Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A wonderful story and an evocative picture

Once upon a time everybody understood the bonds that could form between people and their horses and this picture brings that back to us.

Can someone who knows horses well read anything in the expression of the horse?

It was a race against the tide that pulled at the heartstrings.

For three hours, show horse Astro was stuck neck deep in thick mud at Avalon Beach on Corio Bay in Victoria [Australia] as the tide inched closer.

Rescue crews first tried to pull the 18-year-old, 500kg horse free with fire hoses, and then a winch before a vet turned up to sedate Astro and pull him clear with a tractor.

The crews knew by 5pm the tide would have come all the way in. But within minutes of the waters rising around him, Astro was being dragged up on to solid ground slowly but surely, the team filthy but ecstatic.

Owner Nicole Graham said she and daughter Paris, 7, set off at noon when without warning she sunk up to her waist in thick, smelly muck.

She wouldn't leave Astro's side until he was free. "It was terrifying," Ms Graham said. "Every time I moved it sucked me back down."



Highest-earning 1% in Britain pay £47billion a year... almost a third of all income tax

Similar to the USA

The highest-earning 1 per cent of Britons pay almost 30 per cent of all income taxes, according to research. The 308,000 on the 50p top rate – who earn more than £150,000 – pay £47billion a year to the Treasury.

Since 2000, the share of tax paid by the highest earners has risen from 22.2 to 27.7 per cent.

Research by Oriel Securities shows the 3.7million who earned more than £35,000 and pay 40 per cent tax, hand over £57billion in tax, 34 per cent of the total.

The lower-earning 50 per cent pay £17bn – less than the housing benefit bill.

Overall, 90 per cent of all income tax is paid by half the working population.

About 3.7m people earn between £35,000 and £150,000, placing them in the bracket that pays the 40 per cent income tax rate. Collectively they pay £57bn in income tax, about 34 per cent of the total.

Michael Spencer, chief executive of the City broker Icap and former treasurer of the Conservative party, said: ‘The debate about tax in this country has sadly become more and more about politics and less and less about what is good for the economy and for growth.

‘All we hear about is “the rich must pay more; soak the rich”. Well the facts are clear; the rich are paying much more. 'Once you factor in national insurance, for each £1m paid as a bonus the employee receives £480,000 and the Exchequer gets £658,000.

‘The top marginal rate of income tax is actually 58 per cent, the highest in the developed world. No wonder we are losing mobile high earners with rates like that. ‘This is becoming a great and increasing loss to our country and we need to realise quickly that we cannot tax our way back to growth.’



FDR and his Soviet friends in WWII

FDR was as bad for Europe as he was for America. But, like Obama, he was a smooth talker

The anniversary of the Allied bombing of Dresden on February 13 and 14, 1945 has become an increasingly contentious memory for thousands of Germans. Historians have debated the military value of the old and crowded city, some saying it had little significance, with others pointing out that until the bombing it was still active with war production. What few doubt is that the war was already lost for Germany before the bombing of Dresden, and that the unconditional surrender demanded by President Roosevelt was inevitable in a few weeks no matter what.

What is even more certain is that the intractable decision of FDR to settle for nothing less than unconditional surrender by the Axis Powers cost tens of millions of lives, lengthened the war, and extended the reach of Soviet power dramatically. Such an outcome is what traitors deep within the U.S. government wanted. In Europe, the demand for unconditional surrender meant that the brave Germans who worked to end the evil of national socialism worked without hope. The Anglo-American nations threw back every overture from these anti-Nazi Germans, some of whom held positions of influence in the military and government (though not in the Nazi Party).

The impact upon other Axis Powers created a horrific muddle which prolonged the war. Italy, for example, was willing not only to quit the Axis but to actively enter the war on the side of the Allied Powers. If its overture had been cleanly and quietly accepted by the Allies, then the whole bloody battle up the Italian peninsula might have been avoided and German military units in Italy in 1943 could have been disarmed and interned.

Nations such as Finland, perversely listed on the Military Channel’s program on Nazi collaborators as a helper of Hitler, wanted simply the return of territory taken from it by Stalin, the most important “Nazi collaborator” in the world. Interestingly, the Military Channel is not including in the series this biggest collaborator — the Soviet Union — the facilitator of the division of Poland, the Marxist regime which turned over German Jews to the Gestapo, as the chilling personal accounts of Margarete Buber-Neumann demonstrate in her Between Two Dictators. Nations such as Hungary — which loathed Nazi anti-Semitism (Jews continued to serve in the Hungarian national legislature deep into the war) — likewise had no way out.

Strategic bombing, rather than negotiated surrenders, was not something that naturally appealed to Americans, most of whom wanted the concentration camps and death camps shut down as soon as possible. It is a horrific historical truth that half of those who died in those camps did so in the last six months of the war, long after most European Axis powers and a large percentage of the German army leaders saw that the war was lost.

Even if bombing had been the only way to defeat the Nazis, the immolation of Dresden was disastrously ineffective (however, in no way diminishing the courage and nobility of American airmen who fought and died in large numbers for their country). Two years before Dresden, in “Operation Gomorrah,” British night bombers and American daylight bombers pounded Hamburg around the clock until fire services were overwhelmed, streets quite literally melted, and Germans of all ages were sucked by hundred-mile-an-hour winds into firestorms which killed in a few nights as many as would die in Dresden.

What happened in Europe was mirrored in the Pacific. As Professor Anthony Kubek recounted in his magisterial work, How the Far East was Lost: American Foreign Policy and the Creation of Communist China, 1941–1941 (Regnery: 1963), there need never have been a decision about whether to drop a fission bomb on Hiroshima or later on Nagasaki. Most historians say the decision to bomb Japanese cities was the natural consequence of Japanese imperialism, which made them unwilling to surrender under any conceivable circumstances; additionally, they assert that factored into the decision was the number of American soldiers who would likely die in the initial assault on the Home Islands of Japan.

But, unlike the need for an unconditional surrender by Nazi Germany, there was no need to demand unconditional surrender of Japan. More than a year before Hiroshima, General Douglas MacArthur received surrender proposals from Japan and transmitted them, along with his own advice to accept these terms, prior to the Yalta Conference.

What did these terms provide?

1. Full surrender of the Japanese forces on the sea, in the air, at home, and in occupied countries

2. Surrender of all arms and munitions

3. Occupation of the Japanese homeland and island possessions by Allied troops under American direction

4. Japanese relinquishment of Manchuria, Korea, Formosa, as well as all territory seized during the war

5. Regulation of Japanese industry to halt present and future production of implements of war

6. Surrender of all designated war criminals

7. Release of all prisoners of war and interns in Japan proper and in areas under Japanese control

These seven terms were Japan’s initial bargaining position for peace. The proposals were made on no less than seven occasions through American and British channels. However, FDR preferred to continue the war and, critically, to seek the “help” of Stalin against Japan — this despite the fact that Stalin had scrupulously adhered to his 1941 non-aggression pact with Japan until late 1945.

MacArthur urged FDR to begin immediate negotiations and pleaded with the President not to invite Stalin to enter the war against Japan. FDR observed tersely, “MacArthur is our greatest general and our poorest politician.” But MacArthur considered that the lives of America's bravest — the Marines and infantrymen who need not have died on Okinawa and Iwo Jima in horrific campaigns if these surrender terms had been accepted — were worth something.

The grotesque failure of rational American statecraft in the last year of WWII was sadly not an accident. American and British military leaders, to say nothing of the Commonwealth Dominion democracies who had joined in the war, simply wanted what most commanders wanted: for the fighting to cease as quickly as was consistent with the objects of war.

By 1944, however, the Roosevelt administration was honeycombed with Soviet agents; Britain, also, had been infiltrated at different levels. The firebombing of German and Japanese cities by the Allies would insure bitterness lasting for many generations. The invitation of the Soviet Union to occupy half of Europe and half of Asia — despite Stalin’s de facto alliance with Hitler and his faithful four-year allegiance to his wartime non-aggression pact with Japan — guaranteed that that Marxist power could enslave and impoverish hundreds of millions of souls.

As Sherman said, war is hell. It is also an unnatural condition for a nation whose principal objects are liberty, faith, and peaceful relations with all other countries who wish it. The legacy of Dresden and of Hiroshima lingers because America was not guided by those who loved her, but by those who used her.



Sneaky State Dept. bureaucrats giving away American territory without a shot being fired!

Obama’s State Department is giving away seven strategic, resource-laden Alaskan islands to the Russians. Yes, to the Putin regime in the Kremlin.

The seven endangered islands in the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea include one the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. The Russians are also to get the tens of thousands of square miles of oil-rich seabeds surrounding the islands. The Department of Interior estimates billions of barrels of oil are at stake.

The State Department has undertaken the giveaway in the guise of a maritime boundary agreement between Alaska and Siberia. Astoundingly, our federal government itself drew the line to put these seven Alaskan islands on the Russian side. But as an executive agreement, it could be reversed with the stroke of a pen by President Obama or Secretary Clinton.

The agreement was negotiated in total secrecy. The state of Alaska was not allowed to participate in the negotiations, nor was the public given any opportunity for comment. This is despite the fact the Alaska Legislature has passed resolutions of opposition – but the State Department doesn’t seem to care.

The imperiled Arctic Ocean islands include Wrangel, Bennett, Jeannette and Henrietta. Wrangel became American in 1881 with the landing of the U.S. Revenue Marine ship Thomas Corwin. The landing party included the famed naturalist John Muir. It is 3,000 square miles in size.

Northwest of Wrangel are the DeLong Islands, named for George Washington DeLong, the captain of USS Jeannette. Also in 1881, he discovered and claimed these three islands for the United States. He named them for the voyage co-sponsor, New York City newspaper publisher James Gordon Bennett. The ship’s crew received a hero’s welcome back in Washington, and Congress awarded them gold medals.

In the Bering Sea at the far west end of the Aleutian chain are Copper Island, Sea Lion Rock and Sea Otter Rock. They were ceded to the U.S. in Seward’s 1867 treaty with Russia.

Now is the time for the Obama administration to stand up for U.S. and Alaskan rights and invaluable resources. The State Department’s maritime agreement is a loser – it gives us nothing in return for giving up Alaska’s sovereign territory and invaluable resources. We won the Cold War and should start acting like it.

The Obama administration must stop the giveaway immediately.




California: Bankruptcy Upon the Union Altar: "Bondholders of Stockton, California debt are about to be punished as City Manager Takes Steps Toward Bankruptcy. Stockton, California, may take the first steps toward becoming the most populous U.S. city to file for bankruptcy next week because of burdensome employee costs, excessive debt and bookkeeping errors that misrepresented accounts, city officials said today. “Somebody has to suffer and in this case the city manager has decided it should be the bondholders who suffer,” Marc Levinson of the Sacramento-based law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, which represents the city, said at a news briefing at Stockton’s City Hall today. To keep the city solvent through the end of the fiscal year June 30, the City Council will be asked to default on $2 million of debt payments owned to bond holders." [And you thought government bonds were a safe investment!]

British far-Leftist dodges tax: "Ken Livingstone used a loophole to avoid £50,000 in tax, despite having attacked tax avoiders in the past as ‘rich b******s.’ Companies House documents show that Labour’s London mayoral candidate earned £232,000 in 2009, the first year after his defeat to Boris Johnson. The money was earned from personal appearances, speech making and hosting a radio show. It was paid into a personal company set up by Mr Livingstone and Emma Beal, his then partner who is now his wife. The pair are sole shareholders in the company, Silveta Ltd. Accountants told the Sunday Telegraph that the move appears designed to ensure that Mr Livingstone paid corporation tax at 20 or 21 per cent, rather than income tax at up to 40 per cent. Three years ago, Mr Livingstone criticised tax avoiders, saying: ‘These rich b******s just don’t get it. No one should be allowed to vote in a British election, let alone sit in Parliament, unless they pay their full share of tax.’"

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


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