Gulf Oil Spill

Iran is considering the possibility of spilling oil in the Persian Gulf in order to contaminate the waters of the strategically important Strait of Hormuz, German weekly Der Spiegel reported on Sunday. The spill would be a way of “punishing” the West and forcing it to decrease the economic sanctions imposed against Tehran.

Citing Western intelligence sources, Der Spiegel reported that the plan, codenamed “Murky Waters,” is meant to block international oil tanker shipping routes in the Gulf.

In addition to driving up oil prices, the resulting environmental disaster would force Western countries to start a large-scale cleanup operation in cooperation with Iran, which could reduce the sanctions currently placed on the country.

According to the report, the plan was developed by the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, and Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi.

Der Spiegel reported that the decision on whether or to implement the plan was now in the hands of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In an additional attempt to ease the sanctions imposed on it by the West, Tehran said it would seek to cut imports of non-essential goods and urged its citizens to reduce their use of foreign-made mobile telephones and cars.

The policies suggest the government is moving the economy onto an austerity footing to resist the sanctions, which have been imposed over Iran’s controversial nuclear program and have slashed its income from oil exports this year.

Authorities have divided imports into 10 categories based on how essential they are, and will provide importers with dollars at a subsidized rate to buy basic goods, Deputy Industry Minister Hamid Safdel was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Meanwhile, importers of goods in two non-essential categories will have to obtain dollars at much more expensive rates on the open market, the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported him as saying.

Goods in these two categories include cigarette papers, wallpaper, mobile phones, luggage, clothing and cars, ISNA reported. It said about $10 to $12 billion was spent annually on importing luxury and non-essential goods into Iran.

Industry Minister Mehdi Ghazanfari urged Iranians on Saturday to limit their use of such goods and turn to domestic manufacturers to help the government cope with sanctions.

“If we move towards reducing the import of goods in these categories, which are not so necessary, we can save foreign exchange,” Ghazanfari said, according to the Mehr news agency. “If people do not use these goods, the need for currency for them would drop to zero.”

Attribution: Jerusalem Post, Reuters

Too Close for Comfort

They might be one of the most hated insects in the world but as these extraordinary images show, even wasps can look good – if you capture them with the right lighting.

These remarkable pictures show the insects in a completely different way, revealing a more tranquil and beautiful side to the humble wasp.

Photographer, Irina Kozorog, enticed the insects using sweet foods such as raspberries after setting up her macro photography equipment in her garden.

Another creature, caught in a split-second, heads for a drink from a suspended drop of waterAnother creature, caught in a split-second, heads for a drink from a suspended drop of water
Join the party! Wasps hold a gathering on top of a berry, and were captured by macro-photography
 
Join the party! Wasps hold a gathering on top of a berry, and were captured by macro-photography
Glorious colour: A wasp tackles another bead of water as it explores Irina's garden in Moscow, RussiaGlorious color: A wasp tackles another bead of water as it explores Irina’s garden in Moscow, Russia
Photographer, Irina Kozorog, enticed the insects using sweet foods such as raspberries after setting up her macro photography equipment in her gardenPhotographer, Irina Kozorog, enticed the insects using sweet foods such as raspberries after setting up her macro photography equipment in her garden

The 35-year-old from Moscow, who was stung three times in the process, waited patiently for the wasps to succumb to her tasty treats before snapping away.

Strangely, the mother-of-two admitted she didn’t even like wasps before taking these pictures.

She said: “I usually prefer to photograph ants but this year I decided to try and make friends with the wasps too.

“The wasps are actually much smarter than I thought they were.

“I had to wait up to half-an-hour each time for one to come over but it was well worth the wait.’

The remarkable pictures show the pesky insects in a more tranquil light as they flit from flower to flowerThe remarkable pictures show the pesky insects in a more tranquil light as they flit from flower to flower
Hang on! A wasp grabs onto a single stalk of grass to grab a treat from the bud at the topHang on! A wasp grabs onto a single stalk of grass to grab a treat from the bud at the top

“As with all other animals, wasps like you to talk to them. They like a calm voice and don’t like quick movements.

“Their behavior seemed to depend on the weather. The better the weather, the friendlier the wasps were.

“While I was taking these pictures I was stung three times but it was always my fault. They would never sting without a reason.

“I just kept in mind that I was on their territory and I was a guest there.”

Life through a lens: Irina Kozorog with her set-up, including a DSLR camera and a ring flashLife through a lens: Irina Kozorog with her set-up, including a DSLR camera and a ring flash
The wasps at play
Lining up the shot: Irina sometimes had to wait half an hour to get the perfect picture, making a stage on where the wasps could play
 Lining up the shot: Irina sometimes had to wait half an hour to get the perfect picture, making a stage on where the wasps could play
Wasp's eye view: A wasp flies directly past the camera, giving us a little insight of the world it lives inWasp’s eye view: A wasp flies directly past the camera, giving us a little insight of the world it lives in
A wasp sucks at a bud on top of a single blade of grass, hovering delicately in placeA wasp sucks at a bud on top of a single blade of grass, hovering delicately in place
Choose a petal: To the wasps, the world is a big, big place, with every flower a brand new adventure
Buzzy work: Irina enticed the insects using sweet foods such as raspberries after setting up her macro photography equipment in her gardenIrina enticed the insects using sweet foods such as raspberries after setting up her macro photography equipment in her gardenAttribution: Eddie Wrenn

Joke of the Day

A devoted wife had spent her lifetime taking care of her husband. Now he had been slipping in and out of a coma for several months, yet she stayed by his bedside every single day.

When he came to senses, he motioned for her to come near him.

As she sat by him, he said, “You know what? You have been with me all through the bad times.

When I got fired, you were there to support me. When my business failed, you were there.

When I got shot, you were by my side. When we lost the house, you gave me support.

When my health started failing, you were still by my side. You know what?”

“What dear?” she asks gently.

“I think you’re bad luck.”

Our Hundred Years’ War

by: John Myers

with a few comments thrown in by the Common Constitutionalist [ ]

The race for the Presidency has been interesting, not because of what either GOP nominee Mitt Romney or President Barack Obama has said, but because of what has been ignored.

The most notable taboo topic is the Nation’s continued involvement in Afghanistan as well as the progressive deterioration of American strategic goals for the Mideast.

Neither candidate has been candid on a geopolitical blunder in Afghanistan that continues to rack up hundreds of billions of dollars in additional debt and potentially thousands of American deaths.

Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of Ending the US War in Afghanistan: A Primer, contends that neither candidate has a way for America to extricate itself from Afghanistan. [ I do. Like every superpower before, admit it is a fools errand and leave ]

In an interview1, Bennis said:

Candidate Obama has now stopped talking about Afghanistan this time around. Candidate Romney has said that Obama is not tough enough, but what he has called for has not been different in any substantive way. He has said that we should keep troops there, not pull out right away. President Obama is not pulling out right away, so there’s very little substantive difference.

What is inescapable is that this month marks the beginning of the 12th year of war in Afghanistan; it is America’s longest war. What has been ignored by American strategists is that Afghanistan is a desolate, Stone Age nation that refuses to be civilized and has successfully resisted past and present superpowers, a group that includes not only the United States but also the British Empire and the Soviet Union.

Washington has ignored this historical truth and has so far invested nearly over a half a trillion dollars in fighting a losing struggle that has cost us more than 2,000 dead. [ Not so fun fact: 1) Cost of Afghan war in 12 years is over $580 billion, but over $360 billion has been spent in just 3-1/2 years under Obama. 2) More than 2,000 U.S. soldiers killed; 69% killed in just 3-1/2 years on Obama’s watch ]

Obama has promised to end the U.S. combat role in Afghanistan by December 2014, although the United States has pledged to continue some undefined military and economic support well beyond that date. How far the United States will offer support beyond that date is open to speculation. Given the growing conflict with millions of radical followers of Islam, it doesn’t seem impossible that right now America has a future President who is in college and who, decades from now, will be deciding his strategies to defend America from an ever-expanding Muslim mob. [ Myers is right and that is sad. The way I see it, we either stay and finish the job, which can’t be done, or pack up everyone and everything and leave. So I guess that’s really only one choice ]

Afghan war strategists in the Obama Administration agree there is little chance of negotiations with the Taliban that would bring a political settlement to the war.

The question is why would the Taliban want to negotiate with the United States? Some 12 years into this war, American soldiers on patrol can’t determine who the biggest threat is: the enemy fighters in the countryside or their Afghan allies who once protected their backs but have increasingly been taking aim at them. [ The real question is, why would we think we could negotiate with them? What would we negotiate? That they would be so kind as to kill us last? ]

Gareth Porter, a historian and investigative journalist on U.S. foreign and military policy, said: “The Taliban have been able to carry out spectacular attacks on U.S. bases that have gotten much farther and done much more damage than anything the Vietcong and North Vietnamese were ever able to do during the Vietnam War.” [ Of course they have, considering how pitifully weak and restrictive our rules of engagement are ]

In an interview with The Guardian newspaper2, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen admitted the killings of almost 50 allied troops this year by Afghan security forces has damaged the relationship between the international forces and the Afghan police and military. [ Damaged our relationship? Screw our relationship. Our all-volunteer heros are being murdered ]

The Much Bigger War

Unspoken by both Presidential candidates is how America can win the war far beyond Afghanistan, a war without borders against elusive enemies with unspecific goals united only in their hatred of the United States. [ They have very specific goals; kill all of us ]

“The enemies we face in the future will look a lot like al Qaeda: transnational, globalized, locally franchised, extensively outsourced–but tied together through a powerful identity that leaps frontiers and continents,” wrote Mark Steyn in America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It.

“All dominant powers are hated–Britain was, and Rome–but they’re usually hated for the right reasons. America is hated for every reason. The fanatical Muslims despise America because it’s all lap-dancing and gay porn; the secular Europeans despise America because it’s all born-again Christians hung up on abortion; the anti-Semites despise America because it’s controlled by Jews. Too Jewish, too Christian, too godless, America is George Orwell’s Room 101: whatever your bugbear you will find it therein; whatever you’re against, America is the prime example of it.” [ As usual, Steyn is dead-on right ]

We no longer face a monolithic enemy like communism. What we do face is an enemy that will persist in its extremism and its hatred of the United States long after the upcoming occupant leaves the Oval Office.

And yet our policymakers continue to be like old generals and persist with fighting the last war. That war was won by outspending the enemy. Eventually, the Soviet Union imploded because that empire simply could not afford the cost of the Cold War. Today, America’s strategists are spending even more money on everything from nuclear aircraft battle groups to ultra-sophisticated fighter-interceptors like the Raptor F-22 which costs $420 million per plane.

Expenditures on these types of weapons put the Pentagon’s budget at $670 billion this year, about 18 percent of total Federal spending. The dollar amount has more than doubled since 2001 when the United States began its wars against Islamic extremists. It is hard for me to see how jet inceptors or nuclear submarines can effectively combat the growing radical contingent within Islam which continues on its jihad. [ They can’t, but Jihadists won’t always be the only threat to America. As long as there are communist countries we will need to also retain those convential forces ]

From Yemen to Libya, revolt rolls forward. Not long ago, nations like Egypt were our vanguards, influencing at least some stability on the region. In the past three years, one regime after another has been toppled, and there is growing radicalization inside the governments of almost each of these former allies. That could, as Steyn suggests, leave America alone. [ I might add, as bad as these regimes were, their successors are worse, and virtually all have been toppled with the help of our idiot government. We have absolutely no business getting involved in any of these overthrows. We have no stragetic or national interest there ]

When I was a kid, there was a joke about the IQ test for dummies. One of the questions was: Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb? Another was: How long did the Hundred Years’ War last? This second question isn’t so easy because it turned out to be a series of conflicts between England and France that lasted from 1337 to 1453.

That is trivia. But there is another question we should all be asking: How long will America’s war with Islam last? Tragically, we are into the second decade of this conflict and there is no end in sight.

Battle Buddies

 I love my Dad and I personally know how large a carrier is, but it wouldn’t have been large enough. Kudos to this Father / daughter team.

Among the many difficulties that hardworking  members of the U.S military must endure, is the long periods of separation from  family and friends.

For one father and daughter that burden has become a little lighter after they were both deployed to the USS Harry S. Truman.

It is Breanna Janssen’s first deployment to the ship where she  will serve as a Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class while her father David is the leading  chief petty officer of maintenance for the Seahawks, of  Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 126, part of the tactical air  force.

Duty calls: Father and daughter, Breanna and David Janssen have been deployed at the same time to the USS Harry S Truman

Duty calls: Father and daughter, Breanna and David  Janssen have been deployed at the same time to the USS Harry S Truman
Family calling: Both father and daughter were delighted to be on the same ship in what is Miss Janssen's first deployment and likely to her father's final one

Family calling: Both father and daughter were delighted  to be on the same ship in what is Miss Janssen’s first deployment and likely to  her father’s final one

The father and daughter, are originally from  Welsh, Louisiana. Miss Janssen, 21, who is stationed at Norfolk, Virginia, told News Channel  3: ‘It’s  comforting to know that there’s always someone to talk to, no matter what’s  going on in my life. Having my dad on  board provides me with a great stress reliever.’

Her father added: ‘With  all of my years of experience of life in the Navy, I can help her with problems  I’ve already faced myself.’

Mr Janssen said the experience is  made extra  special by the fact that while it is his daughter’s first time at sea, this is  likely to be his last.

The young woman said that she was inspired to  join the Navy because of her father’s example and distinguished career which  includes eight previous deployments.

Honor: Breanna Janssen reads the Oath of Enlistment to her father David

Honor: Breanna Janssen reads the Oath of Enlistment to  her father David
Deployment: Father and daughter are serving on the USS Harry S Truman, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

Deployment: Father and daughter are serving on the USS  Harry S Truman, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

The Navy allows siblings to serve together  however a parent serving with a child is unusual.

The USS Harry S Truman was built in 1993 and  is named after the 33rd President of the United States.

Attribution: Louise Boyle

End of Israel?

Rupert Murdoch Predicts ‘Nightmare for Israel if Obama Wins,‘ Accuses White House of ’Still Lying About Benghazi’

from:  at The Blaze

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch went on a bit of a Twitter tear Saturday morning, predicting a “nightmare for Israel if Obama wins” re-election and accusing the White House of “still lying about Benghazi.”

The media mogul — whose company owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and others — said Vice President Joe Biden “threw [the] CIA under the bus“ and ”now [White House] throws State [Department]!” He also came down on Mitt Romney, saying the Republican presidential nominee needs to ignore personal attacks at the next debate and focus on his jobs plan:

Rupert Murdoch Predicts Nightmare for Israel if Obama Wins, Accuses White House of Still Lying About Benghazi

Image source: Twitter

Rupert Murdoch Predicts Nightmare for Israel if Obama Wins, Accuses White House of Still Lying About Benghazi

Image source: Twitter

Rupert Murdoch Predicts Nightmare for Israel if Obama Wins, Accuses White House of Still Lying About Benghazi

Image source: Twitter

Murdoch has been fairly free with his Twitter advice for Romney in the past: Last month he said he needed to “stop fearing [the] far right” and take more of a big tent approach to win the election. During the summer, he wondered, “when is Romney going to look like a challenger?” He subsequently defended himself from an apparent barrage of negative tweets from Romney supporters, saying, “of course I want him to win, save us from socialism, etc.”

As Mediaite noted, when a Murdoch-type figure in the media espouses such clear-cut political beliefs so publicly, “the question arises as to whether these opinions will eventually trickle down through their outlets.”

Trip to the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon : Blink of Time is a time lapse film featuring the stunning views of the Grand Canyon. Blink of Time brings the viewer on a journey around and into the canyon. Over 80,000 photos were taken over the course of 7 weeks in April, May, and June of 2012 to make this film. During the production we were able to capture the solar eclipse that took place on May 20, 2012. You may also notice there are two shots that are not from the Grand Canyon both are of Horseshoe Bend. We felt it was appropriate to include these shots into the film because the colorado river is a main staple of the Grand Canyon.