Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Secretary of State Clinton to Visit Azerbaijan and Georgia

Hmmm....  This all seems to be fitting together:
(Reuters) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Ukraine, Poland, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia July 1-5, the State Department said on Friday, seeking to promote stability in the volatile South Caucasus region.

This would occur right before the new moon on 11 July.  See my other recent posts for the significance of this.

CIA Reference Map of Iran

This could be useful. Click on the image for a very large version suitable for printing.


More Rumors of War

This should probably be taken with a grain of salt, considering its source
Preparations are underway to launch the military attack from Azerbaijan and Georgia, reports our sister paper Akhbar Al Khaleej, quoting military sources.  Israel was, in fact, training pilots in Turkey to launch the strike and was smuggling planes into Georgia using Turkish airspace, they said.  However, Turkey was unaware of Israel's intention of transferring the planes to Georgia, the sources said.  The unexpected crisis between Israel and Turkey following an Israeli commando raid on an aid flotilla bound for Gaza Strip hit Israeli calculations.  Azerbaijan-based intelligence units, working under the cover of technicians, trainers and consultants, have helped with the preparations, the sources said.  Military equipment, mostly supplied by the US, was transported to a Georgian port via the Black Sea.
But who knows?  It is bizarre enough to have a grain of truth.

DEBKA adds descriptions of a third carrier group now in Iranian waters:
1. The USS Nassau Amphibious Assault ship is not just an enormous landing craft for the 3,000 Marines aboard; its decks carry 6 vertical take-off AV-HB Harrier attack planes; four AH-1W Super Cobra, twelve CH-46 Sea Knight and CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, as well choppers convertible to fast V-22 Osprey airplanes capable of landing in any conditions.  This vast warship has 1,400 cabinets for sleeping the entire Marine-24th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard.
2.  The amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde which carries 800 Marines equipped for instantaneous landing.
3.  The amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland which carries 400 Marines and 102 commandos trained for special operations behind enemy lines.

Then there is this report last week of US troops massing on the border between Azerbaijan and Iran :
The Israeli Air Force recently unloaded military equipment at a Saudi Arabia base, a semi-official Iranian news agency claimed Wednesday, while a large American force has massed in Azerbaijan, which is on the northwest border of Iran.

Iran’s government-funded Press TV reported that the Revolutionary Guards began closely patrolling the Islamic Republic’s northwestern border after noticing the American forces, which Iran claimed also included Israeli troops. Azerbaijan’s independent Trend news site also reported on Wednesday that American armed forces are in the country, which is in an armed conflict with rebels.Revolutionary Guards Brigadier General Mehdi Moini said Tuesday that his forces are mobilized “due to the presence of American and Israeli forces on the western border.” The Guards reportedly have called in tanks and anti-aircraft units to the area in what amounts to a war alert.

Interesting. We could be in for a big event

US Naval Buildup Near Iran

According to STRATFOR, we now have two carriers groups off the Iranian coast:

Click for larger version at STRATFOR

There are numerous reports of increases in military activity, along with rumors of an upcoming Israeli strike.
Reports of mass movements of Israeli and US naval warships have been circulating through the media for weeks. On June 19, the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported that 12 US and Israeli warships were seen moving through the Suez Canal from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.
That was probably the USS Harry S. Truman and its task force transiting the Suez.  Maybe they are just replacing the USS Eisenhower task force in normal rotation.  But the Eisenhower hasn't left yet.

I note there is a new moon coming on 11 July.

A negotiated settlement with the Taliban

Even though Obama has ramped up the war in Afghanistan, he is committed to a withdrawal by 2011.  The only way to do this is to allow the Taliban to win -- but with conditions.  I believe the plan is to push them hard over the next year, and then negotiate a settlement that requires them to turn over Bin Laden.  In return, we betray our allies (the Northern Alliance et al), and allow the Taliban to regain power under a new name.  We then pay them to allow us to help them develop their mineral resources, and to control the fractious tribes.  As long as they play the game, we play it with them.

Then everyone is happy.  Except the women of Afghanistan of course.

Here is a great STRATFOR summary of the 30-year war in Afghanistan.  One of the primary points of the article is that we have never actually fought it like a war.  We never have had enough forces on the ground to really make a difference.

America's wars of the last 50 years have been fought primarily with aerial bombing.  It never really works, because the enemy decentralizes to suburban areas and the countryside where even precision bombing is not effective -- unless you bomb every single house, recreational vehicle, and tent.

Despite our technology, wars still cannot be won without large numbers of troops on the ground.  We have not done that since World War II -- not even in Iraq.   And so we get wars that go on and on and on.

After full victory, an occupation is required.  Without a full occupation, the victory is again lost.  We have not done that recently either.  Note that occupation troops are not the same group as the fighting troops.  As Jerry Pournelle said recently:

The Romans understood this: the Legions were not good at pacification and nation building. Auxiliaries, with Roman officers and non-coms but native forces who were never going to be pulled but would remain and intermarry and be Romanized -- were the proper instruments for that task. 
Our military leadership is starting to understand this again.  None of our Presidents since FDR have understood it -- including Mr. Obama. (Actually Mr. Obama understands very little of anything.  Except he received lots of early mentoring in the destruction of capitalism, which he is now busily putting into practice.)

Of course what this means is that you don't go to war lightly.  It is a huge commitment.

The attack on Pearl Harbor resulted in a full commitment of the US to defeat Japan.  The idea was to destroy them militarily and then invade and occupy.  There was no discussion of trying to win the hearts and minds of the good Japanese people.  There was no worrying about killing civilians.  The Japanese were the enemy.  We went to war to kill them and take over their country.

If the US were the same country today as it was back then, the 9/11 attacks would have resulted in the invasion of Afghanistan with millions of troops.  We would have invaded Pakistan too, and told them that if they resisted, we would bomb and occupy their cities.  Industry would have been cranked up to double and then triple our tanks, ships, and aircraft.  Any resistance would have resulted in our wiping out whole villages and even cities with firebombing like we did in Germany.  In appropriate situations, where we found deep bunkers for example, we would use nukes.  We would rule the countryside as well as the cities, and install a government at all levels.

And Iran would be very quiet right now.

But I guess we are "Beyond War" -- which I think is the same thing as Defeat.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Quote for the Day

With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.

--James Madison, Letter to James Robertson, April 20, 1831

The "General Welfare Clause" of the Constitution has been used to expand government into every aspect of our lives.

I hope everyone realizes that if the Constitution were to be obeyed, all government agencies would disappear, and the Federal government would have almost no power over us.

A government that obeyed the Constitution would cost very little.  You could probably run it on voluntary donations rather than taxes.  If you did away with the income tax, I would be glad to donate 10% of my income to support congressional and executive salaries, defense, and the federal court system (which is pretty much all that is authorized by the Constitution).

And if everyone could keep the money that we throw away on the federal government, a new era of prosperity would ensue.

Imagine what you could do with those extra tens of thousands of dollars each year!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hope and Change on a Cross


Throughout Obama's rise to power, he has been seen as the Savior, a combination of the Platonic Philospher-King and Christ.  For example, here is Rev. Jesse Jackson's response after the election:

“What Barack Obama has accomplished is the single most extraordinary event that has occurred in the 232 years of the nation’s political history. ... The event itself is so extraordinary that another chapter could be added to the Bible to chronicle its significance.”

And then there is this from Micah Tillman, a lecturer in philosophy at the Catholic University of America:

But he’ll do even more. He won’t just heal our city-states and souls. He won’t just bring the Heavenly Kingdom — dreamt of in both Platonism and Christianity — to earth. He will heal the earth itself.

And that, my friends, is taking the philosopher king to the next level. Only a Christian Platonism could predict what Obama will do.

We might say, then, that Obama is not only post-partisan and post-racial, but post-Platonist. The context in which he lives, moves, and has his being may have been first designed in the 300’s B.C.; but it was radically re-designed in the First Century, A.D.

And of course there are all of the photos and art with halos and worshipers on their knees:

Obama even describes himself in messianic terms.  This is from his nomination victory speech:

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment - this was the time - when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
Hmmm.... Obama seems to have misread the legend of King Canute.  Perhaps Ozymandias is more to his liking.

And now the inevitable chapter is beginning to play out. With Obama under siege, with his public approval ratings dropping, with vast deficits and debt, and talk of a "failed presidency", we are beginning to see things like this:

Obama is too good, too righteous.  As the modern Christ, he is being crucified by those evil people who don't understand.

Sigh.  I just hope he says "It is done" soon.


When Your Health Insurance Premiums Go Up, Blame Obama

As part of ObamaCare, the government was given the power to tell insurance companies what they could do. In accordance with the new law, a "patients bill of rights" will be defined and implemented this year.

But it has never been revealed exactly what will be in it.

A full list is planned to be announced today, after meetings at the White House with insurance company CEOs. It is anticipated that lifetime maximums will no longer be allowed, that cancellations will not be allowed for any reason if the patient is under the care of a doctor, and that policies will not be denied on the basis of pre-existing conditions -- among who-knows-what other things.

All of this costs money, so the insurance companies have already been raising rates to get a little bit ahead of the socialized medicine curve. The new law also gives the government the power to tell companies what rates they can charge, but the bureaucracy for doing that isn't in place yet. (A whole new government organization needs to be created and staffed with an estimated 20,000 adjusters, managers, etc.)

The whole point of the law is to make health insurance prohibitively expensive, send some CEOs to jail for trying to be profitable, and have the whole system collapse so that the public will clamor for a completely government run plan.

It is just another example of the Obama implementation of the Cloward-Piven/Alinsky process for societal change via orchestrated crises.

Obama and his cronies will blame the big bad CEOs and the horrible insurance companies and their "obscene" profits for the problems. They will argue that only the government can be trusted with health care.

They are creating the crisis on purpose to replace freedom with Marxism.
To break the Cloward Piven cycle, just remember that Obama and the other Democrats, not the insurance companies, will be the ones responsible for the upcoming heath insurance disasters.  And the government can never be trusted with anything.

Communist and pedophile Frank Marshall Davis, Obama's close mentor and "father figure" from age 10 to 18, would be proud.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Obama isn't a Real President

I contend that Obama is not a real president.  He is a fake president, and a fake American -- in his beliefs, if not in his birthplace.

There are many arguments I could make, but here is a simple observation:  After I posted the photo of Reagan sitting at the Presidential Resolute Desk, I found other photos of President's desks.

Here is FDR's desk in 1945:

Here is JFK's desk:

Then there is Ford:

And another couple of photos of Reagan's desk:

Now here is Obama:

His desk is always bare.  I don't think the guy actually does anything except read speeches written by his handlers.


The Government Takeover of High Tech

Dennis Kneale, CNBC Media & Technology Editor, reports:

The Obama Administration is waging a silent, unwise war on high-tech, hell-bent on taming a few targets to bolster a get-tough image. The feds’ enmity toward what we’re best at—technology and making money on it—threatens our long-term economic recovery.

It will curb job growth in an industry the employs well over two million people in the U.S. It will penalize investors. And it could hurt even consumers, who, far as I can tell, aren’t injured by the practices now under review.

These government forces are more interested in meddling in markets to shield weaker companies—the laggards—from the strong ones: the lethal. The feds now try to intervene before anything bad happens, rather than respond after a problem pops up. The effect is to penalize success and criminalize bigness.

I have covered high-tech since the 1980s, and I never have seen the feds involve themselves so fiercely and frequently as they have since President Obama took office. I talked about it on Friday on "Closing Bell" with Maria Bartiromo.

Read more, and watch the video below:

Some additional quotes:

One understands the obligations to enforce the law, but this overzealous campaign goes farther than that—this looks begrudged, retaliatory, possessed of an unabashed, unalloyed anti-business bias. Some see it as part of a bigger, pernicious picture.

“I generally share your sense of the assault on the techies, but have also found that every other industry is under regulatory assault,” says Thomas Curran, a former securities-fraud prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. 

So many industries now rely on public dollars that “regulators have greater sway over private industry generally,” says Curran, a partner at Peckar & Abramson in New York. He laments an attitude among regulators “that business is ‘bad’ and must somehow be cheating, especially if they make money. I encounter this every day.”

Obama and his "National Mission"

Obama's idea of a "national mission" to replace oil with renewable energy -- and create jobs doing it -- is so ridiculously misguided that I hardly know what to say.

Obama Sucks

Tell me, what happens when you take a country with an entire economy fueled very inexpensively with oil, and try to convert it using government funds to "renewable" energy that costs 10 to 50 times as much?

Spain tried it, and it has destroyed them.

Yes, you can create enormous numbers of government jobs. In fact almost everyone in the country will likely end up with jobs at least partially funded by the government.

Then the true cost of the adventure will hit. By the laws of economics, all of our products will cost on average 10 to 50 times as much as they do now -- and that doesn't even take into account the building costs of the new energy infrastructure of windmills and solar panels. In the interim, the cost will be much higher.

Energy-intensive products like steel (particularly stainless steel) and aluminum will become worth much more than gold -- and will then become completely unavailable.  (How in the hell can you run an electric arc furnace with a windmill?)  Food, grown using energy-intensive fertilizer, with energy intensive tractors and harvesters, will skyrocket in price to consume most of the income of a common family. Imported fruit like bananas will be unavailable.

 Electric arc furnaces at a steel mill

International trade will cease, as US products become vastly more expensive than Chinese products. Inflation will soar as deficits reach hundreds of trillions of dollars.

The resulting depression will make the one in the 1930's look like a party. At least back then only a very small percentage of people starved to death.

You know, for a small fraction of the tens of trillions of dollars that the renewable energy adventure will cost our country, we could develop better oil extraction technologies that would greatly increase our proven oil reserves. But we really don't even need to do that.  We have enough oil to last 50 to 100 years as it is.  By then the natural marketplace will transition to other sources, perhaps nuclear fusion, or even just regular fission reactors that have been already perfected (by France, embarrassingly enough). Actually, without government intervention in the 1970's, most of our energy would already be "Beyond Petroleum".

Or, again for a small fraction of the cost, we could colonize and mine the asteroids and Mars.

 A real president who did not bow to foreign kings
Click to enlarge

Inside Story

Those of you who remember Jim M. will likely be interested in this story.  Jim was my second level manager at a large aerospace company in the late 1980s.  With similar beliefs, we became friends.  After his retirement, we corresponded quite a bit.  Jim, although an engineer, was a fantastic writer--much better than I.  He was able to inject incisive humor into otherwise too serious discussions of current events and the philosophy of freedom.

In the 1990's, Jim and his wife had a retirement "ranch" property near I-25 not too far from the Glorietta Pass in New Mexico.  We visited them twice, and had great times talking about politics, shooting, and generally touring around the area.

Jim passed away in 2000, but I still think about him fairly frequently.  After his death, his children sold the property.

Last Sunday, my wife and I were traveling on I-25, heading back home after looking into some work opportunities in Albuquerque.  I had been in the area of Jim's ranch a couple of times over the last few years, and had actually left the interstate and driven to his old front gate each time, just in remembrance of him.  But we had gotten a late start, and were zipping along with no intention of stopping.

When we were almost exactly opposite the old ranch, something hit the windshield with a loud "POCK" noise.  The nearest vehicle was several hundred yards in front of us, so I really don't know what it could have been.  The projectile left a classic bulls-eye fracture more than an inch in diameter, with a tiny central pit of pulverized glass.  It was a surprisingly high-energy event.  In fact, I have never in all my driving (probably almost a million miles) had that much damage from a rock hit.

With thunderstorms predicted ahead of us, and the fact that windshield repairs work best if the crack has never seen water, we pulled into Las Vegas, NM ("The Original Las Vegas", as it says on their sign), looking for a repair kit.  The Wal-Mart didn't have them, so we went to the auto parts store across the street, finally setting up our repair in the shade of a tree behind a nearby bank so that the UV-curing resin would not cure too fast.

On the way to Wal-Mart, we had passed the old K-BOB restaurant where we had once had lunch with Jim, his daughter, and his young grandson.  (I remember his grandson put way too much Tabasco sauce in his soup, and then couldn't eat it.)

The whole repair delayed us about an hour -- which allowed us to miss some big thunderstorms around Trinidad Colorado that had gone through about an hour before, spawning tornadoes.

Jim was a great believer in guns, so I would imagine that if he wanted to get my attention, it would be natural that he would do it with a high-speed projectile.

And it is certainly an odd thing to happen when we were exactly opposite the ranch.

The next time I am in the area, I think I will stop by the old gate for a moment.   And I really need to collect up some of his old writings that I have and make them readable with modern computers.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

***ALERT*** Saudis to Open Airspace for Israeli Attack on Iran


The Times reports that an agreement has been reached between Israel and Saudi Arabia to allow use of Saudi airspace for a full attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

It is important to note that there is a new moon Friday and Saturday nights -- the perfect time for such an attack.


0bama has made incredible changes to our society.  In only a year and a half, he has:

  • Radically increased our national debt to astronomical levels, which will lead to a sovereign debt crisis and the destruction of the dollar
  • Engaged in propaganda assaults and withdrew support for the only free society in the Mideast
  • Has ruled out any effective ways to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons to establish the New Caliphate and start a new Holocaust
  • Has embarked on an attempt to completely control personal investment
  • Has nationalized our health care system

Our nation is now in decline.

The election of 0bama was a worse defeat for the US than Pearl Harbor.

Monday, June 7, 2010

BDUIF Update

Updated with previous day's data on 8 June 0530 UTC.

The Big Dustup Index Fund (BDUIF) is a strategy for investing in oil and gold that attempts to mitigate downside risk due to variations in the world economy.  By balancing exchange traded funds (ETFs) in bullish oil and bullish leveraged gold, along with bearish leveraged ETFs in US and foreign stock indexes, the BDUIF tries to produce a "crisis" investment that does not change during ordinary economic/political/military environments, but will go up greatly if an "event" occurs.  These events could include a general economic meltdown, a Mideast War, increased terrorism, or a variety of other interesting occurrences.

I have been managing a portion of my portfolio using the BDUIF philosophy since early February.  It has shown much less volatility than the overall stock and commodity markets, and has remained pretty much even.

The following chart shows the BDUIF performance over time.  Note that the intent of the fund is to follow the average of the ratios of oil and gold to the US Dow Jones Industrial Average.  Depending on the nature of a crisis, it is anticipated that the DJIA would go down, and gold and/or oil would go up.  The BDUIF is positioned to take advantage of this potential split between the DJIA and gold, and the DJIA and oil.

The following chart shows the performance of the BDUIF since inception on 4 February 2010.

 Click to Enlarge

As you can see, lately I have had some difficulty making the BDUIF track the average line (light blue).  On two occasions in late May, the BDUIF was excessively heavy on DPK, which is a 3x short fund based on non-US stocks (actually the MSCI EAFE index).  Oddly, foreign markets have been doing better lately than the US, which means that the BDUIF is lagging when measured against US markets.

As seen below, the BDUIF is actually following quite well the average of the ratios of oil and gold to the European DAX market.

  Click to Enlarge

An additional issue in late May was that I had lightened up on oil to invest more in the short equity position in general, so did not keep up with oil when it increased with respect to the stock market at the end of May. I have returned to a more balanced approach, but am still a little heavy on the short positions, since I believe the world markets are in correction-mode.

If I am correct in this assessment, I should be able to catch up with the DJIA-based light blue line.  I will however stay more closely tied to the original balanced BDUIF philosophy and not try to "beat" it by second-guessing trends.

Here is the current ticker-symbol makeup of the BDUIF, as straight holdings and with leverage accounted for:

 Without Leverage

 With Leverage

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

How to Stop the Oil Leak


On several occasions, the Soviet Union used nuclear weapons to plug oil leaks:

The USSR had a sad experience in containing oil-well flowing in Central Asia. Two breakdowns occurred almost simultaneously. One of them took place in Urtabulak, where a gas torch was burning. The other one took place in Pamuk – a breakdown at an oil well. The two giant flames were extinguished with the help of nuclear explosions. They drilled two wells to approach the emergency wells under the ground and lowered nuclear devices into the wells. The troubled wells were blocked as a result of the explosions.

The work was extremely hard, but it was worth it. I took direct participation in the experiment and was personally present there during the explosions. The experiment was a success. The exploitation of the Pamuk oil well was launched again and nothing could remind of the disaster which had been liquidated with the help of nucleal explosions.

It would probably work very well indeed, and only add a little bit to the radiation background. (The atolls in the Pacific where we detonated numerous bombs are now thriving natural environments.)

International Law

Here is what international law says about the attack by Israel on the Gaza convoy:

67. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral States may not be attacked unless they:
(a) are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture;
(b) engage in belligerent acts on behalf of the enemy;
(c) act as auxiliaries to the enemy's armed forces;
(d) are incorporated into or assist the enemy's intelligence system;
(e) sail under convoy of enemy warships or military aircraft; or
(f) otherwise make an effective contribution to the enemy's military action, e.g., by carrying military materials, and it is not feasible for the attacking forces to first place passengers and crew in a place of safety. Unless circumstances do not permit, they are to be given a warning, so that they can re-route, off-load, or take other precautions.

The above is from the "San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, 12 June 1994".

So the Israeli actions were well within international law.

The "community peace activists" on board the blockade runners, chanting about Muhammed and Allah and "death to the fascist Jews" are lucky they were not all sent to Davy Jones' locker.  They refused to stop, warning shots were fired, they were boarded by Israeli commandos, and then they attacked the commandos.  Ten of the activists/terrorists were killed.

And of course Israel is criticized.

Israel showed far too much restraint.  My advise to Israel is to just sink all future blockade runners that refuse to stop. The next batch of activists after that may think a little bit before deciding to run a war-time blockade carrying aid and comfort to the enemy.

Anything that reduces the number of "community activists" improves the world in general.