Archive for the ‘America in decline’ Category

Bong hits, Donald Fagen and maybe a little José Cuervo.

“Biscayne Bay, where the Cuban gentlemen sleep all day.”

Loved that line. Always sang out loud. Still do actually.

Maybe it’s in the blood… ya think?

Anyway.

A decade-plus old LP spinning on my decade-old Technics SL-3300 table that still sounded good, even with the pops and that one skip about a minute and fifteen seconds into “Any World (That I’m Welcome To)” . Throw throw in some friends and libations.

Any random night in 1988.

Well, all that and eventually Morton.

Morton Downey Jr. that is.

Look… I was young and stupid.

I could have TRIED talking the bong hits and tequila crowd hanging out at my place into tuning to Buckley’s “Firing Line”, it had the shit time slot on the one other TV station we could get in the apartment, but let’s be real for a minute here. What guy my age  in 1988 would own up to watching Buckley?

Old people watched that crap.

Strippers for God, white supremacists at the Apollo and Al Sharpton getting knocked on his ass. Morton was entertainment for the sans-culottes. The main course to follow the bong hits, Steely Dan and the shots of José Cuervo.

It’s hard to imagine that The Morton Downey Jr. Show only lasted two years.

Buckley’s Firing Line ran for thirty-three years. Over fifteen hundred episodes with Buckley being its only host. I watched as many as I could once I was alone, far from the madding crowd… well, madding only up until the second round of Cuervo anyway.

I have to admit that a lot of it went over my head, and some of it put me to sleep, but sometimes Buckley could make my head buzz as wildly as some of the other stuff did.

Buckley was great.

Thirty-three years of intelligent, erudite conversation and on topics of substance being batted about by people of substance equal to the complexity of the issues, yet, it was Morton Downey Jr. that changed America forever.

Morton saw us for what we were.

Morton saw the future.

 

What was scandalous about the Morton Downey, Jr. show yesterday, is standard in pretty much every show on TV and even our daily lives.

Case in point.

My wife watches a “reality” show called The Bachelor/Bachelorette. The format is very simple:

  1. You take a guy, you surround him with a bunch of single women.
  2. Add all the booze they can consume.
  3. Fly them around to exotic places in the world.
  4. He sends a woman (or two or three) who fail to please him (to one degree or another) home every week, and the party’s over for them.

He gets to hook up with all of them (to one degree or another) which is how he decides who stays and who goes, and eventually falls in love (to one degree or another) with one of them, and he may (or may not) propose matrimony to that last standing babe.

The Bachelorette is the same thing, except with one gal and twenty-five guys heading off into the sunset, looking for love, or at least hook ups.

This season, I watched The Bachelorette with my better half (happy wife, happy life!) and it was something else.

You see, this season’s Bachelorette almost immediately knew who was “it”, but she had to continue on with the show. All the flights and hotels hab been booked after all.

Now, she told Mr. “It” that he was “it” way early in the show, but seeing how the show had to go on, he had to watch her make out with twenty plus other guys that he had to room with for weeks. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, one guy decided to join the show two weeks into the process, and he KNEW our heroine from “before”. Then in a booze-drive romantic tryst, somewhere in the Irish countryside, the Bachelorette and the late arrival consummate their passion while Mr. It sits back at the hotel and talks about trusting his girl.

There is a point to all this… truet me.

Not unexpectedly, the blogosphere and social media went after our randy heroine with a passion. It was ugly.

Every day my wife would read the worst of the worst comments from fan pages and Facebook groups, and they were bad.

Then, she had to tell Mr. It, on camera, that she had slept with the Other Guy. He just sat there until he had to leave the room.

A few episodes later, he proposes to her.

Then came the “After the Show” show and when the issue of all the nastiness came up, the crowd stood and cheered for our brave Bachelorette and her brave stance in the face of all the”unfair and unjustified” attacks on her values and morals, and just like that, the trollop had her virtue (sort of) restored as she sat there fighting back tears and holding her head up, while Mr. “It” sat next to her wondering just how many more times he was going to have to hear about how the girl of his dreams had banged some guy on national TV, just a few nights before he proposed to her.

The show plays twice a year (one Bachelor and one Bachelorette) and a selected number of each of the show’s “also rans” (the ones sent home early) get to spend a few weeks at a Mexican Beach resort in Puerto Vallarta, where Jorge the bartender pours them drinks in coconuts while dishing out relationship advice. The hook ups run wild.

This, oddly enough, doesn’t play as “odd” to most people today. It’s normal.

This year, the summer hook-up-in-Mexico-for-losers show ran roughly during the same slot as another odd show.

I’m talking about “I Am Cait.”

For those of you that have been stuck in the International Space Station for the past year or sow, this show is basically a set of cameras and microphones following Bruce Jenner (the former Olympian) dressed like a woman and (among other things) shopping for one-piece bathing suit that properly hides her package, some sensible pumps in a man’s size 12, and a women that “she” may be attracted to.

This too, is part of the new normal.

Caitlyn Jenner was awarded the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, so named for the universally admired tennis player who died in 1993 and was famous for his steely determination and sense of personal dignity.

There were others that could have been considered for the award like Lauren Hill, the 19-year-old college freshman from Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati who helped raise money for cancer research while waging an inspirational battle with an inoperable brain tumor that failed to stop her from achieving her dream of playing college basketball.

Lauren was apparently not as courageous as Caitlyn.

Then there was Noah Galloway, an Iraqi war veteran who lost two limbs but in spite of that continued to enter competitions, including an inspiring run on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

Noah was apparently as courageous as Caitlyn.

It’s a mad, mad, mad world.

It’s a Morton Downey, Jr. world, because Morton understood the power that one can generate by tapping into the people’s base instincts. He led the way and along the way created an entirely new genre of TV entertainment that gave life to shows like The Jerry Springer Show, the Sally Jesse Raphael Show, Maury “Who’s Your Daddy” Povich, The People’s Court,etc.

Beyond that, and equally as significant, Mort’s trend have permeated the TV talking head shows, with the likes of Chris Matthews, Glenn Beck, Al “You a Punk Faggot” Sharpton, Sean Hannity, Judge Jeanine, Rachel “Mad Cow” Maddow, Bill O’Reilly taking up the Morton Downey, Jr. standard to one degree or another.

The Morton Downey, Jr style can be heard over the airwaves and podcasts. Too many there to name.

These entertainers reign over the media. Sure, there are some remnants of the old “Firing Line” format, but no one watches them because they’re bland, boring and no one yells at anyone. And we want yelling and we want to be entertained, and to Hell with substance and erudite conversation.

But I don’t think that even Morton could have seen Trump coming.

I don’t think that even in his wildest imaginings Morton could have imagined the Trump candidacy, and his standings in the polls.

Morton, whose entire show premiered and peaked during the Reagan Presidency could have never believed that just a few decades later, he GOP’s leading contender and the conservative choice for the Presidency would be a pro-choice, pro gun control, pro taxation, pro socialized medicine billionaire who as a registered Democrat during the George W. Bush administration, and whose most recent job experience was as a host in a TV “reality” show. Conservatives who spent the entire Obama administration hammering him on his crippling inexperience have elevated three candidates to the top of the polls who “make Sarah Palin look like a wisened political veteran”.

Even Morton may be shocked.

So this is the world where those people who watched The Morton Downey, Jr. show live now live in.

A world where Target removes “Gender-Based Signs” from their aisles to avoid some manner of frustrations expressed by some of their customers over signs offering gender-specific products, while Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner shops for a one-piece bathing suit dressed as a woman and discusses a woman that “she” is going away for a weekend with.

A world were trollops are virtuous and virgins rare and even weird.

A world were trannies are courageous and police officers cowards.

A world were Donald Trump is the leading contender for the office once occupied by the likes of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Reagan.

A world were people will wonder around Target lost, not knowing where to find tampons or cup protectors.

Somewhere, Morton may be thinking of suing the nation for royalties.

He should.

Our world is one never-ending Morton Downey, Jr Show every day.

Or maybe, Morton should be The Donald’s VP.

That way at least there would be one real Republican in the ticket

 

 

We all read about the Target security breach that compromised tens of million of customers. Target is back in the news today.

(LA Times) Target Corp. is hiring an IT expert from General Motors Co. to beef up its data security following a massive breach that continues to weigh on its reputation.

Brad Maiorino will head up technology risk and information strategy, a newly created position.

It’s the latest move by Target to tighten security over its huge amount of shopper data. The Minneapolis company has increased monitoring of accounts and implemented new safeguards at its point-of-sale systems.

~~snip~~

Target, the nation’s third-largest retailer, has been struggling with the fallout from its disclosure in December that hackers stole credit and debit card information from tens of millions of customers.

Its revenue dropped 5% in the crucial fourth quarter and its chief executive, Gregg Steinhafel, stepped down last month. That followed the exit of Beth Jacob, the retailer’s former chief information officer.

You may recall that the breaches, they were big news this past December, but how exactly did the theft take place?

(Bloomberg Business) The biggest retail hack in U.S. history wasn’t particularly inventive, nor did it appear destined for success. In the days prior to Thanksgiving 2013, someone installed malware in Target’s (TGT) security and payments system designed to steal every credit card used at the company’s 1,797 U.S. stores. At the critical moment—when the Christmas gifts had been scanned and bagged and the cashier asked for a swipe—the malware would step in, capture the shopper’s credit card number, and store it on a Target server commandeered by the hackers.

It’s a measure of how common these crimes have become, and how conventional the hackers’ approach in this case, that Target was prepared for such an attack. Six months earlier the company began installing a $1.6 million malware detection tool made by the computer security firm FireEye (FEYE), whose customers also include the CIA and the Pentagon. Target had a team of security specialists in Bangalore to monitor its computers around the clock. If Bangalore noticed anything suspicious, Target’s security operations center in Minneapolis would be notified.

On Saturday, Nov. 30, the hackers had set their traps and had just one thing to do before starting the attack: plan the data’s escape route. As they uploaded exfiltration malware to move stolen credit card numbers—first to staging points spread around the U.S. to cover their tracks, then into their computers in Russia—FireEye spotted them. Bangalore got an alert and flagged the security team in Minneapolis. And then …

Nothing happened.

OK, so Target blew it.

Their focus being directed at realizing sales during the year’s biggest shopping weekend, the company’s security team missed the theft of millions of credit card numbers.

How much was stolen?

Estimates has those numbers at 40 million credit card numbers,  along with 70 million addresses, phone numbers and an unknown amount of card holder’s personal information simply flying out of a hacked Target server.

These were not Target credit cards.

The hackers stole every card number swiped in a Target store during 2013’s Black Friday weekend. So if you shopped at any Target store on or about last Thanksgiving, your information was very likely stolen.

Bloomberg Business goes on.

In testimony before Congress, Target has said that it was only after the U.S. Department of Justice notified the retailer about the breach in mid-December that company investigators went back to figure out what happened. What it hasn’t publicly revealed: Poring over computer logs, Target found FireEye’s alerts from Nov. 30 and more from Dec. 2, when hackers installed yet another version of the malware. Not only should those alarms have been impossible to miss, they went off early enough that the hackers hadn’t begun transmitting the stolen card data out of Target’s network. Had the company’s security team responded when it was supposed to, the theft that has since engulfed Target, touched as many as one in three American consumers, and led to an international manhunt for the hackers never would have happened at all.

They missed it not once, but twice.

Here’s a visual to help you along.

feat_target12_brokein_630inline

Security guru Brian Krebs (first to report the Target breach) reported that the HVAC vendor whose credentials were used by the hackers to breach the Target network was Fazio Mechanical Services, located in Western Pennsylvania. According to Fazio Mechanical’s response to the revelation of their part in the hack, their data connection to Target was used for billing, contract submissions and project management. The hackers obviously exploited weaknesses in Target’s firewalls and introduced a cloaked bad code (they used the name of a legitimate piece of software used by companies to protect card user’s information) on November 30th.

OK, so that’s the part we all may have heard about with perhaps a little more fill and color, but (as Paul Harvey may ask) what’s the rest of the story?

What do hackers do with 40 million stolen credit card numbers with billions of dollars of purchasing power?

What does McDonald’s have to do with any of this?

Here is… the rest of the story.

Welcome to the world of carding.

Krebs is now reporting on the industry behind the business of stolen credit card information.

Hang on to your socks.

Peek Inside a Professional Carding Shop

(Krebs on Security) Over the past year, I’ve spent a great deal of time trolling a variety of underground stores that sell “dumps” — street slang for stolen credit card data that buyers can use to counterfeit new cards and go shopping in big-box stores for high-dollar merchandise that can be resold quickly for cash. By way of explaining this bizarro world, this post takes the reader on a tour of a rather exclusive and professional dumps shop that caters to professional thieves, high-volume buyers and organized crime gangs.

The subject of this post is “McDumpals,” a leading dumps shop that first went online in late April 2013.  Featuring the familiar golden arches and the bastardized logo, “i’m swipin’ it,”  the site’s mascot is a gangstered-up Ronald McDonald pointing a handgun at the viewer.

Nevermind that this shop is violating a ridiculous number of McDonald’s trademarks in one fell swoop: It’s currently selling cards stolen from data breaches at main street stores in nearly every U.S. state.

Like many other dumps shops, McDumpals recently began requiring potential new customers to pay a deposit (~$100) via Bitcoin before being allowed to view the goods for sale. Also typical of most card shops, this store’s home page features the latest news about new batches of stolen cards that have just been added, as well as price reductions on older batches of cards that are less reliable as instruments of fraud.

wholesale

Really?

McDumpal’s?

These guys are brazen!

Krebs goes on.

I’ve put together a slideshow (below) that steps through many of the updates that have been added to this shop since its inception. One big takeaway from this slideshow is that many shops are now categorizing their goods for sale by the state or region of the victim company.

This was a major innovation that we saw prominently on display in the card shop that was principally responsible for selling cards stolen in the Target and Sally Beauty retail breaches: In those cases, buyers were offered the ability to search for cards by the city, state and ZIP of the Target and Sally Beauty stores from which those cards were stolen. Experienced carders (as buyers are called) know that banks will often flag transactions as suspicious if they take place outside of the legitimate cardholder’s regular geographic purchasing patterns, and so carders tend to favor cards stolen from consumers who live nearby.

This “Business” has its own unique terminology, as detailed by Krebs in the article linked.

I strongly recommend that you follow the article’s link, read the terminology, and watch the slide show.

It’s not only fascinating, but frightening as well.

Technological companies are hard at work looking for ways to secure the sensitive nature of electronic payments in a world that long ago decided that cash was a secondary mode of payment, and new software is being developed both for securing the buyer’s information at the store level, and for making payments in a more secure manner.

Mobile wallets apps like LOOP and COIN have begun to enter into the market, albeit with issues.

The past week’s launch of The Wocket, a smart wallet with a re-programmable single credit card device that operates under a secured system using biometrics, may in fact herald the dawn of a new age in personal financial transactions, as well as the beginning of the end for that ugly bulge on the seat of men’s pants where an overstuffed wallet normally resides.

That’s all good and dandy, but I keep reverting back to that old saying… crime doesn’t pay, and secured technology is only secured until it is hacked, so criminals will always find ways to not pay for stuff, or rather, to have us pay for their stuff.

I just don’t think that those boys at McDumpals, and their suppliers will simply give up on the easy money, no matter how secure we try to make our electronic money.

mcdumpalsjoined

And that’s the last wire for Saturday, June 14, 2014.

Everything that was news before this moment, is now history.

H/T EL.

 

 

Many Americans are lauding the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held prisoner for the past five years by the Haqqani network, an insurgent group affiliated with the Taliban, probably somewhere in Pakistan.

His freedom came about via a prisoner exchange, with the United States trading five Taliban detainees being held in Guantanamo Bay.

The Guantanamo Bay detainees released are:

  • Khairullah Khairkhwa, an early member of the Taliban whose most prominent post was as governor of the Herat province from 1999 to 2001.
  • Noorullah Noori, who served as governor of the Balkh province and played a role in coordinating fighting against the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance.
  • Fazl Muhammad, the commander of the main force that fought against the Northern Alliance in 2001 and served as chief of army staff under the Taliban. He was also accused of war crimes during the Afghan civil war in the 1990s.
  • Abdul Haq Wasiq, deputy chief of the Taliban’s intelligence service.
  • Muhammad Nabi Omari, a minor Taliban official from the Khost province.

The exact details surrounding Bergdahl’s capture are sketchy, with many sources reporting that Sgt. Bergdahl was not captured by insurgents, but that he deserted his post, and willingly joined the terrorist organization that just released him. But let’s for a moment set aside Sgt. Bergdahls’s disquieting story, and pay attention to the larger story surrounding his “release.”

The Washington Post brings up some rather significant and troubling aspects of the story.

Amid jubilation Saturday over the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from captivity by the Taliban, senior Republicans on Capitol Hill said they were troubled by the means by which it was accomplished, which was a deal to release five Afghan detainees from the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Top Republicans on the Senate and House armed services committees went so far as to accuse President Obama of having broken the law, which requires the administration to notify Congress before any transfers from Guantanamo are carried out.

“Trading five senior Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl’s release may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans. Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. McKeon (R-Calif.) and the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, James M. Inhofe (Okla.), said in a joint statement.

Lawmakers were not notified of the Guantanamo detainees’ transfer until after it occurred.

The law requires the defense secretary to notify relevant congressional committees at least 30 days before making any transfers of prisoners, to explain the reason and to provide assurances that those released would not be in a position to reengage in activities that could threaten the United States or its interests.

Before the current law was enacted at the end of last year, the conditions were even more stringent. However, the administration and some Democrats had pressed for them to be loosened, in part to give them more flexibility to negotiate for Bergdahl’s release.

A senior administration official, agreeing to speak on the condition of anonymity to explain the timing of the congressional notification, acknowledged that the law was not followed. When he signed the law last year, Obama issued a signing statement contending that the notification requirement was an unconstitutional infringement on his powers as commander in chief and that he therefore could override it.

President Obama, on the occasion of signing H.R. 4310, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013”,  announced that he would refuse to abide by provisions of the law that he interpreted as being unconstitutional, because in his opinion, the duly enacted law placed unnecessary restrictions on his authority as head of the Executive Branch, and Commander in Chief of the nation’s military.

Statement by the President on H.R. 4310

Section 1028 fundamentally maintains the unwarranted restrictions on the executive branch’s authority to transfer detainees to a foreign country. This provision hinders the Executive’s ability to carry out its military, national security, and foreign relations activities and would, under certain circumstances, violate constitutional separation of powers principles. The executive branch must have the flexibility to act swiftly in conducting negotiations with foreign countries regarding the circumstances of detainee transfers. The Congress designed these sections, and has here renewed them once more, in order to foreclose my ability to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. I continue to believe that operating the facility weakens our national security by wasting resources, damaging our relationships with key allies, and strengthening our enemies. My Administration will interpret these provisions as consistent with existing and future determinations by the agencies of the Executive responsible for detainee transfers. And, in the event that these statutory restrictions operate in a manner that violates constitutional separation of powers principles, my Administration will implement them in a manner that avoids the constitutional conflict.

As my Administration previously informed the Congress, certain provisions in this bill, including sections 1225, 913, 1531, and 3122, could interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct the foreign relations of the United States. In these instances, my Administration will interpret and implement these provisions in a manner that does not interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct diplomacy. Section 1035, which adds a new section 495(c) to title 10, is deeply problematic, as it would impede the fulfillment of future U.S. obligations agreed to in the New START Treaty, which the Senate provided its advice and consent to in 2010, and hinder the Executive’s ability to determine an appropriate nuclear force structure. I am therefore pleased that the Congress has included a provision to adequately amend this provision in H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which I will be signing into law today.

Certain provisions in the Act threaten to interfere with my constitutional duty to supervise the executive branch. Specifically, sections 827, 828, and 3164 could be interpreted in a manner that would interfere with my authority to manage and direct executive branch officials. As my Administration previously informed the Congress, I will interpret those sections consistent with my authority to direct the heads of executive departments to supervise, control, and correct employees’ communications with the Congress in cases where such communications would be unlawful or would reveal information that is properly privileged or otherwise confidential. Additionally, section 1034 would require a subordinate to submit materials directly to the Congress without change, and thereby obstructs the traditional chain of command. I will implement this provision in a manner consistent with my authority as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and the head of the executive branch.

A number of provisions in the bill — including sections 534(b)(6), 674, 675, 735, 737, 1033(b), 1068, and 1803 — could intrude upon my constitutional authority to recommend such measures to the Congress as I “judge necessary and expedient.” My Administration will interpret and implement these provisions in a manner that does not interfere with my constitutional authority.

Here are my concerns…. and I have several.

Are we now, under the Obama administration, redefining “diplomacy” to include conducting secret negotiations by the Executive Branch with terrorist organizations?

Who exactly did the Obama administration negotiate with? It is blatantly obvious that under Obama’s direct order, members of our military met (directly or indirectly) and negotiated terms with known terrorists, under the guise of power of the Executive.

When did any President, or in fact, any member of any branch of any of level of government in the United States, gain the power to declare a duly enacted law as “unconstitutional” by decree, invalidating the Legislative Branch’s constitutional powers by an unstained opinion and the stroke of a pen? Obama talks about the law’s “violation” of the principle of separation of powers, even as he assumes unto himself the power of the Judicial Branch to decide on the constitutionality of duly enacted laws.

His are the actions of a Supreme Leader, who sees himself as standing above any and all other sources of power and authority in the government of the nation… a Führer.

Back in 2008, Ali Sina, an ex-Muslim, warned us who and what Obama was… and we failed to listen.

Something of that nature could never happen in the U.S.

Most people, caught up in the historical significance of the term Führer, never got past the title and into the substance of the article.

Go ahead and read it, and compare it to everything that’s gone on in this country since 2008.

We have a Führer in our White House.

Call it by any other name if that one makes you uncomfortable, but the end result are the same.

We have that type of a leader in charge of our military, and he recognizes no law other than his own.

Understanding Obama. The Making of a Fuehrer.

When you fall for someone to the extent that Obama’s followers have fallen for him, you surrender your reason and individuality to him willingly. When millions of people surrender their hearts and their minds to one person the result can be catastrophic. This is what happened in Germany with Hitler, in China with Mao, in the Soviet Union with Stalin, in Cuba with Castro, in Iran with Khomeini, and so on and so forth. Today, we think these men were monsters, but that was not what millions of their worshipers thought. Those people loved them.  Dictators can’t dictate, unless peole are willing to be dictated.

And that’s the last wire for Sunday, June 1st, 2014.

What was news before this moment, is now history.

 

 

President Barack Obama has finally decided it was time to keep the most broken promise of his Presidency.

(The Guardian, U.K.) The White House blew the cover of the top CIA agent in Afghanistan on Sunday, when the person’s name was included on a list given to reporters during a visit to the country by President Barack Obama.

The name was then emailed by the White House press office to a distribution list of more than 6,000 recipients, mostly members of the US media.

The agent in question, listed as chief of station, would be a top manager of CIA activity in Afghanistan, including intelligence collection and a drone-warfare programme under which unmanned aerial vehicles mount cross-border attacks into Pakistan.

The name appeared on a list of attendees requested by White House officials for the president’s visit to Bagram air base to mark Memorial Day, the national day of tribute to fallen service members. The list of 15 people was drawn up by the military, written into a routine press report and sent to Washington. The Obama press office then sent the list, unredacted, to the larger group.

The mistake did not come to light until the reporter who had filed from Afghanistan, the veteran Washington Post correspondent Scott Wilson, looked more closely at what he had sent and noticed the name and title.

“I drew it to their attention before they had noticed what had happened,” Wilson said on Monday, hours after returning from the 33-hour trip overseas.

We finally have transparency from the White House.

I’m half-suspecting that faced with an increasingly hostile White House Pres Corp pressing for answers as to why the President would allow such a thing to happen, Jay Carney will stick to his go-to play, answering that President Obama learned about the issue from the news, and has promised ‘not to rest until he gets to the bottom of the issue.”

In Obamaspeak that means “don’t bother me, I have fund raising to tend to.”

There’s an emerging image of this administration as being one so completely out of their league on the world stage, that it is reverting to the smaller field of local fund raising, college and late-night TV show speaking gigs, and impersonal social media pushes.

Obama at this stage reminds me of an aging rock band that could once sell out arenas, but are now lucky to fill Civic Auditoriums sharing billing with other aging rockers in “Remember When” festivals.

Bill Clinton, as close to an ultimate political beast as the US has seen in decades called it, according to Edward Klein’s “The Amateur”, as he urged Hillary to challenge Obama for the 2012 nomination while having cocktails with close friends in their Chappaqua homestead.

“I’ve heard more from Bush, asking for my advice, than I’ve heard from Obama,” my sources quoted Clinton as saying. “I have no relationship with the president — none whatsoever. Obama doesn’t know how to be president. He doesn’t know how the world works. He’s incompetent. He’s an amateur!”

An amateur in charge of the United States armed forces, led by amateurs and ideologues who have absolutely zero concern over anything other than politics is a frightening thing to ponder.

obama-fiddled

The Economist on Obama’s White House.

BARACK OBAMA has been portrayed as everything from post-racial political saviour to underground socialist. In Ron Suskind’s telling, Mr Obama is reduced to a hapless rookie manager presiding over insubordinate, quarrelling aides and aggrieved women. It is not news that Mr Obama and his aides were often at odds on issues ranging from the size of the fiscal stimulus, whether to bail out Chrysler and when to proceed with health-care reform. Mr Suskind, an American writer and journalist, provides a more detailed picture, with the help of lengthy interviews with former officials.

The presence of an amateur in the White House could actually pose a bigger threat to our national security than having a Socialist ideologue there. We can fix things internally in his wake, but the damage done to the U.S.  on the international stage will take long to repair, if it can ever be repaired at all.

(Beijing) THERE had been plenty of time to negotiate a deal—more than a decade, in fact. What Russia and China needed was the right amount of pressure to seal it. That came in the form of Western sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. Eager to show America and Europe that he has other friends to turn to, Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, on May 21st in Shanghai, secured a long-term agreement for Gazprom, a state-owned Russian firm, to sell natural gas to CNPC, a state-owned Chinese one. The final details of pricing—the main sticking point—were not released but the deal is thought to be worth about $400 billion over 30 years. It gives Mr Putin a much-needed strategic boost as he confronts those sanctions and suffers increasing isolation from the West.

China had reasons of its own to strike a deal. It needs as many energy sources as it can find, especially clean energy, so that the Communist Party can show its people that it is dealing with air pollution across the country, much of it caused by a reliance on coal. China’s prime minister, Li Keqiang, said earlier this year that the government had “declared war” on air pollution.

So both sides wanted to emerge from Mr Putin’s visit with an agreement, and to put a friendly stamp on their meeting. China’s president, Xi Jinping, praised the partnership between their two countries. Mr Putin told Chinese journalists that the relationship was at “the highest level in all its centuries-long history”. The two countries signed economic agreements, held military exercises offshore, and agreed on a joint statement of “concern” about Ukraine, which by implication might seem to absolve Mr Putin of his role in stirring unrest there.

So, as the Obama administration moves to defend yet one more show of ineptitude, this picture should bring a shiver to anyone who follows the politics of power.

putin Xi

 

Maybe it’s time for the opposition to unite, circle the wagons and agree to disagree on any issue other than getting someone in charge who knows how to run a nation.

Working out our differences while holding the reins of power is far more satisfying than bitterly arguing who on the right would be more right, as we watch the left tear everything down around us.

It’s time to get on the bus, and there can be no one hanging on to the door or half out the windows when it leaves the station, if we expect a chance of ever setting things right again.

And that’s the last wire for Monday, May 26th 2014.

What was news before this moment, is now history.

Good night.

Last week, Rep. Joe Garcia D-FL) was caught on camera enjoying a snack during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on government surveillance programs.

The irony of that is beyond amazing.

He was picking his ear and eating the wax, unaware that he was on camera during a house judiciary committee on surveillance.

The more I say it, the funnier it gets.

This week Joe is having his foot for dessert.

Garcia has tried to brush off criticism for his comment by writing it off as a cheap shot at his GOP opponents on the subject of immigration reform, and by standing on his Cuban immigrant status.

“This is an absurdity, accusing the son of Cuban immigrants of believing in Communism is just ridiculous,”  Garcia told The Miami Herald in an interview this week.

Joe… sadly, there are more and more children and grandchildren of Cuban immigrants espousing Socialism and neocommunism in Miami every day. You’re a prime example.

What Garcia did was to inadvertently expose the Democrat’s dirty little secret… they believe that Communism works, if managed properly by the right people.

Communists and Democrats all believe that leftist ideology fails because of opposition to it, and never because it is a failed ideology to begin with.

So Cuba’s “Communism” failed because of US interference, and Soviet Communism failed for the very same reason.

It’s the same argument that is used by leftists in the US government: if you point out to a liberal that after spending $15 trillion dollars on the War on Poverty there are more Americans than ever living in poverty, they will argue that it’s only so because Republicans have obstructed access to sufficient funds to win the war.

The same goes for education and any other failed leftist program in the US.

On the flip side, if you try to make the point to a leftist that the Obama Stimulus failed, they make the unprovable argument that without it, the economy would have fared worse.

I have searched all over for the Latin name of that logical fallacy, and I can’t find it so I am hereby officially creating The Walter Mercado Logical Fallacy.

It goes like this:

We did “A”, and while the outcome is bad, without having done “A”, things would have been worse.

That’s an impossible point to argue because it basically turns the debate into a discussion of whose astrological reading of the future is correct.

The reality is that without the stimulus money being spent, things could have A) remained unchanged, B) gotten better, or C) gotten worse. We don’t know what would have happened if the stimulus monies hadn’t been spent, because the stimulus was set in place and a linear progression of events was set into motion stemming from a present where the stimulus monies were spent.

Walter Mercado may have just fainted.

Or rather, he may have swooned.  Walter Mercado doesn’t faint… he swoons.

Make no mistake about something. Garcia believes, like every true leftist believes, that Communism works in spite of the mountains of evidence to the contrary.

He just said as much.

So all we have to figure out now, is whether we believe what came out of Garcia’s mouth, or what Walter Mercado says will happen to you if you don’t read this column.


Walter-Mercado

And that’s the last wire for Thursday, May 22nd 2014.

What was news before this moment, is now history.

Good night.

I am an intolerant man.

Ask anyone who has ever exchanged anything beyond social pleasantries with me, and they’ll confirm it.

I am an intolerant man, and this is my manifesto.

Once, caught up in the “liberal at 20” portion of the well-known (wrongly attributed) quote about the impact of aging on one’s political ideology, I would have agreed with the generally-accepted opinion which painted intolerance as a bad thing. All you have to do is to Google “quotes about intolerance” and you can see what I mean.

“Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.” – Mahatma Ghandi

“When you discriminate against anyone, you discriminate against everyone. It’s a display of terrible intolerance.” – Alan Dershowitz

“Intolerance is evidence of impotence.” – Alistair Crowley

Intolerance is violence.

Intolerance is discrimination.

Intolerance is impotence.

One would have to assume then that if intolerance means all of those things, then the opposite of intolerance must mean… well, the exact opposite, and that a world totally devoid of intolerance would be a world where peace, inclusiveness and potency abounded.

Think again

I am here to tell you right now that intolerance is the only hope for our survival as a nation, and most importantly, as a civilization.

The late Austrian-British philosopher Karl Raimund Popper addressed the idea and possible effects of a world governed by boundless tolerance in his 1954 masterpiece “The Open Society and it’s Enemies”.

Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. 

Today, we’re so Hell-bent on being politically correct that we force ourselves to suppress the mind’s natural inclination toward intolerance.

You see, people are naturally intolerant so tolerance is an unnatural state to live in, and it causes conflict in a person’s mind. Yet we embrace tolerance in the name of social coexistence at every level of social unit that we are a part of, from family, to neighborhood, to community, to work, to nation and beyond.

We constantly see things that we would not naturally tolerate, but we suppress that intolerance by reminding ourselves (sometime consciously, other times unconsciously) that everyone has a right to their own opinion, and that not everything is our business.

All that hold ups until something like this comes along.

From the Farsi Christian News Network.

A Syrian nun revealed to the Vatican radio that extremist Islamists in Syria crucified Christians for refusing to convert to Islam or pay a ransom.

Nun Raghed was managing the Catholic Patriarchate School in Damascus and is currently living in France. According to her, the armed groups, jihadists and radical Islamic organizations, which occupied the cities or villages, asked the Christians to convert to Islam or die, and sometimes they asked them to pay a ransom.

“As it is impossible to abandon their faith, they became Martyrs in a atrocious and violent way,” the nun stressed.She also noted that two men were crucified in Maloula because they refused to convert to Islam, and the jihadists shouted: “Convert to Islam, or you will be crucified like your master (Jesus).”

One more Karl Popper quote to mull over as that story sinks in.

Not only do I hate violence, but I firmly believe that the fight against it is not hopeless. I realize that the task is difficult. I realize that, only too often in the course of history, it has happened that what appeared at first to be a great success in the fight against violence was followed by a defeat. I do not overlook the fact that the new age of violence which was opened by the two World wars is by no means at an end. Nazism and Fascism are thoroughly beaten, but I must admit that their defeat does not mean that barbarism and brutality have been defeated.

Barbarism and brutality are on the march in our world, and tolerance is their ally.

That is certainly the fact in Europe, and even as Europe tries to turn back the tide of Islam, the U.S. encourages more tolerance from the European government:

From McClatchy DC

 — From pork rinds sprinkled on Muslim graves in France to a Christian pastor’s death sentence for apostasy in Iran, religious minorities were targeted across the globe in 2011, according to a U.S. government report Monday on the state of religious freedom.

The State Department’s annual compilation highlighted a few narrow openings in unlikely places – transitional Libya and closed-off Myanmar, for example – but it also criticized some traditional U.S. allies for backsliding when it came to protecting the freedom to worship.

Europe in particular was chided for failing to keep pace with its growing ethnic and religious diversity, with the report saying that the demographic change is sometimes accompanied by “growing xenophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim sentiment, and intolerance toward people considered ‘the other.’”

Belgium and France passed laws restricting dress that “adversely affected Muslims,” while Hungary introduced changes making it so difficult to register religious organizations that the number of recognized religious groups plummeted from more than 300 to fewer than 32.

“Members of faith communities that have long been under pressure report that the pressure is rising,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in Washington. “Even some countries that are making progress on expanding political freedom are frozen in place when it comes to religious freedom. So when it comes to this human right, this key feature of stable, secure, peaceful societies, the world is sliding backwards.”

There is no room in the United States for Islam, and while many people will point to the tolerant attitude toward religious freedom embedded in our Constitution, I will argue that permitting Islam to thrive on our soil will mean the end of all religious freedom, as Islam is as much a declaration of war on all religions outside of itself as much as it is a religion. The freedom of religion enshrined in our Bill of Rights will be the weapon used by Islamists to establish Islam in the United States, and with it the end of all religious freedom.

Muslims in the United States will abide by Islam no matter what just as they do now in Islamic nations where Islamofascism rains horrors down. Muslims in those nations whether out of fear or lack of interest, rarely (if ever) challenge or condemn the actions of fanatics, lunatics and jihadists, and they will do the same here.

Muslims will advance every aspect of their religion in as many places as possible on our soil. Specially in our universities, where the “liberal at 20” group is so busy trying to show the world the wonders of coexistence and tolerance by engaging in intolerance.

From The Blaze:

The administration at the University of California, Los Angeles is taking no sides regarding recent moves by its campus branch of Students for Justice in Palestine to try to exclude students who have taken trips to Israel sponsored by certain Jewish-affiliated groups from voting in the undergraduate student government.

Jewish organizations this week decried the effort to thwart travel to Israel on trips organized by pro-Israel groups – while giving a pass to pro-Palestinian, mosque- or church-sponsored travel – as “McCarthyism” and “repugnant.”

UCLA is taking a “neutral” stance on the issue?

This cannot be tolerated, not here.

There is no “neutral” stance on this issue. Neutrality is submisison.

Muslims in America support terrorism via their passive-aggressive stance on what Islam is doing in our world. They try and argue that the people doing the bombings and the beheading and the crucifixions are not true representatives of Islam, but the problem is then that the “true” representatives are NOT stopping them. For whatever reason, they tolerate them.

They will tolerate them here as well.

Peace and clarity of mind come when one stops suppressing the mind’s natural instincts to be intolerant in the face of dangerous intolerance.

We need to all be intolerant men and women and stand ready to defend our tolerant society from the onslaught of Islamic intolerance, and their tolerance-pushing enablers.

We must clear our minds from the artificially-imposed clouds of politically correct tolerance obstructing our thinking.

When we do, there will be nothing but eternal sunshine and a clear path on how to sustain our tolerant society.

I am an intolerant man, and this is my manifesto.

And that’s the last wire for Sunday, May 18th 2014.

What was news before this moment, is now history.

Good night.

 

Speaking to 1.200 graduating High School seniors in Topeka Kansas on the 60th anniversary of the groundbreaking Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling, Michelle Obama spoke of the growing segregation in post-MLK America.

TOPEKA, Kan. — Sixty years after the Supreme Court outlawed “separate but equal” schools for blacks and whites, civil rights advocates say American schools are becoming increasingly segregated, while the first lady, Michelle Obama, lamented that “many young people are going to schools with kids who look just like them.”

“Today, by some measures, our schools are as segregated as they were back when Dr. King gave his final speech,” Mrs. Obama told 1,200 graduating high school seniors Friday here in the city that gave rise to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case.

In a speech that was part commencement address, part policy pronouncement and part journey into her own past, Mrs. Obama said that Brown’s advances were being reversed. “Many districts in this country have actually pulled back on efforts to integrate their schools, and many communities have become less diverse,” she said, leading to schools that are less diverse.

“And too often,” Mrs. Obama said, “those schools aren’t equal, especially ones attended by students of color which too often lag behind.”

~~~

“I think about my mother, who, as a little girl, went to segregated schools in Chicago and felt the sting of discrimination,” she said. “I think about my husband’s grandparents, white folks born and raised right here in Kansas — products themselves of segregation,” who helped raise a biracial grandson.

“And then,” Mrs. Obama said, “I think about how that child grew up to be the president of the United States, and how today, that little girl from Chicago is helping to raise her granddaughters in the White House.”

You can read the entire article here, and if you do, you may notice the absence of a few words very pertinent to a dialogue centered around the growing segregation in a post-MLK America.

I wholeheartedly agree with Mrs. Obama, but we may not see eye-to-eye on the reason for this growing segregation.

Michelle Obama and others of her mindset wish to paint a picture of an America slowly skulking back to segregation, but that is not the case at all, and all one has to do to understand that is to look around. Once you do that, you may realize what those missing words in the article are.

The first missing word is “disintegration”.

The black America that walked with Dr. King, that fought at his side, and that bled with him looked NOTHING like the black America of today. The black family in America is in a rapid state of disintegration

Thomas Sowell sums up the issue as only he can:

“The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.”

That  black family is disintegrating.

The next word that’s missing from that article is “disassimilation”.

The black America that walked with Dr. King looked like this:

110 CivilRightcoalition1981 14' wide

The beneficiaries of their struggle and their sacrifice look nothing of the sort.

gangstas

Black America is engaged in mass disassimilation away from the mainstream American culture.

Bill Cosby says it best:

They’re standing on the corner and they can’t speak English. I can’t even talk the way these people talk: Why you ain’t, Where you is, What he drive, Where he stay, Where he work, Who you be… And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk.

Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth. In fact you will never get any kind of job making a decent living.

People marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an education, and now we’ve got these knuckleheads walking around. The lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal. These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids. $500 sneakers for what? And they won’t spend $200 for Hooked on Phonics.

I am talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was 2? Where were you when he was 12? Where were you when he was 18 and how come you didn’t know that he had a pistol? And where is the father? Or who is his father?

People putting their clothes on backward: Isn’t that a sign of something gone wrong? People with their hats on backward, pants down around the crack, isn’t that a sign of something? Or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up? Isn’t it a sign of something when she has her dress all the way up and got all type of needles [piercing] going through her body?

What part of Africa did this come from? We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don’t know a thing about Africa. With names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed and all of that crap, and all of them are in jail.

Brown or black versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person’s problem. We have got to take the neighborhood back. People used to be ashamed. Today a woman has eight children with eight different ‘husbands’ — or men or whatever you call them now. We have millionaire football players who cannot read. We have million-dollar basketball players who can’t write two paragraphs. We as black folks have to do a better job. Someone working at Wal-Mart with seven kids, you are hurting us. We have to start holding each other to a higher standard.

We cannot blame the white people any longer.”

The last word that’s missing in that New York Times article is “choice”.

Having been handed the right to make free choices, black America has chosen to walk away from American culture.

They are disintegrating by choice, they are disassimilating by choice, and they are segregating themselves by choice.

I want no part of a culture that promotes violence, disrespect for women and lawlessness. Listen to some rap if you can… it’s all there.

That behavior is not conducive to integration and assimilation into a culture. It’s not even a culture.

That’s an assault on a culture.

Those that chose to NOT disassimilate themselves from the mainstream culture have the same fighting chance everyone else in America has at that American dream, and I welcome them with open arms.

I disagree with Mr.Cosby on one thing however.

They can certainly blame white people.

Or at least Lyndon B. Johnson and every other Democrat that’s held office since him, as well as every white person who has voted to put them in office.

It was LBJ who declared the “War on Poverty” that gave birth to our current entitlement system.

It was LBJ who gloated over the expected effects of his idea as he chatted with two State Governors high above the US on Air Force One:

“I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”

And that’s the last wire for Saturday, May 17th 2014.

What was news before this moment, is now history.

Good night.