Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Obama Reacts To Honduran Situation

I suppose we shouldn't be overly surprised that President Obama has chosen to be on the same side of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro. I guess it shouldn't be overly shocking that he would choose to send mixed messages about his foreign policy reactions.

Initially, in the aftermath of the fraudulent Iranian elections, he was silent. After much pressure, he finally came out with a weak statement concerning the way the Iranian government treated the protesters:

The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.

As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.

Martin Luther King once said - "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.

As you will notice above, I took the liberty to highlight the part I want to focus on. So let's bring this up to the Honduras situation, shall we?

The constitution of Honduras allows its president only one term and the deposed Manuel Zelaya had sought a referendum allowing him to run for re-election. Normally, this wouldn't be such an issue except for the fact that he is not a very popular president. This begs the question, why would someone who is so incredibly unpopular seek re-election in the first place? Seeing how Hugo Chavez has rewritten his country's constitution, placing himself into a position to hold that office indefinitely, wouldn't have anything to do with it--would it?

So, here we are. Without having taken into consideration the entire picture, the American President has chosen to call the actions taken by the Honduran legislature and Supreme Court, illegal. Hugo and Fidel have done so as well. And they have done it under the banner of the democratic process and respect for a democratically elected official (who was trying to pull his own coup against the constitution and subvert the rule of law).

Knowing that Zelaya would not have been re-elected in an election and understanding how the people are not upset with the Honduran legislature and Supreme Court for protecting their constitution, how can we believe Obama's feigned concern for the democratic process? I understand the hypocrisy of Chavez and Castro in this case, it's not hard to grasp that they fear such a thing could happen to them. But why is Obama willing to interject in this case, so soon?

I mean, if we are to believe that he has an ounce of integrity, why do we not read:

The Honduran people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Honduran government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.

I think the answer is plain. What do you think?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Recommended Reading

Still in a writing funk here, but I have been getting some reading in. Here is a good op-ed from the Wall Street journal on the Honduras situation.

The reason this coup went down is because the Honduran president was looking to institute the same opportunity Bro. Hugo has in Venezuela, the right to be president for life. Whereas Hugo had a tighter grip on the military in Caracas, Mr. Zelaya evidently did not.

This is why Hugo is rattling his sabers. If this coup succeeds, who is to say that Venezuela's military may not eventually turn on Chavez? These kinds of things like to follow the domino model, sometimes.

In any Latin American nation, democratic principles are so strained and tensed, it is the military that controls the country. Whoever they support is the one in power. They decide, not the people. If the people do decide, it is only because the military lets them decide.

So, give this a read when you get a minute and rest assured that this development in Honduras will be watched by other generals, in other countries down south.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another Blast From The Past

In the years I have been a music fan, music has evolved exponentially. This weekend, we take a look at some one hit wonders released ten years apart to make the case.

We can start off in 1974. The band is from Mobile Alabama, but spent the greater part of the 1970s making quality album rock in Macon Georgia, recording on Capricorn. I saw them once in 1975 or 76, I cannot really remember which.

One of the epic songs of the 70s, this tune reminds me of happier and more care-free days, a time when life seemed much simpler than it does today. I don't know who these people in the video were, but I think they bear out what I am trying to say. It certainly shows a happy time in their lives:

As the world transitioned, we left the laissez-faire 70s for higher tech at a faster pace. The eclectic 80s became a realization of many of the things we imagined, in the years leading up to the decade and the music was no exception.

I think this next song illustrates my point.

I had left Europe almost 4 years prior to the release of this tune, but I would bet the dance clubs were playing this one, quite often.

The transition from the 80s to the 90s was a bit more subtle, but I thought music took a darker turn in some respects. Some bands found themselves serving a market of depressed teens and young twenty-somethings. This was the birth of alternative/grunge era and it became harder to appreciate many of the newer sounds. Despite the Prozac generation's making a sharp turn toward more pensiveness and introspective reflections, there were still some very good artists who rose out of the despair.

Here is a one-hit wonder from 1994, with a happy beat and words that will not cause one to need group therapy to survive.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Funnies

A lot of people wouldn't guess, but I have always been a huge fan of Laurel and Hardy. I watched them as a kid and still do when I get the chance.

Here is a classic clip from The Devil's Brother:


Thursday, June 25, 2009

An Explanation

I must apologize for my absence during my vacation. My failure to post and visit other blogs can be attributed to a couple of different things. For one thing, I have had some things to do along the way, things that I have not been able to get done while working long hours. The other thing is an issue of blog burnout.

There are only so many ways to say that Obama and Congress are doing a lousy job. There only so many ways I can say the country is heading toward the toilet. Writer's block or whatever you want to call it, it calls for some retreat time and that's what I have been doing.

So instead of quitting altogether like many have before me, I can recognize when it's time to step away for a breather. Doing this can make a big difference in my commitment down the stretch, when it will count the most. Thanks for your understanding.

Meanwhile, here is a piece I found through Boortz on the utility of unions. He links to his source, as he always does . I do believe this is worth a look, because many who keep responding to poll questions on Obama's job approval are not understanding the nature of the damage he is doing, by empowering the unions more. Unions are not good for the economy and once a person with an open mind can read this information, he/she may begin to understand this (or maybe not).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

News In Brief (And The Usual Opinionated Commentary)

Well, we are back up and running here at PYY. The trip was a comedy of errors, but overall it was a nice getaway with Mrs. Sunsett and not to be regretted in anyway, shape, or form. Peace, rest, and recreation are always items to be coveted in a crazy world that demands so much.

As I seek to get back into the news cycle, here are some things I have found to be hot off the press. And as is usually the case around here, I cannot resist putting my two-cents worth into the mix along with the usual mix of healthy skepticism and sarcasm. We will divide these stories into two categories, things that matter and things that don't.

First, the important stuff:

Sarkozy Seeks Ban On Burqas

Last week, the story was about Scientology and how certain sectors of French society are wanting to ban it. This week, it's about the burqas and how certain secular elements are wanting to ban it.

While I do not agree with many of the teachings of Scientology (or the cultish nature its leadership imposes on its members) and almost none of the doctrines of Islam (or the oppressive nature), I am not a fan of government interference in any religion. I do not live in France, so I guess I have no real vested interest in this. But, as many of the old regulars know here, we used to have some French commenters who liked to proclaim just how tolerant French society was/is, attempting to contrast it with what they percieved to be American intolerance. I can't help but wonder what they think of this and how they would go about defending it.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Warns Protestors

On one hand, we wonder if this is a bluff. From what we have gathered, these are some huge rallies and would be very difficult to control without massive bloodshed at the hands of those who have the guns. On the other hand, we are dealing with an oppressive regime that already has blood on its hands and is quite desperate to keep the reins of power. They do not seem to care about innocent people's lives and may opt for action that will make Tiananmen Square look like a frolic in the park.

North Korea Accusing Obama Of Nuclear War Plans

Yeah, that's it. Why didn't I see it sooner? Obama is a war monger. He frees Gitmo detainees, takes forever to make a statement on Iran, wants to speak unconditionally with the Iranian leadership, visits nations hostile to the US and Israel, and is secretly wanting a nuclear conflict with NK. Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

Now, let's look at the things that we could all live well, without knowing and caring:

Perez Hilton Attacked

The man who made such a big deal out of Carrie Prejean's answer at the Miss Universe pageant, an answer she had every right to, has opened his obnoxious mouth one too many times. Like I say, this is usually a non-story here at PYY, but it just goes to show that what goes around comes back around, or you reap what you sow. Like any cheap gossip columnist these days, the man has said some really nasty things about a lot of people, some true and some not true. Now, Perezy-Poo has finally come to realize that not everyone thinks he's very important.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another Blast From The Past

Terrible storms in the area last evening knocked out internet service for awhile. But we are now back up, better late than never. So, here we go with this week's feature presentation on the first day of summer.

This year we are taking several short stints of vacation. Today starts one of them:

Next, we have a little tune from Percy Faith:

See if you remember this one from Seals And Croft:

This evening the Mrs. and I will be somewhere in an undisclosed location east of here, sipping on real Summer Wine. Here is the Corrs version, with guest appearance by Bono:


Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Funnies

When we listen to politicians like Chuck Schumer and Barney Frank, we wonder how they became so deficient in mathematics. Well, I think I have the answer.

While perusing through some videos to use for today's funny feature, I stumbled onto this little math instructional from Ma and Pa Kettle. See if you can follow along. You just may get a thorough understanding of Congressional math, in the process:

Nobody in politics ever told a story, like Ronald Reagan. Here are a few jokes, as told by the Gipper:


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Making Our Voice Heard

Today, I'd like to call attention to a letter read by Glenn Beck, on his TV show last evening. Mr. Beck reported that it was written by a 53 year-old lifelong Democrat, who really cannot find anyone in Washington that represents her and her concerns anymore. As Glenn read the letter, I could not help but think about how much we have been discussing these very same things, day after day, here on this blog.

Read the entire thing here.

Then, ask yourself something: Are these crooks truly representing you the way you feel they should? Can you honestly imagine what would happen if any of us performed in our jobs, the same kinds of actions these crooks have? I ask these questions because most of us would have been fired a long time ago and possibly sitting in a prison cell right now, if we would behave these people have. Each and every time something illegal or unethical happens to someone in Washington, nothing happens.

In a world where it takes four years of legal wrangling just get a William Jefferson (a man who was caught accepting bribes on tape and with cold cash in his freezer) on trial, it's no wonder the thugs running the government are empowered to do whatever the hell they want, whenever they want, without fear of reprisals. In Washington, the motto has become, "yeah, well, what are you going to do about it?" Whenever anyone asks one of the vermin leading the mess, why we need to do what they say, they in effect answer with a resilient, "because we said so".

Just as it was in the days of Jimmy Carter, a new age of apathy and malaise is beginning to set in. As it was in those days so may it be today, when the people rise up and declare, "enough is enough". That's why this just hearing and reading this letter is encouraging.

To think that I am the only person that sees this BS for what it is ridiculous. I am not, you are not. They, who are on the public dole in government, want us to believe we are.

America, it's time for a serious change to occur in this land, not just as a campaign slogan. It's time for Americans to stop allowing themselves to be categorized solely for the purpose of being demonized and denigrated, as ignorant anti-government extremists. It's time to show those arrogant SOBs who confiscate our hard earned money (to use on whatever vote-buying scam happens to be popular at the time), who they work for.

It's time to stop looking at ourselves as Democrats or Republicans, left or right; it's damned sure time to stop looking at ourselves as black, white, or other. It's time to start looking this thing as a case of us versus them. We are the people who the founding fathers sought to protect, from the very abuses we see so prevalent today. We are the nation, it belongs to us.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Coming Full Circle: The Iranian Situation

As this blog watches and analyzes the events that are currently unfolding in Iran, one cannot help but see some things worth pointing out. It's worth noting that many times in someone's lifetime, history has an odd way of repeating itself and in ways that are quite telling and easy to read. But to be in tune with such things, some conditions must be met.

For one thing, a person must be able to grasp history. Reading is one way to learn about any event or era from the record books of time. But nothing beats the best way to understand such events, which is having lived through them up close and personal. Want to learn about the fall of the Berlin Wall? Ask someone who was alive and/or aware of his/her surroundings at the time.

In January 1978, there was a situation in Iran, not altogether unlike today.

Iranians were not happy. There was widespread corruption in the Shah's government, just as there is today. People generally mistrusted their leadership, they felt they were puppets being controlled by puppet masters and were losing patience with this arrangement. They felt like there was a death grip upon them.

Originally, the resistance was fueled more by nationalism and populism than for religious reasons. The Islamic part of the revolt was more the result of some slick opportunism on the part of Ayatollah Khomeini and his reactionary supporters. The Shah was seen as another extravagant monarch, who had sat upon a throne created for him by the "evil satanic forces" of the United States. There was a certain element of socialistic idealism being injected into the movement.

At the time, it took a lot of work to understand why Jimmy Carter was oblivious to the concerns of the Iranians. The near simultaneous scenarios that unfolded during his watch were not handled in a consistent manner.

Human rights was not an issue in Iran, as it was in Nicaragua. The U.S. needed Iran as an ally because it shared a border with the USSR, Nicaragua did not. Therefore, Carter overlooked the Shah's misdeeds committed in the reinforcement of his reign and Iranians resented it. At the same moment in time, the similar unrest was brewing (for similar reasons) in Somoza's regime and Carter actually catalyzed the revolution with his call for human rights.

Calling for greater freedoms in Nicaragua and at the same time supporting the Shah was not a particularly smart thing to do. The Iranians were not fools, they picked up on this quickly. They saw what was what, no one had to explain it to them.

So here we are today, in 2009. We have a similar spark igniting in modern-day Persia and the current President is sending similar mixed signals. Obama has postured himself to look weak, painted himself into a corner, and I think is making some major miscalculations in the process.

Because he has called for engagement of Iran and it's leaders without condition, he cannot take sides with the opposition, right now. The risk of this is minimal, unless this evolves into a situation where regime change does take place. At this point, the new regime would already feel alienated by the US. In a lot of ways, this isn't much different than 1979.

Obama's response to North Korea has been insufficient. They know it, and are pushing the envelope further. His affinity for Arab potentates has been overzealous. They know it, and are playing it for all they can. Now, we have this situation in Iran which on the verge of exploding, and where is Obama? On the fence, because he put himself there. Lack of firm responses will yield the same results every time and will encourage more foreign policy challenges.

Yes folks, this is the beginning of Jimmy Carter II (The Sequel). And you can see it all play out live, on a newscast screen near you. The summer of discontent is here, even the Iranians are having a tea party.

For all of you who are too young to remember the Carter years with his miserable leadership, you can now see it with your own eyes. Maybe those of you who thought we were just a bunch of "out of tune with reality" old people when we told you all of this, now you will learn history the hard way. But not to worry, think of the lessons you can now teach your kids someday, when they are wanting to elect an "out of touch" arrogant greenhorn.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

News In Brief (And The Usual Opinionated Commentary)

Durbin Cashes Out Stock After Fed Meeting

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting this. Of course it's premature to say there was any insider trading going on. But as is usually the case, another corrupt Illinois politician is seen as giving "the appearance" of impropriety.

You can bet that nothing will come of this, while Dems are in control.

Moussavi Says He Will "Pay Any Cost"

If he is this determined, we all know what that cost will eventually be. If he follows through with this noble endeavor, it may facilitate more unrest that will eventually force and extremely bloody crackdown by the government. I say the man must love his country and has more guts in his little finger than the rest of the world leaders, to include the US President.

Continued silence on Obama's part just further demonstrates what we already know about him. He is weak and it may backfire on him in more ways than one.

French Prosecutor Seeks To Dissolve Scientology

Bad move.

Anytime a government outlaws a church of any kind, you have to ask, which one will be next?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Recommended Reading

No time to write anything yesterday, and Mustang may have stolen the Ask LA mailbag as a cruel joke.

So, here's
a thought-provoking piece by Andrew Breitbart, who many of you may not know is Orson Bean's son-in-law.

Read it, when you get time. It makes some interesting points.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Reflection - Vision

Helen Keller, a woman who had neither sight nor hearing is credited as saying, "The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision."

How many of us have sight? Well if we are on the computer, it stands to reason we can see. But that doesn't mean we necessarily have a vision.

Vision does not require functioning eyes, but it does require a mind with an intellect that is capable of producing a dream, an imagination, and a reasonably attainable goal. Looking back at the many visions that have come to fruition over the many years, I have to wonder how many of them truly started with pure luck?

Some, maybe. But I would have to say that the vast majority of them were born of a vision created in the mind of a person who dared to set a goal, came up with a plan, and implemented it through skill, perseverance, and hard work.

Helen Keller had to have some vision or else how could she have any real knowledge or understanding. While I cannot connect with her in most of her political leanings, we can come to appreciate how hard she must have worked to break out of her isolation that was imposed upon her, through no fault of her own.

Others have been credited with defining vision. Jonathan Swift is quoted as saying, "Vision is the art of seeing the invisible." Maybe we can modify that just a bit to read: Vision is the art of seeing the unseen.

If it were not for my faith, I honestly believe I would be devoid of vision and understanding, about a great many things in this world. Without it, my vision would be altered, maybe even non-existent.

And what is faith?
Many people have tried to define it over the many years. But I think Paul best defines it in Hebrews 11:1, saying:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

When we think about it, the definition is somewhat abstract. But at the same time it's still concrete. In some ways, it's tangible, but also intangible; confusing, but otherwise clear.

Maybe understanding faith is murky, but there are things we can understand about the need for vision. Solomon wrote clearly and concisely, in Proverbs 29: 18, the following:

Where there is no vision, the people perish.

We have heard the saying "the blind leading the blind". It is my belief that Solomon, being the wise man he was, had a deeper understanding of this concept than anyone else in his day. And although his personal life became a mess in his later years, he had ample wisdom to govern, as one of the fairest and most justice-oriented kings in the history of the world.

For us, we need not a kingdom to require or acquire a vision. All we need is an open heart and an open mind, then allow our intellects to work uninhibited. What we cannot formulate on our own, I believe God will make up the difference. Once we have it, we can see the way we should lead those who have been charged to our care. Families, those under us at work, all need guidance. We cannot guide if our vision is lacking or tainted.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Another Blast From The Past

Since Mustang has deluded himself into believing much of my musical tastes are rooted in psychedelic commie land, I thought this weekend we would take a look at some bands that had colors in their names. He may like a couple of them if he totally frees his mind, occasionally he does get it right on music. But on these, I won't hold my breath and honestly neither should you.

We will lead it off with one of those songs the old coot may like. In this one, we a have a little tune originally written and recorded by the Stones. It was a satirical song about the depressive nature of some of the old country songs from way back. I think it is a pretty good remake and is rooted in the 60s LA/SF sound (which sported the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and Grateful Dead):

Red is a color that always attracts the eye. This song certainly caught my ear, when it was first released in 1981:

I saw this next act in a huge beer tent, status post a local beer festival. They left the tent up for the concert and much to our delight, they were still selling beer during the show. Lead singer David Coverdale did a stint with Deep Purple, but made his name with this band and this was my favorite tune by them:

Here's a band that I always enjoyed seeing live. I saw them twice and I must say they were quite the party band, in their day. They formed in 1965 as the Knowbody Else, and stole a school PA system for their act. They split town when the warrants were issued. All was forgiven when they returned to their hometown of Black Oak Arkansas, after hitting the big time.

Except for one word, this tune is completely instrumental and I think is one of the better southern rock recordings in the 70s:


Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Funnies

As a small child, I remember my parents watching Jack Benny. Being so young, I didn't always understand every joke. But skits like this still could still rub a kid's funny bone. The gentleman with Mr. Benny was Mel Blanc, the man behind the voices of Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes character voices.

In this next skit, you may recognize the king of late night in his younger years:


Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Word From Our Sponsor

A Message From Edward Whitacre Jr. The New CEO Of GM, via Bloomberg.

“I don’t know anything about cars. A business is a business, and I think I can learn about cars. I’m not that old, and I think the business principles are the same.”

I don't know about you but I would have some concerns here.

I know it's just a car business. Bottom lines are bottom lines, and deals are deals.

Still, I would be hard pressed to find any level of confidence, if a CEO of a healthcare facility would say, "I know nothing about medicine, but am willing to learn". (Let me clarify that I do not necessarily think that a physician must be over a medical institution, in fact most of them are not good businessmen. But that person should have some knowledge of how the business works, having worked in it before, at some level.)

From what we are gathering about CEO Whitacre's time in grade, he has none, nada, zilch in the automobile industry. He will have no other knowledge of the intricate details. With this being the case, maybe someone can enlighten me as to what his real function will be, if that's not it.

I will tell you what I think it means. I think this means he is being hired to cook the books. Far too often in our system, this and political paybacks for previous favors are the real objective with these kinds of appointments.

So here is your new Government Motors CEO, a man who by his own admission knows nothing about the challenge he is about to face. Acts like this will eventually cause the American people to soon realize, they really screwed up when they elected this bunch.

Happy Motoring To All.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Of Reasons And Rationales: Explaining The EU Elections

I ran across an interesting op-ed piece from the German publication, Der Spiegel. The second paragraph resonates loud and clear:

There is always a certain amount of risk associated with any election. It is a truth recognized by dictators around the world -- leading them to prefer predetermined results. In the last elections for the North Korean "parliament," for example, the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland got 100 percent of the vote and all 687 seats. It was a result that was difficult to misinterpret -- and met the expectations of those involved.

One does not need to read any further to know that the EU elections have yielded a certain level of surprise, among the world's population. Europe has spent the last eight years criticizing the US, for its policies set forth by the Bush Administration. This means that anything economic was ridiculed as favoring the privileged rich; anything related to foreign policy was the subject of some extreme disdain, if not outright scorn. There was this overt display of worry about American imperialism and we heard about it almost daily.

So now comes Obama, who is everything the European intelligentsia could ask and hope for. Finally, here comes a man who understands both the politics and culture, of European-style socialism. Now we have someone that can talk the language of social democrats all over the continent, right?

But wait. Not wanting to be confused with someplace that appears to be in lockstep with America, maybe Europe has had a change of heart?

Certainly there is a shock factor in these results, for some. But I am not surprised at them and frankly, I am having some trouble believing those who live in Europe are as shocked as many would have us believe.

Maybe, just maybe, many Euros have come to a stark realization in the process that has been playing out before them. Maybe they are beginning to see that the practice of allowing immigrants to come into their country and brazenly dictate to the indigenous people the terms of their residency is not the kind of world, they want to create for themselves and their families. Maybe, many are just getting to the point where they are not comfortable with this ulterior objective of subtly transforming Western Civilization into a Middle Eastern caliphate, subjected to whoever the big Muslim Kahuna happens to be at the time..

Note the further prose from the piece:

The European shift to the right, which is being decried across the continent, isn't one. Rather, it is a signal for a return to reality. The established centrist parties -- in Germany, in the Netherlands, in Sweden, Austria and elsewhere -- are busy with crisis management, with the nationalization of ailing banks and bankrupt companies. They are neither able nor willing to attend to other problems.

They aren't thinking about the consequences of immigration, about the loss of cultural identity that many people with "non-immigrant backgrounds" sense -- people who do not want to be labeled as xenophobes, right-wing extremists or neo-Nazis as a result. This omission benefits so-called "populists" like Geert Wilders, who are not afraid to tackle politically incorrect issues and provide answers to questions that nobody else wants to pose.

Europeans are not stupid. They are human and subject to the same weaknesses and frailties the rest of us are. But they are not going to be fooled forever. They have eyes, they have ears, they have minds which can assimilate and analyze data objectively.

were the Enlightment and Renaissance. They were the leaders of the world in almost everything at one time during history, and for good reasons. I cannot imagine they will allow outsiders to take away their Plato, their Monet, or their Bach. It's just not going to happen. But you can be sure, there will be some who will downplay and demonize the results of this election.

Xenophobia, will be the cause listed on many a blog and mainstream European media agency. Fascism and Nazism will be words frequently tossed around over the next few weeks, as well. What they are not taking into account is fairly simple and not hard to understand, if one has the slightest understanding of the basic fundamentals in the discipline of political science. Like the article says, there is no major shift. It's merely an awakening back to common sense on the part of some, at least enough to swing an election away from apologists and pacifiers.

Another fallacy that will surface in this is the tendency to believe that this signals a return to some pretty bad times. It is a fair assessment that there is a growing sense of nationalism beginning to reappear, or in this case continentalism. The problem with this is how it's interpreted. To say that all nationalism is fascism is nonsense. Not all nationalism is fascism, neither is all fascism, Nazism.

Another fallacy I have heard in the aftermath of the election is that Europe is tired of its socialist policies and it wants to reverse itself. In my lifetime, Europeans have always embraced tax and spend politics. After WWII, it was necessary in order to rebuild the continent into the modern world. As long as the bulk of the populace sees some bang for their euro, they aren't likely to change their approach anytime soon. But they may spurn a continued trend in that direction, or might be willing to reject more of the same. I know the word on the streets in many European nations is that bailouts are not a good thing.

Granted, it's never this simple to analyze the cause of any effect. There is no one reason anything happens in politics. Another rationale was brought up in the article:

The "stupid" voters have recognized that they are supporting a parliament whose primary task is not to oversee the EU's executive arm but to take care of politicians who their parties want to reward for their loyal support. Those who, for whatever reasons, have failed at home, or who need to take a time-out from national politics, get sent to Brussels.

It goes on to cite some examples. But the idea that the EU is essentially meaningless is bound to come up in the course of the explanation. It is one excuse that will be stated and repeated, again and again. But in the bigger scheme of things, the amount of meaning one side chooses for an entity (such as the EU) will depend on whom you talk to at a given point in time.

If a side that has lost must come up with reasons for their loss, it is easier to downplay the entity as meaningless, than to address the reasons behind the failure. If the side that has won is asked the reasons for their victory, they have the luxury of saying it was their message, their ideas, and their worldview that drew the people to them. As a result, the entity becomes extremely important to them.

But in this case, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Just as Europe is split ideologically, so are the people's opinions of the importance of the EU. True nationalists are not too keen on the idea. Many of those people are in the minority right now. More and more Euros are becoming more continentalist and that means the EU will carry more responsibility in the future. It also means that for the purposes of the immigration issue, nationalists and continentalists will find themselves on the same side of the coin.

Another factor in this particular area is Euros may be coming to a realization, the USA is becoming weaker, something many of them wanted earlier in the decade. Obama is not particularly wowing the European leadership right now. Not only is he snubbing them, he is failing miserably to impress them. Many may be showing up for rallies and speeches, many may want to get a glimpse of him for hostorical reasons, and a select few may even think he is the best thing since 24 hour shopping. But under it all, there is some real apprehension.

They see massive deficit spending unlike any other era before. They see a foreign policy weakness, unlike any other seen in American history.

Many alive today, remember the Jimmy Carter days and know that the malaise created by him was felt hard in Europe. I know, I was there.

The dollar's value shrunk so much so fast during the reign of the Peanut Man, he was forced to buy back the dollars that Germany held, to keep the dollar afloat. He may have done the same with other currencies, I don't remember. But with the German Mark being the backbone of the European economy at the time, there was no other choice but to act, there.

If that wasn't enough, Carter's handling of the Iranian crisis was not impressive either. The botched rescue mission and the generalized state of inaction, didn't exactly reassure Europeans of American ability to assist them, should the Soviets decide to send up the balloon. These are things many of Europeans my age may very well remember clearly. These are things that many of MY countrymen have surely forgotten.

Obama should remind us all of those days. It's like deja vu, all over again.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

News In Brief (And The Usual Opinionated Commentary)

US Debt, Dollar Making China Nervous

Wait a minute, didn't Tim Terrific the Tax Cheat just go to China, and say they had confidence in us?

Now we have a discrepancy. Timmy says one thing, US Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) is saying another. Obama's team will not like this, look for them to dig up dirt on Kirk to divert attention from his claims.

California To Do Away With Welfare?

Yeah, right.

There will be riots in the streets of LA, SD, and SF, not to mention Oakland and Fresno. Crime will raise exponentially. Phoenix and Las Vegas will become the largest cities in the country. There are many people in California who know no other way of life.

WSJ: Media Falling For Obama Rhetoric

Say it isn't so.

I know the official start of summer isn't until the weekend after next. But the kids are now out of school, pools are open, summer festivals and activities are in full swing, and we still see no results from the stimulus package. That package was only designed to pay off political favors, nothing more.

Any of you that believe otherwise, I know of a mountain cabin in Central Florida at the base of Mt Dora, that you can buy for the right price.

Stay Issued In Chrysler Deal

I wonder why more actions like this haven't been taken, with all of the trashing of the US Constitution we have seen in the last five months. As we would expect, Chrysler is playing the fear card. They claim that delay will cause Fiat to back out.

I am no economic scholar, but it seems to me that Fiat is getting Chrysler for next to nothing. With that kind of factory pricing, I think they'll wait.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Ask LA

Let's dig down into the mailbag and see what poor sould we can help, this week. Shall we?

Dear LA,

We have a problem that is unique and have never seen it addressed, on your world-class advice column.

Please allow us a moment to explain it. We are several families that share a hefty strip of land. We are bewildered and hurt by a recent chain of events which have unfolded before our very eyes.

Recently, we helped a man who said he needed our help to build a better relationship, between his people and ours. He said that others who came before him had alienated us from his people. He wanted to rectify that injustice and if we would help him do just that, he could/would heal the rift. He claimed he would close the gap between us both, promising to consider us and our thoughts, when making vital decisions which would affect us all.

The man was successful in achieving his goals and we all felt much better about the world, for a little while. When he began his quest to fulfill his promises, we were surprised to learn some things about him and have become confused by his recent behavior.

For example, he was visiting one of our family's area recently (for a ceremony) and stayed right down the street from the leader (of that area). The leader invited him to dinner, but was rejected. In another case, one of the leaders of another family's area, living just off the coast of our hefty strip of land, visited the land of the man we helped, and was snubbed not unlike the other leader. (And the family whose leader is a lady, isn't faring much better either. They don't seem to like each other and the press has published much about their rift.)

Keep in mind that we are used to this chasm, we feel that the previous leader totally disregarded our opinions in many of his decisions. (He was not our favorite and we even worked hard against him in 2004.) This would not be such a big deal, except that the man we speak of today, sought us out and by all accounts, appears to have used us to get what he wanted.

Help us LA, for we are about to sink and drown in a sea of humiliation. What can we do?



Dear Europe,

Learn to swim.

Hope this helps,


Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday Reflection - Vulnerability and Illusions

You will rarely find me spending much time discussing Carl Sagan. Astronomy, physics, and astrophysics were not my best subjects, so there's not much I can offer to the mix even if I wanted. But every now and then, someone like Sagan says something that rings true in any other science or discipline. The same can be said for life in general.

Here is one quote that is appropriate for this week's reflection, it comes from the chapter entitled The Fine Art of Baloney Detection in Sagan's book, called The Demon-Haunted World:

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. The bamboozle has captured us. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.

Have you ever known a pathological liar? I mean a person that when the truth does them just as good, they will choose the lie, anyway? With no vested interest either way, they will simply seek and elect to lie no matter what the outcome may be. They do it so much that after many instances of telling it, they soon begin to believe it to be the truth.

The same holds true in reverse. That is to say, the more some people are lied to, the more they begin to believe the lie is really the truth. And even when confronted with solid proof it was a lie, they are not able to see the reality because the lie has become so deeply rooted into their psyche, it has become a part of their daily thought processes.

The more they are fooled into believing falsehoods, the easier it is to lead them astray and sway them with deceits. The "Bush lied, people died" group comes to mind immediately, when pondering this little quote.
Add to this group, a new generation that has bought into the entire "hope and change" mantra. This garbage is still being fed to the people now that the election has been over, for seven months.

How easy is it for those of us who see through the rhetorical fallacies, to convince them that the current government isn't any better? Not very, and it may be doing more damage in a shorter amount of time than any other in history.

If you can see and understand this, you have a strong conceptual understanding of what Mr Sagan was saying in this quote. And it is likely that you are difficult to fool, because like me, you are skeptical at every turn. You see, I have been lied to on many occasions and have responded quite differently than the people I have described.

It doesn't mean that I believe no one, ever. This means that I do not count things I run across newly, as fact, until I verify them with others who know. This is true of every subject. There is a stark difference between that attitude and approach, and one of pure cynicism.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Another Blast From The Past

This week we depart just a little from the usual.

You see, this is called "Another Blast From The Past" - "past" being the operative word. We have covered the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and even some 90s, but I cannot say with any real certainty if I have ever covered the new millennium yet. Rest assured, I am not going to search them all, to find out; so for all intents and purposes, we will assume this is the first time and be done with it.

This week, I want to feature one of the great young new musicians/song-writers of this decade, one that may very well become a legend before his career is over. If you haven't heard Jason Mraz, now is a good time to hear something I think is special. He's quite talented, well worth a look, and versatile with many different influences and styles. Count these songs among my favorites.

First up is from a concert in South Korea. This little tune doesn't need much to spark some interest. Two guys with acoustic instrumentation, innovative vocals, and some stellar lyrics make this one happen.

Next up is another brilliant tune from the same concert. How could anyone not like this one?

This one sounds a little alternative, but it's catchy.

I'll close this week's installment with my favorite song by Jason.

This one is one was his first hit. He wrote it for his best friend who was diagnosed with (and subsequently beat) the often deadly Ewing's Sarcoma. It is truly one of the best songs I have ever heard, written and performed by anyone, anytime - much less in this decade. The words are so astounding, they could only have come from the heart.


Well it kind of makes me nervous
To say that you deserve this
And what kind of God would serve this
We will cure this dirty old disease
Well if you you've gots the poison, I've gots the remedy

The remedy is the experience, this is a dangerous liaison
I says the comedy is that it's serious
This is a strange enough new play on words
I said, the tragedy is that you're going to spend
The rest of your nights with the light on
So shine the light on all of your friends
Well, it all amounts to nothing
In the end

Some medical information for your edification, it takes chemotherapy (a poison) to stop cancer. Thus, the remedy. Those who have had it can well know and attest, it is both an experience and a dangerous liaison anytime you kill good cells, to kill the bad ones.

Double entendre? Sure, but it makes much sense either way; especially when you consider the underlying message of this song, found in the chorus:

I won't worry my life away.

Check it out.


Friday, June 05, 2009

Friday Funnies

Based in Indianapolis and nationally syndicated, The Bob and Tom Show has been running hard and fast since 1983. They have promoted and helped advance the careers of many up and coming comedians, throughout those years.

Here is one named Greg Morton, shamelessly stealing a melody from Sammy Davis Jr. It's called the Obamaman:

(Hat Tip: Kris at Truth Be Told)

Here's the same song, with different lyrics and a better packaged video. I actually like this version better, but it's a matter of taste. Warning, this one may contain images that are disturbing to some people:


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Recommended Reading (Again)

It's not WND. It's from Mother Jones, noted liberal progressive publication. Here is an article that is critical of Sonia Sotmayor's writing skills.

Some disturbing news in the world of states' rights is coming from the Georgia Secretary of State. Apparently the Justice department is meddling in the affairs of a state that has a constitutional law, requiring people who wish to vote, to prove they are citizens.

Biden tells us what most of us already know. Hope we all feel better now that we know we were right. I know I do.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Recommended Reading

Busy, busy. So this means another half-assed effort on my part.

Mustang has a post up to read and consider. Note the source and what they see, something that Americans apparently do not.

AC at Fore Left gave me the impression was suspicious of the disappearance of the Air France flight. Speaking of Sarkozy's statement immediately after the disappearance from radar, he had a thought.

Sarkozy said:

“It’s a tragic accident. The chances of finding survivors are tiny.”

AC said:

"That's pretty strong language without knowing yet exactly what happened..."

Today, we hear about a bomb threat a few days before the plane went down without as much of a warning. This may not be something other than weather-related and French officials are not saying much about it now. The media hasn't even picked up on it until Drudge did some digging.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Hypocritical Reactions

Most of my readers disagree with my views on abortion, so I figure it's usually best left alone most of the time. But this Tiller murder has some far-reaching implications, it is not without some potentially serious consequences, and they need to be made known so we can fully understand the reality of the matter.

Let me say first that while I am pro-choice for some purposeful reasons, I don't like late term abortions at all and think they should be illegal. In spite of the reprehensible nature of this procedure, I also deplore cold-blooded murder.

Two wrongs never make a right. I don't care what the wrongs are, they never cancel the other out. I cannot get happy about the man getting killed, no matter how objectionable his acts were. It is not our place to play judge, jury, and executioner, nor is it our place to play God.

The fallout from this heinous act does nothing to further the cause of eliminating late-term abortion. None.

What it does do is give the Left more ammunition to label those who disagree with them, as domestic terrorists.
Daily Kos wasted no time in trying to tie Sarah Palin into the mix and HuffPo certainly used the opportunity to paint average abortion foes as fomenters of this kind of senseless violence. HuffPo's Feldman wasted no time in his opening parargraph:

The violent killing of yet another American doctor at the hands of yet another right-wing political activist forces us to ask a crucial question: Why does the right-wing anti-abortion movement in America repeatedly give rise to people who see murder as a legitimate form of protest?

Maybe he didn't hear the instant condemnation of this act, by mainstream abortion foes. The National Right To Life organization immediately issued this statement. How many rabid political spin artists who support late-term abortions even bothered to read it? Probably very few.

As you may guess, these are not the only instances of illogical rhetoric. There are simply too many to link to in one post and still keep a cogent flow to it. And so it is, we can only conclude the intense irrational backlash is hypocritical in nature.

Here, we have a group of people who (simply as a matter of moral conscience) oppose the killing of a viable fetus in the last trimester, counting me as one. Similarly, we have a group of people who oppose war (for the very same reason).

Most of the time the ones who are against war are NOT against abortion. So, I am at a loss to explain this, except that there are two different standards in play, for those on the Left. The reason is plain and simple, those who go to war knew the possibility when they enlisted, aborted fetuses have no choice.

Not only that, if we are going to make an argument that abortion foes are terrorists because their rhetoric inspired the murder of Dr. Tiller, shouldn't we equally make the connection between those who oppose war and this senseless murder, which is having significantly less coverage from the media?

Note the difference in the way this is portrayed:

A man with "political and religious motives" killed a soldier just out of basic training and wounded another Monday in a targeted attack on a military recruiting center, police said. The shootings were not believed to be part of a broader scheme.

Note how the political and religious motives were mentioned, but immediately downplayed in the next sentence. One man, acting on his own and not part of a larger conspiracy, killed an innocent man for political reasons. The largest majority of anti-war activists would never condone such a thing, would they?

But Kos didn't mention it, neither did HuffPo (at least not that I could find). Here we have an instance where the moment a whacko kills one of their heroes, the toxic waste flies unabated.

This is another prime example of the worst kind of hypocrisy, called political motives and intentions.