Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What do you want to accomplish in 2015?

Despite political differences, I assume that all of us hope each other does well personally. At the least, I would hope that posters here could separate ideology from individual. Just for grins, I thought I'd throw a forum out for people to put out what they want to accomplish in the next year. I tend to be a believer in the idea that if you put your goals on paper, it helps visualize them and motivates/shames you into keeping at them. Here's my list

1) Be a better husband - Always room for improvement here. My wife is a great woman and deserves it.

2) Finish school strong - I have completed a year and one quarter of school, and starting in January, I will begin my clinical work and finish up in December of 2015.

3) Restart and actually finish the Rosetta Stone Spanish program (we all know how much I support giving America to the brown man at the expense of white conservatives)

4) Continue working out and stay in shape and eat better.

5) Spend less time engaging in time wasting political arguments with rigid people

6) Make a solid list of potential places to move and build a good research base

Good luck to everyone with their goals


Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton Extend Run as Most Admired

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Americans continue to name Hillary Clinton as the woman living anywhere in the world whom they admire most, and name Barack Obama as the man they admire most. Clinton has held the top women's spot in each of the last 13 years and 17 of the last 18, with that streak interrupted only by first lady Laura Bush in 2001 after the 9/11 terror attacks. Obama has been most admired man in each of the last seven years, beginning with 2008, the year he was elected president.
For nearly seven decades, Gallup has asked Americans, using an open-ended question, to name the man and woman living anywhere in the world whom they admire most. The current results are based on a Dec. 8-11 poll.
In total, Clinton has been most admired woman 19 times, easily the most of any woman in Gallup's history of asking the most admired question, six more times than Eleanor Roosevelt. Clinton won the distinction from 1993 to 1994 and 1997 to 2000 when she was first lady; from 2002 to 2008 when she was a U.S. senator; and from 2009 to 2012 when she was secretary of state. Although she has had no formal public role during the last two years, she retains a high enough profile to top the list. Clinton is the presumed front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, should she decide to run.
Clinton's margin over second-place Oprah Winfrey is four percentage points, 12% to 8% -- the smallest lead for Clinton since a two-point lead over Winfrey in 2007. During her years as most admired woman, Clinton's lead over the second-place finisher has generally been smaller when she held a partisan political role as U.S. senator or a presidential candidate than when she held a less partisan role as first lady or secretary of state. The more politicized views of Clinton have also been evident in the decline in her favorable ratings among all Americans since she resigned as secretary of state.
Clinton and Winfrey are joined in the top 10 by Nobel Prize-winning Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, first lady Michelle Obama, actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Princess Kate of England, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Laura Bush.
Winfrey now has 27 top 10 appearances, the fourth most of any woman. Queen Elizabeth II of England did not finish in the top 10 this year, but still holds the record of 46 appearances for all women historically. Clinton's 23 top 10s is fifth all time, while Rice (14 times) and Laura Bush (11 times) have also frequently ranked in the top 10.
Most Top 10 Finishes on Most Admired Woman List, 1948-2014
Obama a Solid No. 1 as Most Admired Man
Obama has appeared on the top 10 list each year since 2006, including ranking No. 1 in each of the last seven years, all by healthy margins over the second-place finisher. The incumbent president is nearly always the winner of the most admired distinction, having placed first in all but 12 of the 68 years the question has been asked.
Most of those 12 exceptions have come when the president was unpopular, including in 2008 when President-elect Obama finished ahead of George W. Bush; in 1980 when Pope John Paul II edged out Jimmy Carter; during the Watergate era of 1973-1975; in the late 1960s during the height of the Vietnam War; and for much of Harry Truman's presidency when he was overshadowed by Gens. Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur.
The remainder of the top 10 men this year is mainly a mix of religious figures, such as Pope Francis and the Rev. Billy Graham, and political figures -- including former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russian President Vladimir Putin and potential 2016 presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson. Businessman and philanthropist Bill Gates, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and political commentator Bill O'Reilly also finished in the top 10.
Graham's top 10 finish this year brings his unprecedented total appearances on the list to 58. He has finished in the top 10 every year since 1963 (except 1976, when the question was not asked), as well as from 1955 to 1961. He has never ranked first, but did finish second every year from 1969 through 1974.
Clinton made the top 10 for the 23rd time, the fifth most behind Graham, Ronald Reagan, Carter and Pope John Paul II. Gates had his 15th top 10 finish this year, and Bush his 14th.
Most Top 10 Finishes on Most Admired Man List, 1946-2014
Partisanship Influences Most Admired Choice

Democrats and Democratic leaners widely choose Hillary Clinton (20%) and Barack Obama (33%) as the most admired woman and man, respectively. Not unexpectedly, Republicans and Republican leaners are much less likely to name either as their most admired. In fact, former Secretary of State Rice edges out Winfrey and Clinton as the most admired woman among Republicans. Obama and Pope Francis tie as the most admired man among Republicans, at 8%.
Republicans' and Democrats' top five most admired women include both Clinton and Winfrey, and their top five most admired men include both the president and the pope. Beyond these, their choices differ.
Most Admired Man and Woman, by Political Party, 2014
Although both Hillary Clinton and Obama saw their popularity fade this year, they remain prominent and popular enough to be the most top-of-mind people living today when Americans are asked to name the woman and man they admire most. At this time next year, Clinton may be actively campaigning to become Obama's successor as president. It is unclear whether doing so would make it more likely or less likely that she would continue her reign as most admired woman. On one hand, being a presidential candidate and the clear front-runner would ensure she stays a prominent figure in the news. On the other hand, as a presidential candidate she likely would be evaluated from a more partisan perspective, which may cause some -- particularly Republicans -- to view her in a less favorable light.
Survey Methods
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Dec. 8-11, 2014, with a random sample of 805 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Oil Politics

Did The Saudis And The US Collude In Dropping Oil Prices?

By Andrew Topf | Tue, 23 December 2014 23:40 | 65
The oil price drop that has dominated the headlines in recent weeks has been framed almost exclusively in terms of oil market economics, with most media outlets blaming Saudi Arabia, through its OPEC Trojan horse, for driving down the price, thus causing serious damage to the world's major oil exporters – most notably Russia.
While the market explanation is partially true, it is simplistic, and fails to address key geopolitical pressure points in the Middle East.
Oilprice.com looked beyond the headlines for the reason behind the oil price drop, and found that the explanation, while difficult to prove, may revolve around control of oil and gas in the Middle East and the weakening of Russia, Iran and Syria by flooding the market with cheap oil.
The oil weapon
We don't have to look too far back in history to see Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter and producer, using the oil price to achieve its foreign policy objectives. In 1973, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat convinced Saudi King Faisal to cut production and raise prices, then to go as far as embargoing oil exports, all with the goal of punishing the United States for supporting Israel against the Arab states. It worked. The “oil price shock” quadrupled prices.
It happened again in 1986, when Saudi Arabia-led OPEC allowed prices to drop precipitously, and then in 1990, when the Saudis sent prices plummeting as a way of taking out Russia, which was seen as a threat to their oil supremacy. In 1998, they succeeded. When the oil price was halved from $25 to $12, Russia defaulted on its debt.
The Saudis and other OPEC members have, of course, used the oil price for the obverse effect, that is, suppressing production to keep prices artificially high and member states swimming in “petrodollars”. In 2008, oil peaked at $147 a barrel.
Related: OPEC Ministers Decry Price War Conspiracy Theories
Turning to the current price drop, the Saudis and OPEC have a vested interest in taking out higher-cost competitors, such as US shale oil producers, who will certainly be hurt by the lower price. Even before the price drop, the Saudis were selling their oil to China at a discount. OPEC's refusal on Nov. 27 to cut production seemed like the baldest evidence yet that the oil price drop was really an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and the US.
However, analysis shows the reasoning is complex, and may go beyond simply taking down the price to gain back lost marketshare.
“What is the reason for the United States and some U.S. allies wanting to drive down the price of oil?” Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro asked rhetorically in October. “To harm Russia.”
Many believe the oil price plunge is the result of deliberate and well-planned collusion on the part of the United States and Saudi Arabia to punish Russia and Iran for supporting the murderous Assad regime in Syria.
Punishing Assad and friends
Proponents of this theory point to a Sept. 11 meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi King Abdullah at his palace on the Red Sea. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, it was during that meeting that a deal was hammered out between Kerry and Abdullah. In it, the Saudis would support Syrian airstrikes against Islamic State (ISIS), in exchange for Washington backing the Saudis in toppling Assad.
If in fact a deal was struck, it would make sense, considering the long-simmering rivalry between Saudi Arabia and its chief rival in the region: Iran. By opposing Syria, Abdullah grabs the opportunity to strike a blow against Iran, which he sees as a powerful regional rival due to its nuclear ambitions, its support for militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah, and its alliance with Syria, which it provides with weapons and funding. The two nations are also divided by religion, with the majority of Saudis following the Sunni version of Islam, and most Iranians considering themselves Shi’ites.
“The conflict is now a full-blown proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which is playing out across the region,” Reuters reported on Dec. 15. “Both sides increasingly see their rivalry as a winner-take-all conflict: if the Shi’ite Hezbollah gains an upper hand in Lebanon, then the Sunnis of Lebanon—and by extension, their Saudi patrons—lose a round to Iran. If a Shi’ite-led government solidifies its control of Iraq, then Iran will have won another round.”
The Saudis know the Iranians are vulnerable on the oil price. Experts say the country needs $140 a barrel oil to balance its budget; at sub-$60 prices, the Saudis succeed in pressuring Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, possibly containing its nuclear ambitions and making the country more pliable to the West, which has the power to reduce or lift sanctions if Iran cooperates.
Adding credence to this theory, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told a Cabinet meeting earlier this month that the fall in oil prices was “politically motivated” and a “conspiracy against the interests of the region, the Muslim people and the Muslim world.”
Pipeline conspiracy
Some commentators have offered a more conspiratorial theory for the Saudis wanting to get rid of Assad. They point to a 2011 agreement between Syria, Iran and Iraq that would see a pipeline running from the Iranian Port Assalouyeh to Damascus via Iraq. The $10-billion project would take three years to complete and would be fed gas from the South Pars gas field, which Iran shares with Qatar. Iranian officials have said they plan to extend the pipeline to the Mediterranean to supply gas to Europe – in competition with Qatar, the world's largest LNG exporter.
“The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline – if it’s ever built – would solidify a predominantly Shi’ite axis through an economic, steel umbilical cord,” wrote Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar.
Global Research, a Canada-based think tank, goes further to suggest that Assad's refusal in 2009 to allow Qatar to construct a gas pipeline from its North Field through Syria and on to Turkey and the EU, combined with the 2011 pipeline deal, “ignited the full-scale Saudi and Qatari assault on Assad’s power.”
“Today the US-backed wars in Ukraine and in Syria are but two fronts in the same strategic war to cripple Russia and China and to rupture any Eurasian counter-pole to a US-controlled New World Order. In each, control of energy pipelines, this time primarily of natural gas pipelines—from Russia to the EU via Ukraine and from Iran and Syria to the EU via Syria—is the strategic goal,” Global Research wrote in an Oct. 26 post.
Poking the Russian bear
How does Russia play into the oil price drop? As a key ally of Syria, supplying Assad with billions in weaponry, President Vladimir Putin has, along with Iran, found himself targeted by the House of Saud. Putin's territorial ambitions in the Ukraine have also put him at odds with US President Barack Obama and leaders of the EU, which in May of this year imposed a set of sanctions on Russia.
As has been noted, Saudi Arabia's manipulation of the oil price has twice targeted Russia. This time, the effects of a low price have hit Moscow especially hard due to sanctions already in place combined with the low ruble. Last week, in an effort to defend its currency, the Bank of Russia raised interest rates to 17 percent. The measure failed, with the ruble dropping another 20 percent, leading to speculation the country could impose capital controls. Meanwhile, Putin took the opportunity in his annual televised address to announce that while the economy is likely to suffer for the next two years and that Russians should brace for a recession, “Our economy will get diversified and oil prices will go back up.”
He may be right, but what will the effect be on Russia of a sustained period of low oil prices? Eric Reguly, writing in The Globe and Mail last Saturday, points out that with foreign exchange reserves at around $400 billion, the Russian state is “in no danger of collapse” even in the event of a deep recession. Reguly predicts the greater threat is to the Russian private sector, which has a debt overhang of some $700 billion.
“This month alone, $30-billion of that amount must be repaid, with another $100-billion coming due next year. The problem is made worse by the economic sanctions, which have made it all but impossible for Russian companies to finance themselves in Western markets,” he writes.
Will it work?
Whether one is a conspiracy theorist or a market theorist, in explaining the oil price drop, it really matters little, for the effect is surely more important than the cause. Putin has already shown himself to be a master player in the chess game of energy politics, so the suggestion that sub-$60 oil will crush the Russian leader has to be met with a healthy degree of skepticism.
Related: OPEC Calls For Widespread Production Cuts
Moscow's decision on Dec. 1 to drop the $45-billion South Stream natural gas pipeline project in favor of a new pipeline deal with Turkey shows Putin's willingness to circumvent European partners to continue deliveries of natural gas to European countries that depend heavily on Russia for its energy requirements. The deal also puts Turkey squarely in the Russian energy camp at a time when Russia has been alienated by the West.
Of course, the Russian dalliance with China is a key part of Putin's great Eastern pivot that will keep stoking demand for Russian gas even as the Saudis and OPEC, perhaps with US collusion, keep pumping to hold down the price. The November agreement, that would see Gazprom supply Chinese state oil company CNPC with 30 billion cubic meters of gas per year, builds on an earlier deal to sell China 38 bcm annually in an agreement valued at $400 billion.
As Oilprice.com commented on Sunday, “ongoing projects are soldiering on and Russian oil output is projected to remain unchanged into 2015.”
“Russia will go down with the ship before ceding market share – especially in Asia, where Putin reaffirmed the pivot is real. Saudi Arabia and North America will have to keep pumping as Putin plans to uphold his end in this game of brinksmanship.”
By Andrew Topf of Oilprice.com

Son of US VP Joe Biden appointed to board of major Ukrainian gas company

Published time: May 13, 2014 15:49
Edited time: May 15, 2014 06:01
Hunter Biden (Image from burisma.com)
Hunter Biden (Image from burisma.com)
Hunter Biden, son of US VP Joe Biden, is joining the board of directors of Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas producer. The group has prospects in eastern Ukraine where civil war is threatened following the coup in Kiev.
Biden will advise on “transparency, corporate governance and responsibility, international expansion and other priorities” to “contribute to the economy and benefit the people of Ukraine.”

Joe Biden’s senior campaign adviser in 2004, financier Devon Archer, a business partner of Hunter Biden’s, also joined the Bursima board claiming it was like ‘Exxon in the old days’.

 Biden Jr.’s resume is unsurprisingly sprinkled with Ivy-league dust – a graduate of Yale Law School he serves on the Chairman’s Advisory Board for the National Democratic Institute, is a director for the Center for National Policy and the US Global Leadership Coalition which comprises 400 American businesses, NGOs, senior national security and foreign policy experts.

Former US President Bill Clinton appointed him as Executive Director of E-Commerce Policy and he was honorary co-chair of the 2008 Obama-Biden Inaugural Committee.

Burisma Holdings was set up in 2002. Its licenses cover Ukraine’s three key hydrocarbon basins, including Dnieper-Donets (in eastern Ukraine), Carpathian (western) and Azov-Kuban (southern Ukraine).

The Biden board news came as Gazprom moved Ukraine to a prepaid gas delivery regime and sent Naftogaz, Ukraine’s gas champion, a $1.66 billion bill that is due June 2, or Moscow will halt supplies.

Ukraine currently has about 9 billion cubic meters of gas in storage, but by the winter needs 18.5bcm. Kiev bought 27.7 billion cubic meters from Gazprom for which it still owes some $3.5 bn in 2013.

Gazprom is demanding Kiev pays $485 per 1,000 cubic meters, raised from $268.50 after Moscow was forced to cancel several discounts agreed upon under Yanukovich's tenure as president. Kiev rejects the new price as “politically motivated” and says it will only pay its debt if Gazprom lowers the price back to $268.50, or else open an arbitration case against the company in Stockholm.

  • Ron Gosling on December 24 2014 said:
    Great conspiracy theory article but I don't believe anyone inside the Obama Administration is intelligent or trustworthy enough to concoct a plan of this magnitude and make it work and keep it quiet. Can you imagine John Kerry keeping a secret while Iran is screwing the US?
  • David Vallaire on December 24 2014 said:
    Ukraine is on the Russian border not the U.S. border. The U.S. backed a coup to overthrow a democratically elected government in Ukraine. NAto is being used as a mercenary force to impose the economic will of the U.S.
    and the EU.
    Plan was to take over Ukraine via proxies, kick Russia out of Crimea, use to port to bring in LNG and use the Ukrainian pipelines to sell it to Europe. U.S. companies bought 49% of the U.S. energy transit lines in Ukraine and Joe Biden's son was made the director of a Ukrainian energy company. Does Biden's kid even speak Ukrainian?
    The U.S. is the aggressor in Ukraine. 
    mike_matthews on December 24 2014 said:
    In addition, As a result of the sudden, but temporary, low price of oil, Obama vetoes the XL pipeline with little resistance. US\Canadian shale oil producers go out of business. When its all over, Saudi Arabia and OPEC cut production running the price to $150 plus giving Obama his much desired $5 per gallon gasoline and reviving his dead green energy plans, cap and trade, and increased regulation nation.

    Or not. Just a thought. 
    Andylit on December 24 2014 said:
    The problem here is two-fold.

    1. The least complex, most logical explanation is almost always correct. The theory above is a grossly complex conspiracy that has the risk of severely imploding in the faces of the players. Further, the goal of the current US administration is HIGHER energy prices, not lower.

    2. The price drop is a direct result of American private sector activities that run contrary to public policy. If the administration could find a way to shut down shale production, it would do so in a heartbeat.

    Beyond these ideas, the simple fact is that the current administration is essentially incapable of formulating or carrying out any foreign policy beyond photo op hand shakes. 
    Dan on December 24 2014 said:
    Unfortunately I think there absolutely is collusion between the Saudis and this administration to make the price of oil plummet. It is a win-win for the Obama administration because it serves several of their goals at once. They do not like the success that fracking has had on private land in the US. They are anti-oil and this will cause many of those in the fracking industry to go belly up due to the debt they have created and cannot repay with oil at $40 a barrel. It also creates a problem with those wanting to build the Keystone XL or deepwater rigs in the gulf......all things they hate. It also punishes Russia and Iran. The advantages to the Saudis are obvious as well. This will destroy energy production not only in the US, but Canada, Venezuela, Russia and Mexico just to name a few. We will be back to the unstable Middle East supplying most of the oil with it's inexpensive production.
    What people do not realize is that most of the private job growth in this country has been in energy. If the oil price stays suppressed we are going to lose many of those companies and the jobs they have created. You make think it is great to have $2 a gallon gas for now, but the rebound effect and going back into recession are going to hurt the seriously impact the country for a long time.
    This is NOT good. 
    Dennis Wingo on December 25 2014 said:
    The only problem with this theory is that John F. Kerry (who served in Vietnam) is not smart enough to figure out how to do something like this.

    Both the Russians and Saudi's have stated multiple times that the biggest threat to them is fracking. Watch protests against fracking ramp up and if the producers start going bankrupt watch for the Saudi's to swoop in and buy the assets. 
    Daniel Staggers on December 25 2014 said:
    Even though it seems like collusion, it isn't. There are no secrets today, (just ask the NSA) and this one would be a doozy; impossible to keep it a secret.

    Second, Obama has make it very clear he wants 5 dollar gas, NOT 2.70. Cheap oil makes his green vision much to expensive to stomach.

    Also, as a result of this, it's prudent to remember that our oil glut, is despite our Government, NOT BECAUSE OF IT! 
    observer on December 25 2014 said:
    As soon as oil prices rise over(or likely do not fall below) $45 a barrel the frackers, horizontal drillers, and oil operators using co2 in an emerging technology known as EOR (that is and will continue to drive rising American, Canadian, and Mexican oil output) will be back in business.
    Add to the above the realities the fact that in much of the Marcellus & Niobara Shale Fields production costs are well under $40 a barrel. An additional bonus for the US is that the EOR technology has created a reality that long exhausted fields such as Spindle Top, Kern & Ventura Counties, numerous "dry" fields in Pennsylvania and dozens of others throughout the US, Mexico & Canada can be brought back to life because previously used technologies recovered only 1/3 of those fields' oil.
    Heap on top of the three aforementioned technologies
    the exploding natural gas output in North America and for the next 40-50 years the world will be awash with non Opec non-Russian energy sources. Best of all the EOR technology can & will be used to rehabilitate coal as a clean dirt cheap source of electricity (if voters send liberal democrats, Shrillary, and Fauxcohontas to the depths of political Hades.
    EOR technology needs billions of ton of co2 that can be captured from the smokestacks of coal burning thermal power plants.
    Cry for yourselves and your Luddite Marxist follies eco freaks, gorebull warmenists, and red inside greenies. Petroleum engineers, oil entrepreneurs and non-government non-grant seeking scientists have reburied your beloved delusions of Gaia deep in the bowels of the earth below the fracking zones.
    The wicked witch OPEC 5oo has in fact been slain (a Saudis know it by Texas birthed oil technologies created and daily being enhanced by the liberals much reviled oilmen. 
    JJ on December 25 2014 said:
    From everything Im hearing from my friends in the oil industry, U.S. oil can sustain down to $40 or $35 a barrel. A few rigs in some places may go idle for a while, but that would be just a tactical decision. U.S. producers have no intention of stopping drilling or pumping gas. If the Saudis are trying to pressure U.S. shale and gas, they are misunderstanding the political ramifications of more efficient U.S. production now. They are able to pump profitably and technology is only getting better. There are vast oil and gas deposits still untouched. There is an absolutely vast natural gas area recently found to go from NY to PA. It's huge. There is enough natural gas in the ground we could run them all into the ground.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Unintended consequences

The recent murder of on duty police officers is something I find disturbing and far more scary than government overreach. The shooter in New York, by accounts posted so far, was a violent man with mental illness. Surely, some would like us to believe that this is total proof that anyone who attended a protest is advocating for this type of response, which is ridiculous. Still, I have to admit, I have long expected that we would see something like this from an unhinged tea bagger rather than from someone who ARGUABLY belongs a group that has long endured real oppression in this country.

One man's irony is another man's bullshit, but an irony that has struck me in all of this that has not been lost on a man like Rand Paul, is that the uber libertarians and African Americans have much in common. To a middle aged white guy like who leans liberal, the endless rantings of oppression by tea bag types makes me groan in dismissal every time I hear them. Similarly, when protesters storm the streets screaming injustice over the deaths of black men at the hands of police, the response from those in the far right is that ultimately, the dead guy was a shitbag and whether the use of force was excessive or not is basically moot. When I heard the IRS was investigating political groups who are opposed to all forms of taxation, I basically felt the same way white conservatives felt about dead black youth, I simply didn't care and indeed felt a bit glad the IRS investigated a group that gives me the feeling of tenesmus.

These days, it is all the rage to hate the government and claim oppression, and typically it's done so in the most ridiculous fashion. A ban on fatty drinks in New York can unleash weeks of screaming on talk radio and cable news, but the militarization of our police forces, something acknowledged by Rand Paul, will not raise an eyebrow of suspicion. Recently, many have claimed that if a black cop kills a white guy, there is no outrage. This is a meaningless statement, but it does stop a lot of white people from asking a basic question of whether, by militarizing our police forces, we are simply bringing our wars home with us because we have begun to distrust everything in the world. Collectively, I believe we have lost faith entirely (if we ever had it to begin with) in the idea that we can solve problems through genuine engagement.

Back to the premise, I have a general fear always that any public place can become a canvas for someone with mental illness to spray with gore. Because of our believe that everyone in America should own a gun, this can't be avoided. When it comes to the rantings of airheads like Palin and Ted Nugent, however, I generally have not been as worried because despite the rantings, white people face way less, in your face oppression that people of other races do. By and large, though these people whip themselves into a frenzy, they are still a group that collectively has a lot to lose and are not going to throw that away just to go and mow down government employees. On the other hand, when I look at black people, I see a group that has far more legitimate beefs than most whites are willing to acknowledge. I also see a group who frequently overplays that race card, but I don't deny that just about any black man who was born at the same time I was has had to endure a lot more bullshit from authority than I ever did. Again, something that Rand Paul has also acknowledged.

With the militarization of the police forces, the rantings of Palin's and Nugents of the world and our open disregard for the sanctity of life in countries that have oil we need, the message I believe we are preaching is that it is okay to solve any problem you face by killing someone. Nobody presents it that graphically of course, but I think the results are beginning to speak for themselves. I think this is going to get worse before it gets better.

Monday, December 22, 2014

What's Wrong With This Picture?

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Rep. Michael Grimm will plead guilty on Tuesday to a felony count of tax evasion, according to a report in the New York Daily News. Grimm, a New York Republican, will enter the plea in a federal court in Brooklyn, the report said. In April, Grimm was charged in a 20-count indictment with hiding more than $1 million in sales and wages at a Manhattan restaurant he co-owned before entering Congress. Grimm won re-election in November and is expected to argue he can keep serving in the House of Representatives despite his expected guilty plea, the report said.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hillary Clinton's Kennedy curse

Battenfeld: Hillary Clinton's Kennedy curse

HISTORY REPEATING? U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III praised U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren at the Herald offices.

Hillary Clinton could suffer a serious case of Kennedy deja vu if she makes another presidential run.

This time it’s U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III who may help derail Clinton’s White House path by endorsing her potential 2016 opponent, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, much the same way the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy backed Barack Obama in 2008.

“Whatever (Warren) wants to do she’s going to excel at,” the 34-year-old Kennedy said in interview with Herald editors and reporters. “She has been adamant that she’s not running for president and I take her at her word for that. If things change, we’ll see.”

The fact that Kennedy doesn’t dismiss a Warren run is significant and comes after his Massachusetts colleague, U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, revealed to Boston Herald Radio that he told Warren he’d back her if she ran for president.

Kennedy could be an ace in the hole for Warren, the freshman Democrat who has energized liberals around the country with her attacks on greedy banks, Wall Street and Washington’s cozy relationship with lobbyists.

The soon-to-be second term congressman was Warren’s student at Harvard Law School and now, despite serving just two years in office, both are nationally-known Democratic allies much in demand by voters.

While the Kennedys and Massachusetts Democrats have enjoyed a close relationship with the Clintons in the past, the state’s reputation as “Clinton Country” took a hit in 2008 when Sen. Kennedy abandoned the New York senator in her battle against Obama.

The Kennedy endorsement came after Obama suffered a damaging defeat to Clinton in New Hampshire. Obama has never forgotten that and the remnants of his White House team appears to firmly in Warren’s camp — not Hillary’s.

While Joe Kennedy is one of the youngest members of Congress, he will have oversized clout in the 2016 race because his family is still beloved by Democrats and young Joe restored the Kennedy family name back in Washington.

Kennedy refused to tell the Herald who he’d side with in a Clinton-Warren matchup, but he offered profuse praise for the Massachusetts senator, saying she’s “given voice” to middle-class families and that’s why her message has “been resonating so much.”

The Kennedy family has also viewed itself as championing middle-class and poor families so a JoeK3-Warren alliance is a natural.

There’s another big reason Kennedy is a Warren admirer, and it’s personal. He met his wife, Lauren, in Warren’s law class and says “I owe” his old professor for that.

It’s very likely Kennedy would pay that debt back by choosing Warren over Clinton in 2016. More bad news for Hillary.

More On:

Hillary Clinton

Joseph P. Kennedy III

Elizabeth Warren


Joe Battenfeld / Boston Herald



Friday, December 19, 2014

Rubio and Paul on Cuba

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio isn’t mincing words when it comes to his Republican colleague Sen. Rand Paul’s support for the U.S.’s new Cuba policy.
“Like many people who have been opining, he has no idea what he’s talking about,” Rubio said Thursday on Fox News’ “The Kelly Report.”

Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, has emerged this week as the face of the GOP’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s change in policy toward Cuba. While it does not lift the embargo — that would require Congressional approval — it does ease restrictions and open diplomatic ties.

“The 50-year embargo just hasn’t worked, if the goal was regime change, it sure doesn’t seem to be working,” Paul, Kentucky’s junior senator, said during an interview this week. “Probably, it punishes the people more than the regime because the regime can blame the embargo for hardship.”

But Rubio pushed back on Paul’s claim, saying, “I would expect that people would understand that if they just took a moment to analyze that, they would realize that the embargo is not what’s hurting the Cuban people, it’s the lack of freedom and the lack of competent leaders.”

Monday, December 15, 2014

You Show Me Yours and I,ll Show You Mine

Jeb Bush is planning to release all of his e-mails sent during his years as Florida Governor.  Sounds like Jeb is planning to run as a Republican moderate. Will the other candidates do the same? What do they have to hide? If he is nominated will this transform the Republican Party?


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Have a Happy 2015!

Well, it seems the legacy continues!  True, I haven't posted much here over the last few years, but I still read the blog, most of the time I just post links on Facebook, if I find something juicy on Zerohedge.  My Fbook page: https://www.facebook.com/brandt.bishop.9?v=wall&ref=profile.
I might start back up here, I miss Max and The Scott and all the rest of you from the past, the twins are seven now.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Obama, Boehner, and McConnell spend another Trillion Dollars

A short history of Government Shutdowns.

( Theme song for the night )

Politics makes for strange bedfellows they say and no more than tonight. Who would of "thunk" Senator Mike Lee and Representative Nancy Pelosi would find themselves on the same side of an vote? They both have different reasons but still, it's a sight to see.

Please take a few minutes to read a little history on government shutdowns, if only to inform yourself for conversations you may have with your friends tomorrow.

Shutting Down Government – Newsletter Article
Article for Newsletter
10 Dec 2014

In his victory speech after winning his seat in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, Republican, Senate Minority Leader, soon to be the Senate Majority Leader, flatly stated he would not shut the government down. The Republican leadership, which includes House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, has taken the same position of not wanting to "shutdown the government".  The history of “shutting the government down” shows that the phrase lacks any real impact.

Last Government Shutdown.
The last and longest government shutdown in American history was when Democrat Bill Clinton was President and Newt Gingrich was the Speaker of the Republican Congress in November 1995 and in December 1995 through to January 1996. The clash over the 1996 budget caused a government shutdown for six days in the first shutdown and for 21 days during the second shutdown.

Eleven Government Shutdowns
The government has shutdown (partially) a total of 11 times since 1980; the fiscal year 1996 budget battle included two lengthy shutdowns. To avoid or end a government shutdown, the president or Congress must pass either the regular appropriation bill or a continuing resolution or C.R.

JIMMY CARTER – Granddaddy of Shutdowns
The whole concept of shutting down the government over a budget, appropriation bills, or continuing resolution, started with President Jimmy Carter.[1] The following list shows the number of times Carter had the Government “shutdown”.

  • September 30 to October 11, 1976 (10 days)
  • September 30 to October 13, 1977 (12 days)
  • October 31 to November 9, 1977 (8 days)
  • November 30 to December 9, 1977 (8 days)
  • September 30 to October 18, 1978 (18 days
  • September 30 to October 12, 1979 (11 days)

    Throughout the 1980s, during the Ronald Reagan administration, the government spent most time on the brink of government “shutdowns”, as follows:[2]
  • November 20 to November 23, 1981 (2 days)
  • September 30 to October 2, 1982 (1 day)
  • December 17 to December 21, 1982 (3 days)
  • November 10 to November 14, 1983 (3 days)
  • September 30 to October 3, 1984 (2 days)
  • October 3 to October 5, 1984 (1 day)
  • October 16 to October 18, 1986 (1 day)
  • December 18 to December 20, 1987 (1 day)

    Reagan cast his first veto and briefly shutdown the government in a pattern that would repeat itself much of the next six years (and which was repeated most dramatically during Bill Clinton’s presidency in 1995).

    The Republican’s threat of not wanting to cause a “shutdown” amounts to little more than a diversion, an excuse for not taking action to defund President Obama’s unconstitutional executive action last month that would delay the deportation of millions of illegal immigrants and also defund agencies that enforce Mr. Obama’s unconstitutional immigration action.

    The fact is that Republicans want illegal immigration, as Republican George Bush wanted it, as his brother Jeb Bush and others want it, in spite of overwhelming voter support for taking action.  The Republicans are using the straw man of "government shutdown" as an excuse because they agree with Obama on shutdown. Romney agrees with it. The Chamber of Commerce agrees with it. Liberals, both Republican and Democrats want illegal immigration. The Republican establishment actually doesn't want to stop Obama on illegal immigration reform.

    Government Shutdown Is Merely Symbolic
    The reality is that a "government shutdown" is symbolic, not a reality; it amounts to defunding about 10% of the government on a temporary basis. Almost all of the government will keep running during a “shutdown”, as follows:
  • Social Security is still operating and checks are going out.
  • Welfare checks are still going out.
  • The Defense Department will still be operating.
  • State and local police will be working.
  • Civil Servants will either be getting paid or will be back-paid after the so called "shutdown" is over, which is what has happened in the past.

What Does Get Shutdown?
What does get shutdown is the park ranger at the gate, who is laid off (temporarily with back pay coming).  This has the effect that visitors cannot get in to see the WWII memorial as when Barack Obama closed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the World War II memorial and White House tours.  While a nuisance, it is not earth shattering.  Rather, it shows an arrogant indifference for the citizens for the country, veterans, and visitors from other countries. Is Congress still getting paid, even if with back pay?

Nothing Happened
Nothing of consequence has ever happened with any many so called government shutdowns, whether under presidents Carter, Reagan, or Clinton. In fact, a government shutdown amounts to “double speak” for nothing will happen except more illegals will come it. People that depend on the government get government services.

For the Republican leadership letting in illegals satisfies their campaign contributors so they can get cheap labor. Democrats want it for the same reason for they support big business as well.  Notice that in 2010, Republicans won in landslide; Democrat lost in a landslide. The same in 2014. The Democrats taken big losses in two recent elections, and the Republicans running around like fools saying the American people are not going to like them if they :shutdown the government".
This American people are demanding that the Republicans stop Obama.  The “government shutdown”, in two words, is a “straw man”, a phony argument made by the Republican establishment. Get ready to for tea parties to run candidates against the Republican establishment in the next election. Ever hear of Eric Cantor?


[1] Budget Showdown: Q & A – How Many Times in US History has the Government Shutdown Over the Budget?, https://historymusings.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/how-many-times-us-history-government-shutdown-budget/ .
[2] Budget Showdown: Q & A – How Many Times in US History has the Government Shutdown Over the Budget?, https://historymusings.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/how-many-times-us-history-government-shutdown-budget/ .

 Yesterday, these nine leaders voted for a 1,603-page omnibus spending bill that forces American taxpayers to pay for the amnesty.

They didn't even allow a vote to defund the president's unlawful action!
  1. John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the House
  2. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Majority Leader
  3. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Majority Whip
  4. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Chief Deputy Whip
  5. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Conference Chairwoman
  6. Greg Walden (R-OR), NRCC Chairman
  7. Luke Messer (R-IN), Policy Committee Chairman
  8. Hal Rogers (R-KY), Appropriations Committee Chairman
  9. Pete Sessions (R-TX), Rules Committee Chairman
These leaders betrayed their campaign promises as well as their oaths to support and defend the Constitution. Now, they must be held accountable.

The omnibus bill also fully funds Obamacare, increases wasteful spending, and includes an earmark that gives the DC establishment an even greater advantage in campaigns against conservative candidates.

The bill was so bad that Republican leaders had to rely on 57 Democrats to pass it. President Obama even whipped votes in support of the bill.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Second Amendment Rights

Support for gun rights at highest point in two decades

Pew Research Center found that 52 percent of Americans say Second Amendment rights are more important than gun control — up 7 percentage points from just after the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 20 schoolchildren and ... more >

Exclusive Washington Times Daily Briefing (December 10, 2014)

Washington Times

00:00 / 01:57

By David Sherfinski and Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Support for gun rights is higher than it’s been in decades, according to the latest data from the Pew Research Center that signals a stunning turnaround in how Americans feel about the issue just two years after the Newtown school shooting.

Pew found that 52 percent of Americans say Second Amendment rights are more important than gun control — up 7 percentage points from just after the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 20 schoolchildren and six faculty dead.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/dec/10/support-gun-rights-highest-point-two-decades/#ixzz3LapGJRXb 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

50 best companies to work for

, according to employees

Working at Googlegoogle
Working at Bain & Company Bain Capital management

Working at NestlĂ© Purina PetCare Purina Petcare

Working at F5 NetworksF5 networks

Working at Boston Consulting GroupBoston Consulting Group

Working at ChevronChevron

Working at H E B H E B Grocery Company

Working at In-N-Out BurgerIn and Out Burger

Working at McKinsey & Company McKinsey and Company

Working at Mayo ClinicMayo Clinic

Working at Procter & GambleProctor and Gamble

Working at Brigham and WomenBrigham and Women's Hospital Foxboro Mass.

Working at Facebook Facebook

Working at Qualcomm Qualcomm

Working at Southwest Airlines Southwest Airlines

Working at Slalom ConsultingSlalom Consulting

Working at GenentechGenentech

Working at AdobeAdobe
Working at MathWorksMathworks
Working at StrykerStryker

Working at QuikTripQuikTrip

Working at AppleApple

Working at LinkedInLinkedIn

Working at GartnerGartner
Working at NIKENike

Working at RocheRoche

Working at Rockwell AutomationRockwell

Working at Massachusetts General HospitalMass General Hospital

Working at Costco WholesaleCostco

Working at Eastman ChemicalEastman Chemical

Working at NBCUniversal NBCUniversal

Working at Wegmans Wegman's Grocers

Working at Zillow Zillow

Working at MINDBODYMindBody

Working at Ford Motor CompanyFord Motor Company

Working at NVIDIA Nvidia
Working at Toyota Motor SalesToyota Motors Sales Division
Working at Turner Construction  Turner Construction

Working at Monsanto CompanyMonsanto

Working at Bristol-Myers SquibbBristol Myers

Working at Memorial Sloan-Kettering  Memorial Sloan- Kettering Medical Center

Working at Orbitz WorldwideOrbitz

Working at EdelmanEdelman

Working at Interactive Intelligence Interactive Intelligence
Working at GenesysGenesys

Working at Bose  Bose

Working at GE AviationGE Aviation

Working at ESPN   Entertainment and Sports Programming Network

Working at EY EY

Working at Disney Parks & Resorts Disney Parks and Resorts