Corruptocracy!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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A Sunday Sermon

It’s been a while since I did a Sunday Sermon. It’s an occasional, rather than a regular, feature here at the fasab blog. It just happens when I’m in the mood to have a bit of a rant about a subject that I consider to be serious.

If you have read much of my blog you will know that two of my favorite targets are the banksters and politicians. When they act alone they are dangerous, when they combine their forces they are lethal.

Today I’m taking aim at both of them.

Strap yourselves in, here we go….

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corruptocracy

In the wake of the financial catastrophe that the greedy banksters inflicted on the world there has been a lot of talk (but very little real action) about bringing these thieves under some kind of control.

Naturally the banks are fighting tooth and nail against any kind of financial reform and they have the contacts and the financial resources to do it.

They have, for example, dragged their heels at every opportunity, used our money (kindly donated by a stupid government) to lobby friendly and unprincipled politicians in Congress to repeal aspects of Dodd-Frank, sent armies of lawyers to frustrate regulators and make any new rules as weak as possible and threatened a plethora of legal challenges and lawsuits.

It has been a ‘David and Goliath’ battle but this time the richer and more powerful Goliath seems to be winning.

David and Goliath

Unsurprisingly the banks’ biggest political allies in opposing the much needed financial reforms have been Democrats, such as the Robert E. Rubin wing of the Democratic Party, which has opposed moves to break up the big banks after the 2008 global crisis.

I say ‘unsurprisingly’ because the whole mess was caused by the Democrat regime of Bill Clinton who got rid of the Glass-Steagall separation of commercial and investment banking. Small wonder that they are railing against its reinstatement.

Unfortunately they aren’t alone. Most Republicans also oppose effective moves against the banksters. A fact less shocking when you realize that in the last two election cycles, over 60 percent of the bankster’s donations went to Republicans. It seems America’s form of democracy is still more about what the money-men want (and are willing to pay for), rather than what the ordinary people want.

banksters demands

Most disappointing of all, however, has been President Obama. He swept to power promising ‘change’ but he never backed meaningful reforms against the banks. On the contrary, the Obama Administration has repeatedly put forward nominees with Wall Street connections for major oversight roles. It’s a bit like appointing some of the inmates of a prison as the prison guards!

During the debate over the Dodd-Frank Act, Obama’s henchmen even lobbied against an amendment offered by two of his own Democratic senators (Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Ted Kaufman of Delaware) who wanted to cap the size of the banks.

The fact is, that if Obama had taken a stronger position on the much needed financial reform it would have been much stronger and much more effective.

Now they are neither strong nor effective. They won’t work, in other words. It’s just been a bit of window dressing and bluff for the benefit of gullible voters.

gullible voters

And now even more money will be paid to Republicans since they routed the Democrats and swept to power in the US Senate, as well as expanding their majority control in the House of Representatives. That means even less will be done against the banksters.

It is a simple equation. Money buys politicians, buys power and influence.

Some people call it corruption.

Others try to tell us it is democracy.

I know which one I think it is!

In fact let’s use a new word….

Corruptocracy!

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Political Jokes!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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No, this isn’t a list of the names of the members of the HoR or the Senate, or even the Obama administration, although I see why you would have jumped to that conclusion.

I thought I would try to lighten the mood for the weekend by posting some of the political jokes that made me smile.

Hope they have the same effect on you.

Enjoy.

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Politicians and diapers have one thing in common:

they should both be changed regularly…

and for the same reason.

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Q: Have you heard about McDonald’s new ‘Obama Value Meal’?

A: Order anything you like and the guy behind you has to pay for it.

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Q: How many politicians does

it take to change a light bulb?

A: Two: one to change it and

another one to change it back again.

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.stupid face 01

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Q: What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 100?

A: Your Honor.

Q: What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 50?

A: Senator.

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We used to have Reagan, Jonny Cash, and Bob Hope.

Now we have Obama, no cash, and no hope.

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The recession is getting so bad,

the bank sent me a new type of credit card.

It was pre-declined.

.stupid face 02

 

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It was so cold in Washington today,

I saw a Democrat who had his hands in his own pockets!

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I is very proud dat I went 2 school in da UK.

I fink out of all 17 countries in da world UK is da best.

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When they call the roll in the Senate,

the Senators do not know whether to answer

‘Present’ or ‘Not guilty.’ 

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.stupid face 07Today’s public figures can no longer

Today’s public figures can no longer

write their own speeches or books,

and there is some evidence

that they can’t read them either. 

(Gore Vidal.)

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‘Politics is the art of looking for trouble,

finding it whether it exists or not,

diagnosing it incorrectly,

and applying the wrong remedy’.

(Ernest Benn.)

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‘Politicians are the same all over.

They promise to build bridges,

even where there are no rivers’.

(Nikita Kruschchev.)

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stupid face 05

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I just hope our next world war isn’t with China.

Who would make uniforms for the troops?

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The Iranian leader has left

on a tour of friendly countries.

He’s expected home tomorrow.

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Foreign Aid :

Poor people in a rich country

sending money to

rich people in a poor country.

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stupid face 06

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I rarely speak to Obama supporters,

but when I do….

I ask for large fries.

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Obama: “Here we are, two black presidents.”

Mandela: “You’re not very black.”

Obama: “I’ve not been to jail.”

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President Obama met Bill Clinton for lunch.

“I was sorry to hear about Hillary’s concussion,”

Obama said. “How’s her head?”

“It’s fine,” Bill replied.

“But she’s no Monica.”

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stupid_391615

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My computer crashed earlier and I lost all my files,

Luckily the NSA has a back up…

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Stop repeat offenders.

Don’t re-elect them!

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Democracy:

A political system where

any two idiots outvote a genius.

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stupid face 03

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How many Feminists does

it take to change a lightbulb?

Two.

One to get a man to change it,

and the other to criticize men for inventing it.

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Spin doctors:

People who never call a spade a spade.

They proclaim it as a ground-breaking innovation.

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Politicians should serve two terms.

One in office, one in prison.

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stupid face 08

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No matter who you vote for

the government always seems to get in.

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Definition of an elephant:

A mouse built to government specifications.

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The word ‘politics’ is derived from

the word ‘poly’, meaning ‘many’,

and the word ‘ticks’,

meaning ‘blood sucking parasites’.

(Larry Hardiman.)

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FAREWELL 2014

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hi folks,

Last day of this year and time for my recollections of 2014’s main events.

As always this is by no means meant to be a complete coverage of all the events that happened during 2014, just a personal blog post about some of the things I remember, and a few that I had forgotten until I started to compile this list.

I hope you enjoy.

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farewell 2014

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The Weather

We will start off with the weather since so many of us seem to be obsessed with it.

  • In the United States there were weather extremes. In California, for example, January was the warmest and driest on record in San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles. Only four other Januaries since 1878 had been completely dry in Los Angeles until January 2014. Alaskans experienced their third warmest January in 96 years of record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

California drought 2014

  • In many parts of the Midwest, on the other hand, 2014 was the coldest winter since the late 1970s or early 1980s. And some southern states of the US became the victims of, firstly, winter storm Kronos which brought a rare blanket of snow as far south as Louisiana, and sleet as far south as Harlingen, Texas and Pensacola, Fla. in late January, and then, just days later, a second winter storm, Leon, hit many of the same areas causing commuter chaos in both Birmingham, Ala. and Atlanta. Leon also spread ice and sleet to the Gulf Coast, including the Florida Panhandle, and the Low country of South Carolina.
  • And worse was on the way. Winter Storm Pax deposited an inch or more of ice in a swath from east-central Georgia into South Carolina, including Augusta, Ga. and Aiken, S.C. Pax was the second heaviest ice storm dating to 1947 in Wilmington, N.C. The accumulation of ice from Pax claimed the famed “Eisenhower tree” at the Augusta National Golf Club. Pax marked the first time since January 1940 that Columbia, S.C. saw snowfall for three straight days.

Winter Storm Pax Washington

  • In complete contrast, the week after Pax, Columbia, S.C. tied its all-time February high of 84 degrees. Augusta, Ga. warmed into the 80s two straight days on Feb. 19-20.
  • Elsewhere in the world, severe Atlantic winter storms took their toll on many parts of England which in 2014 experienced storms and rain not seen since the late 19th century.

Atlantic winter storms Cornwall England

  • In Tokyo, Japan, which usually averages only about 4 inches of snow each year, there were also severe snow storms. In February, snow blanketed the city with 11 inches of snow in less than a week, the heaviest snowfall in 45 years for Tokyo and in 60 years for the city of Kumagaya, northwest of Tokyo. The following weekend, parts of eastern Japan, including parts of the Tokyo metro area, received another round of snow. Some smaller communities were isolated by more than 3 feet of snow.
  • And in the southern hemisphere, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology reported that more than 10 percent of Queensland and almost 15 percent of New South Wales experienced their record hottest day on Jan. 3. A second heat wave hit parts of southern Australia in mid-January, with temperatures peaking above 41 degrees Celsius (just under 106 degrees Fahrenheit) for four straight days from Jan. 14-17, and reaching a sizzling 43.9 degrees C (111 degrees F) on both Jan. 16 and 17.

australia heat wave 2014

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Business and Technology

  • In the world of business and technology 2014 was the year the Obama administration decided to stop inversion deals, where US companies bought foreign domiciled businesses and moved their profit centers to a much more tax friendly location.
  • In technology buys, one of the largest was Facebook’s purchase of smartphone application WhatsApp for $19 Billion.

14.02.19-Facebook-WhatsApp

  • In other sectors 2014 saw world oil price plunge to around $50 per barrel, good news for consumers, not so good for producers.
  • Under pressure from the fall in oil and gas prices, along with the economic sanctions imposed by the west because of the ongoing situation in the Ukraine, the Russian Ruble went into free fall in December.

APphoto_Russia Economy

  • Also in 2014, in March, the United Nations International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s Antarctic whaling program was not scientific but commercial and refused to grant further permits.
  • With Quantitative Easing having been ended in the US (for the moment anyway) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced plans for a new $29 billion fresh stimulus, including subsidies and job-creating programs, to help pull the world’s third-largest economy out of recession.

Quantitative Easing cartoon

  • After their embarrassing foul up last Christmas, this year both FedEx and UPS managed to deliver more than 99 percent of express packages as promised on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, according to shipment tracker ShipMatrix.
  • South Korean prosecutors arrested a government official who allegedly leaked information about an investigation into former Korean Air Lines executive Cho Hyun-ah, who forced a flight to return over a bag of macadamia nuts. Most of the rest of the world tends to think that the idiot executive should suffer the consequences of her stupidity, not the whistleblower.

korean-air-lines-macademia-nut-scandal Cho Hyun-ah

  • And finally, after their embarrassing hack attack and cringe-worthy capitulation to what amounted to a terrorist cyber attack which was rightly criticized publicly by President Obama, Sony finally decided to release its movie ‘The Interview’.

Rogan Franco The-Interview

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Conflicts, Wars & Terrorism

Unfortunately 2014 saw many conflicts and acts of terrorism.

  • In April an estimated 276 girls and women were abducted and held hostage from a school in Nigeria. The following month, Boko Haram militants killed approximately 300 people in a night attack on Gamboru Ngala and terrorists in Nigeria detonated bombs at Jos, killing 118 people.

Boko Haram militants killed approximately 300 people Gamboru Ngala

  • June saw the emergence of a Sunni militant group called the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’ (also known as the ‘ISIS’ or ‘ISIL’). It began an offensive throughout northern Iraq, with the aim of eventually capturing the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad and overthrowing the Shiite government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The group has been responsible for beheading of hundreds of people including several from the United States.

Sunni militant group called the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’

  • In July and August tensions between Israel and Hamas grew following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June and the revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager in July. Israel launched ‘Operation Protective Edge’ on the Palestinian Gaza Strip starting with numerous missile strikes, followed by a ground invasion a week later. In 7 weeks of fighting, 2,100 Palestinians and 71 Israelis were killed.
  • Also in July, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a Boeing 777, crashed in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 souls on board. There are conflicting claims as to who was responsible, some blaming pro Russian forces for a missile strike and others blaming Ukrainian forces.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

  • In August and September the United States military began an air campaign in northern Iraq to stem the influx of ISIS militants and the following month the United States and several Arab partners began an airstrike campaign in Syria.

Expect more on these stories during 2015.

Departures

During 2014 we said farewell to many well know people from various walks of life. Here is just my selection of those I remember.

From Literature

Sue Townsend

British novelist and playwright (b. 1946)

SueTownsend

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P. D. James

British writer and life peer

(b. 1920)

P. D. James

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From Movies & TV

Roger Lloyd-Pack

British actor

(b. 1944)

Roger Lloyd-Pack

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Maximilian Schell

Austrian-Swiss actor

(b. 1930)

Maximilian Schell

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Philip Seymour Hoffman

American actor

(b. 1967)

Philip Seymour Hoffman

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Shirley Temple

American actress and diplomat

(b. 1928)

shirley_temple

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Sid Caesar

American actor

(b. 1922)

Sid Caesar

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Harold Ramis

American film director,

writer, and actor

(b. 1944)

Harold Ramis

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Mickey Rooney

American actor

(b. 1920)

Mickey Rooney

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Bob Hoskins

British actor

(b. 1942)

Bob Hoskins

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Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

American actor

(b. 1918)

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr

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Rik Mayall

British comedian,

writer and actor

(b. 1958)

Rik Mayall

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Casey Kasem

American radio host

and voice actor

(b. 1932)

Casey Kasem

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Eli Wallach

American actor

(b. 1915)

Eli Wallach

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Elaine Stritch

American actress and singer

(b. 1925)

Elaine Stritch

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James Garner

American actor

(b. 1928)

James Garner

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Menahem Golan

Israeli filmmaker

(b. 1929)

Menahem Golan

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Robin Williams

American actor and comedian

(b. 1951)

Robin Williams

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Lauren Bacall

American actress

(b. 1924)

Lauren Bacall

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Richard Attenborough

British actor and film director

(b. 1923)

Richard Attenborough

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Joan Rivers

American comedian, actress,

and television host

(b. 1933)

Joan Rivers

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Richard Kiel

American actor (b. 1939)

Richard Kiel

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Polly Bergen

American actress

(b. 1930)

Polly Bergen

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Ken Takakura

Japanese actor

(b. 1931)

Ken Takakura

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Warren Clarke

English actor

(b. 1947)

Warren-Clarke

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Glen A. Larson

American television producer

and writer

(b. 1937)

Glen A. Larson

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Virna Lisi

Italian actress

(b. 1936)

Virna Lisi

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Billie Whitelaw

English actress

(b. 1932)

Billie Whitelaw

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Luise Rainer

Golden Age actress

“The Great Ziegfeld”

(b. 1910)

Luise Rainer with oscars

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From Music

Pete Seeger

American singer, songwriter,

musician, and activist

(b. 1919)

Pete Seeger

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Johnny Winter

American singer and guitarist

(b. 1944)

Johnny Winter

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Glenn Cornick

British bass guitarist

(b. 1947)

Glenn Cornick

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Jack Bruce

British rock bassist

(b. 1943)

Jack Bruce

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Acker Bilk

British jazz clarinetist

(b. 1929)

Acker Bilk

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Joe Cocker

English singer

(b. 1944)

Joe Cocker

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From Politics

Zbigniew Messner

9th Prime Minister of the

People’s Republic of Poland

(b. 1929)

Zbigniew Messner

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Ariel Sharon

11th Prime Minister of Israel

(b. 1928)

Ariel Sharon

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Tony Benn

British politician and diarist

(b. 1925)

Tony Benn

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Adolfo Suárez

138th Prime Minister of Spain

(b. 1932)

Adolfo Suárez

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James R. Schlesinger

American economist and politician

(b. 1929)

James R. Schlesinger

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A. N. R. Robinson

3rd President of Trinidad and Tobago

(b. 1926)

A. N. R. Robinson

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Howard Baker

American politician and diplomat

(b. 1925)

Howard Baker

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Eduard Shevardnadze

2nd President of Georgia

(b. 1928)

Eduard Shevardnadze

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Albert Reynolds

Irish Taoiseach (prime minister)

(b. 1932)

Albert Reynolds

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Ian Paisley

British politician and

First Minister of Northern Ireland

(b. 1926)

Ian Paisley

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Nicholas Romanov

Prince of Russia

(b. 1922)

Nicholas Romanov

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Jean-Claude Duvalier

41st President of Haiti

(b. 1951)

Jean-Claude Duvalier

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John Spencer-Churchill

11th Duke of Marlborough,

British peer and educator

(b. 1926)

John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough

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Gough Whitlam

21st Prime Minister of Australia

(b. 1916)

Gough Whitlam

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From Space Exploration

Valeri Kubasov

Soviet cosmonaut

(b. 1935)

Valeri Kubasov

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Wubbo Ockels

Dutch astronaut and physicist

(b. 1946)

Wubbo Ockels

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Henry Hartsfield

American colonel and astronaut

(b. 1933)

Henry Hartsfield

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Anatoly Berezovoy

Soviet cosmonaut

(b. 1942)

Anatoly Berezovoy

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From Sport

Eusébio

Portuguese footballer

(b. 1942)

Eusébio

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Mae Young

American professional wrestler

(b. 1923)

Mae Young

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Louise Brough

American tennis player

(b. 1923)

Louise Brough

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Tom Finney

English footballer

(b. 1922)

Tom Finney

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Nelson Frazier, Jr.

American professional wrestler

(b. 1971)

Nelson Frazier, Jr

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Jimmy Ellis

American boxer

(b. 1940)

Jimmy_Ellis

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Jack Brabham

Australian race car driver

(b. 1926)

Jack Brabham

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Malcolm Glazer

American businessman,

owner of Manchester United

(b. 1928)

Malcolm Glazer

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Valentin Mankin

Ukrainian sailor, Olympic triple champion

and silver medalist

(b. 1938)

Valentin Mankin

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Fernandão

Brazilian footballer and manager

(b. 1978)

Fernandão

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Alfredo Di Stéfano

Argentine-Spanish footballer

(b. 1926)

Alfredo-Di-Stefano-Dies-at-Age-88

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Andriy Bal

Ukrainian football player and coach

(b. 1958)

Andriy Bal

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Björn Waldegård

Swedish rally driver

(b. 1943)

Björn Waldegård

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Andrea de Cesaris

Italian race car driver

(b. 1959)

Andrea de Cesaris

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Health

  • The big health scare of 2014 that dominated the headlines was the of the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa in February, that initially infected over 19,000 people and killing at least 7,000, the most severe both in terms of numbers of infections and casualties.

ebola_map Africa

  • In other news, also in February, Belgium became the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia for terminally ill patients of any age.

Politics

  • On January 1, Latvia officially adopted the Euro as its currency and became the 18th member of the Eurozone.
  • In February, the Ukrainian parliament voted to remove President Viktor Yanukovych from office, replacing him with Oleksandr Turchynov, after days of civil unrest that left around 100 people dead in Kiev. The pro-Russian unrest lead to the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and an insurgency in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

President Viktor Yanukovych

  • In March, Nicolás Maduro, the President of Venezuela, severed diplomatic and political ties with Panama, accusing it of being involved in a conspiracy against the Venezuelan government.
  • Also in March, an emergency meeting, involving the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, and Canada temporarily suspended Russia from the G8.
  • In April, also in response to the Crimean crisis, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passed a resolution temporarily stripping Russia of its voting rights; its rights to be represented in the Bureau of the Assembly, the PACE Presidential Committee, and the PACE Standing Committee; and its right to participate in election-observation missions.
  • The same month, United States President Barack Obama began new economic sanctions against Russia, targeting companies and individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin Obama

  • In May the Royal Thai Army overthrew the caretaker government of Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan after a failure to resolve the political unrest in Thailand.
  • Back in Europe, in June, King Juan Carlos I of Spain abdicated in favor of his son, who ascended the Spanish throne as King Felipe VI.
  • And the political year ended on a positive note, with U.S. President Barack Obama announcing the resumption of normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba after more than half a century.

normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba

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Space

  • The major space event of 2014 happened in November when the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Philae probe successfully landed on Comet 67P, the first time in history that a spacecraft has landed on such an object.

Rosetta Philae

Sport

  • The two major world sporting events of 2014 were the XXII Olympic Winter Games, held in Sochi, Russia in February, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil, and won by Germany, during June and July.

world-cup-2014-champions-germany-trophy

  • In American sport the Super Bowl was won by the Seattle Seahawks, the MLB World Series  winners were the San Francisco Giants and in basketball the San Antonio Spurs came out on top.
  • Ice Hockey had three champions in 2014, Canada becoming Olympic champions, Russia world champions and in the NHL the Los Angeles Kings were the victors.
  • In tennis at the world famous Wimbledon Tournament in England Novak Djokovic became Men’s Singles Champion and Petra Kvitova Ladies Singles Champion, while the men’s and women’s winners of the US Open were Marin Čilić  and Serena Williams respectively.

novak-djokovic-with-wimbledon-crown

  • In Soccer, as noted above, Germany won the 2014 World Cup. The European Champions League winners were Real Madrid and the English Premiership was won by Manchester City.
  • The Formula 1 motor racing champion for 2014 was British driver Lewis Hamilton, who also picked up the award of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
  • In golf’s major championships, the Masters Tournament, held in April, was won by Bubba Watson by three strokes. It was his second Masters championship.
  • May saw the BMW PGA Championship where young Northern Ireland man Rory McIlroy birdied the 18th hole to win by one stroke over Irishman Shane Lowry, who also birdied the 18th hole.
  • In June, U.S. Open winner was Martin Kaymer who won by eight strokes to become the first German player to win the U.S. Open, and the first player to win the Players Championship and the U.S. Open in the same year.
  • In July, the Open Championship Northern Ireland man Rory McIlroy, was on top again winning by two strokes over Rickie Fowler and Sergio García. It was his third career major championship, and his first Open Championship. With the win, he became the fourth player ever of 25 years old or under to have won at least three majors.
  • In August, McIlroy was back, winning the PGA Championship by one stroke over Phil Mickelson. He was having quite a year, it was his fourth career major and his second PGA Championship.PGA Champion Rory McIlroy
  • Then in September, in the Ryder Cup, Team Europe (also including McIlroy) defeated Team USA by a score of 16½ – 11½. It was the third consecutive Ryder Cup victory for Europe, and also Europe’s fifth consecutive home victory in the Ryder Cup.

Tragedies

  • In March Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 airliner en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, disappears over the Gulf of Thailand with 239 people on board. The aircraft is presumed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean.
  • In April Korean ferry MV Sewol capsized and sunk after an unmanageable cargo shift. More than 290 people were killed, mostly high school students.

south-korea-ferry MV Sewol

  • In May hundreds of workers were killed in mining accident in Turkey.
  • In July, Air Algérie Flight 5017 crashed in Mali, killing all 116 people on board.
  • And just a few days ago AirAsia flight QZ8501 crashed, wreckage has been found off the coast of Indonesia’s Kalimantan coast.

indonesia-airplane AirAsia flight flight QZ8501 airport notice board

 

Shock Headline – The President Agrees With Me!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

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I’ve been saying it for a long time – and now the President of the United States agrees with me – he doesn’t know WTF he’s doing!

Obama on Syria - we don't have a strategy yet

I can’t say as I take much satisfaction from his admission though.

The US President is the most powerful man in the world and he has at his disposal the most powerful military organization in the world.

Yet he doesn’t know what to do with it, when to do it, or even who to aim it at!

A bit of it, belatedly and half-heartedly, is now pointing at ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. Yes, you’re right, they are the very same Islamic terrorists he was funding for a while in Syria! He says he wasn’t, but in practice he was.

Confused?

You should be.

Because the Obama Administration certainly is!

Indeed Obama’s team of idiots have confused themselves to the degree that they don’t know what to do and are afraid to do it even if they did!

The situation is not being helped by the noise coming from the equally ill-informed politicians in the Republican camp either. Some cynics would say they are doing a lot of it with the November elections in mind!

Political Elephant and Donkey Cartoon

As I’ve said before on this blog, America has never been good at foreign policy. There are so many examples over the years to prove this beyond any and all doubt (Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, now Syria). But this latest debacle could turn out to be foreign policy failure on a grand scale.

This is simply down to the fact that, even yet, the Obama administration clearly does not understand the severity of the problem. They haven’t managed to process the long term threat that a well armed, well supported and well funded group like ISIS can become.

Everyone – except the President and his people apparently – knows that these terrorists will not be content even if they are allowed to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state in the Middle East. Their hatred of anything and everything in the West is total.

In fact, as we have seen in Iraq and Syria, their hatred even extends to fellow Muslims who they do not consider to be ‘militant enough’ and they have attacked and murdered them in just the same ways as they have attacked and murdered Christians.

In Syria, which is none of our business, the Obama team thought they wanted the Assad regime removed, and to get that done they thought they could support ISIS (or the anti-Assad fighters of whom ISIS were always destined to be a big part).

Now the US may well find itself on the same side as Assad in a fight against the terrorists. And that may be the crux of the US Administration’s problem. They made the wrong move, at the wrong time, in the wrong place, for all the wrong reasons and correcting the mistake will require a major volte face and sizeable portion of humble pie.

Are they big enough to swallow it?

We’ll see.   

humble-pie

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What A Flipping President – What A Flipping Mess!!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

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President Obama said in June that he would be prepared to “take targeted and precise military action” in Iraq, whatever that meant.

But it’s taken him two months to make the decision. Two months during which Islamist militants have swept through northern and western Iraq and are now threatening Christians in that country with religious conversion or death.

indecisive Obama

So far its not only too little too late, but half-hearted to boot, with Obama saying that the step was being taken to defend US personnel in the city of Irbil and protect religious minorities facing what he called a “potential act of genocide” from the Islamic State, the extremist group most recently known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

There doesn’t seem much “potential” about from the reports I am reading.

convert or die

It’s as if the President’s Administration and his advisors didn’t see it coming!

This belated decision is yet another turning point in the Obama administration’s dreadfully badly thought out foreign policy, which has seen his ratings plummet, both at home and in the eyes of the world.

Even now his administration’s goals remain unclear. For example, is this latest move a tactical decision, or a simple reaction to the consequences of failing to act sooner, or is there a strategy behind it?

I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone else knows, but I fear it is just the former. Sadly, a belated attempt to halt ISIS’s advance toward Irbil won’t be enough – and if I know that, why don’t Obama’s advisors?

Of course, on the other side of the political fence, rather predictably, some of the gung-ho Republicans, always spoiling for a fight (somewhere other than in the US), have quickly jumped on the bandwagon and tried to use this latest debacle to score political points against the President.

gung-ho GOPers

They have criticized Obama’s inaction in Syria and the failure to bolster moderate rebel forces there as contributing to ISIS’s growth. But hang on a moment GOPers, think it through before you speak (this will be new territory to most of them!). If the President had intervened (or rather, been allowed to intervene) in Syria he would have been intervening on the same side as ISIS, not against them.

Then we would have had an even more bewildering situation where US troops would have been fighting with ISIS (effectively) in Syria against Assad and at the same time fighting against ISIS in Iraq trying to stop their genocidal purge of the Christian community there.

It is this kind of utter confusion that has over the past few years greatly diminished America’s global influence and standing.

bush_wmd_cartoon.1

The mess that was left in Iraq after Bush’s invasion on the false premise (the lie) of WMDs, and Obama’s withdrawal of troops on the equally disingenuous premise (another lie) that they had brought peace to the country, is a disgrace.

And unfortunately it sends a message to the world that America is confused, indecisive, deceitful, short-sighted, blundering – in short all the things that you don’t want the world to think about you if you want to be taken seriously.

What a flipping mess!

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Why Are The Bureaucrats Destroying What Made America Great?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

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Since the government and bureaucrats in the United States abandoned the business-friendly environment that made the country the greatest and wealthiest nation on earth, and replaced that with a legislative and wealth redistributing strategy that is anything but business-friendly, there has been a growing trend for successful companies to leave the US.

It should have been obvious – and indeed it was – to everyone but the morons in Washington. 

 

obama cartoon big government

The latest to try to make a move out of the United States is the pharmaceutical giant AbbVie, currently based outside Chicago, Illinois, but not for much longer if they get their way.

Using a $53 billion acquisition of the Jersey-registered, Irish-headquartered global specialty biopharmaceutical company “Shire”, a deal that will allow Abbvie to reincorporate elsewhere, it plans to leave the high tax US for a more advantageous business environment.

By making this move and escaping United States tax rates, Abbvie will pay lower taxes on its international earnings, get access to overseas cash more cheaply, and be able to acquire other companies without making their earnings subject to United States taxes.

Abbvie

And Abbvie is not alone.

There has been a rush of companies wanting to get out of the United States. Health care companies in particular, such as Medtronic, Mylan, Actavis, Perrigo, Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Endo, have pursued these “inversion deals”, as they are called, with particular zeal.

The moral of the story is simply this.

When a country forgets what has made it great and instead turns into something quite the opposite, all the reasons for its greatness disappear. And the United States is doing this at a time when it is heavily in debt – the most indebted nation in the world by a long way.

The short-termism of trying to grab as much money as possible from companies and individuals will end in failure and disaster for all. People like Obama try to put a fancy misleading name on it and call it “wealth redistribution”. What it really is, is a major disincentive for anyone to want to set up and do business in the United States.

redistribution-of-wealth

And as you would expect, the idiots in Washington aren’t scratching their heads and wondering why more and more companies are opting to leave the US. Instead the bureaucrats are trying to think of ways to make it illegal for companies like Abbvie to adopt this strategy. 

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has already sent letters to senior members of Congress, encouraging them to pass legislation halting inversions. The legislation being considered by some lawmakers would be retroactive, and if passed, could impede AbbVie’s ability to reincorporate overseas.

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew

And proving that stupidity is a cross party phenomenon, on Thursday, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, the Utah Republican who is the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, responded to calls from the Obama administration to crack down on inversions by saying he supported a short-term fix, although he suggested that the administration’s initial proposal went too far.

Senator Orrin G. Hatch

It seems fairly logical in my mind that the way to stop this growing exodus, which in the longer term will leave the US a lot poorer and a lot more of its citizens out of work, is to legislate to reduce tax bills, not increase them; to give businesses an incentive to invest and expand in the United States, not to drive them away; and to encourage entrepreneurs to relocate TO the US rather than scramble to get out.

Of course, that’s just in my head. All that is in the heads of the idiot bureaucrats in Washington is self-defeating rubbish like increase minimum wages, increase healthcare contributions, increase taxation, introduce capital controls, increase government bureaucracy so more debt is piled up and the USD$ weakens further, and of course start a few more wars to distract the people from the mess that is being made at home.

So, to pose the question in the title of this post again, why are the bureaucrats destroying what made America great?

Your guess is as good as mine, although while some obviously have malicious intent, I wouldn’t entirely rule out plain old stupidity!

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They Say Pride Goes Before A Fall

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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So, if pride goes before a fall, what goes before a CRASH?

Well, in terms of the pathetic Obamacare web site, the usual form of words from the Obama Administration is

“…the site was fully-functioning for a “vast majority” of users.”

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CRASH!

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It happened again last week, early Friday afternoon in fact, as millions of Americans tried to get insurance coverage before the deadline.

I don’t know where they got the information that the site was functioning for the “vast majority of users”.

Well, I do actually. It was a lie. Another one.

In fact the healthcare.gov is not fully-functioning for anyone. On the positive side I suppose you could say that everyone has an equal chance of not being able to use the web site, but that is small comfort to those trying to do so.

And this is just the latest CRASH of many. Last November there was another major one. They “fixed” it, except of course they didn’t, they just got it working for a while, until it toppled over again.

Left in the hands of idiot bureaucrats who clearly have no idea what they are doing, no system can work efficiently. They choose bad designers, who use bad code, produce a bad product, and then are amazed and surprised when it doesn’t work.

There are tens of thousands of commercial web sites, like Google, Amazon, Ebay, Microsoft, even Wikipedia, that take much higher traffic every day without crashing – and they’ve been doing it for years.

Yet the bureaucratic bunglers can’t get their web site working for more than a few weeks at a time.

About all they got right was the timing of the CRASH.

No, wait, they even got that wrong, because the whole debacle happened less than two hours before President Obama had a scheduled press conference, helping to push his approval rating more and more in the negative direction.

But fear not, as millions of his citizens now find themselves stressed and worrying because they have no insurance – due to no fault of their own –  their leader will have a solution.

I don’t know what it is, but the odds are in favor of another vacation, possibly in Hawaii – but definitely fully insured!

President Obama Vacations In Hawaii

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Black Hawk Seems To Be Up Again!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

black_hawk_down

You may remember, more because of the movie than anything else probably, an incident in 1993 called ‘Black Hawk Down’ which caused American troops to leave Somalia.

At that time they had been stationed there as part of a United Nations ‘stabilization’ operation – whatever that is.

President Clinton abandoned that effort after the ‘Battle of Mogadishu’ in which nearly 20 American soldiers were killed and horrific images of their bodies being dragged through the streets by Somalia militiamen had been seen all over the world on television.

Since then American military and intelligence efforts have been in the form of funding the Somalia military and using remotely controlled drones to keep an eye on what is happening on the ground and perhaps more.

Or so we thought. After all, the last thing we want to do is get bogged down again on the ground in such an inhospitable place.

Cue the Obama administration and guess what? Yep, the US Army has once again secretly stationed a group of regular troops in Somalia. Since October last year a “military coordination cell” has been established in Somalia that, to quote the officer in charge, “is now fully operational”.

I’m not sure even Obama knows what they are there to do. There isn’t an American embassy to protect and they would hardly be there to draw unwanted attention to the people from charlie india alpha, would they?

Official sources say the army unit has been tasked with “advising and coordinating” operations by African troops against al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda-linked group that controls large parts of Somalia.

Okay, so let’s say US forces have been deployed in Africa as part of the war against terror.

So perhaps that establishes what US Foreign Policy strategy is, i.e. to fight the war against terror.

Doesn’t it?

Well, no.

Let’s move a bit further north-east. To Syria in fact.

For the past while the US has been covertly backing the anti-Assad forces in the Syrian conflict. Seemed to make sense since Assad is friends with the likes of Iran and Russia. Except for the fact that the anti-Assad forces were in fact made up of the same type of al-Qaeda-linked groups that the US is against in Somalia.

Confused? You should be.

If there was any principle involved they would have been better not backing either side. But of course principle and politics rarely mix.

And just to add to the confusion it was confirmed last week that secret meetings have been held between ‘Western intelligence officials’ and senior members of the Syrian government, aimed at “combating radical Islamist groups” in Syria.

But wait!

Maybe it IS all beginning to make sense. At least we can detect a consistent pattern emerging, and it seems to be this:

  • ignore the long term dangers, and fund and supply terrorist groups just because they happen to be at odds with people you don’t like; and then when you realize what a mess you’ve made, send in American troops to correct the mistake, never mind that they are going to get killed and maimed by weapons paid for by America.

American foreign policy has been a shambles for decades. It doesn’t get better by repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

America has the strength and the military power to police the world, of that there is no doubt. But does that mean it really has to? Especially when the policy to direct such a strategy is made by incompetent politicians who clearly do not understand the world they are trying to police.

Confusion and failure has been and will be the result. That and the needless sacrifice of the brave souls whose job it is to clear up the mess.

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The Sunday Sermon

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Can’t let the month end without another Sunday Sermon.

This time a little bit of an update on the political and financial scene as I see it.

So far the Obama administration is doing great! (That was a little sarcasm in case anyone didn’t get it.)

Troops are being sent to Syria and soon we’ll get bogged down in another mess that’s none of our business and will probably take many years and many lives to get us disentangled from – leaving behind chaos and confusion and a worse situation than the one we tried to fix.

obama-milking-us-economy-dry_cow_

Meanwhile the economic crisis continues. Not that you’d notice. The sham recovery has meant that stocks have been on an upward trend, bonds have been doing well, and confidence is high.

And all because….

….well all because the Fed continues to print money and pour it into these markets.

bernanke printing money cartoon

Or at least it has been.

Then Bernanke made a statement a few days ago to “clarify” the government’s position.

Oh dear me!

He said that the government would… he thought… he hoped anyway…. assuming nothing unforeseen happened…. at least nothing major that they didn’t see coming… that they would ease off their money printing and bond buying… or at least they might… soon or maybe later… but sometime at least… well, it was being discussed…

Needless to say with that dithering statement confidence immediately melted away from the market and the DOW headed down by more than 500 points. In fact investors and brokers seemed to be selling everything, not just stocks and bonds but gold and other commodities too. Not quite panic but definite unease was clear to be seen.

The only reason it didn’t all collapse is that while the underlying message is clear, the Fed’s delay in implementing their tap turn off gives investors a little more time to make a little more money  –  they hope.

The problem with that is knowing when to sell. And that is the trick that has eluded investors from individuals to hedge fund managers since the markets began.

What Obama and Bernanke want is crystal clear. They see the folly in printing money and buying bonds at near $100 billion a month and they know they have to stop it eventually otherwise an even bigger financial catastrophe will result.

Their problem is they want to stop it without causing a massive market correction.

bernanke economic growth

And that, as Samuel Goldwin used to say, can be summed up in two words – im possible!

It will be interesting and perhaps a bit painful to watch what happens next.

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The Mayans Were Just Ten Days Out – 2012, The End

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Yes folks we all gave the Mayans some stick when their prediction didn’t come true (including me, click here if you missed it) but they were just ten days out, not too bad in a few thousand years!

Today IS the end. The end of 2012. It has been a difficult and frustrating year business-wise because of the continued mess created by the stupid and greedy banksters, so I for one won’t be sorry to see the end of it.

However that gripe aside, it is the last day of 2012 so I thought we should do something a little different today.

So, before we start to look forward to a new, and hopefully better, year, here is a selective look back at some of the events of this year.

There are a couple of ways you could do a post like this. You could link to other sites, particularly newspaper sites because they all seem to do lists of one kind or another at the close of the year. The other way is to compile a more personal one, with the things you remember personally. Both are equally valid, but this being a blog I’ve chosen to go the more personal route and compile a list of the things I remember so, although it is quite long, it is selective and by no means covers everything that happened in 2012. 

I have also included a list of some of the personalities that passed during 2012, you probably heard about them all at the time, but memories being what they are I am sure one or two of them will come as a surprise.

So let’s get started.

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Spectacles 

  • I don’t know whether to class this as the biggest event or the biggest non event of the year, but November 2012 saw the Presidential election campaign and the successful return of President Obama to the Oval Office. Look forward to increasing taxes in 2013!
  • Although on the face of it a national event, because of the power and influence of America, the US Presidential Election has now become an International spectacle watched by several billion people worldwide. What they made of it all I don’t know, but they watched it anyway.

.presidential campaign cartoon 

  • The other big international spectacle of the 2012 that drew large viewing audiences were the Olympic and Paralympic Games held in London in July, August and September. Approximately 10,500 athletes participated in 302 events in 26 sports.
  • In the Olympics the top six gold medal places went to USA (46), China (38), Great Britain (29), Russia (24), and South Korea (13), with Germany and France tying for sixth place with 11 gold medals each. The overall medal table was slightly different, USA (104), China (88), Russia (82), Great Britain (65), Germany (44), and Japan (38).
  • In the Paralympics the top six gold medal places went to China (95), Russia (36), Great Britain (34), Ukraine (32), Australia (32), and USA (31). In the overall medal results the order was China (231), Great Britain (120), Russia (102), USA (98), Australia (85), and Ukraine (84).

London Olympics 2012.

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Weather

  • The weather, at its extremes, was another major talking point of 2012. Starting with the last and worst, ‘Super Storm Sandy’ took most of the headlines and did the most damage, particularly to north east coast areas of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The cost is estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars.

Sandy Yellow Cabs

  • Almost forgotten because of the ferocity of Sandy was Hurricane Isaac that slowly lumbered ashore near the mouth of the Mississippi River on August 28 as a Category 1 Hurricane with 80 mph winds. Isaac’s large size and slow motion caused a storm surge of up to eleven feet, more characteristic of a Category 2 hurricane. Thankfully, however, New Orleans’ new $14.5 billion levee upgrade held against Isaac’s surge, although further up the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish near Port Sulphur, it did cause major flooding of homes. In total Isaac still managed to do about $2 billion worth of damage.

Hurricane-Isaac

  • Early March also saw a massive and violent tornado outbreak on an exceptional scale and including two deadly EF-4 tornadoes. In all, seventy tornadoes touched down in eleven states, from southern Ohio to southern Georgia, killing 41 people, with Kentucky and Southern Indiana being hardest hit and suffering 22 and 13 dead, respectively. At one point, 31 separate tornado warnings were in effect during the outbreak covering an area of more than 80,000 square miles. Tornado watches were posted for mpre than 300,000 square miles, an area larger than Texas. Total damage was estimated at $4 billion.

Tornado

  • Also on June 29 a violent line of severe thunderstorms called a derecho swept across the U.S. from Illinois to Virginia, damaging houses, toppling trees, and bringing down power lines. Twenty-two people were killed, and power cuts affected at least 3.4 million people. The derecho was unusually intense due to extreme heat that set all-time records at ten major cities on its south side, helping to create an unstable atmosphere with plenty of energy to fuel severe thunderstorms. At least 38 thunderstorms in the derecho generated wind gusts in excess of hurricane force, making it one of the most severe derechoes on record. Total damage was estimated at $3.75 billion.

derecho storm blackout June 201200 

  • Contrarily, 2012 was the warmest year on record, with July being the warmest month of any month in the 1,400+ months of the U.S. data record, going back to 1895. The spring temperature departure from average was also the largest on record for any season, and March temperatures had the second largest warm departure from average of any month in U.S. history. All-time hottest temperature records were set over approximately 7% of the area of the contiguous U.S., according to a database of 298 major U.S. cities maintained by wunderground’s weather historian, Christopher C. Burt.
  • This, despite all this rainfall and flooding caused by the severe storms, also saw a ‘Great Drought’ in 2012, the full consequences of which we have not yet seen and which may well prove to be the biggest weather story of the year. The area of the contiguous U.S. in moderate or greater drought peaked at 61.8% in July–the largest such area since the Dust Bowl drought of December 1939. The heat and dryness resulted in record or near-record evaporation rates, causing major impact on corn, soybean and wheat belts in addition to livestock production. Drought upstream of the Lower Mississippi River caused record and near-record low stream flows along the river in Mississippi and Louisiana, resulting in limited river transportation and commerce. Crop damages alone from the great drought are estimated at $35 billion. As the total scope of losses is realized across all lines of business in coming moths, this number will climb significantly.

US drought monitor

  • Add to this 2012 as the 3rd worst wildfire year in U.S. history, with 9.2 million acres burned–an area larger than the state of Maryland.

.wildfire

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Scandal

On a completely different subject 2012 will also be remembered as the year of the high profile celebrity paedophiles.

  • Penn State University’s former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, was convicted of 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. The scandal sparked a national debate over child sex abuse, embarrassed the university and implicated a number of its top officials including legendary football head coach, the late Joe Paterno.
  • In Britain there was a major, and still ongoing, scandal within the BBC because of the actions and subsequent cover-up of the actions of paedophile disc jockey Jimmy Savile (now deceased). This has already led to the resignations of several high-ranking BBC employees, including its Director General.
  • The Roman Catholic Church also continued to suffer from the fallout from decades of child abuse and cover-ups by its priests and hierarchy.

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Technology

In the Techie World 2012 saw a number of milestone events.

  • There was the introduction of  the all new WIndows 8 operating system by Microsoft.
  • Then there was the continuation of the big bust up between Apple and Samsung which in its second year seemed even stronger than ever.
  • The thought police closed down Megaupload and stopped Americans using Intrade.
  • Members of Congress also sponsored the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, and related bills to make it easier to shut down websites that illegally share music, movies and other content. But opponents (which included just about everybody who used the internet) argued it went too far and could end up shutting down legitimate sites while stifling free expression in the process. Unfortunately for backers of SOPA, Web heavyweights such as Google, Facebook, Reddit and Wikipedia joined the fight against the bill. Sites went black on January 18 to raise awareness. Members of communities such as Reddit put intense pressure on lawmakers (including soon-to-be GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan) until they dropped their support or went on record opposing the bill. The unprecedented backlash eventually caused supporters to shelve SOPA, and quite possibly ushered in a new age of Web activism.
  • Facebook flopped producing one of the longest alliterated titles in the blogsphere during 2012 (Furious Flabbergasted Facebook Fools Face Frightening Falls From Fanciful Flagging Financial Flotation Farce ).
  • Meanwhile Twitter went from strength to strength with even the President of the United States and the Pope tweeting their little hearts out.
  • Speaking of flops, Carol Bartz flopped at Yahoo and was sacked being replaced by Scott Thompson. Yahoo continues to be troubled since its idiotic refusal of a $40 billion plus offer from Microsoft.
  • Google got itself some tablets and started to take on greedy Apple in the iPad market selling its Android versions for substantially less.
  • Along with the rollout of the much anticipated iPhone 5 in September, Apple overhauled iOS, the operating system that runs the phone, its iPad and other mobile devices. A much-hyped feature of the change was Apple’s first effort at its own mapping app – after dumping rival Google’s map software. The result was so bad that a few days later Apple’s CEO was essentially telling customers to use Google Maps.

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Departures

2012 also the passing of many well known personalities and celebrities. For example,

 

In space

Neil Armstrong

  • Neil Armstrong, aged 82 (8/5/1930 to 8/25/2012), astronaut who flew on the Gemini 8 mission (as commander) in 1966 and the Apollo 11 mission (as commander) in 1969, becoming the first of twelve men to walk on the moon.

Sally Ride

  • Sally Ride, aged 61 (5/26/1951 to 7/23/2012), astronaut and the first American woman in space, who flew on Shuttle flights STS-7 (1983) and STS 41-G (1984).

Sir Patrick Moore

  • Patrick Moore, aged 89 (3/4/1923 to 12/9/2012), British astronomer, writer, researcher, radio commentator and television presenter. Moore was a former president of the British Astronomical Association, co-founder and former president of the Society for Popular Astronomy (SPA), author of over 70 books on astronomy, and presenter of the world’s longest-running television series with the same original presenter, the BBC’s The Sky at Night. He was also a self-taught xylophone, glockenspiel player and pianist, as well as an accomplished composer. He was a former amateur cricketer, golfer and chess player. In addition to many popular science books, he wrote numerous works of fiction. Moore served in the Royal Air Force during World War II; his fiancée was killed by a bomb during the war and he never married.

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In politics

Chuck Colson

  • Chuck Colson, aged 80 (10/16/1931 to 4/21/2012), White House counsel under Nixon (1969-72), and imprisoned for obstruction of justice in Watergate scandal (1973). While in prison he underwent Christian conversion and founded Prison Fellowship Ministries.

robert-bork

  • Robert Bork, aged 85 (3/1/1927 to 12/19/2012, U.S. solicitor general under Nixon. As acting Attorney General, he fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox on Nixon’s orders, after Elliot Richardson and then William Ruckelshaus refused and resigned. He was subsequently Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (1982-88) and Nominated to the Supreme Court by Reagan in 1987 and rejected by the Senate.

Daniel Inouye

  • Daniel Inouye, aged 88 (9/7/1924 to 12/17/2012), U.S. Representative (D-HI, 1959-63), U.S. Senator (D-HI, 1963-2012).

William Rees Mogg

  • William Rees-Mogg, Baron Rees-Mogg, aged 84 (14 July 1928 – 29 December 2012), British journalist and life peer, Editor of The Times (1967–1981).  

George McGovern

  • George McGovern, aged 90 (7/19/1922 to 10/21/2012), U.S. Rep., D-SD (1957-61); U.S. Senator, D-SD (1963-81); Democratic presidential nominee (1972).

Arlen Specter

  • Arlen Specter, aged 82 (2/12/1930 to 10/14/2012), U.S. Senator (R-PA, 1981-2009; D-PA, 2009-11). Specter was a member of the Warren Commission that investigated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and co-author of the ‘magic bullet’ theory that Kennedy and Gov. John Connally were shot by the same single bullet.

Norman Schwarzkopf

  • Norman Schwarzkopf, aged 78 (8/22/1934 to 12/27/2012), U.S. Army general. Commanded the U.S. and allied forces in the Persian Gulf War (1991).

Yitzhak Shamir

  • Yitzhak Shamir, aged 96 (10/15/1915 to 6/30/2012), Israeli prime minister (Likud party, 1983-84, 1986-92).

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In TV & movies

Gerry Anderson

  • Gerry Anderson, aged 83 (14 April 1929 – 26 December 2012) publisher, producer, director and writer, famous for futuristic television programs, using ‘supermarionation’, working with modified marionettes, such as Thunderbirds, and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. He was also responsible for the real-life sci-fi tv series Space 1999.

Ernest Borgnine

  • Ernest Borgnine, aged 95 (1/24/1917 to 7/8/2012), actor, From Here to Eternity (1953), “McHale’s Navy” (Lt. Quinton McHale, 1962-66), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Code Name: Wild Geese (1984). Won an Academy award for Marty (Best actor, 1956). Husband of singer Ethel Merman for 32 days in 1964.

Phyllis Diller

  • Phyllis Diller, aged 95 (7/17/1917 to 8/20/2012), comedienne/actress who appeared frequently on talk shows, game shows, and variety shows in the 1960s and 70s.

Charles Durning

  • Charles Durning, aged 89 (2/28/1923 to 12/24/2012), actor, The Sting (1973), The Muppet Movie (1979), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), “Evening Shade” (Dr. Harlan Eldridge, 1990-94).

Larry Hagman

  • Larry Hagman, aged 81 (9/21/1931 to 11/23/2012), actor, “I Dream of Jeannie” (Maj. Anthony Nelson, 1965-70), “Dallas” (J.R. Ewing, 1978-91) and reprised the role of J.R. Ewing in the 2012 tv series “Dallas”. Son of actress Mary Martin.

Jack Klugman

  • Jack Klugman, aged 90 (4/27/1922 to 12/24/2012), actor, 12 Angry Men (1957), “The Odd Couple” (Oscar Madison, 1970-75), “Quincy, M.E.” (Dr. R. Quincy, 1976-83). Husband of actress/game show panelist Brett Somers (1953-74). Won two Emmy Awards for “The Odd Couple” (1971, 1973).

Sylvia Kristel

  • Sylvia Kristel, aged 60 (9/28/1952 to 10/17/2012), actress, the controversial Emmanuelle (1974) and three sequels (1975-84), Private Lessons (1981).

Herbert Lom

  • Herbert Lom, aged 95 (1/9/1917 to 9/27/2012), most famous for his portrayal of Chief Inspector Dreyfus in The Return of the Pink Panther (1974) and five more films in the “Pink Panther” series from 1976 to 1993.

William Asher

  • William Asher, aged 90 (8/8/1921 to 7/16/2012), was a TV and film director whose work included “I Love Lucy” (1952-57), Beach Party (1963), “Bewitched” (1964-72), “Alice” (1977-79). Husband of actress Elizabeth Montgomery (1963-73).

Turhan Bey

  • Turhan Bey, aged 90 (3/30/1922 to 9/30/2012), actor who starred in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944), The Amazing Mr. X (1948).

Peter Breck

  • Peter Breck, aged 82 (3/13/1929 to 2/6/2012), actor,  “Maverick” (Doc Holliday, 1960-62), “The Big Valley” (Nick Barkley, 1965-69).

Frank Cady

  • Frank Cady, aged 96 (9/8/1915 to 6/9/2012), actor,  “Petticoat Junction” (1963-70), “Green Acres” (Sam Drucker, 1965-71).

Harry Carey Jr.

  • Harry Carey, Jr., aged 91 (May 16, 1921 – December 27, 2012), actor, appeared in over 90 movies including Gremplins and Tombstone and several John Ford Westerns such as The Searchers, as well as numerous television series.

Dick Clark

  • Dick Clark, aged 82 (11/30/1929 to 4/18/2012), a TV host on shows “American Bandstand” (1957-87), “The $10,000 Pyramid” (1973-88), “TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes” (1984-88), “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” (1972-2012). He was also the producer of a variety of TV game shows, talk shows, entertainment shows, and movies.

Gary Collins

  • Gary Collins, aged 74 (4/30/1938 to 10/13/2012), actor, Iron Horse (Dave Tarrant, 1966-68), “The Sixth Sense” (Dr. Michael Rhodes, 1972). TV host for “Hour Magazine” (1980-88), Miss America Pageant (1982-90). Husband of Miss America 1959 Mary Ann Mobley (1967-2012).

Don Cornelius

  • Don Cornelius, aged 75 (9/27/1936 to 2/1/2012), host (1971-2007) and producer (1971-88) of “Soul Train”. Producer of the “Soul Train Music Awards” (1987-2007).

Richard Dawson

  • Richard Dawson, aged 79 (11/20/1932 to 6/2/2012), actor and game show host, starred in “Hogan’s Heroes” (Cpl. Peter Newkirk, 1965-71), “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” (regular performer, 1971-73), “Match Game” (panelist, 1973-79), “Family Feud” (host, 1975-88, 94-95), The Running Man (1987).

Michael Clarke Duncan

  • Michael Clarke Duncan, aged 54 (12/10/1957 to 9/3/2012), actor, Armageddon (1998), The Green Mile (1999).

Nora Ephron

  • Nora Ephron, aged 71 (5/19/1941 to 6/26/2012), filmmaker responsible for Silkwood (writer, 1983), When Hary Met Sally (writer, 1989), Sleepless in Seattle (writer, director, 1993), You’ve Got Mail (writer, director, producer, 1998), Julie & Julia (writer, director, producer, 2009).

Chad Everett

  • Chad Everett, aged 76 (6/11/1936 to 7/24/2012), actor, “Medical Center” (Dr. Joe Gannon, 1969-76), Airplane II: The Sequel (1982).

Jonathan Frid

  • Jonathan Frid, aged 87 (12/2/1924 to 4/13/2012), actor, “Dark Shadows” (Barnabas Collins, 1967-71).

Don Grady

  • Don Grady, aged 68 (6/8/1944 to 6/27/2012), cast member, “The Mickey Mouse Club” (1957-58). Actor, “My Three Sons” (Robbie Douglas, 1960-71).

The Andy Griffith Show

  • Andy Griffith, aged 86 (6/1/1926 to 7/3/2012), cast member, “The Mickey Mouse Club” (1957-58). Gained prominence in the starring role in A Face in the Crowd (1957) before becoming better known for his television roles, playing the lead characters in the 1960–1968 situation comedy The Andy Griffith Show and in the 1986–1995 legal drama Matlock.

Robert Hegyes

  • Robert Hegyes, aged 60 (5/7/1951 to 1/26/2012), actor, “Welcome Back, Kotter” (Juan Epstein, 1975-79).

Sherman Hemsley

  • Sherman Hemsley, aged 74 (2/1/1938 to 7/24/2012), actor, “All in the Family” (George Jefferson, 1973-75), “The Jeffersons” (George Jefferson, 1975-85), “Amen” (Deacon Ernest Frye, 1986-91).

Celeste Holm

  • Celeste Holm, aged 95 (4/29/1917 to 7/15/2012), actress, All About Eve (1950). Won an Academy award for Gentleman’s Agreement (Best supporting actress, 1948).

George_Lindsey

  • George Lindsey, aged 83 (12/17/1928 to 5/6/2012), actor, “The Andy Griffith Show” (Goober Pyle, 1965-68), “Mayberry R.F.D.” (Goober Pyle, 1968-71), “Hee Haw” (Goober, 1972-92).

Ron Palillo

  • Ron Palillo, aged 63 (4/2/1949 to 8/14/2012), actor, “Welcome Back, Kotter” (Arnold Horshack, 1975-79).

victor spinetti

  • Victor Spinetti, aged 82 (9/2/1929 to 6/18/2012), actor, The Beatles movies A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Help! (1965), “Magical Mystery Tour” (1967).

mike_wallace

  • Mike Wallace, aged 93 (5/9/1918 to 4/7/2012), TV news correspondent famous for his adversarial style. Programs include “Mike Wallace Interview (1957-60)”, “60 Minutes” (1968-2006).

Richard D. Zanuck

  • Richard D. Zanuck, aged 77 (12/13/1934 to 7/13/2012), film producer for movies like Jaws (1975), Neighbors (1981), Cocoon (1985), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Deep Impact (1998), Planet of the Apes (2001). Son of producer Darryl F. Zanuck.

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In Music

Robin Gibb

  • Robin Gibb, aged 62 (12/22/1949 to 5/20/2012), member of the Bee Gees with older brother Barry and twin brother Maurice (1958-69, 1970-2003). Hits include “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” (1970), “Jive Talkin'” (1975), “Stayin’ Alive” (1977), and “Too Much Heaven” (1979). Older brother of Andy Gibb.

Marvin Hamlisch

  • Marvin Hamlisch, aged 68 (6/2/1944 to 8/6/2012), songwriter. Hits include “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows” (1965), “The Way We Were” (1973), “The Entertainer” (1974), “What I Did For Love” (1975), and “Nobody Does It Better” (1977).

whitney-houston

  • Whitney Houston, aged 48 (8/9/1963 to 2/11/2012), pop singer. Hits include “Saving All My Love for You” (1985), “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” (1987), and “I Will Always Love You” (1992). Wife of singer Bobby Brown (1992-2007). Cousin of singer Dionne Warwick.

Andy Williams

  • Andy Williams, aged 84 (12/3/1927 to 9/25/2012), TV host, “The Andy Williams Show” (1962-71) and singer, “Butterfly” (1957), “Moon River” (1962), “Love Story (Where Do I Begin)” (1971).

Donna Summer

  • Donna Summer, aged 63 (12/31/1948 to 5/17/2012), pop/disco singer. Hits include “Love to Love You Baby” (1975), “Last Dance” (1978) “Bad Girls” (1979), and “She Works Hard for the Money” (1983).

Ravi Shankar

  • Ravi Shankar, aged 92 (4/7/1920 to 12/11/2012), sitar player. Mentored rock musician George Harrison (1966), played in the Concert for Bangladesh (1971). Father of jazz musician Norah Jones (1979).

dave-brubeck

  • Dave Brubeck, aged 91 (12/6/1920 to 12/5/2012), jazz pianist. Hits include “Take Five” (1959).

Hal David

  • Hal David, aged 91 (5/25/1921 to 9/1/2012), lyricist and  songwriting partner of Burt Bacharach (1957-1972). Hits include “Walk on By”, “What the World Needs Now Is Love”, “What’s New Pussycat?”, “The Look of Love”, “This Guy’s In Love With You”, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”, “Close to You”, and “One Less Bell to Answer”. Inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Levon Helm

  • Levon Helm, aged 71 (5/26/1940 to 4/19/2012), rock vocalist and drummer, member of The Band (1968-1976, 1983-1999). Sang lead on “The Weight” (1968), “Up on Cripple Creek” (1969), and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” (1969).

Etta James

  • Etta James, aged 73 (1/25/1938 to 1/20/2012), blues singer. Hits include “The Wallflower” (1955), “At Last” (1961), “I Just Want to Make Love to You” (1996). Won four Grammy awards (1994-2004). Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1993).

Davy Jones

  • Davy Jones, aged 66 (12/30/1945 to 2/29/2012), actor/singer, “The Monkees” (1966-68). Sang lead on “Daydream Believer” (1967).

Tony Martin

  • Tony Martin, aged 98 (12/25/1913 to 7/27/2012), singer. Hits include “There’s No Tomorrow” (1949), “I Get Ideas” (1951), “Walk Hand In Hand” (1956). Actor; Casbah (1948), Here Come the Girls (1953), Hit the Deck (1955). Husband of actress Cyd Charisse (1948-2008).

Earl Scruggs

  • Earl Scruggs, aged 88 (1/6/1924 to 3/28/2012), bluegrass banjo player, teamed with Lester Flatt (1948-69). Hits include “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” (1963).

Kitty Wells

  • Kitty Wells, aged 92 (8/30/1919 to 7/16/2012), country singer. Hits include “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” (1952), “I Can’t Stop Loving You” (1958), “Heartbreak U.S.A.” (1961). Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame (1974). Received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1991). Wife of country singer Johnnie Wright (1937-2011).

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In Sport

Gary Carter catcher

  • Gary Carter, aged 57 (4/5/1954 to 2/16/2012), catcher for Montreal Expos (1974-84, 1992), New York Mets (1985-89), and two other teams (1990-91). 11-time All-Star (1975, 1979-88) and 3-time Gold Glove Award winner (1980-82). Inducted into the Hall of Fame (2003).

Lee MacPhail

  • Lee MacPhail, aged 95 (10/25/1917 to 11/8/2012), major-league baseball executive, general manager of the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees, American League President (1974-83) and President of the Players Relations Committee. Elected to the MLB Hall of Fame (1998). Son of baseball executive Larry MacPhail and father of baseball executive Andy MacPhail (1953).

Marvin Miller

  • Marvin Miller, aged 95 (4/14/1917 to 11/27/2012), executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (1966-82), negotiated collective bargaining, arbitration, and free agency with the baseball owners.

Art Modell

  • Art Modell, aged87 (6/23/1925 to 9/6/2012), owner of the NFL Cleveland Browns (1961-95) and Baltimore Ravens (1996-2004). President of the National Football League (1967-69). Was the principal force in having NFL games televised on Monday nights (1970).

joe-paterno

  • Joe Paterno, aged 85 (12/21/1926 to 1/22/2012), college football coach (Penn State 1966-2011). Won 24 bowl games and 3 Big Ten championships. Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (2006). Fired for not doing more about allegations of child molestation taking place in his facilities.

Darrell Royal

  • Darrell Royal, aged 88 (7/9/1924 to 11/7/2012), college football head coach for Mississippi State University (1954-55), University of Washington (1956), and University of Texas (1957-76). Won three national championships (1963, 1969, 1970). Had 23 consecutive winning seasons.

Alex Karras

  • Alex Karras, aged 77 (7/15/1935 to 10/10/2012), NFL football player; Detroit Lions (tackle, 1958-71). Actor, Blazing Saddles (1974), “Webster” (George Papadapolis, 1983-89).

Junior Seau

  • Junior Seau, aged 43 (1/19/1969 to 5/2/2012), NFL linebacker for San Diego Chargers (1990-2002), Miami Dolphins (2003-05), and New England Patriots (2006-09). Was on the Pro Bowl team 12 consecutive years (1991-2002).

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In Publishing & Books

Ray Bradbury

  • Ray Bradbury, aged 91 (8/22/1920 to 6/5/2012), science fiction writer whose works include The Martian Chronicles (1950), and Farenheit 451 (1953).

Andrew Breitbart

  • Andrew Breitbart, aged 43 (2/1/1969 to 3/1/2012), web publisher, editor for The Drudge Report, and founder of Brietbart.com and BigGovernment.com (2009). Facilitated an undercover video purporting to expose fraud in ACORN (2009).

Helen Gurley Brown

  • Helen Gurley Brown, aged 90 (2/18/1922 to 8/13/2012), author of Sex and the Single Girl (1962) and editor of Cosmopolitan (1965-1997).

Jim Unger

  • Jim Unger, aged 75 (1/21/1937 to 5/29/2012), cartoonist of “Herman” (1974-92).

Gore Vidal

  • Gore Vidal, aged 86 (10/3/1925 to 7/31/2012), novelist whose works include Myra Breckinridge (1968) and Lincoln (1984).

Maurice Sendak

  • Maurice Sendak, aged 83 (6/10/1928 to 5/8/2012), children’s writer whose works include Little Bear (1957) and Where the Wild Things Are (1963).

James Q. Wilson

  • James Q. Wilson, aged 80 (5/27/1931 to 3/2/2012), sociologist/criminologist professor at Harvard (1961-87). Rejected prevailing theories that most/all criminal behavior is the product of societal factors. Wrote Varieties of Police Behavior (1968) and Thinking About Crime (1975).

Zig Ziglar

  • Zig Ziglar, aged 86 (11/6/1926 to 11/28/2012), motivational speaker and author (See You at the Top, 1975).

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Miscellaneous

Henry Hill

  • Henry Hill, aged 69 (6/11/1943 to 6/12/2012), organized crime figure with the Luchesse crime family of New York, participated in a hesit of Lufthansa Air (1978), became an FBI informant, expelled from the U.S. Witness Protection Program (1982). Subject of the film Goodfellas (1990).

Sun Myung Moon

  • Sun Myung Moon, aged 92 (2/25/1920 to 9/2/2012), founder of the Unification Church (1954), also known as “Moonies”. Convicted of willfully filing false US income tax returns (1982); imprisoned for 13 months (1984-85).

Vidal-Sassoon

  • Vidal Sassoon, aged 84 (1/17/1928 to 5/9/2012), hairdresser to the rich and famous.

Rodney King

  • Rodney King, aged 47 (4/2/1965 to 6/17/2012), victim of a videotaped beating involving seven Los Angeles police officers on 3 March 1991 that made him a symbol of police brutality and led to racially charged riots in Los Angeles. Four officers were tried; three were acquitted and the jury failed to reach a verdict on the fourth. Their acquittals on 29 April 1992 prompted a riot in which 54 people died. Two officers were subsequently found guilty of civil rights violations in federal court, and King was paid $3.8 million by the city of Los Angeles.

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Manmade Tragedies

2012 also had its share of manmade tragedies.  

  • In Aurora, Colorado a crazed gunman opened fire on an unsuspecting audience during a midnight screening of the Batman new movie “The Dark Knight Rises”, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. The killer was former neuroscience graduate student James Holmes.
  • In Benghazi , Libya Islamic militants stormed the U.S. mission on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, killing U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The attack was the first to kill a U.S. ambassador in the line of duty since 1979 and sparked severe criticism of the Obama administration. An official inquiry found widespread failures in both security planning and internal management.
  • In a Wisconsin Sikh temple a gunman killed six people and critically wounded three others, before he was himself shot dead by police.
  • At the Empire State Building in New York City, an out-of-work fashion designer fatally shot a former co-worker before being killed in a blaze of gunshots by police, stunning tourists and commuters outside of one of New York’s most popular landmarks.
  • Finally, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Adam Lanza shot dead 20 children and six staff members, before killing himself. He had also killed his mother.

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Other notables

  • Lance Armstrong, the disgraced cycling champion had his seven Tour de France victories scratched from the records and was banned from cycling for life after the International Cycling Union (UCI) ratified the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) sanctions against him. A USADA report said Armstrong had been involved in the “most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
  • Record-setting skydiver. Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner leapt into the stratosphere from a balloon near the edge of space 24 miles above Earth and safely landed, setting a record for the highest skydive and breaking the sound barrier in the process.
  • CIA Director, David Petraeus, who had formerly played a key role in the Iraq war, and led the U.S. Central Command and commanded U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, stepped down after admitting he had engaged in an extramarital affair.

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