Conventional collectivist created authority is a deception in consciousness. You are your own Authority!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Imperial Empress of Naught

Some politicians understand that the constitutional purpose of government is to secure the rights of the people; that they are public servants in that endeavor; and their jobs involve giving of themselves with diligent humility as opposed to taking for self interest. Others think that the people ought to serve them; that they are our imperial masters; their official privilege for taking.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ronald Reagan come easily to mind as examples of the former. Hillary Clinton is an archetype of the latter. I have followed her career since her time as First Lady during the 1990’s, including all her political aspirations, and not once have I observed the slightest inclination on her part to care about anything aside from her own personal aggrandizements.

I defy anyone to name a single significant political accomplishment toward the purpose of securing the rights of the people during her time as U.S. Senator from the State of New York and Secretary of State under the Obama Administration. Yet for reasons known only to the political gods, she still has legions of kowtowing followers who worship the ground she walks on. If she wants the Democrat nomination for President in 2016, she’ll surely be anointed.

Ms. Clinton acquired a taste for luxury and power as First Lady of the United States. She lived in the White House mansion, flew first class on Air Force One, rode within lavish limousines in presidential motorcades, stayed in the finest of accommodations, consumed only the best food and enjoyed the attentions of scores of lackeys and servants.

As Secretary of State she had a lot more of the same. She imagined her job description as our nation’s top diplomat being her opportunity to travel the world in high style with a huge entourage of staff, hobnobbing with all the world’s most important heads of state, enjoying the most sumptuous of luxury accommodations, and exercising her imperial power and status over others for personal gain.

She left the day to day details of her position mostly to underlings while she focused on the perks of her office. That’s why she wasn’t paying attention when our U.S. ambassador to Libya was begging her State Department for protection from a known danger during the weeks before he was murdered by Al-Qaida terrorists in Benghazi.

As per usual, she was oblivious. She tried to blame it on a movie. When confronted later with her abysmal dishonesty and incompetence in that affair, “What difference does it make,” she declared at a congressional hearing. She couldn’t care less.

Now Hillary Clinton is a private citizen once more but she’s clearly not lost her appetite for taking the maximum when it comes to luxury, and giving the minimum when it comes to her obligations. She still wants to give next to nothing but live like an imperial empress. 

These days she’s making a killing on the American speaking circuit. She demands a hefty $300,000 fee for her engagements. But that’s not all. No, in fact it’s only the beginning of her imperial demands. She insists on staying in the Presidential Suite at the hotel of her choice as if she’s already been elected president.

Five additional hotel rooms must be provided for her entourage of lackeys which she calls her “travel aides.” Of course, all meals and other amenities for Ms. Clinton and her entourage must be paid for by the client. Oh yes, and for her travel to the event, she demands a private jet -- but not just any old private jet – only a $39 million, 16-passenger Gulfstream G450 "or larger" will suffice.

Her contracts specify that 20 seats be set aside for Ms. Clinton’s sycophants. There shall be no press coverage, video or audio taping of her remarks. The client must pay $1,200 for a private stenographer, and the transcript shall be provided only to her imperial highness.  

She shall have final approval of all moderators and introducers. She’ll pose for no more than 50 photos with no more than 100 people; and her imperial presence at the event shall be limited to a total of just 90 minutes; during which time she insists that she be the only person on the stage.

Does all of this sound like the reasonable requests of a humble and diligent public servant who is concerned only with looking out for and securing the rights of the people?  

Or does it sound more like a person who thinks that the people ought to serve her interests; that she is their imperial master; and her privilege is solely for the taking while giving next to nothing …

That's Hillary Clinton -- The Imperial Empress of Naught. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

No Right to Remain Silent in California

Your silence can be used against you in a court of law to prove your guilt if you are charged with committing a crime in the State of California says the California Supreme Court.

In short, your federal Constitutional Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination, your fundamental right to remain silent has been nullified in the golden state.
The court actually ruled that a criminal defendant’s silence after the event for which he was charged with a crime was properly used against him in court to prove his guilt, and only after the cops arrested and then advised the defendant that he had a right to remain silent did he begin to enjoy the right without his silence being used against him as proof of his guilt.
In other words, a criminal suspect in California has no right to remain silent until the cops advise him that he has the right to remain silent. Until then, his silence may be used against him.
Is that bizarre, or what? Can you, or anyone else besides these stupid jurists, make any sense of this?   
The defendant, Richard Tom, was convicted of felony vehicular manslaughter and sentenced to seven years in prison for speeding and slamming his car into another vehicle at a Redwood City intersection. An 8-year-old girl was killed; her sister and mother injured.
Prosecutors repeatedly told jurors during the trial that Tom's failure to ask about the victims immediately after the crash but before police read him his so-called Miranda rights showed his guilt. An appellate court threw out his conviction because of this obvious constitutional violation but the California Supreme Court reinstated it.
Of course, anything an accused voluntarily says after the event can traditionally be used against him as he can waive his right to remain silent. "If you say anything to the police - that can be used against you. Now, if you don't say anything before you are warned of your rights - that too can be used against you," noted Tom’s defense attorney. "It's a very dangerous ruling,"
The ruling said that Tom needed to explicitly assert his right to remain silent — before he was read his Miranda rights — for the silence to be inadmissible in court.
This begs the questions:  why is it ever necessary at all to advise the accused of the right to remain silent if he is already aware of it, exercising it, and remaining silent? Why should that right be a nullity until the cops formally advise of it? Why is there no right to remain silent before being advised of the right? Why isn’t the right always operative?
The fact is that suspects are usually not aware of it. That’s why the U.S. Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona ruled decades ago now that police must advise of the right before questioning the suspect. This suspect was not only aware of it, he was exercising it.
Apparently this Court expects the accused to explicitly assert his Fifth Amendment rights to the victim and bystanders before his arrest. Otherwise his silence may be used against him. This guy was supposed to jump out of the car and immediately verbally assert is right to remain silent. When the cops put him in the squad car he was supposed to verbally assert his rights.
That’s nonsense. What could be more illogical than that? Do they think that criminal defendants are all lawyers?
Moreover, since when is the fact that the accused kept silent after the event and didn’t ask the police about the status of the victim’s evidence of his guilt? Why isn’t silence in that situation just as much evidence of innocence as it is guilt?
There is little doubt that there was was more than sufficient evidence in this case to convict this guy without resorting to a violation his constitutional rights. The prosecutor’s overreached and the court let them get away with it. Now a dangerous precedent has been set.
That’s why I predict with confidence that this idiotic ruling will not stand if the case goes to the U.S. Supreme Court.
That court will once again affirm your right  to remain silent in California.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Religious Fanaticism Threatens Us All

Recently a crazed mob of religious fanatics in Pakistan viciously murdered a woman and two of her granddaughters over the matter of purported “blasphemous material” posted on Facebook by a relative. 

A seven-year old child, her baby sister and grandma were slaughtered solely because their family belongs to a minority Islamic religious sect known as Ahmadis, who believe that another prophet came after Mohammed.

Islamic State (IS) jihadists, in Northern Syria are stoning young women to death for the “offense” of having sex outside of marriage. They dig holes in the ground; plant their innocent female victims in them, pelt them with rocks, and then drag their lifeless bodies away. 

When they aren’t stoning their victims to death these fanatics are beheading them, chopping off their hands or tying them to stakes to be left for hours in the scorching desert sun as punishment for trivial “offenses” like not fasting enough during Ramadan.

In neighboring Iraq, the same jihadists are victimizing whole groups of innocent people that they view as religious apostates because they don’t “believe right.” This includes the murder and brutalization of Shiite Muslims, Yazidi religious minorities, and Christians; thousands of them for no rational reason.

The savages have murdered at least 500 members of Iraq’s Yazidi ethnic minority, many of them women and children who they buried alive. Hundreds more women have been kidnapped and enslaved. Their Sunni Muslim oppressors view them as “devil worshipers.” 

They’ve declared an Islamic caliphate in the conquered territories prompting tens of thousands of victims who don’t “believe right” to flee for their lives. Victims who refuse to convert to the “right religion” are murdered on the spot.

There is a common denominator here that many people want to ignore because the real problem involves the sensitive matter of religion. They refer to the criminals as terrorists, militants, jihadists and the like. Several labels are used, and rightly so, since they all fit, but few people want to recognize the root cause of the problem – religious fanaticism.  

Now, normally I’m flatly against the U.S. meddling in the affairs of people in other countries, but I think there are exceptions. All of the civilized people of the world, including Americans, for example, should come together in unison for the purpose of hunting down and neutralizing the perpetrators of these genocidal religious motivated crimes. I don’t condone occupying other nations, but I do believe in eliminating criminals.

No religion – no personal philosophy for that matter -- confers upon its adherents the right to murder, maim, enslave, or otherwise victimize innocent people for the “offense” of adhering differently.

This kind of religiously oriented philosophical madness has been going on since before the dawn of human civilization. It’s about time that the rational people on this planet recognize that religious fanaticism anywhere threatens us all.  


Monday, August 11, 2014

Healthcare Gouging Culprits

It’s no wonder why routine healthcare costs in the United States are so ridiculously high, and why health insurance premiums are skyrocketing. Today’s healthcare providers are gouging patients like highway robbers. 

They do it because they can.

Hospitals are charging patients a small fortune for the most minor of services; treatments like applying a Band-Aid to a small cut.  A New Jersey man found this out the hard way when he was gouged almost $9,000 after an ER aide treated a small cut on his middle finger.

The man cut his finger with a hammer and thought he might need stitches so he went to the local ER at Bayonne Medical Center. He didn’t need stitches. He got a tetanus shot from a nurse practitioner who sterilized the cut, applied some antibacterial ointment, a bandage and sent him home.

Later he received the bill: $8,200 for the ER visit; $180 for the shot; $242 for the bandage; $8 for the ointment; and nearly $370 for the nurse. "I got a Band-Aid and a tetanus shot. How could it be $9,000? This is crazy," the man told reporters.

Yes, this is crazy.

Now the hospital says it charged that amount because the man’s insurance carrier refuses to offer fair reimbursement rates.  This hospital apparently believes that $9,000 is a fair charge for applying a Band-Aid to a small cut.

The insurance carrier says that this hospital is just trying to gouge its patients.

Gee, do ya think?

A spokesperson for the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute says that the right price for getting a finger bandaged should be $400 to $1,000.

That, of course, is equally ridiculous. In fact, it’s outrageous! I say that if a hospital can’t apply a Band-Aid to a small cut and then send the patient home for less than $100, that hospital shouldn’t be treating patients. Its administrator’s and staff should be in jail.

This is a primary reason why healthcare costs are out of control in the U.S. Just about everyone now has insurance to cover every treatment from the most insignificant to the most complicated. When everyone has insurance covering everything, they go to the doctor or hospital for things like cut fingers, and the healthcare providers start gouging.

They do it because they can. After all, the insurance company or the government is paying the bill. If patients had to pay for minor medical treatments out of their own pockets this kind of thing wouldn’t happen.


That’s how healthcare was administered in the old days and it worked quite well. But those days are gone and today we have only healthcare gouging culprits. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

He started it!

The people of the United States of America – you and me -- are considerably less safe and secure today, after 13 long years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, thousands of American soldiers dead and maimed, and $trillions of taxpayer dollars down the toilet, than we were before the infamous September 11, 2001 terror attack., according to our top pentagon military brass.

“We have a whole gang of new actors out there that are far more extreme than Al Qaeda,” admits Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, head of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, which employs some 17,000 American intelligence collectors in 140 countries around the world. “That ideology is actually, sadly, it feels like it’s exponentially growing.”

Now, I’m no genius, but it didn’t take a genius to predict that Iraq would descend into total chaos and civil war just as soon as the U.S. ended its occupation of that country. So there is absolutely no question that Iraq was far more stable and the general populace far better off under the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Once the United States undertook to overthrow Hussein, occupy Iraq and install a handpicked puppet government to rule the country, it was either occupy the place indefinitely with our military at risk or leave and let all Hell break loose between various factions of fanatics there that have hated each other’s guts for thousands of years. 

The poor Christians in Iraq, for example, once relatively safe and prosperous under Saddam the dictator, are now fleeing for their very lives from the Islamic ISI jihadist’s.

Again, I’m no genius, but it didn’t take a genius to predict that the hellhole of Afghanistan would revert to the command and control of the Taliban fanatics just as soon as the U.S. military ended its occupation of that country. 

The poor people there had the Taliban to deal with before and now they’ll have ‘em again and all the dead American soldiers and $trillions of dollars flushed down the toilet has amounted to a total waste of lives and money.

Once the United States undertook to overthrow the Taliban, occupy Afghanistan, and install a corrupt handpicked puppet government to rule that cesspool of a nation, it was either occupy the place forever with our soldiers at risk, or leave and let it slide back into the abyss where it was before. The average person living there is no better, and probably worse off than ever.

The powerful Soviet Union failed miserably at trying to occupy Afghanistan. The American idiot who got us into this quagmire should have learned that lesson. 

Now even the Afghans’ supposedly on our side are picking off our solders like ducks in a shooting gallery. Just this week one of our top generals was shot and killed by “friendly” Afghans.

The political situation in the Middle East has exploded out of control since our American presidential idiot started the mess. Iraq and Afghanistan have imploded. There is full blown civil war in Syria; full blown civil war in Libya, where our ambassador was murdered by fanatics, and we’ve had to abandon our embassy to the barbarians; Iran is building a nuclear bomb; and Hamas is at war with Israel.

By now I’m quite sure that all of you have guessed the name of the American presidential idiot who started this disaster. But for those few who might be unsure, I’ll tell you his name: George W. Bush.

That man is going to go down in history as the fool who opened Pandora’s Box, spent $trillions of American taxpayer dollars and wasted thousands of American lives for nothing -- we have nothing to show for it.

Yes, Obama has made things worse, but let’s not forget that Bush is also responsible for giving us the next White House fool.  


He started it! 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Torture is Indefensible

“In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks," deadpanned President Barack Obama from the podium as he referred to a forthcoming Senate investigation report critical of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) interrogation practices under the Bush administration after the infamous 9/11 terror attack.

“It’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks [CIA personnel] had,” said the President.

We tortured some folks?  

We shouldn’t feel too sanctimonious about it now because of the tough job the CIA had?

Gee, that doesn’t sound too bad.

Yeah, the U.S. government shouldn’t have tortured any of the “folks.” It was wrong. It was against the law. It’s too bad. But sometimes the circumstances call for a few of the “folks” to be tortured a little bit like when it’s the expedient thing to do.

We can torture some of the “folks” and say we’re sorry later. Then we can forget about it and move on. We shouldn’t be too sanctimonious about it though.

But some government goons just don’t want to say they’re sorry. They’ll tell you that the federal government using torture methods to interrogate terrorist suspects is justified. They maintain that government torture practices are defensible.

That’s exactly what John Rizzo, a former senior CIA lawyer who was intimately involved in the agency’s so-called “enhanced” interrogation program argues. He thinks that the Senate investigation is a “kangaroo court,” and its conclusions unfair to the CIA torturers.

He defends government torture. He claims it’s justified. He believes he and his fellow government goons did nothing wrong. Government torture is defensible, he still declares.

But torture is indefensible.

The United States Constitution plainly sets forth the limits on what the government can do to persons it has accused, or suspects are guilty of, crime. Every accused suspect is entitled to due process of law. No accused shall be compelled to testify. They are entitled to, among other things, an attorney; notice of the charges; a hearing; and a speedy trial.

The government is not allowed to punish the accused before trial and conviction, and even if found guilty no punishment shall be cruel or unusual. In short, the Constitution in no way shape or form allows torture under any circumstances.

As far as I know, the United States government did not torture German and Japanese prisoners of war during WWII, even though the Germans and the Japanese committed unspeakable atrocities against some American POW’s. They did it to us but our Constitution and laws forbade us doing the same to them – regardless of the circumstances. 

Rizzo correctly points out the craven hypocrisy of some in Congress who were briefed early on about the torture but are now criticizing it, including House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. “In the early years of the program there was absolutely no push back, no criticism from any of the members of Congress," he observes.

“Few months after 9/11, everyone, the American people, the Congress, were unanimous in saying to the CIA and other agencies, ‘do whatever you have to do to prevent the next attack,’ and everyone assumed, there wasn't a question of if we were, the homeland, was going be attacked again, but when,” said Rizzo.

“This program was extraordinary, but unprecedented, and it was developed in that kind of atmosphere of fear and dread, and it was a program none of us had ever contemplated before.… It was the fact that we had to do the best we could to protect the country, to put together a program we had never come close to doing before of time in a time of crisis.”

“They [Congress] wonder how they're [the CIA] supposed to take risks on some of these covert missions they're supposed to undertake now, with this as an example, that when the political winds shift, what they're doing now may be subject to all sorts of scrutiny and criticism and public exposure.”

Rizzo says that the constant criticism of the CIA, over a program that was publicly and officially shuttered in 2009, is having a negative and demoralizing impact on the CIA workforce, some of who worked the original interrogation program and remain engaged in covert operations

Oh, I see. I get it.

If Congress was briefed on the torture practices early on, then the torture was justified. If Congress said to go ahead with it, then the torture was justified. If Congress told them the CIA to do whatever they had to do to prevent another attack, then the torture was justified. If the situation is extraordinary, unprecedented, and conducted in an atmosphere of fear and dread, then the torture was justified. If the CIA is acting covertly and taking risks, then torture is defensible.   

To Hell with the Constitution – That’s lawyer Rizzo’s defense of torture.

Rizzo and his fellow squad of CIA goons are criminals. They, if anyone should know that ...

Torture is indefensible.  


Monday, July 28, 2014

Liability Lynching

As a civil liability trial lawyer for many years there is no doubt in my mind that the victims of negligent conduct on the part of civil wrongdoers should be fairly compensated for their damage.  Generally speaking, we all have a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid negligently causing harm to others. We should therefore be held accountable for any damage if we violate that duty.

But accountability has its limits and liability for damages caused by negligence should likewise be reasonable. Civil justice, just like criminal justice, should be fair. No rogue jury in a court of law should be invested with the power to punish a culpable defendant with a damage award which is grossly excessive, motivated by emotion and thereby far beyond the bounds of reason.

One of the reasons why most people profess a dislike for trial lawyers is because of all the stories they hear in the news about runaway juries sweet talked by slick trial lawyers into awarding outrageous totally out of proportion sums to Plaintiffs’ as damage awards to punish defendants they don’t like.

Recently, for example, a runaway Florida jury slapped RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. with a $23.6 billion dollars in “punitive” damages, and $16 million in “compensatory” damages award to the widow of a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer from smoking the defendant’s cigarettes.

Now, you’ll get no argument from me that the defendant was probably negligent for not adequately and properly informing consumers as to the lethal dangers of smoking, which negligence contributed in part to the cause of the decedent’s death, and therefore the company was liable to pay reasonable damages to compensate the widow’s loss for its portion of responsibility.

But $16 million in “compensatory” damages is unreasonable, and $23.6 billion in “punitive” damages is plainly outrageous, both motivated solely by anger and the fact that RJ Reynolds has deep pockets.

Civil juries should not be allowed to punish at whim defendants they happen not to like. Punitive damages in civil actions are not conducive to a fair system of justice. Punishment is for the criminal justice system.

I seriously doubt that the appellate courts will let this verdict stand, but that’s beside the point Even if they reduce it to a fraction it will probably still be excessive, and it won’t make up for all the time and money wasted in court. That jury should not have had the power to begin with.

The widow’s lawyers argued that the decedent became “addicted” to cigarettes and failed multiple attempts to quit smoking. So there is no question that he knew full well the dangers of smoking and his own negligent and irresponsible conduct was just as much or more the cause of his death than the defendant’s negligence.

Anyone who wants to quit smoking can quit smoking just like anyone who is fat can go on a diet and anyone on heroin can quit doing heroin. Of course quitting an “addiction” is not always easy but anyone who is aware of the dangers and is motivated to quit can quit.

Frankly, in my opinion, anyone who still smokes today, given what widlely is known about the lethal dangers of smoking for the last half century, is not merely negligent but out of his mind.

The fact that the decedent in this case didn’t quit is no valid excuse to punish RJ Reynolds. Its duty was to adequately warn consumers of the dangers of smoking. To the extent that it failed to do so it should be held accountable for its part in the loss.
"We hope that this verdict will send a message to RJ Reynolds and other big tobacco companies that will force them to stop putting the lives of innocent people in jeopardy," declared the widow’s lawyer.
But that is not the purpose of a civil jury deciding a civil lawsuit. Their job is not to send messages; it’s to fairly compensate the victims of negligence according to the evidence.
If people would only stop smoking, or never start in the first place, the tobacco companies would either have to find new products to sell or go out of business. Thus, the free market should be allowed to solve the smoking problem.
This case is the result of a liability lynching.