Feb 28, 2013

Sequestration Frustration

"If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that, too." – Somerset Maugham

If you haven't been reading my work for the last year and couple months, you know that I've been discussing the spectre of Sequestration for a while now. It's become quite popular, suddenly, but amazingly, not a peep about it was discussed by either candidate in the entire run up to the election. 

Let's pretend you don't know that Sequestration was the cop-out to negotiation between the Democrats (Government isn't big enough to solve every problem) and the Republicans (the Government could be a 'little' bit smaller, unless my constituents are involved) when kicking the can during the debt ceiling 'debate'. Theater is a better word than debate, but I don't like getting bogged down in semantics. 

So these 'automatic', 'across the board' cuts were to placate the Tea Party People, and reduce the growth of the government by 10% - which instead of rolling up their sleeves and performing vertical banded gastroplasty on the morbidly obese Congressional continuing resolutions - (Reminder, there hasn't been a Budget since 2009 when Nancy Pelosi lost her gavel) they decided a nice trim would do the trick.

Now, it's armageddon.  

Well, if you listen to NPR All Things Considered, it is. Airplanes will fall out of the sky, your food will be poisoned, children will be picked up out of Head Start kindergarten classes and kicked out to the curb, and seniors will starve to death because they won't get their meals on wheels.

The monsters.

Let's go over the reality, for just a second. It's not popular to do that, but I write for Blasphemes.blogspot.com. I don't have a lot of friends to lose anyways.

Sequestration will make cuts for 9 years. 2013 through 2021. Hypothetically. That's a savings of $1.2 Trillion, yes, with a T. It was intended, when originally proposed by the White House to reduce the rate of increased spending by only 2%. Republicans called the bluff and figured that any cuts vs smart cuts would be better than nothing. It's assumed that it wasn't a bluff but a ruse set by one rascally rabbit for Elmer Fudd in the Senate and Yosemite Sam in the House. I'm sure that once seeing the federal debt hitting 15 Trillion then, and 16.6 Trillion now wouldn't hurt them, politically. Never mind, there's still no real budget, and ignoring the lack of Constitutionality of this whole mess - they went along, like so many other classic Warner Brother's Looney Tunes.

A quick reminder, since there has NOT been a budget in four years (despite the law requiring it) - these are planned spending items - not the baseline budget items. Baseline isn't zero, it's based on last year's spending. What it comes down to is that since Congress hasn't done it's job, it's given up their power to play with money, and have given it to the Executive Branch.

Hold on, isn't Mr. Obama spreading fear and intimidation about the cuts that will starve granny and force millions of toddlers to blind ignorance for the rest of their lives? If he's got the purse strings, what's going to get cut? You're going to suggest that the TSA will actually have a reduction in naked body scanners? Well, maybe he'll have to buy 99 of them instead of the planned 100. Well, that's nearly as ambiguous as the discussion of "Jobs Saved" by the stimulus. Bottom line - we're talking about "discretionary" spending, of 500 Billion on defense and 700 Billion non. Medicare, Social Security, and everything else is not touched, reformed, or discussed. It's the petty cash drawer.

What it's going to come down to are the priorities set by the President himself - no one else. If Elmer and Sam figure out how to turn this one around, they can educate folks on which pet programs Mr. Obama favors, over those that he doesn't.

Don't worry, the Executive Branch has old Chicago Machine Bosses on the payroll. They'll take out Elmer and Sam and then find a way for them to blame each other for another fine mess the other one has gotten themselves into.

Numbers come from ideamoneywatch.com

Feb 25, 2013

Cyber War With China

House Intel Chair Mike Rogers Calls Chinese Cyber Attacks ‘Unprecedented’

House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said it was “beyond a shadow of a doubt” that the Chinese government and military is behind growing cyber attacks against the United States, saying “we are losing” the war to prevent the attacks.

“They use their military and intelligence structure to steal intellectual property from American businesses, and European businesses, and Asian businesses, re-purpose it and then compete in the international market against the United States,” Rogers said this morning on “This Week.”

“It is unprecedented,” Rogers added. “This has never happened in the history of the world, where one nation steals the intellectual property to re-purpose it – to illegally compete against the country…and I’ll tell you, It is as bad as I’ve ever seen it and exponentially getting worse. Why? There’s no consequence for it.”

Read more ....

This is one of the biggest issues that no one is discussing. The idea that the US has been at war in cyberspace for several years is no longer an abstract concept, but something that we must all come to terms with. Conclusive proof that China, Iran, Russia, and others have been purposefully hacking into or supporting "unaffiliated" cyber militias should be a wake up call to every policy maker that our views on foreign policy and diplomacy are out of date in the digital age, and that bringing ourselves up to speed will mean investing in computer science education in our school systems and at the corporate level. Having computer illiterate people at high levels of American corporations is a massive security flaw that we must plug.

These attacks generally include sending something like an infected excell spreadsheet in an email with a subject line that reads something like "meetings this week" or "employee schedule." The fact that a cyber security firm was fooled by such a simple exploit should be a very clear reminder that we aren't prepared.

Further reading.

But remember, Stuxnet - so it makes one wonder what other kind of Manhattan Project is going on?

Feb 24, 2013

Why Would Anyone Invade A Home in Texas?

Intruder fatally shot after allegedly barging into west Harris Co. home

One suspect is dead and two others in custody after a home invasion in west Harris County last night. And now, we're hearing from the mother of the man who used his father's gun to defend his family.

Mara, never slept last night. She and her family are still reeling after the most frightening night of their lives.

"You know, I have an alarm system. And I feel safe here," she said. "I never thought about that, that this will happen to us."

Harris County deputies say just before 9pm, three men rang the doorbell at Mara's home on Brook Garden near Cloudbrook. She says her husband looked through their peephole, saw three young guys and thought they were their son's friends.

"When he opened the door a little bit, the guy points the pistol at his head," said Mara.
Mara was in the kitchen making cakes when the intruders yelled at her, her husband and their 21-year-old son to get on the floor. At least one of them was armed.

"My husband sees that we are in trouble he said, 'Go to the bedroom and get the gun,'" said Mara.
Mara's son retrieved the gun from under his parent's bed. His mom followed him to the back bedroom, but so did one of the intruders.

"And he said, 'I'm not going to hurt you. Lay down!' But he was yelling, screaming, and when he start approaching me closer and closer, my son shot him," she said.

Mara says that's when the other two suspects fled, but they didn't get far. Two neighbors spotted them running down the street, trying to get away in a Ford Explorer.

Those two suspects, whose identities have not yet been released, are charged with aggravated robbery.

Mara says they've never seen those suspects before. The dead intruder hasn't been identified. All we know right now is he was in his 20s. An autopsy on his body is scheduled for today. (source)

Breirbart says that studies have shown that 24 out of 25 gun uses are for self-defense. But all you need is a double-barreled shotgun, right?

Feb 20, 2013

Targeted killings: OK if Obama does it

Salon.com study finds "liberals" more likely to favor targeted killings once they know it’s Obama's policy.
Its fairly well documented in psychology (its just cognitive dissonance working) when people support things done by people they trust even if the thing is deplorable.

Its just an indication that people aren't as 'principled' as they might hold themselves out to be.

I'm more shocked that there needed to be a "study" conducted to confirm this.

Feb 19, 2013

Spokesman for Heart Attack Grill dies of heart attack

The unofficial spokesman of the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas has died from a heart attack he suffered last week Monday.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, John Alleman, 52, suffered a heart attack on the street outside of the restaurant last week and was taken off of life support on Monday.

The owner of the restaurant, “Doctor” Jon Basso said in an interview with the Sun that Alleman “lived ate and breathed the Heart Attack Grill” and “lived a very full life.”

Alleman, a local security guard, was a famous regular at the restaurant who ate there almost every day. He was nicknamed “Patient John” and was featured in a picture on the menu.

According to Basso, everyone at the restaurant is grief-stricken at the news about Alleman. According to Yahoo! News, this is the second time one of the restaurant’s unofficial spokesmen has died in two years.

The restaurant is known for it’s overly-fattening menu, one that features a “quadruple bypass burger” that pushes 10,000 calories. Last year, a man suffered an apparent heart attack in the restaurant while eating the restaurant’s “triple bypass burger.”


This story reminds me of James Fuller Fixx (1932 –1984), who was the author of the 1977 best-selling book, The Complete Book of Running.

Best known as Jim Fixx, he was credited with helping start America’s fitness revolution, popularizing the sport of running and demonstrating the health benefits of regular jogging.

On July 20, 1984, Jim Fixx died at age 52 of a fulminant heart attack, after his daily run. (Thanks to Bill Hicks for telling me of that story.)

I think I'll still have that burger.

Feb 18, 2013

New Tarantino Movie...

“A less violent Passion Of The Christ”
DJesus Uncrossed. NSFW, but you probably already figured that out.

Feb 15, 2013

2nd Amendment Stickers

The following 2nd Amendment posters show the fallacy of the arguments ban certain weapons. 
Typically, it starts with, "banning guns makes society safer."

The reality is that criminals and sociopaths will always find a way to arm themselves. 

And, it's also false. Compare Virginia, which expanded their citizen's rights to carry... "From 2006 to 2011, the total number of guns purchased in Virginia increased 73 percent, while the total number of gun-related violent crimes decreased 24 percent over that period." (tl;dr the crime rate plummeted).

Now compare that to Chicago - with the most restrictive gun laws, and no concealed carry, and have the highest murder rate in the nation... Their gun laws simply don't work.

Here are some nice stickers to put gun ownership in some perspective, and strike down silly arguments for taking away every citizen's right granted by the 2nd Amendment.

Lovingly shared from The Political Commentator.

Feb 14, 2013

Medal for Drone "Pilots"

Panetta Announces Medal For Drone Pilots

They fight the war from computer consoles and video screens. 

But the troops that launch the drone strikes and direct the cyberattacks that can kill or disable an enemy may never set foot in the combat zone. Now their battlefield contributions may be recognized. 

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Wednesday that for the first time the Pentagon is creating a medal that can be awarded to troops who have a direct impact on combat operations, but do it from afar. 

"I've seen firsthand how modern tools, like remotely piloted platforms and cyber systems, have changed the way wars are fought," Panetta said. "And they've given our men and women the ability to engage the enemy and change the course of battle, even from afar." 

Read more .... 

I wonder if everyone in the ceremony stays seated? It would seem to be appropriate.

Feb 11, 2013

Debt Problem? What Debt Problem?

FDR was a very crafty politician. When he proposed the Social Security Act as a safety net for Americans, he set the pay out for benefits to be at age at 65, when the average lifespan for a male was 59 in 1935. Since then, the goal post was moved a few feet, but life expectancy has grown. 


When the baby boomer's come to the retirement trough, they're going to drink it all, and hide the rest. Which is one of the myriad of reasons that there's a deficit problem. And it's not just about not having cash to get Head Start funds – it's also about National Security.

In September, Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff said that, “many times that I believe the single, biggest threat to our national security is our debt, so I also believe we have every responsibility to help eliminate that threat,” he said. “We must, and will, do our part.”

Yet today, the Washington Post has an article who's headline states, “the job of debt reduction is nearly done.” Color me confused. Did Mr. Obama solve the debt crisis in just three months? Did Mr. Obama issue a secret executive order that ended spiraling healthcare costs, Social Security obligations, and cut the Defense budget in half?

Mullen had said, “As you know, the President has made a decision to reduce the defense budget by more than $450 billion over the next 10 years. That’s a lot of money from any perspective, but, in fact, it only represents a little over 9 percent a year from our baseline.”

$450 billion sounds like a lot, however, our deficit sits at 1.09 trillion – today – and there's no mention on how to control or contain the out of control spending – specifically to the increasing problems of entitlements.

Did Mr. Obama “make the decision” or is he simply allowing sequestration to happen?

Sequestration, you'll remember is the Congress-made hurricane that is due to hit Washington in a few weeks. It's cuts - but it's a dumb, stupid chopping off of essential and non-essential duties and obligations of the Federal Government. That is, as opposed to both parties rolling up their sleeves, and doing a little surgery to make real and necessary cuts to the budget. Real spending cuts. It'd be a great time to kill off those stupid projects and “bridges to nowhere.” No where, ever has trimming 10% off the top, from all departments made any sense. You trim the fat and the unproductive parts of your business - not the good parts. But this is government. So throw logic and good sense right out the window. Those were the first things to get cut, long ago.

Mr. Obama has stated over his weekend radio address that, “Over the last few years, Democrats and Republicans have come together and cut our deficit [over the next decade] by more than $2.5 trillion through a balanced mix of spending cuts and higher tax rates for the wealthiest Americans. That’s more than halfway towards the $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists and elected officials from both parties say we need to stabilize our debt.”

Now, I am terrible at math – especially when we're talking about trillions, but where does the Administration come up with the other 1.5 to hit the 4 trillion target? Is he waiting on Congress to do it? Not only does that make me laugh with the absurdity, it's showing me that Mr. Obama is still painfully ignorant of the people he thinks he's dealing with. Congress Critters aren't ever going to do “what's good for the country” they're only interested in their direct constituents – which means the people that cut their checks and give them hot stock tips.

Where's the discussion of the 16 trillion dollarsof debt we've accrued, and are still paying interest on? And then costs keep going up? I don't see where any of this 'projecting' takes into account those pesky aging baby boomers. Is that part of this math problem? And when you start using real math – you start seeing numbers like 81 trillion. Hey, don't get me wrong, Chinese debt is cheap, but it's still compounding interest. Problem with the stuff is that you want more an hour later.

To this, I can only guess that at heart, Mr. Obama is an Illinois 'machine' politician. The answer lies there, in Sweet Home Chicago. He'll take the playbook that worked for the Pharaohs Richard and Mr. Obama's previous employee, Rahm Emanuel – which is to nickle and dime every citizen to the point of poverty. You want a pamphlet on Green Living – that's a dollar and fifty cents. Entry into Rocky Mountain National Park? Expect it to go 20 per vehicle to twenty a head. Deficit reduction, you know? Hey, we're still cheaper than Disneyland, right? Oh, but parking is extra. And we subcontracted the parking to a private firm. In China.

He Quit Before God Could Fire Him

The Vatican Radio website has just posted Pope Benedict's resignation statement. Here it is:
Full text of Pope's declaration
Dear Brothers,
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.
However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013
Benedict XVI was one of the oldest new popes in history when he was elected in 2005. He will be 86 years old in April. (Source)
The last Pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII (1406–1415) (Source)
The last Pope to resign voluntarily was Pope Saint Celestine V (1215 – 19 May 1296)(Source

Rumor mill says that Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of Ghana is the favorite for succession.

Thank you to laaabaseball

Feb 8, 2013

Storm Prep

I think you can make the conversion to beer fairly easily here too. 1 Bottle = to one 6 pack.

Not U 2 R2 D2?

Meth, not even once!  Guess he got a little nuts with that Disney money?

Feb 6, 2013

Where's the Outrage

Salon has asked "Why isn't there more outrage about the president's unilateral targeted assassination program on the left?"

Where's the outrage?

"Eleven senators wrote to the president on Monday demanding the administration hand over all legal justifications for killing US citizens by drones. They are pressing to see a more detailed 50-page memorandum from the office of legal counsel.

The letter, signed by eight Democrats and three Republicans, hints at confrontation over Brennan's appointment if the administration does not co-operate."

Ooh. A strongly worded letter.

Did you read or listen to the US Government's rational for their operations?
“Were the target of a lethal operation a U.S. citizen who may have rights under the Due Process Clause and the Fourth Amendment, that individual’s citizenship would not immunize him from a lethal operation. Under the traditional due process balancing analysis of Mathews v. Eldridge, we recognize that there is no private interest more weighty than a person’s interest in his life. But that interest must be balanced against the United States’ interest in forestalling the threat of violence and death to other Americans…”
The tl;dr here is that  Mathews was about a guy whose Social Security Disability benefits were terminated, and he hadn't run out of options for being reinstated, he sued for not being allowed a pre-termination hearing.

It's about property rights on a Social Security Check... so the DOJ is using that case to justify the killing of American citizens?

Your US Government - Justifying the 3/5 of a Man, The Mexican American War, The Trail of Tears, Tuskegee Experiments and on and on...