What can you believe in?

January 2o, 2009  was a monumental day which should be officially memorialized …

2009tombstone

When one considers the last minute deals and the character of the incoming Administration, it appears that the public trust and faith in our government has died.

We have entered the realm of political celebrity, where good intentions and a well-crafted speech serve as a measure of accomplishment – even though little or nothing may have been accomplished.

Where the special interests reign supreme and those who contributed mightily to the campaign are now expecting their rewards.

Where the media is afraid to jeopardize its corporate interests by telling truth to power and is complicit in sycophantically covering up the stone cold truth.

Where the word “crisis” is used to suspend the normal rules and conventions of the government, to allow egregious acts of self-interest and public deception to take place on the national stage; often without a fight or words of dissent.

While observing the pageantry and solemnity surrounding the inauguration, I became even more convinced that Barack Obama was, up until now, an empty slate upon which the voters projected their own wants, needs and desires.

Truly a symbol of hope and change … if one looked only at the rhetoric and ignored the actions of the politicians and their political parties.

It is almost inconceivable that slightly more than half of those who took the time and trouble to vote ignored the environment of corruption and special dealing which surrounded Barack Obama. And, most importantly, ignored the fact that Obama was, at best, a dupe or an opportunist when he associated with those who were corrupt, harbored anti-American sentiments or were judged to be unrepentant domestic terrorists.

That a good portion of Barack Obama’s personal history has remained hidden from public scrutiny and shrouded in mystery. And the portion of what has been revealed surrounded with contradiction and controversy.

That his party, the democrats, by means fair and foul, have managed to corrupt the election process by their suspicious voter registration drives and election practices which, in some cases, count more votes than citizens voting.

That his staunchest supporters rely on the precepts of moral equivalency to justify their actions; to claim that President Bush and his Administration led the way in corrupt, special interest dealings. All under the guise of inoculating themselves from future blame by claiming the roots of any corruption and/or crisis should be attributable to the Bush regime.

So I ask again, “what can you believe in?”

And there is but one answer: YOURSELF!

It is time to take defensive measures …

It is time to take defensive measures and insulate yourself from the physical, emotional and spiritual consequences of a government which has proven to be increasingly out of control.

A government where Orwellian definitions indicating black is white, up is down and good is evil abound. Where lawyers parse sentences to find favorable meaning where there is none. Where profligate spending on special interest projects which never work or are canceled before the acid test of everyday usage abound.

Where people are encouraged to sacrifice for the common good, even though that good benefits only the special interests.

It is time to take matters into your own hands. To manage your own health and physical well being, to isolate yourself from those who are crazy-makers and demanding that you blindly follow their latest schemes, to educate yourself when education is being dumbed down and perverted by social activists, to protect your own employment future when CEOs simply shed employees to improve their bonuses and to manage your finances in an age when the government wants you to spend yourself further into debt claiming it is your patriotic duty to help spend our way to a strong economy.

We can no longer trust those institutions which have failed America. Education which is more about union control and supporting minorities than it is about providing a sound basis for adult maturity. Finance, where those who you trusted to prudently manage your finances, gambled on speculative derivatives to earn outrageous bonuses in the tens, and sometimes, hundreds of millions of dollars.

And unfortunately, this same toxic environment extends to local and state governments. Where personal self-interest pervades party politics and those who do not wish America well are busy enabling our enemies, both foreign and domestic, to take over our cities, states and federal government without a single shot being fired. Using the tools of political correctness, multiculturalism and diversity to further divide and conquer our legal citizens.

There is much that is right with America and there is every chance that this recession will turn the corner soon. But we need to take action now. To position ourselves to benefit from bad times as well as good times. To become strong enough to lend support to our families and our communities.

Beginning YOUR journey …

Today, the day after the inauguration, should be a solemn day. A day in which you begin your journey into the future. Putting aside all of the past angst and confusion over politics and moving forward with your own programs that benefit you. In essence, your inauguration into the world of YOU!

To this end, I am going to dedicate a portion of my time to building a web site that will be dedicated to self-protection and the encouragement of personal achievement.

Join me in becoming personally proactive …

If you should wish to join me on the journey, you can sign up for my free report on job loss related panic at www.aminext.com or by clicking on the site logo below.

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I would like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for reading my OneCitizenSpeaking blog and encourage you to sign-up for the future benefits yet to come.


“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's inaugural address: Don't blame anyone, he told you what he plans to do!

Perhaps it is just me?  That there is some flaw in my character which encourages me to see some inkling of  unpleasant truths to come; while those about me applaud and cheer the arrival of a new President. Perhaps it is because I have closely followed his campaign rhetoric and compared our President’s talking points with his actions, or in some cases, lack of action.

I will freely admit that our government, starting with the Carter years and moving through the Bush 43 years, has left much to be desired. In terms of the rise in self-interest governmental corruption. Of purchasing photo-ops with foreign dictators who issue worthless proclamations in return for cold, hard American cash, commodities and technology.

Therefore, it is with some trepidation that I read President Obama’s inaugural address; starting from the part that is of interest to me.

“My fellow citizens:”

I am inheriting a mess …

“That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood.

"Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred."

"Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age." 

"Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered."

"Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.”

“These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics.”

These are the facts and they are undeniable.

And many in America are discouraged and despondent …

“Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.”

“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real.”

“They are serious and they are many.”

“They will not be met easily or in a short span of time.”

Again, these are the facts and they are undeniable. 

Promise and the hope born of change  …

“But know this, America they will be met.”

You have elected me and I will assume I have a mandate for change …

“On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.” 

“On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.”

“We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”

This is an American President speaking to his fellow American citizens: “The God-given promise that all Americans are equal, all Americans are free, and all Americans deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”

“In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given.”

Our individual God-given rights are a given: they arise from God and have absolutely nothing to do with government. And it is through a willing amalgamation of our individual strengths that our nation becomes great.

“It must be earned.”

It does not have to be earned, it is our right as individuals who have banded together in self-governance. And while it does not have to be earned, it has to be nurtured. Nurtured by individuals who recognize the natural law and the benefits of free association for mutual assistance.

“Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less.”

“It has not been the path for the faint-hearted for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.”

“Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.”

True! 

Immigration …

“For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.”

“For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.”

“For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.”

“Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life.”

They sacrificed much, and in many cases made the ultimate sacrifice, so all could live in a land where freedom and liberty was the rule rather than the exception. 

“They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.”

I disagree. They saw America, not being bigger than the sum of the individual ambitions, but as the nation that allowed for mutual freedoms, the willing combination of individual achievement for a common good, a structure that could and would defend its individual citizens from a common enemy that would have us as indentured servants to their ideologies.

“This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished.”

Our spirit, knowledge and ingenuity remains strong. But our capacity has been greatly diminished as we have outsourced critical industries and essential materials to foreign countries so that we may enjoy lower taxes and the benefits of cheap labor. If anything, the venality of some, caused in part by overly restrictive government policies, has sold out a portion of our vital national capacity to foreign sovereign nations by outsourcing and allowing the outright purchase of critical industries by those who do not wish us well. What combination of business and political forces allowed the covertly hostile Chinese Army to use a former Navy installation, located next to our most populous city, to ship thousands of uninspected cargo containers throughout our nation?

A slap at the former Administration?

“ But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”

Lofty and necessary goals …

“For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.”

“All this we can do. And all this we will do.”

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans.Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

Yes, these goals should be accomplished and it is not a matter of those who question those who dream big. It is a question of jurisdiction. Many of these goals should be accomplished by private corporations as there is no Constitutional mandate for our federal government to own and operate what has been, in the past, the purview of private industry – possibly acting under local and state regulations.

There is a fundamental misconception about money in Washington. It doesn’t belong to them, it belongs to the individual taxpayers who earned it. Perhaps the recovery funds should be disbursed to the states in proportion to their original contributions. And then, on a state level, grants made to private contractors who will agree to return this money to the people through lower costs and fees. All I know, from past historical reference, is that the federal government is structurally incapable of managing large sums of money without waste, fraud, corruption and malfeasance. Why should we believe that this Administration, mostly comprised of those who served past Administrations, with the task of doing something that they were unable to do previously?

It’s a new game? 

“What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.” 

Perhaps the cynics, myself included, understand all too well that an evil confluence of politics, politicians and their special interest friends have created this crisis and are now attempting to use it to further their own political and personal ends. Who were the people who told us to invest in America, place our money in banks, trust that the regulators would strictly enforce prudent and sound money-handling practices? The cynics, at least in this case, have a right to be skeptical – they were the ones who lost 50% or more of their assets due to the malevolent greed of an elite few, unobserved by their so-called government regulators, some of which also profited mightily from this lack of oversight.

Why should I believe a politician who has risen through his self-serving actions through a corrupt Chicago political machines and finessed his way into the White House? Because he is telegenic and speaks well when using a TelePrompTer? I don’t care if he is white, black, purple or green – I care that he is honest and competent;  not a newbie who will make it up as he goes along or fall prey to malevolent advisors who may have their own agenda and be serving another master. Damn the media for not doing their job in protecting America from those who seem to spend more time calculating political spin than producing solid public policy.

We have trusted billions of dollars to those who confirm the fact that there was no reason behind that particular amount other than it needed to be a “big” number. And regardless of the leadership change at the top, or the new faces in Congress, it is the same old political masters who are pulling the strings.

Wrong question …

“The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.”

The correct question is: does the Constitution of the United States empower the federal government  to provide these services or should their provision be a state function, subject to voter approval?

“Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward.Where the answer is no, programs will end.”

This is no more than feel-good social engineering. Yes it would be nice to create high-paying jobs for everyone, provide them with the best health care and usher them offstage with a cushy retirement package. Truth be told, we only do this  for our politicians and those who are politically well-connected.  One need only look at the job security, salaries and perks of government workers (many represented by public service unions) to see that they are isolated from much of the pain found in the private sector. Enlarging government and raising taxes to accomplish your lofty goals is far less attractive than portrayed by the political spinmeisters. For those who do not recognize what is happening here, it is socialism. Centrally-planned actions to manage the collective. A subversion of individual responsibility in favor of more government entitlements.

And should they return our economy to relative health; I say relative because they will need to deal with the value-robbing inflationary billions pumped into our economy, they will soon need to create another crisis to continue their oppressive political behavior. I predict this might be a global warming, “save the planet” issue.

Accountability …

And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Politicians and their special interest friends have never been fully accountable to the American people. Billions of dollars associated with government projects have disappeared without a trace. And the government, in spite of the fact that we can compute the orbital trajectory to put a man on the moon, cannot develop a trusted accounting system nor can they develop a system which tracks visitors (both inward and outward) to the United States. But of course, we already know the answer: it is not incompetence, it is obfuscation and corruption by design – for the sole purpose of plausible political deniability and to mask the money flowing to those special interests who support today’s politicians.

If President Obama was serious about accountability, let him purchase an off-the-shelf copy of an accounting program and force each and every government agency to use it. No more funny budgeting or allocations to obscure funding accounts. No more funny squirreling of in hidden accounts to be used as a uncontrolled slush fund.

Free market capitalism and regulatory powers …

“Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.”

The sad fact is that the regulators did not enforce the regulations already on the books or succumbed to the assault of loophole bearing lawyers with enough arguments to tie the matter up in court for years. When politicians, many of whom are lawyers, are allowed to use special interests to draft legislation and permit ambiguous wording we can rest assured that the result will be “legalized fraud.” How many citizens know that Congress voted – and President Clinton signed – a bill which exempted those who created toxic securities from state gaming laws? Yes, that’s right! These people knew they were gambling and did not want any state to prosecute them for engaging in a prohibited act.

“The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.”

This is government-forced wealth re-distribution couched in terms of “our common good.” No – it is robbing the hard-working, law-abiding American taxpayer of the fruits of his labor at the point of a gun – and giving it to someone who the politician deems worthy. Socialism!

“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.”

We can thank George Orwell for writing a book in which the government claims “up is down,” “right is left” and evil is good.”

Remember the quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin, “He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither?” Well that is exactly what the Obama Administration is asking. They are asking us to cede a portion of our freedom and liberty for the safety of a governmental entitlement. In the case of so-called “global warming,” giving up the right to use energy as we wish – and conserve for the good of all. To sacrifice our men and women to guard the bridges and infrastructure we are building in Iraq when our own infrastructure is crumbling and is in desperate need of repair or replacement.

Consider for a moment the  war in  Iraq. We opt for ridiculous rules of engagement that place our people at greater risk to protect those who openly support the enemy. Because our politicians lack the strength of character to draw a line in the sand and explain the consequences of stepping over the line. They are reluctant to use appropriate force when necessary. These politicians have gotten more combat soldiers killed than necessary. We know Iran is behind the production and importation of deadly and sophisticated IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) and has nuclear ambitions – so they talk to each other over opulent dinners, convincing themselves that America is more secure when they don’t act aggressively toward our enemies. They are more afraid of the media and foreign leaders than they are of the American public – because they know that Americans, especially today,  do not want to be disturbed from their American Idol television program to face the cold, hard truth that we are ceding our liberty to the enemy in return for a modicum of safety. Knowing that Americans will vote for the telegenic candidate with oratorical skills and a “feel good agenda.” Perhaps America deserves this particular wake up call?

“Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations.

The peril was death by hanging as a traitor. The charter was our Constitution. And it has been protected by the blood of Patriots. So, ask yourself, why are they so hell-bent in moving beyond its wise guidance and trying to nullify those portions which protect man against the tyranny of the government. Yes, folks – the Second Amendment. The very same Second Amendment that Barack Obama and Eric Holder, his nominee for Attorney General, claim applies to the collective and not the individual. Self-defense and the possession of a handgun in New York and Washington will get you a felony conviction and a jail sentence. At the same time those who would rob, maim, rape and kill you walk around armed – for it is only the law abiding citizen who must be disarmed. Nothing mentioned about the criminal, many of whom are poor minorities with their own ideas about wealth re-distribution.

Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.”

Note to Obama: we will never give them up, period! And we lead by example. Our country may have flaws (mostly caused by criminals, politicians and their cohorts), but there is not a greater country on the face of the Earth. We have always led the way – offering protection, with our blood when necessary, to others. There is no lead “once more” – we may be despised by governments and those they educate to hate us – but we are admired by all those who recognize that they are being oppressed. Name one other country where people will risk their life to exit their country to enter America. How many people illegally steal across Saudi Arabia’s borders in search of freedom and opportunity. 

Talking to our enemies, negotiating with evil ...

“Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.”

Our cause is our God-given freedom and the right to self-defense. Our cause is just an unequivocal. As before, our unwillingness to protect ourselves will be our undoing. Showing humility and restraint to those who demand we become subservient to their religion and their nation was the cause of 9/11. Bowing before an ruthless enemy which declares everyone “not of the faith” to be the enemy will present particular challenges to this new President. And for the sake of America and its continued survival, let us hope he is up to the challenge. 

By definition, negotiation involves some form of compromise where the parties are willing to come together, each taking a little bit less of what they want, in order to pursue a mutual benefit. But I ask you, what benefit should be conferred on evil and those who do not wish us well?

“We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort even greater cooperation and understanding between nations.”

We cannot simply request a hostile power cooperate with America or even the world community. Check your history. UN Sanctions against Saddam Hussein; universal condemnation of Iran’s nuclear program. Yada, Yada, Yada.  

Obama’s War: Afghanistan …

“We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan.”

We may withdraw our troops to their bases and limit their activities, but the drain on our finances will continue as we provide limited support to Iraq and make a full-assault on Afghanistan. I am not so sure that Obama won’t simply agree to allow the Taliban back into a coalition government (similar to Iraq) and continue to supply all parties with taxpayer money -- and then call it a victory.

“With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.”

Global warming remains one of the greatest political scams ever perpetrated by the far left environmentalists whose movement has been infiltrated by socialists, communists and anarchists as a method of pursuing the political action agenda while receiving tax-exempt funding as a non-profit. This represents a great threat to our freedom and serves as a vehicle to increase taxes, enlarge government and reduce our liberties –- all to fight an improbable proposition which takes hundreds of years to manifest results.

Talking tough for the right…

“We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”

Our strength is in our diversity …

“For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers.We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.”

Let’s all sing …

“Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah”

“Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah”

“Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah”

“Oh Lord, kum ba yah”

Overcoming centuries of conflict with a smile …

“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

But enough about Saudi Arabia (rimshot). The thought that any American, an infidel by any Muslim’s standards, can change a religion that demands death or subservience to anyone not of the religion is beyond ludicrous, it is downright dangerous. Until the religion is reformed and the church is separated from  dictator states, there will be no meaningful Middle East reform or peace in Obama’s lifetime – let alone in in first or, heaven forbid, second term. To hang your Administration’s collective hat on the hopes that there is something resembling a “moderate” Muslim in Arab or other Muslim countries is to be whistling Dixie while walking past the graveyards of generations of soldiers. Obama will probably appoint low level envoys (with Hillary Clinton’s permission should she be confirmed) to come forth with meaningless meeting protocols and accords which will change nothing.

It is unknown whether or not President Obama will support Israel – especially if they attack Iran. Something I thought might occur prior to Obama’s inauguration, but which has been masterfully delayed by the Hamas fighters working on Iran’s payroll.

Re-distributing the wealth …

We will involuntarily tax the people of the United States to buy the cooperation of world leaders; re-distributing the wealth to those less fortunate who are not citizens of our great nation. Including funds for those who leaders who steal our money, subjugate their people and openly mock us for our naiveté and weakness. 

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.

“And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect.”

Not only shall we capitalize on the hard work of Americans to make your worlds better, but we shall change our mode of living so that the differences between us are diminished – all under the guise of saving the planet from global warming.

“For the world has changed, and we must change with it.” 

Those that do not wish us well seem to have won the war of words, of ideas and ideologies – for President Obama is saying that we must change our lifestyles to match those of others. How very European. How very socialist.

A tribute to the troops who have protected us from the evil that Obama now wants to embrace and reward with both recognition and funding …

“As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment a moment that will define a generation it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

True Americans will realize that our troops are the guardians of OUR liberty, embody a spirit of service to OUR nation and willing to find meaning in something greater than themselves – America and all of its legal citizens.

“For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.”

“It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.”

These are acts of free will, not coerced by any central government or politician. These are helping hands which are freely extended to neighbors and those similarly situated within our great nation. And when we see that we can assist those outside of our own city, state and country, we do so freely and without being compelled to donate our money, time and effort. We help because we are Americans – not because our government takes our tax money and helps those who take our assistance, not with gratitude; but with a sense of entitlement.

Our challenge as Americans …

“Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.”

“What is demanded then is a return to these truths.”

Our challenge, as Americans, is to elect honest politicians who recognize the value and worth of each and every American citizen, who realize that they exist to do our bidding, to act for our benefit and to give up their self-interests in order to serve the American people. It is one thing to speak of values and of worthy ideals – and then to corrupt them for political self-interest. To politicians, all of the words that describe Americans: hard working, honest, courageous, tolerant, curious, loyal and patriotic, should not form the basis for coercing fellow citizens into serving politicians and their political party; and allowing them to drain the fruits of our labors away so that they may retain office by pandering to the special interests with their own agendas. To elect politicians who do not divide us along racial, ethnic, religious or financial lines; but rather unite us as Americans to better ourselves and, by extension, America herself.

New era or old failed ideas?

“What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.”

“This is the price and the promise of citizenship.”

The price of citizenship is to individually strengthen ourselves first, because only the strong can contribute willingly to others and to his country. But we are not, as some may assume, citizens of the world who should have the world’s burdens placed upon our backs to further weaken us, individually and collectively. Again, we must separate our individual charity and that which is forced upon us by politicians operating in their own best interests. Truth be told, the promise of citizenship is to preserve our way of life, to assure that we remain free and prosperous, to leave a lasting legacy to our children … and to voluntarily share our blessings  when we, as individuals, deem it appropriate.

There are actions taken by our politicians which are not authorized under our Constitution. Actions made possible by the tortured twisting of words and interpretations born of whole cloth. We need to return to our Constitutional roots rather than become a manipulated collective.

“This is the source of our confidence the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.”

Our destiny is far from uncertain. It is the manifest enjoyment of our God-given rights with as little intrusion as possible from a government which has wildly grown beyond anything imagined by our forefathers. While our guiding principles have remained constant, it is the politicians who are bending America to the will of those who can afford to manipulate the media, raise large campaign funds and to insure that their membership will vote as they are told.

“This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.”

While we have made great racial strides in electing a bi-racial fellow citizen to office, it should be said, on this solemn occasion, that the man who has been elected, and his political party, has never been afraid to divide Americans by race, ethnicity, religion and class to gain a political advantage. While it is a magnificent achievement for any American to become the President of the United States, it should be noted that his election was more a confluence of events in which a highly polarized nation was voting against a president and his political party than voting for the candidate for office. Aided and abetted by a media who had ceded their journalistic ethics and could no longer tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Also aided an abetted by prodigious fundraising, some of which might have come from foreign sources who saw in this candidate, a kindred spirit and willingness to further drain America’s coffers and weaken her in relationship to other nations.

“So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned.The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

‘Let it be told to the future world that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].’"

Let us not forget that we were fighting for our survival against a foreign oppressor, one that would summarily confiscate the fruits of our labors in the form of taxes. And impose other egregious sanctions on our budding band of liberty-seeking Americans. Those who have gone before us have fought and died to determine our own destiny.

And I find it highly ironic that we are now engaged in a similar fight against those who would confiscate the fruits of our labors in the form of taxes. Maybe indirectly, to support a burgeoning government with ever-growing power – but confiscate the fruits of our labors nevertheless.

We are fighting an internal enemy and we must all realize that we could lose our America, and our freedoms, without ever having fired a shot in self-defense. Our freedoms and the fruits of our labor are slowly disappearing in a morass of laws, rules and regulations designed to exert control over Americans in the guise of keeping us safe and benefiting society. Until one sad day, we will wake up and find that we have committed the egregious and felonious act of living life as we have lived it in the past.

“America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”

Let us hope that newly-elected President Obama realizes that it is our individual strengths which make us strong; and when willingly combined with the strengths of others, makes us invincible as a nation. It would be a sad day for America to see our nation become Europe, an allegedly civilized society that exists for the good of the collective – and those of wealth and power who manage it in their own self interests.

While I hope a President Obama will turn from his previous path and take a step towards the light, I am cognizant of his past political environment and the fellow travelers who have assisted his journey to the White House. But, as an American, I do hope that President Obama has the courage and the wisdom to move beyond politics and the manufactured media image of Abraham Lincoln to achieve the greatness of a Lincoln. While it may be unlikely, one of the greatest things about American and Americans is that it is possible.

Thank you for reading my blog. Be well and be safe.

-- steve

The Quote of the day is actually a few quotes from that great statesman, Winston Churchill, who most definitely knew something of war and statesmanship.

“All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.”

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

“When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.”

Reference Links:

Obama's inaugural address|Washington Times

flag


“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



PROSECUTION OF BUSH ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD?

Should members of Congress be emboldened to attempt the criminal prosecution of members of the Bush Administration regarding actions taken while defending America against her enemies, they would be wise to consider that the American people may also demand the investigation and prosecution of those sitting members of Congress whose family members have engaged in acts which were never disclosed and which may be considered to be prosecutable under the law. In addition to members of Congress who filed “amended” reports of actions which were not only unethical, but may have been criminal.

This is a Pandora's box which, once opened by the politicians, may not be shut in time to prevent both sides from embarrassment and incarceration.

One need only to remember that any public official, be they local, state or federal who takes something of value might be charged with bribery.

According to Fox News …

“Pelosi Open to Prosecution of Bush Administration Officials”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is receptive to the idea of prosecuting some Bush administration officials, while letting others who are accused of misdeeds leave office without prosecution, she told Chris Wallace in an interview on ‘FOX News Sunday.’"

" ‘I think you look at each item and see what is a violation of the law and do we even have a right to ignore it,’ the California Democrat said. ‘And other things that are maybe time that is spent better looking to the future rather than to the past.’"

“Rep. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced Friday he wants to set up a commission to look into whether the Bush administration broke the law by taking the nation to war against Iraq and instituting aggressive anti-terror initiatives. The Michigan Democrat called for an ‘independent criminal probe into whether any laws were broken in connection with these activities.’"

If Conyers had half a brain … he would realize that a replay of the news sources of the time could produce members of both sides of the aisle, as well as the foreign heads of state, parroting the same message about Saddam Hussein and Iraq. Case closed.

If Obama should attempt to re-politicalize the Department of Justice and other agencies, this could result in yet further criminal prosecutions brought against those who inappropriately applied political standards to the people’s business. 

Obama would be wise to step lightly …

President-elect Barack Obama has not closed off the possibility of prosecutions, but hinted he does not favor them.”

Considering the President-elect’s past environment and associations, I would think that he would be sensitive to any prosecutions based on favoritism and special privilege.

" ‘I don't believe that anybody is above the law,’ he told ABC News a week ago. ‘On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.’"

“Pelosi, during the interview in her ceremonial office, said there is merit in both arguments.”

"I don't think that Mr. Obama and Mr. Conyers are that far apart," she said. ‘There are different subjects and you treat them differently.’"

“She hinted that the law might compel Democrats to press forth on some prosecutions, even if they are politically unpopular, adding: ‘That's not up to us to say that doesn't matter anymore.’"

Hint to Madam Chairperson Pelosi …

Again, it might compel some Republicans to level corruption and other criminal charges on those Members of Congress and their families who received “special” assistance” in profiting from the war on Iraq. What about the House member who was found with $90,000 in his freezer? Or what about an investigation of Senator Christopher Dodd, the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, who allegedly received a mortgage loan at preferred rates from Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide Financial? Pelosi and others should know full well that corruption is bi-partisan and that misuse of federal agencies in the post-Nixon, post-Clinton, post Bush era is becoming increasingly problematical to the American public.

Unbridled hypocrisy …

" ‘We cannot let the politicizing of, for example, the Justice Department to go un-reviewed,’ she added. ‘I want to see the truth come forth.’"

Considering Bill Clinton, Janet Reno and matters like the Henry Cisneros Affair (See the Barrett Report), one can hardly believe that one can prosecute those who might have politicized the Justice Department without a review of the previous Clinton Administration; many members of which will be assuming high office.

“The Barrett Report is a 400 page report created by special prosecutor David Barrett. Initially tasked with investigating allegations of lying to the FBI against Henry Cisneros, Secretary of the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development under U.S. President Bill Clinton, the investigation eventually delved into allegations that President Clinton had used the U.S. Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service as political tools against American citizens.”

What can YOU do?

Personally, I believe it is all just another attempt of one political party to demonize the other. Truth be known, both parties are replete with dirty politicians who have enough skeletons to fill Arlington Cemetery to overflowing. Therefore, these pronouncements and idle threats should be considered to be somewhat playing to the base.

We need to become aware of the inherent corruption in the campaign funding process and the influence of lawyer/lobbyists and other special interests in regard to existing and pending legislation.

As always, take care of yourself first. Be well and be safe.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: “If you want to be miserable, think about yourself, about what you want, what you like, what respect people ought to pay you and what people think of you.”    -- Charles Kingsley

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

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

Reference Links:

Pelosi Open to Prosecution of Bush Administration Officials | Political News - FOXNews.com


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

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

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

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

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

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

“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 new gay face of the democratic party?

The democratic party, being somewhat devoid of core principles and fixated on the moral equivalence between good and evil, has cobbled together a coalition of society’s fringe elements in order to achieve political power. Made possible because of the failure of the Republican party to stay faithful to its conservative roots – and the number of Republican politicians who have been outed as “hypocrites” for promoting honesty and family values; and then doing something quite different.

Gays seeking disproportionate power …

There is no doubt that gay activists are trying to wield a disproportionate amount of power in the democratic party to push their agenda.

First, to make gays (GLBTs) a protected class which offers them a platform where they can seemingly use the power of the state to challenge even the smallest of legitimate claims in daily life, especially in the workplace. One can not help wonder if “gay” will be the new “black” when it comes to hiring, firing and discipline? With people walking on eggshells to avoid even giving the appearance of impropriety.

Second, and even of more concern, is the revocation of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military.

While we have no doubt that there are capable, honorable gays serving in today’s military, freely opening the door may introduce major problems that could consequently weaken the military. Problems involving a problematical reduction in experienced soldiers as older veterans fail to re-enlist. Problems with unit integrity. Problems with facilities and the need to recognize “special” requirements. Problems with medical treatment on the battlefield where HIV-positive soldiers might be encountered. And, of course, an erosion in military command and control based on cronyism and special interests. An erosion of the professionalism of our volunteer forces.

But then again, there is talk among democrats in reviving the draft – to make things fair! (Excepting of course, those who are rich, privileged or politically connected.)

How likely is one to see this agenda being promoted?

“Don't Ask, Don't Tell”

“Responding to average-people questions at Change.org, Robert Gibbs affirms Obama's determination to end the current policy governing gays in the military. ("Yes," he replies, when asked if Obama will overturn the ‘don't ask, don't tell’ system fashioned on the fly in Bill Clinton's first months.)”

“The question is when, exactly, Obama will be willing to wade into this thicket. Thus far the reporting on that front has been conflicting, but it seems like the memory of Clinton's agonizing 1993 experience, which spoiled his electoral honeymoon, has him holding off on the specifics for the time being.” <Source>

Consider H.R. 1246, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (MREA),  championed by California Representative Ellen Tauscher which seems to have little or nothing to do with military readiness and everything to do with “gays.”

“To amend title 10, United States Code, to enhance the readiness of the Armed Forces by replacing the current policy concerning homosexuality in the Armed Forces, referred to as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", with a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.” <Source>

Once again the democrats fall back on sentence parsing and Orwellian naming conventions.

Like their attempts to re-define the word marriage and to press the attack in the courts when a majority of legal citizens have voted to retain the traditional “one man, one woman” definition that promotes family unity and serves society well.

This is the party which says little or nothing about the tremendous societal disruption and burden placed on society by single-parent families as a result of glorifying non-traditional marriage and living arrangements.

Plan of attack …

Of course, considering the democrat’s  anti-Iraq stance and the number of anti-war and peace activists present in the democrat party, one must rightfully consider that this is just another avenue to weaken our military and promote the public policies of those who do not wish us well.

ODE TO THE FUTURE?

A reminder that Hollywood, San Francisco and New York are an atypical representative of our middle-America core values.

Watch Boy George sing “Yes We Can” tribute to Barack Obama …

The new face of the democratic party? 

Capture1-16-2009-12.25.25 PM Capture1-16-2009-12.25.44 PM
'Drug-crazed idiot' Boy George jailed for 15 months for chaining male escort to wall and beating him. <Source>

What can YOU do?

Tell your elected officials that pandering to any special interest should not be tolerated and those candidates and officials that engage in creating inappropriate legislation which weakens the United States military, economy and cultural norms will be sanctioned at the ballot box.

Regardless of their proclamation of an electoral “mandate,” almost half of the United State were willing to vote for a rather lame Republican candidate to preserve our traditional values. 

We are at a point of “weakness” and the tipping point for rational behavior in the United States Congress has been reached. Sudden moves to reform the system should be carefully scrutinized and then monitored lest unintended consequences have an adverse effect on our nation.

As for marriage, retain the traditional definition and make civil unions which convey equal rights and privileges the law of the land. As for gays in the military, do what is best for the military and unit cohesiveness. As for the draft, nobody has proved that the volunteer model has failed – and those in the National Guard were forewarned about the possibility of combat assignments.

There is much we can and should change: starting with our corrupt, inept and grossly incompetent politicians.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: “One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.” -- Sir Winston Churchill

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

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

Reference Links:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Clinton's Attorney General, Janet Reno, and Bush's AG, Alberto Gonzales, were BAD; but Obama's Eric Holder may be worse!

What happens when the people of the United States have little or no faith in the competency and independence of the nation’s top law enforcement officer, the Attorney General of the United States. 

Clinton had Janet Reno …

In the case of Bill Clinton’s Attorney General, Janet Reno, we say a politicalized Justice Department which was run mostly from the White House. Political considerations trumped both fairness and justice. Although the democrats promised the most ethical Administration in the history of the United States, it appears in retrospect to be among the most self-serving and corrupt – and that’s not even considering President Clinton’s outrageous behavior in the Oval Office.

“In March 1995, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno secured the appointment of an Independent Counsel, David Barrett to investigate allegations that Cisneros had lied to FBI investigators during background checks prior to being named Secretary of HUD. He had been asked about payments that he had made to former mistress Linda Medlar, also known as Linda Jones. The affair had been 'public knowledge' for a number of years - during the 1992 presidential campaign, George H. W. Bush's Treasurer Catalina Vasquez Villalpando (R) publicly referred to Cisneros and candidate Clinton as "two skirt-chasers." Cisneros lied about the amount of money he had paid to Medlar. The investigation continued for three and a half years.”

“In December, 1997, Cisneros was indicted on 18 counts of conspiracy, giving false statements and obstruction of Justice. Medlar used some of the Cisneros hush money to purchase a house and entered into a bank fraud scheme with her sister and brother-in-law to conceal the source of the money. In January, 1998, Medlar pleaded guilty to 28 charges of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and obstruction of justice.”

“In September, 1999, Cisneros negotiated a plea agreement, under which he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of lying to the FBI, and was fined $10,000. He did not receive jail-time or probation. He was pardoned by President Bill Clinton in January 2001.”

It was stated by Independent Counsel Barrett that the Clinton’s succeeded in one of the most successful cover-ups in history and that had he been allowed to continue with his inquiry he would have been able to prove the allegations that federal agencies were approached by the White House to aid the cover-up of Cisneros' activities. As a side note, Henry Cisneros went forward to serve on the Board of Countrywide Financial Corporation.

Bush had Alberto Gonzales …

In the case of George Bush, we have Bush crony Alberto Gonzales who not only further politicized the Department of Justice, but introduced an element of gross incompetency and overall stupidity. The botched prosecution of Scooter Libby for a non-crime, the dismissal of U.S. Attorneys, and various human rights issued marked the tenure of the hyper-political Gonzales who was finally forced to resign the office.

And now Obama wants to give us Eric Holder …

In my opinion, Holder has three major flaws:

One, he does not understand the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution which implicitly guarantees an individual’s right to self-defense as well as the right to keep and bear arms. Holder has done much to prevail upon the Supreme Court to rule that the Second Amendment is a “collective” right and not an “individual” right. The court did rule that the matter was an individual right and that the good, law-abiding citizens of Washington D.C. did have the right to keep weapons in their homes for the purposes of self-protection as per the Second Amendment.

Two, he appears to be complicit in arranging inappropriate pardons for political purposes. Two of the more egregious which were the pardoning of known terrorists and the pardoning of Marc Rich and his partner Pincus Green who not only traded oil with Iran while they were holding American hostages, but also evaded millions of dollars in taxes. Both pardons involved special influence, alleged payments to various parties and the circumventing of the professional staff of the Department of Justice.

And three, I am not sure that Eric Holder will be a bulwark against terrorism. Supporting the far left liberal position that terrorists should not be tried in a military tribunal as enemy combatants, but should receive justice in a federal court under the same Constitutional standards as those provided to citizens of the United States.

This marks Eric Holder as a man who cannot be trusted with high office and someone who is ideologically blind to the sanctity of the United States Constitution. I question both his judgment and his ability to be a fair and impartial Attorney General.

According to the Washington Post, I am not alone in my opinion and criticism of Eric Holder …

“Obama's Attorney General Pick Faces Growing Criticism”

“Eric H. Holder Jr. is facing increasing resistance to his bid to become the next attorney general, emerging from President-elect Barack Obama's Cabinet nominees as the prime target of Senate Republicans, both because of troubling episodes during his service in the Clinton administration and because of the sensitivity of the post overseeing the Justice Department.”

Comparison to hyper-partisan Alberto Gonzales …

[Republican Senator Arlen] “Specter previewed the main line of attack in a floor speech this week, asserting that, in Holder's years as President Bill Clinton's deputy attorney general, he at times ‘appeared to be serving the interest of his superiors’ rather than heeding recommendations from career Justice Department lawyers.”

“The argument echoed criticism that former attorney general Alberto R. Gonzales, who resigned in 2007, had acted to please his friend President Bush rather than to uphold the principles of justice.”

Blagojevich connection?

“In a pointed effort to scrub Holder's past, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa) and two other leading GOP Judiciary Committee members submitted a public records request this week to Illinois officials, seeking information on a thwarted $300,000 legal services contract that Holder won from now-disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D).

“The [nominee’s] questionnaire emerged as an issue after the Chicago Sun-Times asked why Holder did not include the contract with Blagojevich's office. The 2004 deal called for Holder and his law firm, working at a reduced rate, to investigate the award of a gambling casino in Rosemont, Ill. No irregularities have been alleged about the arrangement.”

“Prosecutors have accused Blagojevich of engaging in pay-to-play schemes in which state jobs and contracts were auctioned off for the governor's personal gain.”

Second Amendment issues …

“Senate researchers also are probing Holder's record on gun control -- an issue that could bring strong opposition from gun rights groups, many Republicans and some conservative Democrats.”

“Last year, Holder and other former Justice Department officials from Democratic administrations filed a friend of the court brief in a landmark D.C. gun ownership case, arguing that the Second Amendment gives citizens a ‘collective right’ to bear arms rather than individual ownership rights. The Supreme Court last year ruled in the case, in favor of individual rights.”

Holder's views are relevant because the court's ruling probably will lead to challenges of other gun control laws in which the Justice Department will have an interest.”

National security issues …

“Republicans may try to point out inconsistencies in Holder's approach to national security. In the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, he gave interviews in which he appeared to leave room for extended detention of terrorism suspects without charging them with crimes.”

But in recent years, Holder has been more critical of Bush administration policies on detention and interrogation, saying the government's tactics have harmed international relations and violated civil liberties.”

His views on international relations are irrelevant as he is charged with supporting and defending the United States Constitution from its enemies, both foreign and domestic. Whether we are liked or disliked in a world filled with envious and/or hostile nations pursuing their own self-interested agenda should have absolutely no bearing on the cases he handles as a member of the Department of Justice.

Leniency for proven terrorists; or was Holder doing a political favor for a candidate who needed votes?

“Senate staff members said the hearings could include potentially hostile witnesses, including victims of bombings carried out by the FALN, a Puerto Rican nationalist group. Members of the group won clemency in 1999 while Holder held a top Justice Department post overseeing the pardon process under Clinton.”

Even the Senate, including the democrats, were outraged …

“The Senate passed a bipartisan resolution that year saying Clinton should not have granted clemency, which prosecutors and the FBI opposed. This week, two former Justice Department pardon lawyers told the Los Angeles Times that Holder had pressed them to change their recommendations and support the clemency bid, even after one of them says he warned Holder and his top aide that the move would backfire politically.”

Mea Culpa: after the fact apology …

“Holder has previously apologized for not paying sufficient attention to a request to pardon fugitive financier Marc Rich in early 2001, and for telling White House officials that he was ‘neutral leaning toward favorable’ on the idea. The last-minute presidential pardon touched off investigations by federal prosecutors in New York and congressional inquiries into contacts between Holder and Jack Quinn, a Clinton White House lawyer working for Rich. Bipartisan committee reports later described the incident as ‘bad judgment’ by Holder.”

Obama’s task …

Obama’s major task is restoring the people’s confidence in the government and, in particular, the Department of Justice and other high-profile agencies. This is a matter which cannot be taken lightly – especially when one considers the cesspool of corruption in which Obama functioned and the number of dubious characters in this past associations.

A current example of why the integrity of the Attorney General is important …

From the Washington Post …

“Reagan-era White House budget chief David A. Stockman told everybody who would listen that he was innocent of fraud charges after he was indicted in New York nearly two years ago.”

“Yesterday, after a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign, the boy wonder of 1980s Washington convinced the only audience that mattered: prosecutors and a federal judge, who disposed of the criminal case against him with the stroke of a pen.”

“In a move that longtime securities lawyers called next to unprecedented, the acting U.S. attorney concluded that prosecuting Stockman and three other men who worked under him at the defunct Michigan auto parts maker Collins & Aikman ‘would not be in the interests of justice.’"

Veterans of the federal courthouse in Manhattan could not remember another case against such a high-profile defendant that fell by the wayside. The closest that New York lawyers could come was the dropped prosecution of Richard Wigton, who was hauled out of his Wall Street office in handcuffs by then U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani in 1987.”

I have absolutely no idea whether Stockman is guilty or the pro or con merits of the case which faces him and the others involved. What I can tell from the article is that a former top-level Republican appointee received, what some are calling, unusual treatment by the Department of Justice. 

This is exactly why we need a man of integrity on the side of the people of the United States rather than a hyper-partisan doing the political bidding of the White House when it comes to their special interest friends. Especially in a time when a number of high-profile, politically-connected financiers may be facing action for defrauding the investing public.

As one who has lost a substantial portion of the value in his retirement fund, I can assure you that I do not care if they were Republican crooks or democrat crooks – I want them prosecuted in a fair and impartial way. Considering the political contributions of those who are now facing inquiry, I do not want to hear that they used their money to purchase a favorable government outcome – even if they offer to re-build the Taj Mahal as the new Obama Presidential Library.

What can YOU do?

Call your Senator and urge a “no vote” on the confirmation of Eric Holder for the position of United States Attorney General. Explain that this position should be given to a person with a proven judicial track records, untainted by politics or the appearance of past impropriety.

Engage in the political debate. It’s your country too – and from all appearances, it is being sold piece-by-piece by the politicians and their special interests to the highest bidder. Your birthrights are being severely eroded and your Constitutional rights are being extended to those illegal aliens and others who not only do not respect our Constitution, our laws and our customs – but do not wish us well as the pursue their own agenda.

Stand up and be counted. Patriotism is not an empty label that someone applies to your lapel at a political rally – it is an every hour of every day support of our Constitution, our Country and our Troops and others who make this country great.

-- steve


Quote of the Day: “A thing is not necessarily false because badly uttered, nor true because spoken magnificently. -- with apologies to Saint Augustine

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

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

Reference Links:

Obama Attorney General Pick Eric Holder Facing Increasing Criticism|Washington Post

Federal Charges Dropped Against Stockman|Washington Post


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

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

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

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

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

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

“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



Karl Rove on Mortgage Matters: telling only part of the story ...

While Karl Rove is a pretty bright guy, politically savvy and a great political analyst, his recent comments in defense of President Bush are somewhat weak. Or at least proportionally inconsistent with the facts.

Writing in the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, Rove claims that … 

“President Bush Tried to Rein In Fan and Fred: Democrats and the media have the housing story wrong.”

“Mythmaking is in full swing as the Bush administration prepares to leave town. Among the more prominent is the assertion that the housing meltdown resulted from unbridled capitalism under a president opposed to all regulation.”

Market forces …

President Bush’s complicity in the housing meltdown pales in comparison to the natural consequences of the downturn in real estate values as the speculative housing bubble burst and overleveraged speculators lead the downward spiral of housing prices. It is a fact that President George Bush had little or nothing to do with outrageous valuations of “ $50,000 crapbox” properties which were now commanding prices of $400,000.

His culpability also pales in comparison to the egregious actions of the Wall Street Wizards which, once again, allowed illiquid and ill-understood derivatives to drive a frenzy of commission sales with little or no opposition to regulatory agencies which may have been precluded from seeing the “larger risk picture” due to inappropriate, but legal, accounting rules which  allowed much of the growing risk and contingent losses to be masked in “off balance sheet accounts.”

If President Bush were to be guilty of anything, it would probably be the charge of cronyism and the appointment of people who were clearly not up to the leadership tasks required of their respective agencies.

People like now-Senator Mel Martinez at HUD who attempted to create mortgage reform in a blackout zone of secrecy with even Congress wondering what the final RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) would look like. An egregious action which brought forth over 40,000 comment letters and side-tracked the effort at “predatory lending” reform. Next up at HUD was Alphonso Jackson who attempted to carry on RESPA reform, but was side-tracked by several investigations into his allegedly hyper-partisan handling of contracts, work assignments and other issues based on political considerations. Jackson, with his wall-mounted photo gallery of his portraits prominently placed, was followed by Steve Preston who finally released a working final rule; some of whose provisions are being hotly debated in the industry as we speak. Preston, compared with his predecessors, appears to be a competent administrator and the clean-up man chosen to allow soon-to-be ex-President Bush to claim some regulatory victory on the housing front.

Another appointment that comes to mind is Alberto Gonzales at the Department of Justice who might have been so preoccupied with political matters than he failed to prosecute those who were wreaking havoc on our mortgage marketplace; such as those who were allegedly manipulating the books of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for personal gain – and who were engaging in outlandish lobbying activities. Not to mention those financial institutions on Wall Street who were engaged in paper scams.

Of course, no recitation of dud appointments would be complete without the mention of Securities and Exchange Commission’s Christopher Cox, who for reasons that I am sure are yet to be examined, failed to notice or regulate the growing systemic risk that was being hidden in “off balance sheet” accounts and therefore was inadequately disclosed to the public, investors, counterparties and the regulators.

The SODDI defense  …

“Like most myths, this is entertaining but fictional. In reality, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were among the principal culprits of the housing crisis, and Mr. Bush wanted to rein them in before things got out of hand.”

In criminal law, the SODDI defense (Some Other Dude Did It) can be heard echoing in courtrooms. In the present instance, the charges that the democrats and their overt and covert protection of the GSEs (Government Sponsored Enterprises) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac played a major role in the current mortgage meltdown, are somewhat overstated. 

There is no doubt that the actions of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were conditioned primarily on their desire to maintain or gain market-share in a market becoming  increasingly dominated by private origination and securitization efforts such as those by Countrywide and Merrill Lynch.

In the case of the GSEs, the systemic risk was a result of the extreme leverage allowed by the regulators and was well known by all. Truth-be-told, all banks exhibit an extreme amount of leverage as they can hardly redeem all of their short-term deposits  when the capital is unavailable in long term loans.

Why the regulators and the Department of Justice did not take stronger action against the GSE's executives for allegedly managing earnings to earn tens of millions of dollars in bonuses while concealing material facts from Wall Street is unknown.

Clearly, in my opinion, 80% of the blame for the mortgage meltdown lies with the Wall Street Wizards and the inappropriate use of derivatives and the hedging schemes which convinced complicit “pay-for-play” ratings agencies to provide "investment grade" ratings to impaired and illiquid securities; based on a data model which did not account for the modified lending standards prevalent under a "risk deferral" model.

However, the real culprit behind the debacle is the extraordinary amount of leverage used by financial institutions to "juice" their yields and the fact that FASB accounting rules allowed them to hide the growing risk (and losses) "off balance sheet" in Enron-type "special purpose vehicles." There is enough blame to go around -- and George Bush and his politics are the very least of those culpable for this current disaster.

A disaster, I might add, which has been exploited by the unregulated hedge funds which put further downward pressure on financial institutions and which are now scooping up assets at pennies on the dollar -- with the apparent instigation of government agencies such as the FDIC.

“Rather than a failure of capitalism, the housing meltdown shows what's likely to happen when government grants special privileges to favored private entities that facilitate bad actors and lousy practices.”

Here I think Karl is not stating the case as well as he could or should. It is not so much the government granting special privileges to favored entities, be they hybrid quasi-governmental institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which have an inherent conflict of interest: promoting government policy and trying to serve the interests of their private investors, or any other company.

It is the government engaging in social engineering to bring about a politically desired and expedient result that has no constitutional basis for government intervention. There is no place in the Constitution of the United States that mandates that the federal government involve itself in the housing matters of private citizens. In essence, to allow the modification of sound lending practices to include those who could not ordinarily qualify for a loan under prudent underwriting standards. To allow government agencies to prosecute those who refused or were reluctant to lend in depressed areas, often to people who could not afford traditional loans or who were charged higher rates for a measurably higher risk of default. And to take such actions as to encourage companies to purchase these “impaired” loans to prevent “regulatory action.”

“Fannie and Freddie are ‘government-sponsored enterprises’ (GSEs), chartered by Congress. As such, they had an implicit promise of taxpayer backing and could borrow money at rates well below competitors.

It is a problem when government interferes in any private business, but it is especially egregious when the government creates and implicitly controls a quasi-public entity.

Fannie Mae was created by the democrats to move the growing housing debt off the federal books so as to disguise the mounting federal debt. Freddie Mac was created later, ostensibly to provide competition to the burgeoning Fannie Mae. These institutions were mostly controlled by democrats and, in some cases, served as a “piggy bank” to assist democrats in their quest to attain or maintain political office. Using their foundations and a system of “reverse earmarks,” Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac could assist a politician by allocating more funding to housing projects in the affected district thus increasing the prestige and power of the politician championing the project.

Much of this activity pre-dated the Bush Administration and, in spite of the efforts of the President and others, continues to this present day. These organizations continue to be protected by high-ranking members of Congress and remain mostly immune to Presidential powers.

Rove leaves the argument wanting …

“ Because of this, the Bush administration warned in the budget it issued in April 2001 that Fannie and Freddie were too large and overleveraged. Their failure ‘could cause strong repercussions in financial markets, affecting federally insured entities and economic activity’ well beyond housing.”

“Mr. Bush wanted to limit systemic risk by raising the GSEs' capital requirements, compelling preapproval of new activities, and limiting the size of their portfolios. Why should government regulate banks, credit unions and savings and loans, but not GSEs? Mr. Bush wanted the GSEs to be treated just like their private-sector competitors.”

Yes, it is widely acknowledged that the GSEs posed a great systemic risk. But risk of what? If the GSEs collapsed they merely made the implicit guarantee of federal funding support explicit. Nothing much would affect our economy other than the public relations fallout from additional monies being used to shore up their day-to-day operations.

“But the GSEs fought back. They didn't want to see the Bush reforms enacted, because that would level the playing field for their competitors. Congress finally did pass the Bush reforms, but in 2008, after Fannie and Freddie collapsed.”

This I regard as a red herring; simply because the magnitude of the private sector problem, with its reliance on inappropriate hedging, was a far greater risk to the system than were the GSEs.

“The largely unreported story is that to fend off regulation, the GSEs engaged in a lobbying frenzy. They hired high-profile Democrats and Republicans and spent $170 million on lobbying over the past decade. They also constructed an elaborate network of state and local lobbyists to pressure members of Congress.”

While it is true that the mainstream media did not concentrate on the often inappropriate lobbying efforts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, they also failed to mention that House Financial Chairman Barney Frank’s gay lover was a Fannie Mae executive allegedly charged with increasing Fannie Mae’s affordable housing business and staving off expansion challenges to its charter, purchasing power limits and reform attempts.

Again, this is a red herring. One need only look at the leverage ratios of financial institutions which insured that the institution’s equity would be wiped out in a market downturn of almost inconsequential three to five percent. Or the use of insurance-like credit default swaps which were not actuarially sound and were issued by corporations whose balance sheets could not possibly handle the appropriate  contingent liabilities – that is if they were reported correctly and/or not kept in offshore or “off balance sheet accounts.” To put this matter into financial perspective, the contingent liabilities of the GSEs were said to be about $5 trillion – whereas the contingent liabilities of these credit default swaps was said to be an estimated to be between $43 trillion and $57 trillion – “more than half the size of the entire asset base of the global banking system” according to Bill Gross, the widely-respected investment guru at PIMCO. And as measured against the total issuance of an estimated $500 trillion in total derivatives.

By any measure, the use of inappropriate leverage and the contingent liabilities associated with derivatives and credit default swaps makes President Bush’s involvement in the current economic crisis a non-issue: good for talking points, but far from the reality of the situation. But then again, that is what Rove is attempting to demonstrate. 

So what did cause the systemic failure …

For the most part, the catastrophe was caused by the Wizards of Wall Street and their ill-understood and illiquid derivative operation and the greed that allowed bonuses in the range of tens- or hundreds of millions of dollars to be earned with no more effort than selling dodgy securities to those who believe that everybody, especially the ratings agencies, had all of the significant risks hedged; leaving only the profitable upside.

Also, in part, it was the regulatory agencies who couldn’t or wouldn’t take prompt and appropriate action against those who were creating and marking toxic derivatives. Or prosecute those who were engaging in predatory lending activities which were not only detrimental to the borrower, but extremely toxic to the overall mortgage system.

But few had forecast a significant downturn in the housing markets when the speculative bubble burst and those who were manipulating the mortgage system by continually re-financing troubled borrowers into higher and higher loans would be caught short when the property appraisals would not support increasing loan amounts without resorting to fraudulent over-value appraisals.

Assigning blame to President Bush …

If George Bush is to be blamed for anything, let it simply be based on the Navy’s “chain of responsibility” model. It happened on his watch – so he assumes the responsibility. No more, no less.

As a footnote, we should all thank the President for keeping us relatively safe from domestic attack and for attempting to always do the right thing. If one wants to fault the President of something, let it be his lack of communication with the American people and his refusal to engage the democrats on their failed and failing policies.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: “While it is natural to assign blame, the real shame is in not profiting from the situation.” -- steve

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

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

Reference Links:

Karl Rove: President Bush Tried to Rein In Fan and Fred - WSJ.com


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

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

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

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

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

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

“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



Before the debates: at this point in time...

As we enter the final campaign stretch and before we view the debates, here are my feelings toward the candidates. Remember, I am a self-described conservative Republican who may have some liberal leanings (according to my best friend, Al).

So here is how I believe the candidate's currently stack up:

HOW I SEE BARACK OBAMA ...

  • A charter member of the "Angry Black Man" club along with Reverend Wright, Louis Farrakhan and Spike Lee.
  • A prolonged exposure to ""Black  Liberation Theology" which promotes a far-left Marxist agenda.
  • An inexperienced legislator who is still feeling out his foreign policy positions.
  • A legislator committed to increasing tax revenues to fund a variety of social programs that have failed in the past.
  • A reliance on democrat advisors who were part of the failed Clinton Administration and who have proven to be mostly inept or corrupt.
  • Beholden to unions.
  • Does not support the war or our soldiers.
  • Plays the race card and seems to view everything through a racial prism.
  • An elitist who is not what he appears to be.
  • Spouse: Bitter, angry and an unknown quantity.

HOW I SEE JOE BIDEN...

I cannot believe that Barack Obama selected an old democrat party hack for a running mate. In spite of his familiarity with the ins-and-outs of Congress and he foreign affairs knowledge, I think Hillary Clinton would have been a stronger choice. Not selecting her as his running mate proved,  for one and all, that Obama was not strong enough to control the Clintons and to use their talents to his advantage. Which speaks poorly of his leadership and executive abilities. Each and every time Biden opens his mouth, one wonders what he might say. He is a loose cannon past his prime. A perpetual, Teddy Kennedy-style democrat who is out of touch and out of place in this campaign.

HOW I SEE JOHN McCAIN ...

  • A hesitant and unpolished public speaker (but overcomes it with sincerity and conviction)
  • Too concilliatory towards democrats to fight harder against their socialist tendencies
  • A non-traditional Republican who has successfully collaborated with democrat politicians which ended with ineffective campaign finance legislation (McCain-Feingold) and the rise of George Soros-style far left 527 organizations.
  • A non-traditional Republican who has unsuccessfully collaborated with democrat politicians which ended with an unworkable immigration system which appeared to compromise United States sovereignty (McCain-Kennedy) which inspired a citizen uprising against the egregious legislation.
  • A non-traditional Republican who ignores existing science and buys into the political fraud that is global warming warming seems to support bi-partisan global warming legislation  (Warner-Lieberman).
  • The possibility of diluting the Republican party further by nominating or appointing democrats to key Administrative positions.
  • Supports the war and, especially, our soldiers.
  • A reliance on unknown advisors.
  • Does not play the race or sex card.
  • Spouse: rich, aloof and an unknown quantity.

HOW I SEE SARAH PALIN ....

As a person, Sarah Palin represents a breath of fresh air in the land of  winks, nods, pre-arrangements and Washingtonian understandings. I do not agree with all her views, as reported by the media, and especially on creationism and abortion. While I believe in a higher power, I do not discount the role of evolutionary development and I certainly believe in abortion when it comes to rape, incest and medical necessity. If that makes me less than a conservative, so be it. I am sure that Sarah Palin's viewpoints were probably filtered through a biased press with a preconceived notion about so-called evangelicals. However, I am extremely pleased that Palin is on the McCain ticket and believe that it provides the team with the requiste youth, vigor and a younger viewpoint. Not that McCain is not vigorous or has strong opinions.

HOW I SEE BOB BARR...

In spite of his apparent sincerity, I am considering the fact that he might be an opportunist seeking a powerful position in the McCain Administration as a reward for abandoning his run and siphoning off votes. Cynical? You bet -- but when all is said and done, he is a pragmatic polititian.

HOW I SEE RON PAUL ...

In spite of the main stream media, Paul seems to be unofficially still in the running. However, I view him as a candidate in the  Ross Perot mold. Intelligent with no chance of winning.

HOW I SEE RALPH NADER ...

A trial lawyer who appears to be something is is not. An almost iconic image seeking to influence the race and re-prove his relevance.

Summary:

Barack Obama -- my fear that he is a closet racist with anti-American sentiment. Any person who would allow a Che Guevarra banner to adorn his campaign office is not my kind of  politician. I believe he is an opportunistic, Chicago-style politician. Or even worse, a wishy-washy politician susceptible to the influence of his wife and advisors. I measured him against my favorite choice for President, Colin Powell, and found him wanting. (I am keeping my Colin Powell for President buttons) I just don't trust Obama or the democrat party.

John McCain -- I do not trust John McCain to pursue a conservative Republican agenda. However, since I believe that McCain is the best defender of the American way of life, he is my current frontrunner. With the addition of Sarah Palin to the team, my belief in the McCain Presidency has found a measure of newfound hope.

What can YOU do?

This may be one of the most important elections in our nation's history. Research the candidates. Check their associations with both advisors and supporters.

Ignore race. Ignore sex. Ignore age. Ask three major questions: one, can this person defend America against all enemies, both foreign and domestic;  two, does this candidate look like they can deal with our domestic economic malaise; and three, can this person dial-back the hyper-partisan Agencies to return them to a normalcy which pursues the people's business rather than the party's business.

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

Comments pointing out my ignorance, bigotry and lack of good judgement are always welcome. Just remember to make some point.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: "For Sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds; Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds."  --William Shakespeare

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

Capture5-21-2008-10.32.59 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



Just because a liberal crowd collectively kissed a toad -- doesn't make him a prince!

hollywood

Obama’s Backdrop: Hollywood Smoke & Mirrors

Beyond Presidential – ROYAL?

Subtract the money raised from democrats and the special interests who want to first, regain power and second, resume looting the public treasury for social programs while currying favor with an Administration which is likely to produce little or nothing in terms of public benefits – except making select people rich and buying future voter support. Subtract all of the packaging, presentation and promotion that access to big money brings and ask yourself what is left?

Could the answer be a group of far-left socialists who want to further cripple the military and economy of the United States?

Could the answer be a group of racists who now believe it is their turn of turn the screws of power and grab the goody bag?

Could the answer be a group of illegal aliens and their foreign masters who are intent on becoming citizens so that they can legally vote existing citizens out of power and assume the reigns of leadership?

Could the answer be a group of unions who want to make union membership automatic and mandatory, with large sums of money flowing to the influence brokers like Biden’s brother and son who may earn outrageous sums of money for simply directing certain public employee union’s pension funds into their affiliated hedge funds?

Could the answer be a group of special interests such as the trial lawyers who want to continue with restrictive legislation that makes every deep-pockets corporation guilty of something that can yield large class action settlements which benefit the lawyers more than the aggrieved members of the lawsuit?  Lawyers who want to make the law so complex that each and every transaction will require a legal representative to insure – not that you will not be screwed – but that you will not be inordinately screwed?

Could the answer be a group of people who want to disarm America and nullify our Second Amendment rights – because they fear not only a potential uprising against egregious political actions, but want to make every citizen dependent on the government for their security and safety? Just ask yourself: if paramedics cannot be everywhere they are needed, what is the chance that law enforcement can protect you when necessary? These are the people who also want to rehabilitate criminals instead of incarceration. What part of irrational and crazy do they not understand? Sociopathic people or those who are certifiably insane will not obey the laws, rules and regulations of society any more than criminals will not give up their weapons when the government tries to disarm the populace?

Could the answer be those who want to keep America energy dependent on foreign oil? Refuse to use American resources? Compel American to pay enormous sums of money to foreign sovereigns to fund their war against us and our society? The energy dependence which keeps us from erasing Saudi Arabia from the face of this earth as the active sponsor of worldwide Whabbist terrorism and teaching? 

Could the answer be those who believe terrorism is a natural and justified reaction to our foreign policy? Although I cannot image exactly what foreign policy would justify killing 3,000 people on 9/11. Are these the very same democrats who brought about radical Islamo-fascism starting with democrat Jimmy Carter’s hatred of the Shah of Iran and love of Hamas and the Palestinians? And perpetuated by Bill Clinton who hated the military and proved that he was incapable of defending the United States’ interests when necessary? Symbolically bombing an Aspirin factory does not count as a response in my book. Are these the very same people who believe that there is something akin to a moderate Muslim even though their major religious goal is to conquer the world and force everyone into conversion or submission? Believing Muslim mouthpieces as the spout their propaganda of a moderate Muslim. This is a religion which gives its followers permission to lie, steal, cheat and kill in order to advance their faith. Why should we believe them? Why should we believe that Barrack Hussein Obama or any other democrat will pursue and prosecute them diligently?

Could the answer be a group of idealistic do-gooders who are simply dissatisfied with the status quo and donate their time and money to causes which promise a better life as advertised by the various political parties? Or are so appalled by the examples of horrific and egregious action in the world that they will donate to any person or cause who claims to have an answer to solving war, pestilences and hunger?

Could the answer be the religious zealots who believe that religion is an answer to everything. Although there are some self-interested religious leaders who are in the game for personal power, prestige and profits? The same type of religious leaders who covered up the rape of little boys and girls to protect the very institution which turned a blind-eye to those children they were sworn to protect? One need only look at the Reverends Wright, Phleger, Farrakhan, Law and Mahoney to see the depths of what religion in America has tolerated in the name of protecting the institution and promoting the interests of its acolytes.

Could the answer be a group of insurance companies who want to increase their stranglehold on the delivery of healthcare in America? To be able to force doctors to work for a comparative pittance with hardly enough time to review a patient’s history before prescribing expensive drugs? To continue to extract large sums of money from the healthcare system only because they are the gatekeepers and paper pushers?

Could the answer be the Hollywood middlemen who demand that their interests be safeguarded and the public’s right to exploit artistic works that have entered the public domain be totally extinguished by legislation which criminalizes breaking an electronic wrapper around a work in the public domain? The very same people who have crippled our computers and other technology with their insistence in special lock-out and blocking chips which are mandated to be built-in to every electronic device?

Could the answer be the insecure and narcissistic Hollywood elite and the celebrities whose roles, well-scripted acting and their ability to fake sincerity make them want to legitimize their existence by adopting political postures and making high-sounding pronouncements?  Limousine liberals like Barbara Streisand who want to tell others how to live and how to spend their money – while being notoriously cheap and grabbing untaxed freebies with both hands? These are the people who claim others should pay their fair share of higher taxes while employing an army of advisors to insure that their money is safe and in tax-sheltered investments?

Could the answer be liberal businessmen like Warren Buffett whose friendly homespun public persona belies the fact that he heads up an insurance company which rarely breaks out the numbers which could really indicate how well his investment judgement and performance has truly been? A man who believes everybody should be paying higher taxes – while he is being feted for donating the bulk of his fortune to a tax-sheltered charity that keeps much of the money out of the hands of the taxman – and thus denies the country some of its due income?

Could the answer be a group of self-serving financial institutions which continues to reward its leadership with multi-million dollar bonuses when they generate multi-BILLION dollar losses for their investors? Those who demand that chaos reign supreme as people are forced to buy and sell through their brokerages? Or those who set up off-shore, off-balance sheet accounts to keep the money far from the tax collectors and the American Courts? Who allowed insurance companies located in the Cayman Islands and Bahamas to insure much of the subprime debt that is currently bedeviling our economy?

Could the answer be a malevolent government comprised of self-serving bureaucrats who want to increase their power to wield behind the scenes influence by controlling the collection and dissemination of damaging personal information whenever it suits their interests? A government which seeks direct access to citizen’s computer systems and prepares a criminal indictment based on unconstitutional snooping facilitated by telephone and cable companies?

Could the answer be an unprecedented fraud to nationalize the energy companies using under the guise of saving the planet based on junk science and self-interested promotion by some of the scientists and their respective institutions who need to curry favor with those who control the funding? Using the very same fraud to increase the size of government, raise taxes, re-distribute wealth and reduce the freedom and liberty of America’s citizens?

Could the answer be, the spawn of powerful, wealthy and well-connected people whose birthright places them at a significant advantage over those with the talent and ability to prosper in America? I can not see why Joseph Biden’s son, even though a lawyer, can command a salary of $1.2 million dollars to head a firm in which he has little or no expertise? – Unless that expertise is referential and originating somewhere deep in his political connections?

Could the answer be all of the above coming together in a confluence of events and actions which force honorable people into acceding to the demands of those less honorable – and possibly downright evil?

Ugly duckling?

Continuing with the basic fairy tale theme, we cannot be sure that this ugly duckling will certainly grow into a magnificent swan if we have enough faith and wait long enough. In fact, it is more likely that the competing forces in a democrat Administration will result in further chaos and corruption.

While no one can defend the fiscal irresponsibility of the present Administration and endlessly argue about the ineptness of its leadership, there is no guarantee that a democrat Administration, comprised of competing philosophies and factions, will not disintegrate into a morass of chaos and corruption with decisions being based on weathervane politics – continual polling to test the winds before implementing policy. Leaving the defense of the United States to those who want to disembowel American on behalf of its jealous enemies and those who want to do it harm.

I urge you to discuss these issues with your neighbors and then vote. Vote your wallet, your health, your freedom and liberty. But most of all, vote for an America that will not become a fast-decaying Europe-like clone mired in socialism and union strikes.

Me, I have made my decision. Based on love of country and the concept of honor, I have chosen to vote for John McCain over Barack Obama.

The answer, at least for me, is simple. I do not know who Barack Obama really is other than some newbie Senator with little or no experience in any significant subject. A community organizer, activist, agitator who listened to anti-American, racist black liberation theology and whose friendships include the very worst of society including racists, anti-Semites, homophobes, domestic terrorists and ordinary crooks with political influence.

Even his Vice Presidential pick has a direct relationship to the corrupt as one of his close advisors was an associate of Tony Rezko

According to ABC News …

“Chicago lawyer and onetime mega-fundraiser Joseph Cari has advised Biden and his campaigns on and off since 1984, serving in posts as varied as a Senate adviser on crime to the Midwest Political Director for Biden's aborted 1987 presidential bid. In 2005 Cari helped arrange private meetings for Biden with potential supporters, as the senator explored another run for the White House. He has also worked to raise money for Biden.”

“Cari never attended those meetings, however. Days before they were scheduled to take place he learned he was under investigation as part of the Rezko probe and excused himself from the events, a spokesman explained Sunday.”

“Federal prosecutors indicted Cari in August 2005 and in September Cari cut a deal, agreeing to cooperate with the government's investigation and pleading guilty to a count of attempted extortion.”

“Cari admitted that in 2004 he helped a Rezko associate by making calls in what turned out to be a kickback scheme. The deal was an offshoot of a complex corruption scheme wrought by Antoin ‘Tony’ Rezko , whose ties to Obama have vexed the White House hopeful . Cari has maintained he did not know the details of that scheme or any other.”

“Cari's sentencing is delayed while he cooperates with the investigation. He testified at Rezko's trial earlier this year, in which a jury found Rezko guilty on 16 of 24 corruption-related felony charges. Obama, who entered into a complex real estate transaction with Rezko and his wife in 2005 that appeared to aid the senator, has returned nearly $150,000 in donations he received from Rezko and his associates over the years.” <Source>

Democrat-led law enforcement?

Is there any wonder why democrats or their supporters allegedly had an ABC investigative reporter arrested for taking pictures of the wealthy and powerful people (Senators, lobbyists, wealthy supporters) who were said to be attending special meetings in the Brown Palace hotel? Is this the type of heavy-handed democrat law enforcement we saw under the Clinton Administration when the Department of Justice as well as other supposedly politically-neutral agencies were turned into hyper-partisan attack groups? <Source>

I am especially concerned when Barack Obama speaks of a "civilian national security force" with the power of the military. I wonder just what he has in mind? Would it be subject to control from the White House as in the democrat Reno yearswhen the DOJ was allegedly forced to consult with the White House on major tactical decisions involving Waco? With Obama, you just don't know. And I personally don't want to take the chance to find out. 

With McCain …

With John McCain, I know that he will not turn his back on the defense of American from her enemies, both foreign and domestic. That he will not become a mealy-mouthed diplomat honoring our enemies while ceding valuable concessions and buying phony do-nothing photo-ops with the hard-earned money of Americans. And that he is likely to serve for only four years, which may allow the conservatives, both democrats and Republicans, to take back their parties from radicals and big money special interests by putting forth honorable candidates with real experience.\

Bottom-line ...

Do not confuse motion with action: a speech is just a speech! It is not a legally-binding promise -- or any guarantee that a man with little or no subject-matter knowledge, expertise and experience can actually perform -- even with the help of his so-called friends.

-- steve

flag


“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



WRONG: PAST MILITARY MEMBERS SHOULD NOT BE TRIED IN CIVILIAN COURTS FOR WRONGDOING ABROAD

Once again we see the highly-politicalized Department of Justice on the wrong side of the argument: doing what is expedient, politically correct and whose actions seem to be aimed at producing a politically acceptable result.

And while all offshore civilian and military injustice and wrongdoing must be accounted for and punished, allowing past military members to be tried in an emotional, politically-charged and attorney-manipulated  civilian courtroom is wrong.

Ceding justice to the enemy …

In my opinion, it should be the position of the United States Government that all service members, past and present, should be tried under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and answerable to a jury of their military peers with relevant combat experience.

To allow any former service member to be tried in a civilian court, using civilian attorneys and a civilian jury is to cede common-sense and justice to the enemy.

MEJA: Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act …

The Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act started out with the best of intentions. The law was written primarily to insure that those civilian contractors and others performing activities on behalf of the United States Government could be held accountable for their acts on foreign soil even though they were not members of the military and subject to military law under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Perverting the intent …

To allow this law to be used to prosecute military personnel before a civilian court in the United States is a perversion of justice. Not only are civilians without any relevant military or combat experience unqualified to sit in judgement of the accused, they are more than likely to render an adverse verdict based on nothing more than their feelings and political leanings. In a deeply ideologically-divided country, that means almost fifty percent of the potential jury pool may believe that this particular war may be unjustified and immoral and transfer their feelings onto the defendant, to the detriment of both the defendant and the concept of justice.

One need only look so far as the juries which can be found in California Courtrooms to know that irrational verdicts, even in the face of overwhelming evidence or attorney-manipulated juries, have been rendered.

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

If there are to be trials of past service members, let them be carried out on military bases, under the auspices of the UCMJ, where the cost of the prosecution and the defense is born by the United States Government and the use of civilian attorneys as co-counsel is permissible.

We are asking our service members to potentially sacrifice their lives in order to preserve our freedom and liberty. It requires split-second decisions which may not always be right or may result in disastrous consequences. But to hold them accountable in a civilian court of law to satisfy some political purpose is wrong. 

The first case to be tried …

According to the Associated Press …

“A former Marine sergeant facing the first federal civilian prosecution of a military member accused of a war crime says there is much more at stake than his claim of innocence on charges that he killed unarmed detainees in Fallujah, Iraq.”

“[Marine Sergeant Jose Luis] Nazario, of Riverside, is charged with one count of voluntary manslaughter on suspicion of killing or causing others to kill four unarmed detainees in November 2004 in Fallujah, during some of the fiercest fighting of the war. He also faces one count of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. If convicted of all charges, he could face more than 10 years in prison.”

His accuser? Co-conspirator?

"The case came to light in 2006, when Nazario's former squadmate, Sgt. Ryan Weemer, volunteered details to a U.S. Secret Service job interviewer during a lie-detector screening that included a question about the most serious crime he ever committed.”

Justice for some?

We are not claiming that those who commit crimes should go unpunished, only that the matter should be adjudicated in a court of competent jurisdiction; in this case, a military court.

“Weemer was ordered this month to stand trial in military court on charges of unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty in the killing of an unarmed detainee in Fallujah. He has pleaded not guilty.” 

Can there be a fair trial?

We must question whether or not any crime may be fairly and justly prosecuted based on self-serving hearsay evidence that may lack corroboration with forensic evidence.

How exactly does one handle a circumstantial case when the testimony may appear to be suspect and there is no other defense against the government’s accusations?

While we believe that the court is likely to be fair and impartial, how does one prevent the government from bringing actions that are politically expedient only for the purposes of public relations?

In the light of Waco, Ruby Ridge and other egregious government actions, perhaps this is not an insignificant question which can be brushed off by merely mouthing the words “justice” and “due process.” And, especially in light of the government’s use of allegedly coerced testimony from cooperating or confidential informants who have received quid pro quo favoritism for their testimony. 

Is this how justice works?

“After leaving the military, Nazario worked as an officer with the Riverside Police Department and was close to completing his one-year probation. He said he knew nothing of the investigation until he was arrested Aug. 7, 2007, after being called into the watch commander's office to sign a performance review.”

He said he was leaning forward to sign when he was grabbed from behind by his fellow officers, told he had been charged with a war crime and was turned over to Navy investigators waiting in a nearby room.”

Considering that he is free while awaiting trial, exactly what justified this behavior. Because he was armed? It seems that he could have been asked to simply surrender his badge and weapon while awaiting trial.

“Because he had not completed probation, the police department fired him. Since then, he said, has been unable to find work.”

Considering the number of police officers who have been suspended with pay while awaiting the outcome of trials, is it fair to fire a decent officer who was just short of completing probation. Even an unpaid suspension would have been a more decent action.

Guilty until proven innocent?

"' ‘You're supposed to be innocent until proven guilty,’ he said. ‘I've put in applications everywhere for everything. But nobody wants to hire you if you have been indicted.’"

“Without income, Nazario said, he has been forced to move in with his parents in New York. He and his wife resorted to selling some of their household goods, such as electronics equipment, to a pawn shop.  His wife, once a stay-at-home mother to their 2-year-old son, has gone to work as a customer service receptionist, he said. She will be unable to attend his trial.”

“Another Marine, Sgt. Jermaine Nelson, 26, of New York is slated to be court-martialed
in December on charges of unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty for his role in the deaths. Although he has not entered a plea in military court, Nelson's attorney has said his client is innocent.”

A dead spot in the law?

“Nelson and Weemer were jailed in June for contempt of court for refusing to testify against Nazario before a federal grand jury believed to be investigating the case. Both were released July 3 and returned to Camp Pendleton.”

We all know about our Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, but what exactly the law in compelling others awaiting trial in a military venue to be forced to testify in civilian court proceedings against another service member? It seems that there must be some guidelines in cases where the government is on both sides of the case and has a vested interest in an adverse outcome for the service member.   

Unintended Consequences …

If this prosecution results in a conviction or even if it doesn’t, what might be the effects on military members serving on active duty? More tolerance and leniency toward the enemy in the time of combat; a policy which is sheer lunacy in the face of armed aggression? Conferring the rights of citizenship on enemy combatants … which is now being fought at the Supreme Court level in connection with those now held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba?

Lest people forget: our military, used mostly when diplomacy fails, is tasked with killing people and breaking things. What may be an anathema to some civilians is the sworn duty of service members. Mistakes in tactics and judgment will occur. But should every case be tried before an uncomprehending civilian court where jury members will be asked to second guess in-field decisions made under almost impossible conditions? With juries whose relevant experience consists of watching war movies and whose judgement is tainted after being inculcated “night after night” with far-left liberal claptrap which often appears to be enemy-friendly.

Will this result in the split-second thought of the possibility of a civilian trial years later that gets a soldier killed? While it is next to impossible to predict the unintended consequences of this civilian court action, perhaps we should simply err on the side of our troops and further amend this law to exclude former military service members?

What should be done?

If the United States was serious about pursuing justice in the case of former military members, it would be a simple matter to petition the President of the United States to restore the civilian to active duty and hold the accused on a military base where they could prepare their case and await justice at the hands of a military court. The accused family would also be allowed housing and subsistence allotments to insure that the innocent family members did not suffer undue hardship during the process. Assistance in transitioning back to civilian life after the verdict should also be provided. Should the verdict affirm the actions of the accused and acquit them of all charges, the accused could re-enter civilian life with a job that was being held under the provisions that secure jobs for those forced into military service. And while laws are being created, perhaps a penalty against the government for any egregious violations of military justice and behavior in the prosecution of a UCMJ case involving a former civilian.

A question of jurisdiction …

Do the individual states have an obligation or duty to prosecute what amounts to war crimes committed by those in the military under the  Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act? Or need the action be brought at the federal level? Both unpalatable under the concept of a military trial!

Outsourcing the war …

There is no doubt that the military has outsourced much of the non-action support of military operations to civilian contractors. And ramped up the outsourcing to include for the armed maintenance of security and escort of people and vehicles. Does the military have an obligation to treat these contractors any differently than it does soldiers under its direct command? Should the military indemnify and hold harmless all civilian contractors who are forced to kill enemy combatants or accidentally engage foreign nationals in the course of their duties? Why not bring these contractors to the same tribunal as military service members, to be judged under the same UCMJ rules rather than open the venue to civilian courts. Allowing states to pursue “war crimes” seems to be counterproductive and a big win for the enemy who has proven adept in manipulating public opinion through a complicit media that will do almost anything to disparage the current Administration and/or war effort to support a far-left political ideology. Which raises further questions. Should organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International who pursue a political agenda be denied participation in any court actions?

Bottom line …

It seems we need to take a few actions to resolve the issues of trying civilian contractors and service members who are no longer subject to military justice.

First, we need to overcome the constitutional provisions which seem to prevent the trial of civilians by military courts in that it violates their right to a fair trial including trial by jury.

Second, we need to redefine the duties and obligations of civilian contractors working on behalf of the military in  designated combat and non-combat zones. Reliance on the use of the word “war” is problematical since Congress appears to be reluctant to declare war on any aggressor nation and terrorists, by definition, may not be considered the regular troops of a hostile country.

Third, the government should never transfer American citizens engaged in combat or support activities to any foreign sovereign nation for trial in their courts.

And fourth, we should define our words carefully as there are people who consider a slap in the face to be torture.

What can YOU do?

Request your elected officials to repeal any existing regulations to the contrary and bring civilian contractors contractually under the provisions of the UCMJ when their actions occur abroad and in combat zones.

Provide for the re-activation of accused former military service members and hold the trial under the auspices of the UCMJ. Provide all military courtesies of rank to the accused while awaiting trial including dependent medical care and support.

Remember, that it is impossible for civilian jurors to feel the rush of adrenaline that occurs when your life is being threaten in a highly chaotic situation and that apparently bad decisions made in the field may have seemed perfectly rational and taken as the only option available.

We either give our military the  benefit of the doubt or quit asking them to sacrifice their lives for the common good of the American people.

We need to elect candidates and re-elect officials who believe in our sovereign interests and are prepared to defend our country against all enemies, both foreign and domestic; especially those who have, in the past, not provided aid, comfort and talking points to our enemies. Any candidate or elected official who is not prepared to stand up for our service members is not fit, by definition, to serve as the commander-in-chief.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: “The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong.” --  Winston Churchill

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

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

Reference Links:

CNSNews.com - Former Marine Faces Civilian Trial for Action in Combat in Fallujah

Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act|Department of Justice

Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction

Legislative History - H.R. Rep. No. 106-778

32 C.F.R. § 153

DoD Instruction 5525.11 (March 3, 2005)

DoD Memo regarding the Management of Contractors (September 25, 2007)

DoD Memo regarding UCMJ Jurisdiction over DoD Civilian Employees and Other Persons (March 10, 2008)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



FAMOUS BY REFERENCE

America is obsessed with celebrities. People with real talent. People of accomplishment. People who are famous for the jobs they hold. People who were in the right place at the right time to catch the media’s, and by extension the public’s, attention. And let us not forget the lucky sperm club: people famous from birth with the grace to have born to wealthy or accomplished parents.

Three people of fame, celebrity, notoriety – or just well-known names … 

Today’s blog entry was inspired by three people who received the media’s adoring attention today in between the hard news of the day.

First, there was Paris Hilton, a celebrity who is famous for her status as a rather attractive heiress who has spent the most part of her life as a walking shill for products and party spots around the world. She was in the news – linked to John McCain’s campaign video and the startling discovery that she does not support any Presidential candidate.

Second, was the odd-named Rumer Willis who is the rather unattractive daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. For the life of me, I cannot remember why she was being interviewed today. An eminently forgettable person who seems to be just another lucky spawn.

And third, was the son of accomplished actor/director Leonard Nimoy – indelibly and forever to be remembered as Mr. Spock on the ground-breaking Star Trek series. It seems son, Adam Nimoy, was promoting his life story (thus far) in a new book titled: “My Incredibly Wonderful Miserable Life.”

Why the world should care about a celebrity spawn who recounts his “thirty-year battle with drug addiction, three career changes, one divorce, a major mid-life crisis, and countless AA meetings ” totally escapes me.

But it is symptomatic …

Symptomatic of today’s world with it’s manufactured news, sound bite wisdom and a general disregard for the ordinary folks that are making our great nation work. Where fame is in direct proportion to the media attention you receive and no mention is made of the hired media relations consultants constantly pitching stories and personal tidbits of information to keep their client’s name before the public.

Maddening …

But what really irks me is that we are treating a candidate for the highest office in our country, the Presidency of the United States, like another product to be packaged and sold to the public. With all of the personal foibles and warts airbrushed by the handlers. Where substantive issues are promptly set aside by reference to a dry position paper that can be found on the candidate’s website among all of the razzle-dazzle of personality and the chance to contribute.

Even when the so-called “rock star” candidate puts forth a position, backtracks and then totally switches direction – it is treated just another campaign glitch. “Oops, I misspoke.” “Yes, but I really meant to say …”

A complicit media …

In their rush to fill a never-ending 24/7 news cycle and to assure themselves of continuing access to the candidate, the candidate’s party and other newsmakers, the media glosses over the mistakes, miscues and outright deceptions in favor of describing the interior of the candidate’s plane.

At the crossroads …

We are at an historical crossroads. Our country seems almost evenly divided between the two parties who are now pandering to some of the worst elements of our society in order to build a coalition to surmount the voter tipping point and achieve electoral success.

And the candidates want us to join the politician’s campaign team as if we are rooting for our favorite sports club. They want us to identify with the candidate as a winner in order to bolster our supposed low self-esteem.

We are a nation at war with an entire culture that wants us dead or, at the very least, subservient to their religion. We are experiencing a major financial crisis and employment for many Americans is becoming a shaky proposition. We are outsourcing many of our productive jobs and importing those who will take care of our elders and our gardens. We lack a common direction and both political parties will do or say anything to get elected.

And the worst part of the crisis seems to be that the American people can no longer trust their government. One party, the democrats, doing everything in their power to disparage the current Administration while they pander to their own special interests. An Administration who is solidifying the power of the Executive branch to the point where it may be next to impossible to indict and convict Administration members who may guilty of much more than just inappropriate behavior.

We are getting royally screwed by our politicians and a majority of the media seems to have take  sides. Slanted coverage abounds – the lines between news and editorial comment being blurred beyond the boundaries of traditional journalism. And yet the media is content to prattle on-and-on about superficial fluff that means next to nothing to the average citizen.

A different kind of vote …

The media has always been considered the “fourth branch of government,” pointing out wrongdoing when crimes were committed and malfeasance and influence peddling whenever and wherever it occurred. And now they play gotcha games to side with their candidate against the other.

So it it is time for the American public to vote – not only at the polls, but on the job that the media is doing. While it may be hard to give up your diversionary fix of television or put down that celebrity magazine, that is what may be required to nudge the media into covering serious and substantive issues.

It is amazing that a member of the widely-scorned tabloid press is the single media outlet pursuing the alleged John Edwards’ illegitimate child story for the purpose of selling copies of their publication. But it is also amazing that the mainstream media is not covering the story – not for the salacious nature of the coverage – but to demonstrate to the American public the character of a man who is seeking higher office; possibly as the next attorney general of the United States in an Obama Administration. Why are the members of the media not explaining to the American public what kind of deal may have been struck when Edwards’ delegates were ceded to Barack Obama?

If you are unhappy with the media coverage, change the channel; stop your print publication subscription, walk past the magazines near the supermarket checkstands. Vividly demonstrate your displeasure with the current media efforts to turn hard news into “infotainment.”

As for the candidates …

Closer scrutiny is required of any and all who serve the people – and especially their advisors. It is now time to break this cycle of arrogance and special interest corruption. We need to return America to the land of the straight and narrow, rather than the bent and crooked.

While most people are not supposed to pay attention to the candidates until after Labor Day, it is time to buck common wisdom and get involved now. It nothing else, research the candidate of your choice and honestly ask yourself “what did he say and does he really mean it.” Place it in the context of his past actions, votes and even what he said in previous speeches.

Note the inconsistencies and outright falsehoods. Ask yourself, if the candidate is wishy-washy on a particular subject, are they the right person to lead our great nation in these perilous times?

But above all, get involved. Talk to your neighbors. This is not a beauty contest based on good looks and apparent popularity. The person you vote for will most certainly change the course of your life once they are elected. It is up to you, your neighbors and the broader community to make sure that the course that they set is a true course to accomplishment and not a backslide into the morass of slimy politics and backroom deals.

For those who are voting against George Bush, for whatever the reason, you are greatly misguided. George Bush is not running for office and it is unlikely that anyone running for the Presidency will emulate his somewhat dysfunctional management style and hyper-repressive secrecy.

Do your homework. Make your choice. And vote. It is our future that is at stake – not some reward to a political party for fielding a candidate who wins simply because they seem to be a better speaker and the media has complicitly covered up the truth about the candidate and those who advise him.

And for the celebrity hounds …

The least I can do is to assist in your amusement while the country continues to decay. Here is a link to an 8-page sample of Adam Nimoy’s book.

http://wonderfulmiserable.com/8_page_sampler.pdf

Nero allegedly fiddled while Rome burned – enjoy a moment of diversionary pleasure while your country sinks into the abyss from which it might never return.

-- 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