Wednesday, January 30, 2008

FBI Investigates 14 Firms in Subprime Crackdown

Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:39pm EST
By Randall Mikkelsen


WASHINGTON (Reuters)
- The FBI has opened criminal investigations into 14 corporations as part of a crackdown on improper subprime lending, agency officials said on Tuesday.
FBI officials told reporters the probes involved potential violations, including accounting fraud and insider trading.

They did not identify the companies. But the probes reached across the industry to include developers, subprime lenders, companies that securitized loans and investment banks that held them, said Neil Power, head of the FBI's economic crimes unit.
"Currently there are ... 14 investigations, inquiries open right now," he said.
Cases involving individual loans have also risen sharply in a crackdown on subprime lending irregularities, officials said.

"We anticipate in the next year that another wave of adjustable rate mortgages will reset and with that we anticipate that the mortgage corporate fraud potential cases to increase," said Sharon Ormsby, head of the FBI's financial crimes section.

The FBI is investigating the corporate cases in parallel with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has opened about three dozen civil investigations into the subprime market collapse. Some of the probes overlap, an official said.

Targets of the SEC probe include Swiss bank UBS AG and U.S investment banks Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, as well as bond insurer MBIA.
The SEC, which has formed an internal subprime mortgage task force, is looking at how financial firms priced mortgage-based securities and whether they should have told investors earlier about the declining value of those securities.

The U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, New York and the FBI earlier launched a criminal investigation into two mortgage-related hedge funds at Bear Stearns that collapsed during the summer.
There are also state investigations.

The corporate investigations are part of an FBI crackdown on improper subprime lending, which also includes a focus on fraud in loan origination.

The agency has about 1,200 active cases, up 40 percent from 2006, with 321 criminal complaints or indictments, officials said.
"Subprime loans are decreasing but ... suspicions of mortgage fraud are increasing," Ormsby said.

Some of the loan origination cases are spurred by individuals lying to qualify for mortgages, but about 80 percent of the cases involved fraud for profit, Power said.
Particular problem areas included California, Texas, Arizona, Florida, and the Midwest, officials said.

My Comment: As a housing counselor, I see people all of the time who are losing their home and who got loans they should never have gotten.

Many times there is not a lot of reason to feel much sorrow for the borrower. Often the sub-prime Adjustable Rate Mortgage with a teaser introductory rate allowed the borrower to buy more house than they could afford and they got into the house with no money down. If they lose the house, they are not really losing anything, since they have no equity in the home. They wanted a $200,000 house when they could only afford a $120,000 house. The borrower just knew they wanted that house and did not pay attention to the details of the financing. The borrower was greedy and irresponsible. Don't waste your compassion on these people. They got to live beyond their means for two year, and now they have to face reality. In these cases, they need to lose the home, learn a hard lesson and just start over and do it right next time.

On the other hand, I also see people who could have qualified for a good loan, but were sold a very bad sub-prime product. I also see cases of falsified loan applications. Usually in the case of the falsified loan application, the falsification was started by the loan officer. The loan officer types up the app and gets the borrower to sign it. Either the borrower never notices the incorrect information or the loan officer explains away the discrepancy and tells the borrower not to worry about it, that that is just how things are done. I also see inflated appraisals. I have seen "flipping" of loans which is when loan is refinanced over and over each time eating up the equity in the house until the person can't refinance anymore and loses the home.

Buying a home, for most people is the biggest financial decision they will ever make and is their primary method of creating wealth. They should use caution and make sure they understand what they are doing. However, many borrowers are not very sophisticated or educated, and financing a home can be complicated. Many borrowers assume their loan officer will get them financing that is in their best interest. There are many honorable, honest loan officers who do just that and over the years I have worked with many people for whom I have the up most respect. There are, however, a lot of unscrupulous crooks waiting to prey on the unsophisticated borrower. They target the elderly, minorities, and anyone who they think they can get by with victimizing. They lie, mislead, and withhold vital information. I am all for a person making an honest buck, but to rip people off by putting them in a bad mortgage product when the borrower could have qualified for a good product is unconscionable.

I do not believe this culture of greed and corruption in the mortgage business started at the level of the loan officer. I must believe that it was condoned higher up the chain of command. I will be delighted to see some CEO's go to jail. I hope it happens.



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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Guns in Bars



Senate passes bill to allow guns in bars

By John Rodgers, jrodgers@nashvillecitypaper.com

The state Senate passed a bill today to allow gun carry permit holders to take their firearms into bars.


Don't Take your Guns to Town
By Johnny Cash

A young cowboy named Billy Joe grew restless on the farm
A boy filled with wonderlust who really meant no harm
He changed his clothes and shined his boots
He combed his dark hair down
And his mother cried as he walked out

[Chorus]
Don't take your guns to town son
Leave your guns at home Bill
Don't take your guns to town

He laughed and kissed his mom
And said your Billy Joe's a man
I can shoot as quick and straight as anybody can
But I wouldn't shoot without a cause
I'd gun nobody down
But she cried again as he rode away

[Chorus]
Don't take your guns to town son
Leave your guns at home Bill
Don't take your guns to town

He sang a song as on he rode
His guns hung at his hips
He rode into a cattle town
A smile upon his lips
He stopped and walked into a bar
And laid his money down
But his mother's words echoed again

[Chorus]
Don't take your guns to town son
Leave your guns at home Bill
Don't take your guns to town

He drank his first strong liquor then to calm his shaking hand
And tried to tell himself he had become a man
A dusty cowpoke at his side began to laugh him down
And he heard again his mothers words

[Chorus]
Don't take your guns to town son
Leave your guns at home Bill
Don't take your guns to town

Filled with rage then
Billy Joe reached for his gun to draw
But the stranger drew his gun and fired
Before he even saw
As Billy Joe fell to the floor
The crowd all gathered 'round
And wondered at his final words

[Chorus]
Don't take your guns to town son
Leave your guns at home Bill
Don't take your guns to town

Comment: Having been in a bar or two in my lifetime, I do not think firearms and alcohol are a good mix. This is a bad idea. I hope the House rejects it and if passed, the Governor should veto it.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

They are taking our American jobs!

The politics of envy and resentment is usually a left-wing populist position and is based on the premise that if someone else has more, you have less. Populist see the economic pie as fixed and think it is important that everyone have a more equal slice. Conservatives believe it is more important to bake a bigger pie than redistribute shares. They know that the size of the pie is not fixed.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the issue of immigration, right-wing populist adopt the same politics of envy and resentment as their left-wing brethren. They see the number of jobs as fixed and believe that if an immigrant has a job then someone else lost a job. They often rant against immigrants “taking American jobs”.

The truth is that there is not a job that has your name on it. The government does not issue jobs. There is not a job fairy that reserves a job just for you. It is estimated that there are somewhere between 12 and twenty million illegal immigrants in America. If we assume the number is 16 million and most of them are working, we cannot assume that they displaced 16 million American workers.

While there has recently been a slight increase in unemployment, still the number of unemployed persons in America is only about 5 percent of the workforce which comes to about 7 and half million people. When you consider that at anyone time some people are always in the process of switching jobs, this is a relatively small number. If we were to erroneously assume that all 7 and half million would be working if the 16 million immigrants where not here, then that would still leave over 8 million jobs unfilled.

If we did not have the immigrant workforce however, would those who are now unemployed have jobs? No. A lot of the jobs are the jobs Americans do not want to do. An unemployed musician in Nashville, an unemployed construction worker in Chicago, or an unemployed office worker in Atlanta are not likely to move to Arkansas to pluck chickens. Most of them would not even except working for a lawn service company in their own city.

The immigrant population is not costing us “American” jobs but instead they are growing the economy. If we were to take 16 million workers out of the workforce, we would lose many more than 16 million jobs. By starting businesses, by supplying the labor needed for growing existing businesses, and by spending money in America, immigrants create more jobs than they fill. While immigrants increase the supply of labor they also increase the demand for labor. Many small companies would go out of business if they did not have their immigrant labor force.

If you talk to almost any employer who has employed immigrants he will tell you that they make good employees. They have a good work ethic and often work at jobs that employers would have a hard time filling. That they make good employees should not be surprising; after all, by self-selection these may be the best their native land has to offer. These are people who had the initiative to pull up stake, endure hardship and danger to come to a strange land where they did not know the language or the culture in order to have a better opportunity. They are obviously ambitious and adventurous. How many of us would do the same?

We live in a global economy where capital is flexible and can cross borders; we also need flexibility in the labor supply. Rather than shoot ourselves in the foot by removing 16 million hardworking people from the labor force, we need to recognize the value of that labor. It is time to establish a guest worker program.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

U.S. Given Poor Marks on the Environment

By FELICITY BARRINGER
The New York Times,January 23, 2008

WASHINGTON — A new international ranking of environmental performance puts the United States at the bottom of the Group of 8 industrialized nations and 39th among the 149 countries on the list.

European nations dominate the top places in the ranking, which evaluates sanitation, greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural policies, air pollution and 20 other measures to formulate an overall score, with 100 the best possible.

The top 10 countries, with scores of 87 or better, were led by Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Finland. The others at the top were Austria, France, Latvia, Costa Rica, Colombia and New Zealand, the leader in the 2006 version of the analysis, which is conducted by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities.

“We are putting more weight on climate change,” said Daniel Esty, the report’s lead author, who is the director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. “Switzerland is the most greenhouse gas efficient economy in the developed world,” he said, in part because of its use of hydroelectric power and its transportation system, which relies more on trains than individual cars or trucks.

The United States, with a score of 81.0, he noted, “is slipping down,” both because of low scores on three different analyses of greenhouse gas emissions and a pervasive problem with smog. The country’s performance on a new indicator that measures regional smog, he said, “is at the bottom of the world right now.”

Comment: This is embarrassing and appalling. The US has long been the leader of the Free World. This is the nation that liberating Europe from Hitler and defeated Japan. We defeating the Soviet Union and liberating half the world from Communist oppression. We have been the leader in providing aid to undeveloped countries, in conquering disease, in promoting democracy and stability in the world, and in promoting trade and economic growth and integration. We are the most powerful and influential country on the planet. Global warming may be the biggest challenge facing the planet and yet the US is absent in seeking a solution and is in fact one of the worse offenders among industrialized nations. The US should be a leader in solving this problem, not ranking behind Albania.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Charlie Wilson's War is a Great Movie!

I went to the movies yesterday and saw a great movie! I give it five stars, two thumbs up! It has it all: humor, intrigue, sexy women, and adventure. This is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. It is a patriotic film which is a rarity from Hollywood which tends to focus on everything wrong with America.

Charlie Wilson’s War stars Tom Hanks as Congressman Charlie Wilson and Julia Roberts as Houston socialite Joanne Herring and is the true story of how a playboy Congressman, a renegade CIA agent, and a Houston socialite joined force to lead the largest and most successful covert operation in American history. Their efforts contribute to the defeat of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

For those old commie-libs who think the world was better off before the Evil Empire was defeated, you will not like this movie; for those who celebrate America’s victory over the Soviet Union, you will love it! Watching Afghan Freedom fighters shoot down Soviet helicopters was exhilarating.

To see the promo, click here: Charlie Wilson’s War

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Round ‘em up and send ‘em home.


Get Real About Immigration

OK, first of all let me make the standard declaration: We need to control our borders and we need to know who is in our country.

Now: In almost any conversation about the issue of illegal immigration someone says we ought to round them up and send them home. OK, what would that entail?

First of all, how many are we talking about? Estimates range from a low of 12 million to a high of 20 million. If we split the difference we are talking about 16 million breathing living human being. That is more people than the combined population of Sweden, Norway and Switzerland. That is a hell of a lot of people.

So, let us assume we will assemble a convoy of buses to send them home. The usual seating capacity of a passenger coach is 47 to 62 passengers with a maximum length of 40 ft or 45 ft. Assume we put 62 passengers to the bus that will require 258,064 buses. Assume our convoy of buses allows one bus length between each bus. The convoy will contain 58 busses per mile and stretch for 4449 miles. So, as the first bus reaches El Paso, the convoy will stretch to Nashville, but that is only 1280 miles, so we will stretch it to Washington DC, which adds another 660 miles. We are just getting started. If the convoy stretches from DC to Chicago, that adds another 710 miles. It the convoy stretches from Chicago to Seattle that is another 1733 miles, which would still be 66 miles up the road from the last bus. Can you see that convoy of buses in your mind?

OK, that is not practical so let us put them all on jumbo jets and fly them home. A Boeing 747 can hold 416 people. If we have one an hour taking off, we could do it in 38,461 trips. If a fully loaded jet per hour takes off, 24 hours a day, that will take 1602 days or 4 and a half years.

I doubt we can be so efficient as to dispatch a plane per hour. Anyway, we would have to hold them until their scheduled flight. So, we will have to build concentration camps to hold them. If we build some really big camps that hold, say, 2500 people each, then we will need 6400 concentration camps. How many guards will we have to hire? How much will it cost to build 6400 concentration camps? How much will it cost to feed, cloth, and care for 16 million people?

Now, keep in mind that these concentration camps are for people who committed the misdemeanor crime of illegally entering the country. That would certainly be bad PR. How would that look on the evening news in the rest of the world?

Now, where are we going to send them? Back where they came from, you say. Well, most of them, but not all of them, came from Mexico. If they can’t prove they are Mexican, Mexico may not take them. I would be surprised it Mexico wants to accept 16 million displaced persons. Mexico would certainly have to plan for the repatriation. Sixteen million unhappy unemployed people being dumped in Mexico and the sudden loss of the money they have been sending home could cause a crisis and a revolution in Mexico. That could create more refugees trying to enter our country.

What are we going to do about those who are married to Americans? Are we going to forcibly separate families? What about the children who were born here and are American citizens? Are we going to build a lot of orphanages to house them?

Any solution to the problem of illegal immigration must include a guest worker program and some sort of path to citizenship for people who are already here without a requirement that they go home and reapply. The eventual solution will not look that much different from the plan proposed by President Bush. It is time our gutless politicians stop pandering and get real about a solution to the immigration problem.

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RE: Who is Barack Obama? (fwd)

by Rachel Williams

“Somethin' to consider Rach”.

Ok. Now, here is something for you to consider. Not everything one reads is true. I'm quite tired of receiving emails which are passed on with blind enthusiasm. I receive them on a regular basis, and I receive them on a variety of topics. From the origins of the word "shit" (see http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl-s-word.htm) to 9-11 conspiracy theories to political messages intended to promote right-winged agendas--feels like I've read it all. It's not that I mind getting them (usually I find them as a source of humor), it's the whole blind enthusiasm that I'm hung up on.

This email about Barack Obama is atrocious. A complete attack on his character, his reputation, his up-bringing, and most obviously, his personal relationship with God. Not to mention the offensive nature towards Muslims. I take offense to this email not because I am a staunch supporter of Obama (Funny thing is, I'm not), but because it isn't right.

It's one thing to tell lies, but it's another thing to pass them on with a judgmental, unquestioning nod of the head, with those myopic lenses donned. It abrades me to no end when people do not question. Don't get me wrong, it isn't that I don't get duped by accusations of a false nature; sure I do! This is in line with human error, human nature.... But if something sounds fishy, then do a little research! Or if you're not going to research it, then for heaven's sake, don't pass rumors on as truth!!!!!!

Upon receiving this email, It took two seconds to open another tab in my internet browser, go to google, and type in the words "obama muslim email". In 0.19 seconds, I had thousands (about 174,000) of results. The first one was this website:http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/muslim.asp

Please, go there yourself. Read the article. And then, pass it on to everyone you know. If you aren't familiar with Snopes.com, which I am assuming you are not, here is a link to wikipedia about the website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snopes

Here is an appropriate quote from that wikipedia article: "Snopes directs people to more information about various hoaxes, especially in regard to chain e-mails. Although they research their topics heavily and provide references when possible, not all of their sources (especially those which are personal interviews, phone calls, or e-mails) are fully verifiable. Where appropriate, pages are generally marked "undetermined" or "unverifiable" if the Mikkelsons feel there is not enough evidence to either support or disprove a given claim."

The snopes article about this Obama email sites a dozen sources, two of which are from Obama's own autobiographies. Again and with all seriousness, please follow the link (and pass it on). Just in case you don't pass it on, I have taken the liberty to copy every email in the forwarded email that you initially sent me. For once, you did me a favor by failing to delete all that junk preceding the email's body (I hate scrolling through that mess!). And so, if you are reading this email, wondering who in the world is "williamsra82" and why is she writing me---I got your email from my sister's forwarding of the Barack email.

Love ya Sis

Have a great week!

Rachel

(Following is the orginal email to which Rachle is responding.)

Subj: Fwd: Who is Barack Obama?

Who is Barack Obama?

Very interesting and something that should be considered in your choice. If you do not ever forward anything else, please forward this to all your contacts...this is very scary to think of what lies ahead of us here in our own United States...better heed this and pray about itand share it.
We checked this out on "HYPERLINK "http://snopes.com/" \nsnopes.com". It is factual. Check for yourself.

Who is Barack Obama? Probable U. S. presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama was bornin Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black MUSLIM from Nyangoma-Kogel, Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white ATHIEST from Wichita, Kansas. Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii. When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His father returned to Kenya. His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a RADICAL Muslim from Indonesia.

When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocate to Indonesia. Obamaattended a MUSLIM school in Jakarta. He also spent two years in a Catholic school. Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He is quick to point out that, "He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic School." Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that he is not a radical. Obama's introduction to Islam came via his father, and that this influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct influence over his son's education.

Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama' s mother, Ann Dunham,introduced his stepson to Islam. Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta. Wahabism is the RADICAL teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world. Since it is politically expedient to be a CHRISTIAN when seeking major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background. ALSO, keep in mind that when he was sworn into office he DID NOT use the Holy Bible, but instead the Koran. Barack Hussein Obama will NOT recite the Pledge of Allegience nor will he show any reverence for our flag. While others place their hands over their hearts, Obama turns his back to the flag and slouches.

Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's expected presidential candidacy. The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the US from the inside out, what better way to start than at the highest level - through the President of the United States, one of their own!!!! Please forward to everyone you know. Would you want this man leading our country?...... NOT ME!!!

My Comment: The above entry is written by my daughter Rachel Williams in response to an email she received from a close family member. The original email, follows her response. Both are printing unedited except for deleting the names and email addresses of the sender. I have encounterd variations of this allegation on numerous web sites and chat groups. Many are trying to create the impression that Obama is some kind of Manchurian Candidate-like radical Muslim. The truth is that for four or five years, starting at age 6, Obama attended Indonesian public schools and Catholic Schools in Indonesia. The public school was not a Madrassas. He was not sworn into office on the Koran. The email is lie upon lie.
Please People: Stop spreading lies.
Good job, Rachel.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Why Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican

By Frances Rice

National Black Republican Association
.
It should come as no surprise that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican. In that era, almost all black Americans were Republicans. Why? From its founding in 1854 as the anti-slavery party until today, the Republican Party has championed freedom and civil rights for blacks. And as one pundit so succinctly stated, the Democrat Party is as it always has been, the party of the four S's: Slavery, Secession, Segregation and now Socialism.
.
It was the Democrats who fought to keep blacks in slavery and passed the discriminatory Black Codes and Jim Crow laws. The Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan to lynch and terrorize blacks. The Democrats fought to prevent the passage of every civil rights law beginning with the civil rights laws of the 1860's, and continuing with the civil rights laws of the 1950's and 1960's.
(To continue reading: Why Martin Luther King... )

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Candidate Dating Game

My Match?

John McCain ? _______Mike Huckabee?________Chris Dodd??

The NPR web site has a link to four “candidates matching sites.” Each site has a series of questions that you answer and then the site tells you which candidate’s position most closely matches your position. I took all four of the quizzes.

On the Minnesota Public Radio Select a Candidate site I scored an 80% with John McCain, followed by a 50% match with Ron Paul and a 40% with Barack Obama.

According to the Glassbooth Election Quiz, I agree with John McCain 79% of the time which makes him my closest match.

In the Washington Post Choose Your Candidate quiz not all candidates are lumped in the same poll, so I took the Republican version of the quiz and my top choice was Mike Huckabee, followed by John McCain.

On the USA Today Poll my choices were Chris Dodd, followed by Hillary Clinton, and Mike Gravel.

I don’t know exactly what to make of this. I am supporting Fred Thompson, but apparently I seldom agree with him. He was not my match in any of the polls.

The quizzes my not rate highly enough the negatives of a candidate. John McCain was my closest match on two of the quizzes and the runner up on another. I like John McCain but when he said he would have supported the invasion of Iraq even if he did not believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that was reason enough to disqualify him in my view. Despite Mike Huckabee’s being my match on one of the polls, the big negative for Huckabee is his fundamentalist religious views. I am not comfortable with a candidate who wants to ensure the Constitution conforms to God’s law.

I am really surprised that I am most compatible with Chris Dodd, followed by Hillary Clinton and Mike Gravel! What? That is not the Rod Williams I know.

The quizzes do not rate candidates on your judgment of such things as the candidate’s temperament, experience, intelligence, and judgment or the intangible of just "likability".

Let me encourage you to take the quizzes and see if you are really a match with the candidate you are supporting. Leave a comment on this blog. I would be curious if others are surprised by the result. Did the quiz select the candidate you are supporting?


To go to the NPR site and take the quizzes, click the title of this post.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

We Need to Amend the Consitution, Bring It in Line with God

By Eric Kleefeld - January 15, 2008, 1:00PM
At a Michigan campaign event last night, Mike Huckabee gave an interesting reason for why he wants to amend the Constitution to ban both abortion and gay marriage: Otherwise, the Constitution would be in conflict with God.


Huckabee first observed that some of his opponents don't want to amend the Constitution on both of these topics. "But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God," Huckabee said. "And that's what we need to do, is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards."

My Comment: While I oppose both abortion and gay marriage, I do not think it wise or fruitful to pursue a constitutional amendment to address either issue. I am concerned about Huckabee's advocacy of amending the Constitution to deal with these two issues, but I am more concerned about his desire to "amend the Constitution so it's in God's standard." What other constitutional amendments would Huckabee advocate to bring the Constitution in line with God's standard? According to Southern Baptist doctrine, God opposes the use of alcohol; would Huckabee bring back prohibition? A society that conforms to God's law would not be a free society. I am not so sure I want a Southern Baptist minister to be our President.

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Conspiracy Theory: John McCain’s Wife’s Illuminati Connection


I am intrigued by conspiracy theories. Could the moon landing have really been a hoax? What is really hidden at Roswell? Did Lyndon Johnson have Kennedy killed so he could be President? Is the reason we have a drug problem in the Black community because the CIA planned it? Did the Government blow up the dikes to cause the flooding in New Orleans?

I think that sometimes events seem so outrageous that it is hard to believe that they are just random occurrences and some people need explanations to give life meaning. Other people, like the 9/11 truthers and Holocaust deniers, are just “crazy as hell” if not simply evil.

I was a teen when JFK was shot and for a while I devoured the JFK assassination conspiracy books. Then during the Goldwater campaign of 1964 I became a politically aware teenager and I read the book None Dare Call it Treason. The thesis of the book was that the foreign policy blunders that weakened the US in the Cold War, such as the loss of China, were not mere blunders but were betrayals by Communist and their fellow travelers within our own government. I am not sure how much of what was in that book was true and how much was speculation and conjecture, but I was influenced by that book as well as the JFK assassination books. Later I learned that there is a step beyond this level of conspiracy theory that ties all of history into a nice bundle.

As a young conservative in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I naturally became acquainted with the John Birch society. They are still around, but were much more influential during the fifties and sixties and seventies. Much of the analysis and material they produced appeared to be mainstream, quality, anti-Communist and conservative analysis. However, as I began to know some John Birchers, and read more of their material, it became clear that the Birchers were nuts. It was from the Birchers I first learned of the “big explanation” that explains everything.

One of the Birchers most popular books, was an attempt to benefit from the popularity of the None Dare Call it Treason book. This book, None Dare Call it Conspiracy, laid out the “big” picture and explained what was really happening in the world. These many years later, I am not certain that all I know about the big conspiracy was in the None Call it Conspiracy book or from other sources but the big conspiracy goes something like this: About the time of the enlightenment, an organization called the Illuminati was formed to manage the evolving chaos taking place in the world. The old order was passing away and democracy and other enlightenment ideals were flourishing. The Illuminati were an elite of enlightenment thinkers who wanted an orderly universe and did not want to loose power. They could not necessarily stop events from happening but they could shape them. The Illuminati evolved overtime to this loose collection of people who are now called “the insiders”.

The insiders are the ones controlling events and they span the globe. In America, Democrat or Republican it does not matter, the Insiders control both parties. The American Revolution, the French Revolution, The American Civil War, World War I, and World War II and other conflicts were all plots to manipulate the world. These events did not just happen, the insiders either allowed them to happen or caused them to happen. The insiders were not Communist, but they financed Communism and exerted authority over the Communist leaders who were their puppets and they allowed Communism to achieve success.

Some of the most famous insiders are the Bilderbergs, the Rothchilds, and the Rockefellers. The biggest current insider organizations are the Council on Foreign Relations and the Tri-lateral Commission. Also, the United Nations is a useful tool of the insiders. “The New World Order” is the plan of the insiders to reorganized the way the world functions.

Variations of the big conspiracy theory include the roll of the Catholic Church and Masons. Read much of this conspiracy stuff and you realize that radical right and radical left merge in the world of conspiracy nuts. Both share a lot of the same conspiracies. The right-wing kooks are actually often at odds with a lot of conservative principles. They are generally against free trade and rant a lot about “international bankers” and “Globalist”.

I recently came across this bit of information that is floating around the Internet and thought you might find it entertaining. It seems that Hillary Clinton has been wearing a gold lapel pin that features an Eagle clutching a single pearl. Also, more and more women in the Clinton circle have been wearing the same pin. According to the conspiracist, this is really an Illuminati emblem and Hillary and all of these Hillary women are brazenly wearing it.

Well recently, [OK, now for scary part: if you know it, imagine the Twilight Zone theme music (do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do). Ready?], John McCain’s wife has been seen wearing the same pin. (To read all about it: Senator John McCain Signals… )

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

More on the Carbon Off-set Con Game

Scientists wary sprinkling iron into sea blunts carbon buildup

Margaret Munro
CanWest News Service
Thursday, January 10, 2008

It sounds so easy. Sprinkle iron dust on the ocean, plankton will bloom and suck massive amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere and into the deep sea.

Geoengineering plans to fertilize the oceans with iron - including a proposal backed by Vancouver financier and former sports mogul Nelson Skalbania - are being sold as one of "the powerful, profitable and planet-friendly" tools in the battle against global warming.

Many scientists have serious doubts, saying there is little proof iron fertilization locks carbon into the deep ocean.

And in the latest salvo in the long-running controversy, leading oceanographers say it is "premature" for ocean fertilization companies to sell carbon offsets to investors or consumers looking to reduce their carbon footprint. (To Continue: Scientist Wary... )

My Comment: There is no proof that sprinkling iron dust in the ocean does any thing to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. This article states that recently in the journal Science, 16 oceanographers from the U.S., Europe, New Zealand and Japan, say there is, as yet, "no scientific basis" for issuing carbon credits for ocean iron fertilization. Despite any evidence that this process has any effect, several companies are doing it and using this process as the basis for the carbon off-sets that they sell. Not only that, this process my have “unintended biogeochemical and ecological impacts” say the scientist.

The next time some self-righteous celebrity excusses his private jet by claiming he purchases carbon off-sets keep this in mind.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Scrutiny Rises Over Carbon-Offset Sales Process

Wall Street Journal
January 9, 2008
By JEFFREY BALL and IAN TALLEY

The government is scrutinizing the market for global-warming-emission offsets, part of a backlash against the market that could increase industry's costs in complying with any new environmental rules.Offsets are pieces of paper said to represent global-warming emissions avoided somewhere else on the planet. The offsets are being bought by the likes of corporations that want to project an environmentally friendly image and consumers who want to make their airplane flights "carbon neutral."

Even though the U.S. hasn't imposed a limit on global-warming emissions, purchases of these voluntary offsets have soared over the past two years. So have questions about whether the money is funding real emission cuts or not.

****
The voluntary carbon offsets at issue in the U.S. differ from the pollution permits traded under the Kyoto Protocol, the international global-warming treaty. The legitimacy of those permits is regulated by a panel of United Nations-sanctioned officials. The market for voluntary credits has no mandatory oversight. (continue: Scrutiny Rises.. )

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

FTC asks if Carbon-offset Money Well-Spent

By Louise Story,

The New York Times, Story last modified Wed Jan 09 10:31:35 PST 2008

Corporations and shoppers in the United States spent more than $54 million last year on carbon offset credits toward tree planting, wind farms, solar plants and other projects to balance the emissions created by, say, using a laptop computer or flying on a jet.

But where exactly is that money going?

The Federal Trade Commission, which regulates advertising claims, raised the question Tuesday in its first hearing in a series on green marketing, this one focusing on carbon offsets.
As more companies use offset programs to create an environmental halo over their products, the commission said it was growing increasingly concerned that some green marketing assertions were not substantiated. Environmentalists have a word for such misleading advertising: "greenwashing." (To continue: FTC Asks .. )

My Comment: I am not philosophically opposed to the marketing of carbon offsets, despite the similarity to the selling of indulgences. If Al Gore wants to emit three times the amount of carbon in his Belle Meade mansion as the average Nashvillian, but he buys off-sets that result in the planting of carbon-eating trees and the net result is that Al Gore's net contribution to the production of carbon emissions is no greater that the average Nashvillian, that sounds reasonable to me. Money has its privileges. I accept that. If those who can consume more and emit lots of carbon, off-set their behaviour by causing someone else to emit less carbon; that is a good thing.

What has long concerned me however is the suspicion that off-sets do not really off set. People who want to ease their guilty conscience for contributing to global warming and have no way to judge the product they are purchasing are prime candidates to become victims of fraud and charlatans. How do you know that your purchase of an off-set really helped stop a rain forest from being cut down? Would the carbon reducing activity that the company sold carbon off-sets for, have happened anyway had you not purchased the off-set? Was the same off-set credit sold more than once? Was there over calculation of how much carbon would be consumed by the planting of a tree? Will the forest created by the purchase of off-sets be protected and maintained? Were those windmills going to be built anyway?

I would suspect that there is out and out fraud in the carbon off-set business. It would be surprising if there was not. When you must essentially have faith that the person you are sending your money to is honorable and when the product is an intangible, there will be people taking advantage of the gullible with a guilt complex. Just as we suspect that there are religious charlatans, we should suspect that there are environmentalist charlatans.

There does not necessarily have to be a government agency to monitor the carbon off-set business, but there needs to be a standard. Underwriters Laboratories insured we had safe electrical products for many years in the absence of government regulators. The American Medical Associations approval offered good consumer protection against medical chalatans. The Good housekeeping seal of approval gave consumers confidence in the products they purchased. The carbon off-set industry needs a stringent system for authentication and oversight before anyone takes it seriously. The FTC investigation should be welcomed by all.

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Bill Clinton Keys Obama's Car-NOT

In what political observers called a shocking display of anger from a former President of the United States, Bill Clinton today keyed the car of Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

Mr. Clinton's attacks on Senator Obama have become more scathing in recent days, but few Democratic insiders expected his rhetorical attacks to turn into outright vandalism.
That is precisely what happened, however, in the parking lot of a Dunkin' Donuts in Nashua, New Hampshire, where Mr. Obama and his aides had stopped for an early morning campaign appearance.

Spotting the Illinois senator's car in the lot, a wild-eyed Mr. Clinton pulled out his key ring and "started twirling it on his finger like a six-shooter," according to one eyewitness.
Saying he was "damned sick and tired" of everything going Mr. Obama's way, the former President dragged his keys across the length of the senator's car, creating a deep gash in the paint job that experts said would cost hundreds of dollars to repair.

As news of Mr. Clinton's attack on Mr. Obama's automobile spread like wildfire across New Hampshire, political insiders branded the former president's move as a tactical mistake that could turn off Democratic voters.

"Keying another candidate's car is really beneath the dignity of a former President of the United States," said Carol M. Foyler, a longtime media advisor to Democratic candidates. "That's the kind of thing you want surrogates to do."

For his part, Mr. Clinton was unrepentant, telling reporters "you ain't seen nothing yet."
"Where does he live?" Mr. Clinton shouted at the press corps. "I'ma go TP that bastard's house."
My Comment: This is all over the Internet on chat groups and blogs this morning without attribution. People are talking about it as if it is real. Unbelievable! IT IS A JOKE. It is satire. It is not true. It was written by Andy Borowitz is a comedian and writer whose work appears in The New Yorker and The New York Times, and at his award-winning humor site, BorowitzReport.com. You can check it out at The Huffington Post.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Richard Viguerie Says Huckabee Win is Bad News for GOP

MANASSAS, Va., Jan. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire

Richard A. Viguerie, the author of Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause (Bonus Books, 2006), issued the following statement regarding Mike Huckabee's victory in the Iowa caucuses: "Mike Huckabee's victory in the Iowa caucuses is bad news for the Republican Party.

"Mike Huckabee is a Christian socialist. He is a good man, but with a Big Government heart. He is the most liberal of all the Republican presidential candidates on economic issues. "Huckabee's approach to every problem or perceived problem is to pass a law and launch another government program. If you like President George W. Bush, you'll love Mike Huckabee. (To coninue: Viguerie Says.. )

My Comment: Richard Viguerie has been a leader in the conservative movement since the Goldwater days and is sometimes refereed to as the "funding father of modern conservatism." He is the man behind the mail order operations of numerous conservative organizations. He has been a severe critic of George W. Bush.

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Bill Clinton Calls 9/11 Truthers "nuts"

From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli:
"Several Ron Paul supporters shadowed a much larger Clinton entourage as Bill Clinton greeted supporters downtown (Keene, NH). The former president later called them 'nuts.'

"During his third stop of the day, the former president posed for pictures and shook hands as he strolled down Main Street on this unseasonably warm Primary Eve day. Across the street, a few Paul supporters shouted his name."Eventually, Clinton stopped outside a bakery, offered some remarks, and took questions. As he was answering one on Iraq, one of the Paul backers interrupted and shouted that the Sept. 11 attacks were an inside job, and that the U.S. didn't need to be in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"When he dropped an F-bomb, the crowd booed. Clinton, who had tried to talk over the man, gave up."'You wanna know what I think?' Clinton said. 'You guys who think 9/11 was an inside job are crazy as hell. My wife was the senator from New York when that happened. I was down at Ground Zero. I saw the victims' families. You're nuts.'"

My Comment: Way to go Bill Clinton! The 9/11 truthers are fucking nuts! They are "crazy as hell." I'm glad you said it!

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Please, Stop Spreading Lies!

On the Internet, I routinely come across outlandish alarming stories. A few of them I research. Having found many untruths, when something sounds outlandish, I take it with a grain of salt and assume it is untrue. Some of these “urban myths” have been around since before the Internet, such as the story that Proctor and Gamble’s is a satanic corporation and the symbols of Satanism are included in their corporate loco.
IT IS NOT TRUE. Just today I read this in a Yahoo chat group:

For all you Coffee lovers,

Recently Marines in Iraq wrote to Starbucks because they wanted to let them
know how much they liked their coffees and to request that they send some of it
to the troops there. Starbucks replied, telling the marines thank you for their
support of their business, but that Starbucks does not support the war, nor
anyone in it, and that they would not send the troops their brand of coffee. So
as not to offend Starbucks, maybe we should not support them by buying any of
their products! I feel we should get this out in the open. I know this war might
not be very popular
with some folks, but that doesn't mean we don't support
the boys on the
ground fighting street-to-street and house-to-house. If you
feel the same as
I do then pass this along, or you an discard it and no one
will never know.

Thanks very much for your support. I know you'll all be there again when I
deploy once more.

Semper Fidelis. Sgt. Howard C. Wright

1st Force Recon Co

1st Plt PLT



THIS IS NOT TRUE. It is made up. (To read the truth behind this myth see the following link: Starbucks )

I have a relative who is a sweet person, a good Christian and is active in her church. I was recently included in group email she sent out. It read:

Subject: Removal of Joel Osteen and other pastors
Christians, stand up
and be counted. We cannot let this happen.

Dr. Dobson is going on
CNBC
to urge every Christian to get involved. I hope you will sign and
forward to all
your family and friends:

An organization has been granted a Federal Hearing on the same subject by the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington , D.C. Their petition,
Number 2493, would ultimately pave the way to stop the reading of the gospel
of
our Lord and Savior, on the airwaves of America . They got 287,000
signatures to
back their stand! If this attempt is successful, all Sunday
worship services
being broadcast on the radio or by television will be
stopped.
This group is
also campaigning to remove all Christmas programs
and Christmas carols from
public schools!


Fortunately for our First Amendment freedom and unfortunately for all the good people spreading this rumor, this is not true. Variations of this story have been floating around for years, and the FCC routinely get petitions on this topic. Here are the facts about this hoax in a nutshell, as reported in Urban Legend: In 1974, Jeremy Lansman and Lorenzo Milam petitioned the FCC to regulate the assignment of broadcasting licenses to religious groups for educational use. Their petition, number RM 2493, was heard and dismissed by the FCC in 1975. Nevertheless, rumors about it continue to circulate. Lansman and Milam's intentions have been misinterpreted as being against religious programming in general. Instead, they were concerned that radio and television licenses reserved for educational use would be hoarded and used by religious groups for non-educational purposes.

To their credit the NRB, a trade group which represents religious broadcasters, has also tried to kill the rumor and calls it a hoax on their web site. The rumor continues to circulate. (See: NRB)

Please do not believe everything you read. Be skeptical. Newspapers print untruths also, but at least they have fact checkers. Rumors fly like wildfire around the Internet. Please do not repeat rumors. I have listed several sites for fact-checking in the side bar to the left of this article (See: Just the facts, Ma’am). Before you sign a petition or send a frantic alert to your mailing list, make sure it is the truth.

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Who Wants Gas Tax

I do. As we face the issue of a how to combat global warming and energy dependency, there are many who say we must “do something” but offer no solutions. Some call for conservation or switching to ethanol or other fuel alternatives, but offer no explanation of how that should be achieved. There are essentially three method of achieving a reduction of greenhouse gases and reduced oil consumption: (1) a Carbon tax, (2) Cap and Trade, (3) Cajole and Control. The third option is a hodge-podge and includes everything from tighter CAFE standards to subsidizing alternative fuels to increase research and development and would be the least efficient and least effective method and the method that would take the longest time to show results. Some of the proposed Cajole and Control solutions may actually be detrimental to the environment and counterproductive to the goal of reducing green house emissions. While Cap and Trade is promising, by far the most efficient method of curtailing greenhouse emission and making alternative to carbon-based fuel affordable is a carbon tax. Below is a list of prominent people, across the political spectrum, who advocate a carbon tax or a gas tax. Some of these people have offered detailed explanations for their positions. In the list below, some of the names or publications have embedded links to articles where their position is stated. For those without embedded links, a quick goggle search combining the person or publication name and the words “Carbon Gas Tax” will result in finding the source materials.

Conservatives, Republicans, or Libertarians who Support a Carbon Tax or Gas Tax
Harvard economist Gregory Mankiw, former chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers.
Economics Columnist Robert Samuelson: (Newsweek. Aug. 20-27, 2007 issue – Greenhouse Simplicities)
Columnist Charles Krauthammer
Columnist David Brooks
Theodore Roosevelt IV, Lehman Bros. executive
Former Bush (43) speechwriter David Frum
Libertarian Magazine Reason
Alan Greenspan, former chair, Federal Reserve
Andrew A Samwick, economist, Dartmouth; former chief economist, Council of Economic Advisors, Bush administration. (Raise the Gasoline Tax? Funny, It doesn’t sound Republican, New York Times, 10/8/06)
Weekly Standard contributing editor Irwin Stelzer
George P, Schultz, U.S. Secretary of Labor under Pres. Nixon (1969-70), Treasury Secretary under Presidents Nixon and Ford (1972-74), and Secretary of State under Pres. Reagan (1982- 89. How to Gain a Climate Consensus, Washington Post, Sept. 5, 2007

Liberals or Democrats Who Support a Carbon Tax or Gas Tax:
George Soros, Responsible Investor
Al Gore,
Andrew Sullivan of The New Republic,
Senator John Kerry
ABC’s Geroge Stephanopoulos advocates “Kind of Energy Tax You See in Europe”
Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker
Columnist Thomas Friedman
Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute:
Bill McKibben climate activist and author of The End of Nature
Columnist Nicholas Kristof
Columnist Paul Krugman
New York Observer Columnist Nicholas von Hoffman
John D. Dingell, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) New York Times, July 24, 2007
Leon Panetta, former congressman; former budget director, former chief of staff, Clinton Administration. (Talk of Raising Gas Tax Is Just That,” Washington Post, 10/18/06)

Mainstream Press and Prominent People of Unknown Political Persuasion who Support a Gas Tax:
William Clay Ford Jr., chairman, CEO Ford Motor Co.
Robert H Frank, economist, Cornell University New York Times. (Gas Taxes: Lesser Evil, Greater Good,” New York Times, 10/24/05)
James Hansen, Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies: New York Review of Books, July 13, 2006, The Threat to the Planet
Edward Snyder, dean of the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business
James M. Surowiecki. Business and finance journalist, The New Yorker. (“Pump Pressure,” Financial Times, 9/26/05)
Paul Anderson, Chairman and CEO, Duke Energy
Christopher Farrel, Sound Money.
Mike Jackson, CEO, AutoNation Inc (largest national chain of auto dealers).
Kenneth Rogoff, professor economics, Harvard; former chief economist, IMF.
William Clay Ford Jr., chairman, CEO Ford Motor Co.
Robert H Frank, economist, Cornell University
A majority of economists polled by the Wall Street Journal during Feb. 2-7
Los Angeles Times Time to Tax Carbon,
L.A. Times editorial, May 28, 2007
Washington Post (Sorry Record - Waiting for breakthrough technologies is not the way to reduce greenhouse gases, July 11, 2006)
Christian Science Monitor, July 5, 2007.

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Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Politics of Resentment and Self-Pity.

By George Will
Sunday, January 6,
2008

WASHINGTON -- Like Job after losing his camels and acquiring boils, the conservative movement is in distress. Mike Huckabee shreds the compact that has held the movement's two tendencies in sometimes uneasy equipoise. Social conservatives, many of whom share Huckabee's desire to "take back this nation for Christ," have collaborated with limited-government, market-oriented, capitalism-defending conservatives who want to take back the nation for James Madison. Under the doctrine that conservatives call "fusion," each faction has respected the other's agenda. Huckabee aggressively repudiates the Madisonians.
* * * * *
Huckabee says "only one explanation" fits his Iowa success "and it's not a human one. It's the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of 5,000 people." God so loves Huckabee's politics that He worked a Midwest miracle on his behalf? Should someone so delusional control nuclear weapons? (To Continue: The Tearing of the Conservative Fusion)

My Comment: Excellent article! I share Will’s concern about Huckabee’s believing he is God’s chosen. The larger point of the article is that both Edwards and Huckabee are populist who appeal to the worse instincts in people. As Will points out, the middle class is shrinking because so many middle class are becoming upper class. The politics of resentment and self-pity is dangerous to the Republic.

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McCain Defends the War on Iraq Even Absent Weapons Excuse.


Being interviewed on Meet the Press this morning, Senator John McCain was asked by host Tim Russert, “If you had known that Saddam Hussein had no biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons, would you still have supported the invasion?”

McCain replied unequivocally “yes”. He went on to say that Saddam was not a nice person and the problem with Iraq was not the invasion but the failure to invade with sufficient forces.

I like John McCain. He is an honorable person and I admire his service to our country. I admire his independence. I respect him for actually answering the question he was asked. However, I do not want John McCain to be President.

I cannot understand how anyone could justify the invasion of Iraq unless they actually believed at the time that the country had weapons of mass destruction. I am not a pacifist. I think wars are sometimes necessary. If we are attacked we cannot turn the other cheek. We have to be engaged in the world and sometimes that leads to honoring our commitments to our friends and stopping international bullies. If Iraq had attacked us, if Iraq had invaded a country with which we had a defense treaty, if Iraq had in fact had weapons of mass destruction, then I could have supported the war. I cannot not subscribe to the view that we can make war on any country we like without a valid reason. That is not the kind of country I want America to be.

I wish every candidate could be asked as bluntly the same question that Russert asked McCain. I would like to know with the same certainty who else I do not want to be President.

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Political Cartoon in Poor Taste


Democrat blogger Martin Diano (DianoSphere) published this cartoon in his blog recently with the following comment: “The cartoon is yet another example of how low political discourse in our country has sunk.”

I am helping Mr. Diano spread his message by reproducing the cartoon and his comment.

Don’t let me catch you laughing at this cartoon!


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Voters, officials must end 'ATM politics'


Thursday, 01/03/08, The Tennessean
By U.S. REP. JIM COOPER

Congress should stop earmarks. When senators can get $500 million of taxpayer funds to grease their re-election bids, and even freshman congressmen can get $50 million, our government is terribly broken. (To continue: Voters, Officials Must …)

My Comment: Jim Cooper is my kind of Democrat. One of the reasons I am a “disgruntled Republican” is that I am disgusted that the recent Republican Congress spent money like drunken sailors. The Republican Party has traditionally been the Party of small government, spending restraint, and fiscal responsibility, but their actions of the last several years has caused them to lose any claim to that description.

Jim Cooper has been a constant voice for spending restraint and a severe critic of earmarks, calling them the "currency of corruption.” Also, Representative Cooper has been one of the few politicians who will speak the truth about the coming crisis in Social Security funding. I am glad that we have Jim Cooper representing us in the U. S. Congress.

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For many, being poor takes effort and some dumb decisions

My essay How To Be Poor was published in the Tennessean Online, December 31 as a Tennessee Voices piece (See: For many, being poor … ). It created a lot of heated exchange and feedback. To see the discussion, click here: Forum.

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War on Chistmas: Last shot of the Season.

Thursday, 01/03/08 , The Tennessean
To the Editor:

‘Shopping season’ lacks any sentiment

Please spare us any more self-righteous diatribes about those who may wish us “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
The phrase “happy holidays” has been around for a long time. Haven’t you ever hummed along to Bing Crosby’s wonderful song with that title?

The real travesty is the constant use by the media of the term “shopping season.” I haven’t noticed any outcry about this perversion of everything that Christmas and the holidays should mean to us. If you wish me Merry Christmas or happy holidays with goodwill in your heart, I will appreciate the sentiment. But never wish me a happy shopping season!

Adelle Wood, Nashville 37215

My Comment: You said it well, Adelle.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Warming seas threaten salmon in nation's rivers

The Yomiuri Shimbun, Daily Yomiuri, Jan. 3, 2008

Salmon may disappear from the nation's rivers by the end of this century if sea temperatures continue to rise as a result of global warming, according to researchers. The projection was made by a team of researchers headed by Prof. Masahide Kaeriyama and Prof. Michio Kishi of Hokkaido University. A separate study showed that the number of salmon returning to their native rivers has been declining on the eastern Korean Peninsula, which is located on about the same latitude as the Tohoku region.

"Global warming may already be affecting salmon," Kaeriyama said. "We'd like to closely monitor how things are likely to develop in the future." (To continue: Salmon )

My Comment: I do not see how any rational person can continue to deny the reality of global warming and I do not understand why it is not a greater issue of public concern. I do not understand why even many of those who claim to believe it do not advocate measures to combat it. Information like the above abounds from non-politicized sources, presenting information in a non-sensationalized, matter-of-fact manner. You do not have to like Al Gore or be a liberal Democrat to believe the science of global warming. Researches routinely report on the current and projected impacts. One can read any popular scientific journal and see what informed people believe.

For anyone who wants continuing scientific information on global warming research , understandable by a layman, a good source is Nature magazine.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Soros slams emissions trading systems

by Hugh Wheelan October 18th, 2007, Responsible Investor

George Soros, the billionaire currency trader, has slammed the use of cap and trade carbon emissions trading systems, claiming they are “ineffective” and do nothing to stop developing countries increasing their levels of pollution. Speaking last week at a high-level regional energy conference in Budapest, Hungary, Soros, said: “The cap and trade system of emissions trading is very difficult to control and its effects are diluted. It is pretty much breaking down because there is no penalty for developing countries not to add to their pollution. You count the saving but you don’t count the added pollution going on. As a world, I don’t think we are getting our act together on climate change at the moment.” (To continue: Sorus slams... )

My Comment: George Soros is a wealthy philanthropist, supporter of democracy in Eastern Europe and a major funder of liberal causes in America. In this article Mr Soros explains why the cap and trade system is failing in combating global warming and advocates a "flat rate carbon taxation system." It is gratifying to see Mr. Soros join the ranks of those who know that the only real solution to global warming is the taxing of carbon emissions.

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