Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Speaking of the Dutch...

""We demand a new social contract," says Jan Wolter Wabeke, High Court Judge in The Hague. "We no longer accept that people don't learn our language, we require that they send their daughters to school, and we demand they stop bringing in young brides from the desert and locking them up in third-floor apartments."

The Dutch used to be one of Europe's most pro multi-cultural advocates and now they have reduced their immigration to a trickle from what it was.

The power of one cartoon. The Muslims went nuts over a silly cartoon, and now the Dutch have said "enough".

They are the first, but hopefully, not the last.

The "New" Supreme Court

The "New" Supreme Court, with Bush's two appointees, now has the opportunity to demonstrate whether they intend to increase federal power, or leave some of the power in the hands of the States.

Anna Nicole Smith, the playmate-stripper who married an oil tycoon over a half-century older than her, has been fighting for her cut of the Billion or so dollars this guy left behind. His son, an only heir, is fighting to cut her off. Anna, no doubt, has surely cut him off.

The case has now been referred to the Supreme court, and the real issue is whether The SCOTUS has authority over State courts in such an issue.

More federal power, or will they rule in favor of the State?

Stay tuned.

Monday, February 27, 2006

45 Days to forget

Congress and the President have reacted to the port scandal exactly as expected. The administration has agreed to a 45 day extension for congress to get better acquainted with the deal, So they can approve it.

Administration spokesmen have stated the President is not about to change his mind on this sale of our ports - period. So now the President has graciously given congress 45 days to back down in a face-saving manner.

Polls have shown that from 93% to 97% of Americans don't want our ports in the hands of these Dubai characters. The White House sees and knows this, but what we are seeing from the Bush crowd is that what we think is worthless, that Bush doesn't give a tinker's damn about what the vast majority of Americans want.

The 45 days us for us to forget the whole damn thing and get excited over something else.

I predict this port deal will slide quietly through, having been turned into a non-issue by passing time, and the national muppets news shows will start "understanding" the administrations point of view, and will succeed in making the whole thing into an unfortunate mistake in judgment by certain less-than-competent members of congress.

One other thing... Do you recall what was kicked off the front pages by this port sale? Remember, nothing happens in government by accident.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

No apparent wind damage

I was just watching the lobotomy box and a show featuring one of our nationally promoted news muppets discussing the insurance problems faced by so many victims of Rita and Katrina. It would seem that the insurance companies are claiming that most of the damage was caused by flooding, something they just don't cover. So sorry, but thanks for all that money you sent us over the years.

Now I'm not the brightest bulb on the string but it seems to me that the massive storm surges that took out the levees or roared inland for miles was a direct result of the above mentioned hurricanes, and, last time I checked, hurricanes were caused by high wind.

It's high winds that create those storm surges and push them inland. It's high winds that rip roofs off of buildings. It's high winds that strip all the leaves of the trees. It's high winds that drive wheat straws halfway into power poles. It's high winds circulating in a tight pattern referred to as tornadoes, which are so often found in hurricanes.

So it seems to me that the root cause of all that damage from those hurricanes was wind. Should be a no-brainer.

Muppet was interviewing a representative of the insurance industries, who was going on about how the issues were so very complex and would take time, each claim requiring a fully independent investigation as to the causes of the claimed damage. This representative was inferring that your insurance might pay for that torn off roof, but all the damage to your sheetrock walls, your floors, your rugs, your furniture, your yard, your car, well... all that was caused by flooding.

I would certainly agree that "flood damage" caused by heavy rain upriver rushing down the Mississippi and flooding out entire communities is actually "flood damage". A downriver community (having been stupidly built in a flood plain) could actually be wiped out by a flood on a sunny, bright and calm day. More than a bit of irony there.

Why does an insurance company not provide flood damage as part of your protection? Because they lobbied congress to pass laws that says they are not required to. They claim that flood coverage is just to expensive and must be provided by the government, another lobbying victory compliments of our very own congress.

We could quickly reduce the cost of flood insurance for all of us by refusing to insure structures built in flood plains or below sea level, and then not put the burden of insurance onto the tax payer to foot the bill for damages on structures so built.

People who insist on building in flood plains or below sea level should be required to sign a waiver for any insurance -- private or public -- for flood damages on whatever structure they may build. A bit of responsibility here would go a long way.

It looks and sounds to me that Americans in distress are getting shafted once again, this time by the insurance companies protected by our very own congress from their responsibilities as insurers and from loss or legal retribution. Those Americans who were not harmed by these hurricanes will still be shafted by our very own government, because they will forced by law to pick up the tab.

How much longer are we going to put up with stuff like this?

Just asking.

Forget them, they're irrelevant

Here you go... a Bush created department that actually disagreed with him:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Homeland Security Department objected at first to a United Arab Emirates company's taking over significant operations at six U.S. ports. It was the lone protest among members of the government committee that eventually approved the deal without dissent.
By TED BRIDIS Associated Press Writer

By ignoring the advice of his own Homeland Security Department, Bush has shown the world that he considers them and their advice as irrelevant.

That part about "eventually approved the deal without dissent" must have taken some serious arm-twisting by Bush and/or his minions.

Looks like they changed their minds to keep their jobs. Yessir... a job is much more important than national security.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Twenty-two instead of six

It is now reported that there are 22 ports involved in the port deal, just not the 6 we've been hearing about.

They are located in:

Portland, Maine; Boston; Davisville, R. I.; New York; Philadelphia; Camden,N.J.; Wilmington, Del.; Baltimore, Md.; Newport News, Va.; Norfolk, Va.; Portsmouth, Va.; Miami; Lake Charles, La.; New Orleans; Beaumont, Tx.; Port Arthur, Tx.; Galveston, Tx.; Houston; Freeport, Tx.; and corpus Christi, Tx., plus a couple others not listed in the news release.

Latest reports indicate that the gulf of Mexico ports will have "stevedore" service taken over by this outfit, but they won't actually own the ports, at least not yet.

Still think the government -- or the media for that matter -- are being honest with us?

Who really owns these foreign companies?

This port sales disaster facing the Bush administration has exposed a lot of unsettling facts. One of the facts is that six of our major ports are being sold to a business owned by an Arab country. This is is startling news, to say the least. Now another fact emerges... We learn that these ports are already owned by a foreign company.

Corporations making huge amounts of money in America have long had the habit of basing themselves in foreign contries to avoid paying American taxes on their American made money. This nothing new. It is a tactic that has been enthusiastically approved -- for years -- by all the branches of our federal government, whose members in Washington have no doubt greatly benefited financially in the process.

While we are misdirected by the media concerning campaign financing and how mega corporations are trying to use this as a method to buy our congress, nobody mentions the far more likely method -- anonymous numbered Swiss bank accounts -- and how the real payoffs would logically be found there.

So are these foreign based corporations really owned by foreigners? Or are the people involved just like the COO of that Dubai company I talked of just below? Are they really a bunch of Washington insiders who have tailored our laws to suit their particular wants and needs? Or are they truly foreigners, who have taken over our corporations and are just milking us dry?

I read once -- for example -- that the Dutch own a massive amount of American interests, but stay behind the scenes, quietly manipulating us and our government while raking in the cash. Maybe, maybe not... I don't know.

Swiss bank accounts, congressional manulipation of our laws, tax evasion. These are things that would not surprise me in the slightest if exposed about the majority of our present and past elected members of the federal government. These are things we all suspect.

Americans basing their companies overseas to dodge taxes, foreigners buying out our corporations just for the profit of it, then movng them offshore to increase those profits has left literally millions of Americans jobless. These are realities we face today.

So, who are these people? Where do they live? Are they answerable in any way to the decisions they make that adversly affect all Americans? Shouldn't they be?

They are the leaders, the movers and shakers, the rich and elite. These are the people who have become rich and powerful through the efforts of the American worker. Today, they are adandoning America and it's people. Bush -- and congress -- is helping them.

How much longer do we let this continue?

Just asking.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Choosing the template

Bloggers are offered a selection of default templates to get started. I chose the one you are looking at because it is one of the easiest to read. I have found that white backgrounds, or very light backgrounds along with some off-the-wall text will cause eyestrain and eventual headaches if looked at too long.

Just selecting the text style can be a hassle. Many different eyes may be reading what one writes, and flowery, colorful or fancy text styles will get in the way of your message.

I learned this over the years using programs such as AutoCad, Mentor Graphics, Cadence, Royal Septre, 3ds Max and others, and I found this combination of colors and text style to be quite comfortable to read and was pleased to find that it was a default template, no hard work involved.

Any dressing up of this site will not occur until I learn a lot more about HTML, or Hyper Text Markup Language for us tyros.


Arabs are making comments as to how "Islamophobia" is spreading over the western world, citing the latest uproar over this Port deal as an prime example.

I do believe they are correct, but for the wrong reasons.

As I sit and watch the news on the lobotomy box (Fred's description) showing film of the rioting, arson and murder being committed by Islamists reportedly over a political cartoon, I am certain I am watching the root cause of this spreading "Islamophobia".

However, when I see a news spot of one of these incidents and see that the rioters are carrying signs in English, I smell the proverbial rat. For all we really know, the angry mob is protesting the rising cost of the camel dung used for cooking fires.

The "rioters" carrying these signs are obviously playing to the American TV audience for reasons we are not privy to. The rioting crowd (demonstratively ignorant beyond comprehension) wouldn't understand what was written on them, and thus become a convenient tool for anti-western propagandists.

News outlets with axes to grind -- or hidden agendas -- could easily have shown the Watts riots along with their associated arson, killings and destruction to third world countries with fabricated explanations that enraged blacks were protesting a proposed literacy requirement for graduation, or something else equally as ludicrous, with the intent to show Americans in the worst light possible.

Never trust what the TV news outlets are telling you. Good subservient men and women all, they do -- and say -- exactly as they are told by their masters.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What's that smell?

The COO (Chief Operating Officer) of that Dubai company wanting to buy our ports was on the "Situation Room" with Wolf Blitzer today.

Turns out this guy was born and raised in Washington. He's very proud of a picture he has of his mother sitting on the White House steps with one of our Presidents.

His father was a United States Senator.

I think I'm starting to smell something here, sort of like a company that is perhaps owned and operated by Washington insiders, but based in Dubai to dodge our taxes. After all, what is this Dubai, other than a place (like Nigeria) to resister oil tankers to avoid taxes and regulation?

If this is what's happening, I can certainly see why this deal was conducted in secret, and why this particular administration likes it so much.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Carter wants to play also

Dear old ex-President Carter put in his two cents worth on the selling of our ports to foreign owned companies.

"My presumption is, and my belief is, that the president and his secretary of state and the Defense Department and others have adequately cleared the Dubai government organization to manage these ports," Carter told CNN. "I don't think there's any particular threat to our security."

How impressed should we be that Carter doesn't think "there's any particular threat" in a deal like this? Is he privy to information we don't have? If so, why? He's just another private citizen nowadays, with only memories of a failed Presidency to keep him warm.

Keep in mind that the company wanting to buy and control these ports is owned by the Dubai government.

And, for crying out loud, why would he think that Bush's secretary of state would have the qualifications to determine the Dubai government qualifications? This is the same secretary of state that poo-pooed all the warnings of an imminent attack on America pre 911.

Sort of like actors I imagine. Once in the limelight, the desire to bask in their light and warmth never fades.

Monday, February 20, 2006

More Miles Per Gallon?

The President speaks on gas mileage:

Saying the nation is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that would "startle" most Americans, President Bush outlined his energy proposals to help wean the country off foreign oil. He stated that breakthroughs were close that would double the gas mileage of our cars.

Bush stated that some of these foreign suppliers have "unstable" governments that have fundamental differences with America."It creates a national security issue and we're held hostage for energy by foreign nations that may not like us."

What? There are oil producing nations that don't like us? Say it isn't so!

Back in the mid seventies I bought my wife a little Madza Mizer station wagon. On a trip to Denver and back, it averaged 52 (fifty-two) miles per gallon. It had a four cylinder all aluminum engine and could transport four adults easily. Our oldest son christened it "the slug" because in the Rocky Mountain passes it did do some major slowing down while going uphill, but for 52 MPG, we didn't complain.

So what is the President's claim here? It's not really improved gas mileage, it's all about cars that have battery backup, not more fuel efficient gas engines. One important thing he didn't mention was that these cars are costly. Another thing he failed to mention is how many more power plants we are going to need to charge up all those big batteries.

Our power plants run at full capacity doing the warm summer months, so the additional electricity has to come from new plants... a lot of them. I once read that if all the cars on our highways were replaced by "pollution free" electrics, we would need three times as many power plants to satisfy the demand.

Since nuclear plant construction has been completely stopped by the greens for almost thirty years in the United States, these new plants would most probably be coal or oil fired. How's that for pollution?

"Don't Mess With Me, Girl"

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has warned Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice not to "mess with" him after Rice recently described Venezuela as a menace to regional democracy.

Why should we care if some South American "President" gets angry at Rice? Venezuela is one of the world's top oil exporters, that's why.

Chavez has repeatedly accused Washington of trying to topple him and has accused the United States of plotting the coup d'etat that ousted him in 2002. Chavez, a former soldier turned politician, has promised to create "socialist revolution" in Venezuela and promote regional integration to roll back U.S. supported economic reforms. The man looks and sounds to be from the same mold as Cuba's Castro. Panama's Noregia also comes to mind.

So it seems we have yet another Latin American dictator -- elected democratically, of course -- that is intent on making enemies of the United States, a fist waving hothead who has control over a major source of the world's oil supply. According to some sources, his rise to power is a classic story of intrigue, intimidation, bribery, threats and murder.

A man like this can respond only to greater strength, greater power, greater muscle. He is like the Muslims who won't talk to, won't listen to, or even acknowledge the presence of a female. There are millions of men in the Muslim world who refuse to even talk when a woman is present. To them, women are to be treated as nothing more than property, with no voice whatever in any decision making process, or allowed to partake in any conversation, unless specifically invited to do so. They have been raised from infancy to believe this without question. Men with this attitude certainly exist and can readily be found in positions of power almost anywhere you look in the non-western world. In the non-western nations where progress towards equality has been made, it has generally been made at the point of the American or English bayonet.

This is a fact that the Bush administration fails to understand or intentionally ignores. Bush sends women around the world to represent the United states and it's interests, including to these nations where women have no voice, no stature, no power. These women, such as Condaleeza Rice, are backed by American military muscle, and are granted audience with the leaders of these nations because they fear us. They appear to listen and communicate with these women because they don't want the American military invading their nations, or have America force UN-backed sanctions and blockades against them.

They appear to listen and agree with the Bush appointed women. They nod, they converse, they even smile and promise to do or consider whatever sounds good while the cameras roll. But once these women leave, it's back to normal. The disgust, hatred and contempt felt toward any man -- or nation -- who would let a woman do the talking returns with a vengeance, and any possible progress is lost.

This is the world that Arab leaders and men like Venezuelan President Chavez operate in. They believe that when leaders of nations speak, it must be the leaders themselves, or men of strength and stature representing the leader, someone who can be talked to, deals made with, agreements signed. Face-to-face meetings like those conducted by Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin are what is admired and desired. Ignore this reality, and you have a tinhorn dictator like Chavez spitting in Rice's face.

This attitude will not go away because the the American government has decided to rub western style feminism in their faces. It is generational, and will take years to disappear. If we want to make progress with these nations and their leaders, we need to -- at least for now -- accept the reality that using women, no matter how skilled or talented, will not get the job done, and that "gunboat" diplomacy is fast fading away as a useful American tool.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sticking your neck out

One thing I have learned in my few months of blogging is that no matter what you say, someone is going to be offended, angered, or disgusted at any comment you may make.

Not so surprisingly, some of the most intense responders are those who believe that they have found truth through religion. The particular flavor of religion doesn't seem to matter, since all religions require that one holds to a particular set of principles and system of belief to be held to and defended with ardor and faith, however vulnerable to misinterpretation and/or erroneous conclusions.

Other equally intense responders are those who have taken science as their truth. They have the habit of pontificating endlessly with what they consider proof as gathered by the scientific method, which provides principles and procedures to attain knowledge thru the recognition and formulation of a problem, collecting data through observation and experiment, and the establishment and testing of hypotheses, however vulnerable to misinterpretation and/or erroneous conclusions.

Religion claims to have all the answers. All you need do is put your trust and faith in some particular deity and things will most assuredly work out. Regularly going to a place of worship to entreat or impore your chosen deity for whatever it is you want while offering adoration, supplication and thankgiving is the religious method and requires only faith from the believers. According to religion, heaven -- and eternal bliss -- has been promised to the faithful and eternal damnation for the rest. There is nothing further for humanity to seek out or do, everything has been pre-ordained, enjoy the ride.

Mainstream science does not claim to have all the answers, or even the smallest part of them. Any sensible scientific experimenter will quickly acknowledge that an answer found using the scientific method simply resulted in many more questions. With science, one is offered -- but not promised -- an endless path of discovery that stretches throughout time and promises new and wondrous things to the ends of the universe. Map out your own course, and good luck.

The two extremes seem to be religion on one end and science on the other, with an endless amount of opinion and variety in between. At this point in time, I believe that it is the folks somewhere in the middle that will eventually find the answers.

Science, religion, politics and sex... the four horesmen of the blog, but politics and sex are subjects for another day.

I'm doing this for the fun of it... enjoy the ride.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The joys of blogging.

I've been watching the obvious pleasure so many get from having a blog that I have decided to give it a whirl.

The title "The Gun Deck" refers to the deck on old sailing warships where the proverbial "loose cannon" could be found. It was one of the ship's regularly mounted cannon that had broken loose from its attachments and could easily hit the wrong target if fired, or could be dangerous just rolling around on the deck.

That pretty much describes me. Generally safely anchored where I belong, the ropes break occasionally, or are intentinally untied by outside forces, such as polititans, world events, or yapping dogs beneath my bedroom window.

This little blurb is just to see how it looks.