foundation and to a related advocacy organization, Americans for Prosperity. A Koch spokesperson issued a press release stating that he and his brother Charles Koch have "no ties to and have never given money to Freedom Works"

“Both FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity have been providing funding and training to the US Tea Party Movement, which opposes much of President Barack Obama's policies and legislative agenda. In addition, Koch sits on the board and gives money to the libertarian Cato Institute and Reason Foundation. In the late summer and early fall of 2010, Koch's contributions to political campaigns, free-market think tanks and other advocacy organizations came under increased scrutiny. Koch...In July 2010, "New York Magazine” profiled him, calling him the "tea party’s wallet". In August 2010, Jane Meyer of The New Yorker wrote an article critical of the spending of David and Charles Koch. White Housepolitical advisor David Axelrod wrote in The Washington Post , calling them "campaigners we can't see." Mr. Koch says that: "I’ve never been to a tea party event. No one representing the tea party has ever even approached me.”

A former Libertarian Party candidate for President with Ed Clark, Mr. Koch serves on the Board of Koch Industries, the second largest privately held corporation in America, has contributed as much as $100 million to charitable and cultural causes in one whack, and is a force to be reckoned with, like fee fi fo fum, etc., etc., etc.
- The Legendary

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Defund Environmental Regulation, Health Care – Rep. Flores

Budgetary woes, deficit spending and looming national bankruptcy depends on cutting discretionary spending - defense issues don't count

Waco - Fresh from his first, rather bewildering session of Congress, Bill Flores told a standing room only crowd at the historical Texas Rangers headquarters, Ft. Fisher, that the only way to create more jobs is get the government out of the way.


Take away the operating budget used by EPA, the Department of Energy and other agencies to enforce job-killing environmental regulations.

He didn't sugar coat the numbers. Using the language of the year-end report, the board room and the business proposal, the former energy company CEO and corporate financial officer didn't try to break to his constituents gently.

The aggregate figure for unemployment – including those who are no longer eligible for unemployment compensation and have quit trying to find a job is standing at 17%. One out of every six people is unemployed, and the trend is irreversible unless someone releases some of the pressure.

As to federal environmental enforcers, Mr. Flores said, “They're continuing to overreach and every time they overreach, people lose their jobs...We're doing everything wrong when it comes to creating jobs.”

The result is uncertainty in the business community. In fact, the trepidation is so strong that day after day, companies reach the conclusion that they can pack up and move to foreign shores and do a lot better job of what they do.

The federal government is just that hostile to the business community, according to the numbers, said Mr. Flores.

Looking around the massive room, you got the feeling that Mr. Flores knew he was preaching to the choir. Sprinkled throughout the audience that numbered in the hundreds, one could see business owners, accountants, bankers, manufacturers and politicians.

These are the people who meet the payrolls, pay the taxes, balance the books and meet the man when the credit crunch comes.

Their affect was one of worried expressions, whitened lips compressed with a desire to control their emotions, and rapt attention to their Congressman. It was an extremely somber and sober group.

These people are afraid. They have no idea what is going to happen next, and it shows.

Mr. Flores rattled the figures off with aplomb, unsustainable numbers that show no light at the end of the tunnel, not even a speeding locomotive.

“You go back and look at great societies that failed – you'll see this.”

What is this?

Start with a budget proposed by President Barack Hussein Obama of $3.2 trillion - $32,000 per household that claims 1 out of every 4 dollars in the gross domestic product.

The only bright note he could think of was that the second half of the budget contains no earmarks – pork spending Congressmen and Senators pass in amendments to other bills to benefit their districts and states.

There is a reason for that, he said.

“What we got when I got sworn in the first day was no budget.” It's impossible to prioritize spending when there is no budget to look at in your calculations, he explained.

“None of that funding was done because Congress abdicated its responsibility,” he concluded. The previous Congress adjourned without adopting a budget.

Ripples of laughter lightened the mood when he told the people who sent him to Washington that it took a forklift to bring the pallets of books containing the proposed budget into the Capitol building.

“What we did was, we needlessly destroyed a bunch of trees.”

The information in the books is moot, meaningless, he maintained.

Obamacare? Presently, 10% of the gross domestic product is devoted to Medicare and Medicaid. With the health care act of 2010 looming on the horizon, soon 100% of the GDP will be devoted to the debt service on the nation's obligations to creditors.

The key is to completely cut off the money if Congressional oversight won't work, and it won't, he said.

The only thing that Americans have to look forward to is a skyrocketing deficit of $14 trillion and climbing, according to Congressman Bill Flores.

It's going to be a long Congressional session and an even longer election season of 2012, to hear him tell his story.

Capt. Riddle's Insurgent Tea Party Strategy For 2012

“We are in a culture war!”

That's the battle cry, and it sums up an insurgent Tea (Taxed Enough Already) Party strategy that is gaining momentum across a central Texas landscape where the battle lines are already drawn and well defined, the troops mustered, their ranks growing, and clear cut strategies and tactics are voiced without fear.

At a regular meeting of the insurgent group last night, Wes Riddle of the Central Texas Tea Party challenged his audience to take on the establishment Republican party operatives who are satisfied to grab new precincts and get out the vote – and not much more.

This insurgent wing of the conservative community meets the last Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. in an a la carte dinner theater in downtown Belton, “The Beltonian.”

There are 300 members, active and as pugnacious and ready as Captain James Kirk, commanding, of the voyages of the Star Ship Enterprise, for a good fight.

The motto: “Don't Tread On Me”

He called for Tea Partiers to get involved, produce and direct campaigns, write speeches, make ads, establish phone banks, attend Executive Committee meetings – and snatch the slick and buttoned-down business of campaign management out of the hands of the professionals.

The object: Get rid of President Barack Obama and make the U.S. Senate resemble “what we now have in Austin.”

Mr. Riddle is talking conservative, a coalition that will include everyone from the moderate GOP member to the hard shell John Birch Society activist. Mr. Riddle is a West Point grad, an Army officer, and he's got a sheepskin in history from Oxford University.

It's a big tent. They're looking for converts.

The rallying point: “If it comes to it, we must be prepared to nullify Obamacare within the State of Texas.”

True story. In fact, there is a an all-day seminar scheduled to discuss just that in Austin, April 16, at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, 1900 University Ave. - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

We're talking 10th Amendment, here. The ancient and honorable Jeffersonian concept that finally put the U.S. Constitution over against the divisive and hostile influence of the Patrick Henry faction who fought ratification, the clique that decried a central government with the potential of grabbing and controlling too much power against the will of the states and their population.

T.J. & Co. had a remedy for that.

If it doesn't fit, you don't follow the new law, Mr. Jefferson and his colleague James Madison preached. Then they got that 10th Amendment ratified and it's worked very well, indeed, considering.

Remember the Brady Law? Seven sheriffs and the NRA fought that to a standstill at the U.S. Supreme Court on the basis of the 10th Amendment guarantee that if it's not in the U.S. Constitution, the states will reserve the power for themselves. There is a 2nd Amendment guarantee that the right to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed,” so, they reasoned, there is no need for a new federal law that requires County Sheriff's departments to database the names of handgun owners and turn them over the to the U.S. government.

Case closed.

As Mr. Franklin said just moments after he signed the U.S. Constitution at Framer's Hall, Philadelphia, “It's a republic, if we can keep it.”

This scene is all about the Citizen United program that wrested the power of corporate political advertising away from the Federal Election Commission. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed that if a corporation is to be treated as equal to any person, then that entity has the right to the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech.

But it's the old-fashioned type of American activism that motivates this crowd. You don't have so much of a guarantee of a right of free speech, but a God-given responsibility to speak up for yourself. If you don't, the argument goes, then no one else can do it for you.

And if you do not speak up, the motivating factor of fear dictates, the enemy in that culture war will persuade “Americans to walk themselves down the road to serfdom.”

Questions and answers, a little debate and a background briefing on the way things are between the Tea Party and the Central Texas Conservatives – read, Republican Party – and a film called “Battle For America.”
Here's a film well worth giving your attention for the 80-some-odd minutes it runs - if for no other reason than to see one prominent politician after another, including former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, insist gleefully and with all the hilarity they can muster that it is simply necessary to pass legislation to find out what in the world it means.
This thing of reading the bills before you vote on them is a no go. They are written in incomprehensible fashion by the Congressional staff, saith Rep. Pelosi, Conyers, et. al.

While you watch, you can drink a beer or have a glass or wine, some finger food, or a country club locker room hamburger in the broad-butt, big-shouldered comfort of loge theater seating.

Yeah, that's the Beltonian Theater.

The film is a straightforward piece of work that starts with a bang when President Barack Hussein Obama is quoted in a glib sound byte saying that the U.S. Constitution of a fatally flawed instrument, a product of a colonial society in which, for instance, African-Americans were not part of the polity that made up mainstream society.

Truly, they were slaves, but they aren't any more, and people want to stand up and say it without fear of reprisal or political backlash. You see, many white men and women were slaves, too. But they had a much more polite term for that category - "indentured servitude," they called it. A person's services and liberty could be bought and sold, traded and inherited, regardless of your ethnicity or racial characteristics.

One is tempted – almost – to tear up and remember the “Saturday Evening Post” cover picture by Norman Rockwell, the one that depicts a common man wearing work clothes, standing up and speaking at a town council meeting way back when in some obscure New England village.

Yeah. It's like that.

G'head. Let it flow, feel the feelings, live it down. It's only life its own self, as our celebrated Texas sports writer, Mr. Dan Jenkins of Cowtown, once scribbled long ago, in a land far, far away called The Southwest Conference.

- free markets
- Constitutionally limited government
- fiscal responsibility
- secure borders

No Mosaic stone tablets inscribed by the fiery finger of the Almighty, here. This is a people's revolution, not a wag the dog nation of sheep who are willing to accept a “living document” in place of that old rugged cross, the U.S. Constitution.

The rallying point amidst what is described as government shutdowns, near riots, and “union thugs” plugging the streets of state capitals is to institute a second wave following the record turnout of conservative voters in 2010.

The idea, according to Wes Riddle's insurgent strategy, is to complete the Reagan legacy - “Redress an imbalance of power between federal and state governments.”

So mote it be.

And, good morning, Mr. Hancock, old smuggler, wherever you may be.

- The Legendary

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Analysts - Seeds Of Future Libyan Conflict Already Sown

Oil production tells a tale of two nations, two basins, two distinct regions – Petroleum shortage, already at 100K barrels per day, will affect Italy more than any other nation

Italy's reliance on the biggest share of a steady 1.8 million barrels per day of Libyan petroleum export is crimped at a rate of about 100,000 barrels per day – but the trend will continue to grow.

No matter the outcome of the internal conflict over Colonel Qadafi's 40-year regime, the Italian reliance upon Libyan oil is certain to cause an even larger conflict between two distinct and separate oil-producing regions – one in the east on a gulf just west of Benghazi, the other in the west in a desert basin far to the southwest of Tripoli, according to analysts following the emerging situation.

The Qadafi faction is headquartered in the western region at Tripoli; the opposition at Benghazi. There are about 600 kilometers of bare desert between the two outposts.

In fact, Mr. Qadafi's son has already referred to this conflict in the sure terms of resignation to kismet, with the certainty that civil war will soon erupt and the western faction at Tripoli will emerge victorious, no matter how long and protracted or bloody and glorious the coming civil war may be.

The collateral collapse of the state-run Italian energy company, ENI, will be a likely and early casualty in this conflict.

“There have not been any attacks on the energy sector yet, but the threats to stability – overt and implied – have been sufficient to nudge most international oil firms operating in Libya to evacuate their staffs,” according to a briefing by Straffor, a private inteligence service operating out of Austin.

With a tiny population of 6.5 million, less than that of New York City, Libya “simply cannot generate the mass of technocrats and engineers required to run a reasonably sized energy sector.”

Italian influence in the region has been exerted since the time of the Roman Empire, and the ENI organization has had no real incentive to expand its operations or find any real depth in new sources of petroleum over the past 40 years.

Nevertheless, the Italian organization has stuck with Qadafi through feast and famine, seemingly enjoying the relationship, in spite of U.N. and U.S. sanctions imposed when Libya backed militant operations and its agents downed Pan Am flight 103in 1988, killing 270 people at Lockerbie, Scotland.

ENI production accounts for about 15 percent of Libyan output at 250,000 barrels per day, a microcosmic illustration of the kind of economic problems the growing Muslim Brotherhood revolution is surely going to cause western nations in the near future.

Analysts See Similarity in Revolutions of 1848 and Present

In 1848, the revolutions presaged the demise of the monarchy; today's unrest portends the doom of military dictatorships...

In today's excerpt - the 2011 uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, and other countries in the Middle East and Africa are instructively similar to a wave of uprising that occurred in 1848 in Europe - beginning in France and quickly spreading throughout the continent. That year turned out to be one of the most pivotal in the history of Europe. It was a time when almost every country was still a monarchy, and even in England, where a constitutional monarchy limited the power of the king, the government was not yet a democracy, and lordships and heredity still held sway. And so across Europe there were violent upheavals as the people, fueled by poverty and stoked by the more rapid communications possible in the wake of the industrial revolution, sought a voice and vote in the governance of their countries. Most of those uprisings fell short of their objectives. But they were harbingers of the demise of monarchy in Europe that came in succeeding generations. Ultimately, the question was not whether monarchy would survive, but rather which form of government would replace it - and the competition was between inchoate forms of democracy and socialism:

"In 1848 a violent storm of revolutions tore through Europe. With an astounding rapidity crowds of working-class radicals and middle-class liberals in Paris, Milan, Venice, Naples, Palermo, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Krakow and Berlin toppled the old regimes and began the task of forging a new liberal order. Political events so dramatic had not been seen in Europe since the French Revolution Of 1789 - and would not be witnessed again until the revolutions of Eastern and Central Europe in 1989 or perhaps the less far-reaching Bolshevik Revolution Of 1917. ... The brick-built authoritarian edifice that had imposed itself on Europeans for almost two generations folded under the weight of the insurrections. ...

"For the Germans, Italians, Hungarians, Romanians, Poles, Czechs, Croats and Serbs, the year was to be the 'Springtime of Peoples', a chance to assert their own sense of national identity and to gain political recognition. In the cases of the Germans and the Italians, it was an opportunity for national unification under a liberal or even democratic order. Nationalism therefore was one issue that came frothing to the surface of European politics in 1848. While rooted in constitutionalism and civil rights it was a nationalism that ominously made little allowance for the legitimacy of claims of other national groups. In many places, such narrowness of vision led to bitter ethnic conflict which in the end helped to destroy the revolutionary regimes of Central and Eastern Europe. ...
"The revolutions were scarred almost everywhere by a bitter often violent political polarization. Moderates wanted parliamentary government - but not necessarily to enfranchise everyone - and they were challenged by radicals who wanted democracy - frequently combined with dramatic social reform - without delay. ...

"A third issue that came boiling to the surface in 1848 and never left the European political agenda was the 'social question.' The abject misery of both urban and rural people had loomed menacingly in the thirty or so years since the Napoleonic Wars. The poverty was caused by a burgeoning population which was not yet offset by a corresponding growth in the economy. Governments however did little to address the social distress which was taken up as a cause by a relatively new political current - socialism - in 1848. The revolutions therefore thrust the 'social question' firmly and irrevocably into politics. Any subsequent regime, no matter how conservative or authoritarian, ignored it at its peril. In 1848, however, the question of what to do about poverty would prove to be one of the great nemeses of the liberal revolutionary regimes."


Author: Mike Rapport
Title: 1848
Publisher: Basic Books
Date: Copyright 2008 by Mike Rapport
Pages: ix-x

Alan Toussaint - Yes we can can ( I know that we can)

Senators Continue To Jam Right To Work Movement

Madison – They're all camped out across the border in Illinois, and Winsconsin's Democratic State Senators don't appear to have any plans to come home soon.

The way things stand, Governor Scott Walker's plan to bust the unions and make Wisconsin a right to work state is stymied by the lack of one member to make a quorum in the upper chamber.

The Republican-controlled Assembly intended to debate the measure and vote on it today, but it's a no go the way things stand.

Teachers, firefighters and police officers have agreed to compromise on pay cuts that average 8 percent, but the Governor has refused to hear their entreaties.

That's not what he's after. He wants to make the state open to all comers and not a closed shop, unionized state in which collective bargaining under the law is the only way to go.

More than 68,000 people jammed the rotunda of the state capitol building on Saturday, a spectacle that has riveted the nation and polarized the political camps to left and right.

On the left, Democrats and independents want to preserve the status quo in unionized labor, believing there is strength in numbers and such issues as health care, pay, environmental and safety regulations are best handled at the negotiating table come contract time.

On the right, Tea Parties, Republicans and Libertarians demand an end to union control over employer-worker relations. They say it's wrecking the economy.

Government accountability studies dispute that logic.

Where the Governor says his state is facing a multibillion dollar budget deficit, the liberals and working people say economic studies prove it would have been a budget surplus had he not moved to lower taxes for corporations and the very wealthy population of this populist prairie state.

Right wingers cite unconfirmed reports that teachers' health care insurance packages average about $1,000 per month. Left wingers point out the fact that all insurance rates must be approved by a state regulatory agency, something which usually favors insurance carriers.

No matter which route you may go, the Wisconsites have something in common with old East Texas county boys like Jimmy Caughron. They know you can fix just about anything with duct tape. Witnesseth.

Credit Consumers Facing Fewer Rate Hikes, Fees

A new government watchdog agency and a consumer advocacy group agree that banking regulations enacted a year ago have reduced the rate hikes and hidden “gotcha” user fees with which banks saddled credit card holders in the past.

A spokesman for the American Banking Association disagrees.

It's the economy. It's the fact that people with bad credit are not using cards, or they are using cards they pay a much higher rate to use, he says.

Either way, the numbers indicate that penalty charges are down, according to the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

January 2010 late fees cost cardholders $901 million. This year, the amount was less than half at $427 million.

The biggest reason: a $25 cap on penalty charges written into Credit Card (CARD) Act of 2009.

Before the new regulations took effect, about 15% of accounts saw rate hikes over the course of a year. That figure fell to a slim 2% during the past year.

Another big plus is that lenders can no longer boost rates within the first year of a cardholder opening an account or without giving 45 days notice before the rate is hiked on new purchases.

Over the limit fees have been eliminated. Before the new law took effect, banks would sometimes approve purchases that put consumers over the limit – for a fee of as much as $39.

According to ABA spokesman Peter Garuccio, “Overall it has been a net positive for consumers, but there have been tradeoffs.

“...The difficult part is teasing out jus thow much of these changes attribute the CARD Act and how much to attribute to the economic downturn. We think they are attributable to both.”

According to the Center for Responsible Lending, “An estimated $12.1 billion in previously obscure yearly charges are now stated more clearly in credit card offers.”

Qadafi Appears On State TV - "I'm Not In Venezuela"

Colonel Muammar Qadafi appeared briefly on Libyan state television this morning. "I'm not in Venezuela," he said. "Don't believe those dog stations."

Some earlier televised reports had speculated that the 68-year-old Colonel had fled for asylum in that nation.

Worldwide repercussions have opened deep rifts in the Libyan regime, which has been in power for 40-plus years. Libyan UN mission diplomats have resigned in protest over the killing of hundreds of protesters in the streets of Benghazi and Tripoli.

Air Force officers have resigned their commissions and are urging fellow officers to "Join with the people."

Graphic Footage Of Protesters Shot Dead In Bahrain

Bahraini security police fired on protesters, leaving the streets littered with their bodies.

The capital of the U.S. Navy's 5th fleet, this emirate is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a 6-member coalition of Persian Gulf oil-rich emirates and principalities that have banded together to issue their own currencie, a unit known as the "khaliji" on the worldwide currency exchanges.

Yemen and Egypt have been rejected for full membership in the council.

Monday, February 21, 2011

$4 Gas Sure Thing As Libyan Unrest Sets Crude Climbing

Crude oil for April delivery gained $5.69, or 6.3%, to $95.40 a barrel over the past two days of Libyan unrest and military attacks on hundreds of civilians.

Colonel Muammar Gadafi set off the first round of skyrocketing American fuel prices in 1970 when he nationalized the foreign oil fields of his nation following the Congressional action of crimping the oil depletion tax allowance by another significant percentage increment in 1969.

Muslim Brotherhood actions against his 40-plus year regime over the weekend sent crude prices sailing every higher and higher on thermals of trepidation and uncertainty over supplies.

BBC, Al Jazeera Say Gadhafi's Air Force, Navy Firing On Protesters

BULLETIN: A Libyan journalist who appeared as a guest on PBS Newshour's evening broadcast painted a picture of sheer horror as she related eyewitness reports of security forces invading hospitals and shooting victims of Air Force and Navy attacks directed against citizens who had protested in the streets.

Other elements of the Libyan security forces scoured medical records in the admitting offices of hospitals, "...presumably to get information with which to direct attacks against the families of victims."

Hundreds have fallen dead in aerial attacks on highways, public streets and squares and private residences carried out by Libyan Air Force planes, onshore naval bombardment and small arms fire from security police who chased protesters through the streets, firing at will.

One of Gadafi's sons told television viewers that there will be civil war to rival anything ever seen in the history of the nation. "We have petroleum and it has united Libyan," he said, in reference to recent revolutions and uprisings in Egypt, Bahrain, Algeria and Tunisia.

Many foreign intelligence services believe Colonel Gadafi to have fled the country. Government radio and television stations are announcing that he will made a broadcast statement to the world later tonight. Border guards in Egypt say that Libyan border forces have withdrawn from their posts. They are believed to be fighting insurgency in the nation's cities.

- A Stratfor Red Alert -

Tripoli - Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has ordered the Libyan air force to fire on military installations in Libya, according to what the BBC has characterized as a reliable source. Al Jazeera has suggested that air force fighters have opened fire on crowds of protesters.

Though the latter would be particularly draconian, the more important question is whether these signs reflect a split within the regime and Gadhafi using military force to crush opposition to his regime emerging from the military or other security forces. Similar reports the Libyan navy firing on targets onshore also are emerging, as well as reports that Gadhafi has given execution orders to soldiers who have refused to fire on Libyan protesters...

As of noon, Al Jazeera was reporting more than 300 dead in Tripoli. - The Legendary

Red Alert: Clashes In Tripoli - 61 Dead - Al Jazeera

A Stratfor Red Alert

Tripoli - Emerging reports early Feb. 21 indicate the unrest in Libya might have spread from eastern Libya to the capital of Tripoli. According to initial reports, heavy gunfire was heard in central Tripoli and in other districts with Al Jazeera reporting 61 people killed in Tripoli on Feb. 21.

Other unconfirmed reports say that protesters attacked the headquarters of Al-Jamahiriya Two television and Al-Shababia as well as other government buildings in Tripoli overnight. According to Saudi-owned al-Arabiya, the government-owned People’s Conference Centre where the General People’s Congress (parliament) meets when it is in session in Tripoli was set on fire.

U.K. energy firm British Petroleum reportedly said it would evacuate its personnel from Libya and suspend its activities due to massive unrest. Spain’s Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez said on Feb. 21 that the EU member states are coordinating possible evacuations of European nationals from Libya. A Turkish Airlines flight was arranged to evacuate Turkish citizens from Benghazi but was denied the opportunity to land by Libyan authorities and returned to Turkey...

Oh, show me the way to the next whiskey bar...

Ugly Story – But They Seem To Have Learned Something

ATF Agent spooky, duplicitous and disingenuous prior to raid on the Branch Davidian compound at Mt. Carmel nigh Waco (We Ain't Coming Out) McLennan Sheriff has no record of weapons violation prior to ATF raid

PHOENIX - A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging two illegal immigrants from Mexico with possessing a large number of guns.

Prosecutors said last Thursday that the immigrants possessed a total of 222 assault rifles and five pistols in May and August, later seized in Laredo, Texas, according to news reports.

Though the indictment doesn't charge them with gun smuggling, authorities say the guns were headed to Mexico.

Jose Beltran-Bermudez is charged with possession of 142 AK-47s and five pistols.

He and Yazmin Arvayo-Palafox were charged with possessing an additional 80 AK-47s.

Beltran-Bermudez's attorney, Stephen Duncan, says his client will plead not guilty.

He was the kind of guy that looked like what he was, a sleazy little secret policeman in an imitation leather vinyl jacket, his gray-haired looks all ghostly and gumshoe tip-toe stealth.

Marley Jones was the sole Republican candidate for Sheriff of Johnson County in the early spring of 1992.

He crept upon me at the Cleburne office of a small town paper where I was busy writing news at the time. Suddenly, he was standing there at my elbow where I sat writing copy on a PC.

Of course, he was there to complain.

He had sent us a 5-page press release announcing his candidacy. I cut it to a few column inches of copy containing the essential information and we printed it.

He wasn't satisfied.

“People have told me that they will vote for me if I am the most qualified. You didn't give me a chance to review my qualifications in my press release. It should have been printed exactly as it was written.”

I disagreed. Advertising copy is printed exactly as it's written. Press releases are subject to editing for length – and other considerations.

Unsatisfied, he inveighed at length about his qualifications.

The career started when he signed on with the dreaded “LCB's,” as an agent of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

The job: lay around the lounges and honky tonks, looking for violations of the arcana of Texas hootchy kootchy law on how many shots there are in a bottle, when and where the stuff may be sold, and that most burning issue – are there any minors on the premises.

From there, it was all uphill, according to a little dossier he carried around with him. It was a scrapbook chock full of his greatest accomplishments.

At some point, he traded up to become a U.S. Treasury agent, eventually landing in an undercover role with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Hoo, boy. Here we go.

Mr. Jones began to tail me everywhere I went in town. I couldn't stop in for breakfast at the diner or lunch at the Mexican restaurant without his inviting himself to sit at my table.

Dragnet time. Bom da bom bom. Bom da bom bom dah!

I told him – flat out – that as a newsman, I was not supporting any Republican candidates for any office, nor was I endorsing any Democratic candidates for any office local, state or federal.

He just couldn't seem to accept that.

What's more, he was sneaky. He just seemed to appear, tiptoeing out of a fog bank, speaking in a voice you had to strain to hear, thumbing through his little scrap book and constantly reviewing his qualifications.

It was a sad tale. At one point, he had been working as a “revenuer” in the hills of North Carolina, looking to bust folks at their moonshine stills.

A teen-aged daughter back in Texas died in an auto collision.

It took the ATF two weeks to locate him. By then, the funeral was long past. It almost drove him crazy, he said.

As a result, things had changed. They don't leave undercover agents in deep for that long any more, Mr. Jones said. The result of the old policy of leaving a spook in character and playing a role as long as it takes was for Marley Jones a nervous breakdown – but one that came along in the line of duty. That put him in the office, flying a desk for the duration of his federal career. It all happened about the time
Uncle Sam went for computers in a big way. How sweet it is.

That's when he became an expert at running the numbers on confiscated weapons and serial numbers of guns examined in “book checks” field agents carried out at gun stores and pawn shops. Office pinky. Yeah. Such a deal.

Mr. Jones continued to harass me any time he saw me in public. The girls at the office started telling him I was in a meeting, but if he would leave his number, I would call him back later.

He caught me at the breakfast table in early March, just before the primary election of 1992, and told me a very racy tale about this guy in a rock and roll band who got caught coming out of a beer joint in Bellmead with a stolen firearm – a .22 cal. Pistol – with a silencer attached.

That's a no no. Big time. But the McLennan County Sheriff's office worked the case, he said, and the uniforms didn't know how to use their data terminal to get the goods on the gun.

Mr. Jones said a high-ranking official in the Sheriff's Department at Waco called him at home in the Bono community near the small Johnson County town of Godley. They asked if he could come to Waco to help them get the goods on the gun.

His computer check showed the gun was stolen. He used a computer at the McLennan County Sheriff's Department.

“What's the guy's name?” I asked, taking out my notebook.
He frowned, held his hand palm forward before my face, and said no way I would get that information – from him or the deputies at Waco.


“Because we're going to put him back inside the Branch Davidian compound at Mt. Carmel as an undercover confidential informant,” he said.

“How can I get a copy of the offense report?”

“You can't. This is our baby – from here on in. He works for us now.”

I asked if this was the same Branch Davidian compound where the shootout took place. Check. Was this a follower of David Koresh, erstwhile band leader, gun dealer, preacher?


It all added up. The Seventh Day Adventists have a college at nearby Keene, Texas, just up the highway from Cleburne. A regional headquarters is located just outside of Alvarado in I-35. Lots of Adventist politics in the air on a daily basis, splinter groups like the Branch Davidians, included.

My question: “Then why do you come to me, a newsman, and tell me all this? Looks like you would want to keep it buttoned up tight as Dick's hatband, fella.”

That's when he hit me with the proposition that I could cooperate with the ATF and get way on down the highway – become famous, make a worldwide splash with the crime story of the decade, etc., etc.

“When we raid that place, I want you standing by our side,” he said with a broad grin. Lovely. Such a deal.

Anybody with more than 30 days experience reporting cop shop and court news and IQ above that of a carrot, maggot or worm knows better than that. You have to know the defendant's name and age and how to identify them, and you have to know with what they are charged and in what court, or you will wind up as lost in the he said, she said wilderness as the poor old duffer who decided to get turned out as a snitch.

No way.

That's when he got evil.

About the people who owned the operation where I was employed. Did they have any money? Who knows. What kind of insurance did they have against charges of libel or slander? Above my pay grade. Wasn't it true that the owner's father was a multimillionaire? Wouldn't know.

Either you cooperate or you're going to find yourself in some hot water.

Enough. I told him if he didn't start making tracks real quickly, I was going to jerk him over the table and paste him one in the snot locker. I really don't like that kind of talk over breakfast. It's not of any aid to the digestion, you see.
I made my morning rounds and when I got back to the office, my boss, hopping mad, fired me. You have to know how to get along with people, he said.

I told him I was well checked out on that little doo dad. Some folks, the only way to get along is to let them know they're going no further. Period.

The rest is history.

A year later, only a month after President Bill Clinton took office in January, the ATF raided the Branch Davidian at Mt. Carmel. Four agents lost their lives because, the agency said, a newsman violated operational security and let the Davidians know they were coming.

In the interim, the ATF had fed them loads of information about what a bad actor Mr. Koresh - Vernon Howell in a former lifetime when he graduated from a Dallas area high school and worked as a carpenter's helper - could be when in the presence of underage girls whose parents had given him permission to breed them as the one true Messiah, etc., etc.

I told Mr. Jones that, according to the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...”

We're all free to get as kinky about God and matters spiritual as the law allows – and in America, it allows a lot. Oodles. Oceans. All the slack in the world. And it's a big world.

The upshot? All major media and their insurance carriers who were present at the raid that day, including the Waco “Tribune-Herald,” KWTX, WFAA, and others, wound up settling out of court for undisclosed sums said to amount to multimillions of dollars in wrongful death litigation brought on behalf of the dead agents' families.

The aftermath? According to whose account you believe – FBI, news reports, ATF, Congressional investigators – anywhere from 75 to 150 people perished, burned alive on April 19, 1993, after an FBI attack with tanks and helicopter gunships. Many of them were children.

The most accepted figure is that 80 were immolated – somehow – when tear gas and acclerants from gasoline lanterns exploded in the tinder-dry building on the prairie near Elk community on a day when hot, dry winds gusted to as much as 40 miles per hour.

A Public Information request made to the McLennan County Sheriff's Office reveals no offense or arrest report for a member of the David Koresh band busted with a stolen pistol with silencer attached outside a beer joint in Bellmead.

No such document exists.

I and my former employers were not sued by members of ATF agents' families who perished that day.

I still think I did the right thing. Marley Jones lost his election bid in a contest with “Nooner” Griffith, a detective on the Cleburne police force who served one term as Johnson County Sheriff.

The turning point in the race?

Griffith and members of his camp – all seasoned harness bulls who had worked cop shops throughout the state – came up with a lot of questionable data about Mr. Jones' career. It had the appearance of resume fraud, but, you know, by then I was down the road, disgraced as the kind of man who would actually tell a sneaky little narc he wasn't going to take it any more, to get off his cloud, take a hike.

Not guilty.


So mote it be.

- The Legendary