Say the Word and We’ll be Free

I’ve heard from many sources, even conservatives, who say the price of gas is no longer in our control. Maybe it never was. Blaming the president is good politics, but that’s all it is.

It is said, there is nothing Obama can say or do to effect the price of gas at the pump. This is a global problem. There are many more competing factions for a finite amount of oil. China, India, etc. They need oil like they have never needed it in the past. We have to compete with them. That drives up the price. Makes sense, I guess.

Then there are all the problems occuring in the Middle East. That whole region could collapse at any moment. That too, is driving up the price. Again, sounds logical.

It is also said by many that we can’t simply drill our way to lower gas prices.

So, I guess we’re just stuck. Or are we?

Before looking for a solution, let’s first take a peek behind the government’s regualtory curtain.

Time for some history.

In 1972 Congress passed the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act , which provided for the establishment of National Marine Sanctuaries. Oil and gas drilling are prohibited in these areas.

In 1982, the U.S. Congress directed that no federal funds be used to lease federal tracts off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, or central and northern California. Over the years, buried in appropriations bills,  Congress was able to add other areas until the prohibited area included all the east and west coasts, and the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Congress repeated the effective ban on offshore drilling in these areas every year until September 2008, when an appropriations bill passed the House and Senate without the ban. We’ll cover 2008 in a bit. It’s an interesting year.

In 1990, President George H. W. Bush issued an executive moratorium restricting federal offshore leasing to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and parts of Alaska. The moratorium banned federal leasing through the year 2000 off the East Coast, West Coast, the eastern Gulf of Mexico (offshore Florida Gulf Coast), and the Northern Aleutian Basin of Alaska. In 1998, President Bill Clinton extended the moratorium through 2012.

In 2002, Congress imposed a moratorium on drilling on or directionally beneath the Great Lakes. The ban was made permanent by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Part of the central and most of the eastern Gulf of Mexico was declared off-limits to oil and gas leasing until 2022 by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006.

The bottom line is, thanks to our government, drilling for our own energy is prohibited virtually everywhere. Now there’s an energy policy we can all be proud of.

Ok, so we’ve established that America’s domestic energy policy is suicidal. What was so exeptional about 2008?

In the summer of 2008, President George W. Bush announced that he would veto any appropriations bill that maintained the Congressional moratorium. Without the votes to override his veto, Congress subsequently let the drilling moratorium expire.

 In July 2008, President George W. Bush also rescinded those restrictive executive orders that had prevented oil & gas drilling.

So what. Politicians say many things and nothing changes. Everyone knows they never mean it. Spoken or written, these are just words. What effect could these policy changes have had?

Well, you be the judge.

Just prior to ‘W’s’ July, 2008 proclamation and action, a gallon of regular gasoline, on average, was a staggering $4.11. By August it was $3.69. A drop of over $0.40 in a month.

Not impressed? How about this. By the end of December, 2008, a gallon of regular plummeted to $1.61. and a barrel of oil went from a high of $147.00 to $30.28.

Am I saying that this precipitous drop was due solely to Bush’s actions. No, but I guarantee it played a big part. Why? Because the rest of the world knew someone in this country finally meant it. They knew Bush was serious about domestic drilling.

It’s human nature. When the worlds oil producing nations concluded we were actually serious, I mean really serious about exploiting our own resources, the price of a barrel of oil would naturally plunge. They simply couldn’t afford for us to produce most of our own energy. Foreign oil would drop just to price out domestic production.

The evil speculators, you know, the ones that always get blamed for jacking up the price of oil. Those same speculators would drive the price down so fast it would make your head spin.

Now, I am not an oil or energy expert. I am neither a foreign policy expert, nor an energy speculator. I don’t have to be.

 This is not about oil or gas or market speculation. As I said, this is about human nature, which is quite predictable.  It happens everywhere & in every industry. With competition comes lower prices. It’s really that simple.

So, why didn’t the prices stay low, you ask? Well, we had an election and Barack Obama won. He reinstated all the moratoriums and here we are again, at the mercy of foreign suppliers and subject to Middle East upheaval.

Attribution: Government/Senate Archives

Newsflash: PETA Lies

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have always been against the cruelty or abuse of animals.

They have fought to ban all laboratory use of animals and for that matter, any use of animals. They swear to being vegan or vegetarians.

They won’t use any products made from animal material such as leather, furs or feathers. Some of the members of PETA go so far as to abdicate the necessary extinction of mankind so that animals will be free of our cruel treatment.

PETA is supposed to be the most animal friendly organization in the world.

However, this may be one of the most animal cruel and hypocritical organizations in the nation. The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), a non-profit organization, obtained.
documents from the Virginia Department of Agriculture that sheds an entirely different portrayal of the animal rights group.

According to the documents received by CCF, they show that PETA, which is headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, has killed more than 27,000 animals since 1998.

Those animals killed by PETA represent nearly 95% of those that were supposedly rescued by the group. CCF said that last year PETA found homes for only 24 pets while killing nearly 2,000 cats and dogs.

PETA dubiously claims it does not run a “traditional animal shelter” and that it puts down animals that are too sick or injured to survive.

But reports indicate that nearly 85% of the
animals rescued by PETA are destroyed within the first 24 hours and before they can even try to locate a new home for them.

PETA picked up dogs and cats from animal shelters in North Carolina and killed them before they even left the state.

A 2003 report showed PETA euthanized over 85 percent of the animals it took in, finding adoptive homes for just 14 percent. By comparison, the Norfolk SPCA found adoptive homes for 73 percent of its animals and the Virginia Beach SPCA adopted out 66 percent.

In a 2005 interview, Center for Consumer Freedom Director of Research David Martosko said,  “PETA raked in nearly $29 million last year alone, but apparently it couldn’t spare any money to care for the flesh-and-blood animals entrusted to its employees. It’s ironic — If anyone else were caught red-handed with 31 dead dogs, PETA would be holding a press conference to denounce them.”

In 2005, two PETA employees, Andrew Cook and Adria Hinkle, were arrested by police who observed them throwing the dead carcasses of dogs and cats into a dumpster in North Carolina. It was learned that the animals had been killed in the back of the PETA van before being dumped.

In 2007, the two employees were tried for 21 charges of felony animal cruelty, seven counts of littering and three counts of obtaining property by false pretensesin North Carolina.  Evidence presented during the trial showed that PETA employees killed animals they considered “adorable” and “perfect.”

During the trial witnesses testified that PETA told them they “shouldn’t have a problem at all finding homes” for dogs left in their care. Other North Carolina shelter personnel testified that they were under the impression PETA would find homes for the animals they handed over to PETA. These impressions were incorrect.

Thanks to Superior Court Judge Cy Grant the charges were reduced to eight misdemeanor charges before the jury began to deliberate. They basically got off scott free.

PETA has an annual budget of about $37 million and while they may advertise for donations to care for and find new homes for rescued animals, one has to wonder exactly what they do use their millions for.

Since they are a non-profit organization and they obviously are not using their donations for the purposes stated, someone in Virginia needs to investigate them and bring them to justice for fraud and cruelty to animals and have their non-profit status revoked.

Attribution: Godfather Politics, The Center for Consumer Freedom

Jobs Americans Won’t Do

Federal Program Gives Summer Jobs to Foreign Students

While young people in the United States are suffering record levels of unemployment, the Summer Work Travel is already hiring foreign students for summer jobs that won’t be available when Americans start looking for summer work later this year.

The latest unemployment figures for teens, ages 16-19 is between 25 & 35%, yet the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program each year admits more than 100,000 students from around the world to work at American beaches, restaurants, convenience stores, supermarkets, factories, and other establishments.

The State Department calls SWT a “cultural exchange” intended to showcase the American way of life and win friends among future world leaders. As we witness American flags being burned everyday on the news, the program is smash hit.

State Department-designated sponsoring agencies, team with foreign partners to recruit students, help them obtain visas, and match them with employers.

Participants and their employers are exempt from Social Security, Medicare, and federal unemployment taxes, according to Jerry Kammer, a senior research fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies. So you see, the program is a benefit to all but the unemployed American teenager.

“Unfortunately, the program has boomed — from about 20,000 in 1996 to a peak of 153,000 in 2008 — it has denied a place in the workforce for many American young people, who are now suffering record levels of unemployment,” Kammer writes in the Baltimore Sun. Of course this program is no different from any other government. If it is allowed to begin, it will always expand.

One parent who spoke with Kammer, Sarah Ann Smith, said her teenage son’s dishwashing schedule at a restaurant went from 24 hours a week before SWT workers arrived to zero hours after six foreigners began working there.

“It’s wrong to have a program that allows foreign kids to come in and take jobs that American kids need,” said Smith. “SWT is out of control.” But, paraphrasing John McCain , I’m sure they’re only doing the jobs that Americans won’t do.

The State Department claims to be conducting a review of the SWT program.

“Much of our nation’s immigration policy — for both temporary visitors and permanent residents — is made with little concern for its impact on American society,” Kammer observes.

“Reevaluating SWT is a first step toward changing that. It’s my guess that little will change.

Attribution: NEWSMAX

We Know Better

Picture yourself in a hospital. In a sealed room you see a loved one laying on a gurney with an I.V. in his arm. The room is completely impenetrable. There is no way in.

You are forced to witness the slow demise of this individual.

It turns out the I.V. is what’s killing him, although very slowly. You are told the I.V. is a good thing and that the drug they are administering will eventually save his life. You are confused.

There was nothing wrong with your loved one before the I.V. was forced upon him. He was perfectly healthy, yet the experts tell you that no, he is really quite ill and they are the only ones who can save him.

You know this to be false. You’ve seen the results of his physicals, his complete medical records. He was the picture of health, yet the people in charge will not look at the records or simply dismiss your claims of his health.

You must be in denial and fail to see just how sick he is. These are people of faith and they know what must be done. You must place your trust and the life of your loved one in their capable hands. They know better than you what is good for the dying man. They are the experts, not you.

As Rick Santorum so aptly stated; it is a theology. The religion of the left is environmentalism. Unlike other religions that fill one with hope & joy, this one brings only misery and will eventually ruin us all, as it is in this community in Colorado. Just like the man on the hospital gurney, it is a painful, slow death.

I think the people of Craig, Colorado know that death is around the corner and they are helpless to stop it. The utter frustration for these citizens is, that they know the madness could be reversed and their community revitalized if only the despotic rulers of the country and their state would step aside. and allow the I.V. of extremist enviromentalism to be removed.

Flip the Switch

 Where shall we file this article? Maybe we can put it in the ” Ain’t technology grand and it will never be abused or used against us” folder. Is there an App for that?

 

By: Jordan Robertson of Bloomberg

Janne Kytömäki, a Finnish software developer, was cruising Google’s Android Market for smartphone apps last year when he noticed something strange. Dozens of best-selling applications suddenly listed the same wrong publisher. It was as if Stephen King’s name had vanished from the covers of his books, replaced by an unknown author. Kytömäki realized the culprit was a piece of malware that was spreading quickly, and he posted his findings online.

Google responded swiftly. It flipped a little-known kill switch, reaching into more than 250,000 infected Android smartphones and forcibly removing the malicious code. “It was sort of unreal, watching something like that unfold,” says Kytömäki, who makes dice simulator apps. Kill switches are a standard part of most smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. Google, Apple, and Amazon all have the ability to reach into devices to delete illicit content or edit code without users’ permission. It’s a powerful way to stop threats that spread quickly, but it’s also a privacy and security land mine.

With the rollout of the Windows 8 operating system expected later this year, millions of desktop and laptop PCs will get kill switches for the first time. Microsoft hasn’t spoken publicly about its reasons for including this capability in Windows 8 beyond a cryptic warning that it might be compelled to use it for legal or security reasons. The feature was publicized in a widely cited Computerworld article in December when Microsoft posted the terms of use for its new application store, a feature in Windows 8 that will allow users to download software from a Microsoft-controlled portal. Windows smartphones, like those of its competitors, have included kill switches for several years, though software deletion “is a last resort, and it’s uncommon,” says Todd Biggs, director of product management for Windows Phone Marketplace.

Microsoft declined to answer questions about the kill switch in Windows 8 other than to say it will only be able to remove or change applications downloaded through the new app store. Any software loaded from a flash drive, DVD, or directly from the Web will remain outside Microsoft’s control. Still, the kill switch is a tool that could help Microsoft prevent mass malware infections. “For most users, the ability to remotely remove apps is a good thing,” says Charlie Miller, a researcher with the security company Accuvant.

The history of kill switches on smartphones and e-readers suggests they’re double-edged swords for the companies that wield them. In 2009, Amazon reached into users’ Kindles to delete e-book copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm that had been sold by a publisher without the necessary rights. The ensuing backlash caused Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos to call the move “stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles.”

The reluctance of tech companies to set explicit policies for when they will and will not use kill switches contributes to the fear they’ll be abused. Civil rights and free speech advocates worry that tech companies could be pressured by governments to delete software or data for political reasons. “You have someone who has absolute control over my hard drive in ways I may have never anticipated or consented to,” says Eric Goldman, director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University’s law school in California. “If they use that power wisely, they actually make my life better. We don’t know if they use the power wisely. In fact, we may never know when they use their power at all.”

Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s vice president of Android engineering, says the search company reserves the use of the kill switch for “really egregious, really obvious cases” of harmful content. Microsoft’s Biggs says the company has used the functionality in its smartphones only for “technical issues and content issues.” Apple declined to comment. Amazon did not respond to several messages.

Like many in his profession, Kevin Mahaffey, co-founder of the San Francisco startup Lookout, which makes security software for smartphones, expresses mixed emotions about the emergence of kill switches. “The remote removal tools are very much a response to the mistakes of the PC era,” he says. “Whether or not it’s an overcorrection, I think history will tell us. It can be done right, but we as an industry need to tread carefully. It’s easy to imagine several dystopian futures that can arise from this.”

One supporter is Janne Kytömäki, the Finn who discovered the Android malware outbreak. He says Google did the right thing by deleting the malware without users’ permission. “What was the alternative?” he says. “Leave those apps installed on 200,000 people’s mobiles? This is something that had to be done.”

End Article

Famous last words: We couldn’t just do nothing!

How about , “Buyer Beware”, or user beware. We’ve allowed the door of abuse to cracked open. Mark my words. This kill switch program will progress into other areas and it wiil eventually be abused.

Ben Franklin said: “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

This Month in Space

A supernova remnant 170,000 light years away in one of the Milky Way’s galactic neighbors. This image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows ambient gas being shocked by the expanding blast wave from the exploding star

Sand dunes trapped in an impact crater in the Noachis Terra region of Mars. The area covered in the image is about 1km (1100 yards) across. Sand dunes are among the most widespread wind-formed features on Mars. Patterns of dune erosion and deposition provide insights into the sedimentary history of the surrounding terrain. This picture is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

This panoramic image taken from the International Space Station shows lights from population centers in Belgium and the Netherlands (center bottom), the British Isles partially obscured by solar array panels (left), the North Sea (center left), and Scandinavia (right) behind the space station’s remote manipulator system

Nasa captured this dramatic image of a solar flare on 2 January. To view a video of the event click here. The show lasted about three hours, but the blast was not directed at Earth

Solar flares on 23 January enhanced the aurora borealis in the skies over the frozen Susitna River near Talkeetna, in Alaska