Monday, November 24, 2008

In the absense of leadership

...the idiots will run the show

" White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said on Sunday she knew of no talks going on between banking giant Citigroup and the federal government for financial aid.

Speaking to reporters traveling with President George W. Bush, who is returning to Washington after attending the Asia-Pacific summit in Peru, Perino declined to comment on whether the president supported a federal rescue package for Citigroup." - Reuters

This is quite frankly, obscene. Our money is being hosed around with reckless abandon by those on the hill, and the executive branch has entirely sold out to Henry Paulson, the treasury secretary. It's be comedy if it wasn't real.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pirates of Somalia

So, back from mexico. Good trip, we finished the house in 4 days and wrapped up some unfinished business from this summer when we left early. Great trip, and Lord willing we'll be back again in march.

The stories that caught my eye yesterday concerned piracy in the Indian Ocean, mostly off the coast of Somalia. A Saudi Arabian oil tanker, the Sirius Star, carrying a colossal quantity of oil was pirated this week with a ransom demand of $10 million. To date this year, at least 83 reported pirate instances have occurred.

Times UK: "The International Maritime Bureau has reported that at least 83 ships have been attacked off Somalia since January, of which 33 were hijacked. Of those, 12 vessels and more than 200 crew were still in the hands of pirates. "

Even in the past week, there have been more hijackings.

Times UK:
"Since the Sirius Star was captured at least three other ships – one Greek, one Thai and one from Hong Kong – have been seized by Somali pirates."

There is considerable money being made by these marauders as well.

AP: "...But in northern coastal towns like Haradhere, Eyl and Bossaso, the pirate economy is thriving thanks to the money pouring in from pirate ransoms that have reached $30 million this year alone.

In Haradhere, residents came out in droves to celebrate as the looming oil ship came into focus this week off the country's lawless coast. Businessmen started gathering cigarettes, food and cold glass bottles of orange soda, setting up small kiosks for the pirates who come to shore to re-supply almost daily.

Dahir said she is so confident in the pirates, she instituted a layaway plan just for them.

"They always take things without paying and we put them into the book of debts," she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "Later, when they get the ransom money, they pay us a lot."

For Somalis, the simple fact that pirates offer jobs is enough to gain their esteem, even as hostages languish on ships for months. The population makes sure the pirates are well-stocked in qat, a popular narcotic leaf, and offer support from the ground even as the international community tries to quash them.

"Regardless of how the money is coming in, legally or illegally, I can say it has started a life in our town," said Shamso Moalim, a 36-year-old mother of five in Haradhere.

"Our children are not worrying about food now, and they go to Islamic schools in the morning and play soccer in the afternoon. They are happy.""

My initial reaction was to blame a news media with little left to report on by dreary economic news for drumming up stories that happen frequently but get little coverage. But looking at the data from years past compared to this year tells a different story.
(Chart source, UN Data)

Since 1991, there has been no functioning government in Somalia. For a short time, a set of Islamic courts were set up, and these radically curtailed piracy in the region, and restored some semblance of a legal system for this impoverished region. When the ICG was destroyed in late 2007, piracy again exploded, and has rapidaly increased to its current level, which is indeed considerable compared to last year.

"Negotiations with ships’ owners can go on for several months and are clouded in secrecy. Fourteen ships with more than 250 crew members are being held as negotiations continue. Among them is the Ukrainian arms ship Faina, which was captured in August with a cargo of 33 battle tanks, hundreds of crates of Kalashnikovs and ammunition""

More naval vessels of the trading nations are being moved into the area, and I imagine this is not a problem that will be ongoing. Simple economics dictate that shipping lanes are more prosperous without piracy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What on earth is wrong with W?

Ok, so real quick. I'm in mexico again, helping build another house for a fellow child of the King and his family down here, which is why there has been a stark and sudden lack of posts following that debacle of an election (for those with brains, anyways) a few days back.

We're well ahead of schedule on the house, so we may get to some of the work left unfinished by our hasty withdraw due to a hurrican this summer. Thats my prayer, anyways.

So I hit up the Drudge today, and find an absolute horrid mess of a government take over being delt to us by George W Bush and his crony, Treasury Secretary Paulson.

Here it is, and I'll say it.
What a bunch of commies who have masqueraded as republicans over the past 10 years.

Officially, I have almost as much repect for this bunch of mentally vacant chowderheads running the white house as I will for Barak and his coming term.

ABC News:
"When we'll get a list of those dozens of additional applicants which will be getting a piece of the $125 billion in remaining taxpayer case remains to be seen. The original CPP participants were told about the program at a closed-door meeting at Treasury and no minutes have been released on what was said during the meeting.

So, is this the biggest bait and switch in American history? There will certainly be critics who say that Paulson and the Bush Administration were disingenuous when they were selling Congress and the American public on the program back in September. And they’d probably be right. Paulson said today, he knew when the bill was signed the purchase of trouble assets wasn’t the right solution to the problem. But history will judge Hank & Co. on the effectiveness of their response. If the risks to the financial system remain low, the future doesn’t bring bigger bank and financial institution failures, and the recession doesn’t get too deep or last too long, then the quick pivot on this plan will probably go unnoticed."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Aftermath of the American Electoral Process 2008

First Democrat President in 8 years.
Barack Obama is now president elect, with the million ramifications that brings to bear. But, I think you can take the label of racist off the majority of Americans now, and its about time.

Obama received more of the popular vote then Bush did in either election, and really, more votes then any other man in American history has earned. Think about that for a minute... he managed to unite 62,682,389 65,340,608 people to vote for him.
Mac? He showed up with less then John F. Kerry brought in, at 55,543,527 57,358,053 votes.
(Voter tallys updated 11-8-08)

I attribute this election lost to a lack of conservative energy, and rightly so. The GOP betrayed its principles, and is paying a heavy price for it.

But not too heavy.
The democrats failed to acquire a super majority in either house. Obama was elected on a centrist platform, not one of radical leftist ideology that we know he carries. But, in the first term at least, he will need to stick to the middle of the road for political reasons.

So not all is lost, but little was won.

Its over

This long, civil presidential campaign is over.

Can we get on with the issues now??

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Iran hates women.

Times: "Last month police stopped her as she drove on the Modarres highway, Tehran’s main north-south route, supposedly for overtaking. She had planned to leave Iran two days later. Clearly worried, Momeni called Parvin Ardalan, founder of the Iranian women’s campaign, as she was being pulled over. “She was talking to me when they were telling her to stop and was asking me what to do,” Ardalan said. “When I called her 20 minutes later her mobile was switched off.”

Through contacts, Ardalan confirmed her worst fears. “Later that day, I was informed that Esha’s house had been searched, documents seized and her computer had been confiscated. They told me she had been taken to section 209 of Evin prison,” she added. Momeni was allowed only one telephone call from prison, to her father. He said she sounded scared.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have denounced Momeni’s arrest. Amnesty said she was “at risk of torture or other ill-treatment”. Former prisoners in section 209, which is run by the Ministry of Intelligence, have complained of solitary confinement, interrogation and torture. Five years ago Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian photographer, died after being beaten there. "

This is the developing story of Esha Momeni, a US student who was arrested in Iran almost a fortnight ago.
If we weren't in the midst of a head burying US election, this would be dominating the news cycle. But nope, we've retreated to politics within our borders. Maybe this bloody election will be over within the week. By bloody, I mean a political fallout of epic proportions amongst the republican party, as the Democrats take the Administration, the House, and the Senate quite handily.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Case for McCain 3: Not Possible by this Blogger.

Ok, my objective was to spend the past week making cases for why John McCain should be president. After rifling through his 'Issues' page at, I've come to the conclusion once again, after all the hyperbole and hot air from the desperate republicans, that Mac is simply a democrat with a solid sense of national security.

No, really. Here are the issues listed on McCain's site, and a quick hit of where he stands on them.
Right = Smaller government, more power to the citizens, free trade, defending our nation.
Left = More government, less power to the citizens, protectionism, diplomacy at all costs.

The Economy - Left
Energy - Left
National Security - Right
Health Care -Left
Iraq -Right
Home ownership -Left
Veterans -Right
Immigration -Left
Education -Right
2nd Amendment -Right (Past actions would belie this however)
Judicial Philosophy -Right
Homeland security -Right
Fighting Crime -Right
Natural Heritage -Left
Agricultural Policy -Left
Sanctity of Life -Right
Climate Change -Left
Ethics Reform ?
Space Program -Left
National Service -Left
Technology -Left

Total tally:
11 Left
9 Right

Obviously, that is a misleading stat, because the issues vary in importance. But this man is not a conservative, even less so the W has been. Sad, really, that this is considered the best and brightest the republican revolution has to offer.
I'm not sure which way I'll mark in the booth, but if its for McCain, its only going to be begrudgingly so.

The one place I take solace? My mind keeps hearkening back to Fred Thompson at the GOP convention this year,

"John McCain's bones may have been broken but his spirit never was.

Now, being a POW certainly doesn't qualify anyone to be President.
But it does reveal character.

This is the kind of character that civilizations from the beginning of history have sought in their leaders.
It's pretty clear there are two questions we will never have to ask ourselves, "Who is this man?" and "Can we trust this man with the Presidency?"

So that's what it comes down to. If your an American, make your choice. And vote GOP for senate and House, 'cause those matter.
If you're not, watch with wonder as the worlds longest lasting democracy once again makes a peaceful transfer of power at the highest levels.