Odd Citizen

Odd Citizen
An Odd Citizen’s Search For Vanishing Freedoms

Mozilla Smarter Than Obama

June 29th, 2010

Yet another spam email arrived today from the white house, this time from Carol Browner, the Sun God’s Energy Czarina. And right away, Mozilla tagged it as a SCAM, which of course it is.

This is another of those “campaign promise” style missives that this regime regularly uses to try and take credit for something, or to change public opinion about something else. In this case, after mouthing off nonsense about her heroic efforts in the gulf oil spill drama, Madam Czarina goes on to preach: “The disaster in the Gulf is a wake-up call that we need a new strategy for a clean energy future, including passing comprehensive energy and climate legislation.”

Translation: Let’s let the Federal Government take over electrical generation and transportation and run it like Amtrak. And by the way, let’s take the “Crazed sex poodle’s” advice and wreck the rest of the economy for the benefit of “the planet.”

If it were not so serious it would be funny!

Big Brother Bites Finance & Lots More

June 25th, 2010

No amount of indignation or ridicule is sufficient to describe the 2,000 page monster of a finance regulatiory bill, now called Dodd-Frank. Like the health care monster, this Demoncrat written and sponsored beast injects the government into every nook and cranney.

But why object?

    * It doesn’t address the problem that is supposedly its justification, “too big to fail,” real estate bubble, unwise leverage and derivative practices.
    * It was written by the same guys whose prior congressional activities were responsible for causing the crisis in the first place.
    * It leaves the two entities most responsible for the “crisis” (Fannie and Freddie) untouched and still toxic.
    * It seeks to micro-manage and regulate financial transactions that have heretofore been privately negotiated without serious problems.
    * It creates expensive new bureaucracies that will be no more competent or responsible than the ones we’re already suffering under. The SEC for example failed to notice Bernie Madoff’s shenanigans even when repeatedly notified.
    * Like all government reactions to perceived “crises” before it, witness Sarbanes-Oxley, this regulatory beast will have many unanticipated negative consequences, which will be very difficult to correct.
    * It branches out into regulating consumer finance, which has nothing to do with the main subject but is a pet project of the MLB (meddlesome-liberal-busybodies).

Dodd-Frank gives the government oversight of almost all financial transactions, large and small. Its supporters claim that the regulation of consumer finance is necessary to “protect consumers.” Provisions of the bill set up a spy network to monitor every detail of finance (“to prevent systemic failures”) and threaten individuals with fines and jail if they try to hide their transactions or refuse to provide government thugs with whatever financial details they request. See my previous article: Liberty & Democrats And while they’re at it, they want to regulate the internet. See: FTC Regulation of Internet

Isn’t it amazing what can be hidden in 2,000 pages of legalistic mumbo jumbo? And to do all this without addressing the real cause of the financial panic takes real talent. Fannie and Freddie are free to go their merry way sucking up government bail-out funds by the gazilions. Of course Goldman Sachs gains some assurances that rivals will suffer more than they do, and Obama’s “fat cat bankers” can count on future government fail-outs indefinitely.

So thanks to, Barney, among the most corrupt in the House of Representatives and Chris, among the most corrupt in the Senate, the country’s financial system will be in competent government hands and we’ll all be protected from the predators out there. But aren’t these the same guys whose previous policies and regulations were the root cause of the real-estate bubble and financial crisis in the first place?

Yah, sure!

2011: The Disaster Year

June 22nd, 2010

All of a sudden the Sun God’s chariot is losing its wheels. The gulf is a mess, and the president’s proclamation to “Stop the damn leak” is ridiculed. His decree to “Suspend offshore drilling for six months,” thus throwing thousands out of work has been challenged by a federal judge, who says it’s “capricious.”

The president’s own general in Afghanistan has been called back to Washington for a lecture on etiquette — or perhaps firing. If the latter, Obama faces the likelihood of losing the entire war as the result of his inexperience and thin skin. Now that would be the single most harmful and inexcusable outcome in American military history — letting the president’s personal vanity cause us to lose a war!

Don’t compare this to the Truman, MacArthur situation, either. Truman fired MacArthur for publicly wanting to use nukes and invade China. And I’m sure MacArthur had a lot more pointed things to say about Truman, than McCrystal said about Obama. So the acolytes can’t say this elevates His Assness to the (low) status of a Truman.

The Sun God’s advisors apparently think that the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico is a good omen for the introduction of $7 to $10 per gallon gasoline, skyrocketing utility bills, and massive new taxes — to finance subsidies for wind mills and solar panels. All this because of what? Global warming? American guilt for being successful?

The U.S. dollar is on the brink of massive inflation. Governments at all levels (federal, state and local) are committed to more obligations than they can ever hope to pay back ($130 Trillion, anyone?), and an otherwise weak economy, the Sun God seems to think he can recklessly spend us out of the mess with one more dose of stimulus and ass kicking.

As if this all was not enough, he decides to sue Arizona for enforcing a federal immigration law while drug gangs sweep into Southern Arizona’s border regions.

The guy is either certifiably crazy, stupid, or completely immature and out of his depth. I’d vote for the latter diagnosis with a dose of the former for spice.

2011 is going to be the year of comeuppance for the Sun God and his minions, and a year of disaster for the U.S.A. Although Republicans will probably gain control of at least one house of congress, taxes will be drastically raised, causing the economy to dramatically tank. The U.S. Treasury will see its bonds downgraded and will be unable to continue financing the deficit, much less the national debt. The printing presses will be cranked up and hyper-inflation will ensue. The Chinese will be pissed, but we’ve got them over a barrel if they don’t provoke a war. In either case, pissed or at war, it will be obvious how dumb it has been to move our manufacturing to China. If we’re lucky we won’t see a tyrannical government taking the crash and crisis as an excuse to impose a dictatorship. I said lucky, not smart.

What to do about it? As for me, I’m working feverishly to assemble an inflation survival kit by investing everything I can into assets that have intrinsic value, such as precious metals, mineral mining, oil, natural gas, forest products, etc. When the economy really tanks, the stock market will do the same, but in a hyper-inflation scenario ownership of interest in actual physical assets is expected to be a good hedge. Unless, of course, the government suspends all property rights, which it could and might do.

The financial sector, and anything dependent upon China will be demolished. They’ll all lose their proverbial shirts because their notes and bonds will be worthless. But they can start again from scratch, because it’s all paper and confidence that makes it work. No heavy lifting required. Geithner, Bernanke, Paulson and their ilk will con their way back into finance like cockroaches returning after a nuclear blast.

Then, in 10 to 20 years, the American spirit will kick back in and the U.S.A. will revive itself.

And the Sun God will be remembered as the miserable mistake he is.

More Bureaucratic Bungling Blocking Oil Cleanup

June 17th, 2010

A P.S. to the previous article describes how government paperwork is causing oil cleanup efforts to be thwarted.

BP Oil Spill: Against Gov. Jindal’s Wishes, Crude-Sucking Barges Stopped by Coast Guard describes how the Coast Guard’s bureaucracy is hindering the cleanup efforts. Hasn’t anyone in the government got the cahones to just cut through the BS and focus on getting the job done?

The BIG BUNGLING U.S. Government IS the PROBLEM. The bigger it gets the more incompetent it becomes! HACK IT DOWN TO SIZE!

Criminal Incompetence or Good Enough for Govt. Work?

June 17th, 2010

How much more clear can one be about the incompetence in government? I can’t add a thing to this:
More stuck on stupid: EPA vs. the Dutch
By Michelle Malkin • June 16, 2010 04:15 PM

It’s not just Obama, it’s intrinsic to Big Government. BACK IT DOWN!

Mexican Border Terror

June 16th, 2010

Shown below is a map of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, a half million acre preserve that buts up to the border with Mexico. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared a portion of this park along the border line unsafe for American Citizens.

I am personally concerned about this because I live about 10 miles north of the park’s border along the major route between Tucson and Sasabe, the Mexican border town adjacent to the park. This highway, route 286, although heavily patrolled, still channels a major amount of illegal traffic in people and drugs.

The nearby Mexican border town of Nogales, Sonora has seen drug related murders constantly increasing. Tucson’s Arizona Daily Star reports:

There were 136 homicides in 2009, up from 126 in 2008 and 52 in 2007.

Through March 23 of this year, there have been 79 killings, according to a tally maintained by El Imparcial newspaper in Sonora.

For a population of about 21,000 (in yr. 2000) that’s a lot of murders, although not yet reaching the terror level in Juarez, across the border from El Paso.

There have also been pitched gun battles between police or military and drug gangs in the past year, and that the level of violence continues to increase. In March, this year, the deputy police chief of Nogales was murdered by drug gangs.

The conventional wisdom is that this violence hasn’t yet, and probably won’t spill over the border into the U.S. However, recent events such as the discovery on 8 tons of marijuana in a Tucson house this week, the murder of rancher Krentz, gangs against gangs near the border, the shooting of a Sheriff deputy a month ago, and now the closure of American territory to American citizens shows that this is wishful thinking.

As I’ve mentioned earlier in these blogs I’ve seen a lot of illegals cross my land and in the past. When these were honest farm laborers looking for work, I had sympathy for them. Two of my college years were spent at what then was Mexico City College in Mexico and I have a warm regard for Mexico and Mexicans. However, with the violent drug trade pushing violence directly up to my house in the desert I’ve become very apprehensive. The recent murder of a local Arizona rancher, Mr. Krentz, it has made it clear that those of us who live near the border are potentially exposed to this violence. Although I don’t consider myself an alarmist, the closure of the lower part of the wildlife refuge reinforces this and gives me chills. The route followed by the drug gangs who make this zone toxic leads directly north through my property.

Philosophically I’d love to have open borders, so Mexicans would be welcomed here, and Americans, likewise could invest and enrich the Mexican economy. In an ideal world we’d both gain. But this is obviously not an ideal world, especially here on the border. As a combat veteran of the Vietnam war I’m completely comfortable around weapons but not in any way an enthusiast. When I left the army I thought I’d never again have to carry a firearm for personal protection. I still don’t relish it, but do so occasionally when confronted with foot traffic from Mexico. However, I also realize that the drug gangs are far better armed than I am — revolver against AK-47 is not a fair contest.

The political winds that swirl around border enforcement are stirring up a lot of dust. But the bottom line truth is that when peaceful American citizens begin to fear for their own safety and the safety of their families, then it’s time to cut through the bull-shit and send in the troops. That’s what we did when Pancho Villa raided across the border. That’s what we need to do now.

And Mr. Obama, a word of advice: Don’t you dare send in troops without weapons or without ammunition.

Awful Offal from the Oval Office

June 16th, 2010

Last evening His Assness, the Sun God, graced us with his radiance in hopes of boosting his poll ratings. He informed us that anything that had gone well during the Gulf oil spill was due to his beneficent efforts. HE had produced the sand berms to protect the Louisiana shores. What he didn’t mention was that his federal bureaucrats had blocked these berms and they’re being built only after the local government took the initiative on its own. As always, we’re expected to believe that lies told by His Assness are really truth.

This godly creature inhabiting the White House acts with divine powers not limited by laws. He can decree the career execution of mere business executives, take over companies, break contractual obligations, seize private assets for “public good”, anything he deems or dreams or wants for his own political well being. That’s the “Audacity of Hope” or something like that.

The Oval Office speech format is normally reserved for substantive speeches about vital national events. President Obama’s political legacy isn’t in that category, and the speech itself was that of an amateur completely out of his depth. But that doesn’t mean he can’t do great harm. He can and he does.

It gets to look more like Venezuela every day.

Obama Regime Wants Naked Citizenry

June 13th, 2010

Can the Meddlesome-Liberal-Busybodies in the Obama administration destroy the second amendment by the back door? Some people point to a United Nations Small Arms Treaty reportedly backed by the Obama Administration as just such a back door. Whether the U.S. Senate would ever ratify such a treaty is, of course, problematical. But the mere backing of this type of international treaty is evidence of the cynical disregard these people have for the U.S. Constitution and their distrust and contempt for the citizens that elected them.

Even more important than that, the repeated attacks on the second amendment right to keep and bear arms is evidence that liberal Democrats fear the citizenry sufficiently that they want to disarm us all. If you think that our liberties are being infringed while we are armed, what do you think the government will dare do to us if we’re naked?

Keep your powder dry!

Cruder Than Oil

June 11th, 2010

Here’s our refined Sun God performing the street version of the classic “Ass Kick Boogie.” What a versatile guy. How wonderful is his hope and change!

Oh well!

More Steam on Innovation

June 9th, 2010

My friend, Ben Kalafut, wrote a comment to my recent article “Automotive Innovation, American Know-how.” His comment, below, stirred up some old memories on the subject. Ben wrote:

Have you seen the six-stroke water-injection setup? Makes timing and manifold design a bit more complicated, but a very nice way to lower T_c and get higher thermodynamic efficiency.

I hadn’t heard of the six-stroke engine so I looked it up on Wikipedia. Interesting! It appears that the original six-stroke was thought of around 1883. The Crower engine, which you are possibly referring to, which uses water injection, was invented in 2004 by a 75 year old American. Apparently it is similar to a design originally invented by Leonard Dyer in 1915.

In 1960 I had a friend who modified his Jeep engine to accept water injection. He was a pilot and also modified his Jeep’s controls so he could steer, brake, and accelerate using an aircraft joy-stick control.

And on a similar note, in the late 60’s I was a frequent user of the Mechanics Institute library in San Francisco. This library was originally established during the gold rush days to support engineering involved in gold mining. On numerous days, while doing my customary stock market research, I noticed a fellow patron at the back corner of the stacks. He was hunched over some very old, dusty tomes and took copious notes.

My curiosity get the better of my manners and I asked him what he was researching. He reported that he was a senior engineer from LearJet Aircraft company, which was then proposing to re-introduce a steam propelled automobile. The most complete and accurate technology for steam propulsion, he said, was all developed in the 1850’s, and thus resided in the dusty archives of the Mechanics Library.

An aside to all this is that sometimes good ideas in mechanical (for example) engineering become practical much later due to innovations in electronics (computerized controls) and materials (single crystal turbine blades, carbon fiber composites), for example. It takes time, humility and open minds for these things to come together in practical, economical products. There’s a gold mine out there, and it’s worth prospecting.

Oil Spill Solution?

June 8th, 2010

In case you haven’t seen this, it’s worth a look. I was impressed and wonder if this technique is being used currently in the Gulf, and if not, why not?

It sure would beat the hell out of “kicking ass” as the Sun God proposes!

Automotive Innovation, American Know-how

June 7th, 2010

At last, something sunny to blog about!

This MIT Technology Review article and associated links describes new technology to make automotive (and truck) gasoline and diesel engines more efficient. The research promises increased mileage, perhaps to 70 MPG or more, less pollution, and perhaps no significant increase in vehicle cost. Among the innovations are more efficient ways to burn gasoline, in some cases mixing gasoline with other fuels, such as diesel, or jet fuel. This is done with computer controlled fuel mixing & valves, direct injection of fuel into the cylinders, and preheating the fuel and air. One experiment involves switching an engine from four-stroke to two-stroke on the fly, depending on load. Additional experimentation involves using compressed air instead of battery power in hybrid propulsion systems.

What’s most interesting about these technologies is that they are all derivatives of common gasoline or diesel engines, running on fuels we have now. There’s no need for PC in these experiments, unlike the $0.5 Billion each that the federal government has poured into backing plug-in electric sports cars by Tesla and scissor company, Fiscars (an Al Gore investment, yet). Basic economics, not politics, governs success or failure of these independent and practical experiments.

And to top it all off, they’re being done in AMERICA! YEH for scientific innovation. YEH for inventive engineering. YEH for American universities. YEH for American Venture Capital. YEH for Boeing and Ford!

Yankee technical know-how survives and thrives in the good old USA.

Who’s Responsible: BP or BO?

June 4th, 2010

There has been a lot of noise lately directed toward the President. Why doesn’t he fix the leak? What is he going to do about the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico? But let’s step back and ask ourselves what role the U.S. Federal Government can and should really play in this situation. Is the government bureaucracy really equipped with robotic tools and deep water technology needed to fix an oil well blowout? No, of course not! Government officials shuffle papers and drive desks. What possible constructive role should we expect from the Washington bureaucracy and the Prez.?

What the government can do, and from all indications what it is doing is to bollix up the works by imposing bureaucratic hurdles on those who have the capability of doing some good. The Corps of Engineers prevents Louisianans from building berms off of the beaches and marshes, the bureaucracy at Materials Management tells BP not to use a cut & cap strategy until after the dome and the top-kill strategies failed, ships loaded with booms sit idle awaiting government permission for their deployment, the federal government’s own plan to deploy burn-booms was not executed because the bureaucracy never purchased the booms that would be needed to implement the plan. And to top it all off, BO imposes a drilling ban and proposes new taxes that further damage the economy of the gulf region and the nation.

Somebody has turned down numerous offers to help with the mess, including large scale skimmers from abroad (Europe?), the use of oil-eating microbes, the volunteer efforts of Louisiana fishermen, and who knows what other help has been volunteered. If the government had any sense at all it could provide coordination and organization of these efforts, rather than discouraging them with a blanket of government obstruction. That would be constructive leadership.

Obama’s FTC Wants to “Reinvent Journalism”

June 2nd, 2010

Thanks to Coyote Blog’s Creating the American Provda for bringing this most chilling document to my attention. Here’s the FTC’s “Staff Discussion Draft” .PDF POTENTIAL POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS TO SUPPORT THE REINVENTION OF JOURNALISM

A new Federal Trade Commission document describes ways for government to tax, support and control journalism and consumers thereof. It is written in a bland bureaucratic style, suggesting that others “have suggested …” so-and-so. But read between the lines. No matter what this says, the U.S. Government in general and FTC in particular have no business whatsoever interfering with the practice of journalism.

Authoritarian governments always try to control information, whether by nationalizing the news media, controlling its distribution mediums, or like the government of Mexico, by monopolizing the the production and sales of newsprint paper. This FTC project is nothing but evil.

Please read this document. Then express your opinion by going to: http://public.commentworks.com/ftc/newsmediaworkshop. It might do some good to tell the bureaucrats that their project is unconstitutional and not appreciated.

We lose our freedoms by not actively protecting them.