January 4, 2014

25 Years Ago Today

On January 4, 1989, two F-14 Tomcats from the carrier USS John F. Kennedy splashed several Libyan Mig-23's. The following video clip replays the radio transmission of that engagement.

My BIL posted this on his FB page. He was the Navy's Senior Flight Test Engineer for the final avionics overhaul of the F-14. He's real proud of that bird.

President Kim Jung-Obama?

Seems like everybody is having issues with statements that President Obama has made at one time or another.
Mark Obama Ndesandjo said he was surprised to hear his half-brother President Barack Obama say they had only recently met for the first time.

“I was floored by it — I don’t know why he said it,” Ndesandjo said to Laura Ingraham, adding that he had met the president several times over the years and still isn’t sure what his motivation was for making the claim. “I think he was being president and was not being my brother,” Ndesandjo said.

From their first meeting, which took place in the 1980s in Kenya, where he lived as an American ex-pat, Ndesandjo​ said both he and the president had different views: Ndesandjo was trying to distance himself from his father and his father’s name, while Obama was looking to further embrace his father’s roots.
Mr. Ndesandjo had better keep a keen eye and a low profile, rumor has it neither Bo nor Michelle has been fed in a week.

Story here.

January 3, 2014

North Korean Nut Job

In a stunning exhibition of barbarity, Premier Kim Jong-Un had his uncle and five of his advisers torn to shreds and devoured by a pack of starving dogs.
From the Daily Mail:
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un sentenced his uncle to be eaten alive by a pack of 120 wild dogs in a savage punishment for treachery, it has been claimed.

Jang Song-Thaek, 67, along with five close aides, was stripped naked and thrown into a cage of hounds which had been starved for three days, according to new details emerging from China.

The pack of animals spent more than an hour mauling the group in a punishment called 'quan jue', or execution by dogs, a report in Chinese newspaper Wen Wei Po said.
The Premier Kim Jong-Un is changing his name to Kim Tin Tin. It is hard to believe that this man was educated in Europe. Unless he went to the same boarding school as Hitler.
Unlike previous executions of political prisoners, which were carried out by firing squads with machine guns, this extraordinary sentence seems to have been specially reserved for the most hated in North Korean society.

The report in the Chinese language newspaper said the entire process was supervised by the supreme leader in North Korea, along with 300 senior officials - a clear warning against anyone challenging Kim's leadership.
This man is nuttier than a squirrel's asshole.
Look to see a new reality show, Kim's House of Horrors.

Stones - He Had Them

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) -- World War II fighter pilot William Overstreet Jr., who gained fame for flying beneath the Eiffel Tower's arches in pursuit of a German aircraft, has died. He was 92.

According to Oakley's Funeral Home, Overstreet died Sunday at a Roanoke hospital.

Overstreet's famous flight in Nazi-occupied Paris has been credited with lifting the spirits of French Resistance troops on the ground. In a 2009 ceremony at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, the French ambassador to the United States presented Overstreet with France's Legion of Honor.

According to his obituary on the funeral home website, Overstreet worked as an accountant until retiring at the age of 65, then worked with numerous charities and veterans groups.

I'd love to see the gun camera footage from that dogfight!

Story here and here. Truly a member of the greatest generation.

January 2, 2014

Our Government in (In)Action

To be sure, I never link to the LA Times, but here I make an exception. This is an article written in response to a NY Federal judge who wants to know why the perpetrators of the 2008 recession - the CEO's and CFO's of large American financial institutions - have not been prosecuted.
As the five-year statute of limitations approaches for the wrongdoing that bequeathed us the Great Recession, the question of why no high-level executives have been prosecuted becomes more urgent.

You won't find a better, more incisive discussion of the question than the one by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff of New York in the current issue of the New York Review of Books.

Rakoff, 70, is the right person to raise the issue. He's a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan, where he handled business and securities fraud. A Clinton appointee, he's been on the bench for more than 17 years.

Judge Rakoff has tossed out SEC settlements that he thought were too lenient and did not address the problems of corrupt management.
"Companies do not commit crimes," Rakoff observes; "only their agents do...So why not prosecute the agent who actually committed the crime?" He's witheringly skeptical of prosecutions of corporations, which usually yield some nominal fines and an agreement that the company set up an internal "compliance" department. "The future deterrent value of successfully prosecuting individuals far outweighs the prophylactic benefits of imposing internal compliance measures that are often little more than window-dressing."
But Rakoff's most severe criticism is not directed at greedy corporations,he is incensed at the lack of government action to punish the movers and shakers that make profit from the destruction of millions of savings accounts belonging to people who cannot afford these losses.
He dismisses the Department of Justice rationale that proving "intent" to defraud in the financial crisis cases is difficult: There's plenty of evidence in the public record that banking executives knew the mortgage securities they were hawking as AAA were junk.

He doesn't buy the excuse that criminal prosecutions involving major financial firms might have damaged the economy -- no one has ever contended that a big firm would collapse just because its high-level executives were prosecuted. And he notes that the government doesn't dispute that some of these executives may be guilty -- it just comes up with excuses for not prosecuting.

Why? Rakoff posits that there are several reasons for the lack of prosecutions. One is that the FBI and SEC are both understaffed because of budget cuts, and in the FBI's case with the diversion of much of its workforce to anti-terrorism efforts after 9/11. And he speculates that the government may feel abashed at its own complicity in the crisis, arising from the easing of financial and mortgage regulations over the years.
I've been saying this for years to people who are all about corporate greed but leave the government out of the equation; they ignore half the problem:

1. All corporations exist and operate within a well-defined regulatory environment that allows them to steal and manipulate their competitors and customers. This environment was created and is constantly modified by our so called representatives at the state and federal level as well as a Byzantine structure of quasi-legal regulatory agencies.

2. The financial activity of these corporations is monitored by the government who, for the most part, makes only a token effort to enforce the regulations created to control them.

Under the Obama administration, even minimal enforcement of the biggest offenders has ceased. Instead, the enforcement efforts of our government has been focused at political opponents.

And let's not stop there. After the abject failure of our federal law enforcement agencies and the intelligence community to identify and interdict the 9/11 attack:
No one was arrested.
No one was demoted.
No one lost their job.
No one was disciplined.

The 9/11 Commission Executive Summary states:
The 9/11 attacks were a shock, but they should not have come as a surprise. Islamist extremists had given plenty of warning that they meant to kill Americans indiscriminately and in large numbers. Although Usama Bin Ladin himself would not emerge as a signal threat until the late 1990s, the threat of Islamist terrorism grew over the decade. [page 2 ~ sig94]

[...]Moussaoui aroused suspicion for seeking fast-track training on how to pilot large jet airliners. He was arrested on August 16, 2001, for violations of immigration regulations. In late August, officials in the intelligence community realized that the terrorists spotted in Southeast Asia in January 2000 had arrived in the United States. [page 7 ~ sig94]

[...]Operational failures — opportunities that were not or could not be exploited by the organizations and systems of that time—included:
•not watchlisting future hijackers Hazmi and Mihdhar, not trailing them after they traveled to Bangkok, and not informing the FBI about one future hijacker’s U.S. visa or his companion’s travel to the United States;
• not sharing information linking individuals in the Cole attack to Mihdhar;
• not taking adequate steps in time to find Mihdhar or Hazmi in the United States;
• not linking the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui, described as interested in flight training for the purpose of using an airplane in a terrorist act, to the heightened indications of attack;
• not discovering false statements on visa applications;
• not recognizing passports manipulated in a fraudulent manner;
• not expanding no-fly lists to include names from terrorist watchlists;
• not searching airline passengers identified by the computer-based CAPPS screening system; and
• not hardening aircraft cockpit doors or taking other measures to pre-pare for the possibility of suicide hijackings [page 8 ~ sig94]

As late as September 4, 2001, Richard Clarke, the White House staffer long responsible for counter-terrorism policy coordination, asserted that the government had not yet made up its mind how to answer the question: “Is al Qida a big deal?”

A week later came the answer.[page 9 ~ sig94]

When and where it really mattered, no one did their job. The system failed to protect us at various levels, at operations and analytic functions but, I believe primarily at the political level. As far as assigning responsibility, the 9/11 Commission was nothing but a white wash intended to deflect blame by identifying system faults which were imposed by politician in the first place - ie., the "intelligence sharing wall" imposed between the CIA and FBI under the Carter administration in 1978 and greatly strengthened by Clinton appointee Jaime Gorelick-
In 1995, while America’s intelligence agencies were still investigating al Qaeda's 1993 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center, the Clinton administration strengthened FISA to a degree that was unprecedented. Specifically, Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick called for increased restrictions on information-sharing between intelligence (CIA) and law-enforcement (FBI) agencies. In a 1995 memo to then-FBI Director Louis Freeh and U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, titled “Instructions on Separation of Certain Foreign Counterintelligence and Criminal Investigations,” Gorelick wrote the following:

“We believe that it is prudent to establish a set of instructions that will more clearly separate the counterintelligence investigation from the more limited, but continued, criminal investigations. These procedures, which go beyond what is legally required, will prevent any risk of creating an unwarranted appearance that FISA is being used to avoid procedural safeguards which would apply in a criminal investigation.”
Wonder of wonders, Gorelick is appointed as a member of the 9/11 Commission to investigate the carnage created by her devices. Her name is on the page following the cover of the report.

So ultimately, what action was taken by the government?

To take our freedoms.
Effectively suspend habeus corpus almost whenever the government feels like it. This was last done during the Civil War by President Lincoln.

To declare the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution invalid within a hundred miles of the US border. According to Google Maps, I live 99.2 miles from the Canadian border. What other Amendments will bite the dust under the guise of security?

Sold At Chariot Races

A three thousand year old inscription on a clay pottery fragment captures some of the countless bureaucratic efforts behind building an empire.
An ancient eight-letter inscription — dating back to King Solomon’s reign in Jerusalem some 3,000 years ago — was deciphered by a researcher from the University of Haifa, shedding light on the Solomonic kingdom’s impressively sophisticated administrative system.

[...]According to Galil, the first intact letter of the inscription was actually the last letter of a longer word that got cut off and represented the date. The middle portion refers to the type of wine in the jug, a cheap variety. The final letter was also cut off from a longer word, and according to Galil listed the location from which the wine was sent.

Galil estimated that the carving was written in the middle of the tenth century BCE, after King Solomon built the First Temple, his palaces, and the surrounding walls that unified the three areas of the city — the Ophel area, the city of David, and the Temple Mount. These tremendous infrastructural projects contributed, Galil said, to the sudden need for copious quantities of poor-quality wine.
The ancients probably referred to it as camel piss.

The engraving found on a 3,000-year-old clay jug in Jerusalem
“The ability to write and store the wine in a large vessel designated for this purpose, while noting the type of wine, the date it was received, and the place it was sent from, attests to the existence of an organized administration that collected taxes, recruited laborers, brought them to Jerusalem, and took care to give them food and water,” Galil said.

“Scribes that could write administrative texts could also write literary and historiographic texts, and this has very important implications for the study of the Bible and understanding the history of Israel in the biblical period.”

January 1, 2014

Putin Promises

I can think of very few American politicians who I believe will keep their word. It is truly a sad state of affairs when I think that Russian politicians have more credibility. Somehow I think Putin will keep his word.
Vladimir Putin’s New Year’s vow: ‘Complete annihilation’ of terrorists

Russian President Vladimir Putin broke his silence after two deadly suicide bombings ripped apart Volgograd this week with a stern warning to terrorists: We will pursue you until we have seen your “complete annihilation.”

“Dear friends, we bow our heads before the victims of cruel terrorist acts. I am certain that we will fiercely and consistently continue the fight against terrorists until their complete annihilation,” Putin said in an unusual, second televised address close to midnight Tuesday, according to The Globe and Mail.

Putin broke a “long-time” New Year’s tradition and “gave up on the pre-recorded address to the nation shot at the Kremlin several days before the New Year” to give a second address that included his condemnation of the terrorist attacks:

“We’ll lead a confident, tough and consistent battle against the terrorists until their full elimination,” Putin vowed, according to Russia Today.

More here.

Once A Year

Happy New Year!

Stayed up with my daughters' families and some friends and watched an exciting second half of the Chik-Fil-A bowl where both teams left their defense at home.

December 30, 2013

Running Scared

FoTM posted something interesting. Read this in view of the December 28, 2013, mass email sent out by the DNC entitled "Impeachment." The email warned party members of the danger that Obama could be impeached if democrats lose too many seats in the next election.
Nearly a year ago, on January 2, 2012, eight Democrats in the House introduced a curious piece of legislation – H.R. 3741: Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act of 2013, which seeks to abolish the death penalty under federal law. But the bill has only just been discovered by the media, notably The Hill on Dec. 16, 2013.

HR 3741 specifically prevents anyone from being sentenced to death or put to death for all federal offenses that presently would bring the death penalty.
More specifically, the federal death penalty would be abolished for treason. The Dec. 28th email specifically references Republicans mentioning the possibility of impeachment.

December 29, 2013

Pope Lenin

In John 12:8, Jesus said that there will always be poor people amongst us. Then you have what appears to be a socialist Pope spouting this commie drivel. Who are you going to believe? Charity is supposed to be a function of the Church, not the government. The biblical standard is honesty in a free market, and that's the key.

There is too much government sponsored/protected theft and manipulation in the market today - there is no free market.

Someone better give this old guy a clue 'cause he ain't listening to Jesus.

THIS is what the bible says about the poor:
Deuteronomy 15:11
For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

Luke 14:13
But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,

Luke 4:18
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

John 12:8
You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Luke 6:20-26

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

Luke 6:20-21
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

Matthew 26:11
The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.

Mark 10:21
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

Isaiah 10:1-2
Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey!

More on what this loon has to say.