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PROOF OUR GOVERNMENT IS "EFFING" STUPID ...

Imagine the president of a large bank chain telling the local newspaper that one of his branches recently underwent a security audit and they found that the security cameras didn’t work, the vault’s time lock wasn’t all that secure and the front door sometimes could be opened by pushing hard on the supposedly locked door. But not to worry, some of the cash was actually stored in a converted metal overseas container in the next block. Couldn’t happen? Well, if you are the United States Government …

According to CNSNews.com …

“Nuclear-Bomb Materials Stockpiled in Suburb Were Not Adequately Protected Against Terrorists, Says Government Report”

“ The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory--which stores weapons-grade uranium and plutonium in the midst of the heavily populated San Francisco Bay Area--was discovered last year to have “significant weaknesses” in its security,  ‘particularly in [its] protective force’s ability to assure the protection of weapons-grade (special) nuclear material,’ according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.”

This is the type of “open source” intelligence which is gathered by friends and foes. It does not require spies and it certainly is much cheaper to obtain as the news is delivered directly to your computer where it can be analyzed for keywords like “nuclear” by relatively unsophisticated software.

And the government’s defense claiming that the weaknesses have been remedied are, well, weak. First, we are speaking about government systems which tend to degrade over time. So the likelihood of a similar occurance at this facility or another facility some time in the future is probable. And second, it provides a blueprint to those who want to examine other non-related facilities for weaknesses. In my humble opinion, and that of the disbanded Strategic “Peace is our Profession” Air Command, never comment on all things nuclear – including the location of weapons, fissile materials, security and personnel.

“In April 2008, the Department of Energy inspected the lab and found ‘numerous and wide-ranging security deficiencies,’ said GAO.

‘ ‘The Department of Energy (DOE) has long recognized that a successful terrorist attack on a site containing nuclear weapons or the fissile material used in nuclear weapons—called special nuclear material—could have
devastating consequences for the site and its surrounding communities,’ GAO said in its report.”

Yah think!

" ‘Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), located in Livermore, California, is one of three national laboratories responsible for designing, developing, and maintaining a safe, secure, and reliable nuclear weapons
deterrent,’ the report explained. ‘For these and other missions, LLNL stores and uses special nuclear material. Special nuclear material—including plutonium and highly enriched uranium—is considered to be Category I when it is weapons-grade and in specified forms and quantities. The risks associated with Category I special nuclear material vary but include theft, and the potential for sabotage in the form of radiological dispersal, also known as a 'dirty bomb.' ‘"

“The report said that the Department of Energy inspection ‘gave the laboratory the lowest possible rating in two security areas: protective force performance and classified matter protection and control.’" The DOE found that the laboratory’s security forces were not adequately prepared to defend the nuclear stockpile from an attack or attempted armed theft.”

The DOE’s Office of Independent Oversight inspected the facility to “evaluate the ability of LLNL’s [Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory] protective security force to successfully defend the Superblock facility against a mock terrorist group.”
“As a result of this inspection, LLNL earned the lowest possible rating--'Significant Weakness'--in two of seven security performance areas, including protective force,” the report reads.

Hasn’t the government also revealed that a number of nuclear secrets allegedly wound up in China and that a number of spies, both real and imagined, have been found within our nuclear laboratory system?

“The lab also failed a test of how well it could protect sensitive nuclear secrets, according to the GAO, because the lab failed to follow ‘basic’ security protocols. ‘LLNL failed to comply with basic security requirements, such as the frequency of changes to safe combinations,” the report says.’”

Self-inspection in a politically-charged corporate environment involving an outside contractor is never effective …

“The report also said that the laboratory’s own internal security checks--conducted by its on-site security office--had given the laboratory a 100 percent satisfactory rating just six months before DOE’s internal inspectors found failing security conditions. ‘LSO’s (Livermore Site Office) September 2007 annual security survey, completed only six months before (DOE’s) inspection, resulted in 100-percent satisfactory ratings,” the report says.’”

Fire their asses from all projects as a warning to all government contractors. Make it painful. Screw up in protecting the nation’s vital materials and secrets even once and your company is history. And, no simply changing corporate names and re-applying. History. Finito. Toast! Again, failure is not an option and one is encouraged to recall the Strategic Air Command’s prescriptive: “To err is human and to forgive is devine – neither one being part of Strategic Air Command Policy.”

Capture4-21-2009-11.18.56 AM

(For those wanting SAC Humor Patches – Click Here)

“The site’s security is run by a contracting firm and overseen by the federal government, through the LSO. Both the contractor and the government failed, according to the GAO source.”

“In reference to the GAO’s findings, John Belluardo, public affairs director at Lawrence Livermore, told CNSNews.com in an e-mail: “The Laboratory has implemented corrective action plans for all of the findings resulting from the 2008 inspection. Specifically, the Laboratory initiated an aggressive recovery plan to improve the effectiveness of its protection strategy.”

'”Physical communications and system security upgrades were implemented, upgraded weapon systems were deployed, and a multitude of force-on-force exercises were conducted that demonstrated significant improvements in protective force response.”

Stupid is as stupid does …

While most of the “open source” reports may have a “classified” counterpart, I believe that this type of information should be closely-held and that members of the intelligence and security oversight committees should also become vulnerable for any security lapses that occur on their watch and not immediately remedied.

I would also like to see nuclear security removed from major hyperpartisan bureaucracies and settled squarely on the shoulders of an un-forgiving organization like the former Strategic Air Command. And this does not only concern nuclear weapons, but also biological and chemical laboratories – as well as any other laboratory doing classified research. And harsh as it sounds, no trips to foreign countries by those who may have friends and relatives in these countries – especially China.

In a time when our government leadership seems hell-bent on moving the United States towards socialism and is controlled by people pandering to the far-left anti-war, anti-America activists, more – not less – security precautions should be the order of the day. And anyone caught deliberately leaking information about classified military activities, a mandatory stint in solitary confinement.

As for Lawrence Livermore, problems continue to exist as evidenced by the research links that I have included below. It is time to fire the contractor’s ass and return control over our nuclear laboratories to a military command with dedication, purpose and a non-political, non-profit approach.

-- steve

Reference Links:

CNSNews.com - Nuclear-Bomb Materials Stockpiled in Suburb Were Not Adequately Protected Against Terrorists, Says Government Report

Los Alamos Probe Widens to Include Two Other Labs'

A simple keyword “Lawrence Livermore” on the GAO site produced this treasure-trove of open intelligence.

Nuclear Security: Better Oversight Needed to Ensure That Security Improvements at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Are Fully Implemented and Sustained
GAO-09-321, March 16, 2009
Quick View Quick view toggle Summary (HTML)   Highlights Page (PDF)   Full Report (PDF, 41 pages)   Accessible Text Recommendations (HTML)

Continue reading "PROOF OUR GOVERNMENT IS "EFFING" STUPID ..." »


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Just asking: how will Obama spin this "emerging" swine flu crisis to his political advantage -- to grab even more government power?

Headlines on the DrudgeReport, the source used by many journalists and media mavens in the mainstream media as showprep and an idea of what is important. The “hot” topic – a new “swine flu.”

Capture4-25-2009-10.24.40 AM

There is no doubt that the Bush Administration spent a lot of time and money developing “pandemic” scenarios; even to the extent of demanding that financial institutions have “pandemic” contingency plans in place.

Financial Institution Letters


Interagency Statement on Pandemic Planning Guidance for Minimizing a Pandemic's Potential Adverse Effects
FIL-6-2008 February 6, 2008

Summary:
The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council has issued the attached "Interagency Statement on Pandemic Planning" (Statement) identifying actions that financial institutions should take to minimize the potential adverse effects of a pandemic. An institution's business continuity plan should address pandemics and provide a preventive program, a documented strategy scaled to the stages of a pandemic outbreak, a comprehensive framework to ensure the continuance of critical operations, a testing program, and an oversight program to ensure that the plan is reviewed and updated.

Highlights:

  • The Statement explains the differences between traditional business continuity planning and pandemic planning, as well as the unique challenges posed by a pandemic.
  • Pandemic plans, reflecting an institution's size, complexity and business activities, should be sufficiently flexible to effectively address a wide range of possible effects that could result from a pandemic.
  • The Statement describes risk-assessment and risk- management steps that are important for pandemic planning, such as coordinating with outside parties and providing employees with remote access.
  • The Statement highlights the specific challenges faced by management and the mitigating controls that should be considered when developing a pandemic plan.
  • An institution's pandemic planning activities should involve senior management from all functional areas including administration, human resources, legal, IT support, and key product lines.
  • A key challenge is developing a testing program that provides a high degree of assurance that critical business processes will function even during a severe pandemic.
  • The Statement identifies some of the guidance issued by other federal agencies and industry associations to assist institutions in developing plans for pandemic events.

Distribution:
FDIC-Supervised Banks (Commercial and Savings)

Suggested Routing:
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Information Officer
Chief Information Security Officer
Chief Compliance Officer
Human Resources Manager

Related Topics:
Influenza Pandemic Preparedness
Business Continuity Planning

Attachment:
Interagency Statement on Pandemic Planning – PDF

And, of course, here is President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff’s famous statement …

“Rule one: Never allow a crisis to go to waste,” Mr. Emanuel said  “They are opportunities to do big things.”

In his own words …

Question: How will the Obama Administration attempt to capitalize on this growing crisis?

Question: How can this crisis lend support to Obama’s fundamental political agenda?

  • Larger government?
  • Higher Taxes?
  • Loss of personal freedoms?
  • More regulations?

These questions arise when you lose the fundamental belief in your government’s motivation and capacity to govern in an effective, bi-partisan and ethical manner. The Obama Administration’s first 100 days is looking more like an ideological cross between the previous complacent, incompetent and corrupt Administrations of  Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. And with most of the same players taking key government roles. Considering the challenging, to say the least, ethical background in Chicago and Illinois where Barack Obama came to power, this is especially troublesome.

Like I said: Just Asking …

Be well, be safe and take care of yourself and your family first.

-- steve


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


When the government becomes the enemy ...

I have long thought that the government classification process was a two-edged sword. One one side, the classification process protected operating policy, methods, timing and personnel from any disclosure which would aid and abet our enemies. And on the other side, the classification process was inappropriately used by government agencies to hide waste, fraud, corruption and other embarrassing acts. Therefore, one needed to have some degree of faith in the classifying authority.

Of course, as we have seen over the past 50 years, damaging leaks did occur. From spies, from government employees seeking some form of advantage over others, from government officials seeking quid pro quo attention from the media and others who did not wish our country well for political reasons. Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers comes directly to mind as a prime example.

But what happens when the elected officials in power support an ideology that is counter to mainstream America and rabidly opposed to the previous administration. When elected officials and their cadre of employees openly admire other governments and are willing to parley with our sworn enemies and support those institutions and non-governmental organizations which, covertly or overtly, do not wish us well.

I personally believe that the ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union, born out of association and respect for the the Communist Party .

“One of the great myths of the 20th – and now 21st – century is the belief that the American Civil Liberties Union was an organization that had a noble beginning, but somehow strayed off course.”

“That myth is untrue. The ACLU set a course to destroy America – her freedom and her values – right from the start. “

“From its very beginning, the ACLU had strong socialist and communist ties. As early as 1931, the U.S. Congress was alarmed by the ACLU's devotion to communism. A report by the Special House Committee to Investigate Communist Activities stated

The American Civil Liberties Union is closely affiliated with the communist movement in the United States, and fully 90 percent of its efforts are on behalf of communists who have come into conflict with the law. It claims to stand for free speech, free press and free assembly, but it is quite apparent that the main function of the ACLU is an attempt to protect the communists.”

“Roger Baldwin and Crystal Eastman founded the ACLU in 1920 along with three other organizations dedicated to the most leftist of causes. The histories of these two individuals belie their claims of patriotism and respect for the Constitution.”

“Baldwin openly sought the utter destruction of American society. Fifteen years after the founding of the ACLU, Baldwin wrote:

I am for Socialism, disarmament and ultimately, for the abolishing of the State itself ... I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class and sole control of those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal.”

“Earl Browder, the general secretary of the Communist Party of the United States, admitted that the ACLU served as a ‘transmission belt’ for the party. Baldwin agreed, claiming, ‘I don't regret being a part of the communist tactic which increased the effectiveness of a good cause.’

“Baldwin was a devoted follower of the anarchist Emma Goldman (or "Red Emma" as she was called), who was eventually deported to the Soviet Union in 1919 for her communist activities. Goldman was a consistent promoter of anarchism, radical education, ‘free love’ and birth control. According to an online exhibit of Goldman's papers, her career ‘served as inspiration for Roger Baldwin, a future founder of the American Civil Liberties Union.’" 

“Eastman was a zealous feminist, an anti-war activist, and a great admirer of the Soviet revolution. Of her many leftist friends and associates, Eastman held the highest regard for Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. According to Eastman, ‘We [feminists] must all be followers of Margaret Sanger.’"

“Of course, Sanger was a passionate advocate of eugenics – the attempt to improve the human race through selective breeding. Abortion was a primary means to this "improvement," leading Sanger to write, ‘The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.’"

“Baldwin also was a great admirer of the Planned Parenthood founder. He heaped praise on Sanger: ‘She was a frail, beautiful, unassuming woman ... She always had a quiet insistence on the rightness of what she was doing.’"

“This adoration of Sanger set the tone for the tragic history of the ACLU concerning the issue of abortion. To this day, the group fights for the most extreme of pro-abortion positions, including support for partial-birth abortion and opposition to parental consent for minors.” <source>

Where does Barack Obama’s loyalties lie? 

So how can I believe the motives of President Barack Obama and those in his Administration who are willingly complicit in providing materials to our enemies which not only divulge operational methods, but serve to embarrass the United States on the world stage as well as serve as recruiting materials for our enemies?

How far will Obama and his Administration go to destroy the reputation of the Bush Administration and cede power to his far left friends who do not wish the United States well? Was the nation so thoroughly disenchanted with President Bush that Obama’s associations with those like anti-American Reverend Wright, anti-Semitic Minister Farrakhan and the domestic terrorist William Ayers, who bombed the Pentagon, were overlooked? Not to mention the political crooks and cheats that surrounded him during his days in Chicago.

Or did the far-left infiltrated media falsely demonize President Bush to the extent of criminal culpability? One of my biggest complaints about the Yalie who was President is that he thought that it was somehow un-presidential to engage his enemies directly; that it was petty and mean-spirited. How I wished he would have spoken up and told the far-left where to step off.

It really doesn’t matter now. What matters is how we view our future; domestically, in dealing with the current government-made financial crisis, and in foreign policy, where we seem to be handing our enemies tools to make us look weak, corrupt – and worst of all, vulnerable to enemy attack.

Therefore, I am greatly dismayed when I see Political Punch reporting …

“Obama Administration to Release Detainee Abuse Photos; Former CIA Official Says Former Colleagues 'Don't Believe They Have Cover Anymore'”

“In a letter from the Justice Department to a federal judge yesterday, the Obama administration announced that the Pentagon would turn over to the American Civil Liberties Union 44 photographs showing detainee abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq during the Bush administration.”

“The photographs are part of a 2003 Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU for all information relating to the treatment of detainees -- the same battle that led, last week, to President Obama's decision to release memos from the Bush Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel providing legal justifications for harsh interrogation methods that human rights groups call torture.”

Are we out of our “effing” minds …

Are we dealing with an incompetent Administration that knows not what they do? Are we dealing with members of a complacent or corrupt Administration that are satisfying the wishes of their fellow travelers?

We are sending a message: Yes, you can use the American’s own laws to embarrass, harass, weaken and defeat them with their own laws. What you can’t get from spying, you can get openly at little or no expense through court proceedings, presided over by liberal judges who have bought the whole “left=equality=justice”  mantra.

We are also sending a message to our loyal troops – it is better to kill the bastards on the battlefield than interrogate them for life-saving information. To our intelligence agencies – don’t bother connecting the dots, it can get you in hot water, destroy your career – let what will happen, happen on the politician’s watch. Let the Administration take the heat for their Agency’s actions.

Something changed …

“Courts had ruled against the Bush administration's attempts to keep the photographs from public view. ACLU attorney Amrit Singh tells ABC News that ‘the fact that the Obama administration opted not to seek further review is a sign that it is committed to more transparency.’"

In my view, traitorous transparency!

Singh added that the photographs ‘only underscore the need for a criminal investigation and prosecution if warranted’ of U.S. officials responsible for the harsh treatment of detainees.”

Again, I ask: are we out of our “effing” mind? Torture? You mean like using power tools, hot pokers, knives to maim and kill captives? You mean like beheading kidnapped innocents on video; to be used as a sign of terror and as a recruiting tool?

Escalating the damage … 

“But some experts say the move could have a chilling effect on the CIA even beyond President Obama's decision last week to release the so-called ‘torture memos.’"

Patriots: 0  Zealots: 1

“Calling the ACLU push to release the photographs ‘prurient’ and ‘reprehensible,’ Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production, tells ABC News that the Obama administration should have taken the case all the way to the Supreme Court.”

" ‘They should have fought it all the way; if they lost, they lost,’ said Lowenthal, who retired from the Agency in 2005. ‘There's nothing to be gained from it. There's no substantive reason why those photos have to be released.’"

Our enemies have won this round …

Our enemies have won this round as the Obama Administration apparently gives in to its far left base to insure further contributions and votes. I guess patriotism and love of one’s country is simply a concept that should be exploited by reading a TelePrompTer’ed speech.

" ‘We ask these people to do extremely dangerous things, things they've been ordered to do by legal authorities, with the understanding that they will get top cover if something goes wrong,’ Lowenthal says. ‘They don't believe they have that cover anymore." Releasing the photographs ‘will make it much worse,’" he said.”

Bush had it right!

“The Bush administration argued that releasing these photographs would violate US obligations towards detainees and would prompt outrage and perhaps attacks against the U.S. On June 9 and June 21, 2006 judges directed the Bush administration to release 21 photographs depicting the treatment of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, and last September, the Second Circuit Court affirmed that decision.”

“The Bush administration had argued that an exemption from FOIA was needed here because of the exemption for law enforcement records that could reasonably be expected to endanger ‘any individual.’ The release of the disputed photographs, the Bush administration argued, will endanger United States troops, other Coalition forces, and civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The conflict between military and criminal law is now reaching a crescendo …

“But the court found that the exemption was not intended ‘as an all-purpose damper on global controversy.’"

“The Bush administration had also argued that releasing the photographs would violated the Geneva Conventions, which protect prisoners of war and detained civilians ‘against insults and public curiosity.’ The court ruled that the Geneva Conventions ‘do not prohibit dissemination of images of detainees being abused when the images are redacted so as to protect the identities of the detainees, at least in situations where, as here, the purpose of the dissemination is not itself to humiliate the detainees.’"

“Moreover, the court found that releasing ‘the photographs is likely to further the purposes of the Geneva Conventions by deterring future abuse of prisoners.’"

Curiosity? Or something quite different?

" ‘There is a significant public interest in the disclosure of these photographs,’ the court ruled. "The defendants concede that these photographs yield evidence of governmental wrongdoing, but nonetheless argue that they add little additional value to the written summaries of the depicted events, which have already been made public. This contention disregards FOIA’s central purpose of furthering governmental accountability, and the special importance the law accords to information revealing official misconduct."

Again, we must note that the democrats, being the party of lawyers, sees everything through the prism of the criminal justice system – and makes few allowances for acts in wartime. If they want to play this game, perhaps we should visit each nation and note the true torture methods used by their military, and even civilian police, put them side-by-side and really show the world what the United States considers to be real torture.

And while we are at it, let’s demand that the media show the people leaping to their deaths from the twin towers rather than be roasted alive in a man-made holocaust sponsored by the very enemies who were are detaining and interrogating. 

“A November 6, 2008, petition for a re-hearing was denied last month.”

“The Obama administration could have opted to go all the way to the Supreme Court to try to keep these photographs from public view, but yesterday Acting U.S. Attorney Lev L. Dassin wrote to District Judge Alvin Hellerstein and said the Pentagon was preparing to release 21 photos at issue in the appeal, in addition to 23 others ‘previously identified as responsive.’"

“The materials will be released to the ACLU no later than May 28, after which the ACLU says it will make them public. This release will come just days before President Obama travels to the volatile Middle East.”

I wonder if the President realizes that he is the symbol of America and is a target of the evildoers – who have just been given “proof” of their twisted “just” cause?

Anything to demonize those who keep us safe? 

“Lowenthal said his former colleagues at the CIA were ‘put off’ by President Obama's trip to the CIA earlier this week. ‘I don't think the president's speech went down very well, particularly the part when he said they made mistakes. They don't think they made mistakes. They think they acted to execute policy. And those in the intelligence service don't make policy.’"

“Those in intelligence are ‘going to become increasingly wary about doing dangerous things,’ Lowenthal said. ‘They feel at the end of the day they won't be covered. It's not irreparable right now, but it's problematic.’"

Our enemies have won this skirmish … aided an abetted by an Administration and media with a blind hatred of the Bush Administration – their raison d'être for assuming power and righting the grievances of “the people.”

But we must carefully ask ourselves, Just which people might that be? Hard-working, tax-paying, law-abiding American citizens or those on the far left who do not wish us well?

Let your elected officials know how you feel!

Be well, be safe and take care of yourself and your family first.

-- steve

Reference links:

Obama Administration to Release Detainee Abuse Photos; Former CIA Official Says Former Colleagues 'Don't Believe They Have Cover Anymore' - Political Punch


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Voters as political abstractions ...

I was sitting at my desk wondering why our political system has led to legislative and financial chaos and, more importantly, what can be done to arrest our decent into a downward spiral of negative events.

Funny as it may seem, I think I have found an answer that yields a satisfying result.

The problem …

Politicians, conditioned by big money politics have ceased seeing the individual voter/taxpayer as a person; but as a unit of political power.  An atom or quanta of political energy which can be combined under favorable conditions to create a chain reaction. A chain reaction leading to the election of candidate who purportedly has the aggregated best interests of the individual units at heart. A candidate who will attempt to preserve the status quo and if possible extend the status quo to a higher level.

Whether motivated by money, sex, power, recognition – the candidate often starts out believing that they are a force for good and that they actually can make a difference.

After a suitable period of time being exposed to the system, the voter/taxpayer stop being considered as individuals who have wants and needs that are superior to the candidate’s need to be elected and re-elected to the office to which they aspire.

And after a longer period of deferential treatment and constant media attention, lofty titles and special perks and privileges, the awareness of the individual, the unit of political power, fades into the background. The unit is no longer important as an individual and is valued primarily for what their aggregated value brings to the candidate’s overall political future.

Schemes to manipulate the units are hatched. Costly schemes involving polling and media exposure. An expense that can hardly be born on an elected official’s salary. So, unless the candidate possesses a certain amount of pre-existing wealth, corruption is the only answer. Whether by doing favors for special interests or ignoring important issues of vital interest to the units, favors in the form of legislative positions are traded for money and support.

At this point in time, the candidate no longer serves those who he represents, but those who can guarantee the candidate’s supply of money, power, adulation and whatever else floats their boat.

There is no turning back, just as one cannot be a little bit pregnant.

The solution …

The solution is to elect citizen/legislators which limit the candidate’s exposure to the system using term limits. Accepting the fact that there will be corruption, but limiting the time for the candidate to be thoroughly corrupted to the point of no return. 

To elect citizen/legislators who have some record of past achievement and subject matter knowledge – a person who has made an actual contribution to society.

And, on the flip side, to avoid electing candidates who are professional politicians whose only achievement is found in a series of government jobs or a progression of elected positions.

To avoid electing celebrities whose fame confuses their personal attributes with the roles that they may have played in the past. Trained actors who use their charisma and acting ability to portray a role with convincing sincerity  -- but who, in spite of memorized position papers and teleprompter speeches, remains clueless.

To avoid electing lawyers, who by education and experience are taught to see an equivalency in both sides of an issue, to interject complexity for their own self-interests – and to treat everything as an adversarial encounter worthy of argument. These are the people who reduce simple concepts to unintelligible gibberish by the use of strange words and overly complex sentence structures; avoiding stating the obvious with references to other laws, rules and regulations. People who are uncomfortable without a precedent and who have great difficulty moving through the self-inflicted complexity of a given situation.

And to avoid using titles of respect, such as “The Honorable” so-and-so when the person is neither honorable nor honest. Not that I am recommending the title “Comrade,” but simply the use of their name as if they are still one of the units.

There must be a movement to honor the wants and needs of the units, as individual units, and to resist treating the units as a collective force to be manipulated for political power. There must be no effort to create a perpetual ruling elite that somehow “knows” what must be done with the power conferred by the position. As we have seen, especially in the past years, the ruling elite does not exist. Our elected officials were neither especially knowledgeable or honorable. 

And as the first step toward progress, we might try referring to the political units as people, same as you and I. My solution is simple: elect your neighbor to public office – the type of neighbor that actually lives in your community—rather than the professional politician who uses his relatives address or rents a house or apartment to qualify their candidacy.

We are fast approaching a crossroads of our political and financial future in 2010 – and certainly in 2012. We need to combine our own people into a cohesive force with a single message: throw the current bums out – along with their political parties. Stop treating politics as a team sport – with the psychic benefit of associating with a winning team. This is dead serious and we need to take our government back from those who have lost our trust with their special interest corruption and profligate spending.

It is now time to return to the ideals of our forefathers and reject the corrosive party politics and actions of those who do not wish America well. To return common sense to government before we find government has turned common sense into an Orwellian nightmare.

Consider your place in the political firmament …

Sit at your desk or in your favorite chair and think about our country and the direction it should take. Think about whether or not you want to be an individual with unlimited opportunity or part of the entitlement collective where favors are handed out on the basis of connections or seniority. Think about whether or not you will be manipulated by those who want to divide you by class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or some other artificial distinction – then make you into a victim who needs a particular candidate or political party to address your grievances.

If life has dealt you a difficult hand, just remember you could be playing your cards in China, Russia, Iran or somewhere other than in the United States. Under infinitely worse conditions with no hope for the freedoms and opportunity of achievement available in America.

Be well, be safe and take care of yourself and your family first.

-- steve

Capture2-11-2009-6.50.07 PM


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Democrats rig congressional hearings on global warming: deny opportunity to challenge Al Gore! Can you trust the results of this stage-managed debate with a predetermined conclusion?

Challenging the liberal iconic face of global warming …

“UK's Lord Christopher Monckton, a former science advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, claimed House Democrats have refused to allow him to appear alongside former Vice President Al Gore at a high profile global warming hearing.”

“Monckton told Climate Depot that the Democrats rescinded his scheduled joint appearance at the House Energy and Commerce hearing on Friday. Monckton said he was informed that he would not be allowed to testify alongside Gore when his plane landed from England Thursday afternoon.”

“‘The House Democrats don't want Gore humiliated, so they slammed the door of the Capitol in my face,’ Monckton told Climate Depot in an exclusive interview. ‘They are cowards.’”  <Source>

I do not plan to waste additional space on all of the testimony that was presented before the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment  in their stage-managed hearings  on the "The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.”

For the two most divergent views:

Al Gore --  the sky is falling and we must take action now and  backed up with the presentation of selected climatic effects

versus

Lord Christopher Monckton’s -- we need do nothing now because the world is cooling and backed up with actual results of recent scientific data

click on the testimony links below.

The point I am making is that the two men were never allowed to debate the subject before the committee which is purporting to seek the truth before enacting sweeping, and in my opinion, legislation which will greatly damage the United States and unnecessarily burden the American taxpayer with additional debt. Providing additional reasons for companies to continue to outsource jobs and move corporations offshore. This is not unusual as Al Gore refuses to engage in any substantive debate with those who challenge his views, not does he appear before any audience which has not been pre-vetted as supporters and supplicants.

The damning evidence …

Who are you going to believe? A political demagogue with a massive conflict of interest based on offshore investments in another country or the mute scientists who fear for their positions and project funding – and still publish their data?

Capture4-24-2009-2.56.57 PM

Apocalypse? No! - Why there is no Global Warming Crisis

Congressional hearings: can you trust the results? 

One, some witnesses, certainly not former Vice President Al Gore, testify under oath and are held accountable for their statements. Why should exceptions be made for anyone appearing before a congressional committee?

Two, many of the people testifying are associated with specific government agencies that are directly or indirectly responsible to the Administration. Why should we trust any testimony that is given by an Agency head or representative considering the unlikelihood of that person saying something which might embarrass the Administration or subvert one of its signature programs?

Three, we find a number of representatives from trade organizations, many of whom are telegenic, well-spoken, glad-handed lawyer/lobbyists, providing testimony which advocates an “industry” viewpoint which is favorable to the industry and still respectful of the policies of an Administration and Congress it requires to implement policy.

Four, we sometimes find “celebrity” witnesses who represent a particular viewpoint and advocacy on some issue. Spouting pre-digested facts, these “names” are more to grab media attention than for a serious discussion of the facts.

Then there is the committee themselves, all self-important and self-congratulatory, with their onerous time rules and constant interruptions. Questions often turn into speeches aimed at the media and the reinforcement of the member’s diligence and caring with respect to an issue.

In the final analysis …

And when all is said and done, it is the lawyer/lobbyists who get together to craft politically acceptable legislation which provides considerable benefits to the special interests courting their attention with campaign donations, staff support and voter turnout efforts.

So one may ask: so where does this leave the truth? And why the considerable expense of a “dog and pony” show that is actually irrelevant to the legislative issues under discussion. In the great majority of the presentations, nobody openly discusses the political concerns of a political party or its politicians – but cloaks everything in a mantle of “public service.”

Considering that most legislators do not fully read nor understand the legislation they are enacting, why should we believe that a Congressional Hearing is any more than a media opportunity to provide the members with face time?

Why do we not see “staff representatives,” the people who do the real research and legislative drafting explain what is being done, for what public purpose and which special interests might benefit for the legislation?

Bottom line …

Can we trust our elected officials to represent “we the people” and to eschew their personal and political self-interests long enough to craft meaningful legislation that is beneficial to all of the people, the United States and avoid the hyperpartisan support for special interests which are bleeding the American taxpayer dry?

I think not! The democrats control Congress and the Administration and they are hell-bent on plundering the United States Treasury, assuring their continued control of the government and rewarding the special interests. They brook no dissent and ignore 48% of the people who did not vote for their cause.

It is becoming a national emergency and priority to remove these people from the positions of power which they continue to abuse on a daily basis. Start the transformation of Congress in 2010 by electing your friends and neighbors while sending the professional politicians back to a comfortable retirement in the nests that they have feathered with the taxpayer’s money and influence of their positions.

-- steve

Capture2-16-2009-6.02.35 PM

Reference Links:

Transcripts and Video of Testimony on Climate|United States House of Representatives


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Time Warner Cable: Stupid Is As Stupid Does?

I have begun to wonder if there is anyone home at Time Warner Cable that possesses both system knowledge and common sense.

The issue is simple: after experiencing an area-wide power outage, the High Definition Time Warner Cable box refused to reset – all of the channels carried “One Moment Please” messages  Or on other channels some pictures were heavily pixilated in colorful displays of digital noise and nonsense.

The cheaper non-HD boxes had no such problems which indicated it was box problem.

aDSCN0799

Customer service was called and they asked the normal questions:

  • Do you have a surge protector? Yes.
  • Did you power the box on and off? Yes.
  • Did you unplug the box for at least 30-seconds? Yes.
  • And then had me repeat the sequence while on the line. OK

Since nothing seemed to be working, they arranged a service call for two days later.

The next day, being away from home for a few hours, I received a message on my telephone answering machine…

“About your upcoming service appointment. To continue in English, press one. Para Espanol, a prima dos.”

“Hello. This is Time Warner cable calling for <name> about your upcoming service appointment.  To continue in English, press one. Para Espanol, a prima dos.” (pause)

“Goodbye.”

Returning the call to Time Warner Repair Center using the number from the answering machine’s numeric message display …

“Thank you for calling Time Warner Cable Repair Center. Please enter the six-digit code that was left on your answering device. If you do not know the six-digit code code, please press the pound key.”

After pressing the pound key (#), the message continues:

“The six-digit code you entered is invalid, please enter the six-digit code that was left on your answering device. If you do not know the six-digit code, please press the pound key.”

After pressing the pound key (#) a second time, the message continues:

“please check the number and try again later. Thank you. (pause) Goodbye.”

The system then system then disconnects.

Sheer genius! An automated example of “Catch-22” guaranteed to tee-off the subscriber who is paying ever increasing amounts for rather increasingly shoddy service.

As I said, Time Warner Cable: Stupid Is As Stupid Does!

-- steve

Reference Links:

Is Time Warner Cable Compromising your PayXpress Account Security (and other financial accounts) with their stupid mistake?|OneCitizenSpeaking

BUILDING THE TOLL ROAD: Time Warner Cable becomes the Internet Gatekeeper|OneCitizenSpeaking


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


democrats: here a scandal, there a scandal ... everywhere a scandal?


"California Firm Split Fees With Figure in N.Y. Pension Scandal"

“A prominent Los Angeles investment firm shared fees from pension fund deals in New York and California with Hank Morris, the former political consultant under indictment for selling access to New York’s $122 billion retirement fund, ProPublica has learned.”

“Investigators say they are focusing on the role of Wetherly Capital Group, which allegedly funneled $314,000 in checks to Morris through an intermediary firm he owned. Wetherly received up to $3 million in fees for one pension deal in New York, investigators say. In their indictment of Morris, authorities described the checks from Wetherly as ‘proceeds of criminal conduct.’”

“Although mentioned in the Morris indictment, Wetherly has not been accused of any crime. The firm, founded in 2001 by Daniel N. Weinstein, a prominent Democratic fundraiser in California and former union political operative there, did not return calls seeking comment.”

“Wetherly and the firm with which Morris was affiliated, Searle & Co., also have shared fees for helping a private equity firm seal three multimillion dollar deals with California funds, ProPublica has learned. The funds are the California Public Employees’ Retirement System  -- the nation’s biggest pension fund -- the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, and the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions.

“Wetherly has represented 10 companies that have won a collective $300 million in investments from CalPERS, records show. The company was a ‘placement agent’ in those deals, essentially acting as a middleman on behalf of private-equity firms that sought business handling the pension fund’s money.”

Placement agents typically collect 1 percent to 2 percent of the value of any investment that results. Fees are paid by the investment firms they represent, not the pension funds, and typically aren’t disclosed.”

“The New York pay-to-play investigation is among a string of recent corruption cases involving placement agents in other states. On Wednesday, New York state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli banned placement agents from deals involving the pension fund, which his office oversees. Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. proposed a similar prohibition over New York City’s $83 billion in pension accounts.”

“CalPERS said there’s no prohibition against private-equity firms using placement agents to win business with the pension fund. ‘In the pension fund industry, placement agents are used for some investments, and for some they’re not,’ said Pat Macht, head of public affairs at CalPERS. ‘We don’t get in between the relationship with a fund and whoever they use to market those funds. So it’s kind of irrelevant to us.’”

Unlike several other large funds, including the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, CalPERS does not have a policy or guidelines on how firms must report their use of placement agents and the fees paid to them or on what records must kept by the funds.”

Wetherly’s ties to another California fund, the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System, extended beyond promoting its clients. Vicky L. Schiff, a Wetherly director, sat on the LACERS board at the same time the system considered a $10 million investment with a Wetherly client, Palladium Equity Partners, according to public records and interviews with LACERS staff.”

“Schiff’s potential conflict of interest was noted in a September 2004 memorandum from the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission. The memo listed a number of city appointees with possible ‘economic interests’ related to their city posts. Schiff had disclosed her interest in Wetherly, as well as several other real estate and political consulting companies, but the memo noted that she had received a ‘cautionary letter -- noting potential conflicts.’”

“On Jan. 25, 2005, the LACERS board approved the Palladium placement. ‘Commissioner Schiff recused herself from participation and left the room during the vote,’ board spokeswoman Linda Aparicio said.”

“Schiff resigned from the board two months later, Aparicio said. The following two years, Wetherly clients received another $30 million in commitments from LACERS. The California State Teachers’ Retirement Fund has also invested with three Wetherly clients since 2004, records show.”

Weinstein, the firm’s founder, has a record of political involvement in California dating to his days as political director of the United Food and Commercial Workers union in the early 1990s.”

Weinstein has worked as a fundraiser for former California Governor Gray Davis and in 2001 raised money for Los Angeles City Attorney James K. Hahn’s winning mayoral campaign. At the time, Hahn’s rival, now-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, accused Weinstein of orchestrating a smear campaign. Wetherly’s clients include Democratic Party fundraiser Ron Burkle, founder of Yucaipa Companies, a private-equity firm that retained former President Bill Clinton as a board member until late 2007.

Weinstein and Wetherly have made political contributions to candidates and political committees in both California and New York.”

“In California, Wetherly has contributed nearly $230,000 since the firm opened in 2001. Of that, $56,000 went to CalPERS board members or candidates for positions such as state controller or treasurer with a seat on the board. Wetherly also gave $35,000 to the United Food and Commercial Workers. Sean Harrigan, a UFCW union official, chaired the CalPERS board from late 2001 until early 2005.”

“According to the New York City campaign finance data, Wetherly and its clients have given $50,000 to city Comptroller Thompson since 2005. Thompson sits on the boards of the five New York City pension funds. He is also the leading Democratic candidate for New York City mayor. His office did not return calls and emails for comment.”

“DiNapoli, the state comptroller, also received a $2,500 contribution from Wetherly in January. The donation came seven months after a Wetherly client, Levine Leichtman Capital Partners of Los Angeles, won a $50 million commitment from the fund, records show. A DiNapoli spokesman said the donation has since been returned because it violated the comptroller’s personal ethics standards and that DiNapoli’s office was not aware of Wetherly’s connection to the corruption scandal “until their name showed up” in the indictment. Levine Leichtman declined comment.”

“DiNapoli replaced former New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who resigned in 2007. Hevesi, who had employed Morris as his campaign manager, has not been charged. The March indictment accuses Morris and David Loglisci, the former deputy comptroller under Hevesi, of bribery, money laundering, securities fraud and other crimes.”

“Investigators allege that Morris raised millions of dollars in campaign contributions for Hevesi in return for lucrative business with the pension fund.”

“Defenders say the placement agents offer valuable marketing assistance, but critics say they operate in a shadowy world that is prone to corruption.”

Shocking, just shocking: a scandal in Illinois …

“After a scandal involving placement agents at the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System, the state introduced new rules meant to improve transparency and accountability at the funds, said Bill Atwood, executive director of the Illinois State Board of Investments.”

The Obama/Rezko/Levine connection?

From Education Week

“The federal trial in Chicago of a politically connected businessman named Antoin ‘Tony’ Rezko has attracted attention nationally because of Mr. Rezko’s association with U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.”

“What has been obscured, though, except for those paying close attention in Illinois, is the central role in the case of the state Teachers’ Retirement System and, specifically, its board of trustees.”

“Federal prosecutors allege that Mr. Rezko, who has extensive interests in pizza franchises and real estate, conspired with a member of the retirement-system board to steer investment contracts to financial firms in exchange for contributions to Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.”

According to the Chicago Tribune the post-Blagojevich cleanup begins …

“House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) today presented the legislation as the first product of their joint committee on reforms in the wake of the Blagojevich corruption arrest. They said that getting rid of all current board members allows the state pension funds to start with a clean slate.”

“This morning, the House Executive Committee sent the measure to the full House on an 11-0 vote, signaling the legislation backed by the state's two most powerful lawmakers will have few obstacles in landing on new Gov. Pat Quinn's desk.”

“But the broad package also seeks to avoid a repeat of the type of scandal that struck the Teachers' Retirement System, where convicted board member Stuart Levine attempted to illegally influence board activities. While sitting on the teacher pension panel, Levine urged the Illinois Board of Investment to sign up with the investment plan of a Blagojevich crony.”

“The reforms also would ban consultants from earning commission-based fees and prohibit so-called ‘placement fees’ that had proved lucrative for the politically connected in prior years.”

The appearance of impropriety has apparently never bothered the democrats;  who, as the party of lawyers, profess to know the legal loopholes …

“’There’s a troubling appearance where some guy, by whatever relationships, was able to facilitate very sizable investments being made from a public pension fund to an investment he had an interest in,’ he [Bill Atwood] said. ‘So regardless of the legality, the appearance is not good.’”

Which poses interesting questions …

One, why would any pension fund consider placing their member’s hard-earned funds with any company that is not large enough and competent enough to make it’s own case directly to the pension funds?

Two, are pension fund managers so lazy, complacent or corrupt that they will not listen to decent financial proposals from all qualified firms?

Three, doesn’t the use of placement agents to secure pension fund business from public funds point to de facto “influence peddling” with the potential for corruption?

And four, why do politicians take defensive, rather than offensive,  legislative action on corruption only when it is discovered on their watch?

But then again, in the democrat party …

Every time a new financial scandal that seems connected in some fashion to the democrat party’s power brokers, politicians, fundraisers and special interests, I am reminded of the old Romanian saying: “One hand washes the other.”

-- steve

p.s.  It’s not so much that I do not fault similar corruption within the Republican party, but that the democrat party holds themselves out as the protectors of the little people and working class, much as the Republican party is excoriated for sex scandals when they hold themselves out as the party of family values.  Instead of the democrat mantra, “one hand washes the other,” the Republicans seem to have adopted another mantra, “tit for tat.”

Reference Links …

California Firm Split Fees With Figure in N.Y. Pension Scandal - ProPublica


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Obama Tax Returns: Just wondering?

This is the week that President Barack Obama released his tax returns showing his royalties from the sales of his two memoirs – coincidently written before any real accomplishments and raising more questions than providing answers about his background and associations.

But I was just wondering, how much money is transferred directly to a political author, be it a President Clinton, President Obama or a Newt Gingrich  when his political party, foundation or special interest supporters buy mass numbers of their book for distribution to fans and supporters; thus converting campaign donations into personal income?

What got me to thinking along these lines was the number of corporate special interests here in California who are donating to non-profit foundations which are supporting the travel, accommodations, food and gift expenses of politicians.

“The mission of the California State Protocol Foundation (the “Foundation”) is to promote California to the world as the most innovative, exciting and diverse State in the country. The Foundation will lessen the burden of government through various events that promote California as a place to do business.  The Foundation will also advise the government on diplomatic and consular matters.”

“The Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization and raises funds from individuals, corporations, and other foundations that will be used to pay for State events that a particular department of the government would pay for traditionally.  For example, the Foundation will cover the expenses of events initiated by the Governor’s Office of Protocol that welcome visiting heads of state and other dignitaries to California and promote governmental cooperation between California and these other governments.  The foundation also supports the Governor in a variety of efforts that promote California products, services and tourist attractions that promote California as a place to invest and do business. The Foundation also sponsored events - like the California Film event during the Governor's trade mission to China in 2005 - that supported industries and products key to the State's economic vitality.”

According to the Los Angeles Times:Nonprofit picks up governor's travel bill - The group that funds Schwarzenegger's jets and luxury suites writes off the cost. Its donors can get tax breaks.”

“California's larger-than-life governor is unabashed about living large, but keeping him in luxury sometimes depends on the same taxpayer subsidies granted to hand-to-mouth charities.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger, a millionaire many times over, bills much of his overseas travel to an obscure nonprofit group that can qualify its secret donors for full tax deductions, just as if they were giving to skid row shelters or the United Way.”

“Whether journeying to China, Japan or last week's destinations -- Austria, England and France -- Schwarzenegger typically flies on top-of-the-line private jets like the plush Gulfstream models and has booked hotel suites that can run thousands of dollars a night.”

“Nonprofit watchdogs say using charitable write-offs to pay for sumptuous travel is an abuse of tax codes.”

By giving to the foundation, donors avoid having their identities made public, because charities are not governed by the disclosure rules that apply to campaign contributions. And they can donate unlimited amounts to the nonprofit, which is not subject to contribution ceilings the way campaign accounts are.”

“Representatives for Schwarzenegger and the foundation say there is nothing inappropriate about his arrangement with the group, which is closely associated with the California Chamber of Commerce. The foundation declined to release details of its expenditures, despite expectations in the nonprofit world that charities be as transparent as possible.” <Source>

In a day when special interests are buying politicians right and left for very small amounts – and both political parties openly claim to be honesty and ethical as they call for campaign finance reform -- as we can see above – money, like water finding its own route and level, will always flow to campaigns and politicians in return for special interest considerations.

Like I said, just wondering.

-- steve

For the curious ...

 
 
 
 
 
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


DEMOCRAT IRONY: The public needs to know the exact details of harsh CIA interrogation methods, but does not need to know about bird strike data at local airports!

In the open and transparent Obama Administration, I find it extremely curious and somewhat Ironic that the democrats are pressing hard to release data about the harsh interrogation methods used by the CIA to keep our nation safe for the past seven years and yet asserts that knowing which airports are associated with the most bird strikes would be troublesome and disruptive to commerce.

When confronted with the irony of the situation as well as overwhelming concern about the release of the data,  Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that  the FAA will now make records of bird strikes near airports open to the public. The FAA’s objections based on the theory that airports might be reluctant to share bird strike data with the government in fear of hurting business; once again points to the FAA’s dual role as safety agent and cheerleader for the airline industry.

Personally, I want my FAA to be a fair and honest safety broker – much the same way the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) is an honest broker when investigating accidents.

It is time we end the hyper-politicalization and unionization of our Federal Agencies and bind them to a professional code of ethics as their sworn duties. Federal employees need to serve one master – the people – and dual loyalties to your employer and a union should be prohibited much in the same manner one should prohibit dual citizenship. You just cannot serve two masters at the same time while being honest and ethical.

-- steve


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Letter to Obama that says it all ...

Every blue moon, one encounters a heart-felt missive that explains the dissatisfaction of an ordinary citizen with his government. The letter below, widely circulated on the Internet is no urban Internet legend cooked by someone looking for attention.

Although I have deliberately removed the author’s name, address and telephone number from the e-mail to respect his privacy, I can assure you he is a real person with a valid and patriotic viewpoint.

I think that his letter is worth reproducing as it tends to mirror my own dissatisfaction with the Obama Administration. So with the author’s permission, I present to my audience a “Letter to Obama that says it all …”

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Mr. Obama:

I have had it with you and your administration, sir. Your conduct on your recent trip overseas has convinced me that you are not an adequate representative of the United States of America collectively or of me personally.

You are so obsessed with appeasing the Europeans and the Muslim world that you have abdicated the responsibilities of the President of the United States of America. You are responsible to the citizens of the United States. You are not responsible to the peoples of any other country on earth.

I personally resent that you go around the world apologizing for the United States telling Europeans that we are arrogant and do not care about their status in the world. Sir, what do you think the First World War and the Second World War were all about if not the consideration of the peoples of Europe? Are you brain dead? What do you think the Marshall Plan was all about? Do you not understand or know the history of the 20th century?

Where do you get off telling a Muslim country that the United States does not consider itself a Christian country? Have you not read the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States? This country was founded on Judeo-Christian ethics and the principles governing this country, at least until you came along, come directly from this heritage. Do you not understand this?

Your bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia is an affront to all Americans. Our President does not bow down to anyone, let alone the king of Saudi Arabia. You don’t show Great Britain, our best and one of our oldest allies, the respect they deserve yet you bow down to the king of Saudi Arabia. How dare you, sir! How dare you!

You can’t find the time to visit the graves of our greatest generation because you don’t want to offend the Germans but make time to visit a mosque in Turkey. You offended our dead and every veteran when you give the Germans more respect than the people who saved the German people from themselves. What’s the matter with you?

I am convinced that you and the members of your administration have the historical and intellectual depth of a mud puddle and should be ashamed of yourselves, all of you.

You are so self-righteously offended by the big bankers and the American automobile manufacturers yet do nothing about the real thieves in this situation, Mr. Dodd, Mr. Frank, Franklin Raines, Jamie Gorelic, the Fannie Mae bonuses, and the Freddie Mac bonuses. What do you intend to do about them? Anything? I seriously doubt it.

What about the U.S. House members passing out $9.1 million in bonuses to their staff members – on top of the $2.5 million in automatic pay raises that lawmakers gave themselves? I understand the average House aide got a 17% bonus. I took a 5% cut in my pay to save jobs with my employer. You haven’t said anything about that. Who authorized that? I surely didn’t!

Executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be receiving $210 million in bonuses over an eighteen-month period, that's $45 million more than the AIG bonuses. In fact, Fannie and Freddie executives have already been awarded $51 million – not a bad take. Who authorized that and why haven’t you expressed your outrage at this group who are largely responsible for the economic mess we have right now.

I resent that you take me and my fellow citizens as brain-dead and not caring about what you idiots do. We are watching what you are doing and we are getting increasingly fed up with all of you. I also want you to know that I personally find just about everything you do and say to be offensive to every one of my sensibilities. I promise you that I will work tirelessly to see that you do not get a chance to spend two terms destroying my beautiful country.

Sincerely,

Franklin T. Bell                                                                       Columbia, MD

Well said!

-- steve

Note:  As with other things appearing on the internet, there have been various attributions from people now reproducing this letter.  This is the real version and only the author’s address and phone number have been withheld for privacy reasons.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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