sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Friday, May 31, 2013

Covered California

Covered California is the State of California's response to the federal ObamaCare program. As one would expect, California drank the Kool-Aid and while other states are pushing back, the Golden State is working to enroll everyone they can in National Healthcare.

A couple of days ago a lady called me conducting a survey on behalf of Covered California. If I have a moment, I usually listen to these sorts of things because I learn from them. She asked me how I felt about the opportunity to receive "free" healthcare through ObamaCare. It felt as if I was being given a "free" ObamaPhone. I said that it felt pretty lousey. She asked why. I explained that nothing is free. Somebody has to pay for it.

The nice lady on the phone told me that the Federal Government is paying for it. I asked her where she thought they got the money to pay for "free" healthcare. She said, "from rich people and companies." 

My next question: Do you think that companies will pass on costs to consumers?

The nice lady hadn't ever considered that possibility (she read from a script but she was now off-script). The State of California sent her to a Covered California class that fed her information about the glories of ObamaCare without explaining the fine print--that it was a tax. I asked her how she would feel spending more for everything that she bought so that people could have "free" healthcare. She said that when I put it that way, she really didn't think that it was fair.

The nice lady went off to speak to her boss about it and the survey ended.

We'd all like to get money for nothing (cue Dire Straits), but the reality of life is that somebody has to pay for everything. Socialism is the act of picking somebody else's pocket - and yes, you eventually run out of somebody else's money.

ObamaCare is a device for buying votes - because the Democratic Party elite don't care what new tax burdens are placed on the backs of a middle-class struggling to survive yet still desperately hanging on to the belief that somehow, someday they too will be rich, famous and have their own Reality TV show if they just stay on the treadmill and keep running. 

A Cynical View
From those who Own Politicians

Reaching far beyond the corporatization of medicine and privatization of healthcare in America, the  objective with Obamacare was to establish a constitutional legal precedent for individual mandates by which the wealthy can become even wealthier simply by having their paid political puppets pass laws mandating that we buy their corporate products and increase their profits - regardless of whether we want, need or can afford them.

A Tale of Two Countries

There are RED States and there are BLUE States. And a few states are pastels.

(Kansas City Star) Dave Helling, a reporter for the Kansas City Star wrote an article that I'm going to quote from here on this blog post, while adding some of my own observations.
According to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ news service Stateline, 26 legislatures have become more Republican since 2003. The GOP holds a strong grip on legislatures in the Old South, the Plains, in some Rocky Mountain states and the industrial Northeast.
Democrats have grown stronger in 23 states. They control governments along both coasts and in New England.

Many US States are withdrawing from national political structures in favor of self-contained economic, regulatory and cultural policies. Texas is an example of a state that is struggling to free itself where it can from the Federal Government. Nowhere is that more evident than the Firearms Freedom Acts that many states have passed wherein they assert that the Federal Government has no jurisdiction over firearms and ammunition that were made in a state, purchased by residents of that state and do not leave the state. Kansas, for example, has their own firearms freedom act.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has labeled his budget an “experiment,” and it is. He and his party want to shift the burden of state government away from investment and capital and onto sales and labor. A similar shift is on the table in many Republican-controlled states. 
They all say lower corporate and personal income taxes will promote growth and employment, as well as personal freedom and wealth creation. We’ll see. But the bet is that the benefits of putting more money in individual pockets ultimately will outweigh the problems created by the inevitable dip in government services such as education and (public) transportation.
Will people want to live in states such as California, where taxes are exceptionally high or in low-tax, low-services states such as Texas, Kansas, Idaho, Utah and Missouri? The Kansas experiment hopes to lure business to their state away from Blue States (so-called 'slave states' because of their enslaving taxes). 

In California, it's interesting to see which counties voted Democrat and which ones voted Republican. Even though California (in terms of territory) was evenly split between Republican and Democrat in 2012, the people who lived in the high density "so-called urban hells" overwhelmingly wanted Barack Obama to be their leader.  California has bragging rights to 33% of the people in America who are receiving welfare benefits. That's right, 1/3 of American welfare queens live in California. It's likely that they'll inherit even more as Republican States cut benefits to people on the dole. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Will DOJ Target Bloggers Next?

The question has been floating around every since President Obama made a call for liberal bloggers to enter the arena shortly after his first election to office. At the time, it seemed that conservatives outnumbered liberals in the blogging world by more than 20 to 1. As we all know, liberals don't need bloggers. They can tune their televisions to any one of a number of mainstream outlets or read the New York Times if they want to know what President Obama wants them to be told. The mainstream media is known to be little more than a mouthpiece for the White House and a delivery system for Party propaganda. 

Conservatives don't have nearly as many places to go to find out what's really happening, thus the emergence of 'bloggers'. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), expressed doubt (above) as to whether bloggers deserve constitutional protection for their work online.

Does the recent attack on the press (AP, Fox and CBS Sharyl Atttkisson) portend Attorney General Eric Holder targeting and wiretapping bloggers--slyly suggesting that they're all engaged in some species of espionage since they part ways with the Obama Administration on political issues? The short answer is that I doubt it because there are a LOT of bloggers and DOJ isn't presently big enough.

However, there is also the IRS. DOJ isn't the only arrow in the Obama Administration's quiver. In the case of the Freedom of the Press Scandal, President Obama asked Attorney General Holder to investigate himself and then let the president and the country know whether Holder felt that he did anything wrong. With that sort of oversight for abuse, there is not much practical confidence remaining in the validity of the Bill of Rights.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Wimp Factor

(Fox News) Reported that in Texas and North Carolina, there are moves afoot to give lawmakers special rights to carry concealed weapons that would not be afforded to the common people.
In Texas, the House defeated a measure on Sunday that would have given prosecuting attorneys and lawmakers permission to carry guns anywhere they wanted to in the state. Just 38 lawmakers voted for it, while 103 voted against.
Current Texas law restricts concealed handgun license holders from taking their weapons into schools, bars, sporting events and federal buildings.
I find it more than a little ironic that the very legislators who propose these changes are Democrats -- from the Party of Barack Obama and his Chicago Thugs. You'll note that they feel as if elites such as themselves should be accorded special dispensations. Maybe they want their bodyguards armed to protect them as well when they go places where others are not allowed to be armed? 

Even in a close reading of the Federalist Papers, the Bill of Rights and everything dealing with original intent, I can find no reference to James Madison or the founders of the nation giving themselves rights that were denied to the rest of the Republic. 

Moving on to the WIMP FACTOR:

Lincoln refused to post a guard on his room in the White House (the public had unfettered access to 'the people's house' in those days and some even slept in the halls waiting their turn to see President Lincoln).  I realize that the fearful and timid Mr. Obama wouldn't ever do that. I wonder how his rival, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin operates. I'm sure that he wouldn't be as giddy as a school girl as Obama is in watching a judo demonstration. (Putin is a 6th degree black belt in Judo and a 6th dan black belt in Kyokushin kalkan) Putin also pilots Russian fighters and bombers and is an avid shooter and hunter.

It's obvious that Putin is scared witless of Obama and his ability to hide behind his wife effectively. Maybe Putin and Obama could engage in something more American than judo -- something like baseball, where the Obama (Nobel Laureate) could best Putin?

Oh, never mind.

What about golf? Rumor has it that despite President Obama's obvious flaws, he's an adequate golfer. Maybe he could beat Putin at golf?

Then and Now

LL - Passport Photo - 1973
(more balls than brains)
I spent the morning looking at some old photos that I scanned into the computer some time ago. There is no subtext or political message beyond the fact that we all change. Sometimes I look at the young man that I once was and wonder what I would have thought if I'd known what lay between there and here. Clearly, back then my hair was black as a raven's wing and now it's white as snow.

In 1973:
Richard Nixon began his second term in office and officially ended the Viet Nam War with the Paris Peace Accords - though the Secret Wars would continue to smolder in Southeast Asia. And the Watergate Scandal hearings began in Congress. Nixon ordered the Attorney General to dismiss the Special Prosecutor (Archibald Cox). The more things change, the more they remain the same. Gerald Ford succeeded Nixon as President and made Henry Kissinger the Secretary of State.  

The Drug Enforcement Administration was founded as a component of the US Department of Justice with an eye toward ending drug trafficking...

On October 6, Egypt and Syria launched the Yom Kippur War against Israel. The war ended twenty days later.

The Provisional Irish Republican Army bombed Whitehall and the Old Bailey in London.

The White House is rocked with scandal as Barack Obama, the first post-American president tries to hide monumental corruption with lies and obfuscation. IRS Scandal, Benghazi Scandal, Fast and Furious, attacks on the press, etc. The Attorney General is tasked with investigating himself.

Syria is locked in a brutal civil war and Egypt transitions from rule by a military strong man to rule by the Muslim Brotherhood as the Arab Spring backfires completely. Iran completes its construction of nuclear weapons to use on Israel (maybe on Yom Kippur?).

In 1973, Muslims weren't blowing things up as much as they are today in the US, but Black September was very active -- blowing things up almost everywhere else. There was a Red Brigade blowing things up back then but today the only real communists left are tin-pot dictators in North Korea, Cuba and Burma. 

In 1973, nobody would have thought that the US would embrace a utopian socialist, metrosexual leader who would champion collectivist programs while Russia did the opposite.

Forty years --  Then and Now

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Laura and Me

I dress down in the hope that it
will discourage them but it
seldom works.
As I read the story on American Perspective (linked below), my eyes began to tear because I've had the same problem in my life. 
(LINK to American Perspective"33-year-old Laura Fernee blames her good looks for a host of problems in her life, including her unemployment. Fernee says she was forced to quit her job after being constantly harassed by male co-workers and dealing with female co-workers who were jealous of her beauty. Now, Fernee lives in an apartment paid for by her parents and hasn’t held a job in two years. But she is also claiming it’s simply not her fault."
I understand what she's going through. Women tend to objectify me too, and it's always clear that they only want one thing from me. Sure, the flowers and the invitations to lunch from female co-workers are flattering -- at first.  Then as they come to know me better there are:

  • The invitations to ice hockey games, and who can resist box seats at mid-ice? But it doesn't stop there. She buys you shots of tequila and then offers to drive you home...
  • Scuba diving vacations at Grand Caymen. Sure, she suggests at first that there will be two rooms but when you show up there with her, you find that only one was booked and there's not even a fold-out bed.
  • I like a good char-broiled steak as much as any guy and and when the invitation comes for surf and turf it sounds like everybody has been invited. Whey you arrive, there's plenty of parking in front of her bay-side home and the steak is being cooked on her yacht during an evening cruise. It's obvious that she doesn't only have cruising on her mind.
  • Presents usually include speedos or Euro-style swim suits. (always designed to maximize the view of the package)
  • You sit down at an office party and the women strike like peregrine falcons. "What's your sign, you stud?" "Have you ever tried to cut diamonds - for real?" "I don't think that I'd get any splinters from that piece of wood!"
Trust me, the next morning you feel vacant, used and diminished. 

Women talk. Have you guys ever noticed that? Except when you walk up to them. Watch how fast their code of silence is invoked and you're left with the sly glances and not so subtle snickers as they undress you with their eyes. There have been times when I even felt as though I was being traded between women at work as if I was a commodity (a piece of meat). But I'm a human being with human feelings. 

I feel better having discussed this problem that I have in a public forum around affirming and loving friends who can relate to my pain. It's humiliating for women to ask me if the flash light is on "high beam".

Monday, May 27, 2013

Qualified to Serve

Should a US President have military service as a qualification for the office?

I'm not asking about the Constitutional requirements because those are a matter of law and military service is not a qualification. I'm positing the question for the purpose of discussion. Is military service desirable in a president?

Let's look at a few:

Barack Obama - no service
George W. Bush, Texas Air National Guard, First Lieutanant
Bill Clinton - no service
George H. W. Bush, Navy, Lieutenant, Combat, World War 2 (combat)
Ronald Reagan, Army Air Corps, Captain, World War 2
Jimmy Carter, Navy, Lieutenant
Gerald Ford, Navy Lieutenant Commander, World War 2 (combat)
Richard Nixon, Navy, Commander, World War 2
Lindon B. Johnson, Navy, Commander (combat)
John F. Kennedy, Navy, Lieutenant (combat)
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Army, General of the Army 
Harry S. Truman, Army, Colonel

You can pick out your favorites. The two biggest losers in recent memory are Barack Obama (no military service) and Jimmy Carter (US Naval Academy graduate). Jimmy Carter didn't seem to be ready for the job. Barack Obama had/has an axe to grind against America as the first post-American president and he's grinding the axe. Obama couldn't have passed a security background investigation on the basis of past homosexuality, personal friendship with terrorists, affiliation with communists, inability to account for his whereabouts during prolonged periods in his life and drug use (though today since he's been president, homosexuality is no longer a factor in the US Military).

Perhaps the more appropriate question is whether or not the president could hold a security clearance if they were not president?

Cutting the IRS Gordian Knot with a Special Prosecutor

The IRS Scandal with regard to targeting conservatives for political reasons reflects an agency wide policy, which would have to come from the top. Anyone who has worked inside IRS understands this. Anyone who has worked with the Federal Government and has 'handled a caseload' understands how case tracking is managed.

Case Management System

Every IRS manager in the US who worked with tax-exempt organizations nationwide would have known that Tea Party-related applications were being blocked almost from the beginning. IRS agents must handle tax-exempt applications within 270 days, after which the system automatically sends out an alert, making the agent provide a status update each month until the case is resolved.

Since the IRS started blocking Tea Party-type applications in April 2010 and didn't approve a single one for more than two years, thousands of red flags would have been generated. Given the 270-day schedule, the first alerts would have hit back in December 2010.
  • Why should anyone be surprised that Lois Learner is refusing to testify before Congress on the grounds that what she said could be used against her in a criminal proceeding?
  • Why is anyone surprised that IRS is stonewalling congressional requests for communications relating to the targeting, including crucial emails.
I find it funny (yes, ha-ha funny) that the Obama Administration keeps saying that they can't comment on an ongoing investigation. What they should say, is that they aren't going to comment on a situation that makes them look bad. The Obama Administration comments on ongoing investigations ALL OF THE TIME. It would take a few days at most to amass the paperwork and case tracking on the IRS Scandal and hand it to Congress. IRS is one of those vastly bureaucratic organizations which manages their own activities scrupulously with attorney review at almost every stage. And this is all documented in the case management system. Lois Learner may not want to personally incriminate herself, but the IRS will do it for her.

It's time for Congress to appoint an independent prosecutor (yes, independent from DOJ) and convene a grand jury.

The Obama Administration doesn't want that to happen because they won't want you to know how high the rot and corruption goes. This is how it works.
  • Ask a question.
  • Person refuses to answer citing the Fifth Amendment
  • Person goes to jail for contempt of a Grand Jury
  • Ask a question
  • Person refuses to answer citing the Fifth Amendment
  • Person is given use-immunity from prosecution
  • Person either testifies or goes to jail for contempt of a Grand Jury
  • Person lies under oath
  • Person prosecuted for perjury and goes to jail
Eric Holder's Justice Department won't do that to IRS people who targeted people on the 'enemies list', but an independent prosecutor will, and it won't take all that long to get to the bottom line.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

An Endorsement of Anthony Weiner for Mayor

It's Weiner time!

What's more American than a Weiner?

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner has announced he is running for mayor of New York City, almost two years after resigning over a Twitter scandal where he tweeted  lewd pictures of himself and lied about his account being hacked. He later admitted trading inappropriate messages with several women while on the Floor of Congress. So what? He simply mixed the people's business with pleasure. It's almost a hallmark of Congress.

Potential Slogan/slug line: New York - Its time to trade one wiener for another!!
Weiner jumped into a crowded field for the September primary as Democrats struggle to take the baton from Mayor Bloomberg. Weiner is arriving with some significant advantages, including a $4.8 million campaign war chest, the possibility of about $1.5 million more in public matching money. Polls show him ahead of all but one other Democrat -- and no end of name recognition. (Fox News)
In seeking a second chance from the public, Weiner will have to overcome some voters' misgivings. In a recent NBC New York-Marist Poll poll, half said they wouldn't even consider him, though the survey also showed that more registered Democrats now have a favorable than unfavorable impression of him.
The Democrats are a forgiving lot -- something that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is banking on for her 2016 run. Her former aid, Huma Abedin is Weiner's wife.  Huma has a lot in common with Hillary, who shared her husband with dozens of women by all accounts, while he served as Governor and then as President.

Actual Weiner twitter picture
I think that Anthony Weiner would make a superb mayor for New York City, stepping comfortably into the shoes of Mayor Bloomberg. 

Because of my confidence in him, I'm ENDORSING Weiner for Mayor. He used to text/tweet pictures of his penis around the Internet while voting on bills in the House of Representatives. What further qualifications for public office in the Big Apple should anyone need to consider?

More potential slug lines: 
  • Weiner will work HARD for New York.
  • Weiner will not screw the pooch while in public office (this time).
  • Hang in there with Weiner!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Hidden Hand of Government

This week, President Obama insisted he knew nothing about major decisions made in the State Department, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service. The heads of those agencies, in turn, insisted they knew nothing about major decisions by their subordinates. It is as if the government functions by some hidden hand.

Denial and obfuscation have 
replaced any semblance of 

In the past, President Obama has asserted that he sets the priorities and controls the big picture. If that's true, these trends are even more disturbing even though all the while there is a nagging itch in the backs of our minds. That intuitive spark tells us that it's simply what everyone has come to expect from Chicago politics, ward bosses, arm twisting, and being sent to 'sleep with the fish' if you don't go along with the plan.

The disturbing trend of growing federal bureaucracy has bloomed under the Obama Administration and it's been accomplished at the expense of Congress’s lawmaking authority. In fact, the vast majority of “laws” governing the United States are not passed by Congress but are issued as regulations, crafted largely by thousands of unnamed, unreachable bureaucrats. One study found that in 2007, Congress enacted 138 public laws, while federal agencies finalized 2,926 rules, including 61 major regulations.

As we have noticed with the recent IRS Scandal, this rulemaking comes with no particular accountability. Federal agencies owe their creation and underlying legal authority to Congress, and Congress holds the purse strings. But the practical reality of the IRS is  much the same as running a locomotive without an off switch. 

Under Article III of the Constitution, citizens facing charges and fines are entitled to due process in the court system. As the number of federal regulations increased, however, Congress decided to relieve the judiciary of most regulatory cases and create administrative courts tied to individual agencies. The result is that a citizen is 10 times more likely to be tried by an agency than by an actual court. In a given year, federal judges conduct roughly 95,000 adjudicatory proceedings, including trials, while federal agencies complete more than 939,000. 

Most agency proceedings are often mockeries of due process, with one-sided presumptions and procedural rules favoring the agency. This is clearly true with the IRS, but it's clearly not limited to them. Consider the Environmental Protection Agency and it's draconian power over most businesses. When you combine that with an unprecedented increase in presidential powers — from the power to determine when to go to war to the power to decide when it’s reasonable to vaporize a U.S. citizen in a drone strike. In this new order, information is jealously guarded and transparency has declined sharply. 

The problem can be fixed. America can simplify its tax structure, eliminating the need for well over 90% of the Internal Revenue Service. America can return the bulk of regulatory matters to the States where the common man has a greater ability to appeal abuses. However, it's not likely to happen when most Americans don't have any understanding of the Benghazi scandal, the abuse heaped on fellow Americans by the Obama Administration through IRS or abuses to the press by simply setting aside the Bill of Rights when it suits them.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Convert or Die (Analyzing a World of Total Islamic Faith)

Would it be that bad if the whole world converted to Islam? 

It depends on your perspective.

This blog post is simply my attempt to weigh the pros and cons of a world that embraced Islam. For one thing, there would be no need for jihadis to keep taking hostages and blowing things up...except that there are different factions of Islam and they hate each other and are actually at war with each other. We will presume for sake of this particular blog that all of Islam gets along and that there wouldn't be on going jihads to remove the 'pretender' from control of the world. We'll also presume that Mahdis (12th Imams) wouldn't keep popping up to cause trouble in the new Islamic world order.

Moderate Islam, if there is such a thing, is merely the gutless faithful realising that if they raise their voice against the totalitarian mullahs, they will be accused of being apostates and therefore fatwa-ed. They'd be weeded out in due time.
Captain T. E. Lawrence
(Lawrence of Arabia)
I selected this because my first name is his last...

Islam requires a theocratic form of dictatorship where most of the big rules are made through interpreting the Qur-an (in a world setting that would happen in Mecca or Qom depending on whether the place is run by the Suni or Shiia). The smaller rules are made by the local mullah, who is usually supported by a council of elders. In Afghanistan (the only Muslim country where I've spent any time - and an uncharitable soul shot me, ending my trip) it's called a jirga or circle of elders. Call it a City Council and you're in the ballpark.

Even though NASA's outreach (per President Obama's directive) is to make Muslims feel good about themselves, under Islam, there would be no space program, so satellite communications, and everything of that sort would quickly fall into disrepair and fade away.

In fact, the Wahhabist view of technology is that it's bad (unless in it's used against an infidel as in the case of a bomb). Essentially we'd all move back to the 14th Century where we would remain.

What was life like in the 14th Century in Islamic nations? The best word to describe it is "basic". (see below)

Electricity would likely be kept as a necessity simply because too many people benefit from lights to have it shut off completely. Some manufacturing would also remain, but there would have to be mullah supervision to insure that it was kept simplistic. I think that we'd eventually seen the end of basic things such as lightbulbs, but they'd exist for a while.

Since the only book you need is the Qur-an, there would likely be some printing for religious reading. Nothing much else is needed because most things that happen (such as medical problems) are solved with a shrug and insh-allah (the will of God). 

Islam works better for men than it does for women. I'd have to grow a beard, pray or pretend to pray five times daily and that's about it. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited but I'm not much of a drinker, so no problem there. 

Unruly Wives? Men are allowed up to 4 wives and an unlimited number of concubines, and divorce simply requires you to say, "I divorce you" three times to your wife in the presence of a male witness. No child support, no alimony, no community property, no problem. Unruly wife? You simply discipline her with a rod no bigger around than your thumb and you're not supposed to hit her in the head. If she ducks and the rod hits her in the head, it's not the man's problem. She simply needs to be better disciplined so that she can stand there and take it...

There are a LOT of rules for women. There are a lot more DON'Ts that there are DOs. I won't delve here, but suffice to say that cooking, child bearing and household chores, making clothing, and tending to crops are about all they're allowed to do. If women exceed those guidelines, they can be denounced as whores and executed. If your wife or daughters even glance at a man, you can deal with it as an honor killing rather than denouncing them as whores (the problem is solved far more immediately with less politics). Even though Islam doesn't refer to women as slaves and in fact prohibits enslaving fellow Muslims, the present Western definition of "slave" is a good definitive rule of thumb for the situation where women in Islam find themselves. Rape in Islam is all but impossible to prove. And since the culture is essentially misogynistic, women get the short end of the rope...unless you like dressing in a black tent in the middle of summer, in the desert.

Weapons are permissible in Islam (sort of a Super Second Amendment), but since manufacturing would suffer, eventually we'd be back to muskets (jazails) and swords (tulwars). Black powder is easily made from local materials and iron can be forged locally as well. I currently own both (flint and cap and ball) muskets and swords, so the transition would be minimal for me. Archery is another passion and with modern compound bows (that could be made with present knowledge and more primitive materials), I could keep the hobby. Other than praying five times daily, there's not all that much for the man to do besides honing martial skills, interpreting the word of God (see below) and 'expanding the population'.

The pastoral life of herding goats, for example, and shooting other Muslims who want to steal those goats comes to mind as I live in a tent with my tribe. I feel that if I was a Muslim that I'd be a mullah because you can interpret the Qur-an locally within some broad guidelines since the Qur-an is subject to a lot of interpretive leeway. The jirga/council would be comprised of my buddies, so we'd figure out how we wanted to roll and it would be ok. Guidance from Mecca would be slow in coming (carrier pigeon messages and wind powered ships would carry the word), so absent a directive from the other side of the planet, my word would be God's law. There are worse lives for a man like me who doesn't mind camping out, slaughtering the meat that he eats and bar-b-cueing it over a fire. Essentially true Islam as presently practiced (weeding out those moderates) would be like a long camping trip with a lot of female servants to do the heavy lifting. There are worse lives. I could get used to not having a cell phone, I like to ride horses and practice with weapons. I've never ridden a camel but why not? I'd have to learn falconry, but it would be an exciting challenge. Children can herd the domestic animals. I do the camping part now recreationally without the women part and it's not nearly as fun as it would be with women to gather firewood, cook the game that I killed and see to my every whim within the harem

That's how it works in Yemen, Iran and Afghanistan and it's how it would work in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates if you took away the oil money.

France's Expanding Role in Niger

Niger 322 Parachute Rgmt.
Niger is located east of Mali. There's a map (below) that will help you locate the country if you are presently unfamiliar with it. The US maintains an air base near Niamey that is used primarily as a drone and surveillance/special purpose aircraft facility.

Yesterday, Islamic militants executed coordinated attacks at two locations in Niger. In one attack, a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb at a French-Niger owned uranium mine in the town of Arlit. Simultaneously and 125 miles south, another bomber detonated a car bomb inside a military camp in the city of Agadez. Other jihadists in vehicles attempted to overrun the base, but were stopped by a firefight with Nigerian soldiers. The bombs killed 5 bombers, 25 people and injured 29, according to the Ministry of Defense. No expatriates were killed.

These were the first terrorist attacks of this kind in Niger. The two towns are in central Niger. Some of the facilities for processing uranium ore were damaged at Arlit. An affiliate of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, known as the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) claimed responsibility. They were also involved in the Mali fighting. Nigerien officials judge the fighters came from Libya. One said that Libyan instability is destabilizing the entire region. So much for US SECSTATE Hillary Clinton's view of Libya as the shining example of Arab Spring.

Niger is poor, it has poor infrastructure and has a small, poorly supported military that is not prepared to deal with an Islamic Jihad.

This attack will likely compel France to redeploy troops withdrawing from Mali to Niger. 

80 percent of France's energy comes from nuclear power. Niger is France's single most important supplier of uranium for its extensive nuclear and electric power industries.
2REP in Mali -- Packing for Niger?
(French Foreign Legion)
The Sahelian nations** and France will clearly need outside help if they are to hold their ground against the onslaught of fundamentalist Islam. While I don't see the US playing a major role within the foreseeable future, AFRICOM can offer assistance in a supporting role (surveillance, logistics, etc.) 
**Communauté des Etats Sahélo-Sahariens consists of 28 countries that occupy a free-trade area throughout northern and central Africa. Morocco is said to be the leader among equals in this organization.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

United States Code Title 26 - Reimagined

Today we see the head of an IRS Division standing on the Fifth Amendment before Congress because she has criminal liability for attacking the President's political enemies under the guise of USC 26. It's time to look at the tax code itself and to take away the ability for any president or potentate to wield it like a sword against political rivals.

The Internal Revenue Code of the United States of America (Title 26) is divided into 9834 sections. It's over ten times as long as the Bible (with none of the 'good news'). At nearly 4 million words, the U.S. tax law is so thick and complicated that businesses and individuals spend more than 6 billion hours a year complying with filing requirements, according to a report Wednesday by an independent government watchdog. Since 2001, Congress has made almost 5,000 changes to U.S. tax law. That's an average of more than one a day.

"If tax compliance were an industry, it would be one of the largest in the United States," says the report by Nina E. Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate.

Context and Precedence
According to the CCH Standard Tax Reporter, the U.S. tax code began with about 400 pages in 1913. Twenty-six years later there were still only 504 pages, but then it exploded to 8,200 pages by 1945. 
The tax code reached 60,000 pages in length before the end of the first term of President George W. Bush, and it reached to over 72,500 pages by the end of the third year of President Barack Obama’s first term of office. 
The total now exceeds 74,000 pages.
  • The Code is Too Complex.
  • The IRS expands like a feeding amoeba as Title 26 expands.
  • The Code feeds corruption. There are over 15,000 registered lobbyists in Washington DC. The majority are lobbying over changes to the tax code. $3.2 billion was spent on lobbying in 2008. The US Congressmen on the House Ways and Means Committee received $55,157,458 in donations during the 2008 election cycle.
  • The Code is often used to tax morality and marginalize success rather than simply to raise revenue.
What is the Solution?

A flat federal tax on income irrespective of how much you make with no provisions for mortgage interest, no earned income credit, no exemptions for having children or paying medical bills. Just a flat tax. You earned this -- you pay that. I realize that this would be unpopular for the 49% of Americans who currently pay no Federal Income Tax, or people who bought homes planning on deducting mortgage interest. Charitable deductions are no longer tax free. Married and unmarried pay the same amount. Capital gains are income. All income is taxed equally. Your taxes would be simple to calculate and predictable. Vast federal bureaucracies would be reduced to small entities (saving money and your peace of mind).

QUESTION: What about the poor?

Answer: They live in the country and should bear the financial responsibilities for running the country too. Much of the 74,000 pages of current tax code is dedicated to protecting the rich, who have armies of attorneys working on ways for them to pay less. (figures lie and liars figure) I believe that the poor would be better off with this sort of system that levels the playing field.

QUESTION: What about loopholes? 

Answer: A loophole is a tax break that doesn't benefit you. If there are no breaks for anything, there are no loopholes.

QUESTION: What should the tax rate be? 

Answer: How much does the country need to take in to pay its bills? If it's 20% then the flat tax would be 20%. ObamaCare: If the nation wants it, maybe their tax goes up by 10% so that the uninsured would have coverage... You'd really feel the Obama charity in your pocket book rather than having it hidden from view.

China charges its citizens 18%, for example.

Imagine a tax code under 100 pages in length. Imagine the disaster that would befall the vast armies of CPA's and tax attorneys who make their living on the 74,000 page tax code who would be forced into another line of work. Imagine all of the IRS employees who would have to go out and find a 'real job'.

...You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

It's simply the only way to fix the problem. 

Or do nothing. By the end of this decade, the Tax code will likely exceed 100,000 pages with the ObamaCare disaster requiring more and more "adjustments" to find the money necessary to pay for the nation's healthcare.

My Take on Immigration Reform

Issue One - Voting Integrity

The first thing that every single country in the world besides the US has done is to vet citizens and then to issue identification, usually referred to as a voting card. In order to vote, you must have a card. The card is stamped when you vote and it's good for about ten elections before you need to renew the card. Your photo and fingerprints are on the card.

In the past there has been considerable push-back on the concept of a national identity card, but there is no way to discern which people in this country are here legally and are citizens (and can vote) and those who are here legally and can't vote (permanent resident aliens, felons, etc) and those who are here illegally and can't vote. Either we accept massive voting fraud which presently exists, or we accept national or state voting cards. 
Felons, who by their actions have been deprived of their right to vote, need to have cards issued that identify them as felons. Therefore they have status in the US, but not the full rights of other citizens, such as the right to bear arms and vote.
Until the issue of citizenship and voting has been resolved, there can be no discussion of immigration reform. 

Issue Two - Secure Borders

US Borders are not secure and ANYONE who wants to cross the border and enter the US without documentation can do so. The Mexican Border is more secure in places than the Canadian Border, but both are essentially wide open. We have fewer Mexicans coming north these days because:
  • The birthrate in Mexico has declined sharply over the past decade and will continue to decline off into the future, tending to match the birthrate of other developed nations.
  • The Mexican economy is growing at about 8%. The US economy is growing at about 1-2%. (You read about the projections, but the actual growth has been very small)
Secure borders means that they're genuinely secure. No discussion of reform can be considered until an acceptable level of security has been ACHIEVED.

Issue Three - Amnesty

The DREAM Act must be repealed. I have a solution for the DREAM babies. They can serve in the US Military for four years and receive citizenship upon their honorable discharge. Qualified DREAM babies can be granted "legal immigrant status for the purpose of enlistment ONLY".
In order for a non-citizen to enlist in the military under normal circumstances, he/she must first be a legal immigrant (with a green card), permamently residing in the United States. It's important to note that the military cannot and will not assist in the immigration process. One must immigrate first, using normal immigration quotas and procedures, and -- once they've established an address in the United States -- they can find a recruiter's office and apply for enlistment. This is the only accommodation that I feel is reasonable under the circumstances.
Others living in the US need to return to their country of origin without exception.  This solves the issue of illegals receiving welfare or using any benefits within the US. Tack on whatever sanctions you think appropriate. With solid borders, we can send them over the border if they're caught in the country without permission and that's that.

Fancy Congressional Tapdancing 

The Congress has a way of passing one law and of having the Executive Branch of government whittle it away until the original intent of the legislation has been eclipsed. (Lifeline - to - ObamaPhone is but one example of this evolution) Given this dismal record of failure (road to hell is paved with good intentions), immigration reform can take the form of quotas based on country and qualifications in much the way that they are now with the exception of any nation or nations which have been judged hostile to the United States. 
  • No nationals of nations hostile to the United States will be granted permanent resident status (Syria, Chechnya, Iran, Syria, etc.) with the exception of those who seek asylum and have been adjudicated under the strictest standards available. This means that human parasites such as Obama's aunt Zetuni and others of that class will NOT be granted any asylum status. The exception would be where an agency of the US Government (State, CIA, DOJ, DOD, etc.) takes responsibility for them (i.e. defector programs).
  • Students applying for legal status within the US for the purpose of studying will scrutinized by intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies. Federal money must be paid to the local police department where the student will reside so that the police can watch them. That would indicate that a student would have to escrow funds with the US for their term of study. If they go 'off the reservation' or violate any law, the bounty would revert to the police and to the federal government - with a court overseeing the process. No more terrorists masquerading as students.
Too harsh?

I realize that the standard charges of racisim, islamophobia, etc. could be leveled against this plan. It is clearly not aimed at generating more "guest" voters for the Democratic Party.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sweet Lois

Lois Lerner, director of the IRS division that targeted conservative groups, left the House Government Oversight Committee hearing after invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refusing to answer questions about the IRS scandal.

IRS Division Chief Lois Learner
It's interesting that the Internal Revenue Service division chief who oversaw targeting of groups based on their political affiliation doesn't want to answer questions in a Congressional probe. The big questions remain:  
  • What is Learner hiding?
  • Who is Learner protecting? 
  • Who all of the other members of the IRS secret working group that she headed?
  • Who directed them to target conservatives for political reasons?
  • What other divisions in IRS received similar directives?
However, Learner is not working in that division of IRS anymore. She's now directing the IRS division that will manage and oversee ObamaCare. So you can rest assured that the healthcare that you receive under this massive government program will not be based in any way on your political affiliation (so long as you're a member of the Democratic Party).

Isn't it interesting how Barack Obama swept into office pledging to
unite all Americans?
Remember that IRS is a leading force in ObamaCare since the Supreme Court ruled that it is only lawful because it's a TAX.

The Muslim Next Door

Actual Incident:

Mohammad -the Muslim next door
About five days ago, a man identifying himself as "Mohammad" came to my door and told me that he was my rear neighbor - diagonally to the south. Apparently his back yard shares about 6' of fence with mine. 

When he came to the door, I answered it wearing my "God will judge my enemies, I'll arrange the meeting" with a viking on it -- t-shirt. I didn't put it on for Mohammad, I just wore it. I also wear my Crye Precision "GUNS KILL hippies" t-shirt around and my Molan Labe t-shirt.

Mohammad wanted to repair his side of the fence and wanted to notify me. I wasn't aware that there was anything wrong with the fence, but said, "go for it." Mohammed said that he would come by and give me legal papers to sign authorizing the work. I told him that I'd look at his papers, but that I didn't care what he did on his side of the fence. (There's usually a lot of annoying music coming from the place during Eid and Ramadan in general)
There is a mosque down the street and since it went in, the number of Muslims moving into the neighborhood has increased. Mohammad (not the prophet of the Qur'an - just to keep this in context - only a local Muslim with the same name) is apparently a recent arrival.
I live in a quiet neighborhood but there have been burglaries from vehicles in the area. The Police Department put a "bait car" on my street. Since my son-in-law is the Police Officer who patrols the area where I live, I'm usually kept up to speed.

I'm not particularly Islamophobic, but I am usually tactically aware. Two days ago, I left my house in the morning and noticed a man slouched behind the wheel of a car that I didn't recognize across the street from my house and north. I drove away, looped around and came up on the car on foot. 

Yeah, it was Mohammad, staked out on my house. I tapped the passenger side window with my left fist. The right fist was wrapped around pistol grips that Mohammad didn't see. Startled, he started the engine and drove away. 

Yesterday I saw the shifty Mohammad doing the same thing from a different angle, on the south side this time. As with the previous day, I simply jumped some fences of friendly neighbors and came up behind him, and tapped on his window with a tomahawk this time. Mohammad drove away. 

This morning, my immediate next-door neighbor to the north, a police sergeant from a city in the region where I live came by and said that Mohammad came by and knocked on his door, wanting advice as to how to approach the wicked infidel (that would be me) to get legal permission to work on the fence. The sergeant/neighbor suggested that Mohammad not %$#@ with me because I wash my hair in the blood of my enemies. He said that Mohammad reacted to that.
The sergeant/neighbor simply quoted me - because I have told ardent suitors chasing my four lovely daughters that if they screwed with my kids, I'd wash my hair in their blood. I don't use blood to wash my hair - just shampoo that I buy at the market. It's just a metaphor.
Apparently Mohammad called the police department and the area car went by to speak with him. Since that officer knows me personally, he confirmed what the sergeant/neighbor said and advised Mohammad to simply do what he needed to do on his side of the fence and leave me alone. The area car officer came by and let me know what was going on. I advised him that Mohammad has been Code 5 on my house and that those attentions were unwanted. He laughed and asked if I approached Mohammad's car holding one of my tomahawks (the local officers know that I'm fond of axes). I confirmed that it happened just the way that Mohammad described. The officer said, "Mohammad literally shat himself." I replied, "good".

So I don't know where it will go from here. Maybe Mohammad will call Obama. Maybe Mohammad will call CAIR. Maybe Mohammad will call the local mullah. Or maybe he'll simply repair the fence (that looks ok to me) on his side of the property line and will leave me alone.

Update --  In related news today, Muslims attack and hack a man to death in London as part of their jihad.

This happened in a street in London today. The victim didn't have a handgun to protect himself. Fortunately there is still a Second Amendment and a Bill of Rights in many (but clearly not all) US States.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hillary Clinton: Arms to al Qaeda?

Is Hillary Clinton the architect of an Arms to al Qaeda scheme? 
Is that what the Benghazi cover-up is all about?

Let's trace the problem with Libya from the revolution that ousted Muammar Gaddafi (infamous, now dead, Libyan dictator - pictured left). The United States wanted to support the Libyan freedom fighters who wanted Gaddafi gone because truth be told, not many people (anywhere) liked him. As with all dictators-for-life, you eventually out live your welcome. 

Hillary Clinton, eager to make her diplomatic mark on Libya and the Arab Spring, began to wage her own war under the aegis of the US State Department in the hopes of overthrowing the regime. Hillary wanted to be the President of the United States more than just about anything else. And in fact, she still does. She'd be the first female American President -- and she always thought that she deserved the job more than her husband, Bill.
Gaddafi's personal guard - "30 Virgins"

Clinton decided to go it alone in her efforts to undermine the Gaddafi regime because the Central Intelligence Agency didn't seem happy about the prospect of empowering or arming al Qaeda, who the President said was finished and Secretary Clinton dismissed.

Clearly Hillary, the wanna-be POTUS didn't want to put the message out that she was going to supply Stinger surface-to-air missiles to al Qaeda, so it was TOP SECRET. Both CIA and AFRICOM washed their hands of the State Department gambit to the extent possible.

Fast forward -- the war is over, Obama and Hillary take credit for a victory and claim that Libya is now on the side of the angels. Bad Policy and Weak Politicians...
(Atlas Shrugged - Geller) According to the diplomats, what these whistleblowers will say will be at least as explosive as what we have already learned about the scandal, including details about what really transpired in Benghazi that are potentially devastating to both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Secretary of State Clinton sent Ambassador Chris Stevens to an under-armed, virtually unprotected consulate in Benghazi on a TOP SECRET mission to buy the Stinger MANPADS back from al Qaeda. As Ambassador, Stevens was Clinton's man in Libya. To be fair, he spoke the language and was as familiar with Libyan culture as any USGOV employee then in Libya. He was not personally equipped to deal with al Qaeda. -- Hillary: What does it matter? Hillary Clinton still wanted to proceed because, in part, as one of the diplomats said, she wanted “to overthrow Gaddafi on the cheap.”

If General Ham (AFRICOM) became involved and sent in the military to support Stevens, it would draw attention to his secret negotiations to un-do the State Department's monumental ARMS to AL QAEDA blunder.

CIA Director/General Petraeus had a detailed knowledge of the State Department moves and felt that they were irresponsible, but chose to remain with the game. After the al Qaeda attack on the US State and CIA facilities in Benghazi, Secretary Clinton chose to have him removed through disclosing the scandal that we are familiar with -- a species of palace coup. Petraeus, no longer posed a threat to Secretary Clinton.
(PJ Media) Regarding General Ham, military contacts of the diplomats tell them that AFRICOM had Special Ops “assets in place that could have come to the aid of the Benghazi consulate immediately (not in six hours).” 
Ham was told by the White House not to send the aid to the trapped men, but Ham decided to disobey and did so anyway, whereupon the White House “called his deputy and had the deputy threaten to relieve Ham of his command.”

If the military responded to the attack in Benghazi, Secretary Clinton's "ARMS to AL QAEDA" program would have been disclosed to the public and the chance of her election to the "leader of the free world" slot would have been made much more difficult.

The two CIA protective officers (Wood and Dougherty) who responded to help Ambassador Stevens, and were killed, did so in direct violation of orders. It's possible that they weren't aware WHY Secretary Clinton didn't want to send aid.

Secretary Hillary Clinton had to come up with a reason why the US Consulate came under attack. The only thing that they managed to cobble together is the now completely discredited "Islamic video" that nobody saw. Yes, it was an absolute lie. In Clinton's scheming mind, a necessary lie to cover the truth that would torpedo her political future. What if the al Qaeda terrorists used one of the missiles provided to them by Hillary Clinton's State Department to down an American passenger aircraft?

(Virtual Mirage) What about Barack Obama? He's in his second term, planning his presidential monument/library. Benghazi had become a Hillary Clinton project.  When reporters such as Sharyl Attkisson (CBS) or James Rosen (Fox News) started digging too deeply, the Justice Department was turned loose to hack their computers and target their telephones as "co-conspirators to leaks" because whistle blowers began to come forward and share what they knew about Benghazi. Let's face it, the ARMS TO AL QAEDA - Clinton nexus was classified TOP SECRET. Any leaks would be subject to prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.

Investigating Leaks (AP Scandal)

It's not just a scandal targeting the Associated Press, CBS News (Sharyl Attkisson) and Fox News, because we don't know how far that the Obama Administration has gone in issuing grand jury subpoenas for telephone records, hacking computers and looking for damning e-mails.

It's a First Amendment issue.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (First Amendment to the US Constitution)

In the past, when the US Department of Justice wanted information from a news gathering organization, they went to the press, and told them what they were hunting for. Both sides ended up in court and a judged decided on the scope allowed for the probe. The press does understand that there is a need for balance in these things and that the First Amendment doesn't authorize them to go "hog wild". 

Today, that process is completely circumvented and the press is concerned about its ability to report the news. Former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs says that Team Obama needs to explain what they're doing.

Team Obama will engage in their typical behavior, circling the wagons, obfuscation, denial, deflection, casting blame and telling everyone, "we don't know". 
  • Admit Nothing
  • Deny Everything
  • Demand Proof
  • Make Counter-allegations
  • Denounce Someone Else (find a scapegoat)
In my opinion (for what it's worth), the Patriot Act wasn't necessary. It provided a short cut for solid investigation. There wasn't anything in the Patriot Act that couldn't be accomplished through pre-Patriot Act investigations. It simply allowed people to do things without the sort of oversight that they had in the past. That's not usually a good thing.

If you want to find a leak, it's not all that difficult. Trust me. If you want to work with the press instead of against the press, they are usually quite reasonable. I've personally spoken with a lot of very good reporters and Mike Wallace did a story where I appeared that was featured on CBS Sixty Minutes. CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who I've personally spoken with, is one of the best in the business today. There are goof-balls like Chris Matthews that give journalism a bad name, but most of the people in the business are not like that.

Finding the truth:
(News Busters) SHARYL ATTKISSON: I think one of the things that working in Washington has aggravated me when trying to get to the truth. This is true across administrations, whether they’re Democrats or Republicans. They seem to have lost sight of the fact that they work for us, not the other way around. And I think we the public are owed a lot of information, collected and gathered on our behalf, such as information floating around about Benghazi. And it’s guarded by the holders and the keepers of the information, as if they somehow own it and hold the privilege over you that you can’t see it. 
For example, Freedom of Information requests that I’ve made. That act has now been used, instead of to facilitate the release of public information, which was its intention – it’s now in my opinion been used to withhold and delay the release of public information. I get pretty much zero response. That didn’t start under the Obama administration. He seems to have perfected it, he and the federal agencies. But this was true also under George Bush. It’s very difficult to get public information, even when you apply the Freedom of Information law.
ATTKISSON: Who made the decision not to convene the Counter-terrorism Security group the night of the Benghazi attacks, which we understand is protocol under presidential directive in SPD-46. Why was the protocol not followed? I’ve gotten a partial answer to that from the White House before they quit talking to me altogether. They said they felt it wasn’t needed, that all the proper advisors on counter-terrorism were in the mix.
Attkisson (CBS News) as a target

“I can confirm that an intrusion of my computers has been under some investigation on my end for some months but I’m not prepared to make an allegation against a specific entity today as I’ve been patient and methodical about this matter,” Attkisson told POLITICO on Tuesday. “I need to check with my attorney and CBS to get their recommendations on info we make public.”
It's difficult to find the truth and hold government accountable if the press is not in the mix. 

President Obama should be happy with the IRS Scandal, the AP Scandal and the way that the Benghazi Scandal has unfolded. They've completely distracted the nation from Fast and Furious, the ObamaCare train wreck, prematurely giving a lawyer to the Boston Marathon Bomber and his support for post birth abortions.