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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lobbyist or Consultant: Distinction Without Difference

Mitchell Delk, the newly installed chief lobbyist at The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), a.k.a. “Freddie Mac,” in 1999, hired Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, a prominent Washington insider to advise him on how to build support among conservatives on Capitol Hill, reports Reuters recently.
Gingrich’s job was to help strategize the firm’s building of goodwill in Congress by, among other things, holding fundraising events for influential members of House and Senate committees that had oversight of Freddie Mac. Gingrich had expertise in such matters as an architect of GOPAC, one of the Republican Party's most important and influential political action committees.
Was Newt Gingrich a lobbyist for Freddie Mac? Technically, no; at least that is the label Gingrich specifically wanted to avoid in his contract with the firm, so there is a clause in the initial document specifying that he would not do any lobbying. He now claims that he was paid as a “consultant” – more specifically an “historian” -- not a lobbyist.

A “lobbyist” is a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest. A “consultant” is a person who gives professional or expert advice. In this case, Newt Gingrich was in reality a consultant employed to give professional expert advice to Freddie Mac lobbyists in regard to how best to influence legislation on Capitol Hill on behalf and in favor of Freddie Mac.

Lobbyist or consultant – here it was manifestly a distinction without a difference. Newt Gingrich was paid a total $1.8 million under two separate contracts between 1999 and 2008 to advise Freddie Mac’s chief lobbyist and his lobbying team about how best to influence Congress. He taught the lobbyists how to lobby.
Gingrich was part and parcel of that lobbying team right up until the U.S. Treasury placed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae under conservatorship after the firm sustained $14.9 billion in losses when the U.S. housing market crashed. In short, Freddie Mac played a major role in the subprime lending crisis causing the U.S. housing market to implode, and Newt Gingrich was involved in the mess up to his eyeballs.
Gingrich's campaign admitted last year that part of his job was to help Freddie Mac build bridges to conservatives. His contract stated that he would work with Delk and other Freddie Mac officials, i.e. lobbyists, on "strategic planning and public policy," as well as contribute to “corporate planning and business goals."

He joined Delk’s government affairs department at Freddie Mac right at the very time the firm was actively hiring several former members of Congress and congressional aides for his lobbying team. It was when conservative Republicans in Congress were seeking regulations to rein in the profits of government-sponsored lenders such as Freddie Mac.

Delk successfully opposed such regulation attempts by hiring dozens of outside consultants, including Newt Gingrich, and spending as much on lobbying as many major corporations. His lobbying team came under investigation by the FEC in 2003, and Freddie Mac was found to have improperly used corporate resources to put on 85 fundraising events that raised about $1.7 million for federal candidates, a majority of them Republicans.

In 2006, Freddie Mac agreed to a $3.8 million settlement for violating federal election rules, the largest civil fine the FEC had ever levied. In 2007 the housing market crashed when too many un-creditworthy homeowners given generous mortgage terms by Freddie Mac and other lenders began defaulting on their loans. And the rest is history.
The painful irony now is Newt Gingrich’s pitiful characterization of his job with Freddie Mac as an "historian." It’s laughable to say the least. The lobbying team at Freddie Mac was hardly interested in the subject of history in 1999 when the boss hired Newt Gingrich, the consummate Washington insider. It wasn’t history they sought; no, it was much more about how to get influence on Capitol Hill.  
It was about influence peddling -- lobbying, consulting and influence peddling;  in this case it’s all the same – a distinction without a difference.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Newt Gingrich: Evangelical Space Cadet

Newt Gingrich is often described as the smartest most intelligent man in the room as compared to his rival running mates on the debate stage, however, if this is so, it’s a mystery to me how he can come up with some of the dumbest must unintelligent ideas I’ve ever heard.
Most of the candidates, with the refreshing exception of Dr. Ron Paul, feel obligated to pander to the evangelical religious right with their pious anti-gay and family values positions. Gingrich does all of that too but then goes far beyond any semblance of rational hyperbole with inane attempts to please his Bible thumping constituents.
Lately, for example, the Newt has been on what he calls an “anti-religious-bigots” jag.
The standard dictionary definition of the term “bigot” refers to a person who is utterly intolerant of anyone different than himself, usually in regard to physical appearance, such as skin color, cultural practices or beliefs. Thus, “bigot” is often correctly applied to uncompromising religious people who vilify and want to discriminate against those who do not conform to their standards of religious morality.  
Newt Gingrich, for example, fits the dictionary definition of a religious bigot, but being the slippery tongued disingenuous politician that he is, he likes to turn that definition around one hundred and eighty degrees to the opposite so that a “bigot” in his fraudulent lexicon is the one who won’t conform to his personal religious ideas, and perhaps objects to being imposed upon by them, especially in the name of government.
Government in America is supposed to remain neutral in matters of religion. Gingrich knows this but has taken the liberty to turn that proposition around on its ear by asserting that government officials who adhere to religious neutrality as they are supposed to do are anti-religious-bigots. That has been his incredulous position in the last several debates.
Gingrich declared in South Carolina: “One of the key issues is the growing anti-religious bigotry of our elites and if you get a chance, if you go to, my campaign site, there's a fifty four page paper there on the balance of power, putting the judiciary back in its proper role and eliminating dictatorial religious bigots such as Judge Biery in San Antonio…,” (who issued a ruling against organized public school prayers at graduation ceremonies.) “Now, we don't have speech dictatorship in America by anti-religious bigots, period.”
During the last Florida debate, Gingrich ranted: “Third, one of the reasons I’m running is there has been a war on religion, particularly on Christianity in this country, and I frankly believe it’s important to have leadership that says, enough, we are given the right for religious freedom, not religious oppression by the state.”
You see, according to the Newt, Judge Biery is an anti-religious-bigot for not allowing a public school function to be taken over by Christian prayer. There is a war on Christianity in America being waged by anti-religious-bigots who object to government sponsorship of his Christian religion.
The proper role of the judiciary is to support his religious beliefs. Any jurist who refuses to do that is an anti-religious-bigot. So he’s going to reform the judiciary by getting rid of anti-religious-bigot judges who have the temerity to enforce the First Amendment Establishment Clause. Religious freedom in the United States of America is limited to Christianity, period.
Now these are pretty dumb ideas, for sure, but it gets even worse. It seems that the ultra-right-wing evangelical fanatic Newt Gingrich is also a dedicated and fanatical space cadet. If elected president this so-called fiscally conservative Tea Party Republican vows to spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars in a “bold vision” to put an American colony on the Moon by 2020.  
Campaigning (i.e. pandering) on Florida’s “Space Coast,” last Wednesday, Gingrich made no apologies for his admittedly “grandiose ideas” on space. “I accept the charge that I am an American and Americans are instinctively grandiose,” declared the Newt, referring to a proposal he made early in his career, which called for American residents of the moon to petition for statehood when they reached a population of 13,000.
Gingrich admitted on Wednesday that the proposition was “the weirdest thing I’ve ever done,” but said he was still a proponent of the plan. “I will, as president, encourage the introduction of the ‘Northwest Ordinance’ for space to put a marker down that we want Americans to think boldly about the future, and we want Americans to go out and study hard and work hard and together we're going to unleash the American people to build the country we love,” he said.
Businessman, Mitt Romney mocked the proposal as prohibitively expensive and outrageous, but Newt was undaunted, contrasting himself to Romney: “Here's the difference between romantics and so-called practical people, I wanted every young American to say to themselves, ‘I could be one of those 13,000, I could be a pioneer.’” Americans should feel “part of a generation of courageous people who do something big and bold and heroic.”
The Newt doesn’t want to stop at a mere 13,000 member Moon colony and statehood for his Moon inhabitants. He also has his sights set firmly upon Mars. “By the end of 2020, we will have the first continuous propulsion system in space capable of getting to Mars in a remarkably short time, because I am sick of being told we have to be timid and I am sick of being told we have to be limited in technologies that are 50 years old,” Gingrich enthused.

If he is so smart, why has he dismissed the simple truth that there is nothing on the Moon or Mars that people want, at least nothing worth the trouble and expense to go after now. President Kennedy launched the Moon expeditions for the sole purpose of proving that it could be done. Well, it was done alright, and for the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, the American people have nothing whatsoever to show for it save a lot of worthless bragging rights.  

This is why Newt Gingrich, and other fanatical evangelical space cadet minded politicians shouldn’t be allowed to represent much less govern people here on planet earth.

They’re just too damned “smart” for our sake.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kiddie Porn Punitory

The U.S. Supreme Court last November declined to hear an appeal examining whether a person convicted of possessing child pornography can be forced to pay the full amount of restitution to a child victim depicted in the seized images even though not responsible for the initial crime.
The case arose out of a federal undercover sting operation on an Internet chat room believed to be used by pedophiles. A subsequent raid caught a defendant named Monzel in the net along with more than 800 images of child pornography on his computer. He was convicted of possessing the material and sentenced to a 10 year prison term.
Thirty children were identified by experts from among the pictures, three of whom, including a nine-year-old victim named “Amy,” filed requests for restitution under a law, known as Section 2259, passed by Congress directing the courts to order defendants convicted for crimes involving sexual exploitation of children to pay restitution to cover the “full amount of the victim’s losses.”
This punitory damages law has resulted in a wide variety of decisions within the federal judiciary over the question as to exactly what Congress intended. Amy’s lawyers requested that the judge order Monzel to pay Amy restitution in the sum of $3,263,758, even though he had nothing to do with her sexual abuse.
So the question is: should someone guilty of possessing child pornography be subject to the same potential multimillion-dollar restitution penalty as the criminal who actually physically abused the child, recorded the abuse, and distributed the resulting illicit images?
One federal district judge in Florida ordered a defendant convicted of possessing six images of a child victim to pay her full restitution totaling $3,680,153 even though the man had nothing to do with her abuse. Several other courts have similarly ruled that mere possession of illegal images can make a defendant liable for the full cost of a child victim’s injuries, including all the underlying sexual assaults and abuse.
But other federal courts in Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania have declined to order any restitution at all in situations where the defendant merely possessed pictures. These decisions hold that there must be evidence showing that a defendant’s conduct in possessing the illicit images was a proximate cause of the child’s injuries.
A California federal court ordered $3,000 in restitution under the law; a Virginia court, $4,500; an Indiana court, $5,448; and a Georgia court, $12,740. A Washington judge ordered $1,000 for each of 65 photos found in the defendant’s possession -- $65,000 in restitution.
Child victim advocates insist that the law requires anyone convicted of any involvement with child pornography including mere possession of pictures must be forced to pay the full amount of the child’s damages resulting from the abuse. The law should be interpreted as a powerful deterrent to pedophiles and to undercut the flourishing international trade in images of child sexual abuse, they argue.
Paul Cassell, a Utah law school professor, claims that “Congress broadly commanded that district courts must award restitution in every single case for the full amount of the victim’s losses.
More reasonable minds, including those in the Obama administration, disagree, arguing that restitution should be commensurate only with harms caused by the particular defendant. An overly broad enforcement of the law raises constitutional issues about fairness, due process, and excessive punishment, they reason.
The law doesn’t specify exactly how judges are to decide the question. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the comprehensive restitution approach, the Second; Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits have favored more targeted restitution tied to proof that actions by the defendant were the proximate cause of injuries.
Amy’s lawyers have filed more than 700 requests just in the U.S. for full restitution of more than $3 million. “I am being exploited and used every day and every night somewhere in the world by someone,” Amy said in a 2009 victim impact statement. “How can I ever get over this when the crime that is happening to me will never end? How can I get over this when the shameful abuse I suffered is out there forever and being enjoyed by sick people?”
The judge in Amy’s case rejected her request, ruling that the law authorized compensation for the harm caused by Monzel, not the total harm she suffered. He set the amount at $5,000. The appeals court reversed the $5,000 award and remanded the case back to the judge to determine an appropriate level of restitution that reflected the actual harm done to Amy by Monzel’s possession of the images of her being abused.
Her appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, as indicated above, was denied.
Few reasonable people would argue least of all me that victims of child sexual abuse were injured and deserve damages for their suffering and humiliation – from the criminal; the abuser who caused the damage – not from those who merely looked at the pictures.
To argue or hold otherwise is patently insane. It’s like holding a person fully responsible for a murder for merely looking at a picture of the victim after the fact. By that reasoning the police who seized the porn pictures, the prosecutor, judge, jury, experts and anyone else who looked at them during the trial process should likewise pay the full amount of restitution.  
This is just another example among many of the collective irrational hysteria over “thought crimes” which cause no harm whatsoever to victims, but somehow offend the Authority’s sense of morality.
The idea of forcing someone to pay punitory damages in the millions of dollars for merely looking at pictures of criminal activity – kiddie porn punitory -- crosses way over the line of what is right and what is wrong.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rape Baby

Mike Huckabee hosted his Fox News Channel talk show recently featuring a nice attractive young woman who was born the product of a rape. Her message, supported avidly by Huckabee, was how wonderful it was to be alive, how grateful she was that her mother didn’t decide to abort her, and why every woman who is raped and impregnated by her rapist should bring the product of the rape to term.   
I happen to like Mike Huckabee. He seems like a genuinely good hearted well meaning and kind spirited human being. I don’t agree with his religiously oriented position on abortion and other politically charged social issues but I like him as a person none-the-less.   
And I’m happy for the woman who was born the product of a rape. I’m glad she survived. She is understandably grateful for her mother’s sacrifice, just as we all should be for the sacrifices of our parents.  Her life is just as valuable and important now as yours or mine.  
But all of that is frankly beside the point. I consider myself just as “pro-life” as they are. Anti-abortion advocates do not own a monopoly lock on the concept of “pro-life” just because they have appropriated that term for their political causes.
The anti-abortion zealot’s are no more concerned with the value of “life” than me or anyone else, especially those of us who hold that the concept of liberty includes a woman’s right to control her own body and her own capacity for reproduction.  
In fact, I have concluded long ago after much attention and study to the issue that it is not so much the matter of “life” that the anti-abortion proponents are concerned about as it is their desire to force their religious values upon the lives of everyone. It is not enough for them to follow their own consciences as to whether or not to reproduce themselves in their own lives; they want to force their personal life choices upon others.
Of course, that is one of the biggest problems with the Republican Party over the last several decades. All of the candidates must satisfy a so-called “pro-life” litmus test, and if they fail that test, their chances of securing a presidential nomination are next to nil.
The major consequence of that is the fact that a substantial majority of rational people in America believe in fundamental liberty and a woman’s right to choose. We simply don’t want to be governed by the right-wing evangelical’s religion. It scares us. This situation makes it much more difficult for Republicans, who might otherwise espouse good political ideas, to be elected president.
Which brings me back to Mike Huckabee and the new documentary movie he’s been touting to his flock of religious conservatives called “The Gift of Life,” about the story of the aforementioned “rape baby,” and her purportedly “powerful” anti-abortion message.
The premiere of the film last December before the Iowa caucuses was attended by all four of the presidential candidates representing the most ultra of the ultra-right-wing faction of the Republican Party -- Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum – each of whom boasted and pitched their conservative credentials to the assembled crowd for votes.   
Santorum garnered the biggest applause line when he quipped against his competitors: “I have some problems with some of the folks running for office these days when they say, ‘I believe life begins at conception.’ That’s like, I say, ‘I believe the sun rises.’” “Why would you say you believe something that’s a fact?” he asked rhetorically.
Newt Gingrich had spoken just minutes earlier in favor of a congressional bill that would define personhood as beginning at conception, an idea which was seemingly not extreme enough to satisfy Mr. Santorum.  
The fact is, however, that Gingrich, Santorum, and all the rest of them are blinded by religion and therefore badly mistaken in this regard. Life most certainly does not begin at conception. Not even the Bible, which is silent on the matter of abortion, supports that assertion.
Life is an ongoing continuum which began on Earth billions of years ago, and conception is merely one stage in the process. Every human egg and sperm is alive and has only to unite in order to keep a particular line going.
A woman produces hundreds of eggs within her reproductive lifetime; a man millions of sperm. It is therefore entirely a matter of random chance that any one of us became a product of that process. Chance determined the timing of our parent’s coital activity which resulted in our conception. Chance determined the selection of the one particular egg out of many which was present on that occasion. Chance determined the single sperm cell out of millions which happened to unite with that egg.
The odds against any one individual surviving are enormous. Had a different sperm cell succeeded on that same occasion, the product would not have been you or me, but a different individual entirely. There was no magic moment intended by God; just random chance as is the case with the reproduction process of every other species of animal and plant on planet Earth.
We are all extraordinarily lucky to be here – not just the “rape baby.” It’s as though each of us has won the multi-million dollar lottery. For every one of us who survived the ordeal, millions more have died and were discarded by nature in the process. Nature discards many lives – inevitably all lives – in the ongoing continuum of life.
Why are the religious conservatives; Huckabee, Gingrich, Santorum, and the rest of them not concerned with all these other discarded lives? The answer to that question is that it is not the life they care about but their religion and the importance to them in forcing it upon everyone.
They aren’t concerned with the life of a woman who has been raped.  They want to force her to carry the spawn of the rapist inside her. They don’t mind if she feels that she is being raped again and again every day of her life thereafter, not only during the pregnancy, but until the day she herself dies. They don’t care about her husband or father or other loved one who would be forced also to witness her anguish.
They don’t worry about the lives of victims; their only concern is religion. They are more concerned with an imagined afterlife than the fact of your life and my life. It is that profound irrationality that leads them to conclude that the spawn of a rapist is more important than the life of a victim.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What’s Wrong With Moderate?

The astounding results are being tallied right now as I write this post. Newt Gingrich has clearly won big in the State of South Carolina. This, I fear, is going to make the Newt’s already bulging head swell to hydrocephalic proportions. His penchant for unbridled grandiosity will magnify well beyond insufferable to the point of unbearable in the coming days and weeks.
Much of the credit is due to Newt’s two successful debate performances during which he fed his hungry Obama hating audience the all ultra-right-wing evangelical socially statist  pabulum they love to hear.  
He also got a huge assist right at the beginning of the last debate from John King, the CNN moderator, who started the contest with the stupidest and most irrelevant question I have ever heard in a presidential debate: “Do you want to talk about your ex-wife’s infidelity allegations against you?”
Not surprisingly, Gingrich blasted that puff ball out of the park and got a standing ovation in the bargain. The audience was his from that point on. Their fervid emotional hatred for the left-leaning mainstream media overwhelmed and blinded them to any semblance of sober and rational judgment. And they carried that hot emotional response right on through into the primary voting booths.
Newt Gingrich likes to paint his major rival, Mitt Romney, over and over again as a “Massachusetts moderate,” as if that’s a bad thing, but I ask you: what’s wrong with moderate? What is wrong with moderation in politics as well as in life?
Obviously, the alternative to a political moderate is a political extremist. Newt Gingrich is therefore admittedly a political extremist. His views are extreme. His politics are extreme. Both he and Rick Santorum are political right-wing-ultra extremists; war mongers; interventionists; social statists; and religiously oriented tyrants by any definition of those terms.  
Do the Republican’s really believe that they can successfully run a right-wing political extremist against Barack Obama in the general election?
Some hard core right-wingers like to think that Obama is a leftist extremist, but next to Newt Gingrich, Barack Obama looks like an attractive moderate. Hell, next to the Newt, he looks like the soul of moderation. And on top of that, Barack Obama, at least, appears to be a nice guy, an amiable fellow, which is a hallmark of personal moderation.  
Newt Gingrich admitted in an interview just recently that if the presidential election were a popularity contest he would lose because he is not perceived as a nice guy. He apparently knows too well that he comes across as a mean spirited, puffed up, angry, old white man; the kind of person who disdains moderation in all its forms.
I have some news for Mr. Gingrich: presidential elections are definitely popularity contests of the first order.  
Contrast the Newt with Mitt Romney, who seems like a nice guy. He doesn’t get mad. He doesn’t raise his voice. He doesn’t become vicious. He just remains steady, intelligent, capable, caring, even keeled, rational, and likable. What’s wrong with that?
If there is one thing that irritates me with Mitt Romney it’s that he won’t own up to being a moderate. He’s a moderate, and that’s a good thing. He should make the most of it. Moderation is the stuff that will beat Barack Obama in the general election.
So when the likes of Newt Gingrich despairingly call him a “moderate,” Romney should answer them simply and concisely: “Yes, I’m a moderate; I will govern as a moderate conservative. Do you want the alternative? Do you want an extremist? If that’s what you want, then go ahead and vote for Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, and Michelle Bachmann – the unelectable political extremists of the Republican Party.”  
Mitt Romney didn’t lose in Iowa and South Carolina because he’s a moderate. It wasn’t his tenure and success at Bain Capitol, or his reluctance to disclose his taxes that did him in.  And it wasn’t Gingrich’s skill at the debates either. He lost because he’s a Mormon, and most of the ultra-right-wing evangelical Christian bigots in those two states simply will not bring themselves to vote for a Mormon, even if it means Obama will be re-elected president.
A Mormon trying to pander himself to those types as someone he’s not is going to lose their vote and that is what happened in those Bible thumping states. If he would only assert that his conservative moderation is what’s necessary to win the general election, and start to paint Gingrich and Santorum as the statist political extremists they are, he’d revive his candidacy in my opinion.
But when it comes to the ideal of moderation in politics as opposed to extremism, Ron Paul is clearly the winner hands down. Of the remaining candidates, Romney comes in second by comparison, even though the blood thirsty ultra-right-wingers of the Republican Party call Paul’s politics extreme.
To that nonsense, I can only say:
Since when is the concept of liberty extreme?
Since when is the idea of sound money extreme?
Since when is the notion of thrift in government extreme?
Since when is advocacy for world peace extreme?
Since when is non-intervention; non-aggression; and non-violence extreme?
Since when is respect and tolerance for the rights of all extreme?
What’s wrong with moderate?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Newt Feeds Raw Meat to Snarling GOP Big Cats

Thursday, January 19, 2012

“South Carolina in the Revolutionary War had a young 13-year old named Andrew Jackson. He was sabered by a British officer and wore a scar his whole life. Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear-cut idea about America’s enemies: Kill them,” Newt Gingrich expounded to a standing ovation and thunderous applause at Monday night’s Republican Party presidential debate in South Carolina.
The Daily Beast described the line as “a killer rhetorical blow.”
Fox News political pollster analyst Frank Luntz called it “the best line of the entire debate. Those kinds of statements are what propelled Gingrich to the leader of the pack back in December, until Mitt Romney’s super PAC took him down. I think you’ll see some movement from this debate.”
“Gingrich’s performance was epic,” gushed The Daily Caller website in a story headlined Newt delivers potentially game-changing performance. “It very well may have been the single best performance during any debate in the current cycle.”
“[A] dazzling success that drew an unprecedented standing ovation and could propel him back into close contention for the nomination,” declared By Tuesday afternoon, Gingrich's performance was receiving kudos from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, who admitted to jumping out of his chair on several occasions while watching.
“It was everything that the establishment Republicans don’t want to hear and don’t want to see,” said Limbaugh. (Yes and probably a majority of the general electorate as well, I think.) “I have to say I think it was the best debate yet. It was Newt’s night, but they all did well,” Limbaugh concluded. “Obama doesn’t stand a prayer, if Newt were the nominee . . . in the debates.”
Most Republicans, especially the bible thumping evangelical Christians amongst us, just love to watch and listen to their political Authority screaming and banging the podium while dishing up raw red rhetorical meat about killing our enemies and waging endless wars. That always brings them to their feet accompanied by loud cheers, shrill whistles, and wild applause. Newt Gingrich knows exactly how to serve it up to them.  
The same ravenous crowd hissed and booed the libertarian candidate, Rep. Dr. Ron Paul, when he implored his Party to bring the troops home, dismantle the 900 or so military bases abroad, stop all the mindless killings and endless wars.
Many Americans today – predominately evangelical right-wing Republicans -- are downright bloodthirsty when it comes to perceived and imagined enemies of what they think of as our “exceptional” nation. It’s the reason why the United States of America is so utterly despised and reviled by rational people all around the world.
America’s war mongers have forgotten the hard lessons of Vietnam and all the other murderous killing fields in our shameful militaristic historical past.
Newt Gingrich, especially, calls himself a devout Christian, and so do most, of not all, of his admirers, yet they are so quick to forget the central message of their own God, and his alleged representative on Earth, Jesus Christ, who reportedly exhorted God’s commandment: “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex: 20) and said, “Ye have heard that it has been said: Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matt: 5)
“Kill them,” proclaims Newt, and the crowd goes wild. “No, we must find a way to stop the killing,” reasons Dr. Paul, and the crowd cat-calls him. They don’t want peace; they want war! They want to spend America’s blood and treasure on killing adventures all over the globe.
And while we’re at it, let’s have the poor children, especially the black skinned ones, picking up after their more fortunate peers at school while the rich ones look down at them, play football, and otherwise enjoy their leisure time, opines the Newt.
Asked by debate moderator Juan Williams whether he could understand why his comments that “black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps” and that “poor kids lack a strong work ethic” and perhaps should “work as janitors in their schools” were insulting to African-Americans, Gingrich dismissed the notion out of hand. “No, I don’t see that,” he said smugly, again to wild applause.
You see, that’s Newt’s solution to the flagging economy: put the black school children to work in their schools instead of the unionized janitors. The crowd loved it. “Well, first of all, Juan, the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history,” Gingrich declared, to more thunderous applause. “… It just lit up the audience, and they continued to applaud right into the commercial break,” said Luntz:
Gee, I don’t agree much with Barack Obama’s economic policies either, but I surely didn’t know that one of his responsibilities was to put people on food stamps. I thought that policy was formulated long before Obama became president, and there have been plenty of people on food stamps ever since, with Republican and Democrat presidents alike.
Hey, I always like to give credit when credit is due, and the truth of the matter is that Newt Gingrich is a pretty good debater – a lousy leader; poor candidate, mean spirited, and unlikable human being -- but a pretty good debater. That’s about as far as his political attributes go. He might possibly best Barack Obama in a one on one policy wonk style debate but Barack Obama would make mince meat out of Newt Gingrich in a general presidential election.
Newt Gingrich is simply not electable. He was recently described, and I think rightly, accurately, and humorously so, by one Republican Party pundit as: “an angry little attack muffin.”
He came in a distant fourth in the Iowa caucuses and fifth out of a field of six in the New Hampshire primary race, yet now, after just one admittedly decent debate performance in South Carolina, he has the nerve to urge his fellow rivals, Rick Santorum (who beat him in both contests)  and Rick Perry, to get out of the race so that he can become the so-called conservative alternative to front runner Mitt Romney.
"So I am respectful that Rick has every right to run as long as he feels that's what he should do, but from the stand point of the conservative movement, consolidating into a Gingrich candidacy would in fact virtually guarantee a victory on Saturday," Gingrich boasted in Florence S.C. after the debate. "And I'd be delighted if either Perry or Santorum wanted to do that."
Gingrich added that the reason conservatives should coalesce around him and not Santorum is because he knows how to design a national campaign. "I actually know how to set up a conservative alternative to Obama in a way that will be very, very effective and very strategic. And I don't think Santorum can do any of that. Again, it's not because he isn't a nice guy. He doesn't have any of the knowledge for how to do something like this."

According to Newt, nobody has much knowledge about anything except him.

"I'm a friend of Newt's, he's a good man, but the idea that someone who is 0 and 2 in races is that I am hurting him. Yeah I'm hurting him. I'm beating him. That's the difference," Santorum retorted.

For once, Rick Santorum has said something I can agree with. Newt Gingrich is great at the job of throwing raw meat to the ravenous crowds. He’s not so great at being a leader or even getting himself elected.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Assassination Nation

Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, age 32, along with his driver, was the third Iranian nuclear scientist in two years to be successfully assassinated last week during the morning rush-hour in Tehran by a bomb attached to his car. It was the fifth similar assassination attempt targeting Iran’s nuclear scientists. One scientist managed to survive an earlier plot.   
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's top religious cleric blames the United States Government Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and Israel’s Mossad Intelligence Agency for the killings, claiming they have hard evidence of their involvement.
"We have reliable information, documents and evidence that this terrorist act was planned, guided and supported by the CIA [to assassins] directly involved in Roshan's killing," the Iranian foreign ministry said in a letter handed to the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, who represents U.S. interests there in as much as Washington has no diplomatic ties with Iran.
This shows that "the global arrogance spearheaded by the U.S. and Zionism has reached a deadlock in confrontation with the determined, devout and progressive nation of Islamic Iran," Ali Khamenei declared. They will not own up to it but this "has been carried out by the planning or support of CIA and Mossad, like all other crimes of the network of international state terrorism."
Iran reportedly also delivered a letter to Britain accusing it of having an "obvious role" in the killing. It said that a series of assassinations began after British intelligence chief John Sawers hinted in 2010 at intelligence operations against the Islamic Republic.
The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency is also blamed in light of the fact that it made public a list of Iranian nuclear scientists and officials that "has provided the possibility of their identification and targeting by spy networks."
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, both condemned and "categorically" denied any role in the assassinations, but urged Iran to halt its quest for a nuclear bomb. "We were not involved in any way … I'm not sure who was involved, we have some ideas as to who might be involved... but I can tell you one thing: the United States was not involved in that kind of effort, that's not what the United States does," said Panetta.
Israeli President Shimon Peres said Israel had no role in the attack, to the best of his knowledge. "I have no idea who targeted the Iranian scientist but I certainly don't shed a tear," said Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, a spokesman for Israel Defense Forces.
Iran has accused Israel in the past of causing major mishaps to its nuclear program. Israeli officials never comment on their involvement but some have publicly expressed satisfaction at the results. The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the nuclear dispute. Iran says it would retaliate if attacked.
Republican presidential candidate and bombastic war mongering chicken-hawk, Rick Santorum, said afterwards that the U.S. was wrong to condemn the assassination. "Our country condemned it. My feeling is we should have kept our mouth shut," Santorum opined at a campaign event in Greenville S.C.
"If these are people who are developing a weapon to be used to either destroy the state of Israel or to spread terror -- a reign of terror -- around the world, we shouldn't be sitting on the sidelines and letting it happen," Santorum added. "They cannot have a nuclear weapon, because you, in Greenville, will not be safe."
So Rick Santorum, the American prince of jingoistic sanctimony, believes that our nation is perfectly justified in indiscriminately going around the globe sponsoring assassination squads to murder in cold blood innocent civilian scientists simply because they are involved in projects such as nuclear facilities with which he disapproves.  
The last time I checked, America, Russia, China, North Korea, India, Pakistan, France, the U.K., and especially Israel, can all boast of having nuclear scientists, nuclear weapons, and nuclear facilities. Many more nations on the planet have nuclear scientists and nuclear facilities if not also nuclear weapons of mass destruction. If Santorum’s reasoning is sound then any nation is justified in assassinating the nuclear scientists of another nation in the interests of safety.  
This is just an educated guess on my part, but my gut tells me, despite all the pious denials, condemnations, and disingenuous denunciations, that America, Israel and the U.K. are up to their eyeballs in this appalling violation of international law. No other entities have the motive, means and opportunity to carry out such a vile scheme. It has CIA written all over it.
If they are involved, and if our own government believes that this kind of criminal conduct is justified by any stretch of reasoning, then they must accept the plain truth that the Al Qaeda attacks of 9/11 on the United States, and all other terrorist acts before and after, are perfectly justified as well. After all, those criminals likewise didn’t approve of our aims and projects either.
Sadly, it appears likely that the United States of America; the land of the free and home of the brave, has become a criminal assassination nation.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dear Leader

North Korea announced last week this latest nauseating scenario: the embalmed corpse of its former “Dear Leader,”  the late Kim Jong Il, now formally enshrined with the label “Eternal Leader,” will be put on permanent display as a macabre object of worship at Pyongyang's Kumsusan Memorial Palace, near the moldering corpse of his late father, dubbed the “Eternal President,” Kim Il Sung, founder of the Korean communist Kim dynasty.
February 16, the Dear Leader’s birthday, will now and forever hereafter be known as the "Day of the Shining Star," a supposed reference to his "military first" policy, just as his father’s birthday is called the "Day of the Sun." Statues and portraits of the Dear Leader together with "towers to his immortality"  will also be set up everywhere in the country.
The Political Bureau of the Workers' Party Central Committee declared North Korea's "unanimous desire ... to hold the great leader Comrade Kim Jong Il in high esteem as the eternal leader of the party and the revolution." His father got exactly the same cult of personality treatment when he died in 1995.
And the dynasty lives on for now in the form of the son, twenty-something year-old Kim Jong Un, who inherited a boat load of his daddy’s magnificent political and military titles with the hope that he too can impose himself and his personality on the nation’s pitiful populace with absolute power and manufactured legitimacy as well as his authoritarian father and grandfather did before him.
The never ending propaganda praising Kim Jong Il's life and works has gone up several notches since his death and the privileged class has vowed to uphold his policies in an attempt to justify the hereditary transfer of communist power to the kid.
All of this has got to be the most bizarre version of George Orwell’s Animal Farm I have ever witnessed. It is the horrible nightmare of Authority run amok. It is big government and big military completely unrestrained where the truth is far stranger than the fiction. The people of North Korea are starving; there is zero freedom; no dignity; no life, liberty or pursuit of happiness; no rights whatsoever; nothing to live for. They are beyond pity.
The life of the average North Korean is a perpetual charade in which their very being is entirely exposed, monitored, dominated and controlled 24/7 by human monsters -- humanoids deprived and devoid of empathy, bereft of sympathy, totally lacking in even the tiniest shred of human kindness, mercy or decency.
North Korea makes the proverbial Devil’s territory of Hell in the Holy Bible seem like a desirable summer vacation destination.
And now we learn that these monstrous savages are actually rounding up and punishing numerous hapless souls who fail to sufficiently exhibit sincere manifestations of sadness and despair at the death of the Dear Leader.
According to North Korean sources, the brutal regime “authorities are handing down at least six months in a labor-training camp to anybody who didn’t participate in the organized gatherings during the mourning period, or who did participate but didn’t cry and didn’t seem genuine.”
Amnesty International reports that there are about 200,000 offenders and families held in North Korean prison camps camps known as “zones,” where 40 percent of inmates in the camps will die from malnutrition and every former inmate interviewed for the report had witnessed at least one public execution while being held.
Total Control Zones, are for people who have committed “serious crimes.” People in these camps are never released. Revolutionary Zones, are camps for people who have committed less serious offenses such as making critical comments toward government policy or trying to cross the border. Sentences range from a few months to 10 years in these zones.
This is what people get when they seek a Dear Leader – when they seek Authority!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Compulsory Education: The Slippery Slope

"I believe that every child should have the opportunity, even if they don't go, to at least apply to a college," gushed Washington, D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown last week.
That’s nice. What a sweet guy – thinking about kids. I believe every child ought to have opportunities too. Certainly, if a kid, after finishing high school, desires a chance to apply for admission to a college, he or she ought to have the opportunity to do so.
It’s part of the American dream: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.  
Is that what Councilman Kwame is talking about? Liberty? Freedom? Opportunity? Equality under the law?
Unfortunately, no; I’m afraid it’s the opposite. He’s talking about forcing his own personal agenda upon every young man and woman within his ambit of political power whether they like it or not.
He introduced a bill to require every high school student to apply to a college or trade school even if the student has no interest or desire in attending.
The bill would establish a "mandatory workshop" to teach teenagers how to apply for aid and admission. It would then require all to apply to at least one post-secondary school before graduation, and further require that every kid take the SAT or ACT college admission tests..
Brown says he’s worried that that some D.C. students aren't going to college simply because they "don't know how to navigate the enrollment process," and he wants to make sure they all learn it whether they want to or not. He doesn’t care what they want for themselves. He just wants to exercise his power over them.
Actually, Brown has it ass backwards. These kids don’t know how to navigate the college enrollment process because they simply don’t want to go to college. It’s as simple as that. Why should they learn it? They aren’t interested in pursuing more formal education. They lack the skills and aptitude for college. They’re sick and tired of compulsory education, teachers, principals, school administrators and people who think they know better about how to lead their own lives than they do. They want their freedom!
The main reason why high school and undergraduate college education in America is quickly becoming worthless these days is because of the attitudes and statist thinking of Authorities like Councilman Kwame Brown. When every kid graduates from high school, including those who are dumber and less ambitious than a bag of marbles, a high school diploma is next to meaningless. When every kid is admitted to college, college loses its value.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that compulsory education laws in America are patently unconstitutional, despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled otherwise. Incredibly, the highest court in the land has ignored the Constitution altogether and held that the state as a proper function of its police power may require school attendance – for their own good.
Forget about liberty. Forget about the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments; the right to free speech; freedom of religion and personal conscience; freedom of association; due process; and the rest of the Bill of Rights – none of it matters when the Authorities want to dictate how you lead your own life.  
If the Authority is looking for justification for ObamaCare and the individual mandate for every person to buy health insurance whether they want to or not, there is no better precedent than the laws mandating and upholding compulsory education.
If the state can compel the attendance of children in school, it can compel the conduct of adults to buy health insurance – or to do anything else for that matter – for their own welfare; for their own good.
And the United States Constitution may be damned.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Frivolous Lawsuit Hypocrisy

Politicians, especially Republicans it seems, love to complain about the justice system in America and what they call “frivolous lawsuits.” As far as they are concerned, for instance, every lawsuit against a doctor or hospital brought by an injured patient victim of medical malpractice is frivolous.
Lawsuits brought by little people against big shots and fat cats for fraud, negligence, product liability, or breach of contract, are almost always frivolous according to these blabbering blowhards. They’re constantly demanding judicial reform designed to slam the courthouse door in the little guy’s face regardless of the merit of his claims.  
Moreover, when a little person claims a fundamental right not specifically spelled out in the Constitution, such as the right to privacy, or the right to do as they wish with their own body, these same statist politician hacks are quick to say: “Oh, no!; no way! – if it’s not specified in the Constitution, then it doesn’t exist,” they always proclaim.
Trial lawyers who have the temerity to represent injured poor people on a contingent fee basis to remedy the deliberate, reckless, or negligent conduct of wrongdoers are deemed “ambulance chasers” and “legal vultures” by these politicians who yearn for “tort reform,” i.e. harsh rules and procedures which would intimidate the little guy from bringing a meritorious lawsuit.
Yet when one of these sanctimonious fork-tongued political weasels gets the idea that he’s been somehow “wronged” by an individual, a group, or the system at large; or if he thinks his rights have been violated, he’s always the first to run crying and whining to the lawyers and the courts for relief.
That’s because the legal rights, complaints, and causes of politicians are never frivolous in their eyes, especially when they believe that their own ox has been gored.
Take the recent Virginia ballot-access lawsuit situation for example. Republican presidential primary candidate Rick Perry failed to meet the long-standing legal requirements for ballot access in the state’s March 6th presidential primary contest because his campaign didn’t collect enough valid signatures. So he filed a lawsuit in federal district court demanding inclusion on the ballot anyway.  
Days later, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Jon Huntsman, all of whom either failed outright to satisfy the same requirements, or simply failed to even try, ran whining to their own lawyers clamoring to join in on the lawsuit claiming that their constitutional rights are violated and demanding that their names also be included on the ballot.
Virginia requires presidential primary candidates to obtain 10,000 valid signatures from registered voters in the state, including at least 400 from each of 11 congressional districts. It’s been the law there for many years.
Mitt Romney and Ron Paul both satisfied the requirements without difficulty and their names will be on the ballot.
Newt Gingrich said his campaign's failure to qualify was a result of fraud. "We hired somebody who turned in false signatures. We turned in 11,100 – we needed 10,000 – 1,500 of them were by one guy who frankly committed fraud,” Gingrich told CNN.
Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, and Michelle Bachmann didn’t even go to the trouble of filing the necessary paperwork to be included on the ballot. Santorum whined that Virginia's strict rules favor the richest presidential candidates. Perry claims his freedom of speech rights have been violated and calls the requirements "onerous."
“We believe that the Virginia provisions unconstitutionally restrict the rights of candidates and voters by severely restricting access to the ballot, and we hope to have those provisions overturned or modified to provide greater ballot access to Virginia voters and the candidates seeking to earn their support," declared Perry's communications director.
"The challenge in Virginia isn't about the candidates; it is about the voters," Gingrich said with a straight face. "For the voters in Virginia to be told that ... their options are limited to two people who between them are clearly a minority of the Republican voters is probably unacceptable."
It’s not about the candidates – it’s about the voters. It’s not about me and my failure  – it’s about you, Newt explains without even a trace of shame. He was “defrauded” he claims, but if so, it certainly was not by the State of Virginia. He admits his own hired hand is responsible.
And now he claims like the rest of them that his constitutional rights are violated.
But, where is it spelled out, or even inferred or implied, in the Constitution the right to be included on the Virginia Republican Primary contest ballot in the absence of minimal compliance with the rules?  
The “onerous” rules were in place for many years but none of these bumbling candidates ever thought of challenging them until after the fact. The fact is that they all failed to meet the simple  requirements plainly set forth in the rules, and three of them didn’t even bother to try. The situation is as plain as day.
This is a frivolous lawsuit. If there were ever a frivolous lawsuit, this is it. This is exactly and precisely the kind of lawsuit that these disingenuous politicians always complain about when they holler at the top of their lungs for judicial reform against the little people.
A frivolous lawsuit is a lawsuit brought by a party which has either trivial or no merit whatsoever under the law or the facts, and therefore this is a blatant, obvious, trivial, frivolous lawsuit; an archetypal, quintessential, law school textbook definition of a frivolous lawsuit, and there  is simply no way around it.
But wait a minute! It’s not quite over yet. Corrupt and sleazy politicians usually get their way when it comes to their own selfish interests, and here there just might possibly indeed be a way around the rules.
Virginia's Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, another slippery politician, spoke out immediately, again after the fact, against what he now calls a "deficient" system. He plans to propose emergency changes to the system which would re-open the process and “loosen the rules” for the pathetic failed candidates.
Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has also indicated that he is “open to reviewing Virginia's rules."
All of this is proof once again (if such proof were ever necessary) that when it comes to the interests of politicians, in stark contrast to the little people they claim to represent, they demand entitlement to immunity from their own frivolous lawsuit hypocrisy.