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It’s only funny to those who recognize the scam …

It has always been amusing to me when scam artists in foreign countries try to translate their native language and syntax into English. I cannot even imagine what they must think of America and its citizens.

This particular scam references a Western African country, Dahomey, now named Benin or more formally the Republic of Benin. A former French colony, shaped like a downward pointing phallus (how appropriate), located between Togo on the West and the scam capital of the world, Nigeria, to the East.

Capture6-21-2008-12.19.36 PM

You have been scammed, so send money to this scammer …

Attn: Greeting to you ,

This to acknowledge you that your e-mail id is found among those that have been scammed, and the competiation have been approved from the supreme high court here in Benin and we are asked to contact you by the Benin president on how to send you the  united state dollars by the diplomatic courier and the fund as been cash in dollars here in Benin bank.
So you are advice to contact the lawyer in charges of this fund and his name is BARRISTER MIKE IKE and make sure you contact him with your full Contact information such as.

For more information on how to make the money send to you because many People complain about scamming every day from Benin and we are trying to stop this fraudulent from Benin and am sure you that it will stop because we are now working with the internet operation such as YAHOOMAIL.and also the united state FBI and Benin police with Benin EFCC so the scam can be eradicated in this country and I want you to follow your fund code which follow bellow, and whish is given to you by the high court of Benin and the code is (Be74678FGN)
And I want you to keep this code, because this code will ensure you and Alert you in any day you receive a scam e-mail from this country.

And as soon as you contact BARRISTER MIKE IKE with your full contact information requested, he will be forward everything to the Benin presidency office to issue out your award certificate as the rightful beneficiary

E-mail Address :(DELETED FOR SAFETY)
1.Bank to Bank is $120
2.courier service $90
Contact him in regarding of the fund to be deliver to you by the Diplomatic courier service and also any beneficiary we be responsible for shipping fees so as to avoid any scam and the fees is just only $90
Bank to Bank is only $120 so chose one and okey contact BARRISTER MIKE IKE and you will receive your fund from the high court because as soon as you contact the lawyer in charges of your fund he will alert the united state bureau and also  your state police for the fund to be deliver to you without any restriction and problem when the fund get to you in your location area.
Best Rega

It appears that at least one person fell for the scam and went to deliver the money personally…

George Bush

“United States President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush briefly visited Benin on February 16 2008, marking the first visit of a major head of state to this tiny country. President Yayi Boni presented President Bush with the Grand Cross of the National Order of Benin and thanked him for US economic aid.” <source>

Capture6-21-2008-12.38.08 PM

What is not funny …

What I do not find amusing is the propensity for elected United States officials to travel around the world dispensing United States foreign aid while Americans continue to suffer at home. In many cases, the foreign aid is simply pocketed by the foreign leaders or the goods are diverted to the friends of the government or sold on the black market to other nations. If our government feels compelled to be more generous with our tax dollars, I suggest that they start by looking at the economic development in a country known as South Central Los Angeles.

What can YOU do?

Let your elected officials know how you feel about self-aggrandizing photo opportunities and the provision of taxpayer dollars to nations who seem to be held in higher regard than some of the crumbling cities here in America.

Direct your charity inward to your own nation when considering donations. Avoid the major charities with their well-paid  executives and perhaps look at local charities which actually provide aid and comfort to the local people. Perhaps a local health clinic, food bank or jobs center. 

-- steve

Quote of the day: “We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. “ -- George Eliot

A reminder from 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!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“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


Welcome to California where our democrat/socialist legislature wants to control every aspect of your life …

Here in California, it will be illegal to use hand-held cellphones while driving. Another manifestation of a nanny state – especially in light of the existing laws which permit traffic enforcement officers to cite any motorist for reckless, inattentive or dangerous driving.

There are actually two separate laws …

California Vehicle Code Section 23123  for motorists over 18 years of age

(a)  A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.

(b)  A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.

(c)  This section does not apply to a person using a wireless telephone for emergency purposes, including, but not limited to, an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, or other emergency services agency or entity.

California Vehicle Code Section 23124  for motorist under 18 years of age

(a)  This section applies to a person under the age of 18 years.

(b)   Notwithstanding Section 23123, a person described in subdivision (a) shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone, even if equipped with a hands-free device, or while using a mobile service device.

(c)  A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.

(d)  A law enforcement officer shall not stop a vehicle for the sole purpose of determining whether the driver is violating subdivision (b).

(e) Subdivision (d) does not prohibit a law enforcement officer from stopping a vehicle for a violation of Section 23123.

(f)  This section does not apply to a person using a wireless telephone or a mobile service device for emergency purposes, including, but not limited to, an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, or other emergency services agency or entity.

(g)  For the purposes of this section, “mobile service device” includes, but is not limited to, a broadband personal communication device, specialized mobile radio device, handheld device or laptop computer with mobile data access, pager, and two-way messaging device.

As you can see, the first code section allows drivers to use wireless devices that are “hands free” and the second code section bans drivers under 18 from using any wireless device.


Beyond the fines …

As with all legislation, there are unintended consequences which may greatly affect your life. Among these consequences:

Increased insurance rates ...

While the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)has ruled that the violation is a reportable offense, the DMV will not assign a violation point. However, the California DMV does not control the rate-setting policies of California insurance companies and these insurance companies can use your driving record to raise your rates.

Criminal and civil consequences …

Should you be involved in an accident, even though you were not at fault, you may be found guilty of causing or contributing to the accident as evidenced by your violation of the law.

Check your insurance policy carefully, this law may invalidate your coverage for an accident which may have occurred while you were in violation of this law.

Check you rental car insurance policies as they may disallow coverage if the rental vehicle was damaged or involved in an accident while your were using your regular cellular phone.

And, heaven forbid, the accident involves a fatality, it is possible that you may be charged with a more serious offense such as manslaughter as your conduct could be used to illustrate “reckless behavior” which mandates a heavier charge. Or move a misdemeanor charge to a felony.

The mere fact that you were involved in committing a traffic infraction might be enough to sway a jury when determining your guilt and innocence or the amount of any damages awarded to the other party. A review of prosecution records in Los Angeles County tends to indicate a pattern of upcharging traffic cases when there is an indication of negligence.

And, let us not forget the innocent parents of a teenager who causes an accident. This single event could completely destroy the entire family’s finances in one stupid moment.

Following the money …

California’s Governor and democrat-dominated Legislature are not known for doing anything that does not involve special interests, those who contribute mightily to political campaigns or results in increasing the number of potential democrat voters.

Blaming Verizon …

In this case the major special interest behind this legislation appears to be Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications (55%) and Vodafone Group (45%), which  stands to make millions off the sale of Verizon’s hands-free products.

According to various published reports, this is the second time that Verizon and California Senator Joseph Simitian, a far-left liberal democrat serving his Palo Alto district. The first attempt was in 2003 when it was rebuffed. Verizon has also lobbied for similar legislation in other states: Illinois (2000),  Massachusetts  (2000), New York (2001), Washington, D.C. (2004), New Jersey (2004) and Connecticut in 2005.

According to campaign finance records, Verizon has contributed at least the following amounts to Simitian:

  • 06/29/05 - $1000
  • 10/22/06 - $700
  • 10/22/06 - $300
  • 07/14/05 - $1000

And according to San Francisco Chronicle’s, “Only one cell phone company, Sprint Nextel, was opposed to the bill. Schwarzenegger had a fundraiser with the cell phone industry earlier this week.”

Perhaps had Sprint Nextel increased their lobbying activities or contributed heavily to Simitian, there might have been an exemption for “push-to-talk” cellphones.

What can YOU do?

First, remember that this bill may be a gentle  push over the edge of the slippery slope of  regulating your behavior while in your private vehicle. Since the legislation only addressed one form of “inattention” while driving, look for other laws to ban eating, drinking, smoking, listening to the radio (with a possible exemption of left-wing National Public Radio), and other such distracting behaviors. I wonder if they are going to insist that mothers driving carpool restrain and gag their children?

When voting, remember the grief that Joseph Simitian has brought down on the California motorist.

When considering new telephone service, remember it was Verizon Wireless that lobbied for this bill and it wasn’t over the safety issue used to sell the restrictive proposition to the public.

As with red-light cameras and similar devices, there is money to be made by the government in making you wrong … even if there were no adverse consequences to your actions. Remember this when voting for elected officials who want to control your life and raise your taxes.

While it may seem like a plausible reason for curtailing your personal liberty, always follow the money and look for the smoking gun.

-- steve

A reminder from 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!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“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


The Federal Reserve is not part of the government and is not responsible to any oversight group except that of its member bank owners …

Fact:  the Federal Reserve is not a government agency, it is a private organization owned by its member banks.  The Federal Reserve has a Congressional Charter to act as the Central Bank of the United States.

Fact: the Federal Reserve is not subject to any governmental oversights and many of its actions are taken behind closed doors with little or no public discussion or disclosure.

Fact: the Federal Reserve has been pumping BILLIONS of dollars into the banking system by issuing 28-day loans that are based on collateral which is of dubious value. The Fed, setting a new precedent, is now extending a similar BILLION dollar loan program to the major brokerages which were complicit in the design, packaging and sale of toxic derivative packages backed by mortgage, credit card, commercial loan and other forms of debt instruments.

From the Wall Street Journal … 

“Paulson Pushes Oversight Changes”

“Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is expected to call for faster changes to the oversight of financial markets that would expand the role of the Federal Reserve, in the wake of the collapse of brokerage firm Bear Stearns & Cos.”

“In a speech to be delivered Thursday, Mr. Paulson will say that the fall of Bear Stearns has expedited the need for the government to address the ‘outdated’ regulatory oversight structure while not intervening too much in the functioning of markets.”

Is Paulson admitting the failure of the Administrations regulatory agencies?

Paulson’s claim that the existing regulatory oversight structure is outdated is a stinging indictment of:

  • The Comptroller of Currency (Banks)
  • The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (Banks)
  • The Office of Thrift Supervision (Thrifts)
  • The National Credit Union Administration (Credit Unions)
  • Commodities Futures Trading Commission (Commodities)
  • Security and Exchange Commission (Stocks and Bonds)

who have obviously failed to perform their sworn duties to enforce the rules and regulations relating to sound financial practices and the fair and accurate accounting that is necessary for preserving the integrity of financial reporting.

And let us not forget those regulatory agencies with their own enforcement divisions that are directly related to housing, including:

  • HUD – United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • FHA/VA – Federal Housing Administration/United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • OFHEO – Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (the regulators of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac)

In spite of adequate legislation and regulatory authority to take action against non-conforming institutions, these agencies chose to look the other way. In many cases, they refused to prosecute known fraud and malfeasance unless the cases involved large numbers or were newsworthy.

Part of the responsibility for these decisions lies with an Administration that openly promoted a laissez-faire policy which stressed minimal government interference with private business and named less than “competent” political appointees to positions of leadership.

The greatest example being Mel Martinez and Alphonso Jackson who were appointed to head HUD. Martinez left in a storm of controversy over his secretive development of highly-suspect rules and regulations and who failed upward to become the Senator from Florida. Alphonso Jackson recently resigned in the wake of several investigations charging alleged political cronyism and interference with the issuance of contracts. And in the remaining time left on this Administration’s watch, President Bush nominated Steve Preston to fill Jackson’s shoes. Preston, the former head of the Small Business Administration, is said to be an able administrator but lacking in housing industry and housing regulatory experience. 

What is apparently not being regulated …

There are little or no restrictions on the hedge funds which often act as unregulated merchant banks and are able to move massive amounts of investment money in-and-out of the markets with speed and precision. It is claimed that there is no need to fully regulate these entities because they do not deal with the ordinary consumer, allowing only those who have signed “big boy” letters attesting to their substantial net worth and financial sophistication to participate in their deals.

Likewise, there are little or no regulations on the ratings agencies which vouch for the soundness of issued financial instruments. This is classic self-dealing as they are publishing opinions on the offerings of their paying clients and based on their clients representations. Playing a huge part in the ratings scheme is the opinion letters of so-called “distinguished legal counsel” and well-recognized accounting firms, many of whom,  we now find, were complicit in concealing illegal activities or providing  misleading information to regulators and the public.

And there are others.

Following the money …

First and foremost, I do not believe that Treasury Secretary Paulson and other Administration Agencies can act fast enough to implement substantial and comprehensive regulatory reform in the time remaining to the Administration. I also believe that such reform would, of necessity, require Congressional enabling legislation that will be surrounded by a clash of competing ideologies.

Therefore, it is my personal belief that Secretary Paulson, the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Wall Street’s legendary Goldman Sachs, one of the world’s largest and most successful investment bank, is attempting to insure that Wall Street firms will have future access to Federal Reserve Funds in the case of another catastrophic financial event. Since the Fed has already provided temporary funds to major brokerages  in the form of loans and has been complicit in the bailout of Bear Stearns, I believe that Paulson want to insure that these funds will be available no matter who wins the upcoming White House race.

Continuing with the WSJ article…

"We must dramatically expand our attention to the fundamental needs of our system, and move much more quickly to update our regulatory structure always keeping in mind that there must be a balance between market discipline and market oversight,’ he will say according to prepared remarks.”

Paulson could be referring to the need for the financial marketplace to engage in more self-regulation to avoid additional government scrutiny. What is of concern to former Chairman Alan Greenspan and current Chairman Ben Bernanke is what is often termed the “moral hazard” implicit in providing some form of institutional backstop for troubled financial institutions.

That is, the management of certain financial institutions may be able to convince their board of directors, investors  and others that the institution’s actions, while risky, have a limited downside due to the availability of further government funds should the investment situation turn radically wrong. In other words, certain institutions would have greater credibility with the financial world at large as they would be considered “too big to fail.”

Proving my point …

“Earlier this year, Treasury unveiled a blueprint for the future of financial-market regulation that gave greater authority to the central bank and envisioned it overseeing the stability of financial markets as a whole. Mr. Paulson's speech suggests he wants to tackle the role of the Fed more promptly.”

“Implementing the entire blueprint could take years, if it happens at all, and would require congressional action.”

Treasury Chief Paulson: relying on the "unprecedented" emergency fix to establish the "new precedent …"

“In March, the Fed decided for the first time to lend funds to investment banks, a move that immediately prompted suggestions that it should also have regulatory oversight over those institutions. In a recent speech, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President Timothy Geithner argued the central bank needs more authority over firms that may need financial support from the Fed in a crisis.”

“Mr. Paulson appears to agree with the broad principle. ‘We should quickly consider how to most appropriately give the Fed the authority to access necessary information from highly complex financial institutions and the responsibility to intervene in order to protect the system, so they can carry out the role our nation has come to expect -- stabilizing the overall system when it is threatened," Mr. Paulson will say.”

Of course Secretary Paulson will agree. It is eminently preferable for the highly secretive and opaque Federal Reserve to be able to hide the true condition of troubled firms than expose this information to the public via a highly-politicized public agency.

An end run around Congress …

Rather than face financially savvy legislators such as Barney Frank (D-MA) who serves as the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) Chairman of Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Paulson is attempting to implement his plan via “administrative rulings” and “memorandums of understanding.”

“It's not immediately clear how Treasury would implement such changes. It is possible the changes could be done administratively, meaning they could avoid the need to seek approval from Congress.”

The end result …

“The Fed and Securities and Exchange Commission, which currently has oversight of investment banks, are working on a formal memorandum of understanding to guide their joint oversight of investment banks. The Fed already has staff members on site at the brokerage firms. Its temporary lending facility is expected to expire in September.”

Paulson needs to deliver the continuance of the Fed program beyond September. And to accomplish his ends, he is offering up the promise of greater regulation of the investment banks as a sop to the public’s sensibilities of bailing out investment firms with their ultra-wealthy partners and multi-million dollar bonuses. But the regulation he is offering up is less than adequate as it will not involve oversight that will be available for the public’s scrutiny.

“Mr. Paulson is expected to remind the market that borrowing from the Fed isn't permanent. Since the Fed has stepped in, as it did during the collapse of hedge fund Long Term Capital Management, regulators need to be prepared and have guidelines in place for the future.”

Again, we see a firm, Long Term Capital Management, which was considered “too big to fail,” not because the firm did not deserve to fail or had some redeeming value; but primarily because it would have forced the highly-regarded and esteemed firms of Wall Street to publicly admit and account for their losses. Possibly opening questions into the competency of senior management.

Hiding in plain sight: Making the case in public forums …

Quite frankly, other than the financial institutions, policy wonks and people such as myself, the general public does not care about the twists, turns and nuances of the financial marketplace; especially when they are facing the spectre of $5/gallon gasoline. Therefore, these speeches are designed to convince the media that there is a major regulatory problem and that the solution can be found by following Paulson’s blueprint. In addition, should something go wrong in the future, there will be any number of published works to which the offenders may point and say, “See, We didn’t hide anything. It is all here in black and white.”

“In the remarks, to be delivered at the Women in Housing and Finance's annual luncheon, the Treasury secretary is also expected to talk about strengthening parts of the market that connect banks, hedge funds and brokerage firms, and which could threaten overall stability.”

Bailout writ large …

“Top Washington regulators have been grappling with questions about the structure of financial regulation since the near-collapse of Bear Stearns. Wednesday, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair, said in a speech that banking regulators need to consider much broader regulation of investment banks -- including possible receivership if a large firm fails.”

“She said it is no longer unthinkable that a large commercial or investment bank will fail, and the federal government cannot ‘simply write a blank check’ when firms like Bear Stearns get in trouble.”

“Supervisors also need to be able to take prompt corrective action with investment banks, Ms. Bair said, allowing for intervention and potential closure if a firm presents a serious risk to the broader economy.”

With due respect to Sheila Bair, whom I personally admire for her clear-headed analysis of financial situations, I do not believe that it is necessary to arrange for the receivership of a investment firm should it falter. Either regulate them as banks with the requisite FDIC insurance premiums based on their capitalization and transactional volume or let the United States Bankruptcy appoint a formal receiver. Too bad if the wealthy investors in one of these investment banks loses their entire investment. Tough luck if counterparties need to take losses due to imprudent transactions with un-hedged “naked” risk.

It’s bad enough …

It’s bad enough that all of these financial geniuses in Wall Street have placed the ordinary American’s financial status and retirement plans in jeopardy with their foolish derivative programs, now they want to spread the cost of the failure among the American public while pocketing their multi-million dollar bonuses. Why is it that Wall Street awarded $66 BILLION in 2007 bonuses?

“Wall Street is still handing out bonuses for 2007, when the five biggest independent banks earned a total of $11.4 billion, down from $32.1 billion in 2006. But those banks paid their employees a record $66 billion last year, 10 percent more than in 2006.”

The simple answer is: they pay themselves first, earning huge commissions on the packaging, selling and buying of speculative and toxic securities on behalf of their customers. And to keep these customer’s coming back for more after being royally stiffed, they need to throw them a bone – in the form of a government bailout to somewhat mitigate their losses. A bailout paid by every American citizen so these nabobs can afford a $100 million dollar house on a guard-gated estate. Or live in a $20 million dollar apartment near the financial district. And have enough money left over for a yacht, private aircraft and the oh-so-necessary helicopter to commute to work.

What can YOU do?

Do not fall for this shell game. Demand that your elected officials use the current Administration’s agencies, without the intervention of the Federal Reserve, to hold persons and institutions accountable for malfeasance and criminal activities.

Demand that rulemaking be done by the designated branch of government known as the Congress of the United States. No more administrative shenanigans which flout existing law and are subject to the President’s political whim. We are not talking about curtailing the President’s war powers, only his ability to malignantly interfere with this basis of the United States economy on the basis of extra-judicial “rules, regulations and understandings.”

Remember, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors is one of the most powerful committees on the face of this earth. And like all committees, they act according to a consensus opinion – which may be wrong. To add insult to injury, most of these people are economists who believe in “on one hand” and “on balance” decisions.

Let the Federal Reserve deal with rampant inflation as a result of billions of dollars being artificially pumped into the economy and the strengthening of the dollar. Ordinary citizens, especially those on fixed retirement incomes, were hosed by the banks and other financial institutions so they may earn the necessary profits to pay back their wealthy investors. Let them be made whole before a multi-millionaire receives a dime of  the public’s money.

The biggest problem with most appointed Agency leaders is that they are beholden to the party and politician who secured their appointment and are, in many cases, more concerned with political and media matters than they are the health and welfare of the average American citizen. Many are wealthy or retired second-raters who concentrate on and maintain a 4-year event horizon.

Bottom line: the devil is in the details and we do not know who the financial evildoers are as they are hiding behind the government’s current policies.

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:  “To really rob a bank you need a good reputation, a pile of toxic securities, a good media-tested story and friends in Washington. No gun required.” – steve

A reminder from 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:

Paulson Pushes Oversight Changes |

About Federal Reserve|Wikipedia

Paulson’s Treasury Proposal: Ten Questions They Hope You Don’t Ask|OneCitizenSpeaking

Why Are Wall Street Bonuses Still So High?|

“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“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


Figures don’t lie, but liars do figure …

When one examines two seemingly independent data factors, such as temperatures and earthquake energies, one must be sure that the two are statistically related and that there is a causal link between the two factors. Just because two independent factors are highly correlated, it does not mean that one factor causes the other.

An example of high correlation and low causality can be easily illustrated using two factors, members of the population who drink water and members of the population that take illicit drugs. Here we have a high correlation coefficient as all illicit drug users drink water in some form or other to sustain life. What cannot be said is that drinking water causes illicit drug use. As with many things mathematical, just because you can compute a number, doesn’t mean that the number really represents reality. After all, unless proven different, it is only a mathematical construct.

Linking seismic activity and global warming …

Therefore I was intrigued by a press release issued on Marketwire and which has been widely disseminated in the media.

From the Associated Press …

“Study: Seismic Activity 5 Times More Energetic Than 20 Years Ago Because Of Global Warming”

“New research compiled by Australian scientist Dr. Tom Chalko shows that global seismic activity on Earth is now five times more energetic than it was just 20 years ago.”

Earthquakes, like the weather, tend to be a cyclical phenomenon related to stresses and strains in the earth’s crust.  Even the most sophisticated mathematical models at the world-famous California Institute of Technology cannot predict, with any degree of certainty, when or where an earthquake will strike; but they can develop a estimated magnitude range for a particular fault and, with some extensive fieldwork, estimate times between previous ruptures.

Because of the great number of factors involved in creating these stresses and strains, including the gravitational pull of other planets, the earth’s rotation, the motion of the oceans, the imbalance of the tectonic plates due to convectional heating and agitation of the mantle, it is almost impossible to develop directly computed causal factors.

So while the statement “that the global seismic activity on Earth is now five times more energetic than it was just twenty years ago” may be accurate when one examines the earthquake dataset, there are a few cautions before one can even accept this as a true statement.

One, geologically speaking, twenty years is an insignificant amount of time when compared to the history of the earth and geological events. We do not know if this data represents a significant trend, a data anomaly or merely a coincidence.  As with global warming data, data involving short term time spans proves nothing.

Two, we have a systemic measurement problem, much as we have with global temperature measurements, arising from a relatively few measurement points and the need for computers to interpret the  Earthquake waveforms and magnitudes.  Even measurements of the same quake by different scientific facilities produce different results.

And three, we have problems with the accuracy and completeness of historical data records.

As for the relative damage of an earthquake, it goes without saying that an earthquake in an densely inhabited areas will be more damaging than one that occurs in sparsely populated areas. 

A leap of faith?

“The research proves that destructive ability of earthquakes on Earth increases alarmingly fast and that this trend is set to continue, unless the problem of ‘global warming’ is comprehensively and urgently addressed.”

The best that can be said is that “based on observations over a relatively short period of time, it appears that we may be experiencing a greater release of seismic energy.”

There is absolutely no proof that this trend is set to continue. Or that global warming is a causal factor in earthquake production. Or that man can alter nature in ways that will reduce the number or severity of earthquakes experienced on a global basis.

“The analysis of more than 386,000 earthquakes between 1973 and 2007 recorded on the US Geological Survey database proved that the global annual energy of earthquakes on Earth began increasing very fast since 1990.”

OK, we have a dataset that can be examined. It appears that this time period was chosen, not on the basis on any objective scientific criteria, but because this is the date range of the dataset that is freely available from the USGS website. In addition, quakes smaller than magnitude 3.0 were filtered out and the actual dataset used contains entries beyond 2007. 

What would the analysis of a longer time period reveal? Perhaps that there is little or no energy patterns that would sustain the thesis or that the data appears to be more random than the data in the chosen date range?

“Dr. Chalko said that global seismic activity was increasing faster than any other global warming indicator on Earth and that this increase is extremely alarming.”

How does one determine that global seismic activity is a global warming indication, especially since last year was  cooler than the previous year? And for extremely alarming, this is hyperbole. We are always concerned with the energy release of an earthquake, but sounding an alarm implies that one can take some sort of action. Perhaps: duck and cover?

"Increase in the annual energy of earthquakes is the strongest symptom yet of planetary overheating.”

A strong, but absolutely meaningless statement that reflects the author’s own theory of causality.

Planetary overheating?

"NASA measurements from space confirm that Earth as a whole absorbs at least 0.85 Megawatt per square kilometer more energy from the Sun than it is able to radiate back to space. This 'thermal imbalance' means that heat generated in the planetary interior cannot escape and that the planetary interior must overheat.”

This is the basis of the author’s theory. It is supposition, not scientific fact because Earth heat sources and sinks are not well-known and there is a great deal of variability in measurements. Our planet’s interior is extremely hot, thank you, and there does not appear to be any credible evidence it is growing hotter on a global scale. Unfortunately, at the present state of the art, measurements of the Earth’s core temperatures can only be estimated using computational modeling methods which are imprecise at best. If anything, the core should be decaying to lesser internal temperatures as nuclear decay proceeds. (and we are talking about million year periods)

Should one consider this alleged heating rationally, one must ask to what depth does this heating penetrate and considering that this radiant energy is much cooler than the temperature nearer the earth's core, it may have a cooling affect rather than an accumulative effect which is what the author might be assuming.  Rather like steam cooling a burning piece of paper below its flash point in a fire safe. Heat transfer from the hotter surface to the comparitively cooler surface until they achieve thermal equilibrium.

Conclusion: nature is what it is, no more nor less!

“Increase in seismic, tectonic and volcanic activities is an unavoidable consequence of the observed thermal imbalance of the planet," said Dr. Chalko.”

There is no proof presented in the author's paper that there is a thermal imbalance. And if there is, that the thermal imbalance of the planet is more potent than  the gravitational forces,  Earth’s rotational dynamics and convectional movement of magma which results in the movements of the oceans and land masses. In fact there is little or no proof in this 2-page paper of anything other than the author’s ability to graph earthquake energy ratios measured against time using the USGS dataset. The rest is speculation and supposition. And even that is not grounded in any systematic or scientific manner.

"Unless the problem of global warming (the problem of persistent thermal imbalance of Earth) is addressed urgently and comprehensively - the rapid increase in global seismic, volcanic and tectonic activity is certain. Consequences of inaction can only be catastrophic. There is no time for half-measures."

Conversely, do I believe that man can control Earth’s seismicity by controlling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere? No! And nobody else does either. Especially since the dissolved carbon dioxide in the oceans and the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are relatively constant and form a natural feedback loop to maintain this constancy. 

How one can mount an entire economy-changing campaign on the basis of suspicious and extremely dubious claims remains beyond me. So let’s dig a little further. 

How about a correlation between sunspots and earthquakes?

“The 11-year cycle in the number of sunspots, as well as the underlying flip of the sun's magnetic field every 22 years, has been tied to many phenomena on earth, including global climate, the production of carbon-14 and the planet's rotation rate. Now Charles Bufe of the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, Va., suggests that earthquakes -- at least those that rumble in Parkfield, Calif.--be considered for this list too.”  <Source>

How about a correlation between sunspots and global warming?

“It's easy to blame the sun for global warming. Sunspot activity has doubled in the last 100 years. Now British researchers have shown that the general solar magnetic field has more than doubled, too. Taken together, these trends reveal an invigorated sun. It apparently glows brighter by about 0.1 percent than it did a century ago.”

“Skeptics have cited this discovery to discount concern about human-made global warming. Changes in solar brightness do correlate with changes in Earth's global temperature. But for climate researchers this only rubs in their ignorance of climate change.”

“Commenting on the new magnetic findings in Nature last June, University of Chicago astrophysicist E.N. Parker pointed out that increased solar heating, while important, is only one factor in climate change.”

“Accumulating greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, the cooling effect of dust and aerosols, and changes due to the climate's internal variability also are involved. Mr. Parker explained climate modelers cannot yet include all the influences together in a single simulation.”

“So, he said, ‘there is no immediate answer to our questions’ of how to share the blame for global warming.”


The sunspot monkey wrench …

We have just gone through a time of minimal sunspot activity, a cool year and some pretty intense earthquakes. So what can we make of the theories that rely on this data? Nothing! Which is precisely the point. There is data available that can be manipulated to support any wild theory and nobody can say whether or not the theories are representative of nature’s true actions.

Here are people making all types of assumptions on apparent patterns in observational data. Are they correct? Who knows? At least not at the present time.

Another theory …

My personal theory is that Dr. Chalko published this paper to appear more “scientific” in front of the lay audience who might be interested in buying his book “The Freedom of Choice.” Or his “Chakra Shirt” or cookbook.

A lazy, stupid or complicit media …

How or why respected media outlets would publish specious research as fact – and with an attention-getting headline -- is beyond me. How many editors or media pundits actually took the time to read Dr. Chalko’s  2-page paper?

A paper which ostensibly “presents a method of monitoring earthquake activity on the planetary scale using the data of all individual earthquakes on Earth since 1973, available from US Geological Survey (USGS).” And claiming “the method reveals that in recent years the annual earthquake energy on Earth has increased five times and that its trend is to grow in the future.”

This is not a well-researched, rigorous scientific paper that has been peer-reviewed for publication in a respected scientific journal. This is the cut-and-paste “science” that beginning science students turn in – usually for poor grades. What the author really did is graph the apparent  energy of earthquakes by year to produce a conclusion.

Since the author filtered out all of the quakes under 3.0 in magnitude, who can say that the stress relief provided by the smaller quakes was preventing much bigger quakes from occurring and that the number of smaller quakes is more significant to the total energy release than global warming?

There is nothing scholarly about the work and it is of very little value.  However, there is a cute little graphing program containing the data Dr. Chalko used on the site – and it is available free to anyone who wants to use it.

In fact, the journal cited is a publication of the “Australian Student Space Association” and Dr. Chalko’s papers are the only ones listed on the site. It appears Dr. Chalko represents the type of person who would be quite at home on late night talk radio programs that discuss far-out and unconventional scientific theories posed by people who are, to say the least, unconventional.

My conclusion: Since this meaningless paper appeared to fit it with the preconceived notions of those in the media who are grasping at any scientific-appearing evidence relating to global warming, it was widely disseminated.

Would you be willing to give me $10,000 if I told you that I might have a way to save the planet?

That’s it folks. You will be paying approximately $10,000 of your hard-earned dollars over the next three years if the politicians have their way. They will increase the size of the governmental bureaucracy. They will raise your taxes. And, most certainly they will impose new and stringent guidelines on how you use energy: in your house, in your car and at work.

All based on theory and supposition like the non-scientific speculation that is presented by, what I term, “crackpots with credentials.”

What can YOU do?

Common sense will tell you that there are any number of researchers that have theories that involve the mathematical manipulation of datasets. Some throw out “outlier” data which does not fit the general pattern. Some smooth the data before it is used in mathematical models. Everybody has their favorite computer programs to slice and dice the data. Unfortunately, for the most part, most of the so-called research studies are are statistical exercises in mental masturbation. That is, they are looking for patterns in the observational data. However, there is a great deal of error associated with undertakings of this type. Just as a person perceives a “Mickey Mouse character” in a cloud, I can assure you that the cloud does not convey this particular information – as it is based on perceptions in the mind of the viewer. They have a previous reference of what Mickey Mouse should look like and therefore they see Mickey Mouse. This is the pure randomness which is often found in nature. Randomness which spawns seemingly believable theories – which, in the end, fail the test of time.

So before we cede power to politicians to place further constraints on our personal freedoms, raise taxes and use an ENRON-style trading system for emissions credits, let’s get the science right. Or developed to the point of some rational theory that involves more than controlling carbon dioxide.

As for urgency, a temperature rise of one degree (Fahrenheit) over the next 800 years is hardly an emergency. In fact, it appears that such a temperature rise may well be within the systemic noise limits of our crude observations. And it could be beneficial for certain people, animals and plants.

Nature will do what nature will do. The United States should, if anything, be working on energy independence using reliable nuclear and geothermal production methods. They should develop better desalination plants to produce water. And better buildings to shield against the ravages of nature.

If I need to illustrate the stupidity of man, it would be quite easy if one considers building high-rises next to known earthquake faults, locating buildings in known flood plains and continually tempting nature’s fate in the name of profit. There is little or no proof that man can alter nature to any meaningful extent, so he must prepare for its envitable and inexorable consequences.

Don’t give in to this global warming nonsense. Nobody really knows what is going on and relying on crude mathematical models is a fool’s game. For the real answers, follow the money and the power.

-- steve

Quote of the day: “You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.” -- James Thurber

A reminder from 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:

Today's Quakes Deadlier Than In Past, Study: Seismic Activity 5 Times More Energetic Than 20 Years Ago Because Of Global Warming - CBS News
NU Journal of Discovery (ISSN 1444 1454)
Publisher: ASSA (Australian Student Space Association)

Volume 5 May 2008, Tom J Chalko
Earthquake Energy Rise on Earth|Full 2-page article PDF; Free Quake Energy Graph software

Dr. Chalko’s ventures … and Scientific Engineering Research

“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“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 Black Caucus attempting to extort the XM/Sirius venture for political purposes or for some hidden financial purpose?

Calling a “racist” an “activist” does not make them any less racist …

I have always taken great exception to the Congressional Black Caucus; primarily because I believe that any elected representative of the people should represent all of the people and not pander to a select group for political purposes. Therefore, it is my belief that the Congressional Black Caucus is racist in and of itself as it promotes the concerns and issues of blacks over those in the general population who may also have differing concerns.

Is affirmative action for audiences raising its ugly head …

From the Washington Post …

“Senior members of the Congressional Black Caucus yesterday criticized a compromise plan for the proposed merger of the XM and Sirius satellite radio companies, saying the deal does not provide enough opportunities for minority-owned programming.”

Once again the American people, the people who actually own the airwaves, are being presented with the proposition that certain classes of Americans require the majority of the population to make exceptions for them to advance in a competitive society. Social engineering and Socialism at its finest.

Voluntary?  This appears to be extortion, plain and simple …

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin said over the weekend that he would support the merger after XM Satellite Radio Holdings and Sirius Satellite Radio voluntarily agreed, among a series of other concessions, to lease 4 percent of their radio spectrums, or 12 channels, for programming run by minorities and women.”

I hardly believe that this is is a voluntary position. Especially when the Black Caucus is making demands that appear to be based only upon political consideration that may ignore sound business practice. 

And the FCC appears to be terrified …

Of course, it appears that the members of the Federal Communications Commission are going to cave-in over this issue. They seem afraid. Afraid that additional Commission members will not be approved by Congress or that their budget or agency purview will be adversely affected. How else can this be interpreted?

“Members of the black caucus on Capitol Hill have been arguing for the merged company to lease five times that amount of spectrum to companies owned by racial minorities. Short of that, caucus members have warned in letters to the commission and meetings with Martin, they would oppose the merger.”

It might be helpful to ask if there are five times the number of successful broadcasters or five times the number of on-air talent sources to sustain a fivefold broadcast presence? Or is this going to be an attempt to legislate that people must listen to these additional stations over the many hundreds of commercial and non-commercial media sources that already exist?

“In an interview yesterday, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus's working group on satellite radio, called Martin's proposed compromise ‘completely unacceptable.’"

“Other prominent members of the caucus also expressed misgivings about the XM-Sirius plan. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), a former chairman of the caucus, said yesterday that he was ‘extremely upset’ about the proposed deal and that he would speak to his colleagues about taking action to stop the merger -- perhaps legislative action -- unless the percentage is increased.”

"’It's shocking to the conscience in this day and age, where the minority populations comprise a significant part of the satellite radio audience, that Mr. Martin would settle for what I deem to be crumbs that have fallen off the table,’ Cummings said. ‘We can do much better. I am hoping that this can be revisited.’"

I was not aware of any United States policy that specifies the awarding of broadcast licenses based on population percentages. From my earliest days hanging around a major 50-000 watt radio station, KDAY-1580, it was always about who had enough capital to build-out a station, select decent executive and on-air talent and sell enough profitable advertising to make the whole thing worthwhile. Public service features ran to satisfy the needs of the public. Access to the station’s broadcast facilities was mandated to provide a voice for those of another opinion. But nobody suggested that valuable licenses should be awarded to some group so they could push a “minority” position. Radio is about big audiences. Or at least niche audiences that will attract sponsors.

If there were any black broadcast entrepreneurs or on-air talent that looked promising, they would be courted by the existing  media to extend the brand. They could propose a deal to either XM or Sirius with no additional force required.

I can’t tune the AM dial in Southern California without hearing numerous Spanish Language stations. Why do these stations survive? Why do their hosts and personalities need special consideration to be on the air? The answer is simple: they don’t require some mandate from the Congressional Black Caucus or any other group because they are viable broadcast entities that make logical business sense. It’s profitable for the station, the advertisers, the on-air talent and they must be providing some value to the listener, or else they wouldn’t have an audience.

Does the Congressional Black Caucus demand an audience?

The far-left liberals thought those of their ilk would love a syndicated talk radio station that catered to their needs. And Air America was born. It lived and it pretty much died. Why? Because the on-air talent, with the urgings of broadcast management, spewed a continuous venomous brew of hate, victimhood and conspiracy. Nobody could listen to a one-sided discussion where opposing views were not intelligently discussed, but were mocked as being medieval. This was broadcast propaganda, nothing more nor nothing less. This was an effort by the political elites to attract a general audience to counteract the success of so-called “right-wing” radio. Unfortunately, their audience didn’t give a damn about the “nuanced definitions of a trade agreement.” All they knew is that they were being outsourced or that illegal aliens were taking their jobs – only to be told that the solution was to vote democrat! Hardly informative, amusing or even listenable.

The Jesse Jackson gambit: "profitable racism" -- following the money …

Butterfield said he got the idea for the 20 percent set-aside for minority-owned companies from Georgetown Partners, a minority-run private-equity firm based in Bethesda, and its managing director, Chester Davenport.”

“The firm, which has invested in wireless and media companies, objected last year to the merger, arguing that a monopoly could limit opportunities for minority programming.”

But Davenport said that if regulators give the marriage a green light, the combined company should be required to turn over some channels to a minority-controlled entity. He said he hoped Georgetown Partners would fill that role, making it a competitor to the merged company.”

“Butterfield said he was not pressing for the 20 percent leasing arrangement on behalf of Georgetown Partners or anyone else. He suggested that the spectrum could be leased to a single company or to several.” 

Who are the stakeholders in Georgetown Partners? How much have they contributed to certain politicians who are now advocating for this minority carve-out? Is there any quid pro quo? Will these new media groups support certain politicians over others or will they be independent? What about the money?  Are these “minorities” going to get a free ride or should they be required to put up equity capital? And will that capital be proportionate to the other investors. What do you say to the pension funds and others who have invested the funds of a wide-ranging and broad segment of the population into the stock and debt of these companies?

A Deeper Look At Georgetown Partners

“In a complaint filed with the Internal Revenue Service, the National Legacy and Policy Center outlined several instances where Jesse Jackson was a central figure in various activities, some of which involved Davenport of Georgetown Partners. The filing includes a section dealing specifically with proposed mergers and acquisitions readers may be quite familiar with, including the CBS/Viacom deal:

The deal to sell Ameritech’s cellular business to Davenport and GTE was worth $3.3 billion. Davenport put up $60 million for a 7 percent share of the new company co-owned with GTE. Despite his smaller share, Davenport was named ‘chairman,’ though a spokesman said he would have ‘no operational responsibility. None.’”

“Davenport, who had known Jackson about 10 years, had no experience in telecommunications. He formerly owned a company called Envirotest, which tested auto emissions for state governments. Jackson weighed in on Envirotest’s behalf with some elected officials, including former Connecticut Gov. Lowell Weicker, according to news accounts. Davenport sold the company in 1998, helping to boost his net worth to close to $100 million.”

“In a filing with the FCC today, we can see the pressure and strategy of Georgetown Partners taking shape, as the Black Leadership Forum has stated that the merger should not happen unless 20% of the spectrum be made available to a minority held entity. They then go on to endorse the Georgetown partners proposal. The filing ironically lists the NAACP as part of the Black Leadership Forum, but the NAACP has already come out in support of the merger.”

Are we about to see history repeat itself. With the Congressional Black Caucus carrying Davenport’s water and providing a key to another major sale in the future? What public, other than Davenport, his investors and the politicians?

Why is this not a criminal conspiracy to commit a crime …

“The satellite radio networks were told a month ago that a sizable leasing agreement would be needed to get the backing of members of the caucus, congressional insiders said. During a meeting in the Rayburn House Office Building, Mel Karmazin, the chief executive of Sirius, was asked sharp questions by aides to black caucus members, according to staffers in attendance.”

What are the terms of that leasing agreement? Will a similar deal be made available to all entrepreneurs who want to enter the broadcast arena? What part will Davenport play in the final transaction?

This is extortion.

“Per Wikipedia … “Extortion is a criminal offense, which occurs when a person either unlawfully obtains money, property or services from a person, entity, or institution through coercion or intimidation or threatens a person, entity, or institution with physical or reputational harm unless he or she is paid money or property. Refraining from doing harm is sometimes euphemistically called protection. Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime groups.

Outside of the Italian Mafia or Japanese Yakuza, you could hardly find another organization which fits the definition of organized crime more perfectly than Congress. 

“Karmazin repeated, however, that too large a set-aside would be too costly for the company and would endanger the transaction and the viability of the merged company. His refusal to get closer to the black caucus's demand has stirred anger among lawmakers ever since, said the staffers, who spoke on condition of anonymity.”

Is this a criminal threat?

“Butterfield said that black caucus members planned to meet today with Karmazin and Nate Davis, chief executive of XM. ‘We're going to close the door and have a very honest and open dialogue about the merger,’ Butterfield said. ‘If they cannot meet us on any reasonable terms, we are going to be very adamant about not approving the merger. It's not in the public interest. They are not concerned about the cost to the consumer.’"

Public’s interest? Is it in the public’s best interest to force a commercial for-profit entity to pander to a minority segment of the population to the detriment of its shareholders – who just happen to be members of the same public? Is it in the best interests of the public to provide non-commercial broadcast sources access to the broadcast spectrum based on anything other than the ability to field an entertaining or interesting show that will attract sponsors.

Or is it something else? A special interest ploy to use political clout to force XM/Sirius to hand over an extremely valuable piece of the action for a minor(ity) investment that may yield millions in profit down the road?

What is the subtext?

Are they saying that a commercial enterprise has to promote some form of affirmative action for a certain designated class of people? To provide goods and services under the true costs (with profits) of providing those services to others?

Business is business …

A successful black broadcaster is a successful black broadcaster. That is, the show is tailored to attract an audience that supports well-paying commercial sponsors. I would certainly ask Larry Elder about blacks and broadcasting before I would ask the black caucus for theirs. Who will sponsor programs on the new channels? Sponsors who are reluctant to sponsor the lunatic fringe with their 24/7 cry of victimhood by the evil white racists? Where everything must be a “gimme” and that true respect for innovative entrepreneurship is almost non-existent?

Ask yourself one question, if a commercial enterprise could find any broadcast personality or show that captures a significant part of a desirable demographic that can be served up to well-paying sponsors, would it have trouble being placed on the air?

What about start-up programs that have attracted no such audience and merely represent the raw talent of a single or group of individuals? Even these manage to secure spots on television and radio.

The broadcast industry has never been an easy one to crack on the syndicated broadcaster or talent level. Other than talk radio, the medium is one of music, news and self-interested promotion of products with commercial value.

We should be taking a closer look at what certain members of Congress are doing in our name …

I personally do not care about either group, Sirius or XM. I don’t listen to their stations. I don’t require their services. I could care less if the merger succeeds or not. It doesn’t affect me one whit.

But I am concerned with the integrity and behavior of the United States Congress. Attempts to strong-arm commercial deals for political purposes or on behalf of special interests is wrong. Advocating the allocation of existing assets, in effect creating a minority shareholder with little or no equity capital, is pure socialism.  The special interests – including the Congressional Black Caucus --  is what is ruining America.

What can YOU do?

It is time to set aside Congressional pandering to special interests and to move forward with the real duties of government: the defense of this nation from all enemies, both foreign and domestic, the repair and replacement of our crumbling infrastructure and the fair and honest regulation of commercial enterprise.

It is time to disavow openly racist groups like the Congressional Black Caucus and other special interest groups which serve no purpose other than to continue the balkanization of America into more easily manipulated groups along the lines of class, race, ethnicity, gender, religion. We need a “government of the people, by the people, for the people. Not a group of self-righteous political zealots who tell us how to live on one hand and then rob us blind on the other.

We seem to give too much media time to our elected Congressional officials, perhaps we should cut back their access to the broadcast spectrum in proportion to the people that they actually represent?

While you could send letters to your elected officials, those in the Congressional Black Caucus or the Federal Communications Commission, it is simpler just to ignore the on-air offerings of those who speak of hate, prejudice and victimhood. Let them die an unnatural death like that of Air America.

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: “Racial accord or ‘socialist’ equality is not achieved by the conscious extraction of benefits from those who have made a success of their lives and ventures; it only promotes resentment on the part of those who are forced to give and a sense of entitlement within those who take.” – steve”   

A reminder from 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:

Radio Merger Under Fire From Black Lawmakers|

“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“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


My, My, aren’t we the picture of sensitivity …?

In furtherance of their continuing attempt to weaken America’s resolve and infrastructure and to further balkanize Americans, the far-left liberal have turned to the concept of “political correctness” as their weapon of choice.

Along with the concepts of radical feminism and “metrosexualization,” there is a certain class of people who are  attempting to turn the John Wayne’s of this world into Jane Wayne's.

It more than a matter of simple politeness and courtesy …

We  all believe that their should be more civility, politeness, tolerance and mutual respect in this world. But political correctness promotes a harsh, unforgiving, opinionated stand on what someone may have said or done in the past. And instead of tolerating the vaunted “diversity,” the person and his associates are roundly condemned.

Pussification: the phenomenon …

Or, in impolitic words, we are experiencing the “pussification” of America to the extent that the minorities among us are allowed to ride roughshod over the majority.

Often to the delight of our enemies who think that America will never come together and fight for freedom and the American way. Possibly because America has become the land of the empowered minorities and the lawyers that support them.

Where disagreement over such fundamentals as defending your country is portrayed as “brutality;” it doesn’t even matter that the enemy would not only cut off your infidel  head off in a moment for not adhering to their belief system, but routinely tortures not only its enemies – but its own citizens who have offended some religious nutcase in a position of power. Where arms, legs, noses and legs are cut off for criminal transgressions. Where people are blinded and raped in religiously sanctioned acts. Where a simple death is infinitely preferable than stoning.  A culture of death where matyrdom while killing the enemy is vastly preferable to continue living a pious life on earth.

Here, political correctness mandates that people need to be publicly shamed for cracking a bad joke if such condemnation serves a political purpose: to promote a message or weaken one’s opponents.

In my case …

If anyone should be excoriated for the inappropriate use of language, telling bad or politically incorrect jokes, I am probably somewhere near the head of the line. In some ways, my behavior should be exemplified as I do not distinguish between people on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, gender or creed when I engage in such activities. I am an equal opportunity insulter and have very little respect for certain stupid traditions, institutions or people. Anyone who knows me will be able to attest to my somewhat unconventional behavior.

My girlfriends have been exceptionally smart, self-reliant and able to take care of themselves without additional intervention. Where they may wince at my lame attempt at a joke or to tell me to “knock it off” when I was acting boorishly, they were neither offended nor surprised. Much of my behavior was, luckily for me, allowed to pass as being just “a guy thing.” In some sense, these were the ideal feminists, capable of dealing with life on their own. The fact that they were undeniably killer cute, didn’t hurt.


To me you are politically controversial if you act like you hate American and blame America for the world’s ills. You are controversial if you are a unrepentant thug or criminal. To me you are politically controversial if you have attempted to weaken America.

You are not controversial for cracking bad jokes, using bad language or engaging in humor that actually offends some class of people. In my mind, that makes you normal.

So what is the big controversy that caused John McCain to cancel a fund-raising event?

According to Political Radar…

“McCain Cancels Event with Controversial Fundraiser”

“ABC's Rick Klein reports: Sen. John McCain on Friday  abruptly canceled a Monday fundraiser that had been scheduled at the home of a Texas oilman, after ABC News contacted the campaign inquiring about a verbal blunder the Texan made during an unsuccessful 1990 campaign for governor.”

“Clayton Williams stirred controversy during his 1990 campaign for governor of Texas with a botched attempt at humor in which he compared rape to weather. Within earshot of a reporter, Williams said: ‘As long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.’”

It may have been a bad joke, until it was exploited for political reasons by the far-left liberal politically correct crowd.

So the guy appears, at least in this political commercial for the late democrat Ann Richards in her 1990 campaign for the Governorship of Texas, to be an “asshat.” He’s a man, a Texan, a politician – and you expect him to be, what, “sensitive?”

John McCain backs down …

“McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said the Monday event was being canceled, given the offensive comments. He said he could not yet say what McCain would do with donations brought into the campaign by Williams.”

"’ These were obviously incredibly offensive remarks that the campaign was unaware of at the time this event was scheduled,’ Rogers said. He added that Williams apologized for the comments back in 1990, but he said that does not excuse them.”

A political win for the far-left liberals. $300,000 in donations and possibly more from this event neutralized with a little opposition research and the complicity of the media. Yes, the media, for turning a non-story into a national affair to create angst and consternation among the voters. Again, while his remarks may be distasteful, they are hardly controversial 18 years after they were spoken. Or in Barack Obama’s words, “old news.”

How can this injustice happen?

First, owing to ubiquitous computers and historical databases such as LexisNexis, deeply buried comments can be found and exploited by a complicit media willing to artificially manufacture controversy for the sake of ratings is one part.

Second, the success of the far-left liberals in balkanizing and polarizing America into demographic and psychographic categories along class, race, ethnicity, gender and political party lines; where political parties need broad coalitions to win office. By eliminating the simple majority/minority paradigm, the far-left has greatly empowered minority groups as politicians pander to their wants and needs (over those of the majority) to secure that small minority edge which would serve as the tipping point to win the election. It was this "very small number problem" that played havoc with our vote counting systems. Large, decisive majorities always precluded recounts and the lawyer’s tortured explanation for hanging chads. But in a closely contested election, the politically corrupt party bosses and their lawyers do battle for each and every vote.

Third, and most importantly, the American people stand for this nonsense. Throwing up their arms and crying foul because they are aping the actions of the media, their political party and their friends. Independent thought replaced by groupthink. And it is this type of American who will reward an office to a good-looking, well-spoken, metrosexual over a rugged individualist who is not afraid to get his hands dirty in the defense of America.

A turnaround …

Unless we get leadership strong enough to put aside all party politics and concepts of political correctness, we are doomed, both as a nation and as a people. There are genuine bad people out there who would like to have the wealth and resources of our nation. To enslave our people under their rule. To eliminate all self-reliance and build a government-controlled “nanny” state. And who are smart enough to know political correctness is a weapon to be used by the enemy and not a guideline for running your own national or personal affairs.

What can YOU do?

If you are afraid of being labeled as a racist, sexist or insensitive, you are giving other people way too much power over your life and emotions.

In a sense we are all racist, preferring to be with our own tribes of like-minded people; as well as being sexist. Yes, Virginia, there are significant differences between the sexes beyond your pee-pee and what you do with it. There is an natural inbred nature to human beings – and only in these few modern centuries did anyone try to blur the lines between man and women.

Can’t stand a bad joke, bad language or inappropriate behavior, take your bad self out of the room and don’t impose your political correctness on me.

The politically correct politician has already  ceded power to the enemy. So consider the consequences of voting for a politically correct metrosexual or even worse, a corrupt politically correct metrosexual with an annoying habit of lying to the American public.

Bottom line: Live your life as you wish … and let me live mine as I wish.

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: “The only time people dislike gossip is when you gossip about them.” -- Will Rogers

A reminder from 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:

Political Radar: McCain Cancels Event with Controversial Fundraiser

“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“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


There is no doubt that the venerable wireline carrier, with its aging “copper” infrastructure, is experiencing difficulties in generating profits. No matter what new technologies they invest in, at least for the coming ten years, these aging behemoths will be forced to carry the burden of supporting their old central office structures.

Deregulation …

Deregulation forced carriers to share their facilities with a new class of competitors who simply measured profits as a markup on the telephone services they re-sold, often at a price that undercut the long-time carrier whose facilities they were using.

Cell-phones …

The came the ubiquitous cell-phone and wireline call volume originated from land-line connections dropped significantly.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) …

Then the weight of the Internet bore down with such technologies as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) which digitized voices and sent them along the Internet as packets of data. All at little or no additional cost other than having an Internet-capable computer with a cheap software package.

Excess fiber capacity …

In the run-up to the so-called dot-com bust, many major companies were building giant fiber networks. Major freeway builders were running straight-line fiber cable through miles of concrete conduit built-in to the right-of-way. Much of this fiber capacity still remains dark and unused. The giant networking companies killed when they continually re-sold fiber access to each others in order to artificially inflate their numbers to meet Wall Street’s profit expectations.

Cable company competition …

Enter the cable companies, many with residential fiber connections who could offer television, Internet  and telephone service for a combined monthly packaged price.

Truly scary events for companies ill-prepared to abandon their original “competing on chaos” tariffs with their slice-and-dice pricing, each subject to promotional discounts and termination costs.

Scaring the “phone” companies …

But what really scares the telephone companies is the coming of over-the-air digital Internet service from the people that actually provide useful content that people want and need. No wires needed. Communications companies, also known as common carriers, lack this content and are thus severely impaired when it comes to bundling content with communications access. Even though cable companies have access to content, they need their expensive cable infrastructure to deliver it … infrastructure which will be quickly obsoleted if “over-the-air” content distribution and Internet access becomes de rigueur.

Of course, the old guard is buying into the over-the-air system, but they do not originate content.

Maintaining the stock price by charging more …

Instead of offering new and better services at lower prices, many cable and telecommunications companies are simply raising their prices for existing services.


Claiming that the networks capacity is being stretched thin by large-volume high-definition video down-loaders. Trying to position those hi-def down-loaders as impairing the rights of  “ordinary” down-loaders. Which somehow requires the miscreant hi-def crowd to pay a premium penalty for their undemocratic actions. A commercial play on the political concept of class warfare.

According to AT&T spokesman Michael Coe, “Usage-based pricing is one way to deal fairly with Internet usage, which is very uneven among broadband users.”

Let’s talk about fairness …

Is it fair to allow certain companies to maintain monopolies when competitive common carriers abound?

Is it fair to use the tariff structure to slice-and-dice simple access services into a dizzying morass of combination, mix-n-match rates all with different promotional periods and severe penalties for switching carriers?

Is it fair to force users into long-term “lock-in” contracts, ostensibly to re-capture the discounted cost of “low cost” telephone gear which becomes obsolescent long before the contract runs its course?

But the major question remains: Is it fair of the common carriers to refuse to continue to build out the network to the standards of capacity and service that is routinely enjoyed in other companies?

I could also ask that all government subsidies and money flowing from government contracts be completely and fully disclosed to the American public as part of an “open government” initiative.

And for the conspiracy buffs …

Speaking of a more open government, and the Bush Administration’s effort to shield the telephone companies from the consequences of providing consumer telephone information to agencies without court orders, might this move toward the “deep packet mining” necessary to determine message content type be turned against the people in allowing the common carriers to monitor the content as well as the content type?

The meaning of network neutrality …

Network neutrality has come to mean that no class of Internet service (e-mail, web-surfing, VoIP communications, audiovisual downloads) is given time-based priority. An issue felt deeply by American business when the ISPs (Internet Service Providers) tried to float a trial balloon calling for the per-message pricing of e-mails as a method for reducing spam. And later as a guaranteed method of penetrating the carrier’s (think AOL) proprietary e-mail boundary.

Is the Federal Communications Commission the enemy ..?

In many ways, the FCC, consisting of Administration political appointees goes far beyond its original purpose of providing broadcast frequency technical specifications, issuing station operating licenses, licensing broadcast engineers and arranging the frequencies of competing carriers to avoid undue signal interference into regulating content (see George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words) and political usage of the airways. In many ways they act in political concert with the broadcasters and others they regulate. So, while they may not be the enemy to watch, they certainly are suspect on pure political grounds.

What can YOU do?

Keep competition alive and healthy by switching carriers if one carrier offers a better deal.

Write your legislators and demand “network neutrality” for all types of Internet traffic. Also demand that we take steps to modernize the Internet by promoting the use of private capital to build out existing networks and infrastructure.

Join an organization such as the Electronic Freedom Foundation to assist in preserving your rights in this digital era. Especially when there is little or no existing law that may cover Internet usage by individuals and that the application of old laws proves to be manifestly unfair.

With America’s overwhelming dependence on the Internet, it is reasonable that a government-private industry coalition should exist for the common good. There is also no reason why a company should not earn a fair return on its profits. However, due to the massive investments in infrastructure, these companies have become de facto monopolies and should be subject to additional government oversight to protect against anti-monopoly and anti-competitive behavior. 

-- steve

A reminder from 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:

AT&T Mulls Surcharge for High DSL Use - One Citizen Speaking...: BUILDING THE TOLL ROAD: Time Warner Cable ...

“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“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


"If it's Sunday, it's 'Meet the Press"

Tim Russert ...

He was a Catholic,a family man, a professional journalist and a democrat in that order. With a reputation for being warm and well-prepared, he was also a fair man. Someone who looked at the opposition with respect. His questions were the ones you wanted to ask and many follow-up questions you had never considered. He was always cordial, yet turned into a pit bull with a bone the minute the interview began. After the interview, he resumed his cordial nature. It was no act: he believed in what he did and believed that he served a larger purpose as the host of what I normally call, “Meet the Depressed.”

He was a liberal democrat. A Jesuit-trained lawyer. An employee of that other great liberal democrat, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.  The head of the NBC Washington Bureau and the moderator of Sunday’s Meet the Press.

There will be hours of remembrances and the details of his 58 years will be repeated endlessly. So I am not going to recount the details.

I am just going to remember that he differed with me on religion and politics and he was the type of liberal democrat who put our America over the petty party politics and manuevering that took place in front of his eyes. A man that I respected for both his lifestyle and accomplishments.


Tim Russert interviews Louis Farrakhan on "Meet the Press" in 1997. (Photo Courtesy of NBC.)


Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama speaks to Russert during a taping of "Meet the Press" in Indianapolis, Indiana, shortly before the primary there in May. (Photo Courtesy of NBC.)


Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan is interviewed by moderator Tim Russert during a taping of "Meet the Press" in June. (Photo Courtesy of NBC.)

Smiling Russert

Tim Russert (May 7, 1950 – June 13, 2008)                                                                Rest in Peace   

“The primary responsibility of the media is accountability of government, whether it's about lying under oath, which upset Democrats, or the mismanagement of responding to a hurricane, which happens to upset Republicans.” – Tim Russert

“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“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


Because TransUnion sold personal information…

Did you have a credit card between January 1, 1987 and may 28, 2008?

You can get one of these freebies …

A.    The six months of credit monitoring services (which retails for $59.75) include: (1) the ability to lock your credit report so third parties, such as lenders or other companies, will not be able to access your credit report without your consent (unless allowed by law); (2) unlimited daily access to your Trans Union credit report and credit score; and (3) credit monitoring with a 24-hour email credit notification

B.     The nine months of enhanced credit monitoring services (which retails for $115.50) includes all the services listed above, plus a suite of insurance scores and a mortgage simulator service. If you get the enhanced credit monitoring you will not be able to get a payment from the settlement or start an individual lawsuit.

Capture6-14-2008-2.36.01 AM

To receive credit monitoring from the settlement you must go to and register by September 24, 2008. If you register, you will have six months after the Court grants final approval to the settlement and all appeals are resolved to activate your credit monitoring benefit. You may also register at the website or by mail until September 24, 2008, to receive a possible cash payment.

“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“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


Forgive me for the length of this blog entry. One of my acquaintances tried to get me to donate to his political candidate and started by claiming we needed change. Although he could not tell me what change was needed or what the candidate was proposing as change, I started thinking about the change that is necessary to return America to my America. 

Increasing governmental power …

If the United States continues to follow its recent historical path, there will come a time when the government and the special interests will become one; an event which I will refer to as the singularity.

A corrupted government …

The major special interests, such as the trade unions and defense contractors, will have so thoroughly corrupted both the government bureaucrats and their political leadership as to be able to plunder the United States Treasury and siphon off the benefits of the backbreaking labor performed by American citizens.

But unlike the creation of a hydrogen bomb,fusing hydrogen into helium with a blinding flash of radiation, heat and blast; it will happen almost imperceptibly over time. Slowly eating away at the protections of a “checks and balances” system like a cancer on the heart of state.

The executive …

The Executive (the President and Administration) will be consumed with 24-7 campaigning to remain in power and pass that power along to the next generation of party politicians who will, in turn, pass it along to their next generation of party politicians. They will do this primarily by pandering to the special interests for enough money to feather their own nests and then purchase enough media coverage to explain to the people all the benefits of a strong executive confers upon the nation.

The legislative …

The Legislative (Congress) will also be consumed with 24-7 campaigning to remain in power and to pass that power along to the next generation of party politicians. I am sure that you are beginning to see a theme emerge here. The two major parties will pit the special interests against each other in an attempt to feather their own nests and purchase enough media coverage to explain to the people all of the benefits to the “free giveaway” programs that are, in essence, buying the people’s vote. There will be artificial distinctions between the parties so that, acting in loose concert; they can co-opt the minds of a majority of Americans with their plans for change. It doesn’t seem to matter what that change may bring for the citizens of the United States, it is merely enough to equate the word “change” with the idea that there is some hope for a better future – for all people.

The judiciary …

The Judiciary (Supreme Court) will continue their 5-4 battle against ideological concerns while assuming an activist stance that attempts to thwart the Constitution, which they have all sworn to uphold, by usurping the law-making power of Congress and make laws from the bench; often out of specious theories of what the founding fathers would have done in a modern world.

The fourth estate …

The so-called forth branch of the government, because the media historically served as the eyes and ears of the people, has eroded or I should say “corroded” to the point of unbelievably. Their original function, to report and assist in rooting out government corruption and injustice wherever and whenever it was found, has given way to the celebration of the news and the profits it can bring if properly managed. To this end, we provided the media with “unofficial” special protections and unprecedented access to the hall of government. A trust with the American people to provide the “truth.” A trust which appears, with the exception of  a very few news organizations, severely damaged or broken.

Big Media …

Unfortunately, we are dealing with what used to be the “honorable” profession of journalism. And which has become a toxic mix of  real journalism and pseudo-journalism by celebrities such as Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly.  And media which, as never before in the history of the United States, has been so overwhelmingly one-sided and based on celebrity-driven ratings. Where corporate considerations of licensing and regulation override the freedom of the press and neutrality in reporting. Where the newsroom may be populated by consummate professionals, but the editorial tone, and by extension, the content is set by the ideological bent of its corporate masters who seem afraid of upsetting those in government. The game is eyeballs and ears: building the audience to earn a handsome payback on the news with advertising dollars.

Which is why both the government and old media fear the Internet. The government sees the control of information slipping out of their hands, via a more easily controlled media, into the hands of the people. The old guard, with its fixed schedules, cannot compete with the almost instantaneous delivery of the news which makes every one of their presentations seem stale and dated. “Yeah, I already heard that, time to change the channel.”

Both fear the extent to which the Internet promotes interactivity and the scrutiny and discussion of daily events. Where when governmental news junky could hardly get an audience with their own family, they now can communicate at the touch of a button with those of like mind and a willingness to discuss the matter under consideration. Is there any wonder which the Internet with its research, opinion, commentary web sites and chatrooms exerts a seductive power over those previously without a voice?

There is no doubt that much of the mainstream media has breached the trust of the American public by talking sides in a world that demands journalistic neutrality. So it is amazing to them when talk radio and cable television can easily build an audience by presenting an honest discussion of the issues … with the audience often being able to contribute to the discussion. 

Look for the Orwellian-named “Fairness Doctrine” coming to legislative fruition soon unless the people learn the truth about what the politicians and special interests are planning and say no … primarily by threatening politicians and others with the loss of their “gravy train.”

Celebrity …

We can hardly leave a discussion about the media without considering the toxic effects that celebrity has had on our government.

Just because someone is good looking and well-spoken and seems to hold an admirable point of view, it is important for the people to remember that these are actors: people paid to affect the personas of others and exude sincerity when all about them is fake. People who speak carefully crafted lines written by accomplished writers and honed and tested before being presented for delivery.

Most celebrities are self-centered, infantile and narcissistic. With them, the people and the audience are secondary to their needs, rising in importance only on the occasions they are needed to support the celebrities’ work. 

I am sorry to say, such a man is Fred Thompson, a man I supported for the position of President of the United Mistake. In retrospect, a major mistake on my part. I was taken in by the illusion that he was a conservative Republican and possessed the ability and experience to put forth an agenda similar to my own positions. Truth be told, what we got was a tightly-scripted performer who was ill at ease among the people. A “star” who would show up, deliver his speech from his note cards, stop to shake a few hands and take a few pictures and then disappear. His carefully scripted set pieces were memorable, but he couldn’t seem to sustain the act.

Another example is Barbra Streisand, a marvelous singer and entertainer, whose illiterate and ill-informed political musings were co-crafted by her political consultants. She appears to be a capable director and a notorious control-freak, not someone I would consider for a political position; even as an ambassador to nowhere. In the same vein is Rob “Meathead,”Reiner whose professional work I really like and whose personal politics I abhor. Apparently Reiner saw nothing illegal or evil about using massive sums of money raised from taxes to push his pre-school agenda or further his political control over the money that was being spent. Even though most people didn’t need or want such schooling. Or that the program seemed almost as a babysitting service for illegal aliens while they worked elsewhere.

We cannot even begin to describe how we feel about the political musings of Alex Baldwin, George Clooney, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon. At least to me, they exhibit all of the same sensibility as the less telegenic Rosie O'Donnell and others of her ilk.

Here in California we find Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, ostensibly a Republican (In my opinion a RINO – Republican In Name Only) passing himself off as a “post partisan” politicians who is acting on behalf of the people. A man too rich to be bought by the special interests. Too bad the reality is far different. What we have is a narcissistic personality acting like a liberal democrat, appointing committed liberal democrats to positions of power rather than naming conservative Republicans. And whose campaign fundraising activities are far greater than his recalled predecessor, Gray Davis. He has developed the use of “foundations,” with their unknown contributors into an almost untraceable source of funds to pay for much of his travel on private jets and to support his “movie star” lifestyle. Meanwhile, he has done exactly nothing to rein in the California Legislature’s profligate spending on special projects, often for the benefit of illegal aliens. His idea of fiscal reform is to try to con the people that he has solved the massive deficit by papering it over with money borrower from other state accounts, notably those related to transportation funds and state employee pensions. Or propose new bonds issues and other borrowing. His latest plan, raise quick money by mortgaging the future earnings of California’s lottery so that he may leave office with a little or no deficit position and an unblemished record that speaks well toward his attainment of a higher political office. And it is all Hollywood-style smoke and mirrors where the perception is the reality.

Perhaps the old saying, “politics is show business and celebrity for ugly people” is somewhat spot on.

Big Labor …

Meanwhile, back at the camps of the special interests, the labor unions, long ago the tool of an unholy alliance between the democrats, Marxists and organized crime, the leadership will be consolidating its power over local, state and federal  institutions by organizing government workers and using that magic word “strike” to force governmental concessions: more money in wages certainly, but a pittance compared to the money that is to be poured into union-controlled health and welfare plans. Power to determine the granting of favorable contracts to shell companies controlled by unseen and unknown “businessmen” who sub-contract the work to those who actually perform the actual labor – and who may skimp a little on the quality of the materials and oversight inspection on the work site. I hardly want these people building the next generation of nuclear energy plants to meet the needs of an “artificially” created energy crisis. Where solutions only increase the size, cost and power of the government over the people. These are the people who will persuade, threaten or cajole their members into voting the “union” way so as to maximize their influence with government entities.

Military/Industrial Complex …

Let us not forget the military-industrial complex, an old term made popular by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower who warned against the formation and nurturing of such an unholy alliance. Again, part of a revolving door which sees the leadership of one group trading in their hats for temporary appointments to positions  of authority within the government. In an environment where the stupid, but politically savvy or corrupt usually rises to the top, we see decisions being made more for their political value than their value to the nation of a whole. If the two interests happen to coincide, so much better. It is no wonder that we spend more and more money on weapons systems which kill less and less people. It is a sad fact that, with the multi-million dollar weapons system, the most deadly weapon turns out to be a marine or infantryman with a rifle and a comparative handful of bullets.

The Wall Street Wizards …

But it is not only the military-industrial complex in which we see this revolving door, one merely need to consider the influence of the “Wall Street Wizards” on the governance of our nation’s financial affairs. Where faded, former or failed Wall Street “names” are given the power to institute policies which aid and abet their past cronies who they will rejoin after their stint in government service. How many citizens actually realize that Wall Street produces nothing of value in and of itself? They facilitate the production of meaningful goods and services by financing such ventures. From which they take a healthy piece of the action. At least, that is how it is supposed to work. Now consider the “other” Wall Street. The one that has a vested interest in keeping America’s debt high so as to earn a continuing revenue stream of interest payments. The one that produces artificial derivatives, toxic illiquid paper which almost nobody understands or can price without sophisticated computer models. And, above all, the one that encourages speculation in the markets to create the necessary buying and selling to create enough “churn”  to produce outrageously high bonuses from all of the brokerage activities.

The professionals: Lawyers

All aided and abetted by the so-called professionals. Lawyers who become politicians and corrupt the political process with their complex and convoluted legalese which eschews clear language in order to build exploitable loopholes into the system. Whose entire reason for making the simple into a complex jumble of confusing, convoluted and conflicting legislation is so that ordinary citizens need other lawyers to “interpret” the meaning of what has been legislated and to provide “legal” permission to perform ordinary business or personal transactions. This is a demonstration of pure “profession” power which even exceeds the power of politicians. While politicians may come and go, attorneys are here to stay.

The professionals: “certified” accountants …

Another class of professionals that are suspect are the “certified” accountants. Has anyone else noted that all of the major frauds perpetrated by major companies such as Enron, all had legal and accounting support from “brand name” firms? Other than Arthur Andersen, Enron’s accountant, how many accounting firms can you remember that have been severely sanctioned. In fact, while the public supposes that Arthur Andersen is no longer, it has neither been dissolved nor liquidated in bankruptcy. It apparently lives on in the form of four trust organizations (Omega I-IV) and its people have moved on to “sell their opinion” to other firms in great need of professional holy water. The Courts have vacated their felony condition. Somewhat worthless now that their escutcheon has been stained in the public’s mind. But who is to say that they can’t reconstitute themselves as a brand later on – when they can claim those bad things that were done are “old news” and it’s a new day dawning with a new crop of dedicated and diligent professionals. It is no joke that the bookkeeper will tell you the truth, but the accountant will tell you what you want to hear.

NGOs …

NGOs, Non-Governmental Organizations, a term which is used frequently by elected officials to designate extremely powerful organizations that perform some form of government-related activity, by people who are not “formally” connected with the government. These are organizations like the think tanks and the major charitable institutions such as the Red Cross. Many of these organizations are actually lobbyists who supply position papers to government officials. They are grant and donation driven and almost always are structured as “non-profit” entities while some may have “for profit”  subsidiaries. These are the organizations which produce position papers for a lazy legislature and act as informal lobbyists to government bodies. If the government wants to “back-channel” informal information between governments, NGOs often serve as willing conduits.

The lazy legislator …

The overriding problem with legislators today is that they: one, think that legislation can cure every problem, sometimes to the extent of modifying the behavior of citizens; and two, realize that only new legislation receives media attention. Therefore they are wont to ignore functional legislation already on the books in favor of newly-crafted legislation which often does nothing but confuse the situation. There is little or no regard for the “repeal and replace” process which produces a consistent set of rules and regulations. Likewise, there is little or no regard for single-issue bills which demand a straight up or down vote on a single matter. Instead, sneaky and dishonest legislators attach their pet bills to other, and often unrelated, bills that are sure to pass. Or, as an alternative, they craft legislation which modifies existing legislation and hide it in totally unrelated bills. Therefore, toxic, unproductive and legislation for the special interests can be hidden in plain sight so as to ameliorate complaints and absolve the legislator from any wrongdoing. How many ordinary people read the Congressional record or Federal Register? Even the media does not read these documents unless tipped off by some source.

The picture of today’s legislator is one of perpetual campaigning and fundraising. Few, if any, read the massive amounts of legislative drivel that is churned out in the, frequently, small amount of time allotted before a vote. They rely on the faceless, nameless “staff” for their opinions. And, staff usually consists of some bright lawyers supervising a staff of political wonks and “gofers.”

Sovereign foreign nations …

As never before, we are seeing foreign governments, especially some that are hostile to the interests of the United States, buy influence with our elected leadership and rank-and-file politicians through the use of American lawyer/lobbyists and public relations/advertising firms. Imagine, if you will, an entire foreign state committed to lobbying the members of the Administration and Congress to let their citizens, who swear allegiance to this foreign power, become voting citizens of the United States and, in the meantime, allows the United States to assume full responsibility for the education and healthcare of people who may be impoverished and illiterate. As well as placing no tax on the transfer of money, created by hard-working illegal aliens, back to a home country in which the top ruling families are mired in decades of political corruption. A foreign nation which openly decries dope dealing, but which politically profits mightily from the transfer of deadly and mind-numbing narcotics into the United States.

Why are we allowing lawyer/lobbyists, NGOs and others to openly advocate for the destruction of our healthcare, education, judicial, social, retirement and cultural infrastructure by convincing Americans, via the media and their bought-and-paid for politicians, that it is the “fair” thing to do? The “humane” thing to do? Whatever happened to enlightened “self-interest?”  If I want to indulge in charity or help an individual, that is my business. It is voluntary on my part and not an incumbent requirement imposed by the government.

This is not to say that I am not sympathetic to some of these hard-working, decent individuals who have chosen to make a life for themselves and their families in another country which has almost limitless opportunities. But I do not accept the criminals, lazy or those who refuse to assimilate into our “American” culture. By all means celebrate your cultural diversity, but don’t ram it down my throat by building ghettos and enclaves of racial or ethnic similarity to the exclusions of ordinary citizens who become afraid of traveling in these areas.   

We also see the foreign sovereign nations leading or purchasing prime real estate and American corporations. Fronted by Americans, these organizations can further promote the positions of their owners.

Who could have imagined that someday we would lease the property formerly occupied by the Navy’s Long Beach Naval Shipyard, with the permission of our politicians,  to COSCO (China Overseas Shipping Company) for their container operations. Containers which could easily hide people, contraband or even nuclear weapons. It has been reported that COSCO has been used by their military masters to aid in spying and the creation of political chaos with shipments of  drugs, arms and other contraband.

How many of our defense industries have outsourced or sub-contracted critical components to companies owned by foreign sovereign nations? Actions which might not be tolerated if the company wasn’t on American soil and being, at least figuratively, headed by Americans.

How much of America’s personal information flows to information processing companies in India, Pakistan and the Philippines where it can be compromised by militant evildoers?

Using our laws against us …

Sometime in the recent past, all of the hard-line Marxists, Communists and Anarchists found that their socialistic and dictator-dominated world was collapsing around them and that it was necessary to find a new spiritual and financial home to support their interests. Looking around for a crowd of mushy-headed individuals with money to support their radical philosophies. Yes, they were smart enough to have read George Orwell’s 1984 and knew enough to not use the old definitions and rhetoric. They knew that, given the right group of people, they could claim up was down and blue was red and be believed. So they found such a group: the environmentalists. And over time, the strong conquered the weak and idealistic and now they use our own donations, given ostensibly for good and worthy works, and laws against us.

This is a militant group that wants to weaken the United States and turn us into a nation of appeasers … willing to concede more and more power in return for relative peace and security.

They block our nation’s ability to become energy independent by suing to prevent nuclear plants from being built. They tie-up projects for years, increasing costs to the point where the project is economically feasible. They use environmental impact report requirements like the weapons they have become. And should anyone loudly object, they are branded with the ecological equivalent of “racist” by claiming that the person or the organization supports “corporatism” and unbridled capitalism over the people’s right to clear air and water.  Convincing mush-headed morons to march when simple logic tells you that those who lead corporations are subject to the same water, air and contamination health risks as everybody else.

I am a conservationist. I believe in the “stewardship” of our planet. But I do not value any aspect of the planet over the requirements of human life. I love my pets, but I do not anthropomorphize all animals into mini-humans. Yes pandas are cute, but they will kill you in a heartbeat if you invade their territory or pose some kind of threat.

It is time that we become energy independent by exploiting our own natural resources. By developing reliable, clean nuclear and geothermal energy sources. The socialist/ecologist/dreamers would have you rely on what is fundamentally unreliable: natural solar power and wind power. I am all for ocean-driven power sources, but even the currents and tides change. Nuclear and geothermal energy are constants.

It is time to separate the radical conservationists who would turn us all into sun-worshiping vegans while they assumed the reins of power.

Big Education …

Using our educational system against us … All propaganda is not overt and obvious. Historically, many nations have feared or fallen to the discord produced in their schools and universities. Here in California, the community, state and certain branches of respected Universities are hotbeds of radical thought and practice. Where students are taught to parrot the professor’s opinion or fear the consequences of bad grades. Where radical commentary that is openly disparaging of the United States and its institutions is passed off as “progressive” thought. Where there exists no good or evil, only relative shades of gray which often portray the murderous Marxist Che Guevara as an intellectual man of the people … just like his buddy Fidel Castro. They primarily teach relativism where everything has a context similar to the use of the term dialectic which describes a discussion and reasoning using talk as a method of intellectual investigation.

Unfortunately, they try to apply similar methods to science in order to produce a plethora of deliberately confusing and pre-ordained “political” truths to replace scientific facts.

Which is no wonder, since so much of our educational process is controlled by the educational unions and others with a Marxist bent. A conservative or inquiring student often gets “slapped down” in this environment and thus becomes a complicit party to intellectual deception.

It used to be that the profession of teaching was consumed with learning the art and science of making information available to students in an orderly manner that allowed them to learn the lessons of history and the skills to cope with real life. Teachers were teachers first and subject matter experts second. Now teachers have become the arbiters of what is worthy of knowing and in what direction the discussion should be steered for maximum political impact. I can count on both hands the number of teachers which influenced me: to learn, to explore and to appreciate. The others forgotten in a nameless mind-jungle of mediocrity.

Why call them research papers? Now students simply browse the Internet for suitable material, cuts-and-pastes the copy, re-writes a little to avoid charges of academic plagiarism and then calls that research. In this instance, learning has become an automated process that is producing a deliverable result: no thought or critical consideration necessary. Considering how many “cheat” sheets exist on line, it is a wonder that anyone truly learns anything useful.

A recent visit to my junior high school was disheartening. Not only did they not want the books and equipment that I freely offered them, they made a pitch to donate non-discretionary (their words) funds to be used for something called “pupil enrichment.” I tossed a dollar bill on the former A9 patio which could only be used by seniors and told them that was the extent of my support. A little rude, but then again, they turned down thousands of dollars worth of donations (I would have done almost anything to get my hands on this type of “stuff” when I was younger) in favor of pitching me for a donation with an unspecified use.

Big Religion and Charity …

Perhaps it is a sign of the times, but I seem to feel that respectable religions and charities have turned into self-serving bureaucracies, more obsessed with self-perpetuation and fundraising than doing charitable works or explaining the meaning of life through gospel and other assorted teachings. Most religious services have turned into after-service social events. And most major charities turn down tangible donations (which could be profitably used by the desperately poor) in favor of cash or in-kind donations.

We seem to have become a more wasteful nation. Where decent and serviceable merchandise is discarded for the new and socially acceptable. Yes, technology does obsolete many things in our current culture, but not everybody needs the latest whiz-bang laptop with ultra-sophisticated software to simply write a term paper. One major hospital routinely discards more than a million dollars worth of unused, brand new, medical supplies. Simply because they were dispensed, paid for by the patient and are left sitting in the room at the time of discharge. The hospital claims that it would be medically imprudent and prohibitively costly to have the cleaning crew toss the items into a box to distribute to a clinic serving a less affluent clientele.  A position which greatly infuriates me. Whatever happened to the great traditions of charitable hand-me-downs?

And most abhorrent to me is the naming of anything in the close proximity to the organization’s property with the name of a sponsor. It’s almost like the commercial showing the person who just purchased a new label gun; the camera pulls back and everything you see is labeled. Yes, my name appears on a few of those plaques… most of which I have never seen and do not care to view.

Conclusion …

We are at a crossroads, a point in time in the historical development of the United States, when the battle between good and evil, honesty and corruption, and obscenity and decency is at the tipping point. It is becoming increasingly difficult to support this dishonest and burdensome system and still preserve the rights of ordinary citizens. Something must be done about rectifying the situation now.

The upcoming election …

It is not so much that you are voting democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative; but you are being presented with a choice between right or wrong. A conservative America with its traditions and values, some of which need changing, or a liberal America where situational ethics and moral equivalency rule; where children remain uneducated by those that push multi-cultural diversity which “dumbs down” the entire classroom by mainstreaming barely functionally illiterate or language-deficient students in the same classroom with high achievers merely to avoid the appearance of “racial, ethnic or gender” bias.  We are living in a world when boys can legally use the girl’s bathrooms in some school districts if they feel or declare themselves to be sexually ambivalent. The separation of church and state crowd have made a point of also separating morality from immorality. Imagine a world where the Ten  Commandments, rules for basic social interaction, cannot be openly displayed on a courthouse wall for fear of offending some segment of the population.

What can YOU do?

Don’t be played. The government has managed to balkanize the population into a series of  special interest groups, which are more easily manipulated,  and thus requires a coalition between groups with competing needs to win an election.

It appears that we are heading for a singularity, when the government becomes the “be all and end all” in our individual lives. The United States of America will cease to exist in favor of  “The Confluent States of Mutual Interests.” It’s not a world that I want to see or live in.

Get over your bad self and start considering our great nation and the often unwelcome change it is undergoing in the hands of our elected officials, appointed politicians and their supporting special interests.

Decide that it is now time to take action. To ignore the traditional political parties and cross party lines to vote for the best candidate. And not the candidate who is a celebrity, telegenic and well-spoken, who speaks of matters in which they have no direct understanding, knowledge or experience.

It is time to vote for those who are COMPETENT and COMMITTED to the United States. This is not a sporting event and you are not a fan of a particular team. You are a citizen of the United States and the decisions you make will affect your life and those of your family for decades to come.

I will not tell you how to vote, just that you need to vote. Without more informed participation in the process, we as a nation and as a people are screwed. Big-time and forever.

Do your homework. Separate the fact from the fiction. Go behind the image and ask hard questions. Get tough. It is time to end this “go along – get along” sinecure of those currently in power as well as those hope to replace them.

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 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: None

“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“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