I am hoping that Putin is approaching a "Goodfellas" moment with his oligarchs. Putin's Ukrainian adventures have brought unwanted heat from the West on the enterprises of kleptocratic Russia. All of Russia's big companies have a lot of short term debt they will find almost impossible to refinance due to sanctions and falling oil and natural gas prices. If the oligarch's companies can't refinance, they will default on the loans and won't be able to do business in the West because any assets they have there or send there will be attached to pay what they owe. It's even possible that the oligarchs' personal assets could be seized to pay their companies' debts as part of future sanctions. In 1999, the corruption charges against the government threatened the oligarchs and Putin's Chechen War helped them avoid trouble. This time, the sanctions and falling oil and natural gas prices threaten the oligarchs, and the Ukraine War made things worse. Analyzing it like a crime family would, the oligarchs may decide it's time for Putin to end up floating in the Volga river.
Dec 22, 2014
Like a lot of other Conservatives, I was a little disappointed that we didn’t raise slightly more fuss about our Dear Leader’s efforts to make law without Congress. However, I think the small ball concessions we imposed for the Continuing Resolution is the way to win against the One Not Quite All of Us Were Waiting For. Small ball puts our Dear Leader on ground he can't hold because he has no attention span and no patience. His teleprompter tactics are geared towards lying about a few big issues and getting low information voters to believe the lies. His backers in the Pravda Press are also geared to attacking on a few big issues, like the mythical war on women and the fabricated "hands up, don't shoot." So forcing the Chicago Machine Prodigy to fight down in the weeds against individual department funding bills festooned with all sorts of riders and budget cuts is exactly how to maneuver him out of his trenches without going over the top into massive machine gun fire from the teleprompter and the MSM repeaters. A billion here, a billion there is big money whether you're spending or cutting. Also, technical things, like eliminating the current services baseline budget calculation, can make a big difference and yet be inexplicable to voters, so they can't be vetoed.
Please excuse my mixed metafors, Perhaps you should view them as a metaphor smoothie..
Liberals are trying to take credit for falling oil and natural gas prices, which is ludicrous. Fracking in the US and Saudi Arabian oil production policy are the main causes of big moves in energy prices. The initial falling prices of oil and natural gas came from fracking, which Liberals strongly oppose and have outlawed in New York and California. If the Keystone Pipeline had been built and if it was legal to export crude oil from the US, the price of oil would be even lower. Liberals oppose both of those actions in the name of preventing global warming. The other contributing factor to crashing oil prices is Saudi Arabia's conclusion that the Chicago Machine Prodigy in Chief will not stop the Iranians from building nuclear weapons. They decided to maintain Saudi oil production at current levels to crash the price and bankrupt the Iranian mullahs. For the Saudis, damage to Russia was a nice side benefit, as the Russians sell weapons and reactors to Iran. Which of these actions did our Dear Leader have any positive contribution towards? I grant that the "Reset" with Russia and the endless nuclear negotiations with Iran caused the Saudis to conclude they had to act alone. Do you think that was the intended consequence when the Smartest President Ever made those moves?
As everybody in IT knows, the leading cause of disk crashes is subpoenas. All Issa's Congressional subpoenas are going to do is cause more unrecoverable hardware failures. And don't ask for any backup tapes or disks or cloud storage. The government has a very modern system of backup to floppy disks and punched paper tape, but they overwrite it every two weeks in order to economize.http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/394553/gruber-documents-subpoenaed-john-fund
Captured terrorists are not covered by the Geneva Conventions. They are war criminals. They attack innocent civilians instead of military targets and intentionally kill them. They do not wear uniforms to distinguish themselves from innocent civilians. In fact, they hold civilians near their military activity as shields. They torture and even behead prisoners. They commit ethnic cleansing and genocide. The enslave women. All of these actions are war crimes. Terrorists are outlaws in the Medieval sense of the word, which means they get no protection from the law and can be shot (or attacked by drones) on sight. The laws of war do not apply to them. They are not in the same class as soldiers captured in uniform on a battlefield and do not have the same rights to fair treatment. The closest comparable status would be spies. Anybody who says we never used enhanced interrogation techniques on spies during WWII or the Cold War is either exceedingly naive or willfully ignorant.
This report is an attempt to rewrite history. At the time, Democrats were informed of the interrogation techniques but the fear of Al Qaeda was paramount then. Now, Democrats desperately need issues that work against Republicans, so they want to erase their past consent to enhanced interrogation techniques. If their past consent goes down the memory hole, then they can be "shocked, shocked" that "torture" was going on. Feinstein is so corrupt, she does not care that pursuing this strategy means no foreign intelligence service will ever cooperate with us again. The needs of the Democratic Party and the cause of Liberalism come first.
Dec 7, 2014
The Global Warming Alarmists are hitting the guest editorial circuits again in the buildup to the next climate talks. Dr. Michael E. Mann, the ringleader of the Alarmists, has declared that 2014 was the hottest year on record. What statistical level of significance did these results have? How far back does the temperature record go? If part of the temperature record is estimated using other data, what is the statistical accuracy of the estimates used? We have a 36 year global weather history based on satellite observations. Prior to that we have mercury thermometer records for a few locations going back to what, 1800? Prior to that we have the Climate Research Unit's estimates, for which they refused to release their raw data and their methods in 2009. The CRU fought off a Freedom of Information request by saying that they had "accidentally" erased the data, the scientific equivalent of the dog ate their homework. There may or may not be global warming, but the Alarmists have to prove that it's caused by man or there's not much we can do. Their models involve solving huge systems of difference equations, which require a massive amount of parallel computing power. We have had enough power to do this for perhaps 30 years at most. Don't you think Dr. Mann and his friends are being a little hasty to demand that government take control of all energy sources? What is the statistical accuracy of these models of the effect of carbon dioxide concentrations on global temperatures? Is any of this worth totally reverting to an Amish paradise where we get a meager output from renewable energy and do without carbon based energy to make up the difference? Having grown up around horses, I can tell you they are not much fun when you have to shovel up after them. The people who tell you we can get the same amount of energy from renewable sources with no cost increases are the same folks who told you, "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." I think the best way to look at this is as a real world episode of Pinky and the Brain. The Brain has decided to use the scary threat of melting ice caps to take over the world.
Whenever you ask these Global Warming Alarmists for the statistical significance of their results, they start talking about thousands of papers, but they want you to find them for yourself. If they're so easy to find, why don't the Global Warming Alarmists find them and provide links? The fact that they don't leads me to believe this is all an exercise in Jonathan Gruber style over complication to conceal a huge power grab without any real justification. Global warming alarmists are the guys asking for big changes. The burden of proof is on them. Us rednecks are fine clinging to our guns and private property. We already know we don't get to keep our doctors and our plans. We don't believe the seas are going to rise 30 feet and swamp both coasts. Besides, most of us don't live on the coasts anyway. Maybe the rich folks who do live on the coasts should pay for dikes to protect their property themselves. Most of the 1% live on the coasts anyway, so they should have to pay and leave the rest of us alone in our SUVs with rifle racks.
Dec 1, 2014
A lot of pundits are treating the falling price of oil as a Saudi move to try to preserve market share. I think Saudi Arabia is trying to put the Iranian mullahs out of the nuclear arms business. The House of Saud is so scared of an Iran with nukes, they talk about how much they have in common with Israel during newspaper interviews. I think they have rightfully concluded that the Chicago Machine Prodigy in Chief will not treat the Iranians anywhere near as tough as he does Republicans and that it's up to them or the Israelis to stop an Iranian bomb. The Israelis would have to use nukes to do the job, so the Saudis decided to use the oil weapon. The Iranian government depends on oil revenue for 65% of its budget. The mullahs need an oil price of $100 to $130 a barrel in order to support their internal subsidies for food and gasoline, pay for their extensive and expensive internal security organizations and support Hezbollah in Lebanon, Assad in Syria and Shiite militia groups in Iraq. All those centrifuges processing uranium to make weapons are hugely expensive also. Iran has minimal foreign exchange reserves. At $50 a barrel for their oil, the Iranian government goes broke in a year or two, maybe less. The Saudis are getting the added benefit of crippling Russia at the same time. Saudis would like to damage Russia because Putin has been selling arms to Assad in Syria and, in addition to arms, has sold a reactor to Iran that can be used to make plutonium for a bomb. Russia gains most of its foreign exchange from oil and natural gas sales. The price of natural gas is under pressure from US fracking and the prospect of increasing US liquid natural gas exports. With the oil price at half of the $100 a barrel Putin needs to stay in business and the ruble down 30-40% against the dollar, things don't look so good for Putin. All the companies his oligarch buddies own have a lot of debt to European banks due in the next two years. They can't refinance because of the sanctions prompted by Putin's Ukrainian aggression. The oligarchs may be tempted to replace Putin with somebody who would be better for business just like mobsters get rid of guys who attract too much heat from the cops. I think the stress that the lower oil price puts on US producers is a side benefit for the Saudis. The main target is Iran, with a secondary target of Russia.
The Intelligence Committees in both the House and the Senate have equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats. Foreign intelligence is supposed to be bipartisan. In this case it's obvious that the report is a compromise that the Democrats could accept which spares the intelligence community any blame. I don't understand how nobody was on alert on September 11, 2012, the anniversary of the 2001 attack. There were no fighter bombers, tanker aircraft or strategic reaction ground security forces on alert anywhere in the region. Benghazi is a port, but there were no navy ships in the area for fire support. The attack went on for 13 hours. All during that time, as I understand it, there was only one unarmed drone that managed to be over Benghazi during the attack. No air support was even launched from Aviano and there were not air refueling aircraft in Sicily to meet them even if they were launched. That situation, a totally unprepared military, is what an intelligence failure looks like.
As a Vietnam Era Veteran, I think we should modify "Search and Destroy" to "Search and Separate" any holdovers in any politically appointed positions as every office changes hands. This ESPECIALLY applies to the CBO. They score the bills. If you want to see any tax reform at all, you have to clear out every Liberal in there like Boss Tweed would have done in the bad old patronage days. This ain't no time to play nice. These guys are ruling by decree from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and counting on the Justice Department not to prosecute obvious Obstruction of Justice in the IRS case. We need to clear the decks to stop all of this unconstitutional, lawless behavior. We can't leave snipers in the rear to stop our bills on budget technicalities when they get the word from our Dear Leader.
Conservatives have taken to worrying about whether Republicans in Name Only will make bad deals with Barry the Magnificent. Since Obama won't work with any Republican, it really doesn't matter what RINOs want to do. I'm not the first to notice that the US would be a lot better off if Obama would treat negotiations with Iran more like he does negotiations with Republicans and negotiations with Republicans more like negotiations with Iran. At this point, our Dear Leader's hubris has gotten to the point that he thinks he can rule by decree without any backing from even the Democrats in Congress. The Smartest President Ever only needs to bounce his ideas off Valerie Jarret and David Axelrod in order to make decisions. Cabinet level appointments are used as the designated fall guys. It's pathetic. The bumper sticker I have on my car says it all: "Worst President Ever." And yes, it does have an Obama Campaign "O."