Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Barkerburger...


OK, folks... it's been awhile... but here's yet another installment in the long-running mini-series:

BILL BARKER - KITCHEN GOD!

Today's dish:

BARKERBURGERS!

Start out with 1 lb. of 93% lean ground chicken breast. That's your base. Set aside in a bowl; mix in some marinade - I've been using tariyaki lately...

Now... next steps...

Fry up five slices of turkey bacon. Blot, crumple, and set aside.

Chop up some onion - the amount depends upon your personal tastes. Fry till browned. Blot and add to the set aside bowl containing your cooked bacon bits.

Chop up some mushrooms - again, the amount is up to you depending upon your personal tastes. Fry up in a bit of butter. Just as they're starting to brown add in the already cooked onions and bacon bits... "finish" the "group fry" and re-blot the mixture, set aside, and allow to cool.

Next...

Coarsely grate up some cheese! (Yep... I know... you were waiting for this...)

Though any and all cheeses are up for grab, to start you out with the "basic" Barkerburger recipe I'd suggest grating up three ounces of extra sharp cheddar and three ounces of swiss.

Now take your grated cheeses and fold in your (chopped up!) mushroom/onion/bacon mix.

Back to our marinating poultry...

Mix in some garlic power to taste... along with some grated parmesan cheese, also to taste... then mix in the cheese/mushroom/onion/bacon mix.

Next...

Mix in one-half cup of "regular" italian flavored bread crumbs and one-half cup of japanese panko bread crumbs and form your Barkerburgers.

(I tend to go with third of a pound size burgers...)

Place the Barkerburgers on a lightly (very lightly... use a paper towel to remove any visible liquid) oiled cookie sheet... sprinkle on a bit of sea salt... and place on the middle shelf of an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees.

Cook for ten minutes. Flip. Cook for an additional ten minutes. Flip again. Throw on a bit of (extra) cheese... move to top shelf of oven... continue cooking for an additional five minutes, and...

BARKERBURGERS...!!!

Now sing it with me, folks...!!!

I like mine with lettuce and tomato... a spoonful of Hellmann's... and french fried potatoes!

The Rise of China... The Decline of America


As always... when Pat Buchanan speaks we should listen...

"Thank you, Hu Jintao, and thank you, China," said Hugo Chavez, as he announced a $20 billion loan from Beijing, to be repaid in Venezuelan oil.

The Chinese just threw Chavez a life-preserver. For Venezuela is reeling from 25% inflation, government-induced blackouts to cope with energy shortages and an economy that shrank by 3.3% in 2009.

Where did China get that $20 billion? From us. From consumers at Wal-Mart. That $20 billion is 1% of the $2 trillion in trade surpluses Beijing has run up with the United States over two decades.

Beijing is using its trillions of dollars in reserves, piled up from exports to America, to cut deals to lock up strategic resources for the coming struggle with the United States for hegemony in Asia and the world. She has struck multibillion-dollar deals with Sudan, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Russia, Iran and Australia to secure a steady supply of oil, gas and vital minerals to maintain the 10-12% annual growth China has been racking up since Deng Xiaoping dispensed with Maoism and set his nation out on the [fascist] road [instead].

China has dozens of nuclear power plants under construction, has completed the Three Gorges Dam - the largest power source on earth - and is tying the nation together with light rail, bullet trains and highways in infrastructure projects unlike any the world has ever seen.

Contrast what China is doing with what we are about. We have declared vast regions of our country, onshore and offshore, off-limits to drilling for oil and gas. We have not built a nuclear power plant in 30 years or a refinery in 25 years. We have declared war on fossil fuels to save the planet from global warming. Given the power of the environmental lobby to tie up projects in endless litigation, we could never today build our Interstate Highway System, Hoover Dam, the TVA or the Union Pacific Railroad.

HELL... WE STILL HAVE WHAT ARE BASICALLY TWO HOLES IN THE GROUND IN LOWER MANHATTAN WHERE THE TWIN TOWERS ONCE STOOD...

Determined to take America's title as the world's first manufacturing nation, as she has taken Germany's title as the world's leading exporter, China keeps her currency undervalued and demands of those who sell to China that they also produce in China. As America's share of the world economy steadily falls, China's share has doubled. This year, China will overtake Japan as the world's second-largest economy.

Having seen the Soviet Union disintegrate into 15 nations and fearing the ethno-nationalism of Tibetans and Uighurs, Beijing floods her border provinces with Han Chinese.

America, declaring racial, ethnic and religious diversity a strength, invites the world to come and swamp its native-born. And mostly poor, unskilled and uneducated, they are coming by the millions.

China puts savings ahead of spending, production ahead of consumption, manufacturing ahead of finance. Embracing free trade, Americans declare that it makes no difference who produces what, where. What's good for the Global Economy is good for America. Before the financial collapse, the U.S. savings rate stood at zero percent of family income. In China, it ranged between 35% and 50%.

Since the Cold War, the United States has been playing empire...

BUT IN A WAY THAT SAPS OUR STRENGTH RATHER THAN ADDS TO IT...

We have expanded NATO...[yet] we have fewer friends and more adversaries than at the end of the Cold War.

China, having fought no one, has rapidly built up her military power and developed ties to the growing number of nations at odds with America, from Russia to Iran to Sudan to Venezuela.

America seems a declining superpower. She cannot defend her borders, balance her budgets or win her wars. Her educational system at the primary and secondary level is a shambles. In the first decade of the century, she lost one of every three manufacturing jobs. In this second decade, she is looking at trillion-dollar deficits to 2020. The world is losing confidence in her ability to manage her surging national debt.

While we are finally extricating ourselves after seven years from an unnecessary war in Iraq, we are heading deeper into an Afghan war that has lasted a decade, the end of which it is impossible to see. During the Cold War, China was in the grip of a millenarian ideology that blinded her to her true interests. Today, it is we who are captive to a utopian ideology that is becoming perilous to the republic.

GOD BLESS PAT BUCHANAN...

Barker's Newsbites: Thursday, April 29, 2010


I miss my country...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Well... Well... Well... Looky What I Just Found!


Remember my blog thread post of the other day
regarding GM supposedly "paying back" the money it owed the federal government - i.e. "We The Taxpayers"?

Well... looky what I just found!

From: Senator Charles E. Grassley... Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance

To: Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner... Tax Cheat

Dear Secretary Geithner:

General Motors (GM) yesterday announced that it repaid its TARP loans. I am concerned, however, that this announcement is not what it seems. In fact, it appears to be nothing more than an elaborate TARP money shuffle.

On Tuesday of this week, Mr. Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for TARP, testified before the Senate Finance Committee. During his testimony Mr. Barofsky addressed GM’s recent debt repayment activity, and stated that the funds GM is using to repay its TARP debt are not coming from GM earnings. Instead, GM seems to be using TARP funds from an escrow account at Treasury to make the debt repayments.

The most recent quarterly report from the Office of the Special Inspector General for TARP says “The source of funds for these quarterly [debt] payments will be other TARP funds currently held in an escrow account.”

Folks... did I nail it or what...?!?!

Folks... where's the mainstream media on this one...???

Continuing to excerpt from Senator Grassley's official inquiry...

Therefore, it is unclear how GM and the Administration could have accurately announced yesterday that GM repaid its TARP loans in any meaningful way. In reality, it looks like GM merely used one source of TARP funds to repay another. The taxpayers are still on the hook, and whether TARP funds are ultimately recovered depends entirely on the government’s ability to sell GM stock in the future. Treasury has merely exchanged a legal right to repayment for an uncertain hope of sharing in the future growth of GM. A debt-for-equity swap is not a repayment.

Again, folks... ask yourselves... why is it you're reading of this here - on Bill Barker's blog that on a good day reaches two or three people perhaps - rather than reading about it in your local newspapers or hearing from network news anchors...???

I am also troubled by the timing of this latest maneuver. According to Mr. Barofsky, Treasury had supervisory authority over GM’s use of these TARP escrow funds. Since GM’s exit from bankruptcy court, Treasury had approved the use of the escrow funds for costs such as GM’s obligations to its parts supplier Delphi. According to the GM 8K, GM had planned to use the TARP funds in escrow to pay back the TARP loans on a quarterly basis beginning in the fourth quarter of 2009. But following the April 20, 2010, hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, where Treasury’s decision to exempt GM from the bank TARP excise tax was questioned and GM’s refusal to testify was noted, it is odd that GM suddenly drew down on the TARP escrow and accelerated the repayment of the remaining balance of GM’s outstanding TARP loans.

(*SNORT*)

In other words, folks... yeah... in plain English Grassley is pointing to what certainly appears... er... collusion between Geithner's Treasury and GM's management in a joint attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the American taxpayers as well as market investors.

(*SHRUG*)

The bottom line seems to be that the TARP loans were “repaid” with other TARP funds in a Treasury escrow account. The TARP loans were not repaid from money GM is earning selling cars, as GM and the Administration have claimed in their speeches, press releases and television commercials.

When these criticisms were put to GM’s Vice Chairman Stephen Girsky in a television interview yesterday, he admitted that the criticisms were valid
...Mr. Girsky then said that GM originally planned to pay the loan over the next five years. So the question is why - other than a desire to justify excluding GM from the administration’s TARP tax proposal - would Treasury and GM reduce GM’s TARP debt with TARP equity and then mischaracterize it as a repayment from earnings?

Rhetorical question... but one which goes straight to the point: Obama, Geithner, the Dems, their crony capitalist allies, and their friends in the mainstream media sure do seem to be deliberately engaging in an attempt to fool the public regarding this supposed "repayment" of TARP funds by "Government" (aka: General) Motors.

Folks... this ain't a movie... it's not a screenplay or novel... what I'm posting here is from official correspondence between the Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance and our nation's tax cheat Secretary of the Treasury.

Wake up America...!!!

The Truth Concerning the Dodd Bill


Rather than post the following info as a newsbite, I'm giving it it's own thread.


The House Republican Study Committee offers a suggestion for anyone who naively believes Senator Chris Dodd’s Obama supported financial "reform" legislation won’t make bailouts and too-big-to-fail a permanent part of our now very political economy.

Read the bill.

Hey... it's only 1,336 pages, kids...

Here’s how it works in layman’s terms:

Step 1 – Washington bureaucrats decide that a financial institution poses a “systemic risk” (i.e. it’s too-big-to-fail). The stock and bond markets will see this and conclude that these institutions are safer investments than other, smaller firms because the government is essentially promising it will step in should the balance sheets in question turn toxic. Firms that are too-big-to-fail become even bigger.

Step 2 – These anointed institutions are required to send $50 billion, which will ultimately come from higher rates and fees paid by consumers, into a permanent, new bailout fund.

Step 3 – Inevitably, the market distortions and incentives caused by the too-big-to-fail syndrome described in Step 1 enable these bigger-than-ever firms to take reckless risks that turn their balance sheets into toxic sludge.

Step 4 – The $50 billion taken out of consumers’ pockets gets distributed to the failed firms’ investors according to the whim of Washington bureaucrats and other politically interested parties.

This is a bailout, and this is reality under the Dodd bill.

The Dodd bill codifies the “back door” bailouts used by the Federal Reserve to pump money into Bear Stearns, AIG, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.

Democrats claim the Fed would have to distribute this money through broad programs rather than to specific firms, but the reality is more complicated. Just like the backroom deals in ObamaCare, the Fed could structure the supposedly broad programs with so many caveats and requirements that only one targeted firm would ever actually be eligible for the money.

THINK CORNHUSKER KICKBACK - ONLY INSTEAD OF FEDERAL LARGESS DIRECTED TO A CERTAIN STATE IN ORDER TO BUY THE LOYALTY OF A CERTAIN SENATOR DOLLARS ARE DIRECTED TOWARDS "FRIENDS OF THE ADMINISTRATION" IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR.

OH... AND I WROTE "THE ADMINISTRATION" AS OPPOSED TO "OBAMA'S ADMINISTRATION' DELIBERATELY. WHETHER YOU HAVE DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS IN CHARGE THE DANGERS REMAIN THE SAME! THIS BILL IS A RECIPE FOR CORRUPTION REGARDLESS OF WHICH PARTY CONTROLS THE BAILOUT SPIGOT AT ANY FUTURE POINT IN TIME.

As happened with AIG, Washington could also force taxpayers to book huge losses while a failed firm’s creditors and counterparties recoup far more of their investments (potentially 100%) than they would get in normal bankruptcy proceedings.

The FDIC would be able to guarantee a failing firm’s debt obligations without limitation and without approval from Congress. The Secretary of the Treasury, meanwhile, is authorized to purchase this debt (again without limit). Since there is no requirement that a firm bailed out in this manner be dismantled, taxpayers could be forced to prop up favored zombie banks for as long as Washington finds it politically expedient.

FOLKS... PLEASE... PAY FRIGG'N ATTENTION...!!! DON'T LET THESE BASTARDS ACCRUE EVEN MORE POWER TO SCREW US AT WILL...

Barker's Newsbites: Friday, April 23, 2010


Just because...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

GM and the Bush/Obama "New" Economy


The headline reads...
"GM Repays U.S. Government"

(*SIGH*)

Well... unfortunately the word "repaid" has a quite different meaning from what the average reader might assume from scanning the headline.

Perhaps the following sentence from the tenth paragraph of today's Financial Times' reporting will serve to introduce my point:

"The company [GM] lost $3.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009 and is due to release its first-quarter results in mid-May."

Backing up three paragraphs, here's another... er... clarification:

"The US government now has a 61% stake [in GM], while Canada owns 11%."

Folks... GM lost $3.4 billion in just the fourth quarter of 2009 - just that one quarter! Anyone wanna throw out at guess as to total GM losses for 2009? How'bout 2008...? 2007...?

Folks... GM is 72% government owned...!!! We the taxpayers - U.S. and Canadian taxpayers - have had our pockets picked by governments not to pay for government services, but to "invest" - "invest" in a company that has been hemorrhaging money... racking up multi-billion dollar losses!

And the way this is being portrayed in the media...??? Supposedly this is all wonderful - it's grand as grand can be!

Now I may not have a bachelor's degree in finance, let alone an MBA...

I'm neither a trained economist nor an attorney specializing in business law...

But, folks... it seems to me that GM is "repaying" it's loans via debt piled upon debt rather than via... er... profits based upon actual net productivity and return on investment.

Question: Have GM's pension obligations ceased to exist?

Question: What are GM's outstanding debts worldwide - in total?

Question: What are GM's "unfunded liabilities" pegged at over, say... oh... the next decade?

Remember a couple years back when we were all reading news stories along the lines of "GM Loses $2,000 Per Vehicle Produced and Sold?" When and how did that get turned around...???

When GM announces their first quarter (2010) results next month will they be announcing a profit? If so, will the profit be enough to make up for just their forth quarter 2009 losses alone? If not... say worst case scenario where rather than make even a tiny profit GM announces further losses... how does GM get the money to "repay" anything - let alone billions and billions in loans... let alone continuing pension obligations... let alone their newly announced "investments" in a Kansas City facility and a plant in Detroit being built at a cost of $257 million?

I mean... I understand the "short answer." My friend Carl and perhaps others of you would point to the money GM "makes" by selling shares of itself.

The problem is... if the "itself" which is GM is destined to be a company that over the long haul loses rather than makes profit via selling their products on a day in, day out, week by week, month by month, year by year basis at cumulative profits...

(*SCRATCHING MY HEAD*) (*SIGHING*)

Folks... is it just me or does this sound suspiciously like what happened with the mortgage meltdown? Homeowners "profited" by pulling paper equity out of their "investment" in their home. Problem was... in the end... when the "investment" turned out to be worth less than the original purchase price and debt - never mind all the refinancing "equity" pulled out which actually represented further debt above and beyond the original debt - lots and lots of folks were left with nothing in front of them but foreclosure.

Folks... the ultimate question... what makes anyone think that GM is a good "investment?"

If GM was such a good "investment" why would the government of the United States and their junior "partner" (co-conspirator?) the government of Canada have to "invest" our money on our behalf (and ultimately at our risk) rather than let us decide whether we wanted to personally invest in GM at our own behest via our own free will?

Finally... again addressing my friend Carl the undergrad finance major who later earned an MBA and then went on to law school and is now a business attorney at a mid-Manhattan law firm... as to the taxpayer's expected "capital gains" on the "investment," what happens if in five years, ten years, GM again is driven to the brink by a steady stream of "real" losses? Will taxpayers then "return" our past "profits" (and more?!) in the form of new bailouts - a new bailout of GM perhaps; a bailout of GM's future institutional investors perhaps?

I'm sorry. None of this "high finance" makes any sense to me. You know what they say... if it walks like a duck...

(*SIGH*)

This whole thing sounds like a giant scam to me.

Barker's Newsbites: Wednesday, April 21, 2010


This Wednesday's theme song...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Barker's Newsbites: Monday, April 19, 2010


It seems that my buddy Phil agrees with my cyberpal Rodak that my typical newsbites are too long and that there are too many of them.

(*CHUCKLE*)

So be it!

I've just gotta say once again that to my way of thinking...

(The correct way of thinking by the way...!!!)

(*HUGE FRIGG'N GRIN*)

...there's no such thing as providing "too much" information.

Once again, regardless of whether I provide four newsbites on a given day or twenty-four... or thirty-four... the first paragraph of each individual newsbites gives one the "heads up" on what topic or issue that particular newsbite concerns.

You're interested... continue reading; you're not... then on to the next!

To complain that "there are too many newsbites" is like complaining that The Great White Way has too many theatres... or that your local library stocks too many best sellers on their "new books" shelf!

(*CHUCKLE*)

Folks... this ain't Drudge!

I ain't trying to be Drudge...!!!

There's already a Drudge Report - and thank God for that!

Nope. What "Barker's Newsbites" are is a collection of "newsbites" that if read will make one... er... better informed.

Better informed in a focused way... with yours truly directing that focus!

(*GRIN*)

Now some (hell... perhaps none!) of you may feel that you don't need my guidance to know what you should be reading, news-wise...

(*CHUCKLE*)

...and that's fine!

(Of course you're wrong... but it's a free country - for now!)

(*GUFFAW*)

But if you gain any insights from my newsbites that you probably wouldn't otherwise... isn't that a "win" for you...???

One more time: Barker's Newsbites is a distillation of my day to day "knowledge intake." It's more or less "the best of the best" of my day's readings. I'm editing and sharing... that's all.

Anyway...

(*SMILE*)

Don't get the wrong idea about this post. I'm not "mad." I'm not even frustrated. Hell... I'm not even disappointed! Truly... I'm not!

I'm not "chiding" my buddy Phil or cyberpal Rodak. I "get" the constructive criticism.

I simple reject it...

(*WINK*)

Enjoy today's newsbites, folks!

What Is This Man's Malfunction...???


Tell me that this moron isn't deliberately trying to create enemies of friends...

Seriously...!?!?

A massive volcanic plume covering most of Europe forced President Obama to cancel a Sunday trip to Poland to attend the funeral of the nation's president. But the last-minute change left an opening in his schedule, so the president headed to the links for a round of golf instead.

Are you frigg'n kidding me...?!?!

On a cool but sun-drenched Sunday, the president and three golfing companions went to Andrews Air Force Base to play 18 holes.

(*BLOOD PRESSURE RISING*)

(*MIGRAINE HEADACHE COMING ON*)

After canceling the Poland trip on Saturday, the White House announced that Mr. Obama had no public schedule for Sunday. He was to have arrived in Krakow in the morning, attend the 2 p.m. funeral and leave for home by 5 p.m., arriving back at the White House after midnight.

Mr. Obama has not gone to the Polish Embassy in Washington since the accident, but Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. both have. There, they signed a condolence book.

So let me get this straight...

(*PAUSE*)

Assuming the journey to Poland would have taken nine hours there and nine hours back...

(That's 18 hours...)

...and the original plan was to dedicate three hours (2 p.m - 5 p.m.) to the actual funeral itself...

(18 + 3 = 21)

This dumb son of...

(*GRITTING MY TEETH*) (*BITING MY TONGUE*)

Our President couldn't be satisfied with "saving" the 18 hours of flight time and dedicating the same three hours he would have spent at the funeral in Poland to spending that same time at the Polish Embassy in Washington in symbolic solidarity with the mourning of the Polish People...???

No...??? No...?!?!

Instead he went... golfing...?!?!

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS MAN...?!?!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rob's Thread


Yep!

(*GRIN*)

Rob... feel free to consider this "your thread" here at Usually Right.

Provide commentary... analysis... throw out questions... whatever floats your boat, my cyberbud!

Anyone else interested in airing your thoughts and commentary (whether related to a topic I've addressed or not)... feel free!

As Spanish speaking Barkerists (Barkerites...???) might say... mi blaga es su blaga!

BILL

Friday Newsbites: April 16, 2010


I miss Ronny...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Barker's Newsbites: Monday, April 12, 2010


As you read today's newsbites, consider the following...

Large pizza... extra cheese... bacon... salami... mushrooms...

God bless the fine folks at the Nanuet Restaurant!

Oh... and those teriyaki wings weren't half bad either...!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Barker's Newsbites: Thursday, April 8, 2010


Let's get this show on the road, folks...

Update: While my hope is that each day's newsbites will impart useful information and provide compelling analysis (yeah... with a bit of my trademark wiseass humor thrown in), today's newsbites are more than usually chock full of "good stuff."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Barker's Newsbites: Tuesday, April 6, 2010


What a beautiful frigg'n day!

Hell... it almost seems a shame to reflect upon bad news on a day such as today... but duty calls!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Barker's Newsbites: Monday, April 5, 2010


As Paul Revere would say if he were alive today...

THE NEWSBITES ARE COMING...! THE NEWSBITES ARE COMING...!

The Oil Bubble Had Better Pop Soon Or...


The headline starts off...

Oil Surges Towards $87...

...ending with...

As U.S. Economy Recovers.

God are we screwed...!

Or... to put it another way... the opening words of the headline points should send a chill down readers spines that, as I've predicted, we're headed for stagflation - hitting this summer!

As for the closing words...

(*SNORT*)

Bullshit.

Those of you who follow my newsbites or are independently widely read, informed, knowledgeable, and able to "connect the dots" know better.

The oil price rise is based upon speculation and market manipulation pure and simple; it has little connection to supply and demand or production cost issues. It's a "paper" run-up that unfortunately is "real" at the pump.

If the bubble doesn't deflate prior to hitting $90 a barrel...

(*SIGH*)

Then I fear momentum and manipulation will push prices upwards to the $120, perhaps $140 a barrel range. At that point we're really screwed.

Hell... even if oil "only" stays at between $90 and $110 a barrel throughout the summer the inflationary repercussions will kick in as they did with the oil spikes of 2005-2007.

The only hope I can offer... there's a fair chance the bubble might indeed burst within the next few days - worst case (of the best case) scenario within the next few weeks.

Frankly, oil prices should be fluctuating between $45 and $60 a barrel right now. The economy - the consumer as well as businesses - can handle that. Summer pump prices at $3/gal. - even $3.25/gal. or tops $3.50/gal. at worst - the country can handle that for a window of time.

I'm telling you, though... worse case... oil really shoots up, prices at the pump hit the $4/gal. level or (God forbid!) above... then the domino effect takes hold and we're in for a bad, bad, bad few years.

God help us. Even if "real" Republicans - real conservatives - take both Houses of Congress in November they won't have any power till January of 2011.

Obama is President till - at least - January of 2013.

Obama... Bernanke... Geithner...

(*MASSIVE MIGRAINE HEADACHE*)

These dummies will continue to do pretty much everything wrong over the next few years and a Republican Congress won't be able to stop them. That's why I fear we're in for at least a couple of years - more likely several - of stagflation.

Remember the '70's through the early '80's? If you don't recall what steps it took to vanquish the results of failed economic policies pursued by LBJ, Nixon, Ford, and Carter, perhaps you might do a bit of research - a bit of reading.

Volcker gets credit for some good decisions prior to Reagan taking office, but it was only the combination of Reaganomics and Volcker's tight money policies which wrung inflation out of the economy as Laffer's tax theories set the stage for economic expansion and real (private sector) job growth.

Hey... I'm not writing this to start a debate on Reagan. I know there are those of you who hate him, who dispute that his economic and foreign policies created a true boom economy while laying the groundwork for the fall of the Soviet Union... but I view your perspective as so warped and counter to observable reality that I find it unworthy of debate.

Anyway... let's hope that the oil bubble soon bursts.

Absent that... let's hope that everything we learned about economics throughout the '70's and '80's is in the Age of Obama... er... inoperable. No longer valid...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Barker's Newsbites: Friday, April 2, 2010


Well, kids... I've already added two new threads to the blog today... here's the third:

NEWSBITES...!

There's a Reason I Read Buchanan... And You Should Too


"Diplomacy has failed," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told AIPAC, "Iran is on the verge of becoming nuclear and we cannot afford that."

"We have to contemplate the final option," said Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., "the use of force to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon."

War is a "terrible thing," said Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., but "sometimes it is better to go to war than to allow the Holocaust to develop a second time."

Graham then describes the war we Americans should fight: "If military force is ever employed, it should be done in a decisive fashion. The Iran government's ability to wage conventional war against its neighbors and our troops in the region should not exist. They should not have one plane that can fly or one ship that can float."

QUESTION: WILL ANYONE IN THE MEDIA ASK THE FOLLOWING OF THESE THREE SENATORS --

1) "SENATOR... DO YOU EXPECT PRESIDENT OBAMA TO REQUEST A DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST IRAN IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLE 1, SECTION 8 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES?

2) "SENATOR... WILL YOU VOTE FOR WAR IF THE PRESIDENT REQUESTS SUCH AUTHORITY?"

3) "SENATOR... DOES AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT - UNILATERALLY... UPON HIS OWN CLAIMED AUTHORITY - HAVE THE CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY TO LAUNCH A STRATEGIC/TACTICAL AGAINST A SOVEREIGN NATION WITHOUT OUR HAVING BEEN ATTACKED (THUS LAUNCHING THE ATTACK IN RETALIATION) AND WITHOUT AN ATTACK BEING EVEN IMMINENT?

4) "SENATOR... IF YOUR ANSWER TO THE ABOVE QUESTION IS 'YES,' WOULD YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW THIS SQUARES WITH 'WAR POWERS' AS OUTLINED AND DEFINED BY ARTICLE 1, SECTION 8 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES?"

FOLKS... THIS LATEST FEARED BREACH OF CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNANCE AND THE RULE OF LAW HAS ITS FOUNDATION IN PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONS GOING BACK TO AT LEAST WOODROW WILSON... BUT WE'RE NOW TALKING THE RISK OF NUCLEAR WAR. THE QUESTIONS I SUBMIT ABOVE ARE NEITHER THEORETICAL NOR PARTISAN. THIS ISN'T THE INVASION OF GRANADA NOR EVEN PANAMA. THIS ISN'T HAITI. THIS ISN'T MEXICO. WE CAN ALL THINK OF PRECEDENTS TO POINT TO, BUT I SUBMIT THAT A LINE HAS TO BE DRAWN SOMEWHERE...

Tehran has not started a war in memory and is not going to launch a suicide attack on a superpower with thousands of nuclear weapons. As with Iraq in 2003, the war will be launched by the United States against a nation that did not attack us - to strip it of weapons it [may or may] not have.

Iran's nuclear facilities [include] the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, the U.S.-built reactor that makes medical isotopes, the power plant at Bushehr, the centrifuge facility near Qom and the heavy water plant at Arak. Our problem here is that the last three are not even operational and all are subject to U.N. inspections. There are Russians at Bushehr. And there is no evidence that diversion to a weapons program has taken place.

If Iran has secret plants working on nuclear weapons, why have we not been told where, and demanded that U.N. inspectors be let in? Why did 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, three years ago, tell us they did not exist and Iran gave up its drive for a nuclear weapon in 2003?

If Iran is on the "verge" of a bomb, as Schumer claims, the entire U.S. intelligence community should be decapitated for incompetence.

This week, in a hyped headline, "CIA: Iran capable of producing nukes," the Washington Times said that a new CIA report claims, "Iran continues to develop a range of capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so." Excuse me, but this is mush. We could say the same of a dozen countries that use nuclear power and study nuclear technology.

To prevent a counterattack, the United States would have to take out Iran's 14 airfields and all its warplanes on the ground. We would also have to sink every warship and submarine in Iran's navy and destroy some 200 missile, patrol and speedboats operated by the Revolutionary Guard, else they would be dropping mines and mauling our warships. Also, it would be crucial on day one to hit Iran's launch sites and missile plants for, like Saddam in 1991, Iran would probably attack Israel, to make it an American and Israeli war on an Islamic republic.

Among other critical targets would be the Silkworm anti-ship missile sites on Iran's coastline that would menace U.S. warships and oil tankers transiting the Strait of Hormuz. Any Iranian attack on ships or seeding of mines would likely close the gulf and send world oil prices soaring.

Revolutionary Guard barracks, especially the Quds Force near Iraq, would have to be hit to slow troop movement to and across the border into Iraq to kill U.S. soldiers and civilians. The same might be necessary against Iranian troops near Afghanistan. With Iran's ally Hezbollah in south Beirut, all U.S. civilians should probably be pulled out of Lebanon before an attack lest they wind up dead or hostages. And how safe would Americans be in the gulf, especially Bahrain, home of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, a predominantly Shia island?

And whose side would Shia Iraq take?

Would we have to intern all Iranian nationals in the United States, as we did Germans and Italians in 1941?

How many terror attacks on soft targets in the USA could we expect from Iranian and Hezbollah agents in reprisal for our killing thousands of civilians in hundreds of strikes on Iran?

Before the War Party stampedes us into yet another war, the Senate should find out if Teheran is really on the "verge" of getting a bomb, and why deterrence, which never failed us, cannot succeed with Iran.

PERHAPS SOME OF YOU - MY READERS - MIGHT CALL YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS AND YOUR TWO U.S. SENATORS AND ASK THEM THE FOUR QUESTION WHICH I PROPOSE UP ABOVE BE ASKED OF SENATORS SCHUMER, BAYH, AND GRAHAM BY THE NATIONAL MEDIA.

Happy Two Month Anniversary!


Well, folks... today marks the two month anniversary of "Barker's Newsbites."

So... what do you guys and gals think...?

Oli Mackson - a reporter at the Times Herald Record, our regional "daily" here in Orange County - noted to me awhile back that the site can be somewhat repetitious.

OK... fair enough. As I originally replied to him in private, certain topics - certain facts - need to be hammered home. Also, as I've noted again and again, while many (actually, most I'm sure) of you are familiar in broad terms with much of the information I provide links to - and digests of - let's be honest... I doubt any of you have the time or even inclination to cover as wide a spectrum of news as I do on basically a daily basis. Bottom line... whether it's two minutes or five minutes or twenty minutes that you can spare from your busy day, a browse of "Barker's Newsbites" will serve to provide you a far more sophisticated window upon "current events" than you'll get from reading, watching, and listening to "the news" as provided by the "mainstream media."

Hey... not to say that I don't rely in large part upon "mainstream media" myself. I do! But my sources are a bit more... er... umm... "comprehensive" than the average person has the time or energy to peruse on a regular basis.

Oh, and by the way... none of this is rocket science. While only a fraction of my "news bookmarks" are listed (with links provided) on Usually Right, regular readers no doubt note my daily "go to" sources and beyond that, the "expanded" source material I rely upon. Wherever possible I try to link to studies and stats buttressing the "editorial" points made throughout "Barker's Newsbites."

Anyway... (*SMILE*)... as noted from the beginning of this little "project" of mine, my purpose with "Barker's Newsbites" is to share with any and all who are interested the "highlights" of my normal day's news and opinion reading. I figure I'm doing the "heavy lifting" of all the reading anyway; why not go that extra mile and provide "shortcuts" to friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike?!

As always... thanks to Rob (aka: Rodak) for being my number one "participant" in terms of providing commentary and feedback to my postings.

To those who regularly - or even just occasionally - stop by, read, but rarely comment... (*GRIN*)... that's cool too.

OH...! LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST...

Phil... my "brother by choice" - the most "capable" guy I know - called me last night with an annoucement:

His eldest son... my brilliant "nephew" Sam...

(*DRUM ROLL*)

(*TRUMPETS*)

HE JUST RECEIVED HIS ACCEPTANCE LETTER FROM HARVARD YESTERDAY...!!!

God bless you, Sam... as I told your "old man" last night, I'm sure glad I've always been nice to you! I mean... with the country on a collision course with economic and thus societal disaster, when I'm old and gray (ok... ok... grayer) it'll be a real comfort to know that my "nephew" the billionaire (I'm counting on you, kiddo!) will be there to "rescue" good old "Uncle Bill" from the societal collapse, allowing me to live out my last days safely (and decadently) within your fortress of (remaining!) civilization.

(*WINK*)

OH...!!! AND ONE LAST NOTATION...

Carl... don't think my "kinship" with Sam lets you off the hook! (*GUFFAW*) You and "Cold Spring Rob" and Drunk'n Ted and Original Drunk'n Mary are still part of the long range back-up plan regarding "Operation Keep Bill Clothed, Fed, and Housed in His Later Years."

(*CHUCKLE*)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Barker's Newsbites: Thursday, April 1, 2010


Ahh... my beloved readers...

(All two of you...)

(*GRIN*)

It was almost a "no newsbites day" and in fact it might yet become a no (or perhaps just low) newsbites day. This morning when I attempted to make my daily journey into cyberspace I could not escape the confines of my physical surroundings.

After a chat with the fine folks at my ISP it was determined that my modem was on the fritz.

Low and behold, however... all of a sudden it's off the fritz!

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

(*WINK*)