Saturday, April 30, 2011

Have you ever wondered what the internet looks like?

(click on the image for a larger view; click here for an explanation of the charting)

If I thought you needed me - Little Wille John

Sirhan, under hypnosis, saying woman controlled him

Our Story: His memory has changed, once again.

In kaleidoscopic images that were copied by hand during hypnotic sessions, Sirhan B. Sirhan says the famous “woman in a polka dot dress” controlled his behavior the night in June, 1968, when Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated.

The mysterious woman, a young girl whom Mr. Sirhan termed as "a seductress with an unspoken unavailability," left the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in a hurry, running for a fire escape and shouting, “We shot Kennedy!” She has never been apprehended or identified.

The eerie testimony of the convicted killer, a Palestinian refugee whom many believe was in the act of carrying out Islamic jihad when he aimed the .22 caliber revolver at the Presidential candidate only moments after he declared victory in the California Primary, holds that he was hypnotized at a target practice range, then made to believe he was actually firing at targets, and not at a person.

Among his effects seized after the assassination, authorities found a notebook in which he repeatedly wrote that Senator Kennedy must die due to his support for Israeli Defense Forces acquisition of American fighter-bomber jets and the parts and maintenance contracts to keep them in fighting trim. The Senator had played a key role in Congressional approval of Defense Department cooperation with the Israelis.

Under the trance spell induced by Harvard University trauma memory and hypnosis expert Daniel Brown, Mr. Sirhan, who has for all these years maintained he has no memory of what happened at the time, that he was in a black out, said:

“I thought I was at the range more than I was actually shooting at any person, let alone Bobby Kennedy.”

The woman in the polka dot dress pinched his shoulder and spun him around, he now remembers.

“I am trying to figure out how to hit on her...That's all that I can think about. I was fascinated with her looks...She never said much. It was very erotic. I was consumed by her. She was a seductress with an unspoken unavailability.” Dr. Brown calls the hypnotic state in which Mr. Sirhan has made his new discoveries "hypnotic free recall." He has been in custody since June, 1968, a member of various therapeutic communities at Vacaville State Prison and San Quentin.

The new story is outlined in court papers filed by Mr. Sirhan's lawyer, William F. Pepper, who retained Dr. Brown for the hypnotherapeutic sessions in which he revealed his newly found memories of the event that changed the course of history by removing the top Democratic contender for President in the elections of 1968 and replaced him with a conservative Republican shoo-in, Richard M. Nixon.

Mr. Nixon exercised the “southern strategy,” which consisted mainly of guaranteeing conservative southern Democrats that he would delay school integration and affirmative action as long as possible in what is now referred to in conservative circles as “the second reconstruction” in the aftermath of the “War Between The States.”

It was the opening wedge in a conservative revolution that swept the deep south and southwestern states.

Mr. Nixon promised to end the Vietnam War with a “secret plan” which would guarantee “peace with honor.” Instead, the war and its various ultra-secret sideshows in Laos and Cambodia lingered on until 1975.

Asked at the time about Mr. Nixon's secret plan to end the war, President Lyndon B. Johnson said, “Why, that mean old man. He knows how to end this war, but he won't tell us. It's a secret.”

Mr. Sirhan was denied parole in March due to his lack of remorse for the killing for which he was convicted, sentenced to die, then re-sentenced to life imprisonment after the U.S. Supreme Court found California's death penalty unconstitutional due to what the justices termed as conditions considered as cruel and unusual punishment.

After her attacker shot her in the head, the Congresswoman clung to life as her husband, an Astronaut, held her hand and talked to her about his hopes that she would survive. He was not alone. You may depend upon that.

- The Legendary

Take me to the river, Rev. Green - wash me down

Dig those horns backing the Rev. They've got it going on.

For those who prefer that Mississippi saxophone - work out.

TxDOT Sunset Bill nearing approval in both houses

Commission appointment changes added to House, Senate bills - private backing for toll roads approved for bypasses

Apr 29 Written by:

Andy Hogue
4/29/2011 5:16 PM

With today's approval in the House, both chambers have now passed TxDOT Sunset bills.

HB 2675, the House version of the sunset legislation, has at least one thing in common with the Senate's -- it rejected the call to have a single transportation commissioner running the department.

However, the House bill now changes the way the five commissioners are selected. An amendment by Rep. Joe Pickett (D-El Paso) calls for the Governor to appoint four from a list of nominees put forth by the House Speaker, with a fifth appointed by the Lieutenant Governor.

The main bone of contention this afternoon was debate over continuing CDAs -- comprehensive development agreements, which are those public-private partnerships that allow for private companies to front the money for toll roads and similar projects.

An amendment by Rep. Linda Harper Brown (R-Irving) paved the way for allowing TxDOT to build three CDA projects per year -- complete with design-build authority. (We'll take a closer look at what all this means, and who voted in which way, in next week's LSR).

But three per year is not all that TxDOT will be allowed according to another amendment by Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman). In what he called "several local bills rolled into one," 12 CDA projects designed to relieve urban congestion were approved -- from I-35 East managed toll lanes in Dallas and Denton counties to Loop 1 (Mo-Pac Expressway) lanes in Austin. (See full list below...

(click here for full article from "The Lone Star Report")

Friday, April 29, 2011

Take Me To The River - Talking Heads

Mammoths drowned while trying to save their babies

Waco - The nursery herd of Columbian mammoths was grazing along the banks of a small creek about 68,000 years ago when a flash flood caught them in the suddenly crumbling silt of a small creek bed.

The rapidly rising waters drowned the cows, who had instinctively formed a circle around the little ones to protect them from danger.

One mother's bones tell the story to the trained eyes of a paleontologist digging in the clay banks of the ancient stream bed.

Her calf was found lying across her massive tusks. They drowned together, stuck in the mud, as she attempted to raise her baby above the danger of the rising waters. Nineteen mother mammoths and their calves perished in that event. In all, the remains of 24 mammoths have been unearthed so far. Six of them are displayed, still embedded in the mud, in situ.

The skeleton of a bull mammoth was found nearby, the victim of a similar event that optical dating techniques – carbon 14 methods don't work very well on bone that has not fossilized - show occurred about 15,000 years later in one of a series of flood-related events.

He, too, had placed a drowning baby across his huge tusks – adapted incisor teeth that weigh about 200 pounds each. Murals on the wall depict the massiveness of the Columbian mammoths. They stood about 14 feet in height, weighed as much as 20,000 pounds, and were 2 to 4 feet taller and about 8,000 pounds heavier than their cousins the wooly mammoths. Those creatures lived in colder climates farther north on the globe during the same Pleistocene epoch, the Ice Age, 12.5 million to 10,000 years in the past.

It all happened very quickly as the mud buried them and preserved their bones, preventing further decomposition, which even after so long a time are as yet unfossilized.

There are no tooth marks that would have been made by predators in an attack; the remains are completely intact. They were never scattered by vultures or predators because there was no time for that, post mortem. They mud engulfed all very quickly as the flood waters closed in.

One wonders at the panic and desperation the mother mammoths must have felt in those fleeting moments that led to their doom and the death of their babies. A scant few minutes before, they had been standing in the dry creek bed where it was easy to reach up with their trunks at eye level and get at the vegetation they fed upon; the next thing they knew, they and their babies were drowning in the thick mud and rising waters of a flash flood.

The herd's bones were preserved perfectly by the air tight seal formed by the alluvium of the Bosque and the Brazos rivers that enveloped them, drowned them, and thus preserved their remains for millenium upon millenium.

The farmers call it gumbo, this rich mix of alluvium bound by clay and made up of the fine silt carried by the floodwaters at the confluence of two rivers. Highly prized, it would grow almost any crop without fertilizer, its nutrients routinely replenished by annual inundation and its spring colors under cultivation a rich mix of green sorghum and the golden tones of ripening wheat which grows on the alluvial plain washed so long against the towering limestone bluffs across the Brazos on its west bank.

It makes the perfect sealant to prevent the decomposition of bone tissue. As soon as they are unearthed, ancient bones begin to rot. That's why most of the remains of the herd – the remaining 18 - have been coated with a special plaster of paris composition and warehoused safely in a controlled environment.

The 100-acre site, which was developed by Baylor University, the City of Waco, and the Waco Mammoth Foundation, likely holds the remains of many ancient creatures.

Its discovery was fortuitous and unexpected. A pair of dairy farmers were exploring the creek bed – looking for arrowheads - one day in 1978 when they noticed a huge bone sticking out of the gumbo in the side of one of its banks. They excavated it and took it to Baylor University's Mayborn Museum where a trained scientist who had seen some mammoth bones before identified it as ancient and, of course, very interesting.

It is the only known discovery of a nursery herd of female mammoths and their offspring in North America.

Today, the dig is protected by a modern air conditioned building that is well lit and very comfortable to visit because of the steel catwalks and cantilevered platforms built over the well-labeled site. There are the remains of an ancient camel and a juvenile saber-toothed tiger, as well as unidentified skeletons that were stuck in the mud for eons unknown. Admission for adults is $7 and there are picnic areas and pleasant paved walkways that thread through the leafy and sun-splashed area.

The remains of the bull mammoth who perished trying to lift his calf above the rising waters are on display at the Mayborn Museum on the campus of Baylor University. Visitors are able to walk out over the exhibit on a clear platform that places the tableau at their feet, suspended over the display.

One of his ribs is broken, quite likely the result of a duel with another bull in an affair of honor fought for mating rights with the females, or an injury sustained in defense of the herd.

Legislation is pending in the present Congress to designate the Waco Mammoth Site a National Monument, and thus part of the National Park System.

U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison have sponsored a bill that would provide the designation, and Congressman Bill Flores has sponsored an identical bill in the House of Representatives.

All three have promised that no federal funds will be required to thus protect the site, which is unique on this continent, the only known discovery of the remains of a nursery herd of Columbian mammoths.

The Legendary didn't have the nerve to ask tour guide Russ Wood how much it cost to develop the site. Mr. Wood is an employee of the City of Waco, quite knowledgeable about the revolutionary new optical dating techniques used to estimate the age of unfossilized remains, and a very pleasant companion on an afternoon stroll through the park.

If you have to ask, you can't afford it, as some Wall Street banking tycoon once quipped to an admiring interlocutor over the price of a steamship he called his “yacht.”

Besides, something tells me President Theodore Roosevelt would not have quibbled about the dollar signs and decimal points involved.

He was an avid taxidermist and collector, widely traveled in pursuit of specimen throughout the Americas and Africa. He contributed lavishly to the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

The Legendary can only hope to live up to the ideals of the revered life style of so honorable a hero as Mr. Roosevelt, Republican, native son of Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York. He must have been quite a leader, for he is said to have recruited his Rough Riders within minutes at the bar of the Menger Hotel in San Antonio.

Either Colonel Roosevelt was a whale of a leader, or the cowpokes and pony soldiers must have been waiting on him. They aren't usually so easily led as that, especially while in their cups at the saloon.

For more information, click on the foundation's website at

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Legislators propose taking “concealed” out of handgun law

Austin – A legislative committee voted to allow licensed handgun permit holders to carry their hoglegs strapped on in plain sight.

The House Committee on Homeland Security voted 5-3 in favor of removing the word “concealed” from the law.

Under the new “open carry” provision authored by Representative George Lavender, R-Texarkana, licensees would still be required to take instruction and pass the same test, background check, and pay the same fee.

The bill will be sent to the full House for consideration.

Just prior to the present session of the Legislature, the security forces at the Capitol created an "express lane" at the magnetometer screening stations which clear visitors, legislators and lobbyists to enter the building. If one has a concealed carry handgun license, he need only show it - as do such pistoleros as Governor Rick Perry - and they are allowed to bypass the tedium of waiting in line and being screened for a gun.

This prompted a rush among legislators, lobbyists and staffers to acquire the documentation needed to hit the express lane and get inside, hawg leg and all.

A gunman attacked at an entrance to the building recently and it is thought that licensed handgun owners could become effective "force multipliers" to back up DPS officers who stand by for security purposes in the event of any future attack.

Redistricting map "eviscerates" conservative representation

Joe Nixon's H155 map offers alternative to committee chair Bert Solomons' pairing of conservatives to eliminate them - H113

BULLETIN: The Solomons Plan, H113, passed by 92-52 at 3 a.m. The H155 Nixon Plan never came up for a vote. - The Legendary

Austin – Newly elected conservative representatives who swept liberals out of office in the elections of 2010 will be paired against one another under the new plan filed by Redistricting Chair Bert Solomons – R-Carrollton.

Mr. Solomons is a committee chair appointed by House Speaker Joe Strauss, whose re-election as Speaker was bitterly opposed by conservatives and Tea Party activists alike.

A vote on the plan could come as early as this coming Wednesday on the House floor, according to John Kuempel, R-District 44, Seguin.

Former Rep. Joe Nixon, R-Houston, teamed up with Trey Trainor, a voting rights lawyer, to draw a new redistricting map that is more pleasing to conservatives.

Mr. Nixon represented Dist. 133 and authored both the tort reform legislation passed in the 78th Legislature and the its companion Constitutional Amendment, Proposition 12.

The Nixon Plan, H155, is based on three major criticisms of the Solomons Plan, H113:

1. The Solomons plan, H113, is “not reflective” of voting patterns because it pits newly elected conservatives against one another;

2. It violates voters' rights;

3. The districts are not compact in their territory. One west Texas district is 400 miles wide.

They are urging concerned citizens to contact their representatives to voice their concerns, hopefully to plug the Nixon redistricting plan, H155.

Their claim is that the Nixon plan will allow conservative representatives to run against challengers, and not each other.

Said Representative Nixon of the Solomons plan, “It sends conservatives home.”

Weather report by lorihill1967 of Chalk Bluff - hail, rainbow

GOP decries Senators' plans to raid "Rainy Day" fund

The Texas Senate is preparing to pass a liberal budget that spends far beyond the taxpayers means. It does so by raiding the rainy day fund, using one-time revenue gimmicks, and simply kicks tough decisions dangerously down the road.

As you'll recall, the Texas House earlier this month passed a responsible budget, but now the Senate is poised to bust the bank.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who presides over the Senate, told reporters yesterday that he "disagreed" with senators wanting to take money for the new budget from the rainy day fund; he said he preferred balancing the budget through cuts to non-essential services, fixes to state law and using non-tax revenues where possible.

Gov. Rick Perry has also said he opposes raiding the fund, wanting legislators to send him a budget that lives within the currently available revenues.

It's important that Texas senators hear from taxpayers like you today.

Contact Your Senator!

Or go to Texans for a Conservative Budget and sign the petition (they will hand deliver the message to your Senator).

For Texas,
Michael Quinn Sullivan

Texans for a Conservative Budget is a coalition of groups and citizens, united for a 2012-2013 Texas state budget that adheres to the following principles:

- The Texas state budget should reflect the state's fiscal means, and make hard choices on necessary cuts.

- The Texas state budget should not use a penny of the Economic Stabilization Fund, better known as the "Rainy Day Fund."

- The Texas state budget should not burden Texans with new taxes, however presented.

We understand that these are tough fiscal times. The challenge is for the state government — and especially the Texas House and Senate — to adapt to them in ways that vindicate Texans' wishes as expressed in November's elections.

Doing this, and crafting a 2012-2013 Texas state budget that adheres to these principles, means nothing less than securing our great state's future — for our children and beyond.

forwarded to The Legendary by

Like, this cat lost cabin pressure, 25,000 feet upside down

I wonder if Donald Trump's pompadour would come off if you flushed his head in the toilet.

Louie S. like to fight. He was a bandy-legged little Jewish cat from the upper east side. Maybe he was a bantam weight – on a good day. A real rooster, probably 130 pounds tops with the middle-aged spread factored in.

He had the ugliest belly you've ever seen. That's because he was a private investigator and one day while he was working a case in a rather unsavory neighborhood of Delray Beach, two black dudes walked up on him and demanded his digital camera.

It was a good one. A Canon with interchangeable lenses, all the doo dads and attachments.

They weren't concerned about the case, you see. Didn't care who Louie was taking pictures of or what it was all about. They just wanted the camera. Good for a couple of rocks, at least.

Louie was no fool, no stranger to the streets. He wasn't going to stand around waiting for something to happen. He tried to hit one of them in the face with the camera and got gut shot for his troubles.

Walked around with a colostomy bag for a couple of years before the surgeons figured out a way to repair his colon and let him take to the throne in a more normal posture.

But I digress.

Louie had the best Donald Trump story I've ever heard.

Somehow, some way, he made his father so angry at him – prior to his bar mitzvah, you understand – that the old man put him an exclusive military academy located somewhere in a charming little village located somewhere in Rip Van Winkle-country-on-the-Hudson.

The old man knew what he was doing.

This place was totally WASP-ola. One hundred percent goy. Not good for baby. No way.

So, Louie got his fair share of hazing.

Hey, I'm not saying I don't understand why. I mean, all you could do on a good day was let Louie be Louie – or just walk away, fly away, run away, but flee, cuz. We talkin' about flee, now.

Strong, y'all. Garlic sandwich, he was. Strong.

According to Louie, Mr. Trump was an upper classman in charge of bringing the bantam weight filibusters in line with the majority's way of thinking.

Order of the day. Flush the head in the toilet. Only way to make a lasting impression.

“They kept one stall totally clean and sanitary for the purpose,” Louie would always say. “Nobody ever used that one.”

Such a deal.

Anyway, he said Mr. Trump behaved as a total gentleman about the matter. He told Louie to relax, to just think of it as an experience, a trip to the shore to hear the sound of the ocean, etc.

But I could never listen to him tell that story without thinking of a trip to SS headquarters in the middle of the night, being made to stand on one leg naked – at attention – while some porky burgher in a stupid looking uniform shouts “Name of the pimp who fathered you!”

“Name of the whore who gave you birth!”

That was all about the birth certificate, too, remember?

Was your mama or your grandmother a Jewess? Yes, or no. Just answer the question. (K-vestion)

I can never look at that perch mouth, that pompadour, without wondering if the whole shebang would come off if you flushed it in the toilet.

Who knows? Maybe he has a special toilet over there on Palm Beach in that mansion of his, a special one reserved just for the purpose.

You're looking at a bully, a bully trained by bullies to do bully things.

He should show me his birth certificate. Maybe I have some k-vestions of my own, no?

Fed - keep dollar down to bring exports up - Do you care?

Washington - Okay, the chief strolled out into the lion's den and said he's going to keep on buying the U.S. Treasury's paper in order to keep inflation down. No other choice, his numbers say, and other words to that effect.

Then the analysts picked over Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's statement to the financial press.

Their conclusion: the top banker wants to keep the dollar's value down in an attempt to bring exports up.

How to rein the spike in gasoline prices?

You don't, said Mr. Bernanke. It doesn't work that way. Besides, he said, inflation's not a problem. It's so much not a problem that the Fed will continue to reinvest its principal payments in U.S. Treasury securities. In other words, it's going to let the dragon chase, and eat, its own tail - buying up its own debt in an endless loop.

How you like them apples, fellow housewives? Hope you have enough tiger in your tank to get to Wal-Mart this week.

Balderdash, said a top analyst - a qualified economist. If you want to bring gasoline costs down, stimulate a "dramatic rise" in the worth of the dollar. Somebody's making a buck. Do you ever wonder just who that may be?

It's safe to say that the bond traders are having a field day keeping up with all the transactions the Fed's decision spark in buying U.S. Treasury Bonds. Their commissions keep pace with the volatility of that market, after all.

About the worth of the dollar. It tanked in 2008 and has stayed somewhat level since then.

We aren't getting anywhere.

To whom does this bring all the grief? A glib CBS personality talking out her talking head, said Wal-Mart won't be all that charmed, since the outfit buys all its stuff in China to re-sell to Billy Bob and Becky Sue throughout the known boundaries of our world - the U.S.A. - wall to wall and treetop tall.

She asked, does this really make any difference - if you don't travel overseas?

Nah, lady, your cash ain't nothing but trash, anyway. Just cut out those plans for a junior year abroad and your April in Paris. Things will be fine.

The next big question is simple enough, but filled with drama.

After all the hell the new conservative super majority raised, will they turn around and vote to raise that stratospheric $14.3 trillion debt ceiling?

It's a fair question. If they don't, they could run out of money and it would be the first time the nation has had that little problem. Like the fellow said, it would be just like going into a fancy restaurant, ordering and consuming a fine meal, then arguing over the check - like - you are refusing to pay the tab.


Ultra-conservative House Speaker John Boehner, propelled to his position by adroit maneuvering on behalf of the Republican National Congressional Committee in the elections of 2010, is making no promises, one way or the other.

Here's the official video of just about as serious as a heart attack, folks. Dig what the man says. It's good for some laughs.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Mystic Eyes - Them - 1965

One Sunday morning
we went out walking
down by
the old graveyard...

Huey P. Meaux - gone but not forgotten - a rocker...

Huey P. Meaux, the "Crazy Cajun" who produced records in and around Houston and all over Texas, has passed.

You might be surprised. The discography of Huey P. Meaux.

La belle dame sans merci!

North Dakota law nullifying Obamacare on Governor's desk

by Michael Boldin

Nullification in North Dakota? That’s just what could be coming if Governor Jack Dalrymple signs Senate Bill 2309 (SB2309). This week, the bill passed the senate by a vote of 32-15 and the house by a vote of 69-24.

The bill, just one page of legislative language, states:

1. The legislative assembly declares that the federal laws known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [Pub. L. 111 - 148] and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 [Pub. L. 111 - 152] likely are not authorized by the United States Constitution and may violate its true meaning and intent as given by the founders and ratifiers.

2. The legislative assembly shall consider enacting any measure necessary to prevent the enforcement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 within this state.

3. No provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 may interfere with an individual’s choice of a medical or insurance provider except as otherwise provided by the laws of this state.

This is a modification of the Tenth Amendment Center’s Federal Health Care Nullification Act – introduced in more than ten states this legislative session. Click here to track progress.


Nullification – any act or series of acts which results in a particular federal law being rendered null and void, or unenforceable, within a state, is what Thomas Jefferson referred to as “the rightful remedy” to unconstitutional acts by the federal government.

Implied in any nullification legislation is enforcement of the state law. In the Virginia Resolution of 1798, James Madison wrote of the principle of interposition:
That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.

Interposition is explicitly stated in SB2309 through its requirement that the legislature to consider measures preventing the Affordable Care Act from being enforced within the state.


Opponents, however, claim that the law is “meaningless because state law can’t override federal law.” But, constitutionally-speaking, such a statement is dubious, at best.

All the founders agreed that the federal government would only be able to exercise those powers delegated to it in the constitution. It was clearly represented to the Constitution’s ratifiers that laws made outside those powers were not really laws at all – they were usurpations.

And, more importantly, such a statement is a direct reference to Article VI, the “supremacy clause” of the constitution. But, claiming that state laws cannot override federal law as a blanket statement is flat out wrong. Here’s the full text of the clause:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

The key points:

1. For a federal law to be supreme, it must be made in pursuance of a power delegated to the federal government in the constitution. If not, it’s no law at all, and state law is supreme.

2. There is no number two, it’s that straightforward.


All across the country, activists and state-legislators are pressing for similar legislation, to nullify specific federal laws within their states.

Seven states have passed Health Care Freedom Acts to block health care mandates from being enforced. Eight states have passed Firearms Freedom Acts. Fifteen states – most recently Arizona – are using the principles of the 10th Amendment to actively defy federal laws (and a supreme court ruling, too!) on marijuana. Massive state resistance to the 2005 Real ID Act has rendered the law virtually null and void. And, five states, led by Texas HB1938, are now considering measures to nullify TSA violations of the Constitution through bans on groping or bans on body scanners altogether.

While some advocates concede that a federal court battle has a slim chance of success, they point to the successful nullification of the Real ID Act as a blueprint to resist various federal laws that they see as outside the scope of the Constitution. No court battle has been waged, no federal law has been repealed. Yet, the 2005 Act sits virtually null and void due to state-level resistance.

Some say that each successful rejection of federal acts will only embolden others to try the same – resulting in an eventual shift of power from the federal government to the States and the People themselves.

Michael Boldin is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center. He was raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on twitter - @michaelboldin - and visit his personal blog -

At long last, and not a moment too soon! The birth certificate so long sought

President Barack Hussein Obama released this copy of his birth certificate today. It's referred to as a "long form," and the President says it proves he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to an American mother. He has thereby proved he is eligible to hold the office of President of the United States of America.

"We are far too busy for this silliness," the President said in a statement following the release of the document.

The President had previously released a "Certificate of Live Birth" he obtained from the Hawaii Department of Health, a standard issue document printed on Xerox-proof holographic paper that is acid free and promulgated by federal regulations for ID that is required to be used to establish citizenship for such documentation as a passport, military enlistment, security clearance, driver's license, and the like.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tea Party congressional hopeful swinging for the fences

He demands a strict construction of the Constitution, limited federal powers constrained by the founding document, and a simpler, consumption-based tax code

Belton – If the Legislature creates a new, free Congressional District in a Bell County divided north to south, east to west, or encompassed wholly, Wes Riddle wants to be the first to be elected U.S. Representative from that district.

The founding chairman of the Central Texas Tea Party, he's throwing his hat in the ring while mindful of that contingency.

A couple of things have to happen to make his wish come true.

First, the legislators have to see that the 30% rise in Bell County's population came near the perimeters of Ft. Hood. This new population is multi-ethnic, all-American, either active duty or retired Army, and here to stay. The cities of Harker Heights and Copperas Cove bulged in population over the past decade and the population of adjacent County Commissioners' Court districts declined.

Part of a statewide increase of 4.3 million persons - from 21 million to 25 million – it is parcel to an 18% increase made up of 2/3 Hispanic people.

Second, the Department of Justice, or a federal Court - or both - will have to approve of such a plan, once the Legislature votes one out. That might just require a special session called by the Governor.

The state's Hispanic activists vary in their demands. The most adamant want all of the four new districts authorized by the state's rise in population to be made up of a majority of Hispanic voters. Their number includes adherents of the Industrial Areas Foundation's Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF). The Industrial Areas Foundation was created by Chicago attorney and activist Saul Alinsky. MALDEF filed the original lawsuit that led to the Robin Hood plan in reapportionment of public school funding.

The more liberal caucus, which is made up of members of the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force would settle for a district in Dallas, one in Houston, and another in the Rio Grande Valley which takes in areas of Starr and Hidalgo Counties.

Each district will have to number exactly 698,488 residents.

Under the plan filed earlier this month by Carrollton's Republican Representative Bert Solomons, chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, the districts in West Texas that lost population will be paired with districts adjacent to them and the balance would be achieved that way. That plan would add only one Hispanic district.
(click here to see proposed district maps)

Hispanics are already calling that plan unconstitutional.

The message is clear form Hispanics. “Get it right or we'll see you in Court.” They mean federal court.

Republican Representative Phil King, Weatherford, wants to skip the Department of Justice “pre-screening” process. DOJ lawyers are “too liberal” to suit him. His previous experience with the Department of Justice has convinced him that they are biased toward minority representation.

Wes Riddle, a retired Army officer who ran unsuccessfully for the local Representative's seat in a previous election, agrees.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 came nearly 50 years in the past; it addressed a problem that just doesn't exist any more, he says.

Mr. Riddle decries a “political class” that is not so much nominated by the parties as “anointed.”

“We've got a political class, but we haven't got any leadership.”

Here are a few of his ideas, most of them involving constitutionally limited government, that he thinks will put the nation back on the track the founding fathers envisioned when they wrote, passed, and ratified the U.S. Constitution.

First of all, American citizenship as presently regulated, is akin to slavery, to be held in thrall to an elite class of individuals who are born to rule from Washington, D.C., Mr. Riddle says. Freedom, he reminded his interlocutor, is not carried in the blood line. It is up to each man and woman from each particular generation to fight for and secure that freedom.

“And here's something else: stop worrying whether someone else thinks this discussion amounts to 'civil' discourse. Let me tell you what: there's nothing civil about slavery.”

- Simplify the tax code;
- reduce the size and the budget of the federal government;
- repeal Obamacare and any other federal law that mandates that which is not authorized by the Constitution, either through litigation or nullification, or both.

Mr. Riddle sat down with The Legendary earlier today at his office. Hear his ideas in his own words.

U.S. policy in oil-rich states a strategy of "neglect"

By George Friedman
The United States told the Iraqi government last week that if it
wants U.S. troops to remain in Iraq beyond the deadline of Dec.
31, 2011, as stipulated by the current Status of Forces Agreement
between Washington and Baghdad, it would have to inform the
United States quickly. Unless a new agreement is reached soon,
the United States will be unable to remain. The implication in
the U.S. position is that a complex planning process must be
initiated to leave troops there and delays will not allow that
process to take place.

What is actually going on is that the United States is urging the
Iraqi government to change its mind on U.S. withdrawal, and it
would like Iraq to change its mind right now in order to
influence some of the events taking place in the Persian Gulf.
The Shiite uprising in Bahrain and the Saudi intervention, along
with events in Yemen, have created an extremely unstable
situation in the region, and the United States is afraid that
completing the withdrawal would increase the instability.

The Iranian Rise

The American concern, of course, has to do with Iran. The United
States has been unable to block Iranian influence in Iraq’s post-
Baathist government. Indeed, the degree to which the Iraqi
government is a coherent entity is questionable, and its military
and security forces have limited logistical and planning ability
and are not capable of territorial defense. The issue is not the
intent of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who himself is
enigmatic. The problem is that the coalition that governs Iraq is
fragmented and still not yet finalized, dominated by Iranian
proxies such Muqtada al-Sadr - and it only intermittently
controls the operations of the ministries under it, or the
military and security forces.

As such, Iraq is vulnerable to the influence of any substantial
power, and the most important substantial power following the
withdrawal of the United States will be Iran. There has been much
discussion of the historic tension between Iraqi Shia and Iranian
Shia, all of which is true. But Iran has been systematically
building its influence in Iraq among all factions using money,
blackmail and ideology delivered by a sophisticated intelligence
service. More important, as the United States withdraws, Iraqis,
regardless of their feelings toward Iran (those Iraqis who
haven’t always felt this way), are clearly sensing that resisting
Iran is dangerous and accommodation with Iran is the only
solution. They see Iran as the rising power in the region, and
that perception is neither unreasonable nor something to which
the United States or Saudi Arabia has an easy counter.

The Iraqi government’s response to the American offer has been
predictable. While some quietly want the United States to remain,
the general response has ranged from dismissal to threats if the
United States did not leave. Given that the United States has
reportedly offered to leave as many as 20,000 troops in a country
that 170,000 American troops could not impose order on, the Iraqi
perception is that this is merely a symbolic presence and that
endorsing it would get Iraq into trouble with Iran, which has far
more than 20,000 troops and ever-present intelligence services.
It is not clear that the Iraqis were ever prepared to allow U.S.
troops to remain, but 20,000 is enough to enrage Iran and not
enough to deal with the consequences.

The American assumption in deciding to leave Iraq - and this goes
back to George W. Bush as well as Barack Obama - was that over
the course of four years, the United States would be able to
leave because it would have created a coherent government and
military. The United States underestimated the degree to which
fragmentation in Iraq would prevent that outcome and the degree
to which Iranian influence would undermine the effort. The United
States made a pledge to the American public and a treaty with the
Iraqi government to withdraw forces, but the conditions that were
expected to develop simply did not.

Not coincidentally, the withdrawal of American forces has
coincided with tremendous instability in the region, particularly
on the Arabian Peninsula. All around the periphery of Saudi
Arabia an arc of instability has emerged. It is not that the
Iranians engineered it, but they have certainly taken advantage
of it. As a result, Saudi Arabia is in a position where it has
had to commit forces in Bahrain, is standing by in Yemen, and is
even concerned about internal instability given the rise of both
reform-minded and Shiite elements at a time of unprecedented
transition given the geriatric state of the country’s top four
leaders. Iran has certainly done whatever it could to exacerbate
this instability, which fits neatly into the Iraqi situation.
As the United States leaves Iraq, Iran expects to increase its
influence there. Iran normally acts cautiously even while engaged
in extreme rhetoric. Therefore, it is unlikely to send
conventional forces into Iraq. Indeed, it might not be necessary
to do so in order to gain a dominant political position. Nor is
it inconceivable that the Iranians could decide to act more
aggressively. With the United States gone, the risks decline.

Saudi Arabia’s Problem

The country that could possibly counter Iran in Iraq is Saudi
Arabia, which has been known to funnel money to Sunni groups
there. Its military is no match for Iran’s in a battle for Iraq,
and its influence there has been less than Iran’s among most
groups. More important, as the Saudis face the crisis on their
periphery they are diverted and preoccupied by events to the east
and south. The unrest in the region, therefore, increases the
sense of isolation of some Iraqis and increases their
vulnerability to Iran. Thus, given that Iraq is Iran’s primary
national security concern, the events in the Persian Gulf work to
Iran’s advantage.

The United States previously had an Iraq question. That question
is being answered, and not to the American advantage. Instead,
what is emerging is a Saudi Arabian question. Saudi Arabia
currently is clearly able to handle unrest within its borders. It
has also been able to suppress the Shia in Bahrain - for now, at
least. However, its ability to manage its southern periphery with
Yemen is being tested, given that the regime in Sanaa was already
weakened by multiple insurgencies and is now being forced from
office after more than 30 years in power. If the combined
pressure of internal unrest, turmoil throughout the region and
Iranian manipulation continues, the stress on the Saudis could
become substantial.

The basic problem the Saudis face is that they don’t know the
limits of their ability (which is not much beyond their financial
muscle) to manage the situation. If they miscalculate and
overextend, they could find themselves in an untenable position.
Therefore, the Saudis must be conservative. They cannot afford
miscalculation. From the Saudi point of view, the critical
element is a clear sign of long-term American commitment to the
regime. American support for the Saudis in Bahrain has been
limited, and the United States has not been aggressively trying
to manage the situation in Yemen, given its limited ability to
shape an outcome there. Coupled with the American position on
Iraq, which is that it will remain only if asked - and then only
with limited forces - the Saudis are clearly not getting the
signals they want from the United States. In fact, what further
worsens the Saudi position is that they cannot overtly align with
the United States for their security needs. Nevertheless, they
also have no other option. Exploiting this Saudi dilemma is a key
part of the Iranian strategy.

The smaller countries of the Arabian Peninsula, grouped with
Saudi Arabia in the Gulf Cooperation Council, have played the
role of mediator in Yemen, but ultimately they lack the force
needed by a credible mediator - a potential military option to
concentrate the minds of the negotiating parties. For that, they
need the United States.

It is in this context that the crown prince of the United Arab
Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, will be
visiting Washington on April 26. The UAE is one of the few
countries on the Arabian Peninsula that has not experienced
significant unrest. As such, it has emerged as one of the
politically powerful entities in the region. We obviously cannot
know what the UAE is going to ask the United States for, but we
would be surprised if it wasn’t for a definitive sign that the
United States was prepared to challenge the Iranian rise in the

The Saudis will be watching the American response very carefully.
Their national strategy has been to uncomfortably rely on the
United States. If the United States is seen as unreliable, the
Saudis have only two options. One is to hold their position and
hope for the best. The other is to reach out and see if some
accommodation can be made with Iran. The tensions between Iran
and Saudi Arabia - religious, cultural, economic and political -
are profound. But in the end, the Iranians want to be the
dominant power in the Persian Gulf, defining economic, political
and military patterns.

On April 18, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s
adviser for military affairs, Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi,
warned Saudi Arabia that it, too, could be invaded on the same
pretext that the kingdom sent forces into Bahrain to suppress a
largely Shiite rising there. Then, on April 23, the commander of
Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Maj. Gen.
Mohammad Ali Jaafari, remarked that Iran’s military might was
stronger than that of Saudi Arabia and reminded the United States
that its forces in the region were within range of Tehran’s
weapons. Again, the Iranians are not about to make any aggressive
moves, and such statements are intended to shape perception and
force the Saudis to capitulate on the negotiating table.

The Saudis want regime survival above all else. Deciding between
facing Iran alone or reaching an unpleasant accommodation, the
Saudis have little choice. We would guess that one of the reasons
the UAE is reaching out to Obama is to try to convince him of the
dire consequences of inaction and to move the United States into
a more active role.

A Strategy of Neglect

The Obama administration appears to have adopted an increasingly
obvious foreign policy. Rather than simply attempt to control
events around the world, the administration appears to have
selected a policy of careful neglect. This is not, in itself, a
bad strategy. Neglect means that allies and regional powers
directly affected by the problem will take responsibility for the
problem. Most problems resolve themselves without the need of
American intervention. If they don’t, the United States can
consider its posture later. Given that the world has become
accustomed to the United States as first responder, other
countries have simply waited for the American response. We have
seen this in Libya, where the United States has tried to play a
marginal role. Conceptually, this is not unsound.

The problem is that this will work only when regional powers have
the weight to deal with the problem and where the outcome is not
crucial to American interests. Again, Libya is an almost perfect
example of this. However, the Persian Gulf is an area of enormous
interest to the United States because of oil. Absent the United
States, the regional forces will not be able to contain Iran.
Therefore, applying this strategy to the Persian Gulf creates a
situation of extreme risk for the United States.

Re-engagement in Iraq on a level that would deter Iran is not a
likely option, not only because of the Iraqi position but also
because the United States lacks the force needed to create a
substantial deterrence that would not be attacked and worn down
by guerrillas. Intruding in the Arabian Peninsula itself is
dangerous for a number reasons, ranging from the military
challenge to the hostility an American presence could generate. A
pure naval and air solution lacks the ability to threaten Iran’s
center of gravity, its large ground force.

Therefore, the United States is in a difficult position. It
cannot simply decline engagement nor does it have the ability to
engage at this moment - and it is this moment that matters. Nor
does it have allies outside the region with the resources and
appetite for involvement. That leaves the United States with the
Saudi option - negotiate with Iran, a subject I’ve written on
before. This is not an easy course, nor a recommended one, but
when all other options are gone, you go with what you have.
The pressure from Iran is becoming palpable. All of the Arab
countries feel it, and whatever their feelings about the
Persians, the realities of power are what they are. The UAE has
been sent to ask the United States for a solution. It is not
clear the United States has one. When we ask why the price of oil
is surging, the idea of geopolitical risk does come to mind. It
is not a foolish speculation.

Read more: Iraq, Iran and the Next Move STRATFOR

Iraq, Iran and the Next Move is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ham radio operator reveals US 'psyops' broadcast

A Dutch ham radio operator has been able to learn about a psychological US special forces operation undertaken as part of an international military campaign designed to establish a no-fly zone over Libya.

Listening to his radio, this ham operator from the Netherlands was able to monitor radio exchanges between civilian and military flights in the region and make his findings public on his Twitter account @FMCNL.

Hunched over his radio, he listens in on unencrypted exchanges among military aircraft and their air traffic control centres.

The messages contain information about the location of the planes, which is necessary to avoid collisions between military and civilian aircraft.

Yesterday the radio operator posted the following message on Twitter: "PSYOPS is running! USAF EC-130J tail nr 00-1934 callsign STEEL 74 transmitting messages to Libya on HF freq OdysseeDawn."

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.
Related Coverage.Gaddafi defences bombed, end uncertain, 7 hours ago
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Adelaide Now, 1 day ago..End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.
..The cryptic text refers to an EC-130J aircraft, a modified version of the US Air Force's Hercules plane, whose registration number is 00-1934 and whose code name is "Steel 74".

The aircraft beams high-frequency messages on Libya as part of Operation "Odyssey Dawn," the international military campaign against forces of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The plane, belonging to US special forces, is used for propaganda and psychological warfare.

It flies at high altitudes and broadcasts messages to influence the behaviour of enemy forces or the population at large.

Asked at a press conference about these operations, a senior Pentagon official confirmed that a "specialised aircraft" had been used by coalition forces.

"We've put up one of our specialised aircraft of that nature and I'm not ready, I'm not able to to talk about the messages," Vice Admiral Bill Gortney told reporters.

But one of the messages broadcast by the plane has been recorded by the Dutch ham radio operator and posted on the internet.

Speaking in English, French and Arabic over background noise, a man tries to deter Libyan vessels from going out to sea after coalition navy ships established a naval blockade.
"Libyan ships or vessels do not leave port," the message says.
"The Gaddafi regime forces are violating a United Nations resolution ordering the end to the hostilities in your country. If you attempt to leave port, you will be attacked and destroyed immediately. For your own safety do not leave port."

According to the Danger Room blog, which specialises in security issues, the amateur radio operator who made this discovery is a former Dutch military man known as "Huub".

His Twitter postings are monitored by more than 5000 subscribers.

Read more:

(Reprinted from Southlake Amateur Radio Club newsletter)

One Note Samba - Stan Getz doing Antonio Carlo Jobim

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sure enough, that lock box was unlocked all along!

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
- Upton Sinclair

The street needed a bull market, so they persuaded the autoworker union honchos to put their pension funds out there where the air is rare – Wall Street.

I think we all know how that last great bull market turned out.

Most cars are now made overseas.

They created a lot of jobs, all right.

Such a deal.

Now, they tell us the chief barrier to creating jobs and putting Americans back to work is “uncertainty.”

That's probably true, but one thing is for certain. When you get that job and get to work and draw that first paycheck, Uncle Sam is going to be there to collect 12.5% in Social Security payroll deduction – up front. Of that you may be certain.

Like, you have to work to get some money, but you have to pay the deduction before you are allowed to collect your money.

Why? Well, they have this thing called the Social Security Trust Fund.

Naturally, billions – trillions - are generated by these deductions and they don't necessarily stay in that trust fund. They loan them out to other governments through the Treasury Department's “Exchange Stabilization Fund,” a creature of the Gold Reserve Act of 1934. A lot of dough went to Mexico to shore up its “financial crisis” during the 1994 difficulties with the peso. They changed the law in 1970 to allow the Secretary of the Treasury, with the approval of the president, to use money in the ESF to “deal in gold, foreign exchange, and other instruments of credit and securities.”

And then on September 11, 2001, some men from Saudi Arabia used American commercial passenger jet aircraft to attack the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the White House.

Obviously, that was proof positive that it was high time to declare war on some terrorists in Afghanistan and a dictator in Iraq who controlled one of the world's largest reserves of petroleum.

How do you pay for all that?

Well, it's simple. You cut taxes for the top earners in the nation, make sure the multinational corporations don't have to pay much of a corporate income tax, and go to the Social Security Trust Fund and borrow like mad.

After all, the preceding administration proclaimed the surplus funds generated by the increased payroll taxes were a form of a “lock box” to make sure the money would be there after 2016, when the fund will start paying more out than it takes in.”

Then, when people start to realize they're facing some very hard times, you tell them the lock box was always unlocked, their cash ain't nothing but trash, and it's time for some “common sense” conversation, some “adult conversation” about how we're going to pay for all this.

During a speech on April 5, 2005, in Parkersburg, W. Virginia, President Bush freely admitted that the Social Security Trust Fund surplus had been spent.


He said, “There is no trust fund, just IOU's that I saw firsthand that future generations pay – will pay for either in higher taxes, or reduced benefits, or cuts to other critical government programs.”

Do we raise the retirement age to 70? Cut benefits?

The guys who are calling the shots aren't giving any really straight answers about all that.

The new budget with its $6 trillion in cuts “forces policymakers to come to the table and enact commonsense reforms to keep Social Security solvent for current beneficiaries and make it stronger for future generations,” said Rep. Bill Flores, R-Dist. 17.

Maybe it means what Charles Krauthammer said in response to President Obama's budget chief, Jack Lew, when he told us all that the Social Security Trust Fund is solvent until 2037.

Mr. Krauthammer, the well-noted conservative, said “the trust fund is empty, indeed fictional.”

Bill Flores and his staff are highly resistant to answering questions such as that. They don't return phone calls, you see.

Behold then-House Minority Leader John Boehner, now Speaker of the House, in a television appearance going into the latest elections in 2010, the ones that swept the Democratic super majority out the door and replaced Congressmen with a lot seniority, people like 10-term veteran Rep. Chet Edwards with people like Mr. Flores, the fiscal conservative who wouldn't dream of cutting spending in any other area besides “entitlements.”

Antonio Carlo Jobim wrote a “One Note Samba” that sounds a lot like this on-message diatribe from the future Speaker.

One thing is for certain. It's as certain as the fact that God made little green apples that before he left office, President George “Dub-yah” Bush entertained the King of Saudi Arabia at the ranch, accepted an ornate sword and a bejeweled gold chain pendant with an emerald big enough to drown you if you fell overboard, and started collecting his pension just as sure as the world.


How much is unleaded gasoline? Well, they say a barrel of crude is somewhere around $108 on future delivery contracts. But, when you get really fiscally responsible about that, you know it's a fair question to ask if you want to know does that include the cost to taxpayers of keeping troops, ships, planes and missiles in 100 foreign countries, two carrier battle groups on station in the mideast all the time, divisions of Marines and brigades of Army stationed on two fronts?

(There are 911 words in this article.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

I can smell the feet of the boys who plowed the corn


Tarzan, SHRDLU & Co. to visit elephant burial ground

Congressman's son promises proposed national monument will receive no federal funds

Waco – Freshman Congressman Bill Flores, R-Dist. 17, will help commemorate the discovery of the Mammoth Site on the muddy banks of the Brazos on Tuesday.

No doubt in an effort to prevent the site from becoming commercialized, billboarded up and down I-35 as “The Thing On The Brazos,” he and Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn have introduced legislation to make it a national monument controlled by the National Park Service.

In a rare Facebook pronouoncment, the Congessman's son Will declared that the project will not receive any federal funds as a result of the legislation.

“With a financial commitment from the local partners, this legislation will confer the national recognition that this unique site deserves — without adding to the federal budget and backlog at the National Park Service,” Senator Cornyn said in a press release.

"Tootie Ma is a big fine thing" - Tom Waits at Preservation Hall

Largest bond fund manager now short in Treasurys

New York – Stocks fell 2% on news that Standard & Poor's rated U.S. Treasury Bonds “negative.”

The dollar fell to its lowest point since the financially disastrous month of August, 2008, against an array of world currencies, including an all-time low against the Swiss franc.

Pimco, the world's largest bond fund manager, is now short in Treasurys. The fund sold short all U.S. securities following the mid-week announcement by S&P, which included the opinion that the unsecured debt of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan banks is also now considered negative despite having received $145 billion in government bailouts.

One analyst said, “They might know the math, but they're using it to design new deck chairs for the Titanic. They should be using it to figure out how to get all those people off that boat in a hurry.”

He pointed out the fact that the Chinese credit rating agency had made the same pronouncement regarding U.S. Treasurys in November.

The Governor of the People's Bank of China, Zhou Xiaochuan, said last week that the bank is too liquid in U.S. Treasury Bonds and intends to get short in the securities in the near future. China is the largest holder of U.S. Treasury bonds in the world.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Only You Know and I Know - Bonnie & Delaney

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chinese bank at end game - top banker to U.S. - Gotcha!

Beijing – China is increasing its usage of the yuan to settle transactions in foreign trade.

Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, said China's $3 trillion in foreign reserves is “excessive.”

“Foreign exchange reserves have exceeded our country's rational demand, and too much accumulation has caused excessive liquidity in our markets, adding to the pressure of the central bank's sterilization.”

Analysts labeled the statement as a “clear warning” to U.S. Treasury officials to institute new management measures to control the worth of the dollar, largely viewed by overseas investors and analysts to be in free fall. Mr. Zhou's remarks are viewed as a possible indication that China wants out of its extensive dollar holdings.

The nation is buying all the commodities it can – items such as wheat, coal, scrap steel and oil.

International banking authorities and security analysts were all a-twitter at the end of August when the high-ranking official disappeared for an extended period. Many spread the rumor that he had defected over a troubled reputation caused by his extensive holdings in U.S. dollars, viewed then by some as a perilous policy by some in the Chinese financial and governmental community.

Further indication of the trend may be seen in a steady rise in the price of gold – up 0.6% today and topping the psychological barrier of $1,500 per ounce – and silver, which advanced 2.7% to top $45 per ounce, “despite the apparent lack of inflation in our economy.”

Snatch it back and hold it - Junior Wells

Obama to TV interviewer - "Let me finish my answers"

Flores won't support a “clean” rise in the debt ceiling

Amid rumors and talk of raising the national debt ceiling from its present $14.3 trillion limit, an aide to U.S. Rep. Bill Flores said the Congressman will not vote for a “clean” increase in the figure.

“He won't make a decision until he sees the legislation in its written form,” said Mike Mason, an aide who works in the Cleburne District 17 office, in an appearance before the Bosque County Republican Club.

"You mean he's actually going to read it before he votes on it?" shouted a man in the audience amid laughter and applause.

Quizzed further, Mr. Mason was unable to clarify or expand on his remark. Inquiries to the Congressman's Washington, D.C., office made over the course of two days yielded no further clarification of the issue.

Mr. Flores is a member of the House of Representatives Budget Committee. He recently announced his support of a budget that will cut federal spending by $6.2 trillion over the next 10 years and will at the same time:

- extend the ban on earmarks
- repeal and defund Obamacare, eliminating roughly $800 billion in tax increases
- prevent the $1.6 trillion tax increase called for in the president's budget plan
- lower both the individual and corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%
- restrain government spending to 20% of GDP after 10 years and to 15% in 2050
- cut $4.4 trillion in deficit spending compared to the president's budget
- freeze spending on non-security government bureaucracies at below 2008 levels for five years .

A statement from Mr. Flores' website said that the new budget will end corporate welfare; change Washington's culture of spending; secure Medicaid through block grants tailored to each state's needs; end the raid on the Medicare trust fund by passing any savings on to shore up the fund; force policymakers to come to the table to enact “common sense” reforms to keep the fund solvent for current beneficiaries and make it stronger for future generations; and simplify the tax code by consolidating the six brackets and cutting the top individual rate from 35% to 25%.

“These tough, yet responsible decisions must be made so that we may restore America's promise, property and security for our children and grandchildren,” the statement on Mr. Flores' website concluded.

Solons pass bill to correct eminent domain abuses

Austin – Governments and private entities will be prohibited from taking property that is not intended for public use.

Representative Rob Orr, R-Dist. 58, which covers Johnson and Bosque Counties, co-authored the legislation, which also requires any governmental entity that acquires real property by eminent domain to pay relocation expenses for displaced property owners.

“This legislation would limit the state's power to take or condemn private property for public use,” said Rep. Orr.

Economic development authorities have the power to condemn private property for development by private corporations. Some uses have included construction of shopping malls and sports complexes, housing developments and industrial parks.

The House version of the bill includes provisions that allow property owners to repurchase the condemned property and require the condemning entity to make a bona fide offer to purchase property.

Impromptu piano concert at National Theatre, London

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bosque Sheriff in a jam over substandard jail, budget

“There's a possiblity we could lay people off...”

Meridian - Chief Deputy Curt Flood took to the podium to give the Republican Club a rundown on how things are at his department.

Fresh from a defeat of a $10 million jail bond issue in November, Deputy Flood told the throng of about 50 GOP faithful that the lights went out last night at the jail, a facility the Texas Commission on Jail Standards has threatened to close for the past 10 years over various issues. For now, it's in compliance – just barely.

When the juice went out, it was because of the building's antiquated electrical system, not the power company. Dispatchers were unable to field 9-1-1 calls or to contact area police and fire departments for an extended period.

Two electrical contractors finally isolated the problem after an hour's work at the late hour of 11 p.m. They had to send to Texarkana to get the part they needed to make the proper repairs.

“They said they hadn't seen one of those in awhile,” Deputy Flood said ruefully.

The facility is presently housing 35 prisoners with an additional 10 in the Hill County Jail on a per diem basis that has cost taxpayers about $87,000 so far this budget year.

With a staff of 10 certified peace officers and corrections staff, the department is able to field only 2 deputies to patrol the 1,000 square miles that comprise Bosque County.

What with budgetary uncertainties, “There's a possibility we could lay people off,” he said.

It's not something he relishes. “I can't afford to lose one deputy or one dispatcher or jailer,” he said in a grave tone.

The annual budget is down $100,000 from $1.4 million to $1.3 million, with a jail expenditure of $618,000.

Though overall crime is down, what with hard times, domestic violence is up – the highest incidence of crime in the county – and burglaries are on the climb, placing at second.

Other than that, things are just fine.

What to do?

Field a force of volunteers to take up a citizen crime watch in rural areas, each equipped with a Sheriff's Department radio.

It's a possiblity.

A hostile question came out of the audience.

"Why do you have to have a radio? Why couldn't they just carry a phone?

"Do you want to pay for that phone?" Deputy Flood asked. Yes, the elderly man said. The deputy said he has obtained a dozen handheld radios and an additional dozen mobile radios from another department - all free of charge. The crowd laughed.

It's about the infrastucture, the salaries, not the radios, it seems.

When the time came for questions, the same elderly man, an individual who attends all the meetings – an individual totally opposed to “building a hotel for these people” - spoke up and suggested the sheriff use the “hot bunk” system once employed on Navy submarines. This way, a sailor got up to go on his shift and his bunk mate took to the same rack.

“Why can't y'all do that?”

Deputy Flood stood quietly for a moment, then answered, in a neutral tone, his accent a pronounced prairie twang straight out of Chicago.

“Because the law says every person has to have a bed...Besides, we have people in jail who need to be in a cell by themselves.”

But the man persisted, his questions beginning to take on the strident tone of harassment. He usually harps on how Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Phoenix puts his prisoners in tents.

“Look, the law says we have to do it this way,” Deputy Flood said. “Hey, I don't write the laws. I just obey them.”

Pentagon clears General McChrystal of misconduct

Department of Defense officials found no corroborative evidence that General Stanley McChrystal did any of the things a "Rolling Stone" profile depicted him doing on a junket to Paris.

President Barack Obama relieved the four-star general in August following publication of the article in which he was quoted saying he and other soldiers fight for each other and not for politicians, nations, flags or abstract ideas.

Subsequently, Pentagon officials denied Michael Hastings, the author of the article, the opportunity to be "embedded" with troops fighting in Afghanistan.

In the article, a June profile of McChrystal in Rolling Stone magazine, he was reported as making comments seen as disrespectful toward Obama administration officials. But on Monday, Acting Deputy Inspector General Michael S. Child said the inquiry concluded that "not all of the events at issue occurred as reported."

Don't stop the carnival - Sonny Rollins

WSJ offers sobering figures on how to close budget deficit

Prosecutor - “Why do you rob banks, Mr. Sutton?”
Willie Sutton - “Because that's where the money is.”

The astronomical numbers dance across the computer and television screens with ghostly precision, trip off the tongues of the commentators and politicians in glib and pear-shaped tones.

They speak in terms of trillions. How much is a trillion? Well, for starters, bear in mind that a billion is actually one thousand million, and you start to get the picture.

Trillion sounds like a word from a "Start Trek" episode or a Buck Rogers movie.

How to close the budget deficit gap and thereby save the nation's credit rating?

Soak the rich?

Hose down the middle class?

Borrow your way out of debt by directing the U.S. Federal Reserve to buy your own U.S. Treasury bonds?

Those benchmark instruments were downgraded on Monday, just yesterday, from “stable” to “negative” by the credit reporting company, Standard & Poor. There is a one in three chance that the United States' excellent credit rating could slip off its pedestal in the next three years if the government does not cut its spending.

None of that will work, according to the leading financial news service in the U.S., Dow-Jones, publisher of “The Wall Street Journal.”

The nation could tax the wealthiest of the wealthy at a rate of 100% and still not tax itself out of debt.

In the nation's revenue stream of $5.65 trillion in total taxable income, the lion's share comes from middle income earners, according to figures obtained by the Journal's editorial writer.

“The nearby chart shows the distribution, and the big hump in the center is where Democrats are inevitably headed for the same reason that Willie Sutton robbed banks,” the ultra-conservative financial publication of News Corporation hooted.

This came in the wake of President Barack Obama's pronouncement that if only the top earners – the top 2% - would pay just a little more, the nation could tax itself out of the troubles with a $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and a $1.65 trillion budget deficit, a number that seems almost as high as the mileage between Times Square and the corner of space and time, located somewhere in an obscure village on the Planet Uranus.

It wouldn't work if you taxed all who earn more than $114,000 per year – five times the President's targeted 2% - or the top 10%, at the maximum rate. It would only raise $3.4 trillion, the numbers show.

The top 10% already pay 69% of all total income taxes, the top 5% more than all of the other 95%.

In fact, if the government taxed the income of all who earned more than $200,000 at the rate of 100%, the yield would only be $1.89 trillion.

The newspaper concluded that President Obama has set the nation on the path of an entitlement state on autopilot.

That leaves the prospect of either cutting entitlements for elderly citizens such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, according to House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, or, according to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, raising the debt ceiling off its current $14.3 trillion peg.

Herein lies the murky truth – somewhere – because Mr. Ryan cannot remember any such commitment extracted from the “Republican leadership” in talks at the White House with President Obama.

Said Mr. Geithner in an appearance on ABC's Sunday “This Week” news talk show. “There's no alternative, and they recognize that. I sat there with them, and they said, we recognize we have to do this. And we're not going to play around with it. Because we know – we know that the risk would be catastrophic.”

Au contraire, said Mr. Ryan in an appearance on CBS's “Face The Nation.”

Any such move would come only in conjunction with huge spending cuts in entitlement programs for the elderly's health care and retirement annuities.

“We won't raise, just simply raise, the debt limit. We will vote to have spending cuts and control in conjunction with the debt limit increase.”

Rep. Bill Flores, R-Dist. 17, had no comment. His press secretary did not respond to an inquiry from The Legendary. The freshman Congressman is a member of the House Budget Committee.

Are there any alternatives?

In the wake of what pundits on the street are calling "the next great short," stocks are tanking all over the lot.

According to the “rationale” section of the Standard and Poor decision to lower the credit rating of the U.S. Treasury, “The Obama Administration's proposed spending cuts include reducing non-security discretionary spending to levels similar to those proposed by the Fiscal Commission in December 2010, holding growth in base security (excluding war expenditure) spending below inflation, and further cost-control measures related to health care programs...”

So, there it is, the elephant in the living room no one talks about.

Defense spending - “war expenditure,” as termed by the Standard & Poor credit rating accountants – is sacrosanct in all talks political, fiscal and conversational on both sides of the aisle, or inside the Beltway.

What is the share of the $4 trillion budget that goes to such spending? It's about 20 percent, or 4.7% of the gross domestic product, up from 3% only a few years ago.

Neoconservatives will not even talk about cutting the share of defense spending, according to pundits. Why?

According to the Congressional Research Service, defense spending authorized by the 2010 Supplemental Appropriations Act is set at $1.121 trillion for military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs and veterans' health care for the three operations initiated since 9/11 – Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan and other coutner terror operations; Operation Noble Eagle, providing enhanced security at military bases; and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The share of each segment is set at 94% for defense department budget, 5% for foreign aid programs and embassy operations, and 1% for medical care for veterans.

Spending in Iraq is down 25% from 2009 – from $7.2 billion to $5.4 billion. Spending in Afghanistan is up – from $3.5 billion to $5.7 billion.

Troop strength in Iraq fell by 50,000, down by 46%; troop strength in Afghanistan is up by 70% at 98,000.

Whatever happens in the House of Representatives, the actions won't gain easy concurrence from conservative Senators.

The senior Senator from New York, Republican Mike Pence, has vowed to filibuster any measure that will raise the debt ceiling until he sees cuts in entitlements for senior citizens.

Senator John Warner, a member of the “gang of six” – three Democrats and three Republicans – who are working to find a way out of the financial maze, said that he and his colleagues feel there should be spending cuts of $3 for every $1 in new tax revenue.

While the nation is spending 25% of gross domestic product, “Our revenues are at an all-time low at about 15%,” he said on CBS.