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Hamas legalizes crucifixion in Gaza ...

If one needed further proof that Islam was an oppressive religion that curtails human rights and sanctions barbaric behavior that would not be tolerated anywhere else in the world, one needs to consider this item.

From the Jerusalem Post … 

“Both Iran and its Hamas proxy in Gaza have been busy this Christmas week showing Christendom just what they think of it. But no one seems to have noticed. “”

On Tuesday, Hamas legislators marked the Christmas season by passing a Shari'a criminal code for the Palestinian Authority. Among other things, it legalizes crucifixion.”

“Hamas's endorsement of nailing enemies of Islam to crosses came at the same time it renewed its jihad. Here, too, Hamas wanted to make sure that Christians didn't feel neglected as its fighters launched missiles at Jewish day care centers and schools. So on Wednesday, Hamas lobbed a mortar shell at the Erez crossing point into Israel just as a group of Gazan Christians were standing on line waiting to travel to Bethlehem for Christmas.”

From the Quran …

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

“Sura 5:33 Those who wage war against God and His Messenger and strive to spread corruption in the land should be punished by death, crucifixion, the amputation of an alternate hand and foot or banishment from the land: a disgrace for them in this world, and then a terrible punishment in the Hereafter.” <Source>

From Israelnn.com

“According to a report on the new law appearing Wednesday on the Al-Arabiya website, as translated by Palestinian Media Watch, the Palestinian Legislative Council approved a bill "to implement Koranic punishments." The Arabic website, the online arm of the popular Al-Arabiya satellite news outlet, refers to the London-based Saudi-owned newspaper Al-Hayat, which said the decision to implement shari'a (Islamic law) was ‘seen as unprecedented,’ and that it has ‘brought criticism and concern from human rights organizations in the Gaza Strip.’

“The criminal code adopted by the PA includes such punishments as lashes, amputation of thieves' hands, crucifixion, approval of blood revenge, and execution. According to the Arabic press, the law stipulates that only the victim of a crime can pardon opt to forgo the ‘Koranic penalties’.” <Source>

Denied as a lie?

“PA legislators in Gaza denied the reports that they adopted Islamic criminal penalties, saying that there has been no official statement to that effect. Al-Hayat, however, said the proposal for the law was submitted by the PA government led by Hamas's Ismail Haniyeh.”

“If in fact passed, as reported in the Arabic press, the new law only puts into practice what was stated succinctly by a PA legislator - Hamed Bitawi of the Hamas organization - just after Hamas won the January 2006 PA elections in a sweeping victory: ‘The Koran is our constitution, Mohammad is our prophet, jihad is our path and dying as martyrs for the sake of Allah is our biggest wish.’ His statement was answered with a standing ovation and calls of "’Allahu Akbar’".

“Heads of the Hamas-run Palestinian Authority in Gaza have specified that the new penal code will have “14 chapters and 220 clauses,” according to PMW. Despite their denials this week, Hamas leaders recently announced that the new code is almost ready.” <Source>

So where is the United Nations’ Commission on Human Rights or are Muslims not considered under the United Nations’ purview?

-- steve

Reference Link:

Column One: The 'realist' fantasy | Columnists | Jerusalem Post


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

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

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

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

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

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



Schwarzenegger: No leadership during budget negotiations -- vacationing in Sun Valley

Arnold, the RINO

I have made no secret of my disdain for Arnold Schwarzenegger, the RINO (Republican In Name Only) governor who acts more like a liberal democrat than the fiscally responsible conservative Republican he initially portrayed. His leadership skills were honed in Hollywood where striking poses and looking like a hero is possible only with good writing and the assistance of smoke and mirrors.

As a not so funny joke, members of Schwarzenegger's own party once wore name tags to a budget meeting to emphasize the fact that he spent more time with liberal democrat social engineers and spendthrifts than he did with his own party faithful.

Fundraiser extraordinaire …

Of course, nothing was allowed to interfere with Schwarzenegger’s fundraising – setting new records that surpassed those of Gray Davis whose only talent was 24/7 fundraising and courting special interests. Schwarzenegger even went one step further, creating special non-profit foundations where funds were raised to fund the governor’s travel as a jet-setting movie star. Claiming that his travels did not cost the people of California any money, he conveniently overlooked the fact that much of the contributed money came from special interests who do not believe in charitable contributions. The foundations resisted listing their donors – and the whole thing stinks to high heaven.

So why is it no surprise that the Governator is building a campaign fund – possibly to run for the Senate in 2010. And why is it no surprise that the state is facing a major fiscal crisis while the Governor suns himself on the slopes of Sun Valley, Idaho where he keeps another residence.

And he’s up to his old tricks of borrowing and papering over the immediate deficit …

From the Sacramento Bee …

Schwarzenegger seeks more borrowing, new tax increase

“Aides to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger rolled out a new plan for closing California's gaping $40 billion budget deficit today that cobbles together elements of earlier proposals and adds a new tax increase and a "what if" quest to borrow $4.7 billion.”

Now its $40 BILLION instead of $14 BILLION and the governor doesn’t have the balls to present the program himself.

" ‘We are facing a major crisis, probably the most challenging budget situation the state has ever faced,’ said Mike Genest, Schwarzenegger's finance director. ‘The governor believes in acting immediately.’"

So where is the Governor … showing at least some symbolic leadership?

Schwarzenegger is out of state and vacationing at the family residence in Sun Valley, Idaho. But Genest and a half-dozen Finance Department staff members briefed reporters on a plan that incorporates a proposal of spending cuts and tax increases the governor made earlier in December.”

“That plan called for a temporary increase in the state sales tax, expanding the sales tax to cover some services, a nickel-a-drink alcohol tax, a new tax on oil production and a $12 hike on vehicle registration fees.”

“Cover some services?”

This is a massive expansion of taxation as previously exempt labor services from hairdressers, auto mechanics, veternarians and other service professionals will be taxed.  In a state with record high taxes (Only proposition 13 caps prevent California from being the state with the highest taxes), these taxes add insult to injury as they will be used to fund the profligate spending of an out-of-control legislature – something Schwarzenegger promised to address when he was first elected 5 years ago.

Spending cuts?

“It also called for $15.4 billion in spending cuts, including requiring state employees to take two-days-a-month unpaid furloughs through June 30, 2010 and give up two paid holidays each year.”

First, the unions have threatened to sue Schwarzenegger if he attempts to interfere with existing union contracts and furloughs union workers.

And second, spending cuts are not always real dollar spending cuts. To my way of thinking, a spending cut is reducing the amount of money you are actually spending below what you have previously spent. Not simply a reduction in the amount of bloated budget items. 

Papering over the deficit with stolen funds backed by bogus IOUs …

“The new elements include reducing the dependent care exemption on state income tax returns from the current $309 per dependent to $103; carrying over some of the deficit into the 2010-11 fiscal year; borrowing funds from voter-created programs that service the mentally ill and pre-kindergarten children's health services; changing the operating rules for the state lottery in an effort to make it more profitable, and borrowing $4.7 billion from the private sector.”

Once again, the governor is attempting to kick the can down the road past 2010 so he can claim some victory when he campaigns for the United States Senate. But there is nothing of substance here: borrowing designated funds (such as the $2 BILLION generated from tobacco money for pre-schools) and leaving a state IOU is commonplace. Pre-kindergarten children’s health services are not a state responsibility, they are a parent’s responsibility.

Notice that nowhere does the governor say he would cut payments to illegal aliens in favor on insuring that the legal residents of the State of California have the funds to insure their public safety and healthcare.

The democrats never met a tax or spending opportunity that they did not like; hence the term “tax and spend democrats …”

“The first two of these would require legislative approval. The third and fourth would also require voter approval. The fifth, Genest said, would require the financial market to get much healthier than it is now, and the state to have both a balanced budget in place and a ‘plausible’ plan to pay the money back.”

Anything which raises taxes and shifts the budget burden to the people without decreasing the funds available for special interest projects, the unions and the illegal aliens is fine with the democrat-controlled legislature. The plausible plan has always been to increase the taxes to cover borrowing.

" ‘It's a massive shortfall,’ Genest said. ‘It's the kind of shortfall that cannot be addressed by waiting until July 1 to enact a budget. We have to act immediately.’"

If it’s so damn important why are the legislators and the governor on holiday?

Plan du Jour …

“The new plan - the latest of at least four iterations of a deficit-cutting proposal to be trotted out by the governor and legislative factions - covers both current budget year, which ends June 30, the new fiscal year that starts July 1.”

“It proposes to close the $40 billion deficit and create a reserve of about $1.6 billion by making $17.4 billion in cuts over the next 18 months; increasing taxes by $14.3 billion; banking on an extra $5 billion in money from the lottery and borrowing about $5 billion.”

So how did the governor legally sign an out-of-balance budget – after delaying the signing past the deadlines mandated by the California Constitution?

How did the budget deficit suddenly surge from $12 -$16 BILLION to $40 BILLION under the fiscally conservative governor?

“The plan envisions that state spending on general operations in the current fiscal year would drop from the $103.4 billion approved by legislators and the governor last September to $92.4 billion. In the fiscal year that starts next July 1, general fund spending would amount to $95.5 billion.”

We must be insolvent? And these people are too stupid or too political to solve the problem as they admit failure …

“Genest acknowledged that the sorry state of the U.S. financial market, coupled with the inability of lawmakers and the governor to make a deal on closing the deficit gap, meant it was impossible for the state to borrow any money now by issuing Revenue Anticipation Notes (RAWs). But he also said the budget gap is too huge to close through spending cuts or tax hikes alone over the next 18 months.”

What Does Revenue Anticipation Note - RAN Mean?

Also called Revenue Anticipation Warrants (RAWs), RANs are defined as:  “A short-term debt security issued on the premise that future revenues will be sufficient to meet repayment obligations” <Source>

Some things seem to be off the table …

Dump services to illegal aliens and let them self-deport. This would amount to a minimum savings of at least $10 BILLION dollars – possibly $20 BILLION or more when you consider savings from education, healthcare and judicial programs. Go back to the voters to authorize a reduction in education money to deal with a declining enrollment. Dump the least productive state workers just like private industry.

This is B.S. …

" ‘It's just so monumental,’ he said. "As you go through our solutions, you'll see these were really difficult choices. These are substantial tax increases, these are major program reductions."

Politically difficult maybe, really difficult – no way.

Pie in the sky?

“Genest said the plan envisions that the economy will have improved enough by July and lawmakers and the governor will have reached some comity on the deficit to make issuing warrants possible then.”

Smoke and Mirrors?

Revenue Anticipation Notes are securities based on projected income. More financial engineering from the Wall Street Wizards who have crashed our economy.

“The advantage of RAWs is that they do not have to be repaid in the same budget year that they are issued but can carry over into the 2010-11 fiscal year.”

Bottom line …

So while Californians are experiencing a depression, our budgetary system is in shambles, our infrastructure is in desperate need of repair or replacement, our leader is enjoying himself in Sun Valley. Something we should all remember when he claims to be fighting hard for the people.

What can YOU do?

Refuse to play a part in this shell game and re-call or do not re-elect the morons that put us in this position. Demand that the governor reduce the $134,000 salaries of the recently appointment members of the Integrated Waste Management Board to $75,000 without any perks or health insurance. If this is to be a full-time position, hire professionals instead of termed-out legislators.

Refuse to accept Schwarzenstupid ’s bogus global warming initiative which amounts to a massive tax hike on the people and the creation of derivatives similar to the subprime mortgage derivatives which crashed the economy.

Regard Arnold Schwarzenegger for what he is: a narcissistic, ambitious, Hollywood creation. A movie star playing the part of a Governor. Compared to Ronald Reagan, this schmuck is not even qualified to hand out the programs in the theatre. Let him return to Hollywood where I will continue to enjoy his screen performances – knowing that my $20 ticket is voluntary and I can leave if I don’t like the movie.

Be well and be safe.

-- steve

Quote of the day: “The nice thing about egotists is that they don't talk about other people.” -- Lucille S. Harper

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

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

Reference Links:

Schwarzenegger seeks more borrowing, new tax increase - Sacramento Politics - California Politics | Sacramento Bee

Capture12-31-2008-2.04.21 PM 

Schwarzenegger is  having fun  ... are you?


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

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

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

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

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

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



Attention Liberals: Does this count as gun violence that should override the Second Amendment?

Liberals who advocate gun control over crime control often misuse gun statistics, lumping together suicides, attempted suicides, accidents, criminals and stupid people who aim guns at police.

So I ask you, does this thug’s attempt at suicide count for an at-home gun incident involving a child?

 

In this Thursday, Sept. 27, 2007 picture, Mychal Bell, one of the Jena Six, 

According to the Associated Press …

Lawyer: Jena Six teen shot himself out of despair

“One of the central figures in the 2007 Jena Six civil rights case never gave up pursuing his football career, even after his well-publicized run-ins with the law. Mychal Bell, an 18-year-old high school running back, clung to the hope that he could earn a college football scholarship. Then came another legal scrape this Christmas Eve.”

After news broke of his arrest on a shoplifting charge, Bell shot himself in the chest Monday with a .22-caliber handgun. He remained hospitalized Tuesday but police said his chest wound was not life-threatening.”

" ‘When it was broadcast that he was charged with shoplifting he just felt that the whole year had been wasted and that he had worked all of that time for nothing,’ said Louis Scott, who represented Bell in the case where Bell and five other black teenagers were charged in the 2006 beating of a white classmate.”

“Bell's grandmother, Rosie Simmons, and mother, Melissa Bell, told police that ‘Mychal had made comments over the past two days that, because of the current media attention he had because of the shoplifting arrest, he didn't feel like he could live anymore,’ Monroe Police Lt. Jeff Harris said, reading from a police report.”

“Bell and the other members of the ‘Jena Six’ once faced attempted murder charges in the beating at Jena High School, in north central Louisiana's Lasalle Parish. The charges for all the defendants were eventually reduced. But the severity of the original charges brought widespread criticism and eventually led more than 20,000 people to converge in September 2007 on the tiny town of Jena for a major civil rights march.”

“After being sentenced to 18 months following his guilty plea to juvenile charges, Bell moved from Jena to Monroe, where he was in foster care. He was released from state supervision on Dec. 4, said Bill Furlow, a spokesman for Reed Walters, the district attorney for LaSalle Parish.”

On the face of it, this seems like a decent kid who has encountered one of life’s rough patches …

“A football star at Jena High until the Barker beating, Bell had hoped to play for Monroe's Carroll High School, where he is on track to graduate in the spring. But the Louisiana High School Athletic Association wouldn't grant him a fifth year of eligibility to play. Bell had spent 10 months in prison awaiting trial after his 2006 arrest in the beating case.”

" ‘He had kept his grades up and he had worked out the whole year even though he couldn't play. He had dealt with the fact that the state athletic association would not let him play high school ball,’ Bell's lawyer, Louis Scott said Tuesday.”

“It was unclear whether his dreams of a college football career were realistic. According to Scott, family members believed Bell was having encouraging discussions with the University of Louisiana-Monroe. School spokesman Adam Prendergast declined comment. A message was left Tuesday for the school's director of football operations, Peter Martin.”

“Police said Bell's Christmas Eve arrest came after he allegedly tried to steal several shirts and a pair of jeans from a department store and fled when a security guard and off-duty police officer tried to detain him. After they found him hiding under a car, Bell ‘swung his arms wildly’ and one of his elbows struck the security guard with a glancing blow, according to a police report. He was freed on $1,300 bond.”

Life happens …

It is unfortunate for this individual to consider suicide as his only option and does point to the failings of his parents, teachers, classmates and friends … or even a physiological or emotional problem.

But why I, a law-abiding citizen, should be punished and have my Second Amendment rights restricted based on the misuse of statistics created from incidents like this troubles me greatly.

What can YOU do?

Recognize there is a great difference between crime control and gun control. Also recognize that if all weapons were magically banned – only those who do not recognize the law (e.g. criminals and others) would be able to openly terrorize law-abiding citizens.

Learn what it is to properly use a weapon. Take a weapons class from an approved and sanctioned instructor. While you may never handle a weapon or shoot someone in self-defense, you will find that most people who own weapons are not raving loons, survivalists or military wannabes.

Be well and Be safe.

-- steve

Quote of the day:  “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem--neat, plausible, and wrong.”  - H. L. Mencken

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

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

Reference Links:

Lawyer: Jena Six teen shot himself out of despair - Yahoo! News


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

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

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

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

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

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



WHY BORDER PROTECTION FIRST IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE; HEZBOLLAH IS HERE!

Another attempt at immigration reform without border protection must be stopped at all costs …

The unions and the illegal alien lobby will actively petition Barack Obama and members of his Administration to put forth another attempt at comprehensive immigration reform. Especially since border-state and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano  became President-elect Barack Obama's choice to head the Department of Homeland Security.

President Bush, even though he often portrayed himself as a law and order advocate, pushed hard for the legalization of illegal aliens.

We cannot back down. The probability that there are terrorists that are targeting our shopping malls and other mass-gathering venues is extremely high. A subject that the Department of Homeland Defense does not push, especially under the Bush Administration which supports illegal alien drug dealers and jails hard-working Border Patrol Agents like Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.

According to CNSNews.com …

Mexico Sentences Man Who Smuggled Hezbollah Sympathizers into U.S.

“Mexican prosecutors say they won a 60-year prison term for a human smuggler who helped about 200 people sneak into the U.S., including Hezbollah supporters.”

“Salim Boughader Mucharrafille was arrested in 2002 and convicted on organized-crime and immigrant-smuggling charges.”

“Boughader, a Mexican of Lebanese descent, ran a cafe in the city of Tijuana, across the border from San Diego, California.”

“Among those he smuggled were sympathizers of Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based group that U.S. authorities have labeled a terror organization.”

What we learned from an evil Santa Claus …

The lessons to be learned from the massacre of 9 innocent people by an evildoer dressed in a Santa suit should teach us that:

1.  The police cannot respond to where they are most needed when they are most needed;

2.  That someone armed with a concealed handgun may have prevented or mitigated the loss of life in this terrible situation.

Now imagine what would happen if terrorists opened fire on citizens in a crowded mall – think about what recently happened in India where a relatively few policemen who were on scene could have thwarted a much larger attack – but didn’t draw their weapons for fear of legal consequences.

Who will stop the bad guys?

Certainly not the members of the Los Angeles City Council (with the exception of Reserve Police Officer Dennis Zine) who openly demand that Angelenos disarm themselves and put themselves at greater mercy to the illegal alien gangs which roam the city with impunity.

Capture12-30-2008-3.10.56 PM

Perhaps we should demand that all City Council members place “gun free zone” stickers on their front doors and give up their handguns and any citizen-paid security which they may have. And perhaps we should make those who pass gun zone legislation financially liable for their actions. 

What can YOU do?

Realize that, in the final analysis, you are responsible for the protection of yourself and your family; hence the term self-defense.

If you believe that the police will protect you in cases of individual aggression, civil disturbance and terrorist activitiy, make sure your insurance payments are current and that you have consulted with clergy of your choice regarding the ceremony. Don’t forget your will and, of course, living will, should you be incapacitated or rendered a vegetable. Cruel as it may sound, perhaps reading a book on mind games for those living in a persistent vegetative state.

It is no joke: we need to secure our borders and plan for defense against terrorists. We need to do this consistent within the meaning of the Second Amendment – and without the creation of Obama’s Federalized Homeland Protection police to be similarly trained and equipped to be the equivalent of our military.

Do not elect or re-elect any politician who believes in open borders, sympathizes more with the illegal aliens than legal, law-abiding citizens and who votes to reduce self-defense options rather than increase them.

Be well and be safe.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: “Ask yourself: Who you gonna call?”        -- Ghostbusters

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

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

Reference Links:

CNSNews.com - Mexico Sentences Man Who Smuggled Hezbollah Sympathizers into U.S.


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

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

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

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

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

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



Promises of transparency from the party of lawyers ...

Recalling that famous Clintonian parsing of a question …

Capture12-30-2008-1.17.07 PM

“It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If 'is' means 'is and never has been' that's one thing - if it means 'there is none', that was a completely true statement," he said.”

So what can you expect of an internal political investigation that is conducted by a well-credentialed lawyer who is an advocate of his client, Barack Obama?

How many calls?

According to CNS News …

Obama Report Raises Questions: How Many Calls Did Emanuel Make to Blagojevich?

“Last week’s report from the Obama transition team raised more questions than it answered about President-elect Obama's staff’s contacts  with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.”

The report, issued by Obama attorney Greg Craig, cleared all Obama personnel, including Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), Obama's soon-to-be chief of staff, of any wrongdoing. But Craig failed to ascertain how many phone calls Emanuel actually made to the embattled governor.

“In the report, Craig said Emanuel had made “one or two” calls to Blagojevich.”

Following  up the answer …

“In a subsequent conference call with reporters, Bloomberg reporter Julianna Goldberg asked Craig, whom Obama has selected to be White House counsel -- ‘Is there a reason you can't be more specific whether it was more than one?’”

Craig replied: ‘There is a reason, and that is that Rahm Emanuel says he had one or two, and he's not confident whether it was just one or whether there was another one as well,’ Craig replied. ‘So we're accurately reflecting . . . the facts as Rahm knows them to be.”

“The significant thing is that if there were two, it doesn't make any difference to the result that I'm most interested in, as to whether or not there was anything inappropriate that was discussed, because Mr. Emanuel's very clear as to what the topics of the discussion were,” Craig added.”

Like politicians, especially hyper-partisan ones like Rahm Emanuel, never lie or distort the truth – even when they are caught red-handed?

It’s all about process over substance …

“In his conference call, Craig described the process he asked Obama aides to go through to reconstruct their contacts with Gov. Blagojevich and his staff. It included consulting with counsel and reviewing records.
’We asked each individual who we thought might have had some contact or some communication that would be meaningful to, in an orderly way, consult with counsel to advise and assist them in reconstructing any contacts or communications,’ said Craig. ‘And that would include checking cell phone records or e-mails. And we inquired about that. And so it's my belief that we've got the information that is required to answer the president-elect's question. And I think this is the result of that inquiry.’”

Self-serving report is not worth a hill of beans …

“Former federal prosecutor Pat Trueman, however, said Craig’s staff investigation doesn’t really answer anything -- including whether Obama himself had talked with Blagojevich.  The report has all the markings of a ‘cover yourself’ investigation, he said.”

“ ‘The internal report by the Obama staff is no more valuable from a prosecutor’s point of view than an internal report by the governor himself,’ Trueman told CNSNews.com. ‘You cannot rely on the statements because they are not sworn statements, they are not in a grand jury setting, where you would have sworn statements, and so they are not really very valuable.’”

Trust: Why this report is important …

Once again, remember Clinton and Pelosi, the democrats have promised the American people the most open and ethical Administration in the history of the United States.

“ ‘We heard early on from the Obama team that no one made any comments directly to the governor,’ Trueman said, ‘Then we found out that Rahm Emanuel made one phone call – or was it two phone calls? – and that just proves the point that the internal report is not of value. You have to have the prosecutor interview the relevant members of the staff – and that may even mean the president-elect himself.’”

Considering the degree of secrecy surrounding the Obama camp during the campaign and Obama’s propensity to avoid answering direct questions with direct answers, we might be presented with a presidency and Administration that makes the super-secretive Dick Cheney look like a blabbermouth. Only time will tell. However, if recent history is to serve as a guide, this democrat Administration is likely to be similar to the Clinton Administration  – democrat politicians acting in their own self-interest (watch Hillary Clinton) and featuring waste, malfeasance, corruption and the inevitable cover-ups.

What can YOU do?

Believe little of what you hear from today’s politicians. Believe little of what you see and hear from the mainstream media which has apparently sacrificed journalistic ethics for corporate advantage – many of whom are already in the bag for liberal democrat causes and, in particular, their champion of hope and change, Barack Obama. With such an emotional investment, we can rest assured that the Obamaians in the media will cover-up, minimize and delete unfavorable events which makes the look foolish in the rush to anoint “the one” as the savior of the United States.

Take care of yourself and your family first. If you must engage in politics, start with cleaning up the local corruption and work upwards to the state level. With grassroots support and adequate state leadership, perhaps we can select an appropriate national leader.

On a personal note, at this early stage of the game, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal looks good as a potential presidential candidate and former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Michael Steele, might make an excellent vice presidential candidate.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: “The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a good discussion. -- G.K. Chesterton

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

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

Reference Links:

Gregory Bestor Craig  is a Washington-based lawyer. He has represented numerous high-profile clients, including John Hinckley, Jr., who was acquitted of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. As assistant to the President and special counsel in the White House of President Bill Clinton, Craig directed the team defending Clinton against impeachment. He was a foreign policy advisor to Senator Edward Kennedy and to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

  • Craig represented Senator Ted Kennedy during the 1991 rape trial of William Kennedy Smith.
  • He represented the Cuban father of Elián González during the 2000 child custody dispute which ended when U.S. Marshals enforced court orders that the child be moved from the Florida home of relatives.
  • Craig represented United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan during the Volker Commission's investigations in 2004 into the scandals involving the oil-for-food program."

Craig was thought to be a candidate for Secretary of State before Hillary Clinton muscled her way into the Administration.  And it is still possible, that Hillary will resign her post as Secretary of State in favor of a nomination to the Supreme Court. <Source>

CNSNews.com - Obama Report Raises Questions: How Many Calls Did Emanuel Make to Blagojevich?


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

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

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

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

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

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



IRAN: Arrogance, stupidity or both?

It one of the most stunning displays of arrogance and/or stupidity, Iran has announced to the world that it has set up a court to try Israelis, in absentia, over crimes Iran says are tantamount to genocide against humanity.

From Reuters …

Iran sets up court to try Israelis over Gaza

Iran has set up a court to try Israelis for its air attacks on Gaza and is ready to try in absentia any people who Tehran says have committed crimes, a judiciary official said on Tuesday.

“Iran, which does not recognise Israel, has criticized some Arab states and Western countries for not doing enough to stop military action by the Jewish state.”

If one does not recognize the State of Israel, Iran would be hard-pressed to exert any type of judicial jurisdiction over its inhabitants in a court of law. And considering that Israel is a sovereign state recognized by the United Nations, a further claim of interference with a duly constituted authority also could be lodged in the United Nations.

“Iran's top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has urged Muslims to defend Palestinians whatever way they can.”

What you have when a state is controlled by religious zealots is a mish-mash of modern technology based on 7th century moral precepts which are intolerant of any other religion unless it is subservient to your own. This is blatantly unacceptable in modern times and the religion needs to be changed or, more likely, the religious leaders need to be changed.

" ‘The court is in a special branch in Tehran and entrusted with the task of dealing with the executors, planners and officials of this (Israeli) regime who have committed crimes,’ judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi said.

“He said the court was set up based on a 1948 U.N. convention on the prevention of genocide to which Iran is a signatory.”

Islam was founded on the precepts of ethnic cleansing and mass genocide – and its violent practitioners are more likely to be sanctioned by an international court than Israel. In addition, the word of a Muslim cannot be believed by any person whom they believe is an infidel or unbeliever. The religion explicitly sanctions lying and deception as methods for vanquishing your enemies.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Tuesday accused Israel of committing ‘genocide against humanity’ in Gaza. He was speaking in a meeting with foreign envoys in Tehran that was broadcast and translated by Iran's English-language Press TV.”

Conveniently, he did not mention the terrorists who sparked this conflict, nor did he mention his nation’s President who has openly threatened to commit genocide against humanity by eradicating Israel from the face of the earth. Perhaps this court should take Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran – into custody for conspiracy to commit genocide against humanity and all of the nuclear technicians who are conspiring with him?

“Jamshidi called on all Palestinians who have been affected by the Israeli operation in Gaza to file complaints. The Israeli officials could be tried in absentia, he added.”

Considering complicit acts of aggression against Israel by his nation which seemed to be providing support to those who attacked Israel with mortar and rocket fire and the United States troops in Iraq with sophisticated penetrator IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), a case could be made for taking taking legal, as well as military, action against Iran.

Israel, which accuses Iran of supplying Hamas Islamists with weapons, said the strikes which began on Saturday were in response to almost daily rocket and mortar fire from the Hamas- ruled Gaza Strip.”

“Jamshidi said Iran's judiciary chief, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi, was sending letters to his counterparts in all Islamic states seeking their cooperation with this court.”

Might these letters be sent to all of the nations which openly fear Iran and who will secretly celebrate any American and/or Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The last thing Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and the rest of the Middle East needs or wants is an Iran with nuclear weapons.

What can YOU do?

Recognize political posturing and empty rhetoric for what it is: a media show for the locals who still view their corrupt and morally bankrupt leadership as all powerful and righteous.

From the day the British set ink to paper, there has been conflict and strife in the Middle East. Israel was been under constant siege by modern-day locusts armed with conventional weaponry.

I do not believe that there is anything that would be considered a moderate Muslim, except those in the United States who openly demonstrate tolerance for other cultures and religions. Should any of these people preach the violent overthrow of the United States, perhaps they should be deported with their extended families back to the Middle Eastern country that most matches their beliefs. They came here, ostensibly to become Americans. Americans who are freely allowed to practice their religion so far as it does not impact the rights of other citizens to practice their religions. They are free, as we all are, to celebrate our own cultures as long as it does not involve the abridgement of the rights of others.

As I write this, protestors are marching outside of the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles. Perhaps they should express equal outrage for any terrorist group which lobs mortars and rockets into populated civilian areas with the sole purpose of inspiring terror – enough terror to force them from their homes. As well as openly condemn those who have driven these people from other Arab countries, notably Jordan which would be the Palestinian state if some British Twit (along with T.E. Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia) hadn’t divided up the Kingdom in that particular fashion.

Religious zealots and other crazy people should not be allowed to possess nuclear arms under any circumstances. Especially those with messianic desires and an open worship of an afterlife which rewards the murder of innocent men, women and children on the basis of an outdated religion.

-- steve

Quote of the day: "The very purpose of existence is to reconcile the glowing opinion we have of ourselves with the appalling things that other people think about us.” -- Quentin Crisp

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

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

Reference Links:

Iran sets up court to try Israelis over Gaza  - Yahoo! News UK


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

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

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

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

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

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



Accounting standards or mis-accounting standards?

Yesterday, we wrote: “Tomorrow – more about this accounting scam that threatens to destroy accountability in finance.”  And we intend to keep that promise.

TRUST: THE KEY TO FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS …

On September 15, 2008, I wrote a blog entry titled, “Can you trust the accounting profession? (Updated) where I made the following points:

The companies that brought us to this financial disaster, did so with the complicity of accounting rules and accountants.

Represented by allegedly the best and brightest …

All of the major enterprises and financial institutions that have crashed and burned have had name-brand accounting and legal support.

Enron, master of the off-balance-sheet transaction, had Arthur Andersen (which did not declare bankruptcy and was not dissolved as commonly thought – but which lives on in the form of four limited liability companies ironically named Omega Management I-IV.)

And illustrated the current state of affairs with a  hoary joke.

An old accounting joke begins …

The president and the chief financial officer are interviewing the remaining big accounting firms to select their auditor. The president confesses that he has no idea what makes a good auditor as the chief financial officer reassures him that he knows how to select the best auditor from the sharp-looking and knowledgeable  candidates.

The CFO slowly walks up to each candidate and whispers in their ear. The CFO listens intently to what each person says in response. Suddenly, the CFO announces he has chosen the auditor and dismisses the rest of the candidates.

The president asks the CFO what he was whispering. The CFO replied that he had simply asked each candidate what the sum of two plus two was. Baffled, the president could not understand how such an elementary question could have an impact on the CFO’s decision. Professing disbelief, the president asked how this simple question could make a difference when the answer was know to all to be four.

“It wasn’t the answer that I was looking for,” replied the CFO. I just waited until one candidate exclaimed, “What do you need for performance this quarter?”

And pointed out the inherent conflict of interest between the accounting profession and commerce.

Purchased opinions …

And herein lies the cause of most financial debacles. A fudging of the numbers to meet the needs of the managements that hired them. A definite disregard and disrespect for the accounting profession in order to maximize the income of the accounting firm trying to overcome the blandishments of its competitors.

And noted the situation was exacerbated by the rule-makers who set the accounting standards.

Aided and abetted by the rule-makers …

In many ways, the accounting profession is a mix of law and accounting rules which, like all endeavors involving licensed professionals, are complex enough to allow both sides to exert a position in order to allow the professionals on both side to collect their professional fees.

And pointing my finger at the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the Securities Exchange Commission.

Enter the rule-makers: FASB …

“The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is a private, not-for-profit organization whose primary purpose is to develop generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) within the United States in the public's interest. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) designated the FASB as the organization responsible for setting accounting standards for public companies in the U.S. It was created in 1973, replacing the Accounting Principles Board and the Committee on Accounting Procedure of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The FASB's mission is "to establish and improve standards of financial accounting and reporting for the guidance and education of the public, including issuers, auditors, and users of financial information” <Source>

What is the basis of accounting?

Hiding the truth …

The goal of accounting is to provide a regulatory framework which allows enterprises to fairly and accurately present their financial information to their regulators, investors, management and others who may make decisions based on the information presented. In essence, the two-fold goals are accuracy and transparency.

And it is now going to get worse …

Set against the current financial crisis, with complex rules and complicit accounting rules, the situation is about to become immeasurably worse.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is going to allow major firms to switch to the International Accounting Standard which will introduce chaotic confusion to the entire accounting profession and further obscure previous transactions which may turn out to be criminal.

According to the International Herald Tribune, the international version of the New York Times …

“The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission moved Wednesday to allow some large American companies to begin using international accounting standards as early as next year and to require all American companies to do so by 2016.”

“The commission voted unanimously to propose for comment a ‘road map’ for conversion, with eventual adoption depending in part on revised provisions for financing of the group that writes the international standards.”

“The adoption of international accounting standards by the United States would move the world toward one set of standards. This should make it simpler for investors to compare companies operating in differing regions and make it easier for companies to raise capital in whatever market seems most attractive.”

The intersection between intention and reality …

“While there is widespread agreement that one set of worldwide standards would have advantages for investors, there are concerns about the transition and about just how uniform the accounts really will be. U.S. companies and auditors will have to learn new accounting rules that as yet are not taught by many American colleges.”

“The European Union has asserted the right to approve or modify each standard issued by the International Accounting Standards Board and allowed banks to ignore part of one standard. In an attempt to deal with that issue, the SEC has said that it will accept filings using international standards only if they comply fully with the standards as issued by the board.”

Shenanigans are still permissible …

There would also be the question of uniform application of the rules. Early this year, the French regulator evidently approved a decision by a French bank, Société Générale, which moved losses from a scandal from 2008, when they occurred, to the previous year. That move outraged some members of the international accounting board as well as some international regulators, but nothing was done about it.”

Compared to FASB rules, the International Standard is incredibly lax …

If the road map is eventually adopted, the result will be a wholesale change in American accounting rules. While the international board and the U.S. board are working to bring convergence of the rules, there remain differences between them, as well as entire areas on which the international rules are silent.”

The stimulus package for the accounting profession …

“While it is often said that the international rules are based on standards, and the U.S. ones on rules, the differences are more in degree than nature. Still, in many cases the international rules will require more professional judgment from auditors.”

“The major accounting firms have broadly endorsed the move, saying that the United States should not isolate itself as most countries move to international standards.”

Why am I concerned?

On any number of occasions we have seen that the Wall Street Wizards, with their rocket science financial engineering, create natural and synthetic derivatives which require sophisticated computer programs to analyze their actual worth … as well as requiring a willing counterparty to purchase this often illiquid paper. The ability to hide these specious securities were aided and abetted by the accounting rules which set forth the criteria for keeping these particular transactions off the main entity’s balance sheet. According to the accountants, a perfectly legitimate maneuver; and one which permitted the parent organization to hide overwhelming risk and contingent liabilities that greatly exceeded the organization’s net worth. This allowed organizations to hyperextend themselves out of sight of the shareholders, security analysts, ratings organizations, consumers, and most importantly, the regulators who should have stopped this practice before the company became technically insolvent.  

IAS 39: The fight over derivatives and accounting for hedged risk …

(July 31, 2008) IASB amends standard to give additional guidance on the designation of a hedged item

“The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) issued today Eligible Hedged Items (an amendment to IAS 39 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement).
The amendment clarifies how the existing principles underlying hedge accounting should be applied in two particular situations.”

“The International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee (IFRIC)∗ asked the IASB to provide additional guidance on what can be designated as a hedged item. The responses to an exposure draft of proposed guidance (published in September 2007) indicated that diversity
in practice existed, or was likely to exist, in the designation of:
(a) a one-sided risk in a hedged item, and
(b) inflation in a financial hedged item.” <Source>

Example of a moving target …

Capture12-29-2008-9.24.55 PM

<Source>

Notice that the October 13, 2008 Amendment to IAS 39 was effective July 1, 2008. For members of the  public who may be considering a particular investment, it is unlikely that this item will be flagged as it might be simply reported as “prepared under existing IAS standards.”

And it’s getting worse …

According to the Washington Post …

“Accounting Standards Wilt Under Pressure”

“World leaders have vowed to help prevent future financial meltdowns by creating international accounting standards so all companies would play by the same rules, but the effort has instead been mired in loopholes and political pressures.”

In October, largely hidden from public view, the International Accounting Standards Board changed the rules so European banks could make their balance sheets look better. The action let the banks rewrite history, picking and choosing among their problem investments to essentially claim that some had been on a different set of books before the financial crisis started.”

“The results were dramatic. Deutsche Bank shifted $32 billion of troubled assets, turning a $970 million quarterly pretax loss into $120 million profit. And the securities markets were fooled, bidding Deutsche Bank's shares up nearly 19 percent on Oct. 30, the day it made the startling announcement that it had turned an unexpected profit.”

Credibility: surely you jest …

The change has had dramatic consequences within the cloistered world of accounting, shattering the credibility of the IASB -- the very body whose rules have been adopted by 113 countries and is supposed to become the global standard-setter, including for the United States, within a few years.”

Political manipulation of accounting standards acknowledged…

“Sir David Tweedie, chairman of the IASB, acknowledged that the body needs more protection from political manipulation before it can claim that it has become the global gold standard.”

“Tweedie said he nearly resigned over the rule change demanded by European politicians. ‘I was so frustrated by the whole thing,’ he said. ‘All the time when we are trying to build a global accounting system, and we are pretty close to it, and then suddenly out of left field this thing appears. It's just absolutely exasperating.’"

Why is the SEC moving forward?

“U.S. standards have been set by the Financial Accounting Standards Board since 1973. ‘Right now, there is no credibility,’ said Robert Denham, chairman of the Financial Accounting Foundation, which oversees the FASB. ‘If we are going to have global accounting standards, my view is that is not going to work if the IASB is going to be jerked around by the European Commission. That is the very real risk that is posed by the EC coercion and the IASB's response.’"

Can you trust people like Treasury Secretary Paulson, Fed Chairman Bernanke and SEC Chairman Cox to protect us from the type of manipulation that led to the current crisis?

The episode exposes how small, incremental changes in arcane accounting rules can affect billions of dollars in market value and corporate profitability. In turn, the money at risk raises the political stakes, as desperate companies begin to lobby political leaders to insist on changes that normally would come about only after a careful discussion and evaluation by experts.”

Our system is far from perfect, but it is still “our” system …

“For years, there has been a disconnect between U.S. and international accounting rules. With the history of corporate litigation in the United States, U.S. standards tend to be exact and explicit, making it easier for companies to defend themselves in court.”

Loosey-goosey and dependent on bought-and-paid for accounting professionals who are very rarely sent to jail …

International rules rely on broad principles, giving companies greater leeway to make their own judgments. An extensive review of international accounting standards published last month by Moody's Investors Service found significant differences between two French companies on one key issue -- even though they used the same accounting firm.”

Economic war fought on an international battlefield …

“On Oct. 8, the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the European Commission met in Paris to discuss the worldwide economic crisis. They issued a statement saying they were working together ‘within the European Union and with our international partners’ to ensure the safety and stability of the worldwide banking system. But buried within the statement was a sentence warning that European banks should not face a competitive disadvantage with U.S. banks "in terms of accounting rules and their interpretation.’ The leaders added ominously: ‘This issue must be resolved by the end of the month.’"

“At issue is an accounting standard known as fair value, or mark to market, in which companies disclose how much an asset could fetch on the open market. With the values of assets plummeting, banks were suddenly stuck with paper losses on assets they could no longer sell. With some critics saying the provision was forcing banks to take large write-downs, the SEC and FASB issued guidance in late September that companies could use their own internal models for assigning a value to assets -- in essence, a nod to the principles-based international rules.”

Hiding the obvious: obfuscation by accounting … 

“But European officials smelled a rat. Under rare circumstances, U.S. companies are permitted to reclassify assets they were actively seeking to trade into long-term ‘loans,’ using an accounting rule that was considered weaker than the international equivalent. The international rules did not permit such transfers, and European officials feared that the new guidance was handing the Americans a competitive advantage.”

How the writer could have written this with a straight face is beyond me …

Unlike the U.S. board, the international board has no regulator like the SEC to help shield it from political pressure. So the IASB was at the mercy of the European Commission.

Like all other Bush Administrative Agencies, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox was and is a politician who was extremely sensitive to the political winds.

But the IASB bowed to demands to let the firms backdate the accounting shift to the beginning of July -- something not permitted under U.S. rules.”

“In a recent report, Moody's wrote that the backdating provision could distort a bank's earnings and capital position, since "it allows managements to 'cherry-pick' selected assets" and "distort their economic reality," making it more -- not less -- difficult to compare global bank performance. “

" ‘The measure does not make much sense in the first place,’ said J.F. Tremblay, a Moody's vice president. ‘But the fact that a board can be influenced like that is not good news.’"

The noise you hear is the sound of the dollar turning over in its search for a politician’s pocket…

 rotatingdollars

Again, our Administration, Congress  and the Obama Administration-elect have promised the American people transparency in financial transactions.

THEY ARE FULL OF CRAP!

What can YOU do?

Concentrate on keeping your job, or better yet, starting your own business. Reduce your personal expenditures to a reasonable level which reduces anxiety over your financial affairs.

Invest in things which can be verified and which are not connected with securities or derivatives of unknown or suspicious value.

Demand your elected officials honor their promise of fiscal transparency. If the financial institutions and other organizations do not fully account for the funds which they have been loaned, dump the politicians and demand that their replacements seek the prosecution of those who have violated the law.

Accept my apology for a long and somewhat technical blog entry, but it is extremely important to know that our political leaders are complicit in manipulating our financial rules for personal and political profits.   And that they are planning to weaken even those that we currently have – apparently for political purposes.

Be well and be safe.

The new financial battle flag …

euro

-- steve

Quote of the day:  “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” -- Aristotle

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

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

Reference Links:

U.S. moves toward international accounting standards|International Herald Tribune

Accounting Standards Wilt Under Pressure - washingtonpost.com


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

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

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

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

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

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



They are lying about the financial crisis: it wasn't deregulation that was at fault, it was the politicians and their appointees ...

Nothing angers me more than hearing that George Bush and the Bush Administration was solely to blame for the current financial crisis because of his “laissez-faire” policy of minimal government intervention in the markets. Much of our current misery can be traced back to Jimmy Carter’s Administration, through the Clinton Administration – and even Bush 41 was complicit in setting the stage.

Other than actual criminals and those  motivated by greed, it was partly the failure of the regulators to enforce the laws currently on the books, partly the failure of Congress to write coherent and enforceable legislation, partly the regulatory agency’s failure to prosecute lesser criminal acts in their quest for high-profile cases to attract favorable media attention, partly the blindness of the media and partly the effects of interfering political lawyers and lobbyists that were behind much of our current problem.

If one need cast blame at the Administration, it certainly wasn’t so much Bush’s policies as his politics. So let’s take a fast look at who and what in our government was behind this economic catastrophe. And, unless you are blind, it isn’t limited to a single party or politician.

First, let us stipulate that there were crooks and evildoers, on Wall Street and Main Street,  who took advantage of the present situation to earn staggering amounts of money by being in the right place at the right time or simply going along with the current system.

Second, let us all agree that the stage for much of the government fraud, waste, corruption and inattention to the public welfare was based on the hyper-politicalization of the government and the necessity for 24/7 fundraising in what seems like a never-ending campaign cycle. It should be noted that the last presidential campaign was the longest political campaign in history and plunged the nation in to a frenzy of special interest fundraising and political events.

And third, let us also agree that we have just witnessed the failure of the media to uphold their tacit agreement with the American people to serve as the eyes and ears of the public and to be “truth tellers to power.” They were so lopsidedly in favor of the democrats, they overlooked almost everything on one side in order to play “gotcha” journalism. Where sex and scandal reigned supreme over malfeasance and corruption.

On to the charge that the Bush Administration was solely responsible for the debacle which now faces us …

Hyper-politicalization – You are either for us or against us applied, not only to al QAEDA, but to everyone that was in the government or doing business with the government. Many decisions were made solely on the basis of politics and their impact on the Administration. Favoritism and cronyism, while not a direct Bush mandate, were certainly the basis of many agency decisions. Had Bush selected stronger, more capable leadership, perhaps the outcome would have been different. Well-credentialed and well-meaning people were placed in positions of importance. Unfortunately, they never dealt with a counter-minded Congress, a well-entrenched bureaucracy and really lacked the leadership skills to maneuver the ship of state in choppy waters.

Yes, the hyper-politicalization of government agencies decimated some of the regulatory agency’s effectiveness as incompetent cronies were appointed to high public office and we so preoccupied with political matters that they failed to uphold their sworn duty to protect the public.

Off the top of my head, I can point to Alberto Gonzales at the Department of Justice and Alphonso Jackson at HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development). Two critical agencies involved with housing issues. Add to that, Christopher Cox of the Securities and Exchange Commission and you have a trifecta of impotence. I would also like to single out James Lockhart who headed OFHEO (Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight) and who now heads its successor, the FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Administration). He was the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac where open and blatant manipulation of the books resulted in multi-million dollar payouts to its politically connected leadership.

Secrecy – from the top down, people were cautioned to be closed mouthed about their agency’s activities. Secrecy was the watchword of the Bush Administration. Bush crony, Mel Martinez, while Secretary of HUD, racked up 40,000+ comment letters regarding a rewrite of predatory lending regulations because he refused to show his proposed rule to the financial industry; and even went so far as to withhold it from Congress. Needless to say, the bill met resistance as was sidetracked. Martinez failed upward and was given White House support to become the next Senator from Florida. Next up was Alphonso Jackson, who was more communicative with the industry and Congress, but resigned before the rule could be implemented. Jackson, it should be noted, was allegedly under investigation for cronyism and interference in the agency’s contracting practices – for political purposes. The President then placed Steve Preston from the Small Business Administration and the rule was issued – some provisions to take effect in 2010.  By comparison with this bunch, former President Nixon was a blabbermouth.

Media Manipulation – There is no doubt that the Administration tried hard to encourage favorable media attention in a time when much of the media was in the bag for the liberal democrats and, specifically, Hillary Clinton and then Barack Obama. Along with the promotion of the Administration’s policies came the need for the regulators to showcase their agency’s effectiveness so they courted both Congress and the media. Looking to pursue high-profile cases and overlooking the smaller ones, the simply did not do their job. Unfortunately, both Congress and the media remained rather unreceptive to their efforts.

This led to a lack of transparency which failed to highlight not only bad administrative decisions, but outright malfeasance in pursuing the agency’s objectives.

A recalcitrant congress – Not only was the Congress unwilling to act with bi-partisan accord, but there was open hostility on both sides of the aisle. It is almost unbelievable to imagine the sheer stupidity of many members of both the House and the Senate who often acted like they were royalty in pursuing their own political and self-interest projects.

Many of these representatives of the people offered up legislation that they could neither understand nor even read as special interest lawyers and “staff” crafted the language of the laws they were inflicting on the public. Somehow, these manifest morons did not realize that legislation cannot cure every financial, military or social ill – but they were still offering bills as real solutions to real problems. Unfortunately, they did not understand the problems nor the proposed solutions.

In the housing arena, they created a patchwork of laws, rules, regulations, guidelines which often were conflicting, confusing, unenforceable and, above all, ill-understood by those who needed to develop systems and procedures designed to cope with these so-called legislative solutions.

The myth of “record fines …”

Corporations that blatantly disregarded the law and were subsequently caught, simply negotiated their way out of trouble. By discharging a member or members of top management, the corporation could say that they had cleaned house and were willing to settle the matter – paying a “record” fine without admitting any wrongdoing. In many cases the “record” fine was so small in comparison to the amount of money actually involved, that it became just another cost of doing business as the corporation went about its business. The executives who were accused of wrongdoing, either paid personal fines – sometimes from company funds and insurance policies – and walked away with their millions. In some cases tens and hundreds of millions.

One need look no farther than the people at Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac who cooked their books, lied to Congress and received a slap on the wrist. Of course, these were mostly well-connected democrats who were allowed to escape being placed in jail like the thieves they appeared to be. 

Politically connected lobbyists, lawyers and venue shopping …

Lobbyists lobbied for special interest exemptions in the financial arena. Lawyers used the overlapping regulatory jurisdiction to skate under, over or between the edges of the law. In some cases choosing state bank charters, in others choosing national bank charters. Becoming a thrift or an industrial bank. Switching venues and organizational forms when necessary.  Lawyers explaining their interpretation of the law to agency lawyers who knew better but were not willing to spend the agency’s hard-won budget dollars on an “iffy” case that could turn on the interpretation of a clause or a phrase.

These were but a few of the failures and circumstances that led us to the current situation -- and it doesn’t appear to be getting better…

We have seen our emergency reserves, savings, and retirement funds decimated by those who publicly assured us of the safety and soundness of their organizations – while they took tens or hundreds of millions in unearned compensation. Yes, unearned,  as they lost billions of our dollars.

We have seen the amount $700 billion bandied about by the politicians. When, in fact, the bailout is now into multiple trillions. Even the democrats couldn’t resist adding pork to the bailout bill and watched the so-called fiscally conservative Republicans cave to their demands.

We have the Federal Reserve reducing the Federal Funds target rate to a amount between zero and one-quarter of one percent. Further cuts beyond zero are impossible and thus one of their most important primary tools has just been rendered useless.

We have Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson spending billions of the taxpayer’s money and not even asking how or when it is being spent. For all appearances, he does not know how to solve the current crisis and is flailing about. A Wall Street man to the end, he has made his and is isolated from the consequences of his actions. Openly flaunting the intent of Congress to bring transparency to the process.

We have Representative Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd trying to preserve the remaining federal funds so that the democrats can direct their usage.

We have corporations being allowed to change into bank holding companies to gain access to federal funds.

We have seen bailout funds extended to the people in the Madoff Ponzi scam when they were all sophisticated and should have known something was amiss. Some believe that the story remains untold and that tax avoidance and off-shore accounts may still surface. And yet the government appears to be willing to include these people in the bailout umbrella – when they should get nothing more than a tax deduction for their lost funds – if that.

We do not see anyone being prosecuted or asked to return their bloated bonuses based on losing their shareholders billions of dollars. Madoff remains under house arrest in his $7 million Park Avenue apartment when he should be held without bond at Riker’s Island or the Federal Detention center.

We have Barack Obama reportedly ready to spend another billion dollars on infrastructures – which seems like a gift to the unions and their workers. Along with eliminating the secrecy provision of employees voting to join a union.

We do not seem to be doing anything to bring the $55-TRILLION of outstanding credit default swaps under control.

We do not seem to be doing anything to de-leverage the loans that would cause major financial institutions to immediately fail – if the accounting was true, correct and honest.

We do not seem to be doing anything to regulate toxic derivatives – the root of all financial evil which has been done to the taxpayers and citizens of the world.

We are headed towards socialization and the demand to open all financial books to the government (For those of you who are skeptical, look up XBRL).

And we are heading for the largest scam of all, global warming, which will allow the government to cover-up postpone the responsibility for their corrupt actions until well after we are all dead.

But most damaging of all --

We have the accounting profession and the Securities and Exchange Commission about to plunge a dagger into the heart of American business … by discarding our accounting rules in favor of a European model that is already being politically manipulated to deny transparency and cover up crimes committed by well-connected financiers.

We are on a road that might lead to a revolution in this country. Possibly as soon as 2010 when we throw out those politicians who were complicit in this massive failure of government – and deny support to both parties which led us on this path to destruction.

One need only consider who both parties put forth as leaders to see the magnitude of the problem. And one need only to consider that a relatively few local yokels at the first primaries were allowed to pick the candidates that were to survive the political vetting process.

While I hope that Barack Obama will somehow rise above his party’s corrupt background and scant experience to perform a miracle of leadership, it would truly be a miracle given the people that he has already chosen for his Administration.

Tomorrow – more about this accounting scam that threatens to destroy accountability in finance.  -- steve


Quote of the day:
“There is no greater importance in all the world like knowing you are right and that the wave of the world is wrong, yet the wave crashes upon you.” -- Norman Mailer


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

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

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

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

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

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



MY PERSPECTIVE: UNDERSTANDING THE MIDDLE EAST (Updated)

UPDATE: 12-28-08  IRAN'S LEADER ISSUES A FATWAH - AND MAY RECEIVE MORE THAN HE BARGAINED FOR!

From Reuters ...

"Iran's Supreme Leader issued a religious decree to Muslims around the world on Sunday, ordering them to defend Palestinians in Gaza against Israeli attacks 'in any way possible,' state television reported."

"Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also declared Monday a day of public mourning in Iran after Israel killed more than 280 Palestinians in two days of air strikes on Gaza. 'All Palestinian combatants and all the Islamic world's pious people are obliged to defend the defenceless women, children and people in Gaza in any way possible,' Khamenei said. 'Whoever is killed in this legitimate defence, is considered a martyr,' he said in a statement."

Perhaps Khamenei should issue a warning to those who fire rockets amid defenseless women, children and people in Gaza. Or perhaps set the Islamic world's pious people on the road to peace.

UPDATE: 12-28-08  BOTTOM LINE: PALESTINIANS, YOU ASKED FOR THIS!

What did the Palestinian people think would happen if they continued to allow Hamas to continually fire unguided missiles into Israel at civilians? What did they believe that other Arab leaders were saying when they asked Hamas to stop the continual provocation of Israel? And what did they think was going to happen when the terrorists hide among the civilian population and fire their weapons?

To those who are wailing and slapping their head -- perhaps instead of vowing revenge and demanding more violence -- perhaps they should ask Allah why this happened and why are they not seeking peace by removing the terrorists among them?

And, considering that there is an election in Israel, are they so stupid as to not realize that this will produce a hard-line political stance which is likely to result in greater restrictions.

Again, can you think of any people who refuse all international help and continue to live in circumstances of their own making?

Original blog entry ...

From my perspective, the nations in the Middle East operate under a simple set of rules.

One, the Muslim culture, as currently practiced in the Middle East and  in spite of the Western myth of the moderate Muslim, demands that one “be of the faith” or submit to those who “are of the faith.” There is no tolerance for other religions – to the point of severe and often fatal punishment for anything the religion considers blasphemy. Muslims have appealed to the United Nations to denounce, or better yet criminalize, anti-Muslim sentiment.

Two, Muslims ONLY respect force and the will to use it. They regard everyone that is not of their religion as weak and without the protection of Allah.

Three, Muslims are allowed to say or do anything to promote their religion. And I do mean anything, including killing, raping, lying, cheating and stealing. Anything as long as it does not involve a righteous fellow Muslim.

Four, the culture is borne of battle and death in the defense of the religion is not only honored, but a desirable outcome of battle. The more enemy you kill, the happier Allah will be.

Fifth, under Islam, cease fires and truces are ONLY acceptable as interludes to re-arm and re-group.

Sixth, the Western concept that the Muslim religion has been hijacked by a group of evil clerics for their own purposes is totally bogus. The religion remains mostly unchanged since the 12th Century and that modern behavior parallels behavior in past times – only the weapons and methodologies have changed.

Seventh, Israel is a clear and present danger to all Muslim states – not because of their religious differences, but because they are an obvious example of how the different cultures can co-exist and thrive – without the monarchy and in a democratic fashion. Remember, Arabs are openly welcome in Israel and treated with the respect accorded all Israeli citizens.

Eighth, those born into the monarchy or their friends will do or say anything to preserve their status and wealth – as well as to avoid an outright revolt based on the people’s shabby treatment while the so-called royals live the good life. Even places like Dubai, allegedly the gold coast of the Middle East, have repressive customs and do not tolerate something as simple as a public kiss between a couple on a beach.

Ninth, the American Constitution allows militant Muslims to use the “freedom of religion” against us as they fundraise and talk of jihad in mosques mostly funded by those in Saudi Arabia.

And tenth, and most controversial, is that much of the conflict may be inspired mullahs and carried out by sexually-repressed teenagers and young men who have little or no outlet to occupy their time. 

The Religion of Peace …

This is a publicity campaign waged in an Orwellian world where up is down, left is right, black is white and right is wrong.  How can the “Religion of Peace” continue to hurl rockets into neighboring sovereign states? How can the “Religion of Peace” not put down their weapons and simply accept the help of their neighbors to rebuild their land?

To my way of thinking, the Religion of Peace is a crock: they don’t want peace – their leaders want to live in their opulent and respected lifestyle, protected by 12th century laws which simply allows them to control all human rights and kill any dissenters at will.

So I have no sympathy for those who embrace their “culture of death” and attack their neighbors maliciously . And its not about ancient rights – as most of the modern Arab nations were created with a stroke of the pen by the British who divided territory by tribes and had little or no foreknowledge of the consequences.

Where is the United Nations?

One would believe that the United Nations would intervene in the situation and condemn the aggression. But considering the number of states that support the Islamic goal of an Islamic world – little is to be expected from this quarter. 

The news media …

According to the AP …

“Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak says Israel's air offensive against militant sites in Gaza ‘will widen as necessary.’"

“Barak says Israel does not intend to allow Islamic Hamas militants who rule Gaza to continue firing rockets and mortars on Israel's southern communities.”

“Hamas says at least 192 Gazans were killed in the first day of the offensive and 270 were wounded.”

“Barak says there is a time for calm and a time for fighting. Speaking at a news conference Saturday, he said ‘now is the time for fighting" and that "the operation will expand as necessary.’"

“Israeli warplanes retaliating for rocket fire from the Gaza Strip pounded dozens of security compounds across the Hamas-ruled territory in unprecedented waves of airstrikes Saturday, killing at least 155 and wounding more than 310 in the single bloodiest day of fighting in recent memory.”

The concept of innocent civilians …

War brings with it collateral damage. Innocent civilians killed during military operations. Property adjoining the battlefield destroyed. But what of a military which wears no uniforms, which hides in Mosques, hospitals and schools full well knowing that we do not attack such locations, or simply positions their weapons among the population – knowing that the return fire will kill so-called “innocents” and thus provide a media event to allow people to see dead women and children?

Perhaps, under these circumstances, there are no innocents as their own people have condemned these non-combatants to death. The are a casualty of their own religion and their accepted leadership.

“The vast majority of those killed were security men, but civilians were also among the dead. Hamas said all of its security installations were hit and responded with several medium-range Grad rockets at Israel, reaching deeper than in the past. One Israeli was killed and at least four people were wounded in the rocket attacks. With so many wounded, the Palestinian death toll was likely to rise.”

"The operation will last as long as necessary," declared Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, though it was not clear if it would be coupled with a ground offensive. Asked if Hamas political leaders might be targeted next, military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich said, "Any Hamas target is a target."

What did they expect?

What do the Gazans expect: that you can simply lob rockets and mortars into another country without a response?

“The strikes caused widespread panic and confusion in Gaza, as black clouds of smoke rose above the territory, ruled by Hamas for the past 18 months. Some of the Israeli missiles struck in densely populated areas as children were leaving school, and women rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children. Most of those killed were security men, but civilians were among the dead.”

“Said Masri sat in the middle of a Gaza City street, close to a security compound, alternately slapping his face and covering his head with dust from the bombed-out building.”

"’My son is gone, my son is gone,’ wailed Masri, 57. The shopkeeper said he sent his 9-year-old son out to purchase cigarettes minutes before the airstrikes began and now could not find him. ‘May I burn like the cigarettes, may Israel burn,’ Masri moaned.”

What, he is not celebrating the death of his innocent son as a martyr to the cause of Islam? Perhaps some of that hatred should be re-directed to his leaders who set the stage for his son to be killed.  Where is his cry for peace? Where is his plea for a cessation of hostilities? And, just maybe, the son survived – slightly wounded, dazed and taken to a local hospital.

“Defiant Hamas leaders threatened revenge, including suicide attacks. Hamas ‘will continue the resistance until the last drop of blood,’ vowed spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.”

Revenge? The never-ending cycle of attack and counter-attack? This is a response to their aggression. And, resistance to what? Peace? Co-existence with a democratic Israel? Why is it that media sources do not point out that Palestinians are not welcome in other Arab nations as they are considered to be troublemakers. Better yet, why does the media remain silent on the fact that the real home of the Palestinians is now occupied by the modern state of Jordan?

“Israel told its civilians near Gaza to take cover as militants began retaliating with rockets, and in the West Bank, moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for restraint. Egypt summoned the Israeli ambassador to express condemnation and opened its border with Gaza to allow ambulances to drive out some of the wounded.”

Retaliating … or simply continuing the original attack which provoked the Israeli response? Condemnation is one thing … but we have seen ambulances used as ammunition carriers before as they shuttle back-and-forth knowing that they are relatively safe from attack.

More protests …

From people who will openly riot, kill and destroy property on encountering an anti-religious cartoon, one should consider exactly what they are protesting. No being able to molest Israel with impunity? No being responsible for the consequences of their actions? What did they think would happen? Israel has shown remarkable restraint. What do you think would happen in the United States if Mexican separatists decided to lob mortars and missiles into San Diego every few days? This is self-defense: pure and simple. And this is Israeli restrain. By all rights they should have reduced the entire area to rubble.

Protests erupted in the Abbas-ruled West Bank and across the Arab world.”

“Several hundred angry Jordanians protested outside a U.N. complex in the capital Amman. ‘Hamas, go ahead. You are the cannon, we are the bullets,’ they cried, some waving the signature green Hamas banners.”

If I remember my history correctly, it was the Jordanians who drove the Palestinians (PLO) from their lands into Lebanon – which they soon turned one of the most sophisticated and beautiful countries in the world into rubble and chaos.

“King Hussein of Jordan ejected Arafat's Palestinians in September 1970, called Black September because they were trying to take over his kingdom. King Hussein drove them into Lebanon after killing more than 10,000. The Lebanese welcomed the fleeing Palestinians into their bosom, but suddenly found themselves under attack by Arafat's Palestinians who set up a mini Terror State within Lebanon. For the next 12 years terror raged and over 100,000 Lebanese were murdered by their Palestinian brothers.” <Source>

“In Beirut, dozens of youths hit the streets and set fire to tires.”

Perhaps these kids should have studied their history along with their Koran?

“In Syria's al-Yarmouk camp, outside Damascus, dozens of Palestinians protested the attack as well, vowing to continue fighting Israel.”

Perhaps, over time, Syria will come to regret their position on Palestinians as they continue to multiply and become integrated into the Syrian government.

What will it take to halt Gaza aggression?

“Israeli leaders approved military action against Gaza earlier in the week. Past limited ground incursions and air strikes have not halted rocket barrages from Gaza.”

“But with 200 mortars and rockets raining down on Israel since the truce expired a week ago, and 3,000 since the beginning of the year, according to the military's count, pressure had been mounting in Israel for the military to crush the gunmen.”

“Earlier this month, Israeli security officials told the government that militants possess rockets with ranges capable of reaching farther from Gaza than ever before, including the cities of Beersheba and Ashdod.”

“Gaza militants fired several rockets Saturday, including one that struck a new target, the town of Kiryat Gat. A missile hit on the town of Netivot killed an Israeli man and wounded four people, rescue services said. In Ashkelon, TV cameras showed people huddle against a wall as a rocket alert sounded.”

There will come a time when words of peace and protest will not suffice …

If there is no apparent resolution to this continual barrage against Israel, there may come a time when there will be but a single warning: leave now! And the areas that are hostile to Israel will be completely destroyed.

Barak, the Israeli defense minister, said that the coming period "won't be easy and won't be short for the communities in the south (of Israel).

“Israel declared a state of emergency in Israeli communities within a 12-mile (20-kilometer) range of Gaza, putting the area on a war footing.”

What the media is reporting …

“Hospitals crowded with people, civilians rushing in wounded people in cars, vans and ambulances. "We are treating people on the floor, in the corridors. We have no more space. We don't know who is here and what the priority is to treat," said a doctor at Shifa Hospital, Gaza's main treatment center. He hung up the phone before identifying himself.”

“In the West Bank, Hamas' rival, Abbas, said in a statement that he ‘condemns this aggression’ and called for restraint, according to an aide, Nabil Abu Rdeneh. Abbas, who has ruled only the West Bank since the Islamic Hamas seized power in Gaza in June 2007, was in contact with Arab leaders, and his West Bank Cabinet convened an emergency session.”

Just which aggression is he condemning? The rocket firing which is an overt act of aggression against a sovereign state? And which party is he calling upon for restraint? The Israelis who are responding to being attack or the attackers who decided to target Israel? Considering Abbas is in contact with Arab leaders, one wonders what he is saying. Surely it can’t be anything against Islam which seems to be the root cause of the attacks?

The sad truth …

Israel left Gaza in 2005 after a 38-year occupation, but the withdrawal did not lead to better relations with Palestinians in the territory as Israeli officials had hoped.”

Instead, the evacuation was followed by a sharp rise in militant attacks on Israeli border communities that on several occasions provoked harsh Israeli military reprisals.”

Was this abandonment of territory simply a reaction to International pressures? And did Israel’s actions lead to the reinforcement of the idea that terrorism will eventually yield the attacker’s desired results?

“The last, in late February and early March, spurred both sides to agree to a truce that was to have lasted six months but began unraveling in early November. In recent days, Israeli leaders had been voicing strong threats to launch a major offensive.”

On to Iran …

Although the Iranians are not Arabs, they are Muslim and have the same outcome for Israel: death and destruction. As their once vibrant culture has almost been destroyed by the Mullahs, they are once again flirting with danger. It is well-known and accepted that Iranian forces are involved in the Iraq conflict and as Syria’s influence in Lebanon receded, Iran’s influence grew. Can you trust this country with a nuclear weapon? The answer is an emphatic NO! A “No” which is also silently echoed by their Arab neighbors who fear a nuclear-armed Iran and silently look to the Israelis to solve their problems.

We are now past Christmas, approaching New Year and the Obama inauguration on January 20th is looming large. Could the event that Vice President-elect Biden spoke of be the attack on Iran? And the response which will have people openly questioning Barack Obama’s actions be the sanctioning of Israel? We do not have much longer to wait for the answer.

And the attack will be justified. Just as the Muslims continue to wail about the injustice of Israel’s existence and continue to lob deadly missiles into their country – there will come a time when Israel says “NO MORE!” And I believe that time is fast approaching.

What can YOU do?

Recognize that freedom is a two-way street. There are those who want freedom, but must in turn grant freedom to others. Unless this is possible, conflict is inevitable. Both sides will lose men, women and children. Homes will be destroyed. A darkness will fall upon a barren land. Hope will dissipate until one side surrenders. And if they re-arm, the cycle will repeat. Until the leadership recognizes the benefits of human rights and stops stealing from the people – there will be no peace as the leaders must continually point to some scapegoat to account for their people’s misery.

Israel is a thorn in the side of the surrounding nations, not because of religious differences – but because it shows the people what can be done in a tolerant, cooperative atmosphere where certain men are not omnipotent kings of the realm. And that’s why the leaders of these nations continue to fight on.

Aided and abetted by the United States who will often overlook localized conflict to obtain reasonably-priced oil. So, if the United States does want peace in the Middle East, is it not reasonable to demand our leadership develop a comprehensive energy policy which will remove American dollars from the region and thus lower the level of conflict. The fastest way to do this would be to build out our national energy grid, use CNG (compressed natural gas) for our truck fleets, develop nuclear power sources and use our own oil while we develop alternative fuel vehicles.

Until the Muslim religion experiences a reformation, perhaps one should consider leaving them in relative peace to enjoy a 12th century lifestyle and preventing their leaders from visiting other countries. A zero immigration policy for nations which remain bellicose and hostile to Israel.

And if we need bomb them … perhaps we should use Playboy magazines, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton videos – and videos of the California lifestyle. Perhaps they would dream of the Mohave Desert instead of Israel?

Could this be the cover attack which is the diversion for a much larger attack on Iran? Especially since both Iran and Syria are the chief backers of Hamas. Or possibly a staged precursor to an Obama peace initiative -- complete with more humanitarian aid (e.g. money for the corrupt leadership)?

If anyone should have other opinions, send them along.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: “There comes a time when injustice must be addressed, the politicians and media be damned.” -- steve

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

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

Reference Links:

My Way News - Barak: Gaza operation will expand as needed

NABIL ABU RDAINAH, AIDE TO PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD ABBAS: "President Abbas demands that the Israeli government stop this aggression immediately to spare our people its painful effects, and calls on the international community to intervene to stop the aggression."

WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN GORDON JOHNDROE: "Hamas' continued rocket attacks into Israel must cease if the violence is to stop. Hamas must end its terrorist activities if it wishes to play a role in the future of the Palestinian people."

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY STATEMENT: "Moscow deems it necessary to stop large scale military action against Gaza, which had already led to big casualties and suffering among civilian Palestinian population. At the same time we call on Hamas leadership to stop shelling Israeli territory."

<More statements from world leaders courtesy of Reuters

Coincidental Note:

"Political scientist Samuel Huntington, whose controversial book 'The Clash of Civilizations' predicted conflict between the West and the Islamic world, has died at age 81, Harvard University said on Saturday. <More on this interesting scholar>


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

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

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

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

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

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



THE SENATE: CORRUPTION, CRONYISM, CAMPAIGNING ...

The Founding Fathers would be appalled that the Senate has morphed into the House of Lords … where the faux-royals dispense their largess, often without regard to the citizens of the United States.

It’s bad enough that Illinois Governor Blagojevich allegedly tried to sell Barack Obama’s Senate Seat for personal gain, but the antics of Caroline Kennedy take the cake. Even Obama had more experience than Kennedy when he became Illinois’ de facto Senator. How arrogant of Kennedy to cop a Clinton attitude and ignore the media at will?

Wannabe Senator Caroline Kennedy (and when convenient) Schlossberg …

One need only look at the unseemly behavior of Caroline Kennedy to see the entitlement culture of the elite in full effect. Mounting a campaign, complete with an “upstate listening tour,” and courting the various movers and shakers in the hopes of pressuring New York Governor Patterson into selecting a sketchy dilettante for a Senate Seat. I say dilettante because even her supposed credentials as an author of constitution-related books demonstrates a liberal viewpoint and a total lack of scholarship when it comes to getting quotations correct.

“In the news reports of Caroline Kennedy's aspirations to be a Senator, the talking heads have noted that her qualifications include being a ‘Constitutional lawyer’ who ‘wrote a book about Constitutional law.’”

“I happen to have that book: In Our Defense, The Bill of Rights in Action, by Ellen Alderman and Caroline Kennedy, William Morrow & Co., NY, 1991. Here is what the Constitutional scholars Alderman and Kennedy had to say about the Second Amendment, on page 100:

[Under the controlling authority of the only Supreme Court case to address the scope of the Second Amendment, U.S. v. Miller, the court concluded that ‘the right to keep and bear handguns is not guaranteed by the Second Amendment.’]

The quotation marks are theirs; this is supposed to be a direct quote from the opinion in U.S. v. Miller. Those words do not appear anywhere in the opinion. Nor is it a paraphrase; nothing even remotely like those words appears in the opinion. The word ‘handgun’ does not appear in the opinion.
Alderman and Kennedy got the opinion wrong, and they used quotation marks around words that were not quotations. What is your opinion? Intentional deception, just making up crap out of thin air a la Bellesiles? Or egregiously bad scholarship? (How hard is it to check the opinion to see if the quotation is accurate, especially a short opinion like Miller?)” <Source>

Senator Reid – corruption and campaigning …

“Sen. Reid Hits the Ground Running in Uphill Re-Election Bid”

“Sen. Harry Reid will command the biggest party majority of any Senate leader in a quarter century when the new Congress convenes in January. But the Nevada Democrat is already worried about his own re-election fight in 2010.”

Worried? Why should he be worried? Because of his seemingly corrupt land deals which required amended Senate Disclosures? Because of his anti-American rhetoric when it came to the Iraq War and our troops?

“Sen. Reid, perhaps the most-vulnerable Democrat who will face re-election in a midterm race that is likely to favor his party once again, began interviewing campaign managers last week. The Senate majority leader also recently stepped up fund-raising.”

One of the most dangerous threats facing our nation is politicians who are switching into the 24/7 campaign mode: where their votes are allegedly for sale and the public be damned.

Bitter, sour and stupid … what a combination?

“Sen. Reid, however, faces a potentially tough fight. A recent Research 2000 poll of likely voters put his approval rating at 38% and his disapproval rating at 54%, a possible reflection of voters' displeasure with gridlock and partisanship in Washington. And while Nevada broke for President-elect Barack Obama by 12 percentage points in November, the state voted for President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.”

Doesn’t the Senator represent the state of Nevada?

Sen. Reid traveled to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico late last month to meet with campaign contributors. A spokesman for Sen. Reid said he expects to have $3 million in his campaign account at the end of the year, up from about $2.75 million on Oct. 1. Sen. Reid spent $7 million in his 2004 race.”

And what makes him worth a single plug nickel, if not for his  vote? Can’t be his leadership abilities because he is so hyper-partisan that he refuses to even consider his Republican colleagues when making pronouncements.

And unless the Republicans get the act together …

" ‘Republicans are going after Harry Reid's Senate seat in 2010, and we can't afford to lose a great Democratic leader,’ Senator-elect Merkley wrote in his email.”

“Who might square off against Sen. Reid is unclear. Nevada's Republican lieutenant governor, Brian Krolicki, declared his candidacy last month but was subsequently indicted for suspect accounting practices during his time as state treasurer. He has denied the charges.”

What can YOU do?

Stop electing corrupt politicians, celebrities and those so-called “elitists” who believe that they are somehow entitled to a high government post because of the accomplishments of their relatives.

Mix it up. Send some ordinary people to Congress. Start a drive to eliminate all appointments to high political office and demand that open positions be filled by elected officials. No more Blagojevich or Patterson-type appointments.

It is time that we start to take our government back from those who believe it is their government and that our money is their money to spend in any manner they wish. Mostly to aid and abet the special interests.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: ”A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” -- William James

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

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

Reference Links:

Sen. Reid Hits the Ground Running in Uphill Re-Election Bid - WSJ.com


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

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

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

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

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

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