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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Protesters Trample American Flag

No surprise, they are not too fond of the United States of America:

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From "Pot-Head", to "Preacher", to "Pundit" (My Introduction)

Greetings to everyone here on "Pundit Press"!

I've been asked to start with an introductory bio of myself, and my reasons for wanting to post here. Gladly - But I suggest you grab your coffee, and pull up a com-fie chair, with your favorite blanket as I begin; this may take a bit...

Media Spin: Occupy Wall Street Did Not Burn Buildings... People Marching With them Did

First off, I would like to point out that no Tea Party rally in my recollection ever created violence, resulted in crimes, or culminated in arson, let alone burning buildings and cars.  Second, nearly every "Occupy Wall Street" event has had some sort of crime take place during or because of it, many of which happen to be felonies.

And yet, the Main Stream Media is trying its damnedest to explain away the wave of violence that has come out of the Occupy Wall Street protests.  Case in point, ABC's exceedingly slanted articled entitled Rioters Hijack Rome Protests, Police Fire Tear Gas.

Thus, their first paragraph reads like so:
Italian riot police fired tear gas and water cannons Saturday in Rome as violent protesters hijacked a peaceful demonstration against corporate greed, smashing bank windows, torching cars and hurling bottles.
Let me break this down for you, even though I'm quite sure anyone can see right through this drivel.  ABC goes out of its way to say that "peaceful protesters" were rightfully demonstrating against corporations.  It emphasizes, however, that the riots were "hijacked" by violence.
According to ABC, this did not happen
The major, disgusting problem with ABC's slant is that they never say were these so-called hijackers came from.  Instead, their article makes it readily apparent that these thugs were at the event the entire time, marching in solidarity and on the behalf of Occupy Wall Street.
Also did not happen, according to ABC
Even the headline, Rioters Hijack Rome Protests, Police Fire Tear Gas, emphasizes the supposedly violent steps police took to ensure safety.  In the first paragraph of the story, ABC conveniently left out that the rioters were also burning buildings.  The spin is so incredibly deep that it is bewildering, but sadly not unexpected.
Also didn't happen
On top of it all, ABC also decided to completely ignore the violent rhetoric coming out of Occupy Wall Street, like members' call for the beheading of children and hanging of capitalists.

But I am not surprised.  This is the Main Stream Media, after all.

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Occupy Italy Burns Buildings, Cars

I wish I could find an article that wasn't so slanted left, but I can't.  Either way, the violence so evident in their threats and words are coming to fruition:
Italian riot police fired tear gas and water cannons Saturday in Rome as violent protesters hijacked a peaceful demonstration against corporate greed, smashing bank windows, torching cars and hurling bottles.

Elsewhere, hundreds of thousands nicknamed "the indignant" marched without incident in cities across Europe, as the "Occupy Wall Street" protests linked up with long-running demonstrations against European governments' austerity measures.

Heavy smoke billowed in downtown Rome as a small group broke away and wreaked havoc in streets close to the Colosseum and elsewhere in the city.

Clad in black with their faces covered, protesters threw rocks, bottles and incendiary devices at banks and Rome police in riot gear. With clubs and hammers, they destroyed bank ATMs, set trash bins on fire and assaulted at least two news crews from Sky Italia.

Riot police charged the protesters repeatedly, firing water cannons and tear gas. Around 70 people were injured, according to news reports, including one man who tried to stop the protesters from throwing bottles.

TV footage showed one young woman with blood covering her face, while the ANSA news agency said a man had lost two fingers when a firecracker exploded.
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You Might Be A Fleabagger If...

Some of the better ones from Twitter:

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Occupy Wall Street raises over $150,000 in Tax-Deductible Donations

Once again, those protesting capitalism are benefiting from it:
After 26 days of protests in New York's financial center, the Occupy Wall Street movement has raised over $150,000 in donations, according to Pete Dutro, a member of the protest's financial arm. 
This massive fundraising was made through donations via mail, two websites -- occupywallst.org and nycga.cc -- and in person to members of what the movement calls its "Finance Working Group." 
Separately, four days ago, "Occupy Wall Street Media" successfully raised over $75,000 worth of donation pledges to be used toward the protest's official publication, The Occupy Wall Street Journal, according to the online funding platform Kickstarter. 
In addition to overseeing fundraising, members of the Finance Working Group, distinguishable by their gold dollar sign armbands, are also charged with disbursing funds to the other groups within the movement. These groups, which range from more permanent teams like Security and Media, to temporary teams assigned to isolated tasks, become eligible for funding upon approval by the general assembly. 
"It's been chaotic," Dutro told CNN. "It's kind of like doing an office job inside of a mosh pit."
The poor, poor Occupy Wall Streeters at their laptop station
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Uganda Welcomes U.S. Troops

The decision to send 100 U.S. combat troops to Uganda - in accordance with The LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009 - passed in March 2010, to hunt down LRA leader Joseph Kony and train Ugandan soldiers might have caught Americans off-guard, but Ugandan officials are quite pleased.

Via AllAfrica.com:
Uganda said Saturday it welcomed US combat troops to help its forces battle the Lord's Resistance Army, a brutal rebel force whose leaders are international war-crime fugitives.
"We welcome this gesture -- it has been well overdue," said Uganda's acting foreign minister Henry Okello Oryem.
United States troops will not be fighting the LRA, except in self defense, but we will be using our intelligence assets to track down the leader, who is responsible for unimaginable crimes against innocents in Uganda and neighboring countries, and hopefully defeat his terrorist organization.

I support this action by the United States government and hope some of our allies, particularly Great Britain or France, join in our efforts to defeat Kony's terrorist organization that has wrecked havoc in Africa for two decades.

What say you?

We Want Writers. We Want You!

In case you have not heard of Pundit Press, welcome to our corner of the internet.  We are a growing  conservative site that is looking for contributors to spread the word.  We broke 1,000,000 pageviews all-time this month, but that's not good enough.  If you want to write for us, be it once a month, once a week, once a day, or fifty times a day (which would be wonderful), please email us at punditpress(at)gmail.com.
If you don't want to write, but enjoy investigative journalism, biting commentary, and news that is updated over a dozen times a day, please think about visiting our humble site often.  And always feel free to send us tips.  We respond to all emails!

Thanks,
Aurelius

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Beheading of Children, Hangings Will Make People "Fall in Line"

As days go on, it becomes evident that the Occupy Wall Street "movement" grows more and more desperate.  The other day we covered them attacking one another and after that we uncovered their attempts to scrub their website.  Now, they have taken their insanity to a whole new level: they are calling for the beheading of "white kids," the "hanging" of capitalists, and the murder of parents.

Their violent and murderous rhetoric is all over their movement, along with their atrocious antisemitism.  Here are just a few examples of the hundreds out there.

"Lop heads off a few white kids:"
This screen shot was taken by this intrepid site, before it was removed by Twitter
From the Occupy Wall Street website, a user responds to what to do with capitalists after the 'revolution:'
And from the same thread, "there is not forgiveness for those that have no soul (Capitalists):"
On another thread, yet another user says "people will have to die" and that the US should become like "North Korea" (expletive blurred):
And yet another person call for death, but this time for the religious:
Occupy Wall Street asks: why not kill your parents:
One Twitter user simply pushes for the murder of celebrities:
This last particular person is unnervingly insane, with posts like these (not to mention a skull for his/her profile picture):
There is a clearly violent aspect of this movement.  Anyone around these people needs to be careful.

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The Year In Review

This is Pundit Press's Year in Review, presented now because we broke 1,000,000 pageviews all-time just a few days ago.  We officially launched in September of 2010, so technically Pundit Press has been around for 13 months, but who's counting?  We'll be covering who wrote how much, which articles are the biggest in our history, and other interesting stuff.  So:

Number of articles written all-time, as of October 2:  3,817 posts (not bad, if I do say so myself)

Articles per Author:

Aurelius- 1,688 posts, or 44.2% of the articles
Thomas Ferdousi- 1,041 posts, or 27.2% of the articles
Mr. K- 472 posts, or 12.4% of the articles
Unlikely Hospitalist- 338 posts, or 8.9% of the articles
Danny R. Butcher- 136, posts, or 3.6% of the articles
Dr. Owens- 44 posts, or 1.2% of the articles
Dr. White- 30 posts, .8% of the articles
Eric Dondero- 23 posts, or .6% of the articles
Kaptain Krude- 17 posts, or .4% of the articles
Fenway_Nation- 15, or .4% of the articles
Joe C.- 13, or .3% of the articles (Joe!!!!!!!!)


Each Author's highest-viewed Article:

Aurelius's most-viewed article was Pictures of Japanese Earthquake, Tsunami March 11, 2011, with 63,673 views

Thomas's top article was Wisconsin City Caught Destroying Ballots, with 47,812 views

Unlikely Hospitalist's biggest article was University of Wisconsin, Department of Family Medicine is not Responsible?, with 16,971 views

Eric Dondero's largest post was Rape of CBS reporterette Lara Logan by Egyptian Muslims raises questions about US Women Soldiers in Combat with 7,158 views

Mr. K's top article is Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is hot?, with 1,496 views

Joe C.'s biggest article was What Jared Lee Loughner Possibly Believed, with 202 hits

Just a conservative girl's biggest article so far is Is Herman Cain a Threat to the Race Hustlers?, with 166 views (which is great, considering she's new here!)

Kaptain Krude's highest article is A One-Time Post, with precisely 100 views

Danny R. Butcher's most-viewed article (that I could find) is OCCUPY WALL STREET IS NOT SUSTAINABLE, with 56 hits

Dr. Owen's Biggest article is My Name's America and I'm a Debt-a-holic, with 36 hits

(Sorry Fenway_Nation, but I wasn't able to find your top article.  I had 3,800 to go through so give me a break!)


Number of pageviews all-time, as of 9:39pm, October 14, 2011: 1,019,452 views

The Top 25 articles:

1. Pictures of Japanese Earthquake, Tsunami March 11, 2011, by Aurelius, with 63,673 views

2. Wisconsin City Caught Destroying Ballots, by Thomas, with 47,814 views

3. Article on Lara Logan Rape, by Aurelius, with 23,452 views

4. Obama Speech Transcript, May 1st about Osama bin Laden Death, by Thomas, with 20,697 views

5. University of Wisconsin, Department of Family Medicine is not Responsible?, by Unlikely Hospitalist, with 16,972 views

6. The Scrubbing has Begun..., by Unlikely Hospitalist, with 12,963 views

7. Dennis Miller's "The Big Speech" a Very Big Deal..., by Unlikely Hospitalist, with 12,962 views (yes, just one less than #6)

8. Go Figure: Obama White House Can't Spell "Libya," by Aurelius, with 12,915 views

9. "Unexpectedly" Compilation, by Aurelius, with 12,537 views

10. VIDEO: Democrat Gets Booed for Blaming Bush-- In Massachusetts!, by Thomas, with 12,372 views

11. Anders B. Breivik Facebook Account Found, by Thomas, with 11,893 views

12. Anders B. Breivik Twitter Account Found, by Thomas, with 10,748 views

13. Evidence of Wisconsin Voter Fraud Emerges, April 5, 2011, by Thomas, with 9,167 views

14. Update: Wisconsin Doctors Writing Bogus Sick Notes, by Unlikely Hospitalist, with 8,564 hits

15. Unconfirmed: Osama bin Laden Death Photo (GRAPHIC), by Aurelius, with 8,430 views

16. Death Photo of Osama bin Laden's Son Hamza (GRAPHIC), by Aurelius, with 8,220 views

17. Video- Obama Administration Bans Reporter for Using Camera to Record Anti-Obama Protesters, by Aurelius, with 8,141 views

18. New Utøya Picture Released, by Thomas, with 8,002 views

19. Live Japanese Earthquake, Tsunami Coverage Updates (March 11, 2011), by Aurelius, with 7,980 views

20. Horrible New Picture from Utøya Appears to Show Gunman Walking Through Victims, Boy With Hands Up, by Thomas, with 7,773 hits

21. Muslim Brotherhood Leader: Gaddafi Must Die, by Aurelius, with 7,646 views

22. Anders Behring Breivik Facebook Profile Description, by Aurelius, with 7,641 views

23. The Rape and Sexual Molestation of Lara Logan..., by Unlikely Hospitalist, with 7,160 views

24. Inevitable: Left Pushes Norway Shooter/Palin Link, by Thomas, with 7,099 views

25. Hawaii Tsunami, March 11, 2011, by Aurelius, with 6,984 hits


Notes of Interest:

- Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki are still dead
- Our biggest month was May, in which we garnered 164,296 views, or 5,300 hits a day
- Joe C. is averaging exactly one article a month
- Aurelius is averaging 4.4 posts a day
- We survived Hurricane Irene!
- Thank you to Unlikely Hospitalist, Danny R. Butcher, Fenway_Nation, Eric Dondero, Just another conservative girl, Kaptain Krude, Dr. White, and Dr. Owens for joining the four founders, Joe C., Mr. K, Aurelius, and Thomas Ferdousi.  It wouldn't be half as fun without you guys!
- Thank you to our loyal readers and commenters, who provide the rest of the fun!

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Occupy Wall Street (99%) Commercial Video

Enjoy:

Occupy Wall Street from David Sauvage on Vimeo.


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Emails Show Justice Officials Either Were Criminally Incompetent or Corrupt over 'Fast and Furious'

Welcome to the Obama White House:
Newly disclosed Justice Department documents show that another round of memos mentioning "Operation Fast and Furious" was circulated within the Justice Department in mid-2010.

The internal documents, obtained by Fox News, raise questions over who at the Justice Department was actually sending and reading memos on the controversial gunrunning program.

Attorney General Eric Holder has insisted he didn't know about the investigation until this year, even though several memos from July and August 2010 addressed to him cite the gunrunning probe by name. Similar memos were sent to Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, the head of the Justice Department's Criminal Division.

The broader back-and-forth focuses on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigation in Arizona targeting major gunrunners. Launched in late 2009, the investigation planned to follow gun purchasers in hopes that suspects would lead them to the heads of Mexican cartels. But high-powered weapons tied to the investigation ended up at crime scenes in Mexico and the United States, including the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry late last year.

In a letter to critics on Capitol Hill last week, Holder said suggestions the memos to him show he must have known about the investigation "mischaracterize the process by which I receive information." He said his office typically receives more than 100 pages of "so-called 'weekly reports' that, while addressed to me, actually are provided to and reviewed by" his staff and the deputy attorney general's staff. He said he does not and "cannot read them cover-to-cover."

It seems neither did some officials below him.
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Video- Pelosi: Republicans Want Women To "Die On The Floor"

Oh, Nancy, you're so crazy:



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Obama Sending Combat Troops to Central Africa

Another war that the President didn't get approval for. The question is: will he eventually get approval, or defy the Constitution, as he did with Libya. Here's his letter to Congress:
TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
AND THE PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF THE SENATE
October 14, 2011

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

For more than two decades, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has murdered, raped, and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women, and children in central Africa. The LRA continues to commit atrocities across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan that have a disproportionate impact on regional security. Since 2008, the United States has supported regional military efforts to pursue the LRA and protect local communities. Even with some limited U.S. assistance, however, regional military efforts have thus far been unsuccessful in removing LRA leader Joseph Kony or his top commanders from the battlefield. In the Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009, Public Law 111-172, enacted May 24, 2010, the Congress also expressed support for increased, comprehensive U.S. efforts to help mitigate and eliminate the threat posed by the LRA to civilians and regional stability.

In furtherance of the Congress's stated policy, I have authorized a small number of combat-equipped U.S. forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony from the battlefield. I believe that deploying these U.S. Armed Forces furthers U.S. national security interests and foreign policy and will be a significant contribution toward counter-LRA efforts in central Africa.

On October 12, the initial team of U.S. military personnel with appropriate combat equipment deployed to Uganda. During the next month, additional forces will deploy, including a second combat-equipped team and associated headquarters, communications, and logistics personnel. The total number of U.S. military personnel deploying for this mission is approximately 100. These forces will act as advisors to partner forces that have the goal of removing from the battlefield Joseph Kony and other senior leadership of the LRA. Our forces will provide information, advice, and assistance to select partner nation forces. Subject to the approval of each respective host nation, elements of these U.S. forces will deploy into Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The support provided by U.S. forces will enhance regional efforts against the LRA.

However, although the U.S. forces are combat-equipped, they will only be providing information, advice, and assistance to partner nation forces, and they will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense. All appropriate precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of U.S. military personnel during their deployment.

I have directed this deployment, which is in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive. I am making this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148). I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.

Sincerely,
BARACK OBAMA
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Dennis Ritchie Dies at 70

Sad news:
Dennis M. Ritchie, who helped shape the modern digital era by creating software tools that power things as diverse as search engines like Google and smartphones, was found dead on Wednesday at his home in Berkeley Heights, N.J. He was 70.

Mr. Ritchie, who lived alone, was in frail health in recent years after treatment for prostate cancer and heart disease, said his brother Bill.

In the late 1960s and early ’70s, working at Bell Labs, Mr. Ritchie made a pair of lasting contributions to computer science. He was the principal designer of the C programming language and co-developer of the Unix operating system, working closely with Ken Thompson, his longtime Bell Labs collaborator.

The C programming language, a shorthand of words, numbers and punctuation, is still widely used today, and successors like C++ and Java build on the ideas, rules and grammar that Mr. Ritchie designed. The Unix operating system has similarly had a rich and enduring impact. Its free, open-source variant, Linux, powers many of the world’s data centers, like those at Google and Amazon, and its technology serves as the foundation of operating systems, like Apple’s iOS, in consumer computing devices.

“The tools that Dennis built — and their direct descendants — run pretty much everything today,” said Brian Kernighan, a computer scientist at Princeton University who worked with Mr. Ritchie at Bell Labs.
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The Coming Contraction

The party’s over and it’s time to pay the bill.  Our government has been on a spending binge for as long as I can remember.  With Clinton and Newt’s slight-of-hand accounting back in the late 90s notwithstanding, which wouldn’t withstand the level of scrutiny we give a tab at our local burger joint, there have been yearly deficits every year since I was born back in the 40s. The debt piled up to a record amount under Bush the Younger, and under Obama it has sky rocketed to the point where people have actually begun to notice that the emperor has no clothes.   
It isn’t that our nation is broke since our assets still outweigh our debt, but who wants to sell Yellowstone to satisfy the Chinese?  It isn’t just our government who has buried us buying $640 toilet seats, $436 hammers, or a $797,400 outhouse.  All of us have had an apple out of that sack.  We have pushed our personal credit to the max, our plastic to the limit, and our “Gotta have it now” culture to the breaking point.  It isn’t just the 51% who pay no federal taxes but seem to have an insatiable appetite for federal services that are to blame.  Those of us who make enough to merit a tax target on our backs have also drunk deep from the government trough.  Social Security, Medicare, disaster relief, and student loans have added billions if not trillions to the national debt transferring money to the middle class. 
All of us have contributed to this problem.  If not by accepting the money or services ourselves than by voting for people who’ve made careers doling out the plunder, robbing Peter to pay Paul, buying votes, and corrupting the system.  The entire edifice of Western Civilization teeters on the brink of financial collapse due to the last three generations squandering the as yet unearned income of the next three.  We invested the great grand kid’s future in Ponzi schemes so that we could play today and they could pay tomorrow.  This is the national version of “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” 
Our lack of interest allowed politicians to run amuck.  Our personal greed and lack of restraint have all of us living in houses made of plastic cards.  We look at Greece and ask for whom the bell tolls ignoring the answer that it tolls for thee. 
The enemies of capitalism learned the wisdom of Alinsky that “Change comes from power and power comes from organization.”  They followed gurus such as Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven two Columbia professors who advocated overwhelming the government bureaucracy with entitlement demands.  They followed leaders such as Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd who have pushed legislation that created the bubbles and then strangled the recovery.  Now these well organized and well financed Progressives have come to the end game.  In the great tradition of all socialist power grabs now that the crisis has arrived they have taken to the streets. 
The Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media are falling all over themselves trying to equate the current Occupy Everywhere movement with the Tea party.  I’ve known the Tea Party. The Tea Party is a friend of mine, and this is no Tea Party.  I have attended many Tea Party Events and they were all peaceful.  They all respected the police, and stayed within the limits of lawful protest.  When the events were over they left the areas cleaner than when they arrived.  The only people arrested at Tea Party events have been Progressive street thugs who have attempted to disrupt a peaceful protest. The liberal version is trashing every place they lay their head and threatening violence.  In all the Tea Party events over the last few years not one persona has been arrested.  In the Occupy Movement in just a few weeks hundreds have had to be hauled away. 
I personally know a professional agitator who glories in the title of the Rude Guy.  He has made a lifestyle out of pushing for the socialist agenda he imbibed as a youth in public school.  He has spent decades moving from protest to protest advocating an end to capitalism while supporting himself through the sale of his books and paintings.  This Rude Guy has moved from the implosion of Europe to what some enemies of our nation are calling the American Spring seeking free room and board in New York to continue his work.  Given the fact that Van Jones has spent years, George Soros has spent millions through his front groups, and that professional organizers are flocking in from around the world it is hard to buy the Corporate Media line that this Occupy Everywhere movement is spontaneous.   
However, there are the Howard Beale types who want to scream “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”  And there are also the young party people who are looking for an opportunity to have an experience, to recreate the golden years of the 60s when they fantasize the Summer of Love produced something of value besides a generational overdose and a rise in STDs.  These naive sheep will be driven before the organizers into the police truncheons.  It is these unengaged warm bodies being interviewed nightly.  These are the ones who come across as unfocused, confused, and almost comical.  They do not represent the well-oiled machinery behind the curtain. 
The list of millionaire entertainers who stop by to step out of their air-conditioned limousine to shout, “Power to the people” as they shake their bejeweled fist grows every day.  The union bosses express solidarity and send in their shock troops.  Leading Democrats praise the movement.  The Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has said the Occupy Everywhere Movement is more in the mainstream than the current crop of Republican candidates for president.  This movement is not spontaneous, and it is not going to end well.  In some places the leaders of this leaderless movement are calling for violence and socialism.  In other places they are leaving the public square to march on private residences to intimidate and threaten.  Is this organized anarchism or militant apathy?   
Some of the issues their signs rail against: bank bailouts, corporate welfare, and other aspects of crony capitalism are issues they do share with the Tea Party.  However, the Tea Party Movement has directed their anger at government which is the culprit as far as wasting our national treasure to support their donors.  The Occupy Movement is focused on attacking the donors who have received the payouts.  The people who invested with Bernie Madoff thought they had found the goose that laid golden eggs, and yes they did receive unrealistic and what are now called unearned payouts, but at the end of the day it wasn’t the investors who were arrested it was Madoff.  The Tea Party offers concrete proposals: end the over spending, cut taxes and regulations, and free the economy to free the people.  The Occupy Movement offers no solution besides more of the same government intervention that caused the problems to begin with. 
As stated at the beginning, we have all had a hand in leading our great nation to the edge of the abyss.  And it seems as if our inability to agree upon who the culprits are or what the answers are may push us over the edge.  A great contraction in our economy and in our life styles is coming.  We must choose.  Are we willing to make the changes that will right the ship of state and begin to bail out the rushing tide of debt that threatens to capsize us?  Or, will we continue to argue ourselves into paralysis until our creditors demand the austerity we dread?   
The one thing worse than being poor is being poor again.  Most of us individually and all of us as a nation have been living far beyond our means charging extravagance to a credit card that has reached its limit.  We can either send back the steak and have a hamburger on our own now or eventually sit powerless as our card is cut up by the foreign maître.  We can either change our menu from caviar to corn flakes now or end up eating rubber biscuits as we wash dishes in the back room. 
One thing is for sure the contraction is coming, how do you want to deal with it?  
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2011 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

Olive Garden: American Flag Display would Disrupt Dining Experience

What are we coming to?:
Officials with the parent company of Olive Garden restaurants say they're sorry if a decision regarding an Alabama Kiwanis club's desire to display the American flag caused any concern.

The comments come after 80-year-old Marti Warren of Anniston said she wasn't allowed to bring an American flag into an Olive Garden for a planned Kiwanis Club banquet in the east Alabama town of Oxford.

Warren learned the night of the banquet that she wouldn't be allowed to display the flag or the Kiwanis banner in the restaurant, she said.

"I was so angry," she told WBRC-TV. "I felt like I had been slapped in the face."

Orlando-based parent firm Darden restaurants said in a statement that "like all Americans we have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for the American flag and everything it symbolizes."

The Oxford Olive Garden lacks a private dining area, which led to the decision, company officials said.

"To be fair to everyone and avoid disrupting the dining experience for all other guests, they're unable to accommodate flags or banners of any type in the dining room," according to the statement.
Banned
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Berlusconi Survives Confidence Vote

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, who has been rocked by financial strife and personal scandals, survived a close confidence vote (316-301) in parliament earlier today. If his conservative coalition government failed, he would have had to call for immediate elections, or resign in disgrace.

This is probably good news for Italy, because as bad as Berlusconi is on moral issues - he's not a socialist, and that's the last thing anyone needs in power right now, especially when the country is struggling to avoid economic collapse. His government has moved forward on approving a balanced budget and is one of our strongest military allies.

I am not exactly doing cartwheels in celebration, but this is definitely good news. Hopefully, Italy's Premier can focus on balancing his country's budget instead of his wild personal side, which is just distracting and a little embarrassing for defenders of his government, both home and abroad.

What say you?

Video- Shock: Ron Paul Releases GOOD Ad

Pigs may very sell be flying outside, but this is an excellent ad:

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

I am the 53%

If you have yet to make your way to this site, it is well worth your time.  These are people telling their stories of how they are making their American Dream come true without expecting the government to give it to them.  They don't blame Bush, Wall Street, or anyone else for that matter.  They work hard and try to be responsible.  What a concept.

Here are some of my favorites.





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Occupy Wall Street: Greece is Our Example

There are many countries that Occupy Wall Street can point to as an example and be farily accurate: the Soviet Union, Cuba, etc. However, in a lot of ways, they've picked perhaps the perfect one on their website.

Greece is an economic basket case in which the government heavily taxes the rich and has a massive, inefficient public sector. It's lived off of the charity of Europe and the United States while having a massive black market and spiraling corruption rate. Their economy is shrinking and their unemployment rate.... over 16%

So what country would be better to emulate? According to the OWS site, they are in solidarity with Greeks demanding more from the "1%," because of course it was them and not profligate policies that got the Hellenes into this mess:

Today in Greece thousands took the streets in general strike, fighting the same anti-democratic program of social cuts and bankster bailouts that we are fighting on Wall Street. Today, people power shut Greece down.

Occupy Wall Street stands in solidarity with the people of Greece, and we are inspired by their bravery and resilience. We pledge friendship and mutual support with all people across the world fighting for democracy and economic justice. In a global economy, the struggle of the 99% is necessarily a global struggle.

Together, we are changing the world.

Αλληλεγγύης (Solidarity)

Σήμερα στην Ελλάδα, χιλιάδες πήραν τους δρόμους σε μια γενική απεργία, πολεμόντας το ίδιο αντι-δημοκρατικό πρόγραμμα των κοινωνικών περικοπών και διάσωσης τραπεζίτολαμόγιων που πολεμάμε στην Wall Street. Σήμερα ο λαός διακόπτει όλη την Ελλάδα.

Η κίνηση Κατάληψη της Wall Street (Occupy Wall Street) στέκεται σε αλληλεγγύη με τον λαό της Ελλάδας, και είμαστε όλοι εμπνευσμένοι απο το θάρρος και την ανθεκτικότητά τους. Δεσμευόμασε την φιλία μας και την κοινή υποστήριξη με όλους τους ανθρώπους σε όλο τον κόσμο που πολεμάνε για δημοκρατία και οικονομική δικαιοσύνη. Σε μια παγκόσμια οικονομία, η πάλη των 99% είναι αναγκαστικά μια παγκόσμια πάλη.

Αλληλεγγύης

And in the comments at least one person gets it:

Greece is a totally different situation. The IMF et al. is bailing out Greece, not Greece bailing out it's banks. The people of Greece don't seem to understand that unless Greece's government makes cuts and restructures they won't have any jobs at all. And these guys have been protesting long before anyone even though about Occupy Wall Street. You had nothing to do with it. Please stop likening yourselves to countries that are actually in turmoil. Appreciate how lucky you are.

But many don't:

that's total bullshit. you seem to be the one who isn't following things in the long term. when the IMF demands austerity packages and structural adjustment programs it destroys the wealth of a country's people, and they ONLY demand these things to countries they are NOT trying to save, when they are trying to save the foreign investors is when they advocate those policies. They never advocate them for the US or UK. The crisis is Greece was MANUFACTURED by a global banking system (including IMF) that extracts wealth from less powerful countries. Latin America has already figured out not to listen to the IMF's bullshit. Greece will learn, too.

Greece all the way! Unemployment for all!

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John Edwards: Bush/Obama Conspiracy Pressing Charges Against Him

We all know what a terrible phony John Edwards, but this is beyond the pale, even for him. The former Democratic Vice Presidential nominee in 2004, who cheated on his cancer stricken wife and turned to divisive tactics to gain the party's nomination in 2008, is now blaming a conspiracy for his recent legal troubles.

Edwards is charged with violating campaign finance laws relating to his 2008 campaign. Prosecutors claim that the former North Carolina Senator illegally used funds from his campaign to pay his mistress' cover-up story. The charges say that Edwards accepted over $1 million in illegal funds to squelch information that he had fathered Hunter's child.


Now, he blames not himself, or even his dead wife. Instead, it is a conspiracy by a former United States Attorney appointed by the Bush Administration. To make matters worse, he also claims that these appointees are intentionally not being challenged by the Obama Administration.

His defense? Classic lawyer speech:
Similarly, the fact that the new Obama Administration did not choose to use any political capital and risk the adverse publicity from charges that it was trying to favor one of its own to stop the train that Mr. Holding (a hold-over Republican U.S. Attorney) started does not mean that Mr. Edwards is precluded from standing up for himself when he there is ample record evidence that he was treated differently and unfairly.

Should it be any surprise that one of Edwards' attorneys has left the case?

A flurry of defense filings Tuesday also confirm another fact: a prominent North Carolina defense attorney who had been representing Edwards, Wade Smith, has left the team. Prosecutors said in a filing reported here last week that Smith might be a witness to events relevant to the case and he had agreed he would not be part of Edwards's legal team at any trial.

Throw this bastard in jail. What a phony.

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Is Herman Cain a Threat to the Race Hustlers?

Herman Cain is resonating and creating a stir across the United States.  Mr. Cain doesn't fit the typical mode of a black conservative since he has lived his life in the black community.  At least this is part of the argument that some have used.  I suppose to the liberal mind being married to a black women and being conservative is an unusual occurrence.  Mr. Cain also was born and raised in the south during the times of Jim Crowe.  He has seen racism.  He was turned away from the college of his choice due strictly to race. 

 The black liberal talking heads are ready to explode due one statement made by Cain recently,
 “believe there is racism in this country today that holds anybody back in a big way.”
The response to this has been quick.  Race baiter Cornell West believes that he is trivializing a serious issue.  Now, Mr. Cain is not saying that racism doesn't exist.  He is saying that over the course of his lifetime the chances of being held back strictly based on race is much less now than at the time of his youth.  Cornell West lives his life inside the bubble of "I am black, therefore I am victim".  His entire world view is based on his color and race relations.  The simple act of going to grocery store has racial implications to him.  Mr. Cain on the other hand lives his life like he is a human being who happens to be black.  He knows what true racism is, as he has seen it.  But, he has also seen his parents achieve the level of success that they were looking to reach.  Owning a home and having the money to send their children to college was the dream that they worked towards.  Today, this man's son is a potential nominee to run for the President of the United States.  I would say that we have come a long way baby.  I am sure that Cain's parents didn't dream this scenario. 

 Juan Williams has gotten into the conversation as well:
“Right on, brother. And I’ll tell you why I say ‘right on.’ Because West, Tavis Smiley, those guys are threatened by the success of Herman Cain. And I think that they feel that anybody who doesn’t buy into all the racism charges that they’re constantly- You know, in their world, President Obama doesn’t exist. You know, these are the same people who criticize Obama for not being sufficient. So imagine the way they feel.”
Think of Al Sharpton, who makes his living playing the victim, if we become a more colorblind society how does Sharpton continue his ways?  People like West, Smiley, Sharpton, Jackson, and others will have to find a new thing to complain about and find other ways to hustle people for money.  These are the same people who seem to ignore that our country has elected a person of color to the highest office in the land.  We weren't racist on that day, but every day before and since. 

 Herman Cain is redefining what being black in America is all about.  He is reaching out and Middle America is seeing for themselves that the illusion the GOP is full of racists was just that, an illusion.  They are terrified that people who fill their coffers are no longer to going to quite so willing to go along if the true story comes out. 

 The true story is that most people in this country have gotten past skin color and have moved on.  We are interested in living our own lives and could care less if the person who moves in next door has more pigment in their skin than they do.  We are more interested in actually fixing the problems in our country than continually pointing the finger at who is blame for it. 

 Herman Cain is not trivializing race relations in this country, he is redefining them.  That is all too scary of a proposition to the hustlers who make a very good living off liberal white guilt.

Cross Posted at PotLuck
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Jesse Jackson, Jr: Obama Should ‘Declare a National Emergency,’ Add Jobs with ‘Extra-Constitutional’ Action

He's not a genius:

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Iran Denies Assassination Plot

Not terribly shocking:
The Obama administration on Wednesday sought to reconcile what it said was solid evidence of an Iranian plot to murder Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States with a wave of puzzlement and skepticism from some foreign leaders and outside experts.

Senior American officials themselves were struggling to explain why the Quds Force, an elite international operations unit within Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, would orchestrate such a risky attack in so amateurish a manner.

The White House spokesman, Jay Carney, would not go further than to say the plot “clearly involved senior levels of the Quds Force.” But other American officials, armed with evidence such as bank transfers and intercepted telephone calls and with knowledge of how the covert unit operated in the past, said they believed that Iran’s senior leaders were likely complicit in the plot.

“It would be our assessment that this kind of operation would have been discussed at the highest levels of the regime,” said a senior American official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the government’s analysis.

American officials offered no specific evidence linking the plot to Iran’s most senior leaders. But they said it was inconceivable in Iran’s hierarchy that the leader of the shadowy Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, was not directly involved, and that the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was not aware of such a plan.

Iran’s leaders marshaled a furious formal rejection Wednesday of the American accusations, calling the case a cynical fabrication meant to vilify Iran and distract Americans from their severe economic problems. A senior member of Iran’s Parliament, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said he had “no doubt this is a new American-Zionist plot to divert the public opinion from the crisis Obama is grappling with.”
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Plurality Oppose 'Occupy Wall Street'

Not surprising:
Most Americans still aren’t following news of the Occupy Wall Street protests very closely and have mixed opinions of both the protesters and their authenticity.

Thirty-six percent (36%) of the nation’s Likely Voters have a favorable opinion of the Occupy Wall Street protesters while 41% offer an unfavorable opinion. Last week, a survey of Adults found a slight plurality offering a favorable opinion. Because the new survey was of Likely Voters and the prior one was of adults, the results are not precisely comparable. Additional tracking will measure whatever trends might emerge.
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Video- Occupy Wall Street Protester Wants College Paid For Because That's What He Wants

Just the sheer stupidity of these people:

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Perry: "Debates are not my strong suit"

HT: GOP 12

Texas Governor Rick Perry probably ended his campaign for President last night when he admitted "debates are not my strong suit" at a post-debate party in New Hampshire after another lackluster performance - his second in a roll.

Well, when you are scheduled to face President Barack Obama, who performs well in debates, at least three times during the general election next year and you admit you cannot keep up with him when thirty million, or potentially even more, Americans are watching on national television - you have just conceded your campaign to lost.

He has plenty of money and will remain in the race until someone wins the GOP nomination next spring, but I guarantee you it wont be him, particularly since Republicans want to defeat Barack Obama next November, and not watch our electoral hopes go down in flames because our nominee can't debate coherently.

What say you?

U.S. Response to Iran: Sanctions

The news broke yesterday that elements of Iran's government were planning to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States; attack the Saudi Embassy, and the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Attorney General Eric Holder, and FBI Director Robert Mueller detailed the thwarted operation to a shocked nation.

Now most agree this Iranian plot represents an act of war against the United States, but the real question after yesterday's press conference was what would the American response be to this blatant disregard of American borders and life by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

I was hoping the administration would at least announce a naval blockade of the Persian Gulf, or keeping over 10,000 American soldiers stationed in Iraq indefinitely, or something that would show the U.S. was serious about the seriousness of Iran's threat.

What did we get?

More sanctions.

That's right. After thirty-two months of seeking unsuccessful, and useless sanctions against the Iranians, our government's plan to punish the Iranians for plotting to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador on U.S. soil is to seek more useless economic sanctions. I feel like breaking down in tears for our country's incompetence.

Apparently, the plan is to further isolate Iran, which hasn't worked thus far, instead of punishing Iran, which hasn't been tried thus far.

Oy.....

What say you?

Obama Jobs Bill Fails to Advance in Senate

Bi-partisan rejection:
President Obama's $447 billion jobs bill failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the Democratic-controlled Senate Tuesday night despite a White House push that accelerated in the 11th hour.

The bill received a simply majority of 51 votes but fell short of the necessary 60 to end debate. Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Jon Tester of Montana were the only Democrats to vote against the bill. Both of them are facing tough re-election campaigns next year.

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., had said earlier that although he intended to vote in favor of ending the Republican filibuster, he did not intend to support the bill if it reached a final vote.

Now that it has failed, both the House and Senate are expected to turn this week to approving U.S. trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, one of the few areas of agreement between Republicans and the administration on boosting the economy. And Senate Democrats are looking at ways of breaking the jobs bill into pieces that would be easier to pass.

Obama declared earlier Tuesday that the U.S. Senate faced a “moment of truth” when it voted on the bill, calling it "gut check time." He later issued a statement accusing Republicans of obstruction.
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The New Democratic Party

You know I am almost starting to feel sorry for democrats in this country.  Now, hear me out.  I have been saying for a long time now that the democratic party has been overrun with far left nuts.  Most of the die hard left of center Kennedy democrats have been in denial.  I have a regular reader to my blog that seems like a level-headed guy who happens to be left of center.  Occasionally we even agree on things, although we disagree on how to fix the problem.  But, he is still convinced that President Obama is left of center.  Now, I have explained to him that in some respects he has governed from the left of center position (which I don't really agree with), but that his heart is firmly in the far left loon part of the party.  Obama can't govern from the far left, the country won't accept it. 

But, the veil is coming off and the picture certainly is not pretty.  We have the occupiers in New York (poopstock as Gateway Pundit has affectionately named it) chanting bizarre statements such as having sex with animals is OK, pooping on police cars, having sex out in the open, drugs galore, and causing damage to the businesses surrounding the park.  The "official" website has to be scrubbed on a regular basis to remove the anti-Semitic rants and the people were actually told to stop listing demands until the lawyers told them what to say.  They have proven themselves unable to think for themselves and even have had the nerve to complain about the "freeloaders". 

This is the new Democratic Party.  The party of JFK is long gone and if he were alive today I firmly believe he would be a moderate Republican.  He believed in a strong national defense and lowered taxes while he was at it.  He never apologized for the wealth that his family had, nor should he have.  Of course one could make a very compelling argument on how Joe Sr. made that money with underhanded tactics, but that is not really the point.  The family had money and was never made to feel ashamed of it.  There was a time in this country that we looked at people with wealth and thought to ourselves, maybe that can me one day if I work hard. 

Today, we are witnessing the younger generation sitting in a stinky park demanding that someone else give them their hard earned money.  They cry foul to the wealth of a few (oddly, they only marched on right leaning rich people, the left leaning rich were left alone on their little tour they took today) while they sit in park using their I-Pads and I-Phones complaining about their college loan bills.  All the while the students of today are demanding more and more services from Universities; such as granite counter tops and private bathrooms, and wonder why the tuition rates have increased.  Gee, I wonder why? 

They demand from the 1%, all at the same time complaining that the homeless (truly the least among them) are taking advantage of the food and drugs that are flowing freely in their stink tent city.  They don't even stop and see that the very things that they are demanding from the government for themselves is the entire reason that our country is going broke. 

They see no relation from their demands and the problems in Greece.  Even the French and Germans are sick to death of the Greeks saying they don't need to work a few years longer before accepting retirement packages that are tax payer funded.  They yell and scream about how the GOP are getting in the way of "green" jobs but can't seem to bring themselves to make the connection to Solyranda and the billions that President Obama has wasted.  Money that could have gone to really help the poor. 

They live in a world of entitlement.  Give me.  I deserve more.  That guy over there has more than me.  I want my stuff for nothing.  I want $20 per hour even if I don't work.  I want free health care.  The guy that lives in that big building over there can afford to pay for it. 

The people who are sitting out on the streets across the country are not looking for to make life more "fair", they are looking for what they can get for themselves.  They are not interested in helping this young women who has found herself homeless after losing her job.  This is the what the party has come to.  A class warfare mentality that will be the destruction of this great nation. 

These are the protesters that Nanny Pelosi and Uncle Obammy think are just fine.  The hard working people of the tea party who just want to cut the spending so our children and grandchildren have a chance to fulfill their American Dream are the problem.

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Gov't Uncovers Iranian Assassination Plot on US Soil

I'm sure President Obama will send them a very strongly worded letter:
Authorities foiled an alleged plot that was directed by factions of the Iranian government to bomb the Israeli and Saudi Arabian embassies in Washington and a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday at a press conference.

A criminal complaint was unsealed in federal court in New York Tuesday and named Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri as the two alleged plotters, both with ties to Iran. Arbabsiar has been jailed in New York since September and Shakuri remains at large.

The complaint alleges that Iran helped conceive, sponsor and direct the plot. Holder called the alleged plot was a "flagrant violation of US and international law" and said the U.S. will hold Iran accountable.

According to the complaint, last Spring, Arbabsiar met with an informant from the DEA agent in Mexico posing as a member of a sophisticated and violent international drug-trafficking cartel. It was during these meetings that Arbabsiar allegedly offered the agent money to assassinate the ambassador for $1.5 million. Arbabsiar allegedly wired $100,000 into a U.S. bank account in August as a down payment for the hit.

Arbabsiar allegedly confessed to his participation in the alleged plot.

The two planned to use an explosive device to assassinate the ambassador, according to the criminal complaint. The alleged plot would have maimed others and damaged nearby structures in the surrounding area.
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Christie to Endorse Romney

Just one week after the New Jersey Governor decided once and for all against running for President, he has decided to endorse former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for the 2012 Republican Nomination this very afternoon in New Hampshire:
The Hill confirms that Chris Christie will be a "special guest" at a 3PM Mitt Romney rally in New Hampshire today, where Christie will officially endorse him.

That's a huge score for Romney -- not only because Christie has a strong following, but also because he can be a very effective surrogate
This endorsement is huge for the Romney campaign, especially when it comes to selecting a strong voice for his campaign, and securing moneymen who wanted Christie to run for nearly two years now. This also gains the establishment almost entirely for Romney now, although there was little doubt after Christie dropped out.

What say you?

Vote in Our Poll: What Will Happen with Fast and Furious Investigation?

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has plans to subpoena Attorney General Eric Holder over the growing Fast and Furious investigation. Separately, it has been discovered that the Attorney General may have been warned up to five times about the program. So what do you think will happen in the investigation? Will there be a further cover-up, and the Administration will get off? Or will there be resignations or impeachments?




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Another Exodus?

Five thousand years ago the Hebrew people left Egypt for their promised land in Canaan, or now modern day Israel. They endured almost four hundred years of bondage until they were delivered by Moses. Now we might be witnessing the beginning of a second exodus.

With the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak earlier this year, Coptic Christians, who received decent treatment under his regime, have been concerned about the growing Islamist influence of Egypt's political society. It's disconcerting to know thousands of Copts have already fled, but the outright murder of two dozen of them Sunday is absolutely infuriating.

The military is not protecting them; the state television blamed them for the out-of-control protests Sunday; the United States is more focused on elections than religious liberty, and the situation seems to be declining by the minute.

I fear the Copts, one of the last Christian communities in the Arab world, might have to flee to Ethiopia, or Europe, or even the United States within the near future, because Egypt continues to backslide towards an dark Islamist future where religion becomes the oppressor rather than the deliverer.

Pray for thr Copts.

What say you?

Analyst: Rick Perry has Most at Stake in Today's Republican Presidential Debate

The final countdown?:
On the eve of Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate, Mitt Romney shopped for votes in a quaint country store and cast himself as a champion of the middle class. Jon Huntsman Jr. released his foreign policy agenda. Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum journeyed from town to town searching for some spark to ignite their struggling campaigns.

But the candidate with perhaps the most at stake in the Washington Post-Bloomberg News debate at Dartmouth College was nowhere to be found. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was holed up somewhere — studying, rehearsing and hoping for a performance to breathe new life into a campaign beset by a series of unsteady debate performances in September.

While Perry was absent from the trail Monday, his campaign was affecting the discourse.

Even as Romney tried to look past his Republican rivals and train his attention on President Obama, a tough new Web video released Monday by Perry’s campaign served as a preview of what Romney is likely to face on the debate stage.

Perry’s video, “Romney’s Remedy,” was perhaps the harshest attack in the 2012 contest on Romney’s Massachusetts health-care law. Set to doomsday music, the video includes an endorsement of the plan by Democratic former president Jimmy Carter and a shout-out by Obama and it closes by adapting one of Obama’s 2008 campaign slogans for Romney: “Romney: change you can believe in?”

But that wasn’t all. Perry attacked Romney’s personal wealth, too, saying: “Even the richest man can’t buy back his past.” The video includes footage of the late NBC News star Tim Russert wielding a pair of flip flops to make the point that, over the course of his political career, Romney has changed his positions on several key issues.
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Opposition to Natural Gas is Bad for Your Health

I am reminded of the Great Hoax of 1835.

Recently more than 250 "physicians and medical professionals" signed and sent letter to Governor Cuomo. The claim is that hydraulic fracturing for natural gas within the Marcellus Shale poses a significant public health risk and the granting of drilling permits must be delayed until a full an proper accounting of those risks can be assessed. Now I am not interested in impinging on anyone's right to petition their government for redress of grievances. Nor do I disagree with the underlying tenet of the letter. That is, the health of a community must be considered, the implications of a particular action must be assessed and accounted for and that when appropriate, regulations put in place to account for potential outcomes. In spite of the rhetoric, "Friends of Natural Gas" are not interested in seeing their communities poisoned with tainted water, nor the air made unbreathable by noxious chemicals and fumes. On that at least there may be some agreement.

In reality these doctors, nurses, PA's, NP's, social workers, and veterinarians have a problem. The truth is they have no evidence to support their claims and in end are left asking for more time and more study. "The trouble with health problems near gas tracking"is that any evidence is purely anecdotal. Investigative journalism sites like Pro Publica has spent considerable time and effort tracking down some of the complaints made by individuals across the country, but in the end are left little evidence.

"....[E]nvironmental epidemiologists warn that proximity and correlation don't add up to proof. Even when symptoms and contamination occur in the same place, they say, it doesn't necessarily mean the contamination caused the symptoms.

"You have a community where there is a putative exposure, and a community with putative illness," said Daniel Teitelbaum, a toxicologist who has spent years examining health issues around drilling and helped frame some of the early research in Colorado. "But you can't say whether the people exposed are the people who are ill."

....

But whether the more serious symptoms have anything to do with drilling is a complete unknown. "You hear and see everything you can possibly imagine, from miscarriages to multiple sclerosis to brain tumors," he said. "There is no way to document whether those things are real or not real."

That's why a health registry—a database to cross reference patterns of symptoms and locations where they occur with water and air tests—is so important, he said. Without this context, complaints from residents may not be taken seriously by doctors or environment officials, partly because people respond to chemical exposures differently. Their symptoms can vary widely and can be difficult to recognize.

"If someone comes in and just says I can't think straight, or I'm really tired or I have headaches, that's not measureable," said Dr. Kendall Gerdes, a Denver-based physician who specializes in ecological exposure cases and has seen a number of patients complaining about the gas patch. "Therefore it's considered psychosomatic by most doctors' training."

A health registry seems like a great idea. One I am sure would be supported by the energy industry. It would allow for epidemiologists, physicians, toxicologists and others to investigate symptoms and determine a causal relationship with shale gas production or not. Unfortunately, this common sense type of approach is nowhere to be found in the letter presented to Governor Cuomo. Instead, we find requests for consideration of yet another Health Impact Assessment which would do nothing to prove or disprove the correlation between shale gas production and illness. It would though, slow down gas production in the state by months, perhaps years, which in the end I suspect is the goal.

The health risks, regardless of the penumbra of symptoms are ultimately related to exposure, and exposure can only come from a few sources. Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units released a report in August of 2011 articulated the sources as water contamination, air pollution, and noise pollution. In a yet unpublished manuscript and a source article for the letter Theo Colborn, et al makes essentially the same argument. These sentiments are echoed by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

The key risks and impacts of shale gas and shale gas processes and development can be divided as follows:

  • contamination of groundwater by fracturing fluids/mobilised contaminants arising from:o wellbore/casing failure; and/oro subsurface migration;
  • pollution of land and surface water (and potentially groundwater via surface route) arising from:

o spillage of fracturing additives; and

o spillage/tank rupture/storm water overflow from liquid waste storage, lagoons/pits containing cuttings/drilling mud or flowback water;

  • water consumption/abstraction;
  • waste water treatment;
  • land and landscape impacts;
  • impacts arising during construction:o noise/light pollution during well drilling/completion; o flaring/venting; and
    o local traffic impacts.

The point is, for symptoms to occur, exposure has to take place, and for it to become a public health issue, must do so on a rather grand scale. NYS DEC Commissioner Joe Martens participated in an electronic town hall today and answered questions pertaining to potential health impacts and states.

DEC has fully considered the impact fracking could potentially have on public health and our communities. For example, the State Dept. of Health provided information (Chapter 5 in the dSGEIS) on the potential toxic effects of chemicals used in the process. We examined the history of spills and other problems in other states where the process was used. Most importantly, DEC carefully considered every possible way that people could be exposed to those chemicals and consulted with the State Dept. of Health about how to prevent that exposure. DEC’s approach is to address the potential causes of exposure to prevent them from happening in New York State. If there are no pathways of exposure in the first place, adverse health impacts cannot occur. That is why DEC has designed the most stringent set of requirements in the nation – to prevent contamination of our natural resources and thus eliminate human exposure pathways.

Indeed, "if there is no pathway of exposure in the first place, adverse health impacts cannot occur". This does not imply that local accidents haven't and won't occur, they do and will, but the isolated risks can and has been mitigated against in the recently published dSGEIS.

While I posit that water contamination is a much overplayed concern, I will concede that air pollution remains potentially problematic. I agree with the position of John Hanger as articulated in the NYT.

Air pollution is more of an Achilles' heel for drilling in the Northeast, he said last week, pointing to spikes in emissions that have followed natural gas development in other parts of the country.

Thousands of natural gas wells are expected to be drilled in Pennsylvania over the next few years, requiring a fleet of construction equipment, diesel engines and compressor stations. Together, they could be a large new source of smog-forming emissions along the Northeast corridor, much of which still struggles with old air quality standards at a time when U.S. EPA is preparing to make the rules stricter.

"If the industry ubiquitously uses the dirtiest choices, it won't fit into the Northeast," Hanger said. "It won't happen. There will be suits from New York, New Jersey, everywhere. From environmental groups. Maybe even from Pennsylvania state officials, trying to stop that.

"That's a real issue," he added. "The chemicals coming back up from fracking is not."

I would like to play the devil's advocate here for a bit though. Currently the United States gets 21% of its energy production from coal. As of 2005 New York had 48 coal-fired generating units at 17 locations producing 4,273 MW of capacity, representing 10% of the states total electric capacity. According to the EPA coal and oil fired plants are responsible for a public health disaster. On a yearly basis this energy source is responsible for 17,000 premature deaths, 11,000 non fatal heart attacks, 120,000 asthma cases and 11,000 episodes of acute bronchitis cases among children. In June of 2006 a study conducted by West Virginia Health Sciences Center concluded that coal was responsible for significant increases in morbidity and mortality in Appalachia.

While coal mining contributed $8 billion to Appalachia in terms of economic impacts, the costs of shortened life spans associated with coal operations ranged from $16.979 billion to $84.544 billion, the study found. Figures are from 2005, the latest year for which mortality rates were available.

"Those who are falling ill and dying young are not just the coal miners," Hendryx says. "Everyone who lives near the mines or processing plants or transportation centers is affected by chronic socioeconomic weakness that takes a toll in longevity and health."

Coal mining areas in Appalachia experience almost 11,000 more deaths each year compared with comparable areas elsewhere in the nation, with approximately 2,300 of those deaths related to environmental factors such as air and water pollution made worse by mining, Hendryx says. He adds:

"We know that in West Virginia we have high rates of poverty and illness, and we've been led to believe by government and industry that the coal companies help by creating jobs. But that's not true. Premature mortality is strongly linked to socioeconomic conditions where people live, and the evidence is that those areas of West Virginia that do not have coal do better. They develop economic alternatives."

While much has been made of noise pollution as a potent health risk I will not address it here other than to say, really? This is obviously a filler argument and as such, not worth debating.

When comparing the energy mix and number of deaths related to each of the main sources worldwide the effects of coal use becomes clear. Coal accounts for 161 deaths/TWh globally, while natural gas accounts for only 4 deaths/TWh. This highlights that while no energy source is without some risk, coal is responsible for a death rate of four times that of the closest energy source and more than 40 times that of natural gas.

This doesn't begin to account for the environmental impacts of coal. With this information in mind I have to wonder why letters aren't being sent to Governor Cuomo to shut down the coal-fired plants in New York and replace them with natural gas. Undoubtedly, the transportation costs would be minimal. Already we are seeing a trend where traditional coal-fired plants are being replaced by natural gas. New York could not only reduce its environmental impact, improve the health of its citizens, but also save money. Maybe I should write a letter?

It has been interesting to watch the evolution of the anti-drilling arguments. Initially we were all told that hydrofracking fluid would migrate up from the depths to pollute and contaminate our precious fresh water aquifers. The shining light to of scrutiny has effectively put to risk these claims. Then we were informed that wastewater would be so high in radiation that it would despoil our waterways, but the results of studies reported on here, here, here and here have put to rest this myth. Then is was the hazardous yet ubiquitous methane. This, we were told would dump as much or more carbon dioxide, than would coal, into the atmosphere thereby irrevocably plunging the region into eternal summer. This study has been effectively debunked by several subsequent studies. Then we learn of methane migrating into fresh water wells from faulty well head construction. Again, this turns out to not quite be the case in spite of the widespread publicity. One thing we did learn from the Duke study though is that there was no frack fluid contamination. The truth is natural gas has the potential to be the best thing to happen to New York since the Erie Canal. The economic benefits are clear to anyone willing to look due south, the regulatory framework is sound and thorough, and the risks to health are easily overcome with oversight and professionalism.

It was not so long ago that natural gas production was lauded by environmentalists throughout the nation as the optimal "transition fuel" away from coal and petroleum toward a truly green energy technology, but now that the prospect of energy production begins to hit close to home the concerns of coal production and use as an environmental and public health disaster has dissipated as the rhetoric against gas has escalated. Natural gas production is safer today than it was in July 26, 2009 when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. stated,

Natural gas comes with its own set of environmental caveats. It is a carbon-based fuel and is extraction from shale, the most significant new source, if not managed carefully, can cause serious water, land use, and wildlife impacts, especially in the hands of irresponsible producers and lax regulators. But those impacts are dwarfed by the disastrous holocaust of coal and can be mitigated by careful regulation.

The giant advantage of a quick conversion from coal to gas is the quickest route for jumpstarting our economy and saving our planet.

He was as right then as he is wrong now. It is a shame what political gamesmanship will do to a person.

Letter to Cuomo on Fracking


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