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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Zero Tolerance Insanity

Desperation is slowly setting in with the educational overseers of our prepubescent and adolescent inmates at America’s public schools. Zero tolerance for innocence is now the rule. Normal affection between human beings has become grounds for opprobrium and punishment at school.

In Palm Bay Florida, for example, a middle school student was suspended for hugging a friend in the hallway between classes.

There’s a zero-tolerance for hugging policy at this school. There’s no difference between an unwanted hug, or sexual harassment, and a hug between friends according to Southwest Middle School's student handbook and strict zero-tolerance for affection policy.

The kid gave a quick hug to his best female friend. The principal saw it. The hug was innocent. He knew that. But both kids were brought to the dean’s office. Both were suspended for violating the zero-tolerance for hugging policy.

“[W]e cannot discriminate or make an opinion on what is an appropriate hug, what's not an appropriate hug," a school district spokesperson explained. "What you may think is appropriate, another person may view as inappropriate."  

Elsewhere in Florida, a hysterical Orange River Elementary School administrator called the cops when a 12-year-old girl was spotted planting a kiss on a boy during recess.

On the playground one day two little 12-year-old girls were apparently discussing the matter as to which of them liked a 12-year-old boy more when one of them just walked over and kissed the lucky lad.

Lee County Sheriff’s deputies were immediately dispatched to the playground scene of the “crime” by a call from the schools assistant principal to deal with the situation between two consenting school children who shared an innocent little kiss.  

"They called us and said they caught two children kissing on the playground," Sgt. Stephanie Eller told Fox News & Commentary. The deputies took a report and documented the incident, but determined no crime had been committed. No one was arrested, she added.

"If it had been a crime at all it would have been a simple battery,” said Eller. “The battery consists of the unwanted touching of one person to another."

So now I suppose that innocent games of tag on playgrounds all across America will give rise to “crimes” of unwanted touching – battery in the schoolyard – for which the little ones involved will be arrested, handcuffed, and taken to the police station for booking and punishment.

Zero tolerance for touching. Zero tolerance for discretion. Zero tolerance for common sense.

Will a pat on the back or the shaking of innocent hands be next?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

U.S. Government Attacks Christianity

Have you heard the news?

Christianity is under attack in America!

That’s right; our official U.S. government religion is under attack by, (gasp!), none other than the U.S. government!  

Do you need proof?

Just last week President Obama gave a Thanksgiving Internet address to the nation without thanking God. In fact, Obama mentioned God only once in closing his speech when he said: "God bless you," to his audience.

Imagine that! A president of the United States deliberately not explicitly thanking God on Thanksgiving Day!

Instead, he only thanked God earlier in the week in a written Thanksgiving proclamation, saying that the holiday is "one of our nation's oldest and most cherished traditions," an occasion that "brings us closer to our loved ones and invites us to reflect on the blessings that enrich our lives."

"As we gather in our communities and in our homes, around the table or near the hearth, we give thanks to each other and to God for the many kindnesses and comforts that grace our lives. Let us pause to recount the simple gifts that sustain us, and resolve to pay them forward in the year to come," wrote the President.

That’s not nearly enough to satisfy the rabid religionists.

"Holy cow! Is that one screwed up or what?" columnist Sherman Frederick of the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote in a Thanksgiving-morning blog post. "Somebody ought to remind Obama (and his speechwriter) that when Americans sit down around a meal today and give thanks, they give thanks to God."

Other holy critics immediately went on the Internet to voice their anger and disbelief that our president could snub God so outrageously on Thanksgiving Day.

"His remarks were void of any religious references, although Thanksgiving is a holiday traditionally steeped in giving thanks and praise to God," wrote radio host Todd Starnes on the Fox News web site. "The president said his family was reflecting on how truly lucky we truly are. For many Americans, though, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on how blessed and thankful they are."

Obviously, if the President of the United States, or any other government official for that matter, is not sufficiently deferential to Christianity on Thanksgiving Day when such obligatory deference is clearly warranted, that amounts to an outright U.S. Government attack on Christianity.

Do you need even more proof of this shocking new government attack against Jesus?

The U.S. Army brass at Camp Marmal in northern Afghanistan have actually had the gall to remove a permanently erected Christian cross from an Army chapel, creating what some soldiers call a “huge controversy,” and direct attack against Christianity.

A Pentagon spokesman told Fox News & Commentary that the cross violated Army regulations and was removed after someone complained. “Military chapels have to be open to all denominations and as such can’t have permanent symbols of one particular religion or another,” said Commander Williams Speaks.

Army Regulation 165-1, 12-3k states:”The chapel environment will be religiously neutral when the facility is not being used for scheduled worship. Portable religious symbols, icons, or statues may be used within a chapel during times of religious worship.”

“Symbols are to be moved or covered when not in use during services. Distinctive religious symbols, such as crosses, crucifixes, the Star of David, Menorah, and other religious symbols will not be affixed or displayed permanently on the chapel interior, exterior, or grounds. Permanent or fixed chapel furnishings, such as the altar, pulpit, lectern, or communion rail will be devoid of distinctive religious symbols.”

This is considered concrete proof of an effort underway to sanitize the military and country of Christianity, complain American conservative leaders. “What’s the purpose of a chapel?” asked Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. “The timing of this; what a way to celebrate Thanksgiving,” he concluded.

“If they [secularists and atheists] are able to erase Christian symbols from the military, then it can be pushed to be erased in the private sector,” said one disgruntled soldier.

Obviously, if the majority of Christians in the U.S. Army can’t decorate an officially neutral chapel open to all faiths with permanent icons of their religion that ipso facto amounts to another outright U.S. Government attack on Christianity.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution requires the government to remain neutral in matters of religion. It is that benign neutrality towards religion which is interpreted by the religious majority as an unmitigated attack on Christianity.

“If you don’t accept the superiority of my religion over yours and all other religions,” scream the Christians; “If you don’t allow us to employ the U.S. government to impose our religion on you and everyone else that automatically amounts to a government attack on Christianity,” they reckon.

It’s pitiful that the faith of so many Christians in America requires government support.

A new American Values Survey from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) confirms that most Americans expect their elected officials to be Christian. They insist that their president shares a faith like their own; and are not comfortable otherwise. Two thirds of respondents said it’s important or very important.

Sixty-three percent of white Evangelicals were favorable toward Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, last September. But after Robert Jeffress, a Baptist pastor from Dallas, called Mormonism a cult during the Value Voters Summit in Washington, D.C., the favorability number among them for Romney dropped to forty-nine percent in less than a month.

Candidates who have the least chance of winning an election in America are those with no religion, followed closely behind by Muslim’s, according to the same survey.

"Romney has a primary problem," explains a PRRI spokesman. The problem lies in the Iowa Caucus, the first contest on the road to the White House. In Iowa, "white Evangelicals play an out sized role…”

Of course they do.

They’re the ones who believe that the U.S. government is attacking them if it doesn’t constantly promote their version of Christianity.

They’re the ones who’ve elected so many knuckleheads as President in America over the last century.

They’re the ones who are constantly demanding the adoption of an official government God – their God.  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

“The Body” v. TSA

Professional wrestlers and politicians are generally held in equal low esteem on my personal scale of favorite persons, but straight talking libertarian former Minnesota Governor and professional wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura rates as a clear exception to my rule. He’s a good guy, a decent fellow all around, and my favorite politician.

That’s why I sympathize with him deeply for being so upset over the fact that his airport security lawsuit was dismissed recently by a Federal District Judge in St. Paul Minnesota. I agree with him wholeheartedly in spirit but, had he been my client, I’d have told him frankly from the beginning that his noble cause was likely doomed to fail.   

Mr. Ventura apparently had titanium hip implant replacement surgery in 2008. His implant sets off the airport metal detectors every time, and last November when he attempted to board a plane at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, the alarms went off again.

This time he was subjected to one of those mortifying all intrusive TSA full-body pat-down searches which made him furious. He said he hasn't flown since and won't fly commercially again.

So last January he sued the federal government claiming that his treatment at the airport by the TSA amounted to an unreasonable and therefore unlawful search in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution.

I couldn’t agree with him more, but unfortunately current legal precedent is not exactly on our side, and that’s why the federal district judge tossed his case out, saying essentially that it should have been filed in a Circuit Court of Appeals.

This development has upset my man so much he’s threatened to apply for dual citizenship so that he can spend more time in Mexico -- or failing that, run for president of what he calls "the Fascist States of America."

He certainly does have a way with words for which I admire.

"I will not, in a free country, be treated like a criminal. In our airports today, we citizens are treated like criminals. We're guilty until we're proven innocent."

He’s lost his patriotism: "I will never stand for a national anthem again. I will turn my back and I will raise a fist," he declared.

My sentiments exactly!

"I want a trial by jury. They tell me I can have a jury decide my fate," he said. "If given a jury, I will win."

Well, I don’t know where he got that idea. Maybe he didn’t listen to his lawyer, or maybe his lawyer forgot the basic rule that juries can decide only questions of fact – not questions of law. He’s not entitled to a jury trial. The facts are not in dispute.

Whether TSA airport searches violate the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment is purely a question of law for a court to decide, and in this instance, the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, in the 2005 case of U.S. v. Marquez, upheld earlier precedent that airport searches are administrative in nature, and reasonable if: (1) no more extensive or intensive than necessary, in light of current technology, to detect weapons or explosives; (2) confined in good faith to that purpose; and (3) passengers may avoid the search by electing not to fly.

That’s why the case was booted. The U.S. Supreme Court has not yet decided whether TSA random pat-down searches are constitutional, but current lower federal court precedent is not helpful.

I think my favorite politician should file an appeal to the 8th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, and if he loses again there he should file an application for a Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, and beg them to hear the case.

I’m rooting for ya, Jessie!

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

PAC’s and Prevarications

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain formed a political action committee (PAC) last year, ostensibly for the purpose of supporting other Republicans seeking elective office in the 2010 elections. That’s what Mr. Cain announced in an e-mail to his "Hermanator's Intelligent Thinkers Movement," an online extension of his motivational speaking business, T.H.E. New Voice, Inc.

He called it the “Hermanator PAC.” It raised more than $220,000. Two Republican contenders each received $1,000 from the PAC money (about nine-tenths of 1%). Cain spent the rest of the loot – at least $218,000 (about 99.1%) -- on himself according to federal election commission records.  

"By agreeing to help The Hermanator PAC, either by volunteering or by giving a monetary donation, you will be helping to elect conservative candidates that share our principles and values," Cain represented to potential donors. "Let's send President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid a message for the right kind of change."

But Cain, the Hermanator, used almost all the cash instead on five star first class hotel stays, lavish restaurant meals at pricy high-end establishments, and luxurious private airplane travel for expensive jaunts across the country.

The problem for Mr. Cain, according to Paul Ryan, associate legal counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, is that candidates who create PAC’s like these are supposedly legally barred from using any of the funds collected on themselves. 

In this case the poor saps who donated to The Hermanator PAC thinking that their contributions were going to help other Republicans get elected were simply duped into establishing a big cushy slush fund for Herman Cain’s personal use.

This news comes on top of earlier reports that a Wisconsin tax-exempt charity called Prosperity USA, founded by Mark Block, Cain’s chief of staff, and Linda Hansen, his deputy chief of staff, doled out some $40,000 worth of iPads, private chartered airplane fees and other high-end expenses for Cain’s fledgling campaign.

Once again, these kinds of payments are supposedly illegal under federal tax and election laws, because nonprofit charities are not allowed to donate money or services to political campaigns.

Then we have what might be appropriately deemed “strike three”: the multiple lingering sexual harassment and assault allegations leveled at the Hermanator. He claims it’s all a bunch of lies.

Most fair minded observers would have no problem giving Mr. Cain the benefit of the doubt if only one accuser came forward after more than a decade with charges of sexual misconduct. One such accusation about events occurring 12 or more years ago deserves a large helping of skepticism in my mind.

But if two credible accusers materialize with similar allegations of inappropriate behavior, that is surely enough to at least arouse some natural suspicion. How many political candidates have been accused by two women of past sexual harassment or inappropriate sexual conduct? Not very many, I think. Of course, Bill Clinton comes to mind, and we all know that he was guilty as sin.

In the case of Mr. Hermanator, though the general public is not as yet privy to all the excruciating details, no less than four women have leveled serious accusations against him, two of whom admittedly received substantial financial settlements from Cain’s employer to make the claims go away shortly after the offending conduct allegedly happened. That taken all together cannot be easily dismissed.

Add to all that the fact that Mr. Chris Wilson, who worked as a pollster for the National Restaurant Association during the times in question, reported to Oklahoma radio station, KTOK, that he personally witnessed at least one of the alleged incidents with a woman that resulted in the sexual harassment complaints, saying that if the truth of what happened is ever made public, it will mean the end of Herman Cain's presidential campaign.

So from political PAC’s to petty philandering, it all amounts to one prevarication too many.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Newt Banked His Share Before the Housing Bubble Burst

Recent disclosures reveal that Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), also known as Freddie Mac, paid Newt Gingrich between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees arising from two contracts starting in 1999.

That’s five months after he resigned in disgrace from Congress as House speaker. His relationship with Freddie ended in 2008, just before the great American housing bubble burst wide open sending the U.S. economy and real estate housing market into tailspins from which they have yet to recover.

Freddie Mac, and its big sister, Fannie Mae, now two worthless companies, are creatures of the federal government, created solely for the purpose of expanding the secondary market for mortgages in the United States.

They buy mortgages on the secondary market, pool them, and sell them as mortgage-backed securities to investors. Their entire function is to increase the supply of money available to mortgage lenders for new home purchases by providing full backing guarantees to investors in the instruments.

It was this dubious function, together with the usual corrupt intent of a majority of politicians in Washington, both Democrats and Republicans, to provide hundreds of billions of taxpayer backed dollars in easy credit cash for home ownership to poor people who were otherwise unable to secure financing in the regular markets.

When these un-creditworthy home buyers were unable to make their mortgage payments the scheme unraveled necessitating a colossal government bailout of Fannie and Freddie to the tune of $170 billion so far, and climbing to an expected $193 billion by 2014.  

According to Mitchell Delk, Freddie Mac’s former chief lobbyist, and Gingrich’s primary contact inside the organization, he was paid a self-renewing, monthly retainer of $25,000 to $30,000 between May 1999 and 2002, during which he consulted with Freddie Mac executives on a program to expand home ownership, an idea Delk said he pitched to President George W. Bush’s White House.

“I spent about three hours with him talking about the substance of the issues and the politics of the issues, and he really got it,” said Delk. They discussed “what the benefits are to communities, what the benefits could be for Republicans and particularly their relationship with Hispanics.”

Gingrich’s second contract with Freddie Mac was a two-year retainer for which he was paid a total of $600,000. Gingrich maintained during a CNBC presidential debate that he advised the troubled firm as an “historian,” and now claims he warned that the company’s business model was a “bubble” and its lending practices “insane.”

But former Freddie Mac officials familiar with the facts dispute Gingrich’s account. They say Gingrich never raised the issue of a potential housing bubble and was never critical of Freddie Mac’s business model. Instead they say that Gingrich was asked to build bridges to Capitol Hill Republicans and develop an argument on behalf of the company’s public-private structure that would resonate with conservatives seeking to dismantle it.

Former Freddie Mac officials disagree with Gingrich’s characterization of himself as an “historian.” Gingrich was consulted about Freddie’s efforts to become more transparent about “risk and capital management” procedures, risk information disclosure, and how those efforts would be received in Congress, specifically by Republicans.

During Gingrich’s first stint, Freddie Mac wanted to “bond” with Bush administration officials on the idea of creating a “home ownership society” – getting more Latinos and other minorities into home ownership - and worked with Gingrich on that.

"He was hired because he was Newt Gingrich, basically," said one knowledgeable Freddie Mac source.

Gingrich, who, as a presidential candidate, is now all-of-a-sudden a critic of Freddie Mac’s policies, claims that he was not paid to be a lobbyist promoting the firm to other Republicans, but it sure seems like lobbyist duties to me.

After pocketing his share of the loot from the housing bubble, he’s quick now to blame Democrats for the resulting debacle: “You ought to start with Barney Frank,” when talking about people to put in jail, Gingrich said, “Go back and look at the lobbyists he was close to at Freddie Mac,” he insisted during the October 11 Republican presidential debate.

And while we’re at it, I say: how about the lobbyists Newt Gingrich was close to at Freddie Mac?

This is the same Newt Gingrich who recently declared: "I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age [his two grandchildren] they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."

We have to wonder what he was smoking when he came up with that one. How can Newt Gingrich enjoy any political credibility among reasonable logical voters making stupid statements like that?

This is also the same Newt Gingrich who told the Values Voter Summit: "If judges think that they are unchallengeable, they are… anti-American… profoundly wrong... inevitably corrupted, corrupted in a moral sense," because he thinks that the U.S. Supreme Court shouldn’t have the final say on the constitutionality of laws. He believes that should be up to the Christian majority in Congress. No third branch of government; or checks and balances -- that’s what Newt Gingrich says he wants for America.

Newt Gingrich has recently shot straight to the top in the popularity polls among Republican primary potential voters looking for a radical right wing evangelical social conservative nut case to replace the likes of Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain, each of whom were unceremoniously shot down from that high perch because of glaring inadequacies in their attributes for the job.  

Now I’m afraid the good folks are overlooking Newt’s glaring inadequacies as well which we’ve all known about for years. He’s a thoroughly corrupt career Washington politician and way too radical to get elected president – a perfect example of why Republicans have such a hard time finding freedom loving independents, libertarians, conservative democrats, and middle of the road Americans to vote for them in presidential elections.

I’ll say it again: If the Republicans nominate Newt Gingrich over someone who is actually electable like Mitt Romney, Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Perry Puffery

Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate, Rick Perry boasted recently that, if elected, he’ll reform Washington by creating a “part-time, citizen Congress," cutting Congressional pay in half, slashing Congressional staff budgets, and allowing senators and representatives to hold jobs back home while serving in Congress.

Hooray for Rick Perry! That’s definitely the smartest thing I’ve heard him say since he declared his candidacy. I’ve always thought that Congress should be a part time job. Too bad for him, however, that it can’t possibly happen without a constitutional amendment, and fat chance for that.

Democratic Congressman, and House Minority Whip, Steny Hoyer, characterized Perry’s talk as “not serious” and “an attempt to pander to the Tea Party."

Perry, a career politician, shot back calling Hoyer’s comments exactly what he would expect to hear from a "career politician."

 "When people like Steny Hoyer come out there and go, 'Is this guy being serious?' Yeah, you better believe it Steny. Americans are serious. They're serious about the spending that's going on," Perry told Sean Hannity this week on Hannity’s radio show.

Well, a few Americans like you and I might be serious about wanting to cut spending, but it’s a sure thing that Rick Perry isn’t.

Perry loves to criticize government spending at every opportunity while out on the campaign trail, but sadly, the facts show that he’s spent 11 years as the governor of Texas seeking money from Washington to spend.

"He's 'keep the federal government out of our business' and 'everything from Washington is terrible,' and then he is quietly getting as much money as he can," said Jim Dunnam, a former Democratic state representative who once headed a House committee that tracked federal stimulus money sent to Texas.

Perry has made 1,180 requests for federal aid since 2001, according to the Associated Press, which means he’s sent letters seeking money from Washington at a rate of about one every four days.

Perry asked for a federal bailout in April 2003 for American Airlines, headquartered in Dallas, and another one for Continental, based in Houston. He landed more than $100 million from the feds to protect against drug violence and illegal immigration on the Mexican border. He asked for and received $24.2 billion in stimulus funding for Texas while saying the program was bad federal policy.

He begged federal officials not to scale back the B-1, F-22 Raptor or C-17 fighter-jet projects, or NASA's manned space exploration programs which are all economically related and vital to Texas' Air Force bases and the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

He took $78 million in federal Justice Department grants for the border region between 2006 and 2010, and $624 million under the Homeland Security Grant Program since 2005. He also defended a federal program for imprisoning illegal-immigrant felons in May 2009 when the Obama administration wanted to scrap the program's funding.

He asked for money for bio terrorism preparedness at Texas hospitals; more money for state scientists mapping the bovine genome; more for port improvements statewide; and even more for border sheriffs who wanted better communications systems.

During his tenure, Texas has ranked in the top quarter of states in federal funds received per capita, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Federal funds accounted for between 29 and 35 percent of the Texas state budget between 2000 and 2009. Add stimulus money and the percentage approached 40% in fiscal year 2010.

He asked for emergency federal aid for victims of wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, flooding and crop-killing heat waves and freezes in his state's 254 counties. Texans hit by natural disasters "deserve a more immediate, compassionate response from their federal government," he wrote in a letter to Washington complaining that the Housing and Urban Development Department was slow in aiding hurricane victims.

Perry says he opposes the Obamacare overhaul, yet Texas has received $56.9 million in Health and Human Services Department grants as part of it. He wrote a letter to Washington in August 2010 supporting a $1 million federal grant proposal that Texas wanted to explore setting up a related statewide health care exchange. He also endorsed his state's request for money under Obamacare, though he now promises to help repeal Obamacare if elected.

And now he promises “to make the federal government as inconsequential in peoples' lives as possible.”

"I'm going to show up in Washington, D.C., with a sledgehammer, and they're not going to like it,” Rick Perry bragged this week in Iowa.

No he’s not. If he simply sticks to his own track record as governor of Texas he’ll be spending just as much or more as president than all the other lying prevaricating politicians before him.

Everything he says to get elected now amounts to little more than political Perry puffery.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Flag Flaps & the First Amendment

Flags bring out the worst in people, and the American flag is no exception.

A flag is nothing more than a benign inanimate piece of cloth fashioned by design and colors into a symbol representation of an abstract idea. Flags are mere representations of abstract ideas. Flags are vehicles of expression of abstract ideas.

People often become emotionally unhinged over the mere expression of abstract ideas associated with flags – especially the American flag.

A California high school principal refused to allow a group of students to wear American flag designed t-shirts on Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday, fearing that they would spark offense and perhaps even violence between Mexican American and Anglo students on the campus.

Such American flag designed clothing is perfectly permissible student attire at the school on every day of the year except Cinco de Mayo. Mexican American students, on the other hand, are permitted to wear Mexican flag designed clothing on Cinco de Mayo and any other day of the year.

When the “offending” students refused to remove their American flag shirts, or turn them inside out, the principal sent them home. Their parents filed suit in federal district court claiming violations of First Amendment freedom of speech and expression rights.

Surely this case is a no-brainer, right? The students’ First Amendment Constitutional rights were clearly violated.

Not so, declared a district judge who affirmed the principal’s action and dismissed the claims. Citing past clashes at the school over flag colors on the Mexican holiday, Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware of San Francisco said school officials "reasonably forecast that [the shirts] could cause a substantial disruption" and could therefore take steps to prevent it.

On the previous Cinco de Mayo, a group of Mexican-American students walked around with a Mexican flag, prompting a group of Anglo students to display an American flag and chant "USA" together with threats and profanities directed toward the Latino’s.  

That was apparently enough to persuade the judge to condone the principal’s First Amendment violations. In short, if a display of the American flag might offend and make someone angry; this judge thinks it’s perfectly alright to ban the expression.

If the U.S. Supreme Court affirms this nonsense, we might as well kiss the First Amendment goodbye.

At the other end of the flag flap spectrum are found the American flag worshipers – the ones who become angry if school children aren’t genuflecting to their flag every day of the year.

Nebraska State Sen. Tony Fulton is introducing a bill that will mandate every classroom in the state display an American flag and require all kindergarten through high school students to be led in a group recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag every school day of the year.

The bright idea for this travesty upon the First Amendment came from Lincoln businessman Richard Zierke, an ex-Marine who discovered one day that Nebraska and six other states, the District of Columbia and two territories do not have a law that addresses the pledge.

"I said, 'This is crazy,” Zierke declared to a Lincoln Nebraska newspaper. So he called upon Sen. Fulton to report the “craziness” and Fulton agreed to sponsor the law.

Reciting the pledge teaches patriotism and instills American exceptionalism in the kids according to Zierke. It’s also a stepping stone to young people making decisions about how they could serve their country, including stints in the military, he reasons.

"I don't want to say my country is slipping away, but teaching patriotism and the flag is not being done," Zierke said.

So he insists on using the heavy hand of the law to violate the First Amendment rights of school children by forcing them to recite a loyalty oath expressing his American flag ideas. Obviously, he doesn’t care much about the First Amendment.

And the District Judge in San Francisco would no doubt approve – for every day that is except Cinco de Mayo.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Let the Innocent Pay the Wrongdoers

Just as night inevitably follows day it is a crystal clear fact that the United States government and it’s federally created agents and instrumentality's caused the great real estate housing bubble which burst wide open in 2007, in turn causing the subsequent catastrophic financial meltdown in the economy which followed, still plaguing the nation today with no end in sight.

And the innocent among us are left to pay the wrongdoers for their folly.

Latest example: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, both entities created, controlled and wholly backed by Congress to encourage home ownership; the two largest sources of money for U.S. home loans; and probably the most culpable of the wrongdoers, are asking for yet another $7.8 billion and $6 billion respectively in taxpayer cash just to stay afloat after billions more in third quarter losses.

Congress created these two Frankenstein monsters for the dubious purpose of buying mortgages from small lenders; repackaging the instruments as securities for investors with guaranteed backing in order to ensure a steady source of home loan funds for people who could not otherwise obtain financing in the credit markets, i.e. people without good credit. Together with the Federal Housing Administration, they still back nine out of 10 home loans in America.

Any moron could have predicted accurately the sequence of events which happened next. The millions of un-creditworthy people who couldn’t afford to make their payments began to default on their loans, causing a massive number of foreclosures, resulting in a colossal implosion of home prices, a glut of houses for sale, and a complete meltdown of the home real estate market in America.

Innocent taxpayers, and home owners with good credit, including those who had already paid off their mortgages, (myself included), were eventually left holding the bill. In my own case, because of the busted bubble, my home was sold in 2009, after two years on the market, for less than half of what it was worth at the beginning of 2007, and I was lucky to get that price. Needless to say, I received no bailout.

At the end of 2011 the housing market is still a long way from recovery. Losses on derivatives and expenses related to bad home loans made before the financial collapse are the reason for the continuing debacle. Fannie Mae alone has so far sucked up $112.6 billion in funds from taxpayers since the government took full control of the firm in 2008. It has reported losses in 16 of the last 17 quarters.

Add Freddie Mac to the mix and the total taxpayer bailout comes to more than $170 billion and counting. On top of that the U.S. government has pledged unlimited funds in the future to keep them both going through the end of 2012. The figure could reach $193 billion and more by 2014.

Who gets that $193 billion? Why, the lucky lenders, and investors of course – the ones who got an iron clad pay back guarantee courtesy of the U.S. government. It’s the responsible taxpayers, homeowners and creditworthy borrowers who are getting the shaft.

Oh, and get this: the wrongdoers – the ones who caused the mess -- will be getting their share as well. Don’t worry about the government politicians, bureaucrats, agents and employees who ignited the fire. They’re all keeping their jobs and getting steady paychecks whether the economy is good or bad.

How about the executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – you know, the ones who actually blew the money on bad loans and shaky derivatives? Well, they’re not only still getting their hefty paychecks; they’re still getting huge yearly bonuses! That’s right; big bonuses; millions and millions of taxpayer dollars in bonuses!

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives, Michael J. Williams, and Ed Haldeman, received a total of $17 million in bonus pay over the last two years, and are poised to rake in similar amounts this year. Compensation for the companies’ top executives totaled $35 million for 2009 and 2010, according to a report from the FHFA Office of Inspector General.

Edward DeMarco, their chief regulator as acting head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, is attempting to defend the bonuses to a skeptical Congress. They’re justified “to attract and retain top talent,” he insists. Since both companies’ stock is worthless today, the bonuses are paid in cash; deferred compensation and incentive pay rather than stock options.

For Fannie and Freddie executives, it all comes on average to three times the amount in bonuses paid to executives in the 2009 taxpayer bailout of the failed AIG Corporation, which, incidentally outraged President Obama. The president is strangely silent now though.

So you see, it took top talent to get us into this financial mess in the first place -- the wrongdoers who blew the cash -- and in order to attract and retain more of such top talent to run a now worthless and gutted company, it will be necessary to keep paying the top talent millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars in salary and bonuses.

Compelling logic, isn’t it?

Let the innocent pay the wrongdoers.