Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Link to Bailouts or Giveaways

Click blog title to go to link

Bailout money for executive bonuses. Treasury will not show what securities they took in exchange for the money.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

What Makes a Country Successful?

Received this interesting analysis of why some countries are rich and others are poor from a friend who lives Fiji. The little Powerpoint slide show was meant for circulation on Fiji. However, I think the checklist should be reviewed to see how the United States is doing regarding those nine (9) essential items the author identified. Could the United States' current economic woes be related to us not executing those basic principles as well as in the past? How many of these principles does our government exhibit in dealing with its' citizens and other countries? What do you think?

To reflect and... Act.
The difference between the poor countries and the rich ones is not the age of the country. This can be shown by countries like India & Egypt, that are more than 2000 years old and are poor. On the other hand, Canada, Australia & New Zealand, that 150 years ago were poor UK colonies exploited to provide cheap food for England, today are developed countries.

The difference between poor & rich countries does not reside in the available natural resources. Japan has a limited territory, 80% mountainous, inadequate for agriculture & cattle raising, but it is the second world economy. The country is like an immense floating factory, importing raw material from the whole world and exporting manufactured products.

Another example is Switzerland, which does not plant cocoa but has the best chocolate in the world. In its little territory they raise animals and plant the soil during 4 months per year. Not enough, they produce dairy products of the best quality. It is a small country that transmits an image of security, order labor, which made it the world’s strong safe.

Executives from rich countries who communicate with their counterparts in poor countries show that there is no significant intellectual difference. Race or skin color are also not important: immigrants labeled lazy in their countries of origin are the productive power in rich European countries.

What is the difference then? The difference is the attitude of the people, framed along the years by the education and the culture. On analyzing the behavior of the people in rich & developed countries, we find that the great majority follow these principles in their lives:

1. Ethics, as a basic principle.
2. Integrity.
3. Responsibility.
4. Respect to the laws & rules.
5. Respect to the rights of other citizens.
6. Work loving.
7. Strive for saving & investment.
8. Will of super action.
9. Punctuality.

In poor countries, only a minority follow these basic principles in their daily life. We are not poor because we lack natural resources or because nature was cruel to us. We are poor because we lack attitude. We lack the will to comply with and teach these functional principles of rich and developed societies.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

McCain and Kerry Blocked POW Investigation

Interesting little video regarding McCain and Kerry both blocking an investigation that many Korean and Vietnam American POW's were not returned to the US.

Did John McCain make 32 propaganda tapes for the North Vietnamese?

Why did John McCain oppose H.R. 3603 Truth Accountability Bill? Was it to seal his POW records to hide his actions?

I copied this from a website blog http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-70454 I could only access through the page cache since now the site is mysteriously listed as temporarily down though only this page is down (hmm...)

John McCain has always claimed to be a war hero. He says he is loyal to our troops. He says because of his military experience he is qualified to lead our country. But is it true. After doing many exhaustive hours of research I have come to the conclusion that this is not true. Here is some of the things I found our about Senator McCain during my research. You decide for yourself is Senator McCain a hero or a traitor.
Senator McCain has been criticized by many Veterans Groups for his voting record when it comes to taking care of and supporting our troops. Here are just a few of his votes.
In Mid-September 2007 McCain missed 10 of the last 14 votes on Iraq. But on one he actually showed up for he voted against the Webb Amendment calling for adequate troop rest between deployments.
July 2007- McCain voted against a plan to draw down troops in Iraq
June 2006- McCain voted against a resolution that Bush start withdrawing troops. But with no time line to do so.
May 2006- McCain voted against an amendment that would provide $20 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs for healthcare facilities.
April 2006- McCain was one of only 13 senators to vote against $430,000,000 for the Department of Veterans Affairs for medical services for outpatient care and treatment for veterans.
March 2006- McCain voted against increasing Veterans medical service funding by $1.5 billion in FY 2007 to be paid by closing corporate tax loop holes.
March 2004- McCain voted against creating a reserve fund to allow for an increase in Veterans medical care by $1.8 billion by eliminating abusive tax loop holes.
October 2003- McCain voted to table an amendment by Senator Dodd that called for an additional $322,000,000 for safety equipment for our troops in Iraq.
April 2003- McCain urged other senators to table a vote(which did not pass). The vote was to provide more than $1 billion for National Guard and Reserves equipment in Iraq. Related to shortages of helmets tents bullet-proof inserts and tactical vest.
August 2001- McCain voted against increasing the amount available for medical care for our Veterans by $650 million.
In 1992 McCain used his position on the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs(1989-1993) to kill H.R. 3603-Truth Accountability Bill. This same bill passed in the House 401 to 0. He did not want his records of his POW days to get out. So he made sure that no ones records would get out. The bill was supported by Senator Bob Doran(R-CA) and Senator Bob Smith(R-NH). The bill was to get any and all records of POW's in Vietnam, Korea and all others so as to find any POW that might still be alive.McCain did not want that to happen because it would bring to light his record as a POW. McCain also made quiet a scene when he demanded that the records not get out as part of Vietnam's Diplomatic Recognition. On Senator commented that Senator McCain was bitterly opposed to finding any POW's left in Vietnam.
What is Senator McCain trying so hard to hide. And why is he being allowed to do it at the cost of our POW's and thier families. He has betrayed the military in countless ways. But this is truely the worst. There are over 2000 POW's from Vietnam still missing. And when thier families wanted accountability and wanted thier loved ones records released to see what measures were taken to bring them home. McCain basically single handedly told them no and made it that the records were sealed. Destroying any hope of finding out what happened to thier loved ones. Though the families are still fighting to this day to find out what happened to thier loved one. Even Nixon's staff said there were POW's left in Vietnam but McCain did not care. Here is part of an article wrote about Nixon's Defense staff and what they said.
Two former secretaries of defense under Richard M. Nixon testified Monday that the U.S. government believed in 1973 that many American fliers remained in enemy hands in Laos and were not returned with other prisoners at the end of the Vietnam War, despite Nixon's public assurances to the contrary.
"As of now, I can come to no other conclusion. (But) that does not mean there are any alive today," said former Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger, who also once served as head of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The sworn testimony by Schlesinger and Melvin R. Laird, Nixon's first Pentagon chief, marked the first time top-ranking members of the Nixon administration were questioned publicly about the fate of U.S. servicemen still listed as missing in action almost 20 years after the United States withdrew from Vietnam.
In effect, their testimony before the Senate Select Committee on POW-MIA Affairs corroborated earlier statements by Ross Perot, the Texas tycoon who has been deeply involved in POW-MIA activities since 1969. Perot told the Senate panel last month that the evidence was "overwhelming" that POWs were left behind after the Vietnam War ended.
The testimony also supports the judgment of many members of the Senate's special POW-MIA committee and is the most authoritative evidence so far of what was once an unthinkable conclusion -- that the American government essentially wrote off pending POW-MIA cases at the war's end in effort to close the book on the foreign policy disaster.
"I think it's quite extraordinary when two former secretaries of defense both give evidence documenting that they had information, or they believed personally, that people were alive and not accounted for in Operation Homecoming," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Select Committee.
McCain did not care about any of that all he cared about was protecting what ever secrets he has there at the expense of over 2000 of our POW's and thier families. He has broken the main code of the Military NEVER LEAVE A MAN BEHIND. To me as a Navy Wife he is a disgrace to the Navy and to this country. He is a Traitor.
Now that you have read this you need to make up your own mind. Is this the man you want to be your president. What will he cover-up. Will he leave our soldiers over in Iraq and anywhere else he will go to war with. Will he leave them and refuse to give our soldiers families answers. He has already once what will stop him from doing it again. So now you decide. Is McCain a National Hero Or Traitor

Sunday, August 17, 2008

John McCain is War

John McCain was one of the few politicians I admired and respected. His positions on campaign finance years ago were exceptional for a main stream politician. He was notable for his sympathy to some environmental causes in contrast to his Republican brethren who are most typically on some kind of slash and burn agenda (hey look guys, the Native Americans have been subjugated by removing their access to food when we killed off the buffalo. psst... you won!). And, he used to maintain a reluctance to engage the US military unless needed and with clear popular support so another Vietnam type of engagement didn't replay itself.

Something definitely changed in Mr. McCain after 911 and it seems to have overwhelmed the clear reasoning he previously maintained. Or, maybe it just allowed us voting public to understand better what was there all along.

John McCain comes from a family of warriors. It is seemingly in their blood. Every generation of McCains back to 1776 has sent a son to war for the US. You can view that in many ways: 1) a family of American patriots from the start of our country until now 2) a family with lots of blood on its' hands 3) a family that knows duty and exercises it consistently. However you see it, one thing is clear - John McCain's family history has war as a central theme.

John McCain's father, Adm. John S. McCain Jr., believed in the exercise of military strength and used to lecture his family on The Four Ocean Navy, the Soviet threat, and his favorite symbol of US power - a soldier walking through a rice paddy with a gun on his shoulder. So, we have a man here who has grown up believing in the inevitable use of US military power on foreign soil.

Regarding the country's ill-fated Iraq War, it is also clear that McCain was out in front of the Bush administration naming Iraq as a possible conspirator on 9/12 and advocating an Iraq invasion six months before the Bush White House. If you are a conspiracy theorist, it is easy to say McCain was in on the whole enchilada from 9/11 to Iraq and gave W the political cover in the beginning and a certain level of legitimacy with the public and other Senate and Congressional members.

If you believe that Iraq was based on good people making bad decisions on faulty intelligence then McCain was one of the easiest to convince with bad data. He made gut level decisions not based on evidence. He made decisions based on who he thought was the good guys and bad guys. The Axis of Evil was W's way of putting black hats on who the administration didn't like and make it easy to sell a gullible public on who they should fear and hate. McCain was with the program all the way and was really right out front leading the parade.

This leads me to my conclusion why I will not vote for the man I thought in 2000 was the best candidate. He would be the next War President. If we somehow get out of Iraq, he will get us into another war. It is in his blood, his psyche, and is part of the man. There is no separating him from finding places and reasons to exercise the US military (remember his 100 year Iraq War comment). The US has huge problems here at home and if we don't reign in military spending and rebuild our infrastructure and get our financial house in order, we will end up like all other previous empires.

Important link with many of the facts sighted above......

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Last Family Vacation (?) Part 2 - Planning

In the last post we had decided where we going in general and for about how long. I wanted to give that info to a travel agent and let them construct something wonderful and cheap and let me concentrate on all my petty life difficulties, job, investment management, exercising, sports, and spending money. I contacted an old friend whose wife is a part-time travel agent and while she was helpful with advice, I did not sense any desire to be our travel agent, which in hindsight I can understand. Looking at a Europe ski trip I did a couple years ago, I found the name of the local travel agent who put that together for a group of 20 people. He had done a pretty good job with hotel selections and transportation organization so I contacted him. He wanted a $100 just to talk!

I didn't understand that, so I decided to start looking for air fares and compare to on-line package deals. After using many different sites, I found that http://farecast.live.com/ was excellent. It gives you prices from several different websites including some of the biggies like Expedia and Priceline. It will also forecast (sometimes, if it feels like it) whether the prices will go up or down. There was also a feature on Priceline that made it easy to see how varying you departure dates for leaving and coming back affected prices. That helped immensely as well and made locking down our schedule to 23 days. I watched prices move lower and then about 5 months before our scheduled departure time, prices started creeping up about $20 per ticket, so I purchased at that time getting a San Francisco to London Heathrow RT ticket for $1064 each.

Now, we could start planning where to spend the time. I asked the teenage children to start researching where they wanted to go, what they wanted to do, and ideas of where to stay. I sent them links and talked with them. I "thought" they would really get into putting an itinerary together. And, I couldn't have been more wrong. After a couple months of nagging on my part and inaction on theirs, I enlisted the wife and we went to the local travel bookstore http://www.languagequest.com/. Even though their website does not seem to list travel books, they do have an extensive selection and a very knowledgeable staff who were eager to share their expertise and feedback from customers. We ended up with a Rick Steves for London, Rick Steves for Provence, Pauline Frommer for London, and Pauline Frommer for Paris. Also, walked out with a nifty %12.95 Berlitz French/English dictionary that came with an audio CD since our French consisted of my 17 year old's one year of French three years ago. Her retention seemed to consist of "wee" and "boinjer".

Now, armed, utterly confused, and overloaded with ideas, we got ready for the real fun part, though we didn't know it yet.

The Last Family Vacation (?) Part 1 - Where?

Hey kids, Dad is going on a business trip to New Zealand in February. “That’s not fair!” they cry in unison and a promise to take them next year is made, “if it is nice there”. Well, the South Island is very nice and so next fall the question is made, Hey Kids, you want to go to New Zealand for Christmas break? No way, Dad! We have to be home for Christmas.

This line of dialogue continued for 6 years from the time they were 10 and 12. I offered Costa Rica, Hawaii, even New Zealand again. How about anywhere? Nope. My conservative middle-class kids had more holiday values than me and said that time was to be spent at home.

So, when #1 child was preparing to graduate high school, I offered the perennial trip to anywhere as a grad present. “No, I don’t want to fly anywhere!”, the answer. How about driving anywhere? “No!” I concede the issue saving myself thousands of dollars and then force him and #2 to go to a my wife's and mine high school/neighborhood friends reunion in North Carolina. That seemed to cure the fear of flying bit, but, then I took lots of grief for “making” him and his sister travel from Mount Shasta, CA to hot, humid, Bryson City, NC.

So, when two years later, #2 says, “I want to go to Paris for my HS graduation”, I am delighted that someone wants to actually get out in the world. I don’t realize how much planning and work is actually involved in a overseas family trip until around 8 months ahead of departure time I start to look at what it will take for money, time away, and trip research time.

“Geez Honey, do we really have to spend 2 weeks in Paris?”, the negotiation starts. See, I am really more a small town kind of person and more than a week in a big, foreign, city conjures up visions of pushy people, diesel fumes, bad air, black snot, chlorinated water, expensive restaurants, scary parts of town you find by mistake, and the like. “But Dad, Paris is like the City of Love”, the 17 year old daughter sort of pleads, whines, and coos at once.

After much back and forth, we come up with a general plan. It goes something like this: 5 – 6 days in London; 4 – 5 days in Paris; and the balance of roughly 3 weeks going around France. Now, the blackboard has a little writing on it and some kind of action can take place. But, will it be fun? Read on......

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Another Lone Nut - Really?

The "lone nut" theory is starting to crack on me. The latest lone nut, of course, is Bruce Ivins, the Army microbiologist who allegedly killed himself after the FBI threatened to indict him for the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and injured many others.

Throughout recent history, we have had many lone nuts and Mr. Ivins can now join the list of Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray, Lynette Fromme, John Hinckley, Jr., and Mark David Chapman. It seems more than a little odd to me that all these assassinations or assassination attempts were carried out by one lone nut case.

In the case against Mr. Ivins, there seems to be a serious lack of evidence showing that he had the capability to weaponize the anthrax. There is fairly solid evidence the anthrax came from the lab where Mr. Ivins worked. Taking the anthrax that he worked with and turning it into the anthrax that was delivered in the mailed envelopes is a complex task that there is no supporting evidence linking to Mr. Ivins.

The facts surrounding his alleged suicide seem a little bizarre and the fact no autopsy was ordered or requested is also odd. Why didn't his lawyers ask for one? Why didn't his family? Why didn't the police or FBI? With the case not completely solved, and the possibility that others might be involved not known, was it not in the interest of the FBI to have an autopsy performed to ensure the drugs found in Mr. Ivins had not been put there by force? Maybe someone else was covering their tracks.

There seems to have been a rush to judgement in this case. Why? With this case open for seven years, what was the rush to close it now? Why was not all possible evidence gathered, such as an autopsy?

The articles below were some of the sources for the information contained in this blog. What do you think?




August 10, 2008 Op-Ed Contributor: Open Questions on a Closed Case By GERRY ANDREWS