Iraqi Oil Contract Bidding: BBC vs. NPR Reporting

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Here’s a little nugget for you regarding the bidding on Iraqi oil fields…the ones that the U.S. was supposed to clean up on after the “liberation” of Iraq.

It’s also a tale of the miserable news reporting we have here, including the “superior” NPR Radio.

I woke up and listened to the BBC World Service yesterday as usual and heard a brief report about bidding for Iraqi oil contracts.  The report included the facts that bidders weren’t exactly running to invest in Iraq.

From the BBC:

Oil companies reject Iraq’s terms

Only one of the bidders for the eight contracts to run oil and gas fields in Iraq has accepted oil ministry terms.

Six oil fields and two gas fields were available in a televised auction that was the first big oil tender in Iraq since the invasion of 2003.

BP and China’s CNPC agreed to run the 17 billion barrel Rumaila field after Exxon Mobil turned it down.

Iraq has asked the rest of the companies to consider resubmitting bids for the other seven contracts.

The oil ministry is offering 20-year service contracts.

Other fields have failed to find buyers, either because there were no bidders or because terms were declined.

Thirty-two oil companies had been approved as potential bidders.

MORE

The terms, of course, are detailed in the story, but suffice to say that the amount of payment is one of the key issues.  Another twist is that these are not “production-sharing” deals, but “service contracts” being offered because the Iraqi parliament hasn’t passed an oil bill yet and this sort of contract makes it easier to start the process at this point.  Under service contracts, a fixed fee will be paid for oil produced instead of having a proportion of the oil awarded to a company under a production-sharing contract.

So, things aren’t proceeding that quickly on the oil production front.

However, I caught a report on NPR which didn’t provide that information. Instead, the report simply mentioned that Iraqi oil bidding had started.

If you look at the story on the NPR site, you’ll see a fuller report, with the emphasis on being a lot more “touchy-feely.”

Foreign Companies Bid On Iraqi Oil Licenses

Morning Edition, June 30, 2009 · Foreign companies could soon be pumping Iraqi oil for the first time in nearly 40 years.

On Tuesday, the government of Iraq opened bids from oil companies interested in helping the country realize its oil production potential.

The oil companies are so eager for a crack at Iraq’s vast oil wealth that they are willing to overlook some big negatives: It’s a country still at war. There’s a lot of political opposition to foreign oil companies. There’s no guarantee the contracts awarded at this auction will even be honored. And yet, more than 30 companies submitted bids.

Big Oil has not had an opportunity like this for decades.

A bit later in the story, we do get some reality:

When Saddam Hussein kicked the foreign oil companies out of Iraq in 1972, many Iraqis supported the move, and there is still strong opposition to any sharing of the country’s oil wealth with foreign companies. The withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraqi cities and towns this week has only reinforced Iraqi nationalism. In the coming weeks or months, Iraqi parliamentarians may even move to overturn oil contracts awarded through Tuesday’s auction.

But there’s hope:

The opening round produced only one deal. The Iraqi offers generally fell short of the oil company bids, and additional bargaining seemed likely.

Such deals won’t necessarily be highly profitable for the oil companies. In the next phase of the competition, however, the Iraqi government is expected to open fields that have not yet been explored or developed. The companies that win the right to search for oil might then be able to take a share of what they find. It’s that competition — not this one — that would mean big money for the companies.

“This is just everybody kind of wanting to get their foot in the door for the bigger prizes that will be here in a year or two,” says Stratfor’s Zeihan. No one wants to be left out.

“What makes Iraq special,” says Diwan, “is [that] there is room for all the big oil companies at the same time, and for all them to have sizable projects. Everybody will get something fairly large.”

All this may be very true, but if you only caught the brief headline story that I heard on the radio later in the day, you wouldn’t have a clue about the first day of bidding.

The question is, of course, why a news brief on the BBC can include fact that there was a difficult first day of bidding, while the NPR brief omits this information.

That’s a silly question, of course, because we all know that Americans are not allowed to get news, just spin and and obsfucation.

HULU — “An evil plot to destroy the world”: A Mainstream Media Creation (FOX, NBC et al) to Squeeze Out Independent Media Content

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

If you any doubts about how the mainstream media is playing us, then here’s the proof that they indeed are.  It’s easy to see when you take a look at Hulu. Most of the uniformed world think FOX (News Corp.) and NBC/GE are “enemies”  but we see that they’re working together to suck the air out of independent media content available on the web.

Hulu–“An evil plot to destroy the world.”  I didn’t originate this description; Hulu did. It’s in their ad which features the obnoxious Denis Leary jabbering away about TV content turning your mind to mush and snarking at a “brain dead” (those are the ad’s words) geek who’s getting a stream of green stuff passed into his ear.  Before he’s through, Leary says that the folks at Hulu are  “aliens” and then winds up with the tag line, “Hulu…an evil plot to destroy the world…Enjoy.”

The ad is up at the company blog under the title “The Evil Plot Continues.”  Go see for yourself…(and be sure to “click” to see the full ad after the initial clip is over or click here for the video without the blog post.).  This week, Hulu has released a “Video Panel widget”:

To continue to deliver on our mission to connect audiences with their favorite content wherever they are — or, as Denis Leary would say, on their “bliggety blogs, facey spaces and tweety pages” — we are releasing a new embeddable product this week: the Video Panel widget.

The ad is supposed to be a cool joke aimed at the younger crowd, but in reality, it may not just a joke!  A couple of weeks ago I happened to be watching CNBC and caught an interview with the young CEO who was talking about how successful Hulu had become and how it would be even more successful as it closes in on YouTube, which is currently the top video site.

And who’s behind Hulu?  According to Hoovers (with my bolding):

Hulu Company Description

When the rich and famous name their offspring, anything is possible. NBC and FOX had a digital baby. And they called it Hulu. Initially formed as a joint venture between NBC Universal (a unit of GE) and News Corp. (the parent of FOX), Hulu.com is a video site that features video from more than 100 content providers. Offerings include TV shows from FOX and NBC, as well as from subsidiary cable channels such as Bravo and the SCI FI Channel. Hulu also shows films from studios including Sony and MGM. Content — all total, some 900 TV series and full-length movies– is streamed on demand, free of charge the day after its broadcast debut. After a nearly five-month long beta version, Hulu.com was launched in 2008.

And, there’s another player now: Disney/ABC.

Disney Buys Into Hulu. YouTube Should Be Worried.  (4/30)

As the initial exclusivity for NBC and Fox content expires, Hulu will be adding Disney/ABC videos and TV shows to its distribution mix as well. Hulu is becoming the preferred distribution channel for the big media companies. And it is succeeding in attracting the fickle Web audience. This should worry YouTube, which is still casting about for a business model that will pay for its enormous storage and bandwidth costs. The media companies cannot ignore YouTube just yet, but by strengthening Hulu they can give it their best content first.

A couple of days earlier, this article provided some extra background:

Hulu Now The Number Three U.S. Web Video Site. Soon To Be Number Two.  (4/28)

Just last month, we wrote that Hulu had gained some 10 million viewers to become the fourth largest video portal on the web. Now, it’s slain another rival to the list: Yahoo, to move into #3 — at least in terms of videos viewed.

To be clear, the new March U.S. numbers released by comScore show that Hulu is still slightly behind Yahoo’s video properties when it comes to unique viewers. But the NBC and Fox-backed Hulu should pass it any day now in that category as well. Meanwhile, the number two player, Fox Interactive Media (which runs MySpace), is slipping just as quickly as Hulu is rising in videos viewed. It could well be as soon as this month when Hulu moves into the number two web video position.

Needless to say,  I wondered about the name. Silly me for thinking it was a take-off on “hula” or something Hawaiian. NOOOOOOOOOO, it’s actually a Chinese name! From Wikipedia:

The name Hulu comes from two Mandarin Chinese words, hulu (simplified Chinese: 葫芦; traditional Chinese: 葫蘆; pinyin: húlú; Wade-Giles: hu-lu) “calabash, bottle gourd” and hulu (simplified Chinese: 互录; traditional Chinese: 互錄; pinyin: hùlù; Wade-Giles: hu-lu) “interactive recording.”

The company blog explains:

In Mandarin, Hulu has two interesting meanings, each highly relevant to our mission. The primary meaning interested us because it is used in an ancient Chinese proverb that describes the hulu as the holder of precious things. It literally translates to “gourd,” and in ancient times, the hulu was hollowed out and used to hold precious things. The secondary meaning is “interactive recording.” We saw both definitions as appropriate bookends and highly relevant to the mission of Hulu. [4][5]

(Here’s the link to the above-mentioned blog post at Hulu with a picture of the young group (mostly of Chinese background?) who worked on choosing the name: http://blog.hulu.com/2008/05/13/meaning-of-hulu/.) (Note: For all their care, it seems that “Hulu” has some unusual meanings in other languages anyway. For a sampling, see:  Hulu Translates To “Cease” and “Desist” in Swahili. Oops.)

My next stop was a visit to the Hulu site at http://www.hulu.com/.  The “News” channel has a few sub-sections, but I just looked at the Politics section closely. Of course, it varies day to day, but it certainly is NOT a comprehensive news site…an awful lot of clips featuring unchallenged spin from the Administration and cable talk shows on the day I looked.  Hulu is entirely commercial content, so you won’t see any original “ads” or political discourse from the peons here, like you see at YouTube.

Who’s running Hulu for NBC, FOX, and Disney?

The CEO is one Jason Kilar. From Business Week:

Jason Kilar serves as Chief Executive Officer of Hulu, LLC. Mr. Kilar has been Chief Executive of online video joint venture of NBC Universal, Inc. and News Corp., since July 9, 2007. He serves as Special Advisor of KBL Acquisition Corp. IV*. He served as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Application Software at Amazon.com Inc. since May 2003 and was responsible for Amazon’s Marketplace business. From February 2002 to May 2003, Mr. Kilar served as Vice President of Worldwide Application Software of Amazon.com Inc., where he joined in May, 1997 as a Product Manager. From October 2001 to February 2002, Mr. Kilar served as Vice President of Marketplace of Amazon.com Inc. and served as its Vice President of Books, Music, and Video & DVD from February 2001 to October 2001 and serves as its Vice President. He began his career with The Walt Disney Company, where he worked for Disney Design & Development. He serves on the board of Management Leadership for Tomorrow. He has been Director of AdReady, Inc. since November 28, 2007. Mr. Kilar received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School…

The company is providing  investment capital for Hulu is Providence Equity. Of course, there’s a “global presence”:

Working collaboratively from offices in Providence, New York, London, Hong Kong and New Delhi, our 74 investment professionals pursue opportunities as a unified team across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Our sector focus and international mandate enable us to dedicate our full resources to building global leaders in the media, entertainment, communications and information industries, regardless of location.

The large “team” running this firm has some interesting names on the roster.

Michael K. Powell, now a Sr. Advisor for PE, formerly FCC chairman during the Bush Administration

In addition to Kilar, there are a lot of people with Harvard ties, work history with some of the large investment banks (with a number of them with a history at Morgan Stanley), and other interesting backgrounds. Here’s a sampling of some of the names I peeked at…there are many others with similiar ties on the long list of “the team”:

  • Chief Compliance Officer Fred Franklin (who “served for ten years as Assistant Director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement”)… from Bear Stearns

So, it looks like the total capture of the minds of the younger generation by the mass media will be complete if most of them gravitate to Hulu.  If YouTube can’t survive, will the creative video we see there dry up or become fragmented across many smaller sites?

Hulu is just another piece of the puzzle as the media “clamps down” to control what media content users see.  Scary, very scary indeed.

***

*KBL Acquisition Corp. IV is involved in “miscellaneous”  investment services but is a big player in the healthcare industry (also KBL I, II, III)

Hulu Company Profile.

GE media holdings (From Columbia Journalism Review site)

News Corp. media holdings (From Columbia Journalism Review site)

Disney media holdings (corporate site)

Tidbits from the 100 Days Debacle/Join the W.A.M. ACTION Against the Mainstream Media

W.A.M (Wake Up America) has put together a review of the insults that the Obama Administration has been heaping on the country during their first 100 days.  More at: http://www.wamaction.org/NewsRoom.html

Via W.A.M. Press Release:

If it seems to you that the “Change Administration” continues to expend its primary energies to campaigning rather than governing, you’re on the right track. With scores of Executive Branch positions still left vacant, the spectacle unveiled for Obama’s 100 Day mark apparently took most of the Administration’s energy. This included erroneous polling by supportive Mainstream Media.

In a glaring example, an absurb AP poll, headlined on Time Warner and other outlets with this caption: “AP Poll: After Obama’s 100 days, U.S. on right track.”

One fly in the ointment of this much publicized poll is that it included a mere 21% Republican sampling – with a whopping 38% now identified as “Independent.” As one blogger remarked, it seems that ‘the communist state has arrived. AP is Pravda.” What happened to the rest of the GOP? Applying the ongoing “New Party” strategy, the swiftest means to alter political reality is to use the Media to tell the public what you want to be true. This  involves considerable attention and time – but if it keeps your “candidate”s popularity afloat, well, then it’s worth it. And let’s not leave out the new First Lady, who is also reported this week, in another fallacious poll, to be approved of by 87% of Americans – leaving many of US wondering just who did they call?!

In an astonishing report, Politico substantiates the fact that the  “Obama campaign still funds operations.” Its review indicates that, having entered the new year with $18 Million dollars, it’s now down to a mere $10 Million.”Last month alone, it paid $74,000 in payroll, $23,000 for rent, $10,000 for polling and $6,400 for travel. Other interesting payments during the first three months of the year, the period covered by Wednesday’s report, included $688,000 in legal fees to the firm of Bob Bauer — the top lawyer for the campaign, the Democratic National Committee, the Obama political group Organizing for America, and the Obama family — and $6,400 to a firm founded by Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.” For more fascinating facts on the Obama- Axelrod ongoing campaign, go here:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0409/21304.html

Pulling out all the stops for his 100 Day marker not only included biased poll reports but a pointless hour of prime time coverage. Having already leveraged more prime time coverage than President Clinton was given his entire term in office – millions of viewers were coerced to sit politely through Obama’s tele-prompter guided Talking Points – unchallenged by reporters. In a full hour only 13 questions were permitted, including one riveting query about what has most “enchanted” the new Commander-in-Chief since January. The rest of US may be relieved to note that, while the economy continues to sink and Barney Frank’s housing fix law has qualified one homeowner for salvation over a full 3 months, Obama has plenty of “perks” to boost his spirits. These include a bombshell of unintended “bad press” – at extravagant expense – but too inept and careless not to be criticized. The Defense Department terrorizing of New York City, when a “photo shoot” of Air Force One, accompanied by fighter jets, swooped over the downtown area spoke volumes of this adminstration’s contempt  for both protocol and public safety. Turns out this thoughtless fiasco was created on behalf of – what else but the Change Administrations’ latest marketing video.  (See W.A.M. News Room for video.

The worst debacle of thinly disguised brainwashing, however, was GOP Senator Arlen Specter’s carefully timed announcement of his withdrawal from the Republican party to join the un-Democratic majority with which he has been voting all year anyway! Seems his rival for the 2010 PA race, Conservative Pat Tooney is so far ahead in the polls, the Senator has no other option for defending his re-election than to switch labels (but not gears) to bring forth more bundles of questionably sourced New Party capital by running under the Democratic banner. The price he paid? No more than his massively televised participation in this week’s 100 Day marketing blitz!

It’s amusing to note that Sen. Tom Harkin, who was scheduled to speak on FOX News about this political ‘upset’ bowed out abruptly,  without explanation. This after Specter made publicly clear that his deal with Senate Majority Leader Reid provides full rights to DEM seniority – since his 1st 1980 GOP election. Specter proudly stated that he now holds party seniority over most others, including IA Sen. Harkin himself!

If this most recent and most glaring example of Washington’s abusive pattern of ignoring We the People insults you, SIGN IN to Wake Up America movement to participate in MAINSTREAM MEDIA BOYCOTT –  this Grass Roots Media Reform campaign launches with  MAJOR TELEVENT – WEDNESDAY PM – MAY 6!

Go to www.wamaction.org home page link – Get Involved – to join this ACTION.  See the upcoming plans for EXPANSION of the W.A.M. site including:

Expanded Newsroom

Watch Washington Forum

Private Chat Room for Bloggers & Broadcasters’

Research Archives On Critical Issues

State-by-State Vision-in-Action Board

While Obama is Overseas, Congress Sets Us Up to Go Broke…Where We Stand Now

~~Via W.A.M. (Wake Up America)

PRESS RELEASE

April 3, 2009

OBAMA APPLAUDS  HIS NEW PARTY ON GOING FOR BROKE!

The House of Representatives and the Senate moved merrily forward toward their decimation of the U.S. economy in a party-line vote in favor on Obama’s break-the-bank budget this week. Only 20 House Democrats voted against the measure, with many Blue Dog conservatives still acquiescing to the Administration’s massive social engineering expenditures which result in a staggering debt to be paid for by generations to come.

Although a new coalition of “moderate” Senate Democrats emerged in March, many of these members voted in favor of the budget excesses, with minor  adjustments intended to ‘save face’ in their home states. Even the much-touted ‘small change’ middle class tax cuts expire in  the 2010 budget, leading observers to wonder just what these Senators ‘hope’ to claim credit for with their constituents back home.

In a first show of party unity this year, all GOP voted against the budget, including Senators Specter, Collins and Snowe, who until now have aligned with the Pelosi driven flurry of Socialist engineered “Change” laws. It remains to be seen where their loyalties will lie when the particulars in the budget return to the  floor for final decisions – particularly related to massive Health Care and Energy programs yet to be finalized.

Estimates are that Obama’s new Energy Plan, alone, will cost the average American household $3,000 to $4,000 annually in added utility costs. His Health Care Plan remains fraught with special interest advantages,  combined with federally-regulated mandates to trim diagnostic tests while increasing cost-saving regulations to increase “hopeless cause” diagnosis-thus reducing the quality and coverage of U.S. Health Care overall, especially affecting senior citizens. Overall advantages of his plan would be afforded to illegal aliens with the Federal government floating their health care costs.

Although it currently lays on the cutting room floor, some credit is due House Minority Whip Eric Cantor for steering a more sensible GOP Budget Plan, which would have trimmed back the gluttonous spending of the already passed OMNIBUS and HR 1 Stimulus Plan. While given no substantial attention by Obama-controlled  MainStreamMedia, the careful crafting of these alternative Republican budget proposals debunks the Democrat’s propaganda campaign that has falsely disclaimed GOPers in Congress to be no more than negative naysayers.

As with all legislation so far flying through the 111th Congress, achieving this appearance of a Budget consensus, due diligence and fair reflection were swept under the rug. Only 55 Senators voted for the budget while rule shuffling allowed for its passage with a simple majority of 51.

The only good news on the Budget blueprint are signs of minor cracks in Democratic cohesion and the emergence of  greater GOP unity and clarity. These indicate growing Capitol Hill apprehension on Obama’s Break America Plan.

Expanded public awareness of the dangers and deceits in this unprecedented New Party takeover of our nation, combined with Activist Actions on Congress -lcould continue to erode Pelosi’s stranglehold on Congress. That’s up to US!

This week’s passage of the revisionist budget blueprint is just one step in a longer term battle whose outcome will show whether We the People take back our government or let it overtake US. The emerging crisis conditions within America’s overburdened, no-longer-represented mainstream middle class needs to move US from shock and outrage to Get Involved and make our voices heard in online, in the media and in Washington, D.C.

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For more information follow the links above or visit W.A.M via the sidebar to the right.

When is Being “Reasonable” Simply “Unreasonable”? (Especially When It Comes to Our Money?)

~~By Kenosha Marge

There have been a few voices speaking quietly amongst all the shrill voices playing “Monkey Pile on AIG”. At first glance these seem to be the voices of reason. They don’t pile on and they don’t suggest Hari Kari. They simply, and of course reasonably, tell us that we must at times swallow the bitter medicine if we are to get well. Bitter pills to swallow must sometimes, unhappily, be swallowed. The very reasonableness of their words makes one listen.

These are the people that routinely tell us the yes, yes the financial institutions that screwed the pooch so egregiously are bad but allowing them to go down would be worse. We simply must prop up, bailout, and otherwise help them with taxpayer dollars because they are just too big to fail. As many smarter than me have said, too big to fail is too big to exist.

However those quiet, reasonable voices continue to whisper sweet nothings in our ears. Yes, yes, dear little taxpayer who is getting screwed, this is just too, too terrible. But what be must be. Feel that condescending hand patting you on your pointy little head yet?

The voices of reason tell us that we must pay those financially ludicrous bonuses to those at AIG who failed their company so completely. Ran it right into the ground they did and now they get “retention bonuses”? You mean we actually are supposed to want them to stay? WTF?

Then comes the part I like best, the part about retention bonuses being such a small part of the monies being spent. Hey, lighten up people; it’s only $165,000.000.00 or so, just a drop in the bucket. Just chump change as it were. Their idea of “chump change” is my “hallelujah I’m rich beyond my wildest dreams” change.

“Politicians say they’re beefing up our economy.  Most don’t know beef from pork.”  ~Harold Lowman

These quiet reasonable voices frequently tell us not to worry about such small sums when so many much larger sums are being misspent. That certainly seems reasonable. Unless you happen to be old enough to remember when sums like these newly named small amounts were considered large.

I remember back when we thought that a million dollars was a large amount. In fact, I still do. That is a whole lot of money that is taken from taxpayers. For most of those taxpayers, a million bucks is more than chump change.

Those little “porky” projects and sums that Senator Chuck Schumer seems to think citizens aren’t concerned about DO concern many of us. If those sums and little piglet projects are so meaningless then send some of them my way. I am not a spendthrift, live within my means and would love to have a million dollars to spend. I promise I would spend it far more carefully and reasonably than the pinheads sitting in Washington.

The Democrats seem to be basically nicer people, but they have demonstrated time and again that they have the management skills of celery.  They’re the kind of people who’d stop to help you change a flat, but would somehow manage to set your car on fire.  I would be reluctant to entrust them with a Cuisinart, let alone the economy.

The Republicans, on the other hand, would know how to fix your tire, but they wouldn’t bother to stop because they’d want to be on time for Ugly Pants Night at the country club.  ~Dave Barry

Now according to what I’ve read many experts are pooh-poohing the idea that an outraged citizenry should be worrying about “chump change” like the $165,000,000.00 in retention bonuses that AIG handed out using our money. In fact all those freewheeling, free-spending politicians were caught flat-footed by the anger of the taxpayers. Then their own self-serving, self-preserving hypocrisy kicked in;  fingers hastily pulled from their butts and now held in the wind told them the natives were getting restless.

Their primary concern, re-election kicked in and every pinhead that could rise to their feet on the Senate or the House is now expressing his/her faux-rage. Media seeking pols like heat-seeking missiles looked around for the nearest microphone. There was a sudden need to express their shock and rage at this travesty and throw their own phony little hiss-fit.

If the politician in question did vote against the porkulus bill and did have a conniption fit because no one was reading it,  then they have at least a right to half a faux-rage. They are only half as hypocritical as their fellow pols. Well la-dee-da.

Senator Chuck Grassley even joked that perhaps the people in charge over at AIG should resign or commit suicide. Ha-ha.

There ought to be one day – just one – when there is open season on senators.  ~Will Rogers

My point, and yes, I do have one, is that I believe that if you have any integrity, if you are a tiny bit honest, if you are even half of a decent person, you would take seriously the vast amounts of money that is taken from the American people and use it carefully. Use it for the greater good. Now I do realize that this suggests that the people we elect have some character. And therein lies the real problem.

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.  ~Aesop

Most Americans now seem to know that we have a bunch of free-spending, lying, and good-for-nothing hypocrites in our government. Some are out and out crooks. Others are so stupid-silly that you wonder how stupid-silly must be the people that voted for Senator/Representative Silly-Stupid.

Voters have been known to vote for Senator/Representative Silly-Stupid even when those folks are under indictment or under investigation for criminal activity.

The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too.  ~Oscar Levant.

Now that the cat is out of the bag all the Silly-Stupid Politicians are in a faux-rage over the $165,000,000.00 in retention bonuses over at AIG. The public is in lynch mode and the Silly-Stupid Media smells blood in the water and is going into shark mode.

All the rage and hysteria will soon have people all tired out. The media will find the next shiny object to hyperventilate about while ignoring real outrages committed by our government every single day.

Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.  ~Doug Larson

The media, like our elected officials are cool insiders that find the concerns and well being of your average citizen slightly less interesting than the cost of their next overpriced lunch at a trendy restaurant where all the other cool folks hang out to show how cool and trendy they are.  And the reasonable voices will speak soothingly of the small amounts of money being spent on little porky projects.

A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.  ~Texas Guinan

House Passes HR 1388 Under Cover of AIG Diversion –The Linchpin in the Obama Plan to “BUY” Voters …Read What It Says and PLEASE SIGN PETITION TO SENATE NOW!!

~~Via W.A.M. (Wake Up America)

The House of Representatives sailed through HR 1388 (G.I.V.E  Act) this Wednesday  (3/18/2009) – without conscience or attention to consequence – in keeping with their voting record so far this year. A version of this measure is now in the hands of the Senate. If passed into law, it will put into place  Obama/Axelrod’s largest linchpin in their plan to take over our country and our society by taking over our youth (and even attempt to lure in our needy senior citizens) by “paying” them to co-operate.

More details on this looming danger-the greatest we have faced since Obama took over are revealed at the Wake Up America movement website. Here is the opening summary…videos of Obama and quotes about his plans follow at the W.A.M site:

The “Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act” is Now before the Senate

Passed by the House of Representatives in a 321 to 105 vote yesterday, this G.I.V.E. Act should come as no surprise – within our current economic crisis and near bankrupt status being used – once again – by the Obama administration  as an excuse for the civilian-military force he spoke of during his campaign. At a start-up cost of $6 Billion dollars, what makes this quantum leap of youth re-education so critically urgent right now? The answer lies in the pages of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, which states:“The first step in community organization is community disorganization. “The disruption of the present organization is the first step toward community organization. Present arrangements must be disorganized if they are to be displace by new patterns…. All change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new.”

This video clip of Obama’s campaign pledge with a video reminds US of this misrepresented law’s potential impact. This sudden move by the new “Change” Administration for a rapid-fire, cloaked revision of our nation’s standards of  “Voluntary Service” has been swept under the rug of MainStream Media. Conscious Americans need to WAKE UP THE U.S. SENATE FAST!

And here is a section of what the bill covers:

Misc. section, #6104: (6) “ Whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds” (by) (C) involv(ing) an increasing percentage of students in secondary school and out-of-school youth in the community in school-based or community based service-learning activities each year, with the goal of involving all students in secondary schools served by the local educational agency and involving an increasing percentage of the out-of-school youth in service learning activities. It goes on to state: “Each program funded under this part shall be carried out over a period of three years, including one planning year and two additional grant years, with a 1-year extension possible, if the program meets performance measures developed in accordance with section 179(a) and any other criteria determined by the Corporation (AmericaCorps) . . with “Requirements” as follows: `It is the sense of Congress that the number of participants in the programs . . .  should grow to reach 250,000 participants by 2014” in service programs that combine the best practices of civilian service with the best aspects of military service, including leadership and team building, to meet national and community needs” It further states that the Director determines appropriate “Uniforms” with references to “camps” revised to “campuses.” There are also references to programs at even the elementary school level in SEC. 1201, though the specific contents and supervision of these programs remain unspoken.

COVERING UP THIS GIVE ACT IS THE REASON for all the intentionally-timed commotion on AIG. What they stand to gain on this National Service Laws rewrite is far greater than anything they lose on temporary criticism for their AIG conduct!

AN URGENT PETITION to the SENATE is waiting for everyone’s signature. W.A.M. will send it with all signnatures on Monday A.M. so do act fast!  SCROLL DOWN FOR THE TEXT of the  PETITION…

(After signing this PETITION, you will gain immediate access to other ACTION TOOLS on this critical issue.)

RIGHT NOW: Will you please OFFER PROTECTION to our country’s future generations, your children,  your aged relations (plus all existing American charities and authentic community service groups) by reading and signing this petition?

This Letter to the Senate includes the information that will update the reader on what’s really happening in D.C.:

To: U.S.Senator (name here)

Fax # here

Regarding: Taking Away American Rights in the name of G.I.V.E Act

As a voter and political activist, I am appalled at the lack of diligence and conscience with which our Congress has been conducting itself. It is clear to all informed citizens by now that the AIG fiasco lies directly in the lap of Congress itself.

SNIP

The current legislation to rewrite the “National Service Act” into a government-run indoctrination of American youth – and government take-over of the role of charitable institutions and community service organization (including pay-offs to involve hapless senior citizens) is absolutely the very last straw! The lengths to which the Obama regime is going to push its agenda into a permanent alteration of the face and fabric of our nation – all under the guise of “rushed emergency measures” – has become glaringly obvious and revolting to all our country stands for!

If you have the integrity to hold the Senate seat to which We the People have elected you – and you perform with due diligence on this measure – you will certainly stop this G.I.V.E Act take-over from becoming law. This letter from one voter is an urgent plea, representing millions of Americans, who look on in horror as our trusted officials undercut our economy – with ill-timed and ill-advised sweeping, rushed revisions of our nation’s laws which undermine our entire way of life.

We urgently request that you demonstrate respect for your constituents, our Constitution and the United States by doing the job we have hired you to do. Please apply the full power of your office to withdraw any and all legislation re: U.S. National Service standards and requirements and its further funding and return your attention to the really critical matters at hand – to preserve our security, liberties and prosperity- not to undo them all in this dangerous manner.

Your actions on this matter will be scrutinized and your responsible conduct on costly, damaging National Service revisions will move quickly to public attention with lasting consequence!

From a voter and activist in the state you are sworn to represent,

***

TEXT OF THE PETITION

PETITION to STOP ENACTMENT of the GIVE Act

We the undersigned People are firmly opposed to the formation of a “National Civilian Community Corps” as proposed in the “Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act” including that:

  • We are vehemently opposed to any mandatory requirements for the youth of America to National government service of the National government in any and all forms recommended in this Act.

  • We uphold it is the responsibility of the citizens and local communities to independently choose which private institutions, organizations and causes to support and in which to participate, if any.

  • We fervently insist that no action be taken by our Federal government to combine, in any way whatsoever, civilian service with military service for any purpose at this or any future time. We abhor any legislative measures be enacted that create a domestic “security” force in any form for any purpose.

  • We demand that no national Corporation or Commission instigate to select, mandate or impose any Federal programs into the education of our children which determine, define or instruct them in “how to meet national and community needs.”

  • We adamantly object to the use of Federal funds in the form of grants, scholarships or any other form of compensation to induce American youth and/or senior citizens in nationally regulated programs which supplant private sector charitable work and/or local community service with Federally controlled programs.

  • We insist that our public officials in Washington return your attention to matters which are your Constitutional responsibility and withdraw support from any Federal government involvement in “service based activities.” We advise you, instead, to direct your efforts to apply due diligence to your elected offices to the critical issue of fiscal responsibility and to conduct yourselves responsibly and ethically for the purposes and functions for which we have elected you – while allowing We the People, within our own families and communities to determine what our own “service based” guidelines, interests and rewards will be for ourselves.


MORE DETAILS are also located:

http://www.wam08.org/TakeaStand.html

URGENT: STOP the G.I.V.E. ACT from TAKING AWAY OUR RIGHTS

THE SENATE NEEDS TO HEAR FROM ALL OF US NOW! The House passed this!

THE ABOVE FAX LETTER SHOULD BE SENT TO YOUR SENATORS showing WE KNOW what’s really GOING ON in D.C. All are welcome to send this letter as is- or revise to suit. Link below will provide free FAX access plus all contact info for all US Senators after you sign the Petition.

For more information and to sign NO G.I.V.E Petition, go to: SCROLL DOWN TO GET TO THE PETITION!

http://www.wam08.org/TakeaStand.html

Get in the Mood…It’s SPRING!!

~~By American Lassie

SPRING – THE VERNAL EQUINOX
At 7:44 AM EDT today–Friday, March 20th–the sun will be directly over the Earth’s equator, ushering in the Spring season.

After so many long and wearisome months commiserating with family, friends, and other bloggers about this past election cycle and the state of the economy, etc., –just the state of the world in general– today I decided to ditch it all for a few hours, at least, and sit out on the balcony and watch a couple of birds building a nest on a ledge.  Since there were two of them at it, I would imagine they might be house sparrows.  I didn’t try to get close enough to determine markings, but it didn’t matter.  What mattered was the fact that there were other species in our world who don’t know, or don’t care, who is president, who is in his cabinet, how many times he’s on television, or what type fashions his wife wears, or any of the other items the MSM decides to notice on any particular day.  They are only concerned with the renewal of life and a home in which to live it. (Thank goodness they don’t have to worry about a mortgage.) And Providence will more than likely provide their food. (There is a lady in this building who collects stale bread and cake and the like from the other residents (me included) to feed the birds.

But back to the birds building their nest.  They tirelessly fly back and forth to the surrounding ground and back to the ledge with a twig or bit of grass or some such thing, preparing the nest for a new life.

I see small buds on some of the bushes and ornamental trees that will soon be leaves and flowers, and I marvel at the rejuvenation going on about me.  Even the (ugh) insects are beginning to appear.  They too, have a part to play in the scheme of things.

(Picture below courtesy of GRL — an ocotillo budding in southern NM, where Spring seems to come a little earlier…)

Budding Ocotillo

Budding Ocotillo

There is a semi-wooded area behind this building and every day several deer can be seen milling about, sometimes leaping, but usually just ambling around.  I’ve seen as many as five at one time and think to myself, “how carefree they seem, enjoying a daily stroll unaware of the turmoil that is going on around them just a few yards away.”  Back in their wooded area it is like another world.  It’s amazing how little oases like this are still possible with all the building encroachment going on in the area.  I understand that the area behind this building is part of a good- sized estate and the owner is a conservationist, which explains why the wild life is inside the fence.  From one of my windows I can watch them and on the days I’m not lucky enough to catch sight of them I feel I’ve missed one of the best parts of my day.

There are several species of trees back there.  Both evergreen and deciduous, so there is some green all year long.  I’ve misplaced my binoculars, so for the time being I have to be content to watch from a distance, but I’ll replace them so as not to miss the birds back there.

It warms the soul to watch Mother Nature renew the world with the miraculous restoration of plant and animal life.  The pictures GRL has posted the last couple of weeks started me ruminating on this idea, and one thing led to another –Did you ever have a song go around and around in your head and just couldn’t let it go?  The idea of Spring and the renewal of life began this song in my head.  It has a special significance for me.  It’s Cat Steven’s “Morning Has Broken” – music by Cat Stevens with lyrics by Eleanor Farjean.

MORNING HAS BROKEN

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the word.
Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Spring in completeness where His feet pass.
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day.
MUSIC AND VIDEO at the link below
www.allspirit.co.uk/morning.html

***

Vernal Equinox – (Spring Equinox) – “On March 20th, at precisely 7:44 AM EDT, the Sun will cross directly over the Earth’s equator. This moment is known as the Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.  Equinox means “Equal Night” Because the sun is positioned above the Equator, day and night are about equal in length all over the world during the equinox.

Just about every culture known has some way of their own recognizing the Vernal Equinox – Spring.

In Christianity, Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. (This year the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox fell on March 10th.)
It is no coincidence that the early Egyptians built the great Sphinx so that it points directly toward the rising sun on the day of the Vernal Equinox. (The Egyptian Pyramids are the only survivals of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.)

The first day of Spring also marks the beginning of Nowruz, the Persian New Year.
The Mayans’ celebration uses their ancient knowledge of the Sunbeam “El Castillo, the name of their great pyramid of the Equinox and as the sun sets on its western face, light and dark compliment each other creating a very special pattern of a diamond backed snake descending the pyramid.  This solar magic has always been known as “The Return of the Sun Serpent””
URL www.infoplease.com/spot/riteofspring1.html

Other names for the Spring Equinox are also “Abban Eilir, Eostar, Eostre, Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Festival of Trees, Lady Day, Now Ruz, No Ruz, Ostara, Ostra, Rites of Spring.

To Celtic Druids it is the time when day and night are equal in length .  “In Ireland the best known ancient Irish equinox temple is Knowth—– A second and older one found is Cairn T.  Both Knowth and Cairn T. allow a sunbeam on the morning of the Equinox to enter a passageway to light upon the sacred geometry on a back stone inside the temple.”

Ancient Judaism saw Passover dinner as spring fertility festival.

American Indians honored the Spring Equinox in landscape-sized temples.
“For the Greeks, the God-man of the Spring Equinox was Dionysus — associated with flowering plants and fruitful vines.”

Mesapotamia, Sumeria, Babylonia, Elam (5000 years ago) celebrated the start of their new year at the time of the Spring Equinox.  Zorastrianism was the religion of Ancient Persia until the advent of Islam 1400 years ago.  “NoRuz”, their new day or new year, was calculated on the Spring Equinox
www.druidschool.com/site/1030100/page/765341 -Celtic Druid Spring Equinox

National Agriculture day is also on March 20th. – www.agday.org