Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Bar is Set Too High, in Virginia, and Arkansas

 Trouble with Numbers: Perry falls short in Virginia

Texas Governor Rick Perry and Former Speaker Newt Gingrich have failed to qualify for the ballot in the GOP Presidential Primary in the state of Virginia.  GOP voters in that state will be limited to Former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney or Congressman Dr. Ron Paul.

Requirements for ballot access were pretty stiff in the Old Dominion.   The primary requirement was 10,000 authentic voter signatures.    Incidentally, that is also where the bar is set in Arkansas for a new political party to get ballot access, or an independent running for statewide office to get ballot access.

Many Republican members of the state legislature signed a letter supporting Perry in his Presidential run.  That included Kim Hammer, who sponsored a bill making it even harder for new parties to get ballot access than it was previously.

So I have to ask them, if your own Presidential candidate, who has raised about $20 million and is Governor of a gigantic state, can't meet the 10K bar in a huge state like Virginia, then how is it fair that you guys are for imposing that hurdle on independents running for state wide office or third parties seeking ballot access in Arkansas?   Please spare us any complaints about how the requirements in Virgina are too burdensome until you ease those same requirements on the folks here at home.  More and more of us are not satisfied with the representation we are getting from either of the DC-run political clubs that have jointly led this nation to impending ruin.

There are no problems with more voter choice that can't be solved with instant run off voting.  In fact, the alleged "problems" with more voter choice are really just artifacts of the flawed "first past the post" method of determining election winners.    Funny how the parties don't use first past the post in their own party primaries, nor when electing their own officers, but impose it on the rest of us for all offices above the county level.

Details on Republican Cave

 Republican Congressmen: Cave men on the run.

Thanks to the Kellers for finding this report on the Republican cave on the payroll tax.  This thing has been incorrectly reported by a complicit state-controlled media as a conflict between a two month tax cut and a year-long tax cut.   That is a part of it, but the Obama plan raises taxes in other areas to offset the "cut".  Here are the lurid details of how the GOP has failed America again.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Highway Commission Fails to Meet Commitment

It is not often I link to an Arkansas Times story without editorializing against it.   I think you ought to see this one though.

Controversy Erupted After AR Teacher Ordered to Remove Nativity Scene

Actual picture of nativity scene ordered removed

Nativity Scene in NE Arkansas School Was Put Back Up

"After receiving several phone calls regarding a bulletin board at Greene County Tech Primary School that had been decorated with a nativity scene, school district superintendent Jerry Noble decided to allow the board to once again be decorated with the nativity scene. School counselor Kay Williams had originally displayed the nativity scene on Nov. 29 but was ordered to remove the decoration after the school received a complaint from a citizen. However, Noble said after receiving numerous phone calls supporting the nativity scene, he decided to allow Williams to return it to the bulletin board."

“I think it’s due to the fact that most of us are Christians and this is a Christian community,” Noble said “We just decided if we are going to offend someone, we would rather not offend those who have Christian beliefs. The majority of people wanted us to take a stand and that’s what we’re doing.” See entire article at this link. The article noted that the superintendent had no contact information for those complaining about the bulletin board. In other words they were anonymous.

Information in the article also says the newspaper, the Daily Press, was provided "with several memos from the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a legal alliance that defends religious liberty, that cited several legal precedents where courts had ruled the display of nativity scenes in public schools did not violate the Establishment Clause." The superintendent had originally acted on the school attorney's advice.

I seriously doubt that this issue is over. With all the publicity, ACLU may still file a suit. If you have not already, please contact the superintendent, the principal and Kay Williams to help in this controversy. As far as I know, the superintendent was courteous to Kay. For those who don't like to send negative messages, this is your chance to send a Thank you message to the superintendent for allowing Kay to put the nativity scene back up - and still serve the same purpose - that the community wants the nativity scene up. These emails were obtained online. Superintendent Jerry Noble (If you ever need other superintendent or principal emails you can find them at this Ms Sherry Vance who was very ugly when commanding Kay to take down the nativity scene bulletin board and sent her home from school even without the proper discipline procedures. Kay Williams, the counselor who had the courage to put up the nativity scene bulletin board and risk her job by being honest with the reporter to get this information out.

Following is the link to the original story I sent out on this controversy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Economic Recovery Cannot Begin Without Ending the Present Financial System

The giant vampire squid, a coin termed by Matt Taibbi for the worst of the parasites

At the recent debate I was amused to hear most of the Republican candidates talk about their plans for turning the economy around and "creating jobs."   Government of course can't really create jobs, it can only produce an environment where those who can are rewarded for their risk-taking.   In that environment, more such individuals decide to take the risk, and if they are good enough, wealth is created.   
But their answers involved things like lower marginal tax rates and reducing regulation and start up costs.  Those are all good things, and in the absence of our larger problem would probably help.    But every proposal I heard failed to address the real problem, except of course Dr. Paul comments which hinted at the truth.
America's economy may have some health problems, but its bigger problem is that the large financial sector has become a parasite sucking the economic life from this nation and its people.   Taking measures at the margins to  make sure the patient is otherwise as healthy as possible considering that they have a giant parasite sucking the life blood out of them won't solve the underlying problem.   All it will do is provide maximized sustenance to the parasite for a bit longer before the host succumbs.
Put another way, suppose we worked hard and earned money but could not get ahead because the bank would steal a bit from our paycheck each week when we deposited it.   It was small amounts at first, but each paycheck the amount pilfered grew. At first we cut back on luxuries.   Finally, we were having trouble paying our bills and making ends meet.  All of our neighbors were too, because they were also losing money.  It caused a general business slowdown that cost some people their jobs.  At that point, these politicians come along and suggest that if only we could work more efficiently and have lower taxes (while they spend the same) then our troubles would be solved.  
But they would not be solved, because our problem was not mostly the efficiency of our work.  It wasn't even that taxes were too high, though they are.   Rather, it was that the bank was taking more and more of our earnings each week.   Getting our hands on more money won't help, because it will just give them more to steal.   The issue is the behavior of the banks, but the politicians won't go there.
When Paul said we needed to "liquidate the bad debt" he is referring to the trillions in bad bets that the big banks have on their books- or at least had.  By slight of hand they have loaded much of the bad debt onto our books in exchange for loans against their "collateral" of toxic "assets".    Its all this debt overhanging the economy that is holding us down.   It's the banks taking an ever larger slice of our economy and tying it up in these bad debts that keeps us from getting up.  
They want to gamble on various financial instruments, and when they win they keep the money.   When they lose, they want their buddies at the fed to give them a loan against the losing bet just as if it were a bet that could still win.   Then they take that money and go gamble again.  Rinse and repeat.     And as long as they have all this financial paper to bet on, why bother with the traditional business of consumer or business loans?   The no-lose casino is a lot more profitable.  
Meanwhile, the rest of the economy is overloaded with debt and traditional credit is shrinking.  The vast sums being created by the fed to loan to their friends is staying in a tight little circle out of the Main Street Economy.   When they have made enough churning their paper, and we are hungry enough, the banksters will take all the money they made and buy us out for pennies on the dollar.
The problem will never be solved, and the recovery will never come, by fiddling with deregulation or tax incentives.   Our economy has a giant parasite sucking the life out of us.  Until we deal with it, as painful as dealing with it may be, it will be impossible to get out of this morass.   Any increase in real wealth we manage to generate will be quickly vacuumed up by the vampire squid.   
Paul is right.  We have to close down the bank's casino.   We have to quit loaning them money on these assets and let the market find their true value.   That may mean some of these "assets" sell for big losses compared to their book value.       That's what Paul means when he says "we have to liquidate the bad debt."  If that happens big enough, yes the banks will be insolvent.   And yes, that will be painful, like the pain one feels when ripping a well-entrenched parasite off your body.   But its the only solution, and every day we wait will only make it worse.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

9/11 Was the Excuse to Implement Already Laid Plains

Re-posted by request from ZeroHedge.

Everything Happening Now Was Planned Before 9/11
Special preface to my friends in the military, law enforcement and intelligence and other government servants: You are sworn to defend and uphold the Constitution, and the facts below may help you do so.
We’ve been told that "9/11 changed everything" and that we're living in "a post-911 world".
We've been told that what our government is doing now has been rendered necessary by the urgent post-9/11 threat from terrorists.
In reality, however, virtually everything happening now was planned before 9/11. Please see for yourself:
  • The Patriot Act was planned before 9/11 (and see this). Indeed, former Counter Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke told Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig:
After 9/11 the government drew up the Patriot Act within 20 days and it was passed.
The Patriot Act is huge and I remember someone asking a Justice Department official how did they write such a large statute so quickly, and of course the answer was that it has been sitting in the drawers of the Justice Department for the last 20 years waiting for the event where they would pull it out.
(4:30 into this video).
  • The Afghanistan war was planned before 9/11 (see this and this)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Open Carry Laws Have Arkansas Judicial Precedent

"To prohibit a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm . . . is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of a constitutional privilege."
-- Arkansas Supreme Court, 1878

Friday, December 09, 2011

A New Need for Older People

In some cultures, the concept of village elders never went away.

The concept of the village elder may make a comeback- if we are lucky.  They served as repositories of knowledge in areas where knowledge was in short supply.   Village elders mostly went away in Western societies once the great bulk of people learned to read.   People did not need the elder as a depository of knowledge, they used books for that purpose.  In fact books often gave better advice that the village elder, because they were the words of the wisest elder in the nation on that given subject.

Information continues to explode.  Now we have TV, cable, radio, internet.  But while our culture has gained the means to distribute information, it has lost a coherent world view and to a large extent respect for truth.  The variety of voices has turned into a cacophony of noise.   But an information overload can produce some of the same problems that a dearth of information produces, especially when the information is contradictory.

In this post-modern age we know that people lie, corporations lie, governments lie, and the mass media which is run by the previous three can't be trusted any more than they can.  Young people are swept up in a flood of conflicting information.  Since this deception and confusion has been going on for many years, many young people have parents who are not a reliable source for wisdom.

How can they sort it all out?  I think the answer lies in a somewhat of a comeback for the idea of a village elder.    For most of us, if we think about it, there will be a person in our community who has lived a long time in a manner we can respect.   There will be someone who has successfully navigated through the lies and mis-information of the post modern age.   Like the village elders of old, they are a repository of knowledge, and many would be wise to seek out their council.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Republican State Legislators Hold the Line On Obamacare

 ***************UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE *****************

OK, so it looks like I was wrong about being wrong.   The Republicans in the legislature DID get taken, and it DID turn out the way I warned them it would.  My original reason I thought I was wrong, was that they put out a press release crowing about how they stopped the exchange.   Well, it turns out they have done no such thing.   I am leaving this article up as proof that I do admit it when I think I am wrong, and I do compliment the Republican legislators when I think they get it right.  Disregard the content of this article otherwise.  
I don't hesitate to rebuke elected officials from the Republican party who betray the people who elected them, so I would be unfair of me to fail to make mention of a shining example of Republican legislators who successfully accomplished the will of the voters despite pressure and opportunities to cave.

I am talking about whether or not Arkansas would set up a "state exchange" for Obamacare in Arkansas.   It now appears that those efforts are dead.   I have to admit, when Arkansas Republicans voted to pass the funding bill for the state's insurance department with only a few restrictions on the ability to go forward setting up the exchange, I expressed that they had been "taken."  Well, it turns out they threaded the needle between funding a state agency and resisting Obamacare pretty well.

Oh, Beebe and Bradford tried to "take" them all right.   They tried to go ahead and find ways to proceed with the exchange, but they had a problem: people hate the idea.    Even though, when you look at the language of what passed, the Democrats could have steam-rolled the Republicans and set up the exchanges without their approval, the political result of doing that would have been toxic.  So much so that Beebe and Bradford were "stoneally challenged" on the issue.

It helped that the courts are not going along with Obamacare.   If Beebe and the Democrats had pushed ahead without "cover"  it would have assured that the state house will flip to the Republicans in next year's elections.   That might happen anyway because of both the national Democratic party and because population changes were so favorable to Republicans that not even Beebe's redistricting shenanigans could make the new lines as good for Democrats as the old ones were.

Though Beebe and Bradford tried everything the could to lure some Republicans into giving some sort of "permission" to go ahead with the exchange, the Republicans stayed disciplined and did not take the bait.  There was no way the state's Democrats wanted  this one hung on them.  If they could not find at least a few Republican stooges to point to as part of a claim that it was "bipartisan" then they were not going to push it.

That left the left grousing that Arkansas would "lose money" by not pursuing "grants" to set up the exchanges and that we would just wind up with the feds doing it over us anyway.    That's one of the things I like best about this story.   It's way past time legislators learned to say "no" to "free money" from the Federal Government.  We should probably say "no" to a lot more of it.   The people who design these incentives are not dumb, just unwise, and evil.   They know how to leverage a little bit of upfront money or co-payments into permanent, massive, and costly new bureaucratic agencies to force on the population things they don't want.

We need to have a policy of "rational de-linkage" on some of these federal incentives.  Don't take the money!   Chasing federal dollars, especially dollars that require you to spend more dollars and give up more control, is a fool's policy going forward.   Relying on the most indebted entity in human history for funding is probably not a good long-range business plan.   Let's hope this is the first step in one that makes more sense.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Military Industrial Complex Looks to Grow Domestic Market

Two time medal of honor winner General Smedley Butler wrote "War is a Racket"  You can support the troops by reading some of it.

The Military Industrial Complex has made a lot of money in the war in Iraq.  It has cost about eight million dollars per Iraqi killed (many of whom were non-combatants).  If the goal of the war was to kill terrorists, it has been a costly failure.  But maybe that was not the real purpose of the war. From the MI Complex's view, the point of the war is not to kill people, its to make the Military Industrial Complex money.   The point is to transfer wealth from the taxpayers into the pockets of the MI Complex.

By that standard the Iraq "war" is an overwhelming success.  Killing a few hundred thousand Iraqis and a few thousand Americans was simply an unfortunate by-product of all the motions they had to go through to get one trillion dollars from your pockets to theirs.   That's why I and others call it a "zombie war".  So what if the lifetime earnings of 50 Americans was consumed for each "enemy" casualty inflicted?  Low numbers of enemy killed per dollar spent was not a problem, because the killings were the excuse, not the point.

All this time we never really got a clear idea of what the goal of the war in Iraq was.  It now looks like the goal of the war was to make the MI Complex money.   Gee.  Why didn't they just say so?

But looking forward, the MI Complex is bumping up against an export growth problem.  We are already everywhere.  The United States has sent so many armed forces to so many parts of the world that the MI Complex does not have good long term growth prospects.   I mean sure, they are trying to engineer a war with Syria and Iran, but that is very near term.  What is their business plan for how they are going to continue to grow their sales five and ten years down the road?  When you are that big, you have to take the long view.

I believe they have hit on a solution that they are in the initial stages of right now: grow the domestic market of the MI Complex by transforming the United States into a militarized police state.  They have invaded the world, now they will invade us.   All that spending here can be used to make us "safer", and poorer, by transferring additional trillions of dollars from our pockets to theirs.   It has the added advantage of having body guards in place for the ruling class, who by now realize that they have crashed the economy.

The MI Complexes' new job won't be to fight them over there so we won't have to fight them over here.    Instead, they will be over here, in our streets,  protecting the master criminals in the ruling class from the peasants rioting once they realize how badly they and their children have been looted.   No longer will we have a chicken in every pot, our chickens and perhaps even our pots, will have to be sold to pay for the check points at every corner.  But it is a sacrifice we will have to make, or face arrest.

This explains why the senate was so anxious to pass a defense authorization bill which contains provisions that will make the 4th amendment null and void.  They are laying the legal (but not constitutional) groundwork to do for the "Homeland" what they have done abroad.   If they are very efficient in the process of transforming American into a permanent militarized police state they can have their perfect "zombie war."   They will make trillions of dollars outfitting troops to run this way and that, search here and there, break down a few million doors, stash "traitors" in "detention camps".  All that activity and maybe very few will get killed.  Like I said, the perfect zombie war.   I think you are gonna love it, or face arrest.

Truth on Citizen Detentions s. 1867 sec 1031

Does the recently passed Defense Authorization Bill allow the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial by our military?  Why, yes it does, all mis-information from politicians like Sen. John Boozman notwithstanding.   Unlike the politicians of both parties who are trying to conceal from you the fact that they have just voted to repeal your 4th amendment rights, I am going to show the full text of the two relevant sections of the bill so you can get everything in context.

Look at that first section highlighted in red.

 A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or..."

 Notice how vague it is.  What does "substantial" support for forces "associated" with al-Quaeda or the Taliban mean?   How is it determined that this standard is met?  The answer can only be that the President alone determines who is "substantially" supporting a group that he alone can determine is "associated" with "al-Quaeda or the Taliban".   Is blogging that America should get out of Afghanistan giving "substantial" support to the Taliban?  Is passing on Taliban claims about massacres committed by American forces providing such support?  Is organizing protests against the policies of "the Commander and Chief" a "belligerent act"?     If the President says so, it could be under this act.  That's the whole point.  The executive branch alone gets to decide which citizens might be detained indefinitely.

There are no checks and balances.  There is no judicial oversight.  You don't get a lawyer and it does not matter if the government makes a mistake.   All the President has to do to make you go away is say that he decided you were giving substantial support to a group associated with the Taliban.  He does not have to present any evidence to that effect, he does not need any evidence to that effect.  These powers are dictatorial in nature.

The CIA and the military itself provided substantial support (as in weapons and information) to both Al-Quaeda and the Taliban back in the 1990s when the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan.

There have been some attempts to claim that the detention powers are not indefinite.   They point to the fig leaf that says (second part in red below) those detained will be held "until the end of hostilities."    Please.   This is a forever war.  They want it to be a forever war.   It's a war against a tactic and a shadow.   Its designed to be perpetual.   It has been said that war is the health of the state.  "The end of hostilities" is the same as indefinite, unless one of them wants to give us a definite date as to when the hostilities referred to will end, or even what criteria they will use to say that the war on "terror" has been "won" and they can rescind the Authorization to Use Military Force.

I have seen a couple of politicians use the excuse that "the bill does nothing to expand the existing powers of the President."  That's the third section in red below.    These claims are without value, except for their value to fool you into thinking they have not stolen your rights away.  This is an environment where the President has already assumed the power to assassinate American citizens without trial, including a 16 year old whose only crime seems to be that he had the wrong father.  How much more "expanding" does he need?  The President himself gets to determine what his powers are to detain under this bill!  And note that the provision they are citing says that this bill does nothing to LIMIT his powers either!  So just because they have only explicitly granted him the power to detain you indefinitely without trial does not mean that he doesn't also have the authority (in their twisted minds) to assassinate you!

I have included section 1032 in this piece because it is an illustration of just how deceptive and tricky these oath-breakers are (including Boozman).  The claim is that American citizens will still get a trial because of section 1032.  The truth is section 1032 just says that the military is not REQUIRED to detain citizens indefinitely, but they are still ALLOWED to do so under section 1031.

One last note, Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky, one of the few good ones in there, cleverly defeated an amendment that would have specified that the President has the power to detain American citizens as "terrorists suspects" indefinitely even in cases where a jury trial has acquitted them!  This tyrannical amendment was being rushed through by the leadership on both sides by voice vote.  When Paul insisted on a roll call vote, even those trying to rush it through voted against it!   While I am glad that amendment went down, its the main bill itself that is troubling, so defeating an amendment to that bill that would have made it even worse does not undo the original problems.

The text of the relevant sections follows.........................................


(a) In General – Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.
(b) Covered Persons – A covered person under this section is any person as follow:
(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
(2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.
(c) Disposition Under Law of War – The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
(2) Trial under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code (as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (title XVIII of Public Law 111-84)).
(3) Transfer for trial by an alternative court or competent tribunal having lawful jurisdiction.
(4) Transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.
(d) Construction- Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
(e) Requirement for Briefings of Congress – The Secretary of Defense shall regularly brief Congress regarding the application of the authority described in this section, including the organizations, entities, and individuals considered to be ‘covered persons’ for purposes of subsection (b)(2).


(a) Custody Pending Disposition Under Law of War -
(1) IN GENERAL – Except as provided in paragraph (4), the Armed Forces of the United States shall hold a person described in paragraph (2) who is captured in the course of hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) in military custody pending disposition under the law of war.
(2) COVERED PERSONS – The requirement in paragraph (1) shall apply to any person whose detention is authorized under section 1031who is determined–
(A) to be a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force that acts in coordination with or pursuant to the direction of al-Qaeda; and
(B) to have participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United Statesor its coalition partners.
(3) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR – For purposes of this subsection, the disposition of a person under the law of war has the meaning given in section 1031(c), except that no transfer otherwise described in paragraph (4) of that seciton shall be made unless consistent with the requirements of section 1033.
(4) WAIVER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY – The Secretary of Defense may, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, waive the requirement of paragraph (1) if the Secretary submits to Congress a certification in writing that such a waiver is in the national security of the United States.
(b) Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens -
(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS – The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.
(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS – The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Jon Stewart Explains Bankster Bailout..

....with a clarity that is lacking in the regular media.  Funny, and infuriating.