Tag Archives: Travel

While the U.S. does the fighting in Afghanistan…the Chinese have snuck in and are trying exploit the Copper….And there is more….

(originally posted in Dec 2009)

I have written here before that  Afghanistan is a barren place with no value….

I was wrong……you hear me?……I was wrong!…….

Today I sat down and read an astounding story that may be the hidden story of the Afghan campaign…..I fact I’m sure this story is rebounding thru the bowels of the CIA and other Intel agencies around the globe as I type……..here’s the meat of the story…….

After the American-led invasion of Afghanistan, Afghan geologists rescued the Soviet surveys of Aynak and hid them until more detailed exploration could resume.

That exploration — a detailed overflight of much of the country by American surveyors in mid-decade — showed Afghanistan to be far richer in oil, natural gas, iron, copper and coal than anyone had imagined. Aynak, in particular, was judged a world-class copper deposit, not just huge but of unusually rich quality, and the government chose it as the first major mineral concession to be auctioned to developers.

The place is frigging rich in natural resources!


This story is a walking time bomb……while the guest of the piece in the New York Times is about the Chinese sneaking in with their vast money pockets to claim the work in the first area in Aynak……and the American and NATO armies making that possibe….the piece gives a justification for the war!……Come on now folks!

If I was the President of the United States, at some point I would be saying to the American public…..’this war is not just to rub out Bin Laden, al Qaeda and the Taliban’…

….’I would say that this war is to secure an avenue for the Afghans and the United States to SHARE NATURAL RESOURCES…you digg?’

While the Chinese are bidding on a second project in the country….without compitition from the west…..I’m sure that the United Staes is going to figure out a way to get a piece of the fee’s that the Afghan’s will collect from their resources coming out of the ground……

The fact is the Chinese (their government) are willing to take all sorts of risks(war zones, disease ridden area’s, jungles, etc) to corner world’s resource markets…..and they have the money….but the even more short-term political and economic payoff for the U.S. is the fact there is something to get back from the Afghan’s for cleaning up their country…..I smell a deal coming……first a piece of the Iraq oil action…then Aftghanistan….

.maybe George W. Bush wasn’t so dumb after all!



This great city lies on the east coast of Sicily, right next to the volcano Mt. Etna.


Catania – and the volcano. Photo: Antonio Violi

Prone to eruptions and earthquakes – this city has been rebuilt dozens of times, in large part by lava. And the architecture is fantastic.



Cuba 2011…..

A long piece from of ALL places Aviation week…..

A look behind the curtain of a country in a time warp almost because of politics from a half a century ago…


An artifact of the Cold War, the embargo was thrown up three years after the 1958 Cuban Revolution, led by former law student Fidel Castro, his brother Raul, and the iconic Argentinean Che Guevara — Marxists all — was officially declared communist-socialist, and Fidel, by then prime minister, signed an economic and military pact with the former Soviet Union, effectively converting Cuba to a satellite nation. The so-called “July 26 Movement,” which overthrew dictator Fulgencio Batista, confiscating the property of those deemed to be Batista’s supporters and sending thousands into exile in South Florida, set the stage for 50 years of contentious relations between the island nation situated only 90 sm off the Florida coast and the U.S government.

While the embargo’s purpose was primarily economic — to prevent business activity and technology transfer between U.S. and Cuban entities that could benefit the Castro regime or support the country’s relationship with the USSR — it shut off almost all travel to Cuba by American citizens, including for tourism, and deepened the Castro regime’s dependence on the Russians.

Abetted by the embargo — especially the lack of trade with the U.S. — and ensuing developments like the Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961 and Cuban Missile Crisis a year later in which Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev challenged U.S. President John Kennedy by moving IRBMs onto the islands, Cuba’s increasing isolation as a Soviet foothold in North America effectively captured the Caribbean nation in what author and Cuba expert Christopher Baker terms “a 1950s time warp.” Now more than 20 years after the dissolution of the USSR, the embargo still stands, and the Republic of Cuba remains locked in the past…..


Federal Judge overules Obama’s 6 month Oil Drilling ban…..

Citing the economic harm to local and state business, and the concept that a problem with one of the 33 rigs could not necessarily mean ALL of them had problems…Federal Judge Martin Feldman has issued an injunction against enforcing the moratorium any further….

The Judge labeled the hold ‘punitive’…….

The Obama administration has vowed to appeal the judges order….

In a 22-page opinion, the judge, Martin L. C. Feldman of United States District Court, issued a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of a late May order halting all offshore exploratory drilling in more than 500 feet of water.

Citing potential economic harm to businesses and workers, Judge Feldman wrote that the Obama administration had failed to justify the need for such “a blanket, generic, indeed punitive, moratorium” on deep-water oil and gas drilling.

“The blanket moratorium, with no parameters, seems to assume that because one rig failed and although no one yet fully knows why, all companies and rigs drilling new wells over 500 feet also universally present an imminent danger,” wrote Judge Feldman, a 1983 appointee of President Ronald Reagan. The administration’s order halted 33 exploratory drilling projects and suspended new permits, but did not affect platforms that were already in production.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that within days he would issue a new order imposing a moratorium on deep-water drilling that would contain additional information showing why it was necessary.

Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said the administration “will immediately appeal” the judge’s ruling to a federal appeals court in New Orleans. He said it made sense to suspend exploratory deep-water drilling until the completion of the investigation into the April 20 explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig leased by BP and the still-flowing leak from the underwater well.

President Obama “strongly believes,” Mr. Gibbs said, “that continuing to drill at these depths without knowing what happened does not make any sense” and would jeopardize “the safety of those on the rigs and safety of the environment in the gulf.”

The immediate impact of the ruling was not clear. A White House official said the administration would likely seek a stay pending its appeal. And the decision left room for the government to assemble a stronger record in support of suspending such operations.


Pebble Beach US Open has a surprise winner McDowell……Tiger Comes in Fourth….

Listen…… I don’t play Golf……

I know the basic concept…

You hit the little ball a log damn way and have 3 or 4 trys to get in the hole…..

You get alot of sponser money if you’re good….

And you travel all over the planet to test your nerves and patience…..

Oh, and if you win an Open….you get a green jacket, right?

And Phil Michelson and Tiger Woods are two of the top guys?

And McDowell wasn’t supposed to win…….

Luck of the Irish I guess, egh?

[ Graeme McDowell, 30, is the first European winner of a United States Open in 40 years. ]

Graeme McDowell did what no one else seemed willing or able to do Sunday at Pebble Beach Golf Links, grabbing hold of the United States Open and then hanging on to become the first man from Northern Ireland to win the championship and the first European to do so since Tony Jacklin in 1970.

McDowell, who started the day three strokes behind Dustin Johnson, benefited from Johnson’s early travails to take the lead for good at the fifth hole. His final round of 74 was the highest closing round by a winner in the past 25 years, but it was good enough for an even-par total of 284, a stroke better than the qualifier Gregory Havret of France, who shot 72.

“I am just so thrilled to get over the line,” the 30-year-old McDowell said. “I can’t believe I’m standing here looking at this trophy. It is absolutely a dream come true.

“I’ve dreamed of this all my life, and all of a sudden I have a 20-foot putt for it.”

Playing all day in the California equivalent of an Irish mist, McDowell seized control of the championship with a birdie at No. 5, the tricky par-3 hole that followed the end of a stunning meltdown by the overnight leader, Dustin Johnson.


Elian Gonzalez…..Ten years later……

[ Elian Gonzalez, who at 5 years old was found off the coast of Florida after his mother drowned while fleeing Cuba, was the center of an international custody battle in 2000. Despite objections from relatives in Miami, the Supreme Court ruled that Gonzalez should return to his father, in Cuba. The lives that intersected in the dispute remain forever changed. ]

It has been ten years since the back and forth between a couple taking care of a young Elian Gonzalez…..

Who had just lost his mother trying to flee Cuba……

And his traumatic return to his natural surviving family in Cuba….

This Washington Post piece shines some light on the American people involved with political and legal fight beyond just Al Gore’s


And how they found a way to continue…..

Last month, the Cuban government released a photo of Elian, 16, wearing a Young Communist uniform.

The custody battle over him, which became an international controversy, ended abruptly in Washington with a Supreme Court decision, a rushed trip to the airport and a plane to Havana on June 28, 2000. Just like that, the boy, whose face had been ubiquitous and whose gap-toothed smile had stretched across T-shirts and TV screens in Cuba and the United States, disappeared.

But for many people in the Washington area whose lives intersected with Elian’s, the impact of the boy’s two-month relocation to the city would ripple through the next decade — spurring friendly meetings between Fidel Castro and a former American diplomat, transforming a minister from Ohio into a Cuban celebrity and dragging Cuban Americans into the center of a political fracas.

The Kopffs’ encounter with Elian lasted only an afternoon, during a party they hosted to welcome him to their neighborhood and counter the protests outside their Cleveland Park residence. There were U.S. marshals in every room, Cuban diplomats huddled around the dining room table and a half-dozen first-graders from a small city east of Havana watching the “Lion King” in Spanish upstairs.

Judy Kopff made balloon animals for the children, placing a blowup crown atop Elian’s head. He and the other children seemed to enjoy the Kopffs’ menagerie of 16 giant stuffed animals and six cats, which still dominate their home.

“Imagine that,” Judy Kopff tells visitors. “Elian sat on that llama, right there, loving every minute of it.”


Did you know that foreign registered Gulf Oil Rigs get checked less?

News Flash!

Not ALL the rigs drilling for deep oil in the Gulf are US registered…..

The ones that aren’t….

Are NOT subjected to the same standards as US registered rigs……

It gets BETTER!….

Because the Coast Guard doesn’t have enough staff…

The foreign carriers may never see a Coast Guard inspoector….

The may have a private contractor visit their rig instead…….

No Shit!

A top Coast Guard official conceded this week that foreign-flagged vessels operating off the nation’s coasts are inspected less thoroughly for safety and environmental hazards than U.S.-flagged vessels.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which exploded off the coast of Louisiana in April, killing 11 workers and injuring dozens more, was registered in the Marshall Islands.

Appearing before a House transportation panel Thursday, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Kevin Cook said that foreign-flagged vessels are inspected at least once a year for compliance with work safety regulations. But after being grilled by lawmakers, Cook also conceded that U.S.-flagged vessels are inspected more rigorously, the L.A. Times reported.

In the case of foreign-flagged vessels, the Times wrote, “the Coast Guard relies in part on outside companies that submit detailed inspection reports that are then reviewed by the Coast Guard.”


Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour wants you to come on down the waters fine!

The Governor in fact does have beaches on his states shoreline that don’t have ANY oil…..

The media won’t really report that….

It doesn’t fit the profile….

[ Gov. Haley Barbour says President Obama has “done more right than wrong” on the oil spill. ]

See the picture I posted?

Ain’t too many people in it…..

No money for the local’s….

BP ain’t the problem there….

The media is…..

As long as there ain’t no oil…..Barbour can rail against the media

And look good for 2012…..

See the guy with the Governor?

It ain’t his fault……

But remmeber what happened to the last Republican that had his picture taken with the President?

“They are gorgeous, pristine,” the governor gushed on Tuesday about Mississippi’s shores.

“Beautiful,” he reiterated Wednesday at aLa-Z-Boy plant in Newton. “The coast is clear, and come on down.”

He is a former lobbyist, Republican National Committee chairman, White House political director and a familiar enough piece of the national political furniture to be known simply as “Haley” within certain Washington circles.

Now, for the second time in five years, Mr. Barbour finds himself in a highly visible role during a Gulf Coast catastrophe. As he nears the end of his eight-year stint as governor, Mr. Barbour’s performance could help shift his political image from that of an insider party boss to an out-front crisis manager — and possible presidential candidate in 2012.

Mr. Barbour, 62, is proof that if you hang around long enough, even a good old boy lobbyist and political party animal can come back into fashion — or at least be recast by circumstance. A self-described “fat redneck,” he speaks in a marble-mouthed Mississippi drawl, loves Maker’s Mark bourbon, resembles an adult version of Spanky from the Little Rascals and fits no one’s ideal of a sleek new political model: squat, big-bellied and pink-jowled, he looks as if he should have a cigar in his mouth at all times (and occasionally does).

Mr. Barbour, one of the few politicians whose standing was enhanced by his response to Hurricane Katrina, has eagerly taken on the post of de facto director of tourism for the Gulf Coast, a task only slightly less daunting or thankless than heading a public relations campaign for BP. He has complained bitterly about what he calls the news media’s exaggerations and distortions about the spill.

“I’ve heard reports that this would be a threat to Europe,” he railed to The Sun-Herald newspaper. “That’s about the same as saying I’m going to grow wings and take flight.”

Unlike his counterpart in Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, Mr. Barbour has mostly been spared the day-to-day incursion of oil along his state’s shores.


Obama will finally get a chance to leave the country next week…He goes to Canada for the G-20 Summit…..

[ A picture from last years summit in Pittsburgh, Tony Brown (UK )on the far right won’t be there, Sarcozy (France) , will….]

I’m sure President Obama will happy to leave….

He’ll have to deal with China there and the world economy (the Greek financial problems )….

But that should be a breeze compaired to the Gulf Oil thing…

No Tony Brown to talk to, though….

But you can rest assure that he, and British Prime Minister Cameron will be discussing BP face to face….

I hear the Canadians spend $3 Million to make a artifical lake  at the site of the talk’s…

The US media would have had field day with that one!

Instead of meeting in Toronto to review the progress made toward goals announced last year in Pittsburgh, when there was a buoyant mood of world cooperation, the coming session stands as a fresh reckoning.

“We meet at a time of renewed challenge to the global economy,” Obama said in the letter, obtained by The Washington Post. He called on the G-20, which includes China, India, and major European nations and whose 20 members account for the bulk of world economic activity, to “reaffirm our unity of purpose” when “significant weaknesses” continue in several of the member countries’ economies.

The debate over China is a long-standing one, but Obama’s letter included sharp — though veiled — criticism of the country’s failure to be more aggressive in reducing its reliance on exports. Rebalancing the global economy by reducing large trade surpluses in China and other export powers was a main goal agreed upon in Pittsburgh. But little progress has been made, and China has not allowed its currency to appreciate — the one step many in the United States have awaited as a sign of good faith and a way for China to curb its exports by making them more expensive.

Obama’s letter did not mention China by name, but he said he was concerned about “continued heavy reliance on exports by some countries with already large external surpluses . . . I also want to underscore that market-oriented exchange rates are essential to global economic vitality.”

In the past year, China and other Asian powers have helped pull the global economy out of recession — but have maintained the same export-led industrial and currency policies that have allowed them to sock away trillions of dollars in foreign currency reserves, a model that the International Monetary Fund and others have encouraged them to change to create a more balanced world system.

The differences with Europe have been stoked by the recent crisis over Greek government debt. Greece’s problems led to broader concerns about slow growth and large deficits throughout the continent, and particularly among the 16 nations that share the euro.


Does anyone miss seeing President George Bush around?

The "Miss Me Yet" billboard of former President George W. Bush in Wyoming, Minn., that has caused plenty of buzz

[The “Miss Me Yet” billboard of former President George W. Bush in Wyoming, Minn., that has caused plenty of buzz]

Apparently someone really DOES miss Dubya.

Items featuring a smiling former President George Bush and the question, “Miss Me Yet?” are doing a brisk business as sales of pro-President Obama items lag, reports the Web shopping site CafePress.

Demand for the items spiked after a billboard featuring the ex-commander in chief appeared alongside a rural Minnesota highway last week, stirring up buzz.

CafePress spokeswoman Jenna Martin said sales of Bush-related products virtually disappeared after Obama replaced him.

But last week, she said, 10 of the firm’s top-selling 100 designs were “Miss Me Yet?” items, moving to the tune of up to 500 orders a day.

“There were no Obama-themed designs on the list – Bush has stolen the political spotlight, just like Sarah Palin did the week before when she re-surfaced with crib notes written in her palm,” she said.
The Dog doesn’t miss him one bit!