Fallout over Benghazi is not what it seems.

I’ve read quite a few posts on the Benghazi investigation. Some liberal-minded folks bring up other, very similar, embassy failures that occurred during the Bush II years: 2002 U.S. Embassy Karachi, Pakistan: 10 killed, 51 injured; 2004 U. S. Embassy bombed in Uzbekistan: 2 killed, several injured; 2004 U.S. Consulate Saudi Arabia: 8 killed; 2006 US. Embassy Syria: 1 killed, several injured; 2007 U.S. Embassy -Athens: building bombed with an anti-tank grenade, fortunately no one was injured – and so on.

Where was the Republican outrage? Well, I remember the outrage, because I was absolutely blown away that the Republican-dominated Congress refused to act on calls for investigation. But of course, this is all partisan and political – we must admit that. I believe that the GOP ‘outrage’ has more to do with who is in the senate than it does with what actually happened in Benghazi.

Already, there are calls to draft Senator Kerry for SoS… and isn’t that interesting? MA will likely call up another dem for the seat – but taking Kerry out reduces the seniority order, which is very important in the USS since it determines who can chair certain very powerful committees. And who is Senator Kerry, but the tenth most senior United States Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that’s who.

In times of transition and turmoil, the advantage always goes to the underdog; such is the way of politics.

Post Election Perspective

Source: Yahoo
Source: Yahoo

I held off making any remarks about the various political races because – well, to be honest – there was enough opinion floating about on both sides, it just seemed unnecessary.

But now that the election is over with – the yard signs are coming down, the banners are being rolled up – I have new concerns and observations.

Until Obama, no party – democrat OR republican – shouted “You lie!” during a State of the Union Speech. Until Obama, no party used more filibusters during a single Congress than during the previous 100 years. Until Obama, no party ever threatened to refuse to extend the debt ceiling – regardless of which party the president belonged to.

One of the problems that the Republicans had with criticizing Obama for his previous 4 years is that the American people KNEW that the GOP/Tea Party resisted working with him on ANYTHING. We remember what Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell said, even before Obama took office, that the number one goal of the GOP was to prevent Obama from getting a second term.

What did we end up with? Fixes for the economy came slowly. We failed to lower the deficit – in fact, it got worse and that (in my book) is due to GOP foot dragging that retarded economic growth, thus federal tax revenues. The consequence of these failures resulted in moribund employment growth, more foreclosures, more misery. The tactic to keep Obama to one term caused more pain on the American people – especially minorities.

The fact that we are now recovering is a testament to how much Obama actually accomplished in spite of the concerted GOP/Tea Party resistance. And boy, did they put up a fight. But here’s the thing – despite the billions that the GOP/Tea Party spent, despite the steams of ads, punditry, and posturing – they lost. And they lost big. Obama not only soundly won the electoral college, he also won the popular vote. Moreover, the democrats are stronger in both Senate and House. Here’s something though that the GOP strategists must be shocked about: Democrats won solid majorities in both houses of the California Assembly – in fact, at the time of this writing – it appears that the Dems are going to end up with supermajorities in both houses. The last time a single party held a supermajority in both houses of the California legislature was in 1933, when the Republicans controlled the legislature. Democrats held a supermajority in both houses back in 1883.

Maybe had the GOP tried to work with Obama, the economy would be buzzing along and most Americans wouldn’t be blaming them for all the pain they caused.

Just sayin. By the way, “Hooray, for our side!”


Massive Forest Die-Off Predicted

A dying forest in Colorado: Bare branches and rust-colored foliage denote dead and dying trees in Colorado’s Front Range.

Doubters and climate change believers, draw near. Scientists have collated new data about climate change, and this is probably the most stunning news ever.

According to tree-ring growth data combined with historical information, climate records, and computer-model projections of future climate trends, widespread tree death is likely, researchers report this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.

A group of scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory, the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Arizona and other groups used this data from 13,000 tree core samples with known temperature and moisture data. They also blended events from archaeological and other paleorecords, such as the late 1200s megadrought that drove the ancient Pueblo Indians out of longtime settlements such as those at Mesa Verde, Colo. The result was a new “drought index” to help them measure the combined effects of drought and disease.

“This new drought index has the strongest correlation with combined tree growth, tree death from drought and insects, and area burned by forest fires that I have ever seen,” says co-author Thomas W. Swetnam, director of the UA Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.

By comparing the tree-ring record to climate data collected in the Southwest since the late 1800s, the scientists identified two climate variables that estimate annual southwestern tree-growth variability with exceptional accuracy: total winter precipitation and average summer-fall atmospheric evaporative demand, a measure of the overall dryness of the environment.

“Atmospheric evaporative demand is primarily driven by temperature. When air is warmer, it can hold more water vapor, thus increasing the pace at which soil and plants dry out. The air literally sucks the moisture out of the soil and plants,” says A. Park Williams of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the lead author of the paper.

These trends, the researchers noted, are already occurring in the Southwest, where temperatures generally have been increasing for the past century and are expected to continue to do so because of accumulating greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

There still will be wet winters, but increased frequency of warmer summers will put more stress on trees and limit their growth after wet winters, the study reports.

“We can use the past to learn about the future,” Williams said. “For example, satellite fire data from the past 30 years show that there has been a strong and exponential relationship between the regional tree-ring drought-stress record and the area of southwestern forests killed by wildfire each year. This suggests that if drought intensifies, we can expect forests not only to grow more slowly, but also to die more quickly.”

The study points out that very large and severe wildfires, bark-beetle outbreaks and a doubling of the proportion of dead trees in response to early 21st-century warmth and drought conditions are evidence that a transition of southwestern forest landscapes toward more open and drought-tolerant ecosystems may already be underway.

“When we look at our tree-ring record, we see this huge dip in the 1580s when all the tree rings are really tiny,” Williams said. “Following the 1500s megadrought, tree rings get wider, and there was a major boom in new trees. Nearly all trees we see in the Southwest today were established after the late-1500s drought, even though the species we evaluated can easily live longer than 400 years. So that event is a benchmark for us today. If forest drought stress exceeds late 1500 levels, we expect that a lot of trees are going to be dying.”

Sorry. I have no smartass remark to add to this. Just sucks to be us, I guess.

Suspicious voter registration forms found in 10 Florida counties – latimes.com

Source: Yahoo
Source: Yahoo

Suspicious voter registration forms found in 10 Florida countiesLATimes.com

And whilst they cry foul against others. My father – a lifelong and proud Republican – is rolling in his grave. I see members in my church – also life long and ardent supporters of the GOP, wincing and shaking their sad grey heads. Alas, imitation begets the reality.

Perhaps they thought they were “evening the score” – just in case AARP and the NAACP ran their own fraudulent voter schemes. Were I the GOP leadership, this is one maneuver I would have never imagined doing. Not only did they try to stack the voter roles with FAKE GOP voters, but they deliberately disenfranchise other voters. The question now isn’t whether Romney and the GOP will lose this November, but how badly.

Ryan Booed, Obama Good, Romney goes down in smoke

Source: Yahoo
Source: Yahoo

Make no mistake – I’m about as liberal as they come (actually, truth be told, I’m a socialist). You can imagine my delight when I read today’s LA TIMES article about Paul Ryan receiving steady and sustained boos when he tried to explain his criticism of Obamacare and Medicare. Yeah baby! BOO!

“The first step to a stronger Medicare is to repeal Obamacare, because it represents the worst of both worlds,” Ryan said as the crowd in New Orleans booed audibly.

Fellow liberal and borderline socialist Ruth Baker of Palm Beach, FL told me that the audience was “absolutely hostile.”

All well and good for the 47% moochers who do not fit the statistical model: American citizens who support Obama and pay income tax. In my case, over $10,000 last year.

After describing the trouble that the Romney-Ryan ticket is having with their bungling and bad messaging, Times writers, Mascaro, Hennessey and Reston, pivot with a counterpoint from Obama who distinguishes earned entitlements from just plain old entitlements.

“Given the conversations that have been out there in the political arena lately, I want to emphasize: Medicare and Social Security are not handouts,” Obama said. “You’ve paid into these programs your whole lives. You’ve earned them. And as president, it’s my job to make sure that Medicare and Social Security remain strong for today’s seniors and for future generations.”

You can see my head nodding. Even the most ardent teapartier ought to admit that once a transaction is engaged, there is an obligation to deliver. Unless of course you suggest that the federal government should break promises to retirees and basically tell them to go screw themselves. Unfortunately for Romney-Ryan, that’s precisely what the Ruth Baker’s in the country are hearing these days.

But then then the article takes another pivot that makes my head spin.

Meanwhile, Ann Romney landed safely in California on Friday evening, hours after the 10-seat charter plane carrying her from Omaha to the West Coast filled with smoke and was forced to make an emergency landing in Denver.

What the heck does that have to do with Ryan getting booed or Obama splitting hairs on entitlements? Read the article and tell me that it doesn’t bounce a bit on the subconscious.

The message I get from the article is almost mnemonic in form: Ryan Booed, Obama Good, Romney goes down in smoke. Accidental editing? Intentional op/ed? LOL.

Geeze. No wonder the Conservatives complain about a liberal bias.

Beware: Debt Wrap Stock Promotion Dealers

Contemplating a stock promotion through what is euphemistically called a “debt wrap“? My advice – don’t do it. There are other ways to raise money.

Imagine that you are a CEO or CFO of a penny stock company. Revenues are not what you want them to be; short on cash, you look around for ways to raise a bit of dough to get you through the next payroll, to purchase equipment, or launch a marketing campaign. Your average volume may be about 300,000 shares and the price per share hovers between 50 cents to less than a penny a share (micropenny). Maybe you just issued a press release.

One day, probably not long after PR Newswire distributes your latest release, you get a call from an energetic guy who has a bright idea to help you raise your much dreamt about cash. He or she may even sound like a charitable group for wayward Pink Sheet companies. You listen intently.

Since you don’t have the cash to push your own stock promotion, you gotta give something up in value. What you may not realize is all that aged debt on the corporate books is like gold to the promoter. Debt aged 6 months if reporting, 12 months if non-reporting can be easily converted into tradeable shares. And this guy says he can get you a big piece of it. He’ll graciously take the debt off of your hands with debt purchase agreements for the original noteholder. Simultaneously, with help of an exemption known as Rule 144 under the Securities act of 1933, he’ll turn around and convert the debt into tradeable common shares. He’ll “put a list on it” and promote your stock to ready buyers. Names like BestDamnPennyStocks, AllPennyStocks.com, PennyStockRumble, et cetera will spin out of his mouth like an auctioneer. He’ll talk about the value of liquidity (i.e., share volume). He’ll tell you how easy it’ll be to get your company cash. He may even offer to toss you a few bucks for your own pocket.

As one broker said to me, “It’s like printing your own money.” But there’s a cost. What you don’t know is that depending on the way the deal is constructed, the whole promotion may run against SEC regulations (think fines, black listing, even jail time). And while creating tradeable common share IS allowed by law, too many shares deludes value.

Here’s another thing you should think about: odds are (and I mean worse than 50-50 odds), you’ll never see a cent come into your company and your original note holders may never see a nickel. Add insult to injury, you just released millions of shares to a crook who made out like a bandit.

Romney’s 47%

There’s already a horde of commentary that tries to compare Mitt Romney’s now infamous words to Barack Obama’s equally dumb remark: how in bad economic times, “people get bitter, they cling to their guns and religion.”

Okay, let’s cut through the superbole of gotcha and get one thing straight. These words were said to ardent donors – to inform the wallet warriors about policy ideas, but more important, to learn more about the candidate’s intimate notions, underlying motives, and true agendas. In both cases, Romney and Obama are merely chalking out the outlines that define followers versus detractors.

But I think the problem for Romney is that he played to the fences a bit overmuch. Did he really have to cast nearly HALF of the population as wonton freeloaders? I’m a liberal voting for Obama, and if I wasn’t supposed to be paying taxes, I’d better give my accountant a call. The fact is, Romney’s “47%” includes retirees. Like Ol’ Kemp – 87 years old with a face like crabgrass. He was a former USAF operative during Vietnam who later busted his ass to earn an engineering degree and worked for about 30 years for Hughes Aircraft as a ground systems analyst and trainer. He’s an old Texan Democrat (if you know what I mean). I’m sure that ‘ol’ bag o’bones’ will give me an earful about Romney’s blunder. I hope Mittens isn’t planning to hold a rally around Amarillo, TX any time soon. Thurman might go “second amendment” on him, if you know what I mean. But I digress.

Personally, I want to cut Romney some slack. He has the right to define his followers and cheer his donors. You must admit that the post-gaffe period is a lot less messy than it could have been. He gains buko respect points for sticking to his guns today. And here’s the bonus for the rest of us moochers and lazy liberals, the chalk lines were never more clearer; the mission never more urgent.

Barack Obama 2012

God’s Platform

The latest hype from the media – Democrats and God.

Back in Charlotte, NC, there was a “public outcry” over removing God and Jerusalem (as the capital of Israel) from the Democratic platform. Through the thicket of fear, party leaders scrambled to reassert the omitted language.

And who was it that lead the charge? None other than the Convention Chairman himself, Antonio Villaraigosa, also the mayor of Los Angeles – calling three times for a voice vote on the resolution. The end was an unconvincing gavel as the YAYs and NAYS competed for airspace.

But to what end?

The first thing that puzzles me is why did the Dem leadership leave this opening? Why give the GOP any reason to strengthen their claim that the Democrats (aka “Liberals”) are a gaggle of godless pagans? What a stupid move!

Source: Yahoo
Source: Yahoo

More to the point however, why must I give this idiotic discussion even a moment’s notice? Well… for one… I’m bored. But more to the point, because this event lends credence to my general theory that when Men want to really screw things up, all they have to do is bring up God.

If God had a platform, I’m pretty sure He’d merely reiterate His wish that all things that belong to Caesar shall remain Caesar’s and the rest shall belong to God.


Weary and Wary

Say “aye” if you’re weary and wary of rump-headed politicians and their insipid slogans. They say it’s for the sake of democracy, but is it really? I reached my saturation point during the runup to the primaries – made my choice once it became clear that RMONEY was going to win the GOP nomination. Lacking any dazzling alternative, RMONEY seems worse than the usual “lesser of evils.” The SOB is evil because of the interests he represents. But I digress…

The campaigning only exemplifies the terrible lack of choice our so-called democracy gives us. But… can I successfully argue non-participation? Nope. Gotta vote. Gotta stand up and be counted. I’m weary of the campaign, wary of the promises, but there’s no way in hell that I’m going to allow the lowest common denominator be our only voice. No way in hell.


Economic Hype and the Trickle Up Effect

Okay… I admit. I’m a serial commenter on various news sites (CNN, Huff, Washington Post). A recent segment that appeared on CNN bore this headline: Who’s winning the debt debate?

Need I summarize the topic? Essentially, the writer posits the question and out comes a gushing. One brilliant poster came up with this gem:

There will soon be no wealthy, no nothin’, brainiacs, if we don’t balance our budget. Take all the rich, hang them upside down, and shake all their money out of their pockets. That couldn’t cover the entitlement program at the rate it’s growing.

He couldn’t leave well enough alone, so he parroted yet another gem:

Quit spending more than you make! Can’t understand that?  Think the wealthy held a shotgun to our gov’t and told the gov’t to spend like more than we make?  QUIT SPENDING MORE THAN YOU MAKE. Right now the entitlements are the main drag on the economy, and taxing the rich ain’t going to stop the bleeding, wiseguy. Or don’t you read what the economists are saying?

Of course, the Tea Party ‘factoid’ parade is devoid of rational fact; no footnote that says personal debt and national debt are two completely different things. I doubt many of them ever heard Dick Cheney explain that  “Deficits don’t matter.” Nevertheless, I had to point out that trickle down (Reaganomics) never worked. Historical data proves that point. All low taxes ever did was let the greedy be more greedy.

Here’s Trickle UP Effect for you: support the masses and the masses will support all classes above them.