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February 2011

Obamacare: House Repeal = Democrat Opportunity?

The democrats did not read the 2000+ healthcare page bill they passed -- with Nancy Pelosi famously saying “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.” The simple truth is that nobody could know what was in the bill because a large part of the legislation was still to be created and then administered by a hundred new panels and commissions headed by party partisans. Not to mention the tremendous power over the American people that was being granted to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

This is a bill that was crafted in back rooms from boilerplate language supplied by suspicious foundations and industry lobbyists. With a significant percentage of the American public, as represented by the Republicans, shut out of the process.

We could see the special interest deals crafted to gain the support of the insurance industry, the recipients of government largess on a grand scale. Not to mention the pharmaceutical industry and medical equipment suppliers. Rewards were also in place for a few states who could opt out of the process in order to secure their representative's votes and, of course, the unions who could opt out of the process to insure that their members would be treated much, much better than the general public.

This is a bill that was passed in spite of overwhelming public opposition. One that ignored the realities of economics which has resulted in predictable consequences. 

Capture1-19-2011-5.19.16 PM

Now the democrats are trying, once again, to counter the voice of the American people …

Obama’s latest e-mail blast …

Capture1-19-2011-5.06.00 PM

Friend --

At 5:53 p.m. Eastern Time today, the House moved to repeal health insurance reform.

Every single Republican -- all 242 -- voted for repeal.

This is a vote for insurance companies. There is no other way to put it.

Because if the question is what is best for Americans, repeal would never come up: Health reform is already at work improving the lives of millions of people. Repeal will result in 32 million fewer Americans with health coverage -- and add $230 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years.

Republicans in Congress need to know there's a political price to pay for siding with special interests over the constituents in their districts.

We're putting together a dedicated team of organizers and volunteers across the country to protect our progress on health reform -- and we need 138 donations from Los Angeles to make sure they have the resources they need.

Chip in $3 or more to support Organizing for America and help stop repeal before it's too late.

The Affordable Care Act addresses and ends some of the worst insurance-industry abuses against families, children, seniors, and the sick -- the cost of repeal would be steep:

    -- Families, many already struggling to get by, could lose their coverage if someone is in an accident or becomes sick -- right when they need it the most.

    -- A woman with cancer could have her coverage stripped away because of a tiny mistake on a form.

    -- Pregnant women, children born with disabilities, and anyone with a pre-existing condition -- as many as half of Americans under age 65 -- could face discrimination or be denied coverage by an insurance company that deems them too costly

    -- A senior on Medicare who falls in the "donut hole" in prescription coverage would once again have to make up that cost out of pocket -- and start paying for all preventative care.

    -- The deficit would increase by $230 billion over the next 10 years -- placing an unfair burden on our children and grandchildren and future generations who will have to pay for this mistake.

    -- Insurance companies could go back to working for corporate profit and CEO bonuses -- instead of for the people who pay their premiums.

These cruel and unjust practices are exactly why we organized, donated, volunteered, and spoke out for months, helping to pass legislation 100 years in the making. It's why we worked with the President and Democrats in Congress to reform a broken and unsustainable health care system.

Now, that progress is being threatened -- and we have to do everything we can to protect it.
Organizing for America is running a full-fledged campaign to drive this message home in communities across the country. Our organizers and volunteers will be knocking on doors, writing letters to their local papers, talking to neighbors, and calling their senators.

Support from 138 folks in Los Angeles will ensure we have the tools and resources we need to counteract and stop the repeal effort.

Please donate $3 or more today  <link removed>

Thanks,

Mitch

Mitch Stewart
Director
Organizing for America

The big lies …

“This is a vote for insurance companies. There is no other way to put it.”

The bill was always about the insurance companies. Keeping them as well-paid gatekeepers between the suppliers of medical services and patients. Allowing them to dictate medical policy. Incentivizing them to reduce costs by denying or limiting coverage. Insuring, if you pardon a pun, that they would always be able to earn significant profits based on the sickness and suffering of American citizens.

“Repeal will result in 32 million fewer Americans with health coverage -- and add $230 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years.”

The bill was designed to cover approximately 16 million prospects who were not in the country legally and should not receive the healthcare benefits at the expense of legal citizens. Another few million that were counted were actually between jobs and self-reporting that their employer’s health insurance had lapsed. So essentially, Obama and the Congressional democrats were destroying a working system which provided healthcare to 85% of the population in order to cover another 12% – many of whom were not eligible for medical insurance due to their status as illegal aliens. They very same illegal aliens who caused many local and state emergency facilities to be closed due to the crushing costs of unreimbursed health care for illegals.

And about that cost savings and reduction in the deficit. It is no secret that the numbers were cooked; based on phony assumptions and gutting $500 billion out of the Medicare budget. While, I might add, AARP stood by and spent multiple millions of dollars in supporting Obamacare over their senior citizen constituency. The politicians told you that there were significant savings to be had from reducing fraud, corruption and waste in the medical delivery system – although they had years to wring these savings out of the system and did absolutely the bare minimum.

“ … there's a political price to pay for siding with special interests over the constituents in their districts.'”

Yes there is … and that’s why this piece of egregious legislation is being repealed by the House of Representatives. The people have spoken and thrown out the goofs that did not take time to read the bill they signed. And even more are slated for removal during the 2012 election cycle. 

What are they saying?

A great portion of the legislation has n0t been enacted, the infrastructure missing, its bureaucracy not firmly in control and there are minimal benefits to be seen. Oh, did they mention that one of their funding tricks was to juggle the numbers by collecting taxes for ten years and paying for benefits for the last six?

Why are they fighting against the American people …

It’s not about Obamacare, it is about political control over our nation’s people. Using healthcare to impose a national identity system with near real-time tracking. Healthcare will be used as a reason to control everything, from what you eat, what you drive, how you can defend yourself – and what light bulbs and toilets you can use. With direct links to your financial affairs and employment records.

Did they tell you that there is no Constitutional authority for the government to demand that the nation’s citizens purchase products and services from specified providers or face disastrous health and financial consequences – and possibly being hounded by the Internal Revenue Service who will monitor compliance of Obamacare?

Did they tell you about the denial, limitations or rationing of your healthcare that will become necessary as  healthcare delivery expands to serve millions of additional people without a corresponding and costly increase in medical facilities, doctors, medical personnel, diagnostic and other medical equipment?

Death panels …

Sarah Palin spoke of “death panels,” but what would you call committees that told you  that your medical treatment was not cost-effective given the outcome studies of the general population? How would you feel if the government denied your wife potentially life-saving medication for breast cancer? Even though it appears to work for a limited subset of patients.

Lillie Shockney, RN, the administrative director of the Johns Hopkins Breast Center in Baltimore, says that women with breast cancer who were anticipating starting therapy with Avastin must reconnect with their medical oncologist to discuss the next steps.

“When the decision was made to approve Avastin for breast cancer, it was believed to be helpful and now women need to have a thoughtful discussion on how to proceed, which will likely include using another medication,” she says.

“If an individual was benefiting, it would not surprise me if she decided, together with her treating oncologist, to stay on the drug because it seems to be working,” she says. “If it is bringing tumor markers down and tumors are shrinking on scans, I would be saying, ‘Don’t take this away, because it may not work for the majority of women, but it looks like it is working for me.'" <Source>

It’s not a matter whether or not you decided to continue the so-called “off-label” use of the drug; but whether your insurance company would reimburse the cost. With no government approval, there would be no reimbursement.

Bottom line …

I will let you decide whether or not the defense of Obamacare should be used as a democrat opportunity to shore up their far left base and position the democrats for the 2012 election cycle. Ignore the political ideology and rhetoric, see for yourself what has happened to your insurance premiums and medical coverage. The American people are not as stupid or foregiving as the politicians, on both sides, seem to think. It is now time for elect "honest brokers" to serve "We the People" instead of allowing corrupt politicians to pander to unions, marxists,  illegal alien activists and other special interests.

There is much more I can say: about democrat dishonesty, the infiltration on un-American Marxism into the democrat party, the use of healthcare to raise funds and voter support for the 2012 election cycle and many other subjects. But rather than write another thousand words, I will leave you with an equivalent picture.

Capture

-- 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



Best National Anthem ...

Enjoy …

-- 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



COVERING UP CONGRESSIONAL CRIMINALITY AND MISBEHAVIOR?

With the increasing corruption of politicians to intolerable levels that cannot be easily remedied by the voting public, it is now time to demand that the United States Supreme Court re-interpret a time-honored protective clause within the Constitution.

Article I, Section 6, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution … 

“...shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their attendance at the Session of their Respective Houses, and in going to and from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.”

The historical purpose of this limited immunity from from arrest was to prevent the President and his Administration from threatening any member of Congress to coerce their vote.

So why do “We the People” allow our current crop of corrupt politicians to manipulate the Department of Justice, heavily politicized as it is, by interpreting the “speech or debate” clause in such a manner as to impede corruption investigations?

Most of remember William “icebox” Jefferson who invoked the clause when the FBI searched his Congressional Office for evidence of corruption. I can understand the need to protect certain sensitive documents, but this clause should not provide any member of Congress with a safe haven for storing their ill-gotten gains or evidence of their wrongdoing.

The argument that Congress is willing and able to investigate and prosecute its own members is ludicrous. Not only due to the reluctance of a politician to investigate the very same type of corruption that they themselves might be engaged in, but also fearing political “tit-for-tat”  prosecutions mounted by the opposition to make a point in the media.

According to the Washington Post …

'Speech or debate' clause invoked in investigations of House members

“…   speech or debate challenges have killed an investigation of former representative Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), hampered probes of Rep. Peter J. Visclosky (D-Ind.) and former representative John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.), and slowed a pending corruption case against former representative Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.), sources familiar with those inquiries said.”

“… other dropped investigations were examining Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), former representative Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va) and former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).

“… The dropped investigations covered subjects ranging from Ensign's alleged efforts to keep secret his affair with a staff member to a $10 million earmark backed by Young for a Florida road project.”

A clear and present danger to our nation …

There is little doubt in my mind that most politicians are owned by the corporate lobbyists and activists groups who simply dictate both the legislation and the vote – often to the detriment of the consumer, taxpayer and citizen. One merely has to look at the legislation known as Obamacare to see the one-party favors for special interests in the insurance, pharmaceutical and medical device industries. With loopholes, exclusions and opt-outs of those organized groups such as AARP and the unions that exempt them, as well as members of Congress and their staffs, from what appears to be the healthcare catastrophe facing ordinary citizens. 

“The widening assertions of criminal immunity have drawn little notice or controversy on Capitol Hill. In fact, the challenges have produced rare bipartisan agreement: The incoming and outgoing House leaders, for example, have jointly cited the constitutional clause to challenge much of the indictment of Renzi, who was extensively wiretapped. He is charged with attempting to benefit financially from a land deal.”

It’s all in the interpretation …

“The speech or debate clause derives from 17th-century English law and says that "for any speech or debate in either House, (members of Congress) shall not be questioned in any other place." Until recently, courts had interpreted the passage narrowly.”

Conflating the corruption …

It stands to reason that much of the corruption involves quid pro quo deals (this for that) where the lawmaker agrees to sponsor legislation or vote on legislation in return for something of value; perhaps a future favor or an affirmative vote on a pet project. Unfortunately, some of these deals apparently go way beyond the bounds if normal congressional horse-trading into the realm of extortion, blackmail, bribery and other non-legislative criminal activities.

“… lawyers familiar with the issue said speech or debate concerns come up in virtually every congressional probe because many involve legislative acts, such as whether the lawmaker obtained earmarks in exchange for campaign contributions.”

Catch-22 … 

"’The essence of speech or debate is you can't introduce into evidence what the member did if it's part of an official duty,’ said a lawyer who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the challenges are often under court seal. ‘If you can't introduce legislation, a bill, a speech on the floor, how do you make the case?’''

Skating on the charges …

“In the Visclosky investigation, prosecutors explored whether the congressman helped obtain earmarks for clients of powerful lobbying firms in exchange for contributions. But Visclosky's lawyers refused to hand over much of the material sought in 2009 by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, citing speech or debate concerns, according to sources familiar with the investigation.”

“The investigation has not formally ended, but the sources said Visclosky is unlikely to be charged. Justice Department officials declined to comment.”

The Supreme Court holds the answer to corruption in their hands …

“In 2007, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said FBI agents violated the speech or debate clause when they conducted an unprecedented search of Jefferson's Capitol Hill office. Executive branch agents cannot review privileged legislative materials without the the consent of the member of Congress, a three-judge panel ruled.”

Alarmed prosecutors urged the Supreme Court to overturn the decision.”

“The Supreme Court declined to hear the case, which had the effect of making the restrictions law in the District.”

Bottom line …

I do not want to state or imply that all of Congress or even the hyper-politicized Executive Branch agencies are corrupt. There are still fine fellows who respect and honor our Constitution and do their very best to serve and protect “We the People.”

However, there is an increasing number of rats in the Congress and in the Executive Branch that are willing to do or say anything to gain or maintain power. Made more egregious by their slavish attention on the special interests who trade campaign funding and voter support for special favors which puts the consumer, taxpayer and citizens at a tremendous disadvantage.

One needs only to consider the matter involving the unions – where every project seems to be riddled with waste, fraud and corruption; and where few projects are finished “on time” or “within budget.”  Why would we the people accept any scheme that would ultimately drive our nation and ourselves into bankruptcy?

We need to do something now. The TEA (Taxed Enough Already) party movement was a start. But we need to continue the momentum, electing honest brokers to serve “We the People.” How we can overcome the stupidity and self-interests of the “entitlement” community to throw corrupt bums like Charlie Rangel out of office or stymie the re-election bids of Marxists will be the real challenge ahead.

And it is time to start discussing these issues. Perhaps starting with judicial reform which sets age limits and term restrictions on the judiciary. Not only to prevent complacency, but to guard against senility. It has never been as important to stop Barack Obama from electing more Supreme Court Justices with an apparent bias against America, against conservatism – and apparently against the silent majority of “We the People.”

Discuss among yourselves.

-- steve

Reference Links …

'Speech or debate' clause invoked in investigations of House members


“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



John Ziegler: The Wild Card In Sarah Palin's Camp?

UPDATE (01):  1-18-2011 ZIEGLER POPS OFF AGAIN ...

John Ziegler: Changing My Mind On A Sarah Palin Presidential Run

"As dangerous, counterproductive, and pointless as it can be to try and predict whether Sarah Palin will run for president in 2012, I found myself changing my mind last night about what she likely will, and should, do regarding the largest political decision one can make."

"As an outspoken and dedicated defender of Palin against a mountain of unfair media attacks over the past couple of years, I have often been amused that many of my detractors presume that I have been a strong proponent of a Palin candidacy. The reality is that I am probably one of the few people to tell her to her face (after our January 2009 interview) that she can’t win in 2012, and, in act of even greater stupidity, I have most certainly harmed my last movie among Palin supporters by publicly stating the same opinion."

It's all about him -- classic warning signs of a Narcissistic personality disorder?

Original Blog Post ...

If Sarah Palin is to advance in national politics, she might want to reconsider who her “close” associates might be. In the present instance, we find self-nominated and self-described Sarah Palin champion, John Ziegler, defending her at every turn.

Could it be that it is only Ziegler’s self-interest in a documentary titled “Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted” which I believe was re-titled to add the newsworthy Sarah Palin to attract media attention?

But what of Ziegler himself, is he a potentially dangerous character?

According to an Article in the Atlantic Monthly Magazine …

Depression, thoughts of suicide, thoughts of murdering a high profile celebrity … “1994–1995: Both personally and professionally, this period constitutes a dark night of the soul for John Ziegler. Summer '94: O.J. Simpson's ex-wife is brutally murdered. Fall '94: Mr. Ziegler's mother is killed in a car crash. Winter '95: During his sportscast, Mr. Z. makes ‘an incredibly tame joke about O.J. Simpson's lack of innocence’ w/r/t his wife's murder, which draws some protest from Raleigh's black community. John Ziegler is eventually fired from WLFL because the station ‘caved in to Political Correctness.’ The whole nasty incident marks the start of (a) Mr. Z.'s deep, complex hatred for all things PC, and (b) ‘my history with O.J.’ He falls into a deep funk, decides to give up sports broadcasting, "’pretty much gave up on life, actually.’ Mr. Z. spends his days watching the O.J. Simpson trial on cable television, often sitting through repeat broadcasts of the coverage late at night; and when O.J. is finally acquitted, ‘I was nearly suicidal.’ Two psychiatrist golf buddies talk him into going on antidepressants, but much of the time O.J. is still all Mr. Ziegler can think and talk about. ‘It got so bad—you'll find this funny—at one point I was so depressed that it was my goal, assuming that he'd be acquitted and that [O.J.'s] Riviera Country Club wouldn't have the guts to kick him out, that I was going to become a caddy at Riviera, knock him off, and see whether or not [a certain lawyer Mr. Z. also played golf with, whose name is here omitted] could get me off on jury nullification. That's how obsessed I was.’ The lawyer/golfer/friend's reaction to this plan is not described.”

Inappropriate language … “1996–1997: Another radio consultant recommends Mr. Z. for a job at WWTN, a Nashville talk station, where he hosts an evening show that makes good Book and is largely hassle-free for several months. Of his brief career at WWTN, the host now feels that ‘I kind of self-destructed there, actually, in retrospect. I got frustrated with management. I was right, but I was stupid as well.’ The trouble starts when Tiger Woods wins the 1997 Masters. As part of his commentary on the tournament, Mr. Z. posits on-air that Tiger constitutes living proof of the fact that ‘not all white people are racists.’ His supporting argument is that ‘no white person would ever think of Tiger as a nigger,’ because whites draw a mental distinction ‘between people who just happen to be black and people who act like niggers.’ His reason for broadcasting the actual word ‘nigger’? ‘This all goes back to O.J. I hated the fact that the media treated viewers and listeners like children by saying 'Mark Fuhrman used the N-word.' I despised that, and I think it gives the word too much power. Plus there's the whole hypocrisy of how black people can use it and white people can't. I was young and naive and thought I could stand on principle."

Again … “2000: John Ziegler moves over to WIP, a famous Philadelphia sports-talk station. ‘I hated it, but I did pretty well. I can do sports, obviously, and it was also a big political year.’ But there is both a general problem and a specific problem. The general problem is that ‘The boss there, [name omitted], is an evil, evil, evil, evil man. If God said, 'John, you get one person to kill for free,' this would be the man I would kill. And I would make it brutally painful.’ The specific problem arises when ‘Mike Tyson holds a press conference, and calls himself a nigger. And I can't resist—I mean, here I've gotten fired in the past for using the word in relation to a person who calls himself that now. I mean, my God. So I tell the story [of having used the word and gotten fired for it] on the air, but I do not use the N-word—I spell the N-word, every single time, to cover my ass, and to also make a point of the absurdity of the whole thing.”

Again … “2002: John Ziegler is hired as the mid-morning host at Clear Channel's WHAS in Louisville. “He is also involved in a very public romance with one Darcie Divita, a former LA Lakers cheerleader who is part of a morning news show on the local Fox TV affiliate. The relationship is apparently Louisville's version of Ben & J.Lo, and its end is not amicable. In August '03, prompted by callers' questions on his regular "Ask John Anything" feature, Mr. Z. makes certain on-air comments about Ms. Divita's breasts, underwear, genital grooming, and libido.” <Source>

And it goes on … and on …

Including what many believe are staged confrontations with the authorities to drive media attention. But what worries me the most is how John Ziegler has latched on to Sarah Palin as part of his complex meal-ticket schemes to promote his merchandise.

Bottom line …

I am worried about Sarah Palin, not that she is not a controversial figure in her own right; but her apparent association with someone who appears to be both uncensored and unhinged at times. How will this play into the overall political narrative? Especially since Ziegler gets major media airtime to defend Palin against her political accusers, both real and imagined.

As for Ziegler, he has exploded before and I have every reason to believe that history will repeat itself. And I just hope that Sarah Palin’s reputation is not part of the collateral damage.

-- steve

Reference Links …

Here is how Ziegler is characterized …

“In a guest column, John Ziegler, radio host, Palin confidante, and the filmmaker behind Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted, offers his unique perspective on these two speeches, whose timing and subject matter guarantee comparison, if not beg it.”

And what he says about himself …

“A Tale of Two Speeches by John Ziegler

“Minutes after comprehending the horror of Saturday’s horrendous shooting, I e-mailed Sarah and Todd Palin to make sure that they saw the same out of control media train barreling in their direction that I did. After over two years of studying anti-Palin media bias more carefully than anyone on the planet, it was obvious to me (and to them as well) that, facts-be-damned, this was setting up as a perfect storm for her enemies to make the kindergarten-level ‘argument’ that Palin was somehow tied to the attacks. Unfortunately, even I underestimated how insane things would quickly get.”

“Thanks to the political dialogue having left the gravitational pull of the rational earth since the tragedy in Tucson, I have refrained from filling my normal role of defending Palin against unfair media attacks. This round was so obvious that there was simply no need for me to enter the fray.”

John Ziegler | Barack Obama Tucson Memorial | Sarah Palin Blood Libel | Mediaite


“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



Believability of special interest-funded research reported in the general media ...

As with global warming, research in tobacco effects appears to be often challenged for the perceived bias of the funding source, making it easy for special interests to dismiss the research findings in order to support their particular agenda.

In the following AFP report, one should consider a few factors before implementing the inevitable social policy.

1.  If smoking is scientifically proven to be demonstrably bad for human beings, is it not a thoroughly corrupt government which will knowingly allow people to engage in what might be termed self-poisoning in return for tax revenues?

2.  Are the shocking and scary headlines like “Smoking causes gene damage in minutes” overly broad and not a valid representation of the research findings? Should the headline be put in the form of a more qualified statement or even as a question: “Smoking may cause gene damage in minutes” or even “Can smoking cause genetic damage in minutes?”

3.  Considering that a number of substances can alter genetic material, is it not incumbent for one to ask if the genetic damage can result in gross effects of actual cancer? We can see histories of smokers who have lived long and productive lives with little or no apparent affect from their smoking practice? Should there be some quantification of the findings?

Let us step through the reportage …

The AFP is reporting …

“Smoking causes gene damage in minutes”

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Those first few puffs on a cigarette can within minutes cause genetic damage linked to cancer, US scientists said in a study released.

There are any number of chemical substances which have been linked to cancer. Many found by external studies which mix the chemicals with cellular material and others found by force feeding outrageous amounts of chemicals to laboratory animals. So what is the nature of the “cancer” because cancer is a generic term to describe the rapid – and often malignant – growth of abnormal cells; killing by destroying healthy tissue or by encroaching and damaging vital organs and functions.

“In fact, researchers said the ‘effect is so fast that it's equivalent to injecting the substance directly into the bloodstream,’ in findings described as a ‘stark warning"’to those who smoke.

Are we speaking of the speed at which the chemical enters the bloodstream, the speed at which the first observable genetic damage to DNA appears or the actual detectible appearance of life-threatening cancer?

There are any number of chemicals which have an almost an instant effect by crossing some barrier directly into the blood stream. A good example would be alcohol.

“The study is the first on humans to track how substances in tobacco cause DNA damage, and appears in the peer-reviewed journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, issued by the American Chemical Society.”

One, this is said to be the first study, so it is hardly conclusive without replication and the examination of additional factors.  And two, as we have learned from our global warming research, the cachet of “peer review” is not what it seems. “Peer review” is a publishing process in which scientific journals prepare articles for entry. The reviewers do not replicate experiments, challenge the hypothesis or recommend the research findings. They correct obvious mistakes, improve the logic and clarity of the information being presented and, in an overall manner, make sure the article lives up to the publications standards. So peer review  is not the scientific imprimatur it seems. 

“Using 12 volunteer smokers, scientists tracked pollutants called PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, that are carried in tobacco smoke and can also be found in coal-burning plants and in charred barbecue food.”

There can be no statistical relevance on using a very small sample size and then projecting the results onto a larger and essentially more diverse population. One would have to wonder how the research subjects were chosen and did they all come from a local area which may have endemic problems of its own?  The chances of obtaining a good representative sample of the population by seeking a limited number of local volunteers is highly debatable.

“They followed one particular type -- phenanthrene, which is found in cigarette smoke -- through the blood and saw it form a toxic substance that is known to "trash DNA, causing mutations that can cause cancer," the study said.”

One might wonder about the validity of testing a single component of a complex multi-component chemical process. The colloquial usage of “trash DNA” is that it is DNA which is discarded during the natural cellular process. If the research findings were conclusive and suspect, might the DNA damage been described differently as   “abnormal DNA” or damaged “DNA.”  Which is far different from DNA discarded during the natural cellular process – which is could be considered “trash” DNA. A matter of semantics and reporting to be sure.

"The smokers developed maximum levels of the substance in a time frame that surprised even the researchers: just 15-30 minutes after the volunteers finished smoking," the study said.”

While the results may have surprised the researchers, one wonders what scientific usefulness this might have?  We are not testing the surprise levels of researchers. This merely means that the findings did not meet the expectations of the researchers, nothing more and nothing less.

"’These results are significant because PAH diol epoxides react readily with DNA, induce mutations, and are considered to be ultimate carcinogens of multiple PAH in cigarette smoke,’ the study said.”

Again, there are any number of substances which react in the same or similar manner. So what is the difference between these substances. And were the gross number of mutations significant to lead to a conclusive finding of cancer – or only the definition of another potential human carcinogen which may depend on numerous other factors  to be dangerous?

“Lead scientist Stephen Hecht said the study is unique because it examines the effects of inhaling cigarette smoke, without interference from other sources of harm such as pollution or a poor diet.”

There is no way that this experiment could have been executed with out some interference from human hereditary characteristics, previous consumption of food products for long periods of time and the isolation of subjects from a myriad of natural and environmental pollutants. That is, I question whether sufficient isolation of this limited number of subjects is possible in order to justify the statement.

A warning?

"The results reported here should serve as a stark warning to those who are considering starting to smoke cigarettes," Hecht said.

To draw such a conclusion from an extremely limited research finding appears to be reportorial excess. And now we get into very dangerous territory. How the findings should serve as a “stark warning to those considering starting to smoke cigarettes” and not those starting the use of cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco, alcohol and using common household kitchen cleaners is problematic. Life has its risks, some acceptable and some not. There are more dangerous substances existing in and around your gas station (benzene for one) – and one merely need read the posted “carcinogen warming labels” to get the same information.

The following warning language is standard on products sold in California if they contain chemicals on the Proposition 65 list and the amount of exposure caused by the product is not within defined safety limits.

“WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.”

And based on what we know about the substance under test, the “stark warning” should also apply to those who are considering eating char-broiled fish, barbeque or going to work in a coal-fired energy plant.

Linking the report to grim statistics …

“Lung cancer kills about 3,000 people around the world each day, and 90 percent of those deaths are attributable to cigarette smoking.”

These are subjective conclusions that are not part of the study. Scare tactics: you bet. Justified scare tactic: maybe. But considering that smoking in the United States has been significantly reduced – by peer pressure, public condemnation and the high price of tobacco products – and that smoking is much more prevalent in other countries, the use of the statistic is suspect.

And let us not forget the funding …

“The research was funded by the National Cancer Institute.”

Would a study that produced no findings or alternative findings be publicized in the general media? I think not. Does the funding source impact the validity of the study – again, the study is only as credible as its researchers and the an independent validation of their work by study replication. The real findings: too soon to say, too small a sample size and that more research is needed.

Why you should stop smoking is abundantly clear and does not require additional scary reports …

There is no doubt that smoking. especially when combined with other risk factors, is extremely dangerous.

But since we have almost overwhelming empirical evidence that smoking is dangerous, might not we consider the prosecution of those who continue to produce, distribute and market such substances as contributory accomplices in a social crime? Or politicians who are enabling a dangerous practice? Why not take definitive action?

One, because there is big money involved and where you find big money you often find corrupt political influence.

Two, because there is still the freedom and  personal choice of indulging in socially-repugnant or dangerous behavior.

Three, it would lead to a loss of income and jobs for many agricultural workers and the production and marketing apparatus of the industry.

And four, it would further  empower a criminal enterprise to produce and distribute a banned substance as we have seen with Marijuana.

Bottom line …

When it comes to scientific studies uses to drive public policy, each and every individual needs to be skeptical of the motives of both those who pursue such research and those general media sources who publish such research.

Small sample sizes and an attempt to project scientific findings onto a larger population is always fraught with statistical danger.

As Americans, we need to demand our schools return to teaching critical thinking skills and allowing students to openly challenge ideas – without a penalty for not parroting the instructor’s words.

Today’s blog item is not meant to disparage the work of the researchers or the research findings. It is meant to illustrate that reading something in the general media without a skeptical eye is foolhardy.  Especially if it leads to larger government, increased taxes and, above all, a loss of personal freedoms. You can publish this report a thousand times and it would still have no more statistical validity or believability than if it remained simply an entry in the scientific literature.

-- steve

Reference Links …

Smoking causes gene damage in minutes - 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

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

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



The scam that is modern art ...

I tend to believe that most modern art is a scam. Usually an exploitation of geometrical works, modification of ordinary objects or pure unadulterated chaotic garbage. A scam perpetrated by a select group of artists, gallery owners and critics whose livelihoods and reputations hang on works that have no intrinsic meaning other than what is being sold to the public through creative license.

I think that I am most offended by most modern art because: one, I cannot view the piece and immediately understand the underlying symbolism without the aid of a title, artist’s description or a reviewer’s summary; and two, I could actually reproduce the same work – and sometimes do a much better job. I know what I like -- and most modern art is not what I would want on my walls.

Yes, I ADMIT  I am an artistic philistine. 

It’s somewhat like viewing clouds. Intellectually, I know that there is no inherent information in any given cloud structure which is created by the chaotic and random forces of nature. But, being (somewhat) human, my brain attempts to match patterns of my previous experiences or form interpolative calculations to derive some meaning for what I am observing. Thus I am able to see an elephant there and a tree over there. All of which exists solely within my mind.

Perhaps the goal of a piece is to make you feel good – at least on the basis of owning a “rare” piece of art which might turn out to be a great financial investment. Something you can loan to a museum or gallery in return for referential prestige and media attention. After all, it has been long said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Although, I have little or no trouble distinguishing a beautiful girl from a dog. Or, in my own humble opinion, art priced by the greater fool theory; where one need only convince someone else to purchase a work at a greater price.

Perhaps what really offends me is the business aspect of the modern art world. Something I find somewhat nefarious as works are exchanged by affiliated parties to raise prices – similar to stock manipulation with Boesky, Milken and the boys.

Or the effete pseudo-intellectuals who are affected by the “emperor’s new clothes” syndrome; oohing and aahing over a piece lest they be considered ignorant, uncultured or uncouth.  All encouraged by art’s arbiters, the critics, who I am convinced are deeply affected by the amount of previous art they have viewed – and now attempt to match what they are seeing to what they have been told is “important art.” Producing a honest opinion based on nothing more than the interpretation of the cloud patterns in their mind. 

While I, in no way, pretend to be an art critic, let’s look at the work of the wunderkind, Damien Hirst, whose latest piece involves a diamond-studded platinum cast of a baby’s skull.

Media worthy …  A subject shocking to the ordinary citizen whose sensibilities may be offended by the use of an almost sacred subject, a child, which is exploited in an unusual way and the profligate cost of the undertaking. Definitely good for inspiring “buzz” in the media. Some parents who have recently lost their children might find the work not only insensitive, but offensive.

Unique even while being a derivative work …  While examples of the decoration of body parts, whether the person is alive or dead, can be found in history, it is the cost of the undertaking which makes the piece rare. So essentially the work is derivative -- not only historically, but of Hirst’s previous 2007  work  titled “For the Love of God” which was a full-size diamond encrusted platinum skull.

An expenditure of significant funds on a trivial pursuit …The work may also be shocking to the ordinary person because of the cost of the undertaking, which is estimated to be £4.2 million ($7,000,000 ) for the cast platinum skull embedded with 8,600 pink diamonds and its potential offering price. By comparison, Hirst’s 2007 work was created at an estimated cost of £50 million ($78,000,000 )  -– and said to be the most expensive example of modern art. 

Some liberals calculating in their minds the true benefits to mankind that could have been produced had the same amount of money been spent on the production of clean water, building sanitary facilities or spent on medicines and medical assistance for the indigent in third-world countries. It is somewhat of a paradox that liberals will put on their tuxedos, gowns and diamonds to attend a gallery showing of ridiculously expensive modern art while actively demanding that the ordinary taxpayers pick up the real tab for their social charities providing the bare basics to a wretched segment of humanity.

The language of modern art … Like any other public presentation, the framing of the work by its promoters is what gives even an ordinary piece a unique, and exploitable value. 

The title:

For Heaven's Sake.” 

What the artist said: 

"What's the maximum I could do as a celebration against death?" 

"When you look at a skull, you think it represents the end, but when you see the end so beautiful, it gives you hope.”

"Diamonds are about perfection and clarity and wealth and sex and death and immortality. They are a symbol of everything that's eternal, but then they have a dark side as well."

About the artist …

I am heartened to see the artist, Damien Hirst, defined not only as an artist, but as an entrepreneur. He certainly managed to find his niche and work it most profitably. Hirst is reputed to be among the richest living artists in the world with a fortune estimated at £215m ($334,000,000) by UK’s Sunday Times.

“He became famous for a series of artworks in which dead animals (including a shark, a sheep and a cow) are preserved—sometimes having been dissected—in formaldehyde. The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, a 14-foot (4.3 m) tiger shark immersed in formaldehyde in a vitrine became the iconic work of British art in the 1990s,and the symbol of Britart worldwide.He has also made ‘spin paintings,’ created on a spinning circular surface, and ‘spot paintings,’ which are rows of randomly-coloured circles created by his assistants.” <Source>

The Industrialization of art …

“Although Hirst participated physically in the making of early works, he has always needed assistants (Carl Freedman helped with the first vitrines), and now the volume of work produced necessitates a ‘factory’ setup, akin to Andy Warhol's or a Renaissance studio.”

“Rachel Howard painted Hirst's "best spot paintings".

“Hirst said that he only painted five spot paintings himself because, "I couldn't be fucking arsed doing it"; he described his efforts as "shite"—"They're shit compared to ... the best person who ever painted spots for me was Rachel. She's brilliant. Absolutely fucking brilliant. The best spot painting you can have by me is one painted by Rachel." <Source>

And not without controversy …

“In several instances since 1999, the sources for certain of Hirst's works have been challenged and contested as plagiarized, both in written articles by journalists and artists, and, in one instance, through legal proceedings which led to an out-of-court settlement.” <Source>

Bottom line …

Capture1-9-2011-2.05.57 PM Capture1-9-2011-2.33.56 PM

“Two Heads Are Better Than One”           (Damien Hurst – left, steve – right) Steve -(c) 2011 by Steve All Rights Reserved

The great thing about art is that you must be able to draw your own conclusions about the piece and the artist.

-- steve

P.S. For those who enjoy Damien Hirst, you might want to visit Artsy which is a nice cataloging of his work. Artsy is one of those sites that is truly beneficial to an appreciative audience of art lovers. I strongly recommend that you check it out if you enjoy art.


“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



Federal Reserve: So where are the consumers on the 2011 Consumer Advisory Council?

If you want to know why ordinary Americans have a deep suspicion of government and its pandering to special interests, you need go no farther than the perversion of language and intent when announcing consumer-related issues.

Style over substance?

Here we can see an example of style over substance in that the Federal Reserve Board has named ten new members to its Consumer Advisory Council and designated a new Chair and Vice Chair of the Council for 2011 – all the while knowing that the Council will be dissolved and new rules, regulations and disclosure forms will be issued by the recently-created Consumer Financial Protection Board.

The news release headline … “Consumer Advisory Council appointments for 2011”

Advisory status only … “The Council advises the Board on the exercise of its responsibilities under the Consumer Credit Protection Act and on other matters in the area of consumer financial services.” 

Isolated in the beltway and scheduled to be disbanded … “The Council will hold its regular meetings in Washington, D.C., until the designated transfer date upon which certain consumer protection functions will be transferred from the Board to the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act.  As of that date, the Board's Consumer Advisory Council will be dissolved. 

And filled with special interest representatives …

Jim Park was designated Chair of the Council.  Mr. Park is the chief executive officer (CEO) of New Vista Asset Management .

Mary Tingerthal was designated Vice Chair of the Council.  Ms. Tingerthal is the President of Capital Markets Companies for the Housing Partnership Network.

The ten new members of the Council are:

Nancy Andrews, President and CEO, Low Income Investment Fund

Barrett Burns , President and CEO, VantageScore Solutions LLC.

Susan Ehrlich, President of Sears Financial Services

Josh Fuhrman, Senior Vice President, Programs and Policy,  Homeownership Preservation Foundation.

James Gutierrez, CEO, Progreso Financiero

Clinton Gwin, President, Pathway Lending.

Mike Long, Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer, UW Credit Union

Rashmi Rangan, Executive Director of the Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council

Kevin Stein, Associate Director of the California Reinvestment Coalition

Jonathan Zinman, Associate Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College

Council members whose terms continue in 2011 are:

Maeve Elise Brown, Executive Director, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates

Paula Bryant-Ellis, Senior Vice President, Community Development Banking Group, BOK Financial Corp.

Joanne Budde, President and CEO, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco

John P. Carey , Chief Administrative Officer, Consumer Banking, North America Citigroup

Tino Diaz, Managing Director and CEO, CharisPros – Mortgage Center

Kerry Doi, President and CEO, Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment

Betsy Flynn, CEO, President and Chairman, Community Financial Services Bank

Patricia Garcia Duarte, President and CEO, Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix

Ira Goldstein, Director, Policy Solutions, The Reinvestment Fund

Mike Griffin, Senior Vice President, KeyBank, N.A.

Brian Hudson, Sr., Executive Director and CEO, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency

Kirsten Keefe, Senior Staff Attorney, Empire Justice Center

Larry B. Litton, Jr., President and CEO, Litton Loan Servicing LP

Andy Navarrete, Senior Vice President, Chief Counsel – National Lending, Capital One Financial Corporation

Jim Park, President and CEO, New Vista Asset Management

Dory Rand, President, Woodstock Institute

Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, Executive Director, New Jersey Citizen Action

Corey Stone, Chair, First Community Bank of New Haven

Mary Tingerthal, President, Capital Markets Companies, Housing Partnership Network

Mark Wiseman, Principal Assistant Attorney General, Consumer Protection Section, Ohio Attorney General's Office

Not one ordinary consumer among them …

Every one of these individuals has an inherent conflict of interest in that their organizations either receive funding from the federal government and/or are regulated by the privately-owned Federal Reserve. Some even represent state governments.

Every one of these people represent a political calculation and the position is basically a resume-builder.

These people will rely on “staff” work and will present the positions of their respective organizations or the positions taken by their industry lobbyists.

And there is not one ordinary consumer among them that is not in a position of influence within their own organizations.

And some of them represent organizations who were or still are connected with some of the most egregious behavior in the financial industry.

“Four months after Litton Loan Services settled a class action accusing the company of imposing bogus late fees, complaints about Litton continue to roll into ConsumerAffairs.com.

Some consumers allege that Litton failed to timely post payments to their accounts, the main issue in the class action. Still others get the run-around from the mortgage servicing company on the possibility of receiving a loan adjustment, leading to confusion and, in many cases, the threat of foreclosure.

As a loan servicer, Litton -- owned by Goldman Sachs -- handles the operational aspects of consumer loans: sending out statements, receiving and tracking payments, notifying consumers of overdue payments, and initiating foreclosure proceedings.” <Source>

Bottom line …

These are the people who are designated with the task of advising the Federal Reserve Board on rules and regulations relating to consumer disclosures. Rules, regulations and disclosures which are carefully crafted to continue to convey or preserve the special advantages enjoyed by the financial industry or their respective organizations. 

One should consider what recent regulations have wrought. Where outrageous overdraft processing procedures have been curtailed, overall bank fees skyrocketed to make up for lost income gained under consumer-adverse practices. No win for the consumer here.

Where outrageous credit card practices were prohibited, the credit card issues designed a new card that is targeted at high-worth individuals, entrepreneurs and small businesses which are exempt from those pesky restrictions. No win for the consumers here.

And where new mortgage loan disclosures have been mandated by law, the fundamental assumption that the consumer was not likely to competitively shop for the individual vendors (title, document preparation, inspections, appraisal, etc.) needed to close a loan was ignored and the disclosures became a morass of worthless information that would be ignored by most consumers.

Perhaps the answer is to put real consumers on “consumer advisory councils” or rename them to what they really are: “special interest advisory councils.”

-- steve

Reference Links:

For those wishing to read a fuller biography of the new appointees, it can be found at:

FRB: Press Release--Consumer Advisory Council appointments for 2011 --January 10, 2011


“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



Celebrity Activism: Accountability for Damages?

I have grown tired of celebrities weighing in on politics and how we should live our lives – but the real question should be: should they be held accountable in the media when they encourage others to engage in risky practices that affect the public’s health?

Whether it is anorexic actresses touting the benefits of cleanses which can dehydrate your body and  alter your electrolyte balances, those who suggest mega-doses of vitamins and other natural substances to cure or ameliorate the symptoms of diseases or simply that whack-job who claims that vaccines and other medicines do more harm than good – there should be some form of media accountability.

A case study …

With the recent revelations that the doctor who allegedly linked autism to vaccinations did so on the basis of corrupt and flawed science. Science involving a relatively few test subjects (12) whose medical records may have been altered to fit the doctor’s speculative hypothesis. And if that weren’t bad enough, there is the suggestion of collusion with trial lawyers who were salivating over a big pay-day using class action lawsuits to attack vaccine makers.

As reported by the prestigious Wall Street Journal …

“The British Medical Journal this week published an article and editorial explaining that the 1998 study that provoked the vaccine scare was an ‘elaborate fraud.’ That study, published in the (once) respected journal ‘The Lancet,’ was by British doctor Andrew Wakefield and other researchers, who claimed that the widely used measles, mumps and rubella vaccine was linked to autism. Around the same time, U.S. parents and opportunistic lawyers latched on to a related theory that vaccination shots containing a mercury compound called thimerosal caused autism.” <Source: Wall Street Journal>

Note: According to published reports, Dr. Wakefield lost his right to practice medicine in the United Kingdom. <Source>

Of course, the findings of Dr. Wakefield and others were widely trumpeted by Jennie McCarthy, her then-boyfriend Jim Carrey and others on many high-profile programs such as Oprah, Larry King, The View and other shows. All of which appeared to serve as impetus to parents to avoid vaccinating their children – leading to a rise of communicable diseases within a number of school populations.

Perhaps McCarthy held these beliefs honestly as a reason for her child’s problems. Others, who are certainly more cynical, noted that this d-list actress now had a high-profile cause which could result in wide media exposure.

In fact, you may wish to look at the Generation Rescue website which features Jenny McCarthy …

Explaining in a quote that Jenny McCarthy …

"The onetime Playboy model, former MTV comedy star, and face of autism is dead serious about empowering parents to take charge of their kids' health...For all her on-camera bombast and her outspoken crusade to link autism and vaccinations, the actress, author, and mother (of son Evan, 7, who was diagnosed with autism at 2 1/2) is entirely reasonable in person -- not to mention wildly articulate -- no matter which side of the vaccination debate you're on..."

The answer of a  disrobed charlatan: the suggestion of  a conspiracy …

Of course, when challenged by medical professionals and reporters, many of the Doctor’s supporters – and the doctor himself – suggest that there may be darker forces that do not want to see vaccine research performed or who are intentionally suppressing the truth in the name of profits and protecting against lawsuits.

A no win situation as people will believe on an emotional level what they refuse to acknowledge on an intellectual level … ascribing the difference to conspiracies and “secret” research findings.

Of course, many of these people are absolute nutters and they fail to realize several very important facts: one, people in medical research are competing to produce results which will earn them fame, fortune and recognition among their peers; two, with any number of independent researchers, keeping a secret a secret is almost impossible; and three, those who have developed cures certainly would use their findings for their own benefit and the benefit of their own families if such cures existed. 

Bottom line …

This quotation from Edward R. Murrow has never been truer …

Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.

Edward R. Murrow -- US broadcast journalist & newscaster (1908 - 1965)

Whether it is Sean Penn or Danny Glover touting the thuggish Communist genius of Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro; Tom Cruise railing against the use of psychiatrists and psychotropic drugs or a Jenny McCarthy suggesting that your child might be harmed by vaccines, the discriminating public should remember that these people are entertainers: valuable for their ability to act convincingly and mouth words with feigned sincerity. Often putting forth ideas developed by their gurus or others who may have little or real knowledge of the real world or medicine in particular.

Trust your doctor. Verify what your doctor says using independent sources and if concerned, seek a second opinion. Leave medicine to the professionals and entertainment to the “don’t do as I do, do as I say” clowns who think that celebrity gives them some divine right to tell you how to live your life.

-- steve

Reference Links …

Anderson Cooper 360°: CNN Official Interview: Autism-vaccine study author, Andrew Wakefield

Anderson Cooper | Autism Doctor | Exclusive | Mediaite

The Jenny McCarthyism of Vaccines | Mediaite


“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



2011 Jared Loughner -- THERE IS NO STOPPING CRAZY ...

Jared Loughner: The face of crazy …

Capture1-10-2011-2.32.32 PM

Once again the world is presented with the news of a tragedy; a story being repeated endlessly in the media – often as a pretext for discussing social issues and a political agenda. What many people fail to realize is that this is simply a part of modern life and the events of the tragic day are likely to be repeated in spite of any newly-crafted legislation; and especially that which denies us our God-given right to self-defense.

I continue to be appalled at the both the media and the politicians as they attempt to blame political parties, organizations and ideologies connected with the shooter. They refuse to accept to the fact that this was a crazy loner who was hell-bent on killing.

On February 15, 2008, I wrote the following blog post and it is still relevant today as it will be in the future …

THERE IS NO STOPPING CRAZY!

Whether induced by drugs, mental illness or emotional rage, the sad fact of the matter is that legislation can not and will not stop senseless murder and mayhem.

I cannot believe the number of media talking heads and pundits who linked the deaths in the North Illinois University with gun control.

These people do not understand that even if there were no guns, insane or enraged people will lash out with whatever weapons are at hand. Even to the extent of driving a car through a crowded school gathering.

We live life in a somewhat fragile environment, dependent on the moral perspectives of individuals, good-will of our neighbors and the laws which regulate our society.

But there is no perfect society as constant conflict and crime vie with accidents to take our fellow humans from this unpredictable world.

So the next time someone points to this terrible tragedy and attempts to link it to gun control, demand that they point out exactly how any law could have prevented this event from happening.

Point out that had someone been able to provide armed intervention, the carnage may have been moderated. But it is unlikely as students attend school to learn about life, not to fight to save theirs.

-- steve

CBS reports...

6 Dead In N. Illinois University Massacre

Gunman Killed Five, Then Himself On Stage In Front Of Panicked Students

"A gunman opened fire on a geology class at Northern Illinois University Thursday afternoon, killing five people before killing himself on-stage in front of panicked students.
NIU President John Peters said a total of 22 people were shot, including the gunman. Four people, including the gunman, died at the scene; two others died later at area hospitals.

"Officials said the gunman opened fire in a lecture hall shortly after 3 p.m. and the campus was immediately placed on lockdown. Police were on the scene within minutes, but the gunman had already killed himself by the time they arrived."

"The shooting happened at a geology lecture class in Cole Hall. Officials said the gunman emerged from behind a screen at the front of the lecture hall and opened fire with a shotgun.
Police said the gunman, armed with a shotgun and two handguns, shot the teacher, a graduate student instructor, and several students before killing himself onstage in front of the class."

cbs2chicago.com - 6 Dead In N. Illinois University Massacre


“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



2011 ARIZONA SHOOTING & GUN CONTROL: "CRAZY IS STILL CRAZY"

"One of the fiercest gun-control advocates in Congress, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), pounced on the shooting massacre in Tucson Sunday, promising to introduce legislation as soon as Monday."

With the tragic shooting in Arizona, I feel compelled to repeat my blog post dated October 10, 2007 … because it is still representative of the recent situation and a reminder that no amount of legislation or personal protection can protect against a crazy person who wishes to harm an individual or society in general.

If there is one particular lesson to be learned from the current tragedy it is: people noticed the shooter’s strange behavior well in advance of the shooting. They were either too politically correct, apathetic or uncaring to get involved to the extent of reporting this individual to the authorities. Possibly because today’s policing is all about politics and political correctness, where the authorities are afraid to take action until after a tragedy occurs.

And, once again, I find it despicable that politicians, media pundits and ideologues of all stripe are using this occasion to espouse their own personal philosophy and social agenda … with some going to far as to use this tragedy as the center-point of a fundraising campaign.

-- steve

Original blog post …

GUN CONTROL: "CRAZY IS CRAZY"

The proponents of gun control are a stubborn and contentious bunch. They not only misinterpret the statistics , but actually ignore the elements of human nature that give rise to rage and violence.

To put the issue in perspective, we need remember only a few things...

One,  human beings are subject to human nature where emotion often trumps logic to force an individual to set aside caution and common sense and exhibit the very worst of behaviors.

Two, a person who is enraged, seeking revenge or has profit motive to act violently against another human being or group of people, will do so regardless of their choice of weapons. For some it is a blunt object, others a knife or gun; and others, perhaps poison or a bomb. And, let us not forget the use of a vehicle as lethal weapon.

Three, those who believe that a person will "calm down" and return to a state of normalcy if a weapon is not immediately at hand, underestimates the degree of rage which may drive a person to an irrational act.

Four, those who believe that guns permit one to kill more people in a shorter period of time are correct. There is no easy answer to this claim for it is true. But it still is not a legitimate reason to outlaw guns. Truth be told, bombs can do the job more effectively as we have seen in the Oklahoma City bombing and the loss of live during 9/11.

Five, all people are granted the God-given right of self-defense against those who would usurp their lives, property or freedom. It is codified in the Second Amendment to insure. among other things, that we remain free of tyrants and dictators whose first move would be to disarm the populace in order to quell or limit any potential rebellion against unconscionable acts.

Six, "crazy is crazy." You can not deal effectively with a irrational person whose brain chemistry or defect circumvents normal logic and normal societal behaviors. There is no way to stop these people from perpetrating any particular action, short of 24/7 incarceration.

And seven, and most importantly, an armed populace is the greatest deterrence against those who would commit criminal acts against others. Criminals will always be able to make or purchase weapons to gain an advantage over those who cannot adequately defend themselves.

I believe in arms control...

Yes, I actually believe in arms control. I believe that certain individuals should be prohibited from purchasing weapons is they have been adjudicated as being mentally impaired or convicted of a criminal act. This is not foolproof and there are any number of crazies walking around in our immediate vicinity.

I do not believe that any individual has a right to own or possess a bazooka, anti-aircraft missile, machine gun, grenade or claymore mine any more than they have a right to a personal nuclear weapon.

I have no problems with handguns, rifles and shotguns -- as long as they are safe to shoot and accurate enough to hit their intended target.

While I am ambivalent about weapons such as the 50-caliber rifle, which can be used as a long range sniper rifle, there is no evidence that one of these weapons has been used against another human being outside of a combat zone. The weapons are large, bulky and, from personal experience, extremely uncomfortable to shoot. Even if one were to outlaw a weapon of this nature, one could be fabricated fairly easily with a fair amount of machining skills or simply buy one from a foreign source.

As for those who claim that only law enforcement and government officials should be allowed to carry handguns, I present the following story from the Associated Press. However, like I said, "crazy is crazy" and you can never eliminate all risk from any type of weapon, be it a handgun or a vehicle used as a weapon. 

"Wisconsin Town Mourns 6 Shooting Victims"

"CRANDON, Wis. (AP) - An off-duty sheriff's deputy killed six young people and wounded another during a homecoming weekend gathering, a rampage relatives of the victims said may have been fueled by a romantic dispute. "

"Tyler Peterson, 20, was shot to death after opening fire early Sunday at a home where authorities said the friends met for pizza and movies. He was off-duty from his full-time job as a Forest County deputy sheriff; he also was a part-time Crandon police officer."

"'I heard probably five or six shots, a short pause and then five or six more,' she said."

"Then she heard eight louder shots and tires squealing, she said."

"'I was just about to get up and call it in, and I heard sirens,' she said. 'There's never been a tragedy like this here. There's been individual incidents, but nothing of this magnitude.'"

"Sheriff Keith Van Cleve said he would meet with state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen on Monday morning to discuss the case. Crandon Mayor Gary Bradley said Sunday that a sniper killed the suspect, but Van Cleve would not confirm that officers shot him."

"The shooting raised questions among residents about whether Peterson had met requirements to become a law enforcement officer. David Franz, who is married to Marci Franz, said it was hard to accept that someone in law enforcement was the gunman."

"The first statement we said to each other was, 'How did he get through the system?'" Franz said."

"How did he get through the system?"

Common sense tells us that crazy people may not be or act crazy all of the time. For some normal people, crazy is an immediate reaction to being hurt badly enough to allow the suspension of common sense, moral training -- hence the term "temporary insanity."

What can YOU do?

Realize that there will always be problems with human beings... it's human nature. If the emotion is strong enough, it will always trump logic and rational behavior.

Recognize that we all have the inalienable right to defend ourselves against criminals and those who will take away our lives, property and freedom.

Recognize that duly sworn law enforcement personnel can not be everywhere at every moment of the day. Local, state and federal government owes no duty to its individual citizens to protect their life or property. The sole concern of all government actions to to "maintain the general order" and to provide somewhat of a regulated environment of laws. We, the people, have the right to defend ourselves in the most expedient manner. While there are common-sense restrictions on killing another human being unless you are in fear for your life or that of another human being, we should always realize that our country was founded on self-reliance and action -- no matter what those who have hidden agendas or special interests claim.

Do not confuse "crime control" with "gun control." People who use a weapon in the commission of a crime should not be allowed to plead the offense downward or be granted probation or parole. There should be severe penalties for using a weapon in a non-defense situation.

Those who are afraid of guns should enroll in a gun safety course. Most people who graduate from a safety course have more respect for weapons than those who merely cry the "sky is falling/"

Children should be taught about guns as well as the other hazards that they are likely to encounter. Schools and other venues that maintain a "zero tolerance" policy need to temper the policy with common sense. Drawing a picture of a gun is not a major problem -- unless you are a liberal hell-bent on establishing a cradle-to-grave "nanny state."

It is time that the citizens of the United States realize the limitations of the government to protect individuals and return to the original concept of "self reliance."

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

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

As always, opposing comments are welcome.

-- 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

Wisconsin Town Mourns 6 Shooting Victims|Associated Press 

Arizona shooting: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords hit at meeting with constituents


“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