Previous month:
January 2008
Next month:
March 2008

SIGN OF THE TIMES: THE DECREASING VALUE OF "STUFF"

It is a sad realization that I grew up in deprivation. An era when "hand-me-downs" and "cast-offs" not only had value, they were much appreciated.

The local dump provided endless hours of entertainment. Shooting rats and other "varmints" with my BB-gun and locating various and sundry treasures to be salvaged, cleaned-up and put into functional service. 

A trip through the local salvage bin at General Telephone's local service yard was like being handed the keys to geek heaven. All of my friends had "forbidden" extension phones -- not that we spent any real time calling anybody -- but because they were fun to hook up. I was probably the only person on my block to have a multi-line call commander and speaker phone although we still had only one real telephone line -- but every room in the house had their own impromptu intercom.

Later the telephones gave way to old "teletypes" that we imagined had seen service in foreign newsrooms and big corporations who used Telex services. They were intensely mechanical and smelled wonderfully of lubricating oil when they grew hot from "clanking" out their messages. We used punched paper tape to crank out important "spy" messages to our friends and to records "special" information. One of my friends used his teletype to produce a "neighborhood" newsletter which he sold for a whole nickel. The contents were contained in about two-feet of yellow paper with the consistency of newsprint. Later the newer teletypes were used to fashion computer input terminals or connect to mainframe computers using "time-shared" access.

But the real treasures were the computer manuals and operating instructions for exotic technology which were obtained from dumpster diving and cast-offs by friendly local technicians.  I learned to program first in absolute machines language, then symbolic assembly languages and then in higher level languages like Fortran (Formula Translation). Programmers in local companies ran our programs after hours and we waited with great anticipation for days and possibly weeks for the output to be returned. The BASIC (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) was still a few years off.

Books of all kinds were valuable treasures, to be hoarded, read and re-read, to be traded to others for other good and valuable considerations: a roll of wire, an aging radio or  radio tubes of all types -- (especially the good ones like the 12-volt series with exotic numbers like 12BE6, 12BA6,12AV6, 12AX7 and the 6-volt series like the 6GH8 and 6BE6)

Almost everybody I knew had a technical library of some sorts, a very large "junk box" filled with electronic parts and various and sundry treasures and the persistent desire to build something.

But we also had access to a variety of other entertainments. There was an airport next door (Clover Field AKA Santa Monica Airport) where you could trade your manual labor (mostly cleaning up other people's junk or washing and waxing planes) for plane rides in the Cessna 150's that were extremely common and used as flight school trainers. As for parental permission: the operative guideline was "what they didn't know didn't bother them." But, somehow, they knew you were having fun.

One of my neighbors was a Douglas Aircraft employee who invented the "PetriePool" built from riveted aluminum sheets and looked like a giant one-ended Airstream trailer. The pool was used for a number of television programs and it wasn't uncommon to find Lloyd Bridges (of Sea Hunt fame) fiddling around teaching kids how to swim when he had the time. You could easily sneak on to the relatively nearby movie lots of 20th Century Fox and MGM -- aided and abetted by friendly guards whom you assiduously cultivated (bribed) with bottles of soda.

But the real treasures were the hand-me-downs and cast-offs which provided endless hours of enjoyment and could be used as a form of currency when you wanted new things to play with.

Those days are gone...

At work, I am confronted with a small warehouse full of older computers, books and software. At home, all manners of older electronic devices and a collection of near-new books about recently employed technology. And the sad fact is that you can't find anyone interested in taking them off your hands for FREE.

Schools, for the most part, no longer have the budgets or the inclination to operate a "trade shop program" where you were allowed to take drafting, electric shop, wood shop, metal shop, auto shop and printing along with your academic classes.

For some strange reason, school systems almost demand that everybody be processed into an academic program -- no matter what they really want to do when they grow up. I learned more practical math from my shop teachers than I did in my math classes. "Measure many times, cut once" was the operative guideline. You learned to use tools and never were afraid of practical repairs. The point being that  there are little or no schools existing today to which you can donate your "valuable stuff."

Charities, likewise, seem to be similarly affected. Especially those big charities who formerly accepted all manner of used equipment and now are not willing to accept used computers or software. If it is not almost instantly convertible into money, they are no longer interested in your old stuff. The thought of salvaging parts to train workers to re-build older computers is not even a consideration.

Libraries were always willing to accept donations for their collections or to move them up or down the library system chain. Now they want popular novels and current books that can be sold in their "volunteer" book stores to raise cold, hard cash to be used for "unspecified" special projects and "themed" events. It is too much trouble to actually catalog a book (with library catalogs being distributed by third-party vendors) and place it on a shelf. And, of course, most real librarians have given way to a series of chief library clerks and their minions.

The days when the librarian gave you a lecture on the Dewey Decimal system and the use of a card catalog to research your subject has given way to printing out Wikipedia entries and other computerized research materials. The old card-catalogue drawers are now chi-chi antique decorator accent items -- no longer filled with knowledge, but filled with the odds and ends of real life.

School libraries, who were most appreciative of technical and business-related books, no longer will add anything that does not appear in their computerized catalog to their collections. And they also refuse to allow students to pick and choose among the FREE offerings as if it were too much trouble to set out a free book table or box next to the door.

Most libraries have become de facto computer access points and places to do your homework rather than adjuncts to learning.

Even the charities dealing with the poor and downtrodden in foreign lands no longer want older electronic devices and computer equipment or anything that is not in their native language.

So the dumps, no longer accessible to children due to our over-litigious society, continue to be filled with the detritus of daily living or where the material is shredded for their recycled raw material value.

Forget doing good ... it is now a matter of disposing of unneeded technology. Since most computers and other electronic devices are now classified as hazardous waste, you can't even dump them into the garbage can. Off to the politically correct recycling facility. In California, stores collect a $6 recycling fee when they sell the new computer... and it is anybody's guess as to what really happens to that money.

George Carlin on "Stuff" (contains strong language)

What can YOU do?

Think twice before buying the latest whiz-bang device which is desirable more for its status value than its functionality. The device with more features than you will ever use or even require. Decide whether or not the money can be better invested in your future, your family or even given to charity.

Think about reducing your personal clutter by deciding, in advance, to give up something similar in your burgeoning collection of stuff to make room for your new purchase.

Avoid being a packrat as you age. It is almost a universal fact of life that stuff accumulates -- manage your stuff before it manages you.

Enjoy your stuff as you impossibly wish for the return of the "good old days."

-- steve

Quote of the day: 

The easiest way for your children to learn about money is for you not to have any. - Katharine Whitehorn

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


NOTICE TO CHINA, SOUTH KOREA, IRAN AND OTHER NUCLEAR NATIONS: THE FINE FOR TESTING A NUCLEAR WEAPON IN CHICO, CALIFORNIA IS $500

Every city has its own peculiarities, but California seems to have a monopoly on wacky, liberal, far-left feel-good legislation that accomplishes nothing while diverting legislators from dealing with real problems such as their crumbling infrastructure and monumental waste and corruption.

I was extremely surprised to find that Chico, California declared their city to be a nuclear-free zone. I would expect this from San Francisco or Santa Monica, both bastions of whack-job legislators who believe it is their duty and right to engage in social engineering to redistribute the wealth of private individuals -- preferably for monuments to their own egos; complete with their engraved names on the dedication plaques.

For your amusement, I now present the Chico Municipal Code dealing with nuclear weapons...

Chico Municipal Code NUCLEAR FREE ZONE LAW 9.60-1 (3/17/00)

DIVISION IX. NUCLEAR WEAPONS         Chapter 9.60 

NUCLEAR FREE ZONE LAW
Section:
9.60.010 Declaration of purposes.
9.60.020 Definitions.
9.60.030 Prohibition on the production, testing, maintenance and storage of
nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons delivery systems.
9.60.040 Prohibition on appropriation and use of city funds and property for civil defense against a nuclear war.
9.60.050 Remedy for violations.
9.60.010 Declaration of purposes.

The city council finds and declares as follows:

A. That the possibility of nuclear war is a clear and present danger that threatens not only
the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Chico community, but also their very existence.

B. That the use of nuclear weapons in the event of war, whether for the purpose of self
defense or any other purpose, is totally unacceptable
.

C. That even participation in preparation against nuclear war is inappropriate in that it lends credence to the belief that such a war is survivable when in fact it is not.

D. That by reason of the foregoing, the interest of the citizens of the Chico community will be best served by making the city a nuclear free zone in which the production, testing, maintenance, and storage of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons delivery systems is prohibited and in which the appropriation or use of city funds or property for participation in or preparation against nuclear war is also prohibited.

Perhaps Washington should restrict any civil defense preparation funds that might be sent to the city?

E. Nothing in this chapter is intended to preclude or hinder the preparation or response of city personnel and resources in preventing or mitigating radiological emergencies other than nuclear war

Makes you wonder if they consider a nuclear strike by terrorists on United States soil to be an "ACT OF WAR?"

9.60.020 Definitions.

The definitions hereinafter set forth in this section shall govern construction of the
words and phrases to be used in this chapter.

A. Nuclear Weapons Component of a Nuclear Weapon. “Nuclear weapon” shall mean any bomb or other weapon designed to explode as a result of a chain reaction caused by nuclear fission or fusion. “Component of a nuclear weapon” shall mean any material or device produced or manufactured for use in a nuclear weapon.

B. Nuclear Weapon Delivery System - Component of a Nuclear Weapon Delivery
System. “Nuclear weapon delivery system” shall mean any equipment designed to transport, propel, or guide a nuclear weapon. “Component of a nuclear weapon system” shall mean any material or device produced or manufactured for use in a nuclear weapon delivery system.

9.60.030 Prohibition on the production, testing, maintenance and storage of
nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons delivery systems. 

No person shall produce, test, maintain, or store within the city a nuclear weapon, component of a nuclear weapon, nuclear weapon delivery system, or component of a
nuclear weapon delivery system.

Sorry guys, Chico is out as a test site!

9.60.040 Prohibition on appropriation and use of city funds and property for civil defense against a nuclear war. No city funds or property shall be appropriated or used for civil defense against a nuclear war or other preparations for nuclear war, including but not limited to those civil defense measures which address the physical or social aftereffects of a nuclear war.

While a nuclear war is highly improbable, not to engage in contingency planning for all possible scenarios is downright criminally negligent.

9.60.050 Remedy for violations.
At the direction of the city council, the city attorney shall file an action in a court of
appropriate jurisdiction to enjoin any violations of this chapter. Such action for injunctive relief shall be exclusive of any other remedies whether civil or criminal, provided for by this code.

Warning: the City of Chico also prescribes penalties to prevent making loud noises and setting things on fire -- and you could face some serious fines if you decide to test a device in their city!

Trivia: The city of Chico was one of the sites used to film the 1944 war movie, "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo."

What can YOU do?

Laugh at fools wherever they are found.

Demand that your local government officials concentrate on solving those issues which serve to make the lives of all residents more pleasant. Crime, Fire Protection, Emergency Medical Response and the repair or replacement of crumbling infrastructure should supercede any attempt at social engineering or trying to force residents to restrict their normal activities for "their own good."

If elected officials fail to act for the common good, remove them from office with a recall effort or vote them out of office.

Participate in your local government.

-- steve

Quote of the day:

The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution. - Hannah Arendt

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Chico Municipal Code


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


SCREW THE PEOPLE: NO FENCE -- OBAMA, CLINTON

Once again we have another example of politicians who will apparently say or do anything to get elected -- even if it means pandering to special interests and violating the "will of the people."

From CNS News Service...

Obama, Clinton Back Off Border-Fence Law

Fence Act, as written,  should not be followed...

"In a CNN debate in Austin, Texas, Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton agreed Thursday night that the Secure Border Fence Act of 2006, which directs the secretary of Homeland Security to construct 700 miles of double border fencing along specific sections of the U.S.-Mexico border, should not be enforced as written."

Moderator...

Early in Thursday night's debate[02/21/08], moderator John King asked about the legally mandated fence, noting that many people in southern Texas oppose it.

"Senator, back in 2006, you voted for the construction of that fence. As you know, progress has been slow," said King. 'As president of the United States, would you commit tonight that you would finish the fence and speed up the construction, or do you think it's time for a president of the United States to raise his or her hand and say, 'You know what? Wait a minute. Let's think about this again. Do we really want to do this?'"

Clinton...

"Stressing her desire to be deferential to the views of people who live along the border in Texas -- which on March 4 will hold a primary that is widely viewed as a must-win event for the New York senator -- Clinton said of a border fence, 'there may be limited places where it would work. But let's deploy more technology and personnel, instead of the physical barrier.'"

Obama...

"This is an area where Senator Clinton and I almost entirely agree," said Obama. "I think that the key is to consult with local communities, whether it's on the commercial interests or the environmental stakes of creating any kind of barrier."

What... obeying the law is bad?

Both Clinton and Obama argued that the Bush administration was being too aggressive in pushing to build the border fence mandated by the 2006 law.

This is what Presidents are required to do under the Constitution: implement laws passed by Congress in an expeditious manner.

The people be damned...

On September 29, 2006, the Senate voted 80-19 for passage of H.R. 6061, the Secure Fence Act of 2006. (It passed the House on September 14, 2006, by a vote of 283-138).

Clinton and Obama both voted for the act.

Only when their cushy jobs and outrageous perks are threatened, do they listen to the people...

"All 435 members of the House of Representatives and one third of U.S. senators faced reelection contests just one month after passage of the Secure Fence Act."

A prime example of "say anything, do anything" politicians who plan to subvert the will of the people by passing subsequent "disabling" legislation which repeals the original act.

Debate transcript available courtesy of CNN...

"Clinton's full answer, including some back and forth with King, runs more than 500 words in the transcript of the debate posted by CNN on it web site."

What can YOU do?

There should be no doubt in your mind that both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are philosophically aligned and destined to push their radical, far-left agenda over the will of the people.

There will be no border security under these two leading Presidential candidates as well as larger government, further restrictions on personal rights, wealth redistribution to the collective masses and higher taxes.

At least with McCain we get some semblance of national security and perhaps a revised view of border security.Whereas McCain will be held in check by a hostile democrat Congress, there is no counterbalance to the Presidency should a democrat win and have their viewed ratified by a willing democrat Congress.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Obama, Clinton Back Off Border-Fence Law -- 02/22/2008


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


60 MINUTES: AN ATTEMPT TO EMBARRASS THE ADMINISTRATION -- ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF MEDIA FAR-LEFT BIAS OR EXPOSING SOMETHING FAR MORE SINISTER?

UPDATE:  Personal comment -- After watching the 60 MINUTES piece in its entirety, I cannot say with any degree of certainty that governmental malfeasance was not involved. Especially after having watched the apparent politically-motivated prosecution of  Border Patrolmen Ignacio Ramos and José Alonso Compeán by United States Attorney Johnny Sutton. And like the Siegelman case, followed by an unusually harsh sentence. I believe that the Department of Justice should be de-politicized and returned to their law-enforcement function.

Original blog entry...

Politics is not for their faint of heart. It is often a dirty business filled with unproven charges and countercharges which are subsequently elevated by the media to the status of facts.

The far-left media bias...

We have just seen the venerable and formerly credible New York Times attempt to smear front-running Republican Presidential candidate John McCain with nothing more than innuendo and a re-hash of his past history.

Breaking news... both parties are looking for dirt on their opposing candidates

Now we find 60-Minutes entering the fray by attempting to point out that the Republicans engage in opposition research as well the the democrats who have raised muck-throwing to a high art. All while highlighting the case of an imprisoned former democrat Alabama Governor, Don Siegelman.

"GOP Operative: Rove Sought To Smear Dem"

"60 Minutes: Woman Says Top Bush Adviser Asked Her To Take Compromising Pictures Of Alabama Gov. Siegelman"

Scott Pelley discusses his "60 Minutes" report on the controversy surrounding the trial of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman who is serving prison time after being convicted on corruption charges.

Big whoop?

"A Republican operative in Alabama says Karl Rove asked her to try to prove the state’s Democratic governor was unfaithful to his wife in an effort to thwart the highly successful politician’s re-election."

"Rove’s attempt to smear Don Siegelman was part of a Republican campaign to ruin him that finally succeeded in imprisoning him, says the operative, Jill Simpson. Simpson speaks to Scott Pelley in her first television interview, to be broadcast on '60 MINUTES' Sunday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. ET/PT, on the CBS Television Network."

The bigger unasked question: Did the Administration frame a relatively innocent man for political purposes?

Forget the Rove connection for a minute and consider the possibility that the Administration framed an innocent man... isn't this the implied question 60 MINUTES wants to plant in your mind?

"Simpson spoke to Pelley because, she says, Siegelman’s seven-year sentence for bribery bothers her. She recalls what Rove, then President Bush’s senior political adviser, asked her to do at a 2001 meeting in this exchange from Sunday’s report."

Why bring in Rove if you have the facts leading a prudent person to believe that the convicted Siegelman was framed and should be granted a new trial?

"Karl Rove asked you to take pictures of Siegelman?" asks Pelley.
"Yes," replies Simpson.
"In a compromising, sexual position with one of his aides," clarifies Pelley.
"Yes, if I could," says Simpson.
Simpson says she found no evidence of infidelity despite months of observation. She tells Pelley that Rove, who had been a top Republican strategist in Alabama, had made requests for information from her before in her capacity as an "opposition researcher" for Republicans running for office. 

So where's the beef? Opposition research, everybody does it and asking for the juiciest tidbits is a given -- even if you decide to withhold their use.

So what's the story with Siegelman?

From Wikipedia...

"Siegelman was indicted on new charges of bribery and mail fraud in connection with Richard M. Scrushy, founder and former CEO of HealthSouth. Two former Siegelman aides were charged in the indictment as well."

"In short, Siegelman was accused of trading government favors for campaign donations when he was governor from 1999 to 2003 and lieutenant governor from 1995 to 1999, and Scrushy was accused of arranging $500,000 in donations to Siegelman's campaign for a state lottery in exchange for a seat on a state hospital regulatory board."

At this point, it looks like political monkey business as usual with a politician awarding a large contributor with a plum position on a regulatory board.

"On June 29, 2006, a federal jury found both Siegelman and Scrushy guilty. Siegelman was convicted on "one count of bribery, one count of conspiracy to commit honest services mail fraud, four counts of honest services mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice", according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice. He was sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison and a $50,000 fine."

Which seems a little excessive for an almost "non-crime." However, I personally believe that, as an investor in HealthSouth shares who lost money, Scrushy used company money to feather his own nest and would do anything to keep the company's revenue stream growing. So it is possible that there was some implied "quid pro quo" involved... especially since various regulatory boards may have been investigating HealthSouth operations.

From TheStreet.com...

"According to the Securities and Exchange Commission -- which charged the company with numerous securities violations Wednesday -- HealthSouth and its top executive intentionally overstated earnings by at least $1.4 billion in the past four years alone. In the meantime, CEO Richard M. Scrushy sold $25 million worth of HealthSouth stock -- or half his stake in the company -- just ahead of a questionable earnings warning that sent the shares plunging last August. The SEC now maintains that HealthSouth contrived the sudden earnings shortfall to bring Wall Street's expectations down to the company's real earnings potential, sparing uncomfortable officers from certifying false financial statements in the future."

Questions about the jury...

"Following the trial, [lawyers] Kilborn and McDonald raised issues regarding the jury's impartiality after receiving what purported to be emails exchanged between two jurors during the trial. In court the judge said, 'I do not want to deliberate too much about these e-mails.'"

Questions about Rove...

"In June 2007, a Republican lawyer, Dana Jill Simpson of Rainsville, Alabama, signed a sworn statement that she had heard five years ago that Karl Rove was preparing to politically neutralize Siegelman with an investigation headed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Tainted accuser?

"Simpson later backed away from her claim, telling The Birmingham News that 'Karl' could be interpreted in one of two ways. She also stated in the same interview that she had written her affidavit herself, contradicting her Congressional testimony where she had admitted to having help from a Siegelman supporter."

Politics as usual...

Now we find that anti-Administration forces, including the usual democrat suspects, tying to bring Rove down and embarrass the Administration, were also at work, perhaps, trying to gin up a controversy that weaves people, places and times into a conspiracy to illegally prosecute Siegelman. 

"On July 17, 2007, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and Reps. Linda Sánchez (CA-39), Artur Davis (AL-07), and Tammy Baldwin (WI-02) sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, asking him to provide documents and information about former Alabama Democratic Governor Don Siegelman’s recent conviction, among others, that may have been part of a pattern of selective political prosecutions by a number of U.S. Attorneys across the country."

Back to Jill Simpson...

"On October 10, 2007 the House Judiciary Committee released testimony in which Simpson alleged Rove 'had spoken with the Department of Justice' about 'pursuing' Siegelman with help from two of Alabama's U.S. attorneys and that Rob Riley had named the judge who would eventually be assigned to the case. She also claimed Rob Riley told her the judge would 'hang Don Siegelman.'"

Simpson may have perjured herself during this testimony. In any event, her motivations should be examined further.

But is this a case of "selective" prosecution based on political considerations?

We have seen the Department of Justice politicized as never before with the past few Administrations. So it is possible that this was a politically motivated prosecution. But since we do not have all of the story, have not reviewed the evidence and have not read all of the transcripts, we must leave it to the judicial system to prove to the American people that the system is not as corrupt as commonly believed and that there is American justice for one and all.

And there may be some legitimate concern...

As 60 MINUTES reports...

"In fact, 52 former states’ attorneys general from both political parties petitioned Congress to investigate Siegelman’s case, resulting in hearings held last fall."

"'I haven’t seen a case with this many red flags on it that pointed towards a real injustice being done,' Grant Woods, the former Republican attorney general of Arizona and one of those who petitioned Congress, tells Pelley. 'I personally believe that what happened here is that they targeted Don Siegelman because they could not beat him fair and square.'" 

"Siegelman was the only politician in Alabama history to be elected to all four of the state’s highest offices of secretary of state, attorney general, lieutenant governor and governor, and he did it as a Democrat in the heavily Republican state. "

What I believe...

From what I read during my research:

  • Siegelman was portrayed as a corrupt and dirty politician who deserved to be punished for abusing the public's trust; but the question remains whether or not Siegelman was guilty of a crime greater than the usual practice of politicians rewarding their supporters with cushy appointments. An example, President Bush nominating California Billionaire Roland E. Arnall to become the Ambassador to the Netherlands because he was a major campaign contributor; and in spite of the fact that he headed subprime lender Ameriquest Mortgage which was fined more than $325 million dollars for predatory lending practices.
  • Scrushy was a corporate slime-ball and deserved to go to jail -- but perhaps not based on this matter.
  • I believe that Leura Garrett Canary, the United States Attorney for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, should have recused herself from any case  involving politicians as she is married to a career Republican activist,  William (Bill) Canary, who managed  Republican Bob Riley's campaign against Siegelman. Her position in this matter should be thoroughly investigated by the Department of Justice and the House Judiciary Committee.
  • Rove, being a crackerjack political analyst and policy wonk, advised Bill Canary on campaign matters and his loose or misunderstood talk may caused all manner of speculation to run rampant. I find no cause for concern that Rove wanted opposition research as that is politics as usual. Had Rove used undue Administration influence in prosecuting anyone, I believe he should be brought to justice.
  • Using the Administration's Department of Justice for selective prosecution of individuals based on their political actions should be as abhorrent as using the IRS as an agent for political persuasion or retribution.
  • Simpson's motivations for doing the 60 MINUTES interview is unknown and should be more thoroughly explored. Perhaps she is being compensated by pro-Siegelman forces?
  • The American public should demand that the case be reviewed by new Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, to determine whether or not there was any inappropriate behavior by any party to the prosecution and then turn the results of the investigation with supporting materials over to the House Judiciary Committee for their comments.

As I listened to the 60 MINUTES tease clip, I could almost picture Andy Rooney doing the story with equal parts of wit and cynicism.

What can YOU do?

Demand that the Department of Justice be de-politicized and that any wrongdoing by a public official be prosecuted by using people who are not personally involved, in any way, in the administration of justice.

Watch Scott Pelley's piece on the matter and decide for yourself. Be aware that political reportage can be slanted and is often biased. However, if you strongly believe that further action should be taken, contact your elected officials in Washington.

Vote for candidates which will restore honor and dignity to the Office of the Presidency and, by extension, bring back a measure of public trust to the government... if that is all possible.

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

GOP Operative: Rove Sought To Smear Dem, 60 Minutes: Woman Says Top Bush Adviser Asked Her To Take Compromising Pictures Of Alabama Gov. Siegelman - CBS News


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


IS THE NEW YORK TIMES MANUFACTURING A McCAIN NON-SCANDAL?

UPDATE(02): 02-24-08  NEW YORK TIMES OMBUDSMAN COMMENTS ON McCAIN NON-STORY

Even the New York Times' own ombudsman has problems with the Times' coverage on McCain...

"The Public Editor"
What That McCain Article Didn’t Say"

"BILL KELLER, the executive editor of The Times, said the article about John McCain that appeared in Thursday’s paper was about a man nearly felled by scandal who rebuilt himself as a fighter against corruption but is still 'careless about appearances, careless about his reputation, and that’s a pretty important thing to know about somebody who wants to be president of the United States.'”

"But judging by the explosive reaction to the 3,000-word article, most readers saw it as something else altogether. They saw it as a story about illicit sex. And most were furious at The Times."

"The article had repercussions for both McCain and The Times. He may benefit, at least in the short run, from a conservative backlash against the 'liberal' New York Times. The newspaper found itself in the uncomfortable position of being the story as much as publishing the story, in large part because, although it raised one of the most toxic subjects in politics — sex — it offered readers no proof that McCain and Iseman had a romance."

"The article was notable for what it did not say: It did not say what convinced the advisers that there was a romance. It did not make clear what McCain was admitting when he acknowledged behaving inappropriately — an affair or just an association with a lobbyist that could look bad. And it did not say whether Weaver, the only on-the-record source, believed there was a romance. The Times did not offer independent proof, like the text messages between Detroit’s mayor and a female aide that The Detroit Free Press disclosed recently, or the photograph of Donna Rice sitting on Gary Hart’s lap."

"But in the absence of a smoking gun, I asked Keller why he decided to run what he had."

“'If the point of the story was to allege that McCain had an affair with a lobbyist, we’d have owed readers more compelling evidence than the conviction of senior staff members,' he replied. 'But that was not the point of the story. The point of the story was that he behaved in such a way that his close aides felt the relationship constituted reckless behavior and feared it would ruin his career.'”

"I think that ignores the scarlet elephant in the room. A newspaper cannot begin a story about the all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee with the suggestion of an extramarital affair with an attractive lobbyist 31 years his junior and expect readers to focus on anything other than what most of them did. And if a newspaper is going to suggest an improper sexual affair, whether editors think that is the central point or not, it owes readers more proof than The Times was able to provide."

"The stakes are just too big. As the flamboyant Edwin Edwards of Louisiana once said, 'The only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.'”

UPDATE(01): 02-22-08  NEW YORK TIMES EDITOR COMMENTS ON McCAIN NON-STORY

Courtesy of the Media Research Center...

"New York Times’ executive editor Bill Keller continues to defend the paper’s unsubstantiated gossip alleging an improper sexual relationship between Senator John McCain and lobbyist Vicki Iseman -- even claiming that 'no one has challenged what we actually reported,” despite clear denials from McCain, Iseman and three top campaign advisors.'"

"Keller repeatedly admitted in a National Public Radio interview that he and the Times had no facts and no story. As for the alleged affair, 'If, hypothetically, we had established that he had a romantic relationship with a lobbyist — and had done favors for that lobbyist — that would have been a different story.' As to the possible conflict of interest, 'We don't know if there was a quid or a quo in this case.'”

Original blog entry...

Most politicians are slime balls...

Let us start with the premise that most long-term politicians are slime-balls, that somewhere in their long career they have taken campaign donations or received support from special interest lobbyists who were promoting their own agenda.

Real scandal vs. media created controversy...

Now with that said, other than out-and-out Randy "Duke" Cunningham or  Jack Abramoff-style corruption; a major Larry Craig or Bob Allen sex scandal, all that remains is to build a mini-brouhaha based on comparing a candidate's actions with what he has loudly proclaimed or a circumstantial case for some impropriety.

Since politicians are, for the purposes of defamation legal actions, "public persons," members of the media can float speculative items, ask politically-charged questions or simply list a chain of past events to embarrass or wound a candidate.

The New York Times... for those who want left-leaning news and views

Whatever journalistic integrity the New York Times may have had in the past has been heavily eroded by modern  in-house reporting scandals and sloppy journalism. Jason Blair who plagiarized copy and fabricated elements of his stories comes immediately to mind. The fact that their reporting is biased towards far-left issues immediately raises issues of journalistic integrity and the crossover of journalism and commentary.

Therefore I am not surprised that the left-leaning New York Times is heavily hyping a story which may point to a candidate's  potentially unseemly behavior, but upon carefully reading says absolutely nothing of any value or interest.

The New York Times nonsense and non-scandal...

From the New York Times...

For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk

No facts, only "waves of anxiety..."

"Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers."

Mention a woman and a lobbyist...

"A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet.

Anonymous campaign staffers concerned about the appearance of impropriety...

Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity."

This is what politicians do for lobbyists...

"When news organizations reported that Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s client, the former campaign associates said, some aides feared for a time that attention would fall on her involvement."

Mention the denial, but quote the anonymous advisers....

"Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity."

Rehash the past...

"It had been just a decade since an official favor for a friend with regulatory problems had nearly ended Mr. McCain’s political career by ensnaring him in the Keating Five scandal. In the years that followed, he reinvented himself as the scourge of special interests, a crusader for stricter ethics and campaign finance rules, a man of honor chastened by a brush with shame."

Now try to hang McCain on his apparent ethics...

"But the concerns about Mr. McCain’s relationship with Ms. Iseman underscored an enduring paradox of his post-Keating career. Even as he has vowed to hold himself to the highest ethical standards, his confidence in his own integrity has sometimes seemed to blind him to potentially embarrassing conflicts of interest."

And provide examples...

"Mr. McCain promised, for example, never to fly directly from Washington to Phoenix, his hometown, to avoid the impression of self-interest because he sponsored a law that opened the route nearly a decade ago. But like other lawmakers, he often flew on the corporate jets of business executives seeking his support, including the media moguls Rupert Murdoch, Michael R. Bloomberg and Lowell W. Paxson, Ms. Iseman’s client. (Last year he voted to end the practice.)"

Wow, the disclosure of a politician who did not follow his own advice...

"Mr. McCain helped found a nonprofit group to promote his personal battle for tighter campaign finance rules. But he later resigned as its chairman after news reports disclosed that the group was tapping the same kinds of unlimited corporate contributions he opposed, including those from companies seeking his favor. He has criticized the cozy ties between lawmakers and lobbyists, but is relying on corporate lobbyists to donate their time running his presidential race and recently hired a lobbyist to run his Senate office."

Play up his reputation as a "wild man"

“'He is essentially an honorable person,' said William P. Cheshire, a friend of Mr. McCain who as editorial page editor of The Arizona Republic defended him during the Keating Five scandal. 'But he can be imprudent.'”

Guilt by association

"Mr. Cheshire added, 'That imprudence or recklessness may be part of why he was not more astute about the risks he was running with this shady operator,' Charles Keating, whose ties to Mr. McCain and four other lawmakers tainted their reputations in the savings and loan debacle."

Yada, Yada, Yada

And now expand your premise that McCain's past and present activities in the area of campaign reform were not always followed along with more of the same. Yada, Yada, Yada.

If anything, McCain is guilty of hypocrisy ... so unless the New York Times is withholding information, McCain is not guilty of  a sexual peccadillo, corruption or weakening the defense of the United States -- so why is the Times trying to make this appear to be a scandal?

Answer: Because they have lost much of their journalistic integrity and will apparently do or say anything to help the far-left wing of the democrat party.

What can YOU do?

Realize that the New York Times as well as much of the major mainstream media has a not-so-hidden leftist agenda which further blurs the line between editorial opinion and journalistic reporting.

Realize that Barack Obama has his own mini-scandal with a lobbyist involving his family home property.

A Democrat media consultant writes in the Boston Globe that his party has reasons to worry about Obama's shady relationship with the corrupt slumlord:

"While running as a reformer, Obama has had a 17-year relationship with an indicted Chicago con man who's going on trial for fraud, extortion, and money laundering. ABC News found that Obama has been close to Antoin 'Tony' Rezko, a major slumlord and wheeler-dealer who used minority set-asides and community groups as fronts to win government contracts."

"As a state senator, Obama wrote letters to the city and state backing Rezko's successful bid to get $14 million in tax money to build senior citizen housing that wasn't in Obama's district."

"ABC and the Chicago Sun-Times both found that Obama asked for and got Rezko's help in buying land neighboring Rezko's property for $300,000 below the asking price. When the deal became public, Obama said it was a mistake that he regrets. He may not be done regretting it."

"The Sun-Times has learned that Obama is the unnamed political candidate in the federal indictment against Rezko. His US Senate campaign got $10,000 out of quarter-million-dollar scheme engineered by Rezko."

"Obama's dealings with Rezko took place while it was well known that Rezko was under investigation by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who sent Scooter Libby to jail. Rezko goes on trial Feb. 25, three weeks after Feb. 5, when half of all the delegates will be chosen."

And you can't even begin to describe the chaos, corruption that swirls around Hillary Clinton.

There is no perfect candidate for the office of the Presidency -- but you must ask yourself who will best defend the United States and who may be moderated by Congressional opposition? Compared to modern liberal/socialists who tax and spend policies will resonate in the Congress and may be enacted into laws to the detriment of the American public.

They tried to smear McCain once -- and now they are trying to do it again. By sowing the seeds of doubt.

Do not project your own feelings on to a candidate who may appear to be a blank slate always speaking of hope and the future while coming from an undistinguished and questionable past.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

Quote of the day: 

Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation. -- Henry Kissinger

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk - New York Times


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


LOSING OUR PRIVACY ONE DEVICE AT A TIME (PART II)

Once again we are confronted with the realities of living in the digital world and how we are incrementally losing our privacy one device at a time.

SRL_0291

Therefore it is appropriate to illustrate this point with a picture of an electronic warfare aircraft practicing touch-and-go landings on Whidbey Island, Washington.

There is nothing special about this photo, other than the fact that it contains embedded digital information that can be passed along much in the same way that your computer can add the identification information about your audio player device to identification information about your computer to be burned into the audio file that is being created on your CD burner. In fact, many e-mail programs insert special identification elements known as GUIDs (Globally Unique IDentifiers) into your e-mail messages and its graphic and audio content. Ditto for these identifiers being added to your documents, spreadsheets and other computer-generated files.

Information and identifiers which may allow law enforcement to identify the perpetrators of a crime, your employers to identify the source of leaks and the rest of the universe to track your digital footprint as you traipse around the globe.

These data items are referred to as "METADATA"  which is defined as "data about data." To learn how to remove metadata from your documents, consult your word processing, spreadsheet or graphics program help file.

For those who are curious about what this particular photo says, here is a display of a portion of the publicly accessible knowledge that is embedded in the file.

Filename : SRL_0291.JPG
                JFIF_APP1 : Exif
Main Information
                     Make : NIKON CORPORATION
                    Model : NIKON D200
              Orientation : left-hand side
              XResolution : 300/1
              YResolution : 300/1
           ResolutionUnit : Inch
                 Software : Ver.1.00
                 DateTime : 2006:06:30 14:24:06
         YCbCrPositioning : co-sited
           ExifInfoOffset : 228
            GPSInfoOffset : 30056
Sub Information
             ExposureTime : 1/180Sec
                  FNumber : F6.3
          ExposureProgram : Program Normal
          ISOSpeedRatings : 100
              ExifVersion : 0221
         DateTimeOriginal : 2006:06:30 14:24:06
        DateTimeDigitized : 2006:06:30 14:24:06
   ComponentConfiguration : YCbCr
   CompressedBitsPerPixel : 4/1 (bit/pixel)
        ExposureBiasValue : EV1.0
         MaxApertureValue : F5.7
             MeteringMode : Division
              LightSource : Unidentified
                    Flash : Not fired
              FocalLength : 210.00(mm)
                MakerNote : Nikon COOLPIX Format : 29162Bytes (Offset:872)
              UserComment : (C)2006 Stephen Richard Levine      
               SubSecTime : 44
       SubSecTimeOriginal : 44
      SubSecTimeDigitized : 44
          FlashPixVersion : 0100
               ColorSpace : sRGB
           ExifImageWidth : 3872
          ExifImageHeight : 2592
ExifInteroperabilityOffset : 30026
            SensingMethod : OneChipColorArea sensor
               FileSource : DSC
                SceneType : A directly photographed image
               CFAPattern : 8 Bytes
           CustomRendered : Normal process
             ExposureMode : Auto
             WhiteBalance : Auto
         DigitalZoomRatio : 1/1
        FocalLength(35mm) : 315(mm)
         SceneCaptureType : Standard
              GainControl : None
                 Contrast : Hard
               Saturation : High
                Sharpness : Hard
     SubjectDistanceRange : Unknown
GPS Informtion
             GPSVersionID : 2,2,0,0
ExifR98
                    ExifR : R98
                  Version : 0100
Thumbnail Information
              Compression : OLDJPEG
              XResolution : 300/1
              YResolution : 300/1
           ResolutionUnit : Inch
    JPEGInterchangeFormat : 30184
JPEGInterchangeFormatLength : 11313
         YCbCrPositioning : co-sited

Had the GPS feature been enabled, the exact location of the photographer at the time the photo was taken  would also have been inserted into the file. Combine this file with the Nikon authentication software and we can determine if this is the original picture taken by the camera as opposed to a "Photoshopped" image.

While this information can serve as a learning aid to help us take better pictures and the GPS information can help us to catalog our ever-growing photo collection, there are security and privacy tradeoffs which must be considered.

And these security and safety issues go far beyond  Hollywood inserting digital watermarks and file identification markers to control the illegal use of copyright material.

What can YOU do?

Be aware that you may be leaving digital footprints whenever you use a modern digital device. Information which can be decrypted from files in transit by any of the communications carriers who have been legislatively mandated to provide this access capability under CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act) to anyone with a lawful order.

Which is why we, as a people, should take the subject of warrantless searches and the unmonitored inspection of communications traffic (deep packet mining) with the utmost seriousness lest your Constitutional rights against self-incrimination and unlawful search and seizure be compromised.

I strongly suggest that you visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation's site at www.eff.com if you are interested in the subject of maintaining your personal freedoms in this technological age.

For those who want to extract the digital information from your photos without the use of a high-end photo manipulation program, simply Google "free EXIF readers" and download any one of a number of good programs.

It is not necessary to sacrifice your personal freedom or liberty to achieve safety and security... especially in today's chaotic political environment where almost every politician is jockeying for power, prestige and profits.

-- steve

Quote of the day: Those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither - Benjamin Franklin.

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


STEP ONE: CASTRO STEPS DOWN

According to an official communist news publication, Fidel Castro, 81, is officially retiring as the head of Cuba, 49 years after seizing power in 1959. It appears the Castro never fully recovered from his life-threatening stomach surgery. While his brother Raul is more militant, he too is an aging dinosaur.

Let us all hope that this is the beginning of a new era of cooperation between the United States and Cuba and that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stays out of the mix.

They players from Wikipedia...

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (born August 13, 1926) was the Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and the President of Cuba from 1976 to 2008. In 2006, due to illness, he transferred his official duties to his younger brother, Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz. On February 19, 2008 Castro announced his resignation as President of Cuba.

Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz (born June 3, 1931) is the Acting President of Cuba and Acting President/First Vice President of the Cuban Council of State. The younger brother of Cuban President Fidel Castro also occupies the positions of First Vice President/Acting President of the Council of Ministers, Acting First Secretary/Second Secretary of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), and Acting Commander in Chief Maximum General of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, and Air Force), second only to the Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro.

On July 31, 2006, Raúl Castro assumed the duties of President of the Council of State in a temporary transfer of power due to Fidel Castro's illness. According to the Cuban Constitution Article 94, the First Vice President of the Council of State assumes presidential duties upon the illness or death of the president.

Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (born July 28, 1954) is the current President of Venezuela. As the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Chávez promotes a democratic socialism political doctrine,[1] Latin American integration, and anti-imperialism. He is also a critic of neoliberalism globalization and United States foreign policy.[2]

A career military officer, Chávez founded the left-wing Fifth Republic Movement after orchestrating a failed 1992 coup d'état against former President Carlos Andrés Pérez. Chávez was elected President in 1998 with a campaign centering on promises of aiding Venezuela's poor majority, and was reelected in 2000 and in 2006. Domestically, Chávez has launched Bolivarian Missions, whose goals are to combat disease, illiteracy, malnutrition, poverty, and other social ills. Abroad, Chávez has acted against the Washington Consensus by supporting alternative models of economic development, and has advocated cooperation among the world's poor nations, especially those in Latin America.

A sample of Fidel's thinking on the coming election, financial crisis and other matters (from www.Granma.cu (English Edition)

 Reflections by President Fidel Castro
The Republican Candidate
(Part Five and Last)
February 18. 2008
THE articles introduced in yesterday’s reflection, on February 14, were written in the last two or three days.
More than two weeks ago, on January 27, 2008, the digital publication Tom Dispatch reproduced an article translated for Rebelión by Germán Leyens: "Why the Debt Crisis is Now the Greatest Threat to the American Republic," by Chalmers Johnson. This American author has not been awarded the Nobel Prize, as has Joseph Stiglitz, the famous and well-known economist and writer, or even Milton Friedman himself, who inspired neoliberalism and led many countries down that disastrous path, including the United States.

 Reflections of President Fidel Castro
The Republican Candidate
(Part Four)
February 13. 2008
When in the previous reflection I asked McCain what he thought of the Five antiterrorist Cuban Heroes, I did so because I remembered what he had published on page 206 of his book Faith of My Fathers, co-written with his assistant Mark Salter:


 Reflections of President Fidel Castro
The Republican Candidate (Part Three)
February 13. 2008
YESTERDAY, I said that while Bush was speaking to Congress, McCain was being honored at the Versailles Restaurant of Little Havana.

 Reflections of President Fidel Castro
The Republican Candidate (Part Two)

February 12. 2008
ONE of the most hostile U.S. newspapers when it comes to Cuba, headquartered in Florida, offers the following report: “Taking advantage of the negotiations to free the Bay of Pigs’ prisoners, the CIA tried to use a key person in the talks, American lawyer James B. Donovan, to deliver a lethal gift to Fidel Castro: a wetsuit contaminated with a fungus that lacerates the skin and an underwater breathing device infected with tuberculosis...the gear in fact was given to the Cuban leader in November 1962.


 Reflections of President Fidel Castro
The Republican candidate
 (First part)
February 11. 2008
THESE reflections are self-explanatory. On the now well-known Super Tuesday, a day of the week when many U.S. states selected the candidate of their choice from among a pool of aspirants to the presidency of the United States, one of the possible candidates to substitute George W. Bush was John McCain. Because of his pre-designed image as a hero and his alliance with strong contenders like the former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, other hopefuls had already gladly given their support.

What can YOU do?

Watch with wonder as those in Hollywood and the far-left liberal democrat movement respond to this story with accolades for a brutal dictator who has tortured and killed his own people in the name of freedom and liberty. 

Consider purchasing a copy of  "Fidel: Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant" by Humberto Fontova which includes quotes from...

    • Singer Harry Belafonte -- “If you believe in freedom, if you believe in justice, if you believe in democracy, you have no choice but to support Fidel Castro!”
    • Model Naomi Campbell -- “A dream come true!”
    • Actor Jack Nicholson -- " A genius.”
    • Director Oliver Stone -- “Very selfless and moral. One of the world’s wisest men.”
    • Comedian Chevy Chase -- Socialism works. I think Cuba might prove that.

Consider the wonders of a re-vitalized Cuba when the refugees in Miami's little Havana return to the Island and start re-building it into its former glory as a tourist spot. While it might take many years, it is possible that Cuba could be annexed to the United States and be given the same rights and priviledges that are now enjoyed by other United States territories. This indeed could be the first step.

-- steve

Quote of the day:  "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority
keen to set brush fires in people's minds." -
- Samuel Adams

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…References: 

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

The Actual Announcement|Granma

From Media Research...

"In his 49 years as dictator, Fidel Castro never allowed free
elections and dealt brutally with Cubans who dared oppose him --
execution, imprisonment or exile. Yet liberals in the U.S. media
remained enchanted with Castro and his communist revolution, treating
the dictator more as a charming celebrity than an oppressive tyrant.
The Media Research Center has compiled some of the choicest examples
of the liberal media's infatuation with Castro from the last 20
years, many accompanied by video and audio clips."

"For 'Fidel's Flatterers: The U.S. Media's Decades of Cheering
Castro's Communism,' compiled last year by the MRC's Rich Noyes, go
to:
http://www.mrc.org/SpecialReports/2007/castro/welcome.asp"

The sub-headings you'll find:

  • Field Trips to Fidel's Island "Paradise"
  • CNN's Havana Bureau: "Megaphone for a Dictator"
  • Elian Gonzalez, Back to the "Peaceable" Paradise
  • Touting Fidel and Cuba's Communist Revolution

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


FASB: ACCOUNTING FOR FAILURE -- HIDING THE OBVIOUS?

In an Orwellian world, where white is black, up is down, freedom is tyranny, the poobahs of accounting are redefining a new concept: transparency.

Who?   The Financial Accounting Standards Board

According to Wikipedia...

"The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is a private, not-for-profit organization whose primary purpose is to develop generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) within the United States in the public's interest.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) designated the FASB as the organization responsible for setting accounting standards for public companies in the U.S.

It was created in 1973, replacing the Accounting Principles Board and the Committee on Accounting Procedure of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Their mission...

"The FASB's mission is 'to establish and improve standards of financial accounting and reporting for the guidance and education of the public, including issuers, auditors, and users of financial information.'"

These are  people who brought us arcane corporate accounting methodologies that enabled financial institutions to the create exotic financial instruments known as derivatives and to sell them to other financial institutions in such a manner as to keep the impact of these illiquid and almost unmarketable off corporate balance sheets. Thus they allowed corporations to accumulate tremendous amounts of risk with very little transparency until the entire structure came crashing down on the United States economy -- requiring massive capital infusion by the government to prevent banks from becoming insolvent. 

One need only read the summary of the FASB-promoted rule FAS-140 dealing with SPEs (Special Purpose Entities) which kept all the dirty little financial secrets off the parent entity's balance sheet to understand what these people are all about.

Is there a hidden agenda?

Like all professional societies, accountants have every reason from preventing their slide into irrelevancy in today's automated world by compounding abstract and almost incomprehensible rules which require a "licensed" professional to render an "opinion" on the "adequacy of the financial controls" used to produce reports for professional and public consumption.

And where is the accountability for the accounting?

So why are the professional accounting entities NOT  being charged as being an accessory to fraud for all of the accounting obfuscation that led to the subprime mortgage debacle? Almost everyone of these big corporations used a major "public accounting" corporation to sprinkle "holy water" on their financial statements; most of which were almost publishable works of fiction, where subtleties disguised worthless assets and created artificial value where there was none.

And now those who oversee the accounting industry want to turn the accounting world topsy-turvy with new accounting standards which they claim will result in more transparency in financial statements....

The seven year project...

Sometime in the near future, FASB will be releasing their latest abomination, the draft standards for financial statement preparation and display. In process for 7 years, the result is the ultimate "committee" decision. With proponents and opponents destined to fight over the niggling details.

The devil is in the details...

Instead of presenting the familiar balance sheet and income statement, there will be radically new and expanded reports. One item, over which I have a great deal of concern, is the elimination of the "net income" line item. Other items of concern relate to "business segment reporting" which may require a diverse organization like General Electric to report on each business unit and thus producing reams of data which need to be analyzed prior to consolidation. While investors would be rewarded with a plethora of new material upon which to base analysis and commentary, certain competitive advantages may be unduly disclosed. Foreign industrial espionage would become immeasurably easier as one could track the under-performing units to gain an operational advantage. There is no doubt that the trademarked "Accounting Standards Codification" project is immense, complex and has the possibility to further obfuscate corporate accounting.

But in spite of the past efforts of hundreds of individuals the question remains, will anyone have the cojones to declare the overall project a disaster?

The out?

While these proposed accounting measures affect primarily large organizations and private organizations may be somewhat exempt, it should be noted that a liberal interpretation of FAS 131 may allow companies to avoid reporting anything that is not used internally

Is accounting becoming a joke?

There is an old joke that has a chief financial officer interviewing major public accounting firms for a lucrative audit project.

He goes down the line of assembled representatives asking them to whisper the answer to a questions in his ear.

The question: what is two plus two.

As he proceeds down the line, he keeps shaking his head until he picks the accounting firm that will get his firm's business.

A subordinate, confused by the process, asks his boss, "Everybody knows that the answer to two plus two is four. So how did you pick the winner?"

Simple, I continued down the line until I received the right answer. "Right Answer?, replied the subordinate.

"Yes, it was the fourth answer I received."

"What did he say that was different from everybody else?"

"He asked me 'What do you need for performance?'"

Believe me, when it is YOUR money and retirement at stake, this is no laughing matter.

What can YOU do?

Resolve never to return to the days of ENRON-style accounting.

As a corporate officer, ask your accountant if these changes will mean a major disruption in your accounting procedures. But be careful when asking a professional earning billable hours to espouse on a hypothetical?

As an investor, ask your investment adviser what these changes are likely to mean in terms of self-education and the ability to manage your own investments?

And as members of the public, do we want to give corporations the ability to further slice and dice the numbers into further obscurity?

For those who want to learn the extent of the proposed changes, please visit the FASB site.

Bottom line, if there continues to be such a thing, beware of the accounting industry's further complication and obfuscation of such items as net income, earnings, etc. 

-- steve

Quote of the Day: Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it. --David Starr Jordan

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


California to students: you may not be able to read, write, add and subtract; but you will be able to separate the bottles from the cans and blame the weather on global warming!

There is nothing remotely progressive about so-called progressive education...

Once again the so-called "progressives," a term which is often synonymous with far-left socialistic democrats, are moving students away from the core basics of learning into the realm of "touchie-feelie"  subjects as part of California's great social engineering experiment to turn out students who cannot survive without government assistance and subsidies.

California Senate Bill S.B. 908 is now attempting to legally mandate the teaching of "climate change" as part of the science curriculum.

"...state board and the department shall revise, as necessary, the framework in science to include the necessary elements to teach environmental education, including, but not limited to, all of the following topics: (1) Integrated waste management. (2) Energy conservation. (3) Water conservation and pollution prevention. (4) Air resources. (5) Integrated pest management. (6) Toxic materials. (7) Wildlife conservation and forestry. (8) Climate change."
-
California Senate Bill S.B. 908 -- Joe Simitian

While I would have no objection to adding atmospheric studies to the general science curriculum, what bugs me is the "politically correct" manner in which such subjects are discussed.

I guess I will have to wait until the expensive textbooks have been approved to find out weather or not (sorry for the PUN, I couldn't resist it!) the specious theory that carbon dioxide is the cause of  man-made global warming  is what will be taught in school; and that man can reverse the effects of global climate change by instituting a political policy of carbon caps and emissions credits. Of course, nobody will be able to measure the difference for at least 800 to 1000 years in the future.

Measurable performance thirty-five years is stagnant. 

But what we can measure tells a sad and distressing tale. SAT (Scholatic Aptitude Test) Math scores have been essentially flat since 1972 and reading results lower. According to the College Board: from 1972 to 2007, reading average scores declined from 530 to 502 and average math scores went from 509 to 515. Not an impressive performance considering 35 years of "progressive" education under the tutelege of teacher's unions.

Using limited school time wisely...

Instead of modifying the science curriculum to further reduce the student's time studying physics, chemistry, astronomy and other science subjects which will provide a broad background in the "scientific method" and critical analytical thinking skills, the California legislators are inserting nonsense subjects that are best treated as part of a social studies or modern living course.

In fact, why not simply have a single course entitled, "Feel Good by Voting for Democrats" and use the remainder of the school year to teach the necessity skills (reading, writing, and mathematics), the thinking and context skills (philosophy and history), and the coping skills (homemaking, obtaining employment, entrepreneurship, proper English, proper grooming) and the living skills (physical education and health) that actually assist children in achieving their life goals.

Good 'ole Joe... professional politician and lawyer

A glance at the bill's author will tell you all you have to know...

S. Joseph Simitian (born February 1, 1953) is a Democratic California State Senator, who was elected to replace the term-limited Byron Sher in the 2004 elections. The 11th Senate District encompasses all or part of 13 cities in San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties, including Atherton, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park , Redwood City, California, San Carlos, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Palo Alto, San Jose, Capitola, and Santa Cruz, as well as unincorporated areas of those three counties.

Simitian is married to Mary Hughes, a Bay Area political consultant. Simitian proposed to Mary Hughes on election night on November 14th 1996 upon being elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors representing District 5.

  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, cum laude (with academic honors), The Colorado College
  • Master of Arts, International Policy Studies, Stanford University
  • Master of City Planning, University of California, Berkeley
  • Juris Doctor, Boalt Hall School of Law at University of California, Berkeley
  • Apparently a very bright man, a left-leaning liberal politician seeking a greater career in politics and/or public policy. Unfortunately, to my way of thinking, another politically correct politician with his head up his political ass.

    What can YOU do?

    Realize that Teacher's organizations and unions do not care a whit about education and students except as  talking points. They are more interested in building their dues-paying membership and accumulating more political power. They are anti-school choice and dead set against any measure of teacher competency. These unions, with their far-left leadership, have done more to damage the competency and competitiveness of American society than almost any other institution. And they support politicians who will further their cause... even over those who would help children read and right first!

    Do not elect politicians to local school boards and recognize that even though a school administrator was once a classroom teacher, priorities and allegiances quickly change from helping children to securing their own tenure and perks.

    Realize that education is about rationality and not about political correctness or social engineering. There are only a few core competencies (reading, writing, arithmetic, learning and communications skills) which must be mastered before real learning can proceed. Waffling over the historic prevalence of European white men over indigenous peoples buys you nothing in today's job market.

    Realize that there is no justification for thirty and forty dollar textbooks when a significant amount of core educational materials are already in the public domain and available for royalty-free use. Pandering to the special interest textbook suppliers and politically correct crowd demanding revised teaching materials is creating havoc within our teaching systems. Remember the "whole language" learning experiment which created five- to ten-years of function illiterates?

    If you stuff a class chock full of people who speak little or no English, dumb down the materials to be easily absorbed by people with lesser skills, test on the basis of the lowest common denominator and grade based on the social acceptance of peers and feelings of individual students, you are creating a self-perpetuating downward spiral into mediocrity first, failure second, and finally subjugation by those smart enough to escape the gravitational drag of modern school systems. 

    Keep politics and liberals out of our educational systems. What we need is more Mrs. Langstons (2nd grade), Mrs. Cannons (4th Grade), and Mrs. Shapiros (6th grade) who were caring, but no-nonsense teachers. You followed school rules, did your classwork, did your homework and knew that your parents were showing up at the twice-a-year parent's night to see your progress displayed against your fellow students. Only in arts and crafts did you get a break.

    In junior high, a similar situation where in addition to learning the academic subjects you could take wood shop (Mr. Silvera), metal shop (Mr. Barber), electric shop (Mr. Paden), Drafting (Mr. Cavanaugh), and printing (Mr. Helsley) to insure that you could use tools and could make household repairs without fear.

    And with a good elementary and junior high school background, you could progress with some degree of certainty ever upward.

    We did not have gang fights, sex in the classroom, drive-by shootings, school lock-downs or students with weapons. Most of the boys had pocket knives but they were never used for weapons. You did not threaten your teacher with death and mayhem. Your parents did not threaten to sue the school system at the drop of a hat. If you had a problem with another student, you worked it out -- fights lasted less than one-minute and you frequently became friends before the end of the semester.

    We had our share of poor students and students of migrant worker families. We made do with what we had and shared everything. There was a community of students.

    Of course, there were social problems, good and bad students, good and bad children and the ever-present social cliques. Problems were dealt with expeditiously. 

    One major difference was parental involvement which seems lacking in today's educational scenario. In my neighborhood, you were responsible to any adult -- not only your parents. You could be busted for bad behavior by a neighbor as well as your parents. The police, in this case neighbor Johnny Huey, were friends to all and were not feared.

    Extra-curricular activities like the Brownies, Bluebirds, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts were free from political influence. We could wear our uniform shirts to school without fear or ridicule.

    Times have changed and often not for the better. Which leads us to the conservative philosophy of introducing social change slowly and without major disruptive effects.

    We need to regress to teaching core values and imposing old-time discipline on children. Gang and other criminal activity should not be tolerated. Rehabilitative experiments should not be performed in an atmosphere that puts other children at risk.

    School is not a day care center, a means to provide supplemental support to poor families or a tool for social engineering. It should retain its core focus on learning above all other social and political agendas, hidden or otherwise.

    Do not elect career politicians or failed administrators to supervise school systems. And wherever possible, do not elect lawyers to any public position.

    And do not mandate the teaching of specious scientific theories as being fact. Theories are just that: theories, no more or no less.

    -- steve

    A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

    The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

    References:

    Bill would require California's science curriculum to cover climate change|San Jose Mercury News


    “Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

    “Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

    “Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

    “The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

    "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

    “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

    “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

    “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


    WHO ARE THE "BORDER GOVERNORS" WHO WILL CERTIFY THAT THE BORDER IS CLOSED TO ILLEGAL ALIENS -- AND CAN WE TRUST THEM?

    I'm bad...

    There is no doubt that Presidential candidate Senator John McCain attempted to circumvent the will of the people by joining with democrat Teddy Kennedy and Republican George Bush to ram a comprehensive immigration reform bill through Congress. A bill crafted behind closed doors which granted a form of super-citizenship to illegal aliens with special provisions unavailable to legal citizens and was not vetted by any committee or subject to a fiscal, social or environmental impact study. A overwhelming, complex piece of legislation that was provided to the legislators only hours before a required vote. Bad legislation being foisted upon an unwilling American people by legislators acting in their own best political interests.

    The new and improved McCain...

    In spite of his previous support of the McCain-Kennedy SHAMnesty legislation, McCain now claims that he has heard the citizenry and will seek border control first, before attempting to seek legislation on comprehensive immigration reform.

    Now we hear McCain claiming that he will take no further action until the "border governors" certify that the border is under control.

    The people do not trust the government on comprehensive immigration reform...

    The unprecedented uprising of ordinary individuals against the Congress and the Administration was a clear and direct indication that the citizens no longer had faith or trust in their government to keep their word on securing the borders. The people were proven correct as subsequent Congressional actions de-funded protection initiatives and modified border fence protections.

    So who are the people who are being asked to vouch for the existence of effective border control?

    The repetition of John McCain's campaign promise to take no further action on comprehensive immigration reform until the Governors of the leading border states certify the border is under control, leads me to ask, who are these governors and can we trust them to uphold the will of the people to stem the tide of illegal aliens who are destroying our healthcare, educational, judicial, retirement and social infrastructure with their overwhelming numbers.

    It is not a matter of racism, it is a matter of numbers...

    For those who are inclined to throw around the "race card," let me remind them that the vast majority of Americans have nothing against Mexico or Mexican citizens. While American citizens do not harbor any animosity against individuals who are seeking a better life in the United States, they do object that the fruits of their labors are summarily being diverted to support these illegal aliens rather than repairing or replacing our crumbling infrastructure for the benefit of legal citizens and immigrants. We are facing a hoard of locusts that are devouring all sustenance in their path -- leaving little or no nourishment for the legal residents.

    Here are the Governors who will be certifying our border closures...

    California -- Arnold Schwarzenegger (Republican, Term expires in 2010)

    Schwarzenegger is a RINO (Republican In Name Only) who appears to behave like a liberal democrat on social issues such as immigration reform and healthcare. He is a consummate politician who can be relied on to do or say whatever is necessary to promote his own interests. He is a legal immigrant and sympathizes with those who are trying to seek their fame and fortune in foreign lands.

    Trustworthy: NO

    Arizona -- Janet Napolitano (Democrat, Term expires in 2011)

    Governor Napolitano is probably the best of the border governors. While she does support comprehensive immigration reform, she does consider the safety and security of her constituents over the political considerations of the special interests. She is one democrat which I believe would make a better President than both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

    Governor Napolitano was the first governor to request the United States National Guard be placed on border patrol.

    Trustworthy: YES

    New Mexico -- Bill Richardson (Democrat, Term expires in 2011)

    Governor Bill Richardson identifies himself as being of Hispanic origin (Mother was María Luisa López-Collada Márquez) and spent a significant amount of time in Mexico City. Known as a media-seeking politician who strongly supports immigration reform which features a path to citizenship for illegal aliens whom he refers to as "undocumented immigrants."

    Trustworthy: NO

    Texas -- Rick Perry (Republican, Term expires in 2010)

    James Richard "Rick" Perry has openly advocated for comprehensive immigration reform and enhanced trade agreements with Mexico including building of the Trans-Texas Corridor. It is believed by many that the Administration, in cooperation with the multi-national corporations and political leaders, are secretly implementing the plans detailed by the Council of Foreign Relations to build a Union of the Americas (Canada, United States and Mexico) similar to the European Union. It is somewhat ironic that the project is being financed by Spanish concerns located in Spain.

    Trustworthy: NO

    Whoops, I do not have a warm and fuzzy feeling about letting these governors certify the borders as being under control.

    What can YOU do?

    Beware of any campaign promises that contain wiggle-room based on semantic circumnavigation such as that famously employed by Bill Clinton.

    "It depends on what the meaning of the word d 'is' is. If the--if he--if 'is' means is and never has been, that is not--that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement..." -- Bill Clinton

    Beware of those who are supported by multi-national corporations and special interests who are seeking to lower trade barriers, obtain cheap labor and want to shift employer-paid benefits such as healthcare to the public sector.

    Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.

    -- steve

    Quote of the day: Good intentions will always be pleaded for any assumption of power. The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters. -- Daniel Webster

    A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

    The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

    Reference Links:


    “Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

    “Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

    “Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

    “The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

    "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

    “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

    “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

    “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS