Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Celebrating Earth Day Obama-style

From the Wall Street Journal:

The backup Air Force One aircraft, one of two Boeing 747-200B series planes used to transport the president, made a three-hour round-trip flight from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to New York early Monday, accompanied by a single F-16 fighter. The goal was to get a publicity photo of the plane flying in front of the Statue of Liberty, which sits in the New York Harbor between New York and New Jersey. An Air Force spokesman Tuesday said the photographer was seated in the back seat of the F-16 fighter jet.

Some local authorities in New York were informed of the flight before it occurred, but the Federal Aviation Administration, on orders from the military, told New York officials not to disclose the information to residents or businesses. When New Yorkers saw the huge plane bearing down on lower Manhattan followed by the F-16 jet, many suspected another terrorist attack was about to occur. Some buildings in New York and in Jersey City, N.J., ordered evacuations.

Of course, our CIC denies any prior knowledge of this event, and once again expresses outrage and leaves someone else to take the fall. Whatever happened to "The Buck Stops Here" type of presidency? Apparently our fearless leaders in Washington have never heard of Photoshop (then again, former Democratic presidential hopefull John Kerry flew all the way to Vietnam just to take pictures, so I guess this is par for the course). And let's see, just how big was the carbon footprint on this little stunt? Again, I suppose that shouldn't be surprising, either, as his Earth Day "hop" to Iowa burned over 9000 gallons of fuel.

I'm so glad that our tax dollars are once again being spent wisely by sound stewards of the environment. Gee, I sure hope they got a good picture.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Land of No Smiles

From ForeignPolicy.com:

Renowned documentary photographer Tomas van Houtryve entered North Korea by posing as a businessman looking to open a chocolate factory. Despite 24-hour surveillance by North Korean minders, he took arresting photographs of Pyongyang and its people—images rarely captured and even more rarely distributed in the West. They show stark glimmers of everyday life in the world’s last gulag.

I don't know about this being "the world's last gulag", unfortunately, things are pretty grim in some other areas of the world, too, but it shows us a glimpse into the logical conclusion of Communism. "Junior" summed it up pretty well in Comments section of Small Dead Animals:

What's not to like?

No vehicles = no pollution
Nothing to buy = no subprime mortgages or mcmansions
No food = no obesity
No electricity = no global warming

In short everything the chicken littles of the climate change industry should adore.

We've got a map posted on the wall of our computer room that shows the world at night. North Korea is dark. You can see a nighttime satellite image of the two Koreas here.

I don't know about you, but I want the option of light at night. I want heat when it's cold. I enjoy regular meals, transportation, well-stocked stores - all the benefits of capitalism. We don't need to go down this path.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Attack on Veterans

I get steamed about a lot of things, it's true, but this latest round of attacks on veterans has really, really got me up in arms.

First the Missouri Militia report, then the DHS memo, now the helpful training video from Penn State, what's next?

Some of the highlights from the Missouri report and the DHS memo can be found at The New American:

Public outcry over a similarly controversial political profiling report by a federal-state “fusion center” under the aegis of the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) continues to reverberate through the Show Me State. The report, entitled “The Modern Militia Movement”, lists a number of violent activities attributed to “right wing” militia groups and then posits “mind set” links between them and legitimate, law-abiding groups, political parties, and political candidates. The report, which was disseminated to law enforcement, specifically names Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas), who ran for president in the 2008 Republican Party primaries, and Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin, presidential candidates, respectively, for the Libertarian and Constitution parties. (See “Profiling and Criminalizing Political Dissent”).

The report states: “Militia members most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups. It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty, or Libertarian material.” On March 29, Campaign for Liberty staff member Steve Bierfeldt was stopped and subjected to harassing search and questioning by law enforcement at the St. Louis airport after the conclusion of the group’s conference, at which Rep. Ron Paul was the keynote speaker. The intimidation session was recorded on Bierfeldt’s iPhone and has subsequently become an Internet sensation.

The DHS report is very damning.

(U) Disgruntled Military Veterans
(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the capabilities of extremists—including lone wolves or small terrorist cells—to carry out violence. The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.

— (U) After Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1990-1991, some returning military veterans—including Timothy McVeigh—joined or associated with rightwing extremist groups.

— (U) A prominent civil rights organization reported in 2006 that “large numbers of potentially violent neo-Nazis, skinheads,and other white supremacists are now learning the art of warfare in the [U.S.] armed forces.”

— (U//LES) The FBI noted in a 2008 report on the white supremacist movement that some returning military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have joined extremist groups.

You can read the full DHS report here.

David K. Rehbein, national commander of the American Legion, expresses my problem with this report quite well:

The American Legion is well aware and horrified at the pain inflicted during the Oklahoma City bombing, but Timothy McVeigh was only one of more than 42 million veterans who have worn this nation's uniform during wartime. To continue to use McVeigh as an example of the stereotypical "disgruntled military veteran" is as unfair as using Osama bin Laden as the sole example of Islam.

Penn State put out a wonderful training video for teachers, which is discussed in Dealing With Disruptive Veterans:

In the video, an instructor pays a visit to her department head indicating that she is still having a problem with a student. The department head responds eerily, asking whether the referenced student is "the veteran." She indicates that, yes, it is “the veteran.”

The timid instructor then explains to the department head that she's very nervous because the veteran student has confronted her in reference to the poor grades he's receiving in the class. Then the video breaks away to a flashback. In the flashback, the instructor calmly assures the student, "This isn't a personal thing against you."

Of course, the veteran student responds angrily. His gaze is intense and evokes fear of a possible physical assault as he says “I think it is. You've made it very clear in your class how you feel about the war and you're taking it out on me." The instructor responds in a pleading tone, "My personal beliefs have nothing to do with the way I treat you."

At least two messages in this video are very disturbing: First, instructors are often unfairly attacked for injecting their beliefs into their courses when, in fact, they do not. Second, those assaults come from dangerous extremists on the right including, but not limited to, members of the military.

Both of those messages are untrue and intentionally propagandistic. But that’s not what Penn State is saying.

These returning veterans are brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. This could be MY brother - a man who has dedicated his life to the service of others through the military and the church, who served in the first Iraq war. This administration appears to be actively targeting not those who should be our true concerns, but those who are not willing to be mindless sheeple and turn their hearts, minds and incomes over to the D.C. "cause de jour". The whole thing makes me very heartsore.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Am I A Racist?

Does this look familiar?

Planned Economy or Planned Destruction cartoon from the FDR era.

Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Rewriting History as We Know It - Goodbye Fred

As has been demonstrated by recent politcal events, those who live in academic ivory towers have a habit of ignoring or dismissing information which they find inconvenient or contrary to their preferred paradigm. I believe such is the case with the Bosnian Pyramids.

Egypt has the largest pyramid, but Bosnia's is the highest!
26 August 2008

Sarajevo Hotel Grand

This week experts from around the world have arrived in Bosnia to participate in the first International Coneference about the Bosnian Pyramids at Visoko. More than 120 people attended the conference on day three to hear experts presenting their arguments to answer questions surrounding the disputed Pyramids in Bosnia. Although a team has been excavating the site for the last three year it has only 'scratched the surface' of the pyramid's true nature, according to a number of the experts. Scientists in the fields of Geolgy, Archaeology and other sciences will work together to provide answers to these questions. At this stage, no tools or artefacts have been found that replicate discoveries in other pyramids around the world. Egyptian experts are comparing this project to Henry Carter's explorations. Having spent three years digging without any success, he found nothing. But Carter was lucky because he had access to rich Egyptian archives that helped him enormously. In the case of the Bosnian Pyramids, German archaeologists have found evidence of continious life at Visoko Valley including settlements of 10,000 people dating back some 6000 years. In bosnia, we do not have any archive against which to compare modern discoveries so the task is more complex. The APBPS Foundation announced that this confernece will occure every 2 years from now on and it hopes that Sarajevo will become the world center for exploring pyramids around the world. Experts from China and Egypt also gave presentations about pyramids in their native countries.

Zahi Hawass, omnipotent overlord of The Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, has labeled the Bosnian Pyramids as "a pile of rocks". Last time I checked, rocks didn't form pyramidal shapes perfectly aligned with the compass directions. This isn't the first time Hawass has moved to stop exploration that would have disagreed with his "expert" opinion. He was also involved in halting the robotic exploration of the shafts of the Great Pyramid, denial of the evidence of water erosion of the Sphinx, denial of access for investigation of the potential Hall of Records housed under the Sphinx, and white-washing any number of other discoveries that don't agree with the status quo. Guess what Dr. Hawass? Eventually even you will have to acknowledge the preponderance of evidence that cannot be denied.

On a related note, I'd like to say goodbye to Fred Rydholm, who passed away last weekend. I never had a chance to meet Fred, but he seemed to be a very wise man who I would ahve enjoyed spending time with. I sure wish we had been able to attend the American Antiquities conference last October in the UP, but our current financial situation dictated otherwise. I greatly enjoyed Fred's book, Michigan Copper - The Untold Story.

From Superior Heartland:

Rydholm’s final years were devoted to the vision of building a museum in the U.P’s Copper Country where the world’s largest piece of float copper could be displayed to dramatically show the area’s peculiarly unique mineral heritage. As president of the Ancient Artifact Preservation Society, it was Rydholm’s dream to raise the necessary funds to accomplish this goal. Rydholm is survived by his wife, June, and his two sons, Fred K. (Pat Burke) and Dan (Kathleen Heideman). Rydholm willed that his remains be sent to the Michigan State University School of Medicine. A memorial service will be planned in the near future. Memorial gifts will be gratefully accepted by the Yellowdog Watershed Preserve, P.O. Box 5, Big Bay, MI 49808 (www.yellowdogwatershed.org); and the Ancient Artifact Preservation Society, c/o Judy Johnson, P.O. Box 216, Skandia, MI 49885 (www.aaapf.org).

Fred asked questions and did the math. He opened up my eyes to a world of possibilities I had never seen before, but once I considered them, there was no denying their logic. How could there have been a Bronze Age in Europe without a source of copper, which they didn't have on the continent? Where did the millions of tons copper geologically indicated to have been in Upper Michigan disappear to? How much of our heritage has been buried and denied? We will likely never have all the answers, but that doess't mean we should stop asking questions. Read his work, draw your own conclusions. I'll miss you, Fred.