Friday, June 29, 2012

USSC Refuses Stay, 9th Circuit Supports Voter Fraud

Several weeks ago, Arizona won on many provisions of Proposition 200, a state voter integrity law. However, one key provision of the law was qualified and restricted by the 9th Circuit Court. The 9th Appellate upheld the ruling on that one provision.

Arizona Secretary Of State Ken Bennett issued this official statement on June 28, 2012:

 Supreme Court Rejects Stay

Phoenix, AZ -The United States Supreme Court has denied Arizona's request for a stay from the 9th Circuit Court's ruling that federal voter-registration law supersedes Arizona's voter registration requirements. Arizona filed the request in advance of the forthcoming appeal to the ruling in which the 9th Circuit struck down Arizona's requirement that residents provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote on the federal form.

The court fight stems back to 2004 when Arizona voters passed Proposition 200 which would help ensure that only US citizens vote in elections.

Those registering to vote in Arizona are required to prove citizenship by providing one of the following documents: a driver's license, passport, birth certificate, tribal identification or naturalization certification number. Voters seeking to register online must provide a driver's license number, where eligibility is verified through Arizona’s motor vehicle system.

"Today’s disappointing action by the Supreme Court seemingly flies in the face of the text of the NVRA which uses the term 'citizen' repeatedly," said Secretary of State Ken Bennett. "Arizonans clearly believe that people should provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote."

"There isn’t a corner of this state where people are not concerned with voter fraud and opposition to the simple act of providing proof that you are legally eligible to participate in our elections is hard to fathom. We look forward to the day when we'll make our case for fair and fraud free elections to the Supreme Court. Until then, we await the mandate from the 9th Circuit and will be working with the 15 counties as to a practical application."

The law requires voters to present valid identification at polling places in order to cast a ballot.

The law, however, does little to prevent absentee ballot fraud or Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL) fraud. Those ballots are cast via the mail or courier, usually in advance of the actual election date. However, voter fraud and perjury statutes apply to those ballots if deemed in violation. Anybody casting a PEVL ballot can be called to testify, in person, they cast that ballot. they can also be compelled by Arizona courts to demonstrate they are eligible to cast that ballot, if it should come into question.

To a law-abiding citizen, that makes sense and should not be a questionable issue. If you are doing the right thing, you have nothing to worry about.

The law also included provisions for providing proof of residency, eligibility, and citizenship when registering to vote. Those provisions are already in place when registering through the "Motor-Voter" act of 1993. Many other rights protected by both the US Constitution and the State of Arizona also require valid identification. The US Second Amendment is one such example. Arizona law requires a valid, government-issued ID card in order to carry a firearm. If you are an Arizona Resident (and a US Citizen), a state ID or Driver's License serves that purpose.

In the Supreme Court Decision Bush v Gore in 2001, the USSC determined that there is no constitutional right to vote in presidential elections. In fact, there are no provisions for a "right to vote" in the US Constitution at all. The US Constitution dictates that voter eligibility is determined by the sovereign states. Those determinations are restricted by several amendments in the US Constitution. However, within those parameters, the states determine who can vote in their states. Those parameters are dictated by the 14th Amendment, the 15th Amendment (no restrictions for race or condition of servitude), the 17th Amendment (changes election of senators to a popular vote), The 19th Amendment (no restrictions due to gender), the 24th Amendment (prohibition of poll taxes), and  the 26th Amendment (minimum voting age set at 18).

However, the 9th Circuit Court stated  that Arizona cannot mandate proof of citizenship in order to register for federal elections, especially when using the federal voter registration form in lieu of the state registration form. This means that if somebody wants to fraudulently register, they just use the federal form instead of the state one. Under the decision, Arizona State election officials cannot ask for proof of citizenship. The court stated that by signing the self-verification affidavit on the federal form, they fall under federal perjury statutes. They claim that is enough to prevent voter fraud.

Please stop laughing. This is serious.

The "Motor-Voter" Act of 1993, further bolstered by the HAVA of 2002 (both of which Eric Holder violated in his attempt to stop Florida from cleaning voter rolls) mandate that the states complete audits of voter rolls removing ineligible voters no later than 90 days prior to an election. Ineligible voters are felons of a certain classification or higher (as deemed by state law), deceased, and non-residents. Read that last classification again. Non-residents are not eligible to vote. This is meant to keep people from voting from multiple states. If you move from Illinois to Arizona, you cannot vote in both states. You have to claim one as your legal residency. However, illegal immigrants are NOT legal residents of ANY state, as they are not legal residents of the US.

So, the 9th Circuit Court has ruled to impede Arizona from effectively auditing and maintaining a lawful voter registration roll. They are mandated to purge the rolls of non-residents, but are prohibited from verifying citizenship at the time of registration, if the registrant utilizes the federal registration form.

Proposition 200 does not prevent any lawfully eligible voter from registering and voting. In fact, it protects the votes of those eligible by insuring their ballots are not devalued by fraudulent ballots and registrations. 

Arizona requested a stay of this ruling from the USSC pending a USSC ruling on the case. The 9th court of Appeals already stated the rest of the law is constitutional. The USSC denied that stay, leaving open the opportunity for fraudulent voter registration and voter fraud.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Socialism Is Good, or Really Not That Bad

The title comes from a phrase the extreme left-leaning Marxist acquaintance typed on his Facebook timeline. Of course, he did so in response to my presentation of facts that proved his opinions baseless and unfounded. His idea of presenting facts in rebuttal was to cite rhetoric from Op-Eds that contained no data, just emotive verbiage. He then threatened me, resorted to using expletives and name calling, then deleting my comments and blocking me. [Notice, my life doesn't revolve around who "friends" me on Facebook.]

After doing so, he continued the usual type of "new tone" conduct you'd expect from those who debate in such a manner. He referred to me as "ultra-conservative". Most people who know me will state that I lean libertarian on many issues. I prefer the label of "Alt-Con" for the most part. However, the last party card I held said "US Libertarian Party" on it. Of note, since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, I am no longer apart of any party, though I am registered "Republican" on the voter rolls in Arizona. He also referred to stating facts as being part of some "conspiracy theory crowd". This from a guy who holds to outdated and limited data on global warming to justify his empathy towards climate-change Chicken Little impersonators. However, according to him, any facts, history, mathematics, economic formulas, and hard, empirical data are "conspiracy theory".

That exchange, due to which I am still chuckling, prompted this little essay.

Socialism has worked very well, hasn't it? It really can be a good thing, right?

Let's take a brief look at history.

Germany from the late 1930s through 1945 was a socialist country under Adolph Hitler. 11 million people were murdered. The German Economy still collapsed. The Mark was hyper-inflated by the end of the war making even a loaf of bread a costly commodity. Sure, socialism worked well, there. The facts demonstrate it didn't.

The story of Italian Fascism during the same time period is much the same.

The USSR lasted about 75 years. By the time it dissolved, the unemployment rate had remained in double digits for decades. McDonald's had finally opened a franchise in Moscow. The price of a single Big Mac was more than a day's wages. If you didn't join "the party", you were lucky to have a job from day to day. People fled in droves (or were killed in the attempt). I was in Berlin when the wall fell. I was there for German Reunification day. The infrastructure and standard of living in East Berlin was so low it was disgraceful. The only reasons they didn't have open rebellions were that the people were denied weapons and they were malnourished. The people who thrived were those among the organized crime syndicates. Most of them were also members of "the party" and had government jobs as well. Those are facts.

The former Yugoslavia is a great example of socialism. Tito ruled with absolute tyranny. After he died, the country fell into civil war, breaking into several countries. They still have ethnic violence there. The countries on the map today are Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Croatia. Radovan Karadzic and Slobodan Milosevic went on campaigns of genocide. Rad is still pending trial on 10 of 11 separate counts. Yes, I served in the Balkans at the height of the violence and saw it first-hand. Isn't socialism grand? 

North Korea is a wonderful example of socialism and its benevolence. The people are starving. Unemployment is in the double digits. People had guns pointed at their heads as they were ordered to cry over Kim Jong-Il or die (or have their kids killed) for treason. Sure, socialism is benevolent and works well there too.

Vietnam has transitioned to a more capitalist system. When the NVA took Saigon, thousands of refugees jumped into boats and headed to Australia, Thailand, and the US. People flee from tyranny, not liberty. Socialism worked well there, too.

Greece! Greece is the historic birthplace of "one citizen, one vote" democracy. The country's socialist programs have failed and the country is bankrupt. Socialism worked well there, didn't it?

Iraq under Saddam Hussein was a form of National Socialism. To own a business, a citizen had to have two forms of permission. First he had to have the blessings of his tribal sheik (whom he usually had to pay tribute) and from the government. If Saddam or his bratlings, Uday and Qusay, didn't like the sheik, the business stood a much lower chance of being allowed. Saddam was the ultimate collectivist. He administrated everything based upon tribe and how well the sheiks kissed his behind. Even that didn't always matter as he'd take a good rump-licking, defecate on the sheik, then still say "no, I don't feel like it". Granted, much of the tribal violence was reduced under Saddam. That was because he ruled with terror, not leadership. I watched capitalism rebuild in that country from the days of the initial invasion through my last tour (ended in 2010). People took control of their own businesses. It seemed the majority of them were doing very well when I left. I remember the street vendors who started businesses, without government interference, right after Baghdad fell. But, the restrictions and whims of the socialist regime under Saddam's Ba'ath Party were so loved by the majority of the Iraqi citizens. Socialism under that tyrant was wonderful.

Now let's look at socialism at home. First, economists have studied the impacts of FDR's "New Deal". Economic models based upon a couple of centuries of data indicate that the "New Deal" extended the recovery from the great depression. If the market had been allowed to self-recover, some studies indicate it would have been corrected in less than 4 years. However, the "New Deal" extended the recovery from 1932 until well after World War II. Socialist policies worked great, didn't they? They took over a decade to accomplish what free-market capitalism most likely would have done in far less time. UCLA states the recovery took more than 15 years, a minimum of 7 years longer than a self-correcting cyclical free-market (Adam Smith style) capitalist system would have. Wall Street Journal economist Andrew Wilson wrote this great study about many misconceptions regarding the "New Deal" and the Great Depression.

One "good" thing that came out of the "New Deal" was social security, right? That has to be a great bit of socialism, correct? That is a great debate subject. However, the first thing you have to consider is that Social Security, as it exists now and has since its creation, was not meant to be permanent. It was designed to last as a public trust fund for one generation only. During that generation, the next generation was supposed to establish individual retirement accounts that the government would oversee, guarantee, and protect. That is not what happened. Instead, it was kept a Ponzi scheme.

To catch a glimpse at what it was intended to become, look at the case of Galveston County, Texas. They switched to private accounts as an experiment. The benefits, as opposed to what regular SSI recipients receive in monthly payments, is remarkable. Instead, most Americans are stuck with a bankrupt mandatory retirement fund that cannot afford to pay out what it owes. It is unsustainable.

However, let's use me as a little case study. I started working for a real paycheck with all applied payroll taxes at age 16. Let's say I made $10k that first year. (I made less than that, but the math gets too hard for some people if I quote my actual income). For argument's sake, let's say the SS tax was 10%. So, I put $1k into that "retirement fund" that first year. If I had been given the option to place that $1k into an individual account that yielded an average of 6% ROI over the years from 16 to 66 (50 years), we'll see what that $1k from that first year's work would be worth. An average ROI of 6% will double the principle every 12 years (rule of 72). So, at age 28, it was worth $2k. At 40, it was worth $4k. At 52, it is worth $8k. At 64 (close enough to 66), that first year's investment would be worth $16k. Let's say my second year of work yielded the same income. At age 65, I'd have $32k. At age 18, let's say I worked more hours and doubled my income (therefore my mandatory payments). $2k at age 30 is $4k, age 42 is $8k, at 54, $16k, and at age 66, $32k. So, my first 3 years yielded $64k for my first year of retirement, just on their own.

The successive years of work would then supply the additional years of retirement. My average life expectancy is a realistic 76 total years. So, I'd have to earn 10 years worth of retirement living expenses in 50 years of work. It took my first 3 years to save/invest to earn that first semi-comfortable year. At that rate, I would have 47 years to accrue an additional 9 years of retirement funding. By that rate, I could do 15+ more years. THAT is under a reasonable, average individual retirement account. Of course, that is under the assumption that my income will increase mostly by just annual cost of living adjustments. It doesn't take into account promotions, changing careers to something more lucrative, gaining a degree and going into a profession that starts at an average of $40k a year (double that $20k per year barely-over-minimum-wage-job I held as a teen doing stock work at a local liquor store).

At a 4% average ROI, the principle doubles every 18 years. So it may take 5 years of work to get a first year of retirement at about $40k per annum goal.

By the way, the average monthly SSI payment is $1,233.21 a month, or $14,798.52 a year, currently. That $64k a year goal is over $5k a month. You do the math. I see the private individual account that grants a low 6% average annual ROI as a much better deal. But that socialism thing isn't such a bad thing, now, is it?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

TSA Disregards Own Policies - Dumps Grampa On The Floor

For thousands of travelers a day, the TSA has become, at best, a tolerated necessity. Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. 2001, the TSA has been mandated as the first line of defense in domestic airline travel. Their main job is to deter would-be wrong-doers from completing their plans.

The primary idea is much like the security attendant at the gate of a closed community. They check to insure that the wrong people are not given access. In reality, a determined wrong-doer will just add a means to bypass the security into their schemes. The checks at the terminal entrance make it difficult, though not impossible, for the average schmo to bring dangerous things onto the plane.

The protocols are based upon past activities and not current threat trends. For domestic issues, the FBI tracks the current threads. They have, on occasion, used the TSA to assist in any direct actions to stop attacks such as the shoe bomber several years ago.

The checkpoints have become a necessary inconvenience. There have been several documented cases where pure common sense has been overruled by incorrectly interpreted policies. In other cases, there has been plain disregard for those policies. Strip searching or "gate-rape" gropings of preteen children is uncalled for, unless there is a specific threat stream indicating a kid with a certain last name and description is being used to smuggle bad things onto a flight. "Confiscating" Nikon D5100 cameras, money, credit cards, Asus Tablet PCs, NOOK ebook readers, Amazon Kindles, and other personal items is also uncalled for, especially since those "confiscations" end up at the agent's house or a pawn shop. There is a legal term for such violations of the 4th Amendment:  "Larceny".

Earlier today, a story broke originating from the Orlando, FL airport. A TSA agent violated their own policies in handling the cremated remains (cremains) of a departed family member. TSA's own site states that cremains need to be packed in carry-on baggage. They state the cremains must pass through the x-ray screening machine. However, the TSA's own policy states that the container is to, under no circumstances, be opened or disturbed.

A union-member TSA "agent" decided that she didn't agree with the policy. She opened the container holding Mr. John Gross's grandfather's cremains. She played with the ashes. As if the strange necrophiliac activity weren't disrespectful enough, she spilled them onto the floor of the security screening area.

If it had been a mistake, that would have been a different issue. She intentionally opened a container she was forbidden to open. It didn't accidentally pop open. She didn't accidentally drop the container. No, she opened a container she knew to contain cremated human remains, played with them, then spilled them on the floor. To add further insult, she laughed at Mr. Gross as he attempted to collect up Grampa while other travelers attempted to get through the line and to their flights. Mr. Gross was not only laughed at, he was told he was impeding the rest of the line.

This was not just a simple violation of TSA's own policy. It was an attack on the Gross's religious convictions. It was an affront to the deceased. Then, this union member pointed the blame at the client for her clear and deliberate violations. Her actions should be a crime. In fact, tampering with remains is a crime in many states. In fact, in Florida, there is a suit filed and pending trial in a $200 Million case concerning the mishandling and desecration of human cremains.

Mr. Gross should contact an attorney in Florida and consider filing suit against the "agent" (named individually) and the whole of the TSA (as its own entity). It won't change what happened to Grandpa. However, a judgement against the TSA and that agent would send a clear message to the TSA:  "You cannot make up your own rules, on a whim, without proper, constitutional legislation." Like the EPA and other federal bureaucracies, the TSA fails to see who they really work for. The unions have mislead them. They need to learn a hard lesson. That lesson is that they work for us, the tax payers. We entrust them to do a job in an efficient, effective, and professional manner. While most do not abuse that trust, the few who do are giant tarnish stains.

The travesty to Mr. Gross and his family lies not only in the tragedy of Grandpa's passing, but the desecration by the TSA and humiliation at their hands thereafter. The travesty to all US Citizens is that this union worker should be fired with prejudice (meaning garnering another federal job will be difficult). Instead, her union will probably just give her a few days off and mandate some sensitivity training as well as some little letter stating she needs to check the company policies before acting like a jackass. She should be prosecuted. Instead, she'll get a couple of days off from work.

Monday, June 25, 2012

USSC Decision -- Impact on Border States

In Arizona v US concerning Arizona's SB1070 has spurned a lot of speculation. Both sides of the law have claimed a form of victory in the decision and opinions handed down by the Supreme Court.

The decision, majority, and dissenting opinions aggregate to 76 pages. All of them are partially dissenting, partially assenting.

Four provisions of the State Law came into contention. Three of the provisions were struck down on the sole concept of preemption. Federal Laws already on the books preempt state laws in regards to immigration. The US Constitution provides a clear clause in Article 1 Section 8 that states the Congress has the sole authority in determining naturalization and immigration laws.

This decision enforces the US Constitution's supremacy over state laws in accordance to Article 6 Clause 2 when used in application to the explicitly stated enumerated powers. Those who support the US Constitution as the supreme law of the land should support this decision, even though they approve of the state level law.

The court decision does little for or against the border states. The federal laws are on the books and should be enforced. States are allowed to enforce federal laws, but not allowed to change them. That makes sense. The question left hanging is can states sue the federal government for not enforcing their own laws.

The provisions struck down include the stipulation that Arizona made being in the country/state illegally a state-level crime. The violation already serves as a federal crime, no state level crime is necessary. The provision was merely to raise attention to the fact the federal courts and enforcement officials were refusing to do their jobs. Striking down this provision, in effect, does nothing.

Making it a crime to hold a job while in the country illegally is already against a federal law. State and federal laws targeting employers already exist as well. Striking down this provision also does nothing.

The one provision struck down that actually serves as a blow to the border states is the decision that state and local level law enforcement officials must grant 4th and 5th Amendment rights to non-citizens who are in the US illegally. No searches, seizures, or arrests without warrant are allowed to border states since they allegedly preempt federal laws.

However, the most contentious of the four provisions remained upheld. If somebody is stopped under suspicious of breaking another law, to include a routine traffic stop, local law enforcement officers can inquire citizenship and/or legal residency status. Any person detained must have such status verified before being released. If found in the country illegally, they can be referred to the US Federal authorities for prosecution. If the federal officials defer to prosecute, the state officials can prosecute and jail those personnel as appropriate, making the judgement fit the crime.

To an extent, the decision sends a message to border states. It tells them "you cannot defend yourselves". However, it also sends the message "you can enforce the federal laws, as long as you do so in accordance with those federal laws and include the proper federal authorities".

The best response border states can employ at this point is to ease up on Castle Doctrine laws. If somebody in a border state believes their property is being invaded, they should be allowed to defend their property, shooting on sight. Of course, I also advocate ranchers on the borders being allowed to own and employ M2 .50Cal machine guns to protect their sovereign property.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This Is What Contempt Looks Like!

The title is a paraphrasing of that phrase the Occupy crowd loves to chant to the point we ignore it. "This is what Democracy looks like!". Well, Sparky, you obviously failed your civics classes. Our federal government is not a democracy. We are a Republic. In fact, the US Constitution explicitly mandates that every state of the union and those seeking to join must demonstrate they have a republican form of government, not a democracy.

However, the democratic process our duly elected representatives to one portion of the bicameral legislative branch of our great republic has spoken. After deliberations, amendments to the order voted upon, with one approved, the House Oversight Committee has decided to go forward with contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder.

In earlier articles, I discussed Eric Holder's seeming disregard (and contempt for) Federal Voter Laws, such as the "Motor-Voter" Act of 1993 and the "HAVA" of 2002. He has also shown disrespect for state sovereignty in establishing voter integrity laws that support those federal laws, such as his suit against Arizona' voter integrity law. Furthermore, he demonstrated contempt for states who wish to bolster federal laws and assist in seeing them enforced with laws such as Arizona's SB1070 and similar laws in Georgia and Texas.

This order brings the vote to the general assembly of the House of Representatives. It is not a "guilty" verdict. It is more along the lines of a grand jury indictment. The charge of contempt is not the same as other charges some seek against the AG in regards to Operation Fast and Furious. It is more like a charge of impeding an investigation.

The committee has requested numerous documents in regards to the gun-walking operation. In addition, they requested documents in regards to Operation Wide Receiver that was conducted during the Bush administration. The majority of the documents requested still have not been turned over.

Holder, feeling the heat, attempted to negotiate a settlement on the night of June 19,2012. He promised a portion of the documents. He showed up with none. He offered to give an oral summary. Given the "inaccuracies" he was caught uttering while giving previous testimony, the oral summary was out of the question.

The vote came down mostly along partisan lines. Some of the Democrats may have crossed the aisle had some of their proposed amendments passed the committee vote. None did.

The real star of the hearing was Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina. He presented perhaps the best non-partisan arguments in the debate. Rep. Gowdy demanded all the documents from all gun-walking programs be brought forward. He stated  that whoever the AG in charge was during the times of each should be questioned, to include Eric Holder.

The Democrats who attempted to defend Holder and oppose the order spoke mainly of intentions behind Operation Fast and Furious as investigations into how to reform gun sales in the United States. Translation, they claim it was an investigation meant to look for more ways to violate our citizens' Second Amendment rights.

The argument doesn't make sense. How does intentionally giving weapons to criminals and terrorists who oppose our country supposed to bring reforms to how our citizens defend themselves? It doesn't.

One congressman even made a statement about AK-47 ownership in Arizona. He claimed that there is no reason to own one. He stated that an AK-47, an M-4, or an AR-15 does not fulfill the need for hunting or self-defense. Obviously this jackass needs to talk to the family of Robert Krentz, a rancher who was assassinated by a drug cartel. The criminals will get these weapons, regardless of the laws. You cannot defend your family and property with a pellet gun if those trespassing, invading, attacking and destroying them are carrying PKMs. In addition, one lone rancher facing 5-15 armed men is outnumbered and out-gunned with just a shotgun or a .45cal pistol. The US Supreme Court ruled that police do not have the responsibility to protect individuals or their property. In addition, the closest police station is up to an hour away on some southern Arizona ranches.

Instead of looking for way to prevent guns originating in the hands of lawful US gun dealers from ending up in the hands of foreign criminals, they should have looked into ways to track those already in their hands. They made a mistake. They used no methods to track the weapons. Such tracking methods  do exist and are effective. We employed them in similar operations in other  countries. However, they were not employed. The weapons went, unaccounted for, to terrorists and criminals. The end result was the murders of over 300 Mexican citizens, and at least one US Border Patrol Agent we know of, so far -- Brian Terry.

The backpedaling involved an ulterior motive in recording how complicit the weapons dealers were in supplying the cartels. The issue with that claim is that the weapons' dealers agreed to assist the ATF and DoJ in this operation out of a sense of patriotism. They weren't caught breaking the law. They were asked to help the DoJ and ATF break the law. As the son of a former licensed gun dealer, I know the value in cooperating with the ATF when they ask for help. It can make necessary audits remain thorough but a lot less unpleasant.

The executive response to the hearing was to send some aid from the AG's office with a notice that Obama indicated he may seek executive privilege on the documents. The truth, even with that memorandum, is no such privilege had been invoked. Holder was in violation of the summons at the time the hearing took place. The alleged crime had already been committed.

The formal contempt vote is set to take place some time next week. Today, however, the contempt order (bill) on Holder passed with a vote of 23-17.

Still, Holder tries to obfuscate and stall investigations. In response, Holder made a statement that he handed over more than 7,600 documents already. Many of these were redacted to the extent they contained no information. It was also just a small potion of the documents requested. Unverified rumors also indicate that Obama will, in fact, invoke "executive privilege" in order to protect AG Holder.

This makes me want to review the case of US v Nixon

This is what contempt for our US Constitution looks like. It looks like Eric Holder.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

With Some VA Doctors, Veterans Don't Seem To Matter

The service, congeniality, and helpfulness of workers within the Veterans' Administration, particularly the health care division, varies greatly from location to location and, sometimes, office to office. The personnel in Tucson, for example, have always been outgoing and personable to those I know who frequent their services. The same goes with many of the smaller outpatient clinics scattered throughout the country.

Various laws  and policies have been  passed in efforts to bring better care to our veterans. Some of these involved bogging the system down with more administrators while leaving actual healthcare providers and case managers undermanned. These are the effects of numerous laws passed in 2010 that increased the manning without actually increasing the level of service. Those within the system who are actually dedicated to their jobs seem to go out of their way to help as best they can. Sometimes the system itself actually works against the published intents of these laws. For example, one military retiree I know is still waiting on a disability rating a year later. This rating was supposed to be complete within 60 days of his retirement date. All appointments were made, all paperwork filed, and yet the weekly letter stating "we are still reviewing your case" arrives. This is because of the increased bureaucracy and not because of the lack of qualified healthcare personnel.

The lack of qualified healthcare personnel just causes long waits for appointments. Some appointments need to be made two to three months in advance. Even with such advanced scheduling, it seems the doctors, technicians, and nurses still run at least an hour behind on most days. Of course, if the veteran's appointment is later in the day, he stands a chance at having the appointment cancelled because they ran out of time, causing another 2-3 month delay before being seen.

With a mandated increase in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) screenings, this makes the process even more clogged up. The doctors get frustrated, understandable. However, they should not take this out on the veterans. The veterans are even more frustrated already due to the backlog. In addition, coupled with the mandate for increased TBI screenings, there are rumors that the VA is changing their own policies in regards to any new PTS screenings that are requested. Despite current murmurs in the psychology and neurology fields, rumors are that the VA is going to backpedal and restrict new filings, making more of them claims of preexisting anxiety disorders rather than PTS. The current studies and these rumored policies are at odds. The doctors suffer with the back-and-forth changes in policy. However, it is the veterans who suffer the consequences.

But if a veteran requests to be seen, the veteran deserves to be seen. If service related, the injury should be treated. That is the law. The Veterans already paid for these services by serving in the military. The injuries and afflictions mark the sacrifices they made in defending our great republic and our US Constitution. The least we can do is take care of the medical conditions that resulted from those sacrifices.

When the doctors themselves decide to be the weeding-out factors in who they will provide care for and who they will not, the issue gets worse. The doctors cannot make up their own policies on whims, deciding whom they will provide care for and whom they will see.

One doctor who appears to be doing such things is Dr. Susan Kim, a neurologist at the Mather Field VA complex near Sacramento, CA. Dr. Kim seems to have had quite a number of veterans complain about her to the Patients Advocate at the complex. She is rude to the patients. She cancels appointments on a whim even with the patient sitting the the waiting room. If quality care is the desired end result the laws and VA policies strive for, Dr. Kim appears to be a wad of America's Original Dubble Bubble that is gumming up the works.

In a recent conversation with a former Veterans' case worker, I was told a shocking tale. This case worker has advanced degrees in Psychology, is one of the most tolerant people I know, and has a history of going out of her way to take care of veterans and anybody else she can help. She is also an ordained clergy member within her faith, tending to those in need outside of her "day job".

She is also a disabled vet. She has a list of service connected injuries due to events while she served our country. This is from her experiences with Dr. Kim:

Her first visit with Dr. Kim indicated potential trouble. During that visit, she was not seen until 90 minutes after her appointment time. She lives two-hours away from the nearest clinic, so a trip for an appointment is already an all-day event. Waiting 90 minutes past the appointed time makes matters worse. By the time she was seen, the nurses were packing up to leave and the maintenance staff were shutting off the lights.

The veteran had an experience in the past where she was given an appointment and waited. The person with whom she was supposed to meet left, and she waited until she was ushered out, forgotten and abandoned. Incidents such as these ping on certain anxieties for her.

While she combated against the panic attack, the doctor finally called her into the office. The doctor had to restart her computer to access the veteran's chart. Dr. Kim had evidently failed to even screen the medical files (chart) to prepare for the appointment. Dr. Kim then decided to address the veteran's panic attack in a rude and condescending manner, telling the veteran to get a pregnancy test because her hormones must be all out of sorts. Dr. Kim refused to even reference the veteran's chart to see the diagnosed service-related anxiety issues.

The veteran's overall experience was one of little care given, rude treatment, and being dismissed as though she were a child complaining of a minor boo-boo.

The veteran had to be seen a second time for a more thorough screening. As usual, this appointment was scheduled more than 2 months in advance. Due to the behavior received during the first visit, the veteran attempted to contact the clinic multiple times in order to request a nurse to escort her during the visit. She wanted a witness to the sort of treatment she received the previous time. No calls were returned. No emails were responded to. The replies were silence.

So, on the day of the appointment, the veteran directly requested an escort. She also requested permission to record the appointment on a digital recorder. The response given was that she could not have an escort because it wasn't coordinated for in advance. In addition, Dr. Kim flat out refused to be recorded. She has a right to refuse, under law. However, if the patient is fine with the recording, what does the doctor have to hide if she is doing her job properly?

This was after another 90 minute wait past when the appointment was scheduled.

In addition, Dr. Kim decided to cancel the appointment on the spot. She even stated that the veteran would not receive the legally mandated travel reimbursement for the two-hour (one way) trip.

The veteran got upset, demanding to be seen. Canceling the appointment then denying reimbursement for the wasted day crossed a line. The wheel-chair bound veteran asked for a case worker or patients advocate or some other authority to come and rectify the situation. Then she was told that she would not be reimbursed for the wasted four-hour drive. The veteran, understandably, lost her composure. I have known this veteran for years. This is a person who seldom curses frustrated and belittled to the point of cursing like a sailor. Patience didn't work. Understanding didn't work. Attempting to reach an adequate solution through mature, adult means didn't work. So, the veteran raised her voice in a justifiable manner intended to draw attention. In effect, the dismissed veteran caused a necessary scene in an attempt to escalate awareness of the situation and receive the treatment she earned. Even that met with apathy and indigence. Finally fed up, she and her husband decided to leave.

More than likely, this woman, pushed beyond her limits, was regarded as just another "crazy vet" by the staff, particularly Dr. Kim. Either Dr. Kim or one of her staff called the police in an effort to have this dangerous (wheelchair bound) woman forcible removed before she harmed some innocent bystander. This should answer questions about why some veterans lose their composure. They aren't "crazy". They are fed up. 

Upon exiting the building and heading towards the parking lot, seven police officers arrived. Three of them rushed to block the door to the clinic. The remainder remained in the parking lot while one came forward to assess the situation. Upon hearing the veteran's story (and seeing her in a wheelchair), the officer went into the neurology clinic in an attempt to find some peaceful solution that would take care of the veteran. He met with little progress. The police office did arrange an appointment later this week (another four-hour round-trip trek) with Dr. Kim's boss. 

The police accompanied the veteran to the travel reimbursement office, and the veteran still received compensation for the trip. She then went to the Patients' Advocate, whom she had worked with in taking care of numerous veterans in the past, and filed a complaint. The PA was shocked at the police response over this particular veteran but immediately ascertained that it was the result of Dr. Kim's inappropriate and rude "bedside manner".

Here you catch a glimpse at socialized medicine. The doctors will be underpaid. They will be rude. They will be able to get away with canceling appointments on a whim with little to no recourse. Patients will be subjected to mounds of red-tape in order to file a valid complaint that will fall upon deaf ears (or be filed in a shredder bin). It will take a police officer going out of his way to attempt to do the right thing to even grant a glimmer of promise that a patient will be seen in a timely and professional manner. That, of course, assumes the police officer doesn't just arrest the patient.

Of course, this would not happen if the VA system were to contract out to private physicians. If they did so, the screenings and care could be done more locally (avoiding that four-hour round-trip drive). Also, if the private doctor failed to adequately and professionally do the job, the patient (veteran) could just select another. With a filed complaint (or two) the contract agreement with the poorly performing physician could be cancelled, in effect, fired.

Does AG Endorse Voter Fraud in the General Election?

Voter Fraud is looking to be a huge issue in the general election. Fraudulent voters are becoming more and more brazen. One man in Wisconsin is facing 9 felony counts of voter fraud in the Gubernatorial Recall election. That is in addition to allegations of bus-loads of Michigan residents attempting to file same-day registrations in Wisconsin in order to fudge the vote.

There are plausible rumors that, having lost Arizona to "home-town boy" John McCain by less than 184,000 votes in 2008, Obama supporters are attempting to close the gap by enrolling 150k more voters, thinking Romney will not draw the same level of support. The recent AZ-CD-8 election indicates they are well on their way toward that goal. The fraud comes coupled with "volunteers" who help individuals vote by assisting them with filling out PEVL ballots, even volunteering to mail or drop off the ballots for them. The new voter registrations are done using the federal registration form in order to bypass Arizona's Voter ID laws. The federal laws require no verification of ID, alleging that the perjury warning acknowledgement on the form is deterrence enough.

Recently, Eric Holder requested a "cease and desist" order against the state of Florida and other states who are attempting to clean up their  voter registration rolls. He claims that cleaning the rolls of dead, incarcerated, or fraudulent voters is illegal and an affront to voter's rights.

Holder's actions against Florida, Arizona, and other states cleaning up their voter rolls is actually an attack against legally registered voters. Every ineligible voter on the rolls decreases the relevance of each legal and relevant voter in these states. It devalues an individual's vote by fluffing the overall number of eligible voters. It is the same as flooding the economy with counterfeit money. The real money loses its value because of the fraudulent bills undermining the economy. It is the exact same concept with flooding voter rolls with ineligible registrations.

This is unethical. It opens the propensity for voter fraud. Of course, Holder seeks this for job security. In states such as Florida and Arizona that have a large number of resident aliens and illegal immigrants, voter fraud is a real possibility. Many illegals have forged identification and seek to have a voice in government here in the US. Allowing dead, incarcerated, or other ineligible registrations gives those who should not be voting a means to fudge the system and devalue the electoral process. By and large, these fraudulent voters drop ballots for socialist-leaning candidates such as Obama. If Obama loses his reelection bid, Holder is out of a job. If more Republicans and Libertarians are elected to the House and Senate, Holder knows his chances of impeachment greatly increase. So, he's trying to save his own skin.

The unethical and self-preservation aside, Holder is seeking to force states cleaning their voter rolls is a violation of federal voter laws. There are an approximated 53k dead people still registered to vote in Florida. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (also known as the "Motor-Voter Law" or 103rd Congress HR2) mandates that states clean their rolls. The 103rd Congress's HR2 Section 8 requires states to audit the voter registration rolls and complete a removal of ineligible voters no later than 90 days prior to the general election. With a possible 53k dead voters and perhaps as many as 180k fraudulent registrations (incarcerated or forged illegal immigrant registrations), Florida has an arduous task ahead of them to be in compliance with this federal law. Each suspected ineligible voter on the rolls has to be verified, once detected. The removal is not arbitrary and requires, in some cases, a direct verification (face to face) in order to verify ineligibility.

The 107th Congress's HR3295 (Help America Vote Act of 2002) further stresses the importance of auditing the voter rolls and removing ineligible voters, completing that process no later than 90 days prior to the general election. Section 905 of  the bill stipulates penalties for fraudulently registering to vote. Section 904 puts the responsibility on the shoulders of the office of the USAG to review the laws to insure the security of  the vote (especially with online registration, absentee ballots and electronic voting) and recommending any necessary increases in punishments for fraudulent registration or balloting in order to promote reasonable deterrence of voter fraud. Stopping Florida from conducting its audit seems in direct contradiction of the mandates proscribed to him under HR3295. 

Now the state of Maryland is cleaning its voter rolls, also finding many dead still registered to vote. They have also uncovered numerous people registered to vacant lots and nonexistent addresses. It begs the question how long it will take before Holder attempts to force Maryland to disobey the federal laws addressed earlier.

Of course, Holder's disregard for federal law is nothing new. One needs look no further than his opposition of AZ SB1070 and his gunwalking program "Fast and Furious" to know our US Attorney General cares nothing for enforcing federal laws and prosecuting their violators.

With moderate Demoncrats going the way of the Dodo and more emboldened socialists taking control of  the party of the left, Obama and those seeking to ride his coattails are losing support among the eligible and legal voters. The results of the Wisconsin Recall election reminded them of what they already know. the policies of the past four years as well as the Demoncrat majority in the Senate blocking any and all attempts to reign in out-of-control government spending (or even pass a budget) have supporters from 2008 looking to stay home or vote out of their normal party affiliations. The PPACA (Obamacare)'s popular rating decreases more on a daily basis with some polls indicating as many as 70% of eligible voters opposing the legislation. If left to the free-market and bankruptcy laws (especially in regards to larger corporations), the economy would have fully recovered by the end of 2009. Instead the economy dropped into a double-dip recession. Workforce participation is the lowest it has been since the Carter administration. Unemployment remains above 8%. It is becoming more and more evident that they will use every trick in the book in the 2012 election; ethical or unethical, moral or immoral, legal or illegal, constitutional or unconstitutional. Voter Integrity laws as well as current federal voting laws are even more vital to maintaining our great republic.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The IAVA's Flawed and Outdated Congressional Report Card

Recently, an extreme socialist debated the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans' Association (IAVA)'s 2010 report card (published in 2011) regarding congressional votes on veterans' bills. Upon some level of scrutiny, it seems to be a rather shallow and poorly researched argument based upon how well elected legislators voted on bills supported by the IAVA.

First of all, the report card presents itself as one-dimensional. It graded the legislators on how well they bowed to IAVA demands and not how they stacked up on all veterans' and warfighter issues. The ironic factor is that most OIF and OEF combat veterans are not members of the IAVA, or are, like me, cursory members who are more actively engaged in VFW or American Legion activities. IAVA comprises a minority of OIF and OEF veterans' views. So, the report card reflects only if the legislators took the IAVA's side. It is not an accurate reflection of the graded legislators' stance on Veterans' Issues. It also does not address any appropriate reasons why those legislators may have voted against those bills. It covers the surface issue without looking deeper.

Some individuals will argue that veterans' issues are intertwined with the Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution mandate for congress to budget for national defense and determine the laws and regulations applicable to ground and naval forces. In reality, the Veterans' Administration is a completely separate entity from the Department of Defense. While the two are both concerned with issues relating to the brave men and women who defend our great republic, they are separate and concerned with very different issues. The two cannot be tied together.

In that, the IAVA cannot grade "veterans' issues" and include votes on setting the guidelines for so-called "combat pay". Combat Pay is a DoD issue, not a VA issue. Let's examine "combat pay". Combat pay was extended, a few years ago, to include service members in Italy who never flew over or set foot in Iraq. They are not in imminent danger. So, they have no right to the "imminent danger pay" that was extended to them by the democratic majorities in both houses prior to 2010. The same applies to "Hostile Fire Pay". They are not in a situation on a regular basis where the enemy is shooting at them (or detonating IEDs, or lobbing grenades, or driving VBIEDs into checkpoints, etc.). Cutting those pays in those situations makes sense. It is not just an Air Force or Navy issue either. Soldiers in Kuwait or Qatar in rear area support roles are far enough away from the fight that they are not earning those pays. Considering congress has not passed a budget (the Senate most specifically) since Obama took office and the fact our country is broke, cutting these pays from those who didn't earn them makes sense.

The IAVA also counted in "Family Separation Allowances" in their report card. They obviously failed to see deeper into the issue. Many members of BOSS (Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers) and its variations in the other branches have long fought against special pays for those who are married. The argument is that single soldiers are also separated form parents and siblings. So either every service member deployed should get that same stipend or nobody should. That is just common sense. Progressives complain about "fairness" and "equality". They should be against these special family pays. I oppose them because they are not incentives for increased merit or taking additional risks like language pay, airborne pay, sea pay, hostile fire pay, and imminent danger pay reward.

As far as pay and benefits, Service Members should  all get paid more, if our federal revenue and budget can support those raises. They should not have to pay for their own military-provided health care. If the Soldier (etc.) decided to go to a private health-care provider outside of the military system, then sure, a co-pay is not completely out of the question. That should be only when it is the option sought by the service member when the military system is available. Those still in service (and retirees) earn (have earned) on a daily basis those health care benefits as an integral part of their service.

That brings us to the subjects of riders and amendments to the bills. IAVA may support the published or demagogued surface intentions of these bills. However, it brings into question whether the IAVA bothered to search the Library of Congress THOMAS database and read the applicable bills in their entirety. Some of the conservative legislators who voted against the IAVA's wishes did so because of such amendments and riders. Some of the riders have nothing to do with the core bills. Some of the amendments detract from the good the core bills intended. One such bill was the 2012 NDAA that included amendments many conservatives (and some left-wingers) oppose, such as the provisions that allow the military to detain personnel without writs of Habeas Corpus. Another amendment to that bill was the repeal of the article of the UCMJ that prohibited consensual sodomy and bestiality rather than rewriting the article to just prohibit bestiality (to support the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell Don't Pursue" in order to allow openly homosexual personnel to serve in the military).

In addition, many times there are multiple versions of the same bill introduced. IAVA will support one sponsored by Sheila Jackson-Lee, for example. However, the wording of the bill may not actually meet the intentions of the title or may not accurately address the issue. Legislators who vote down these bills in lieu of ones better written that better meet the intentions received negative ratings by IAVA, though they voted for the better bill. This appears to demonstrate a level of partisan bias from an organization that claims to be non-partisan.

Some of the "VA" bills called for increases in bureaucracy rather than increasing personnel who actually provide services to veterans. For example, one bill for TBI screening called for increasing clerks and monitoring personnel but not increasing actual healthcare providers and technicians. Putting more people in to look over and accept or deny requests for service does nothing to increase the services actually provided. A bill allowing for the VA to contract out to private-sector providers passed instead, However, the IAVA report card appeared to rate the votes on the poor legislation, ignoring the votes on the better legislation. 

The IAVA also gave poor grades to legislators who voted to send a bill back to committee for revision. Some bills needed to be routed through multiple committees. If a legislator voted to send the bill back to committee rather than passing it without those reviews, the IAVA graded that as a vote against Veterans Issues. IAVA appears to have only supported the bills sponsored by Democrats, making the grading biased. In searching veterans-related bills on the THOMAS database, it seems as though ignored, in their grading, the bills sponsored and introduced by Republican members of Congress.

Furthermore, the last "report card" was for the 111th Congress (FY09-10) and does not include any legislation introduced since Republicans took the majority of the House of Representatives. They have not yet released a "report card" for the 2011 sessions. So that "report card" is not an appropriate information source for the 2012 elections.Veterans and voters would be much better served utilizing the THOMAS Database on the Library of Congress website to see legislation that was proposed, passed, or stuck in committee.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Obama Almost Got Something Right (Immigration)

If this had been done through the legislative branch as part of a comprehensive law that enacted other necessary policies first, this would almost be a good idea. Almost.

However, in the way the policy is being enacted and without those other necessary measures, it is a dangerous policy that will harm America. To make matters worse, it was done as a knee-jerk campaign stunt and not done as a true act of leadership.

Early morning reporting indicates that Obama has issued another executive order. This should come as no surprise as he seems to issue them like pizza places hand out coupons. However, he almost got this one right, almost.

This most recent executive order employs a little bit of common sense. It seems he partially paid attention to Newt Gingrich during the GOP Primary debates. It actually makes sense, almost. The order to his bureaucrats within his oligarchy is to make provisions for illegal immigrants who were brought across the border, illegally, while still minors under the age of 16. In reality, they did come across as minors, not completely responsible for their actions. Many of them came over with their parents, just doing what Mom and Dad told them to do. The order basically states that those illegal immigrants, if presently under the age of 30, are not to be prosecuted.

The order does not present a path to citizenship. It just says that these people who came here as kids won't be prosecuted for the crimes of their parents. That makes sense to me, almost. A path to citizenship for those deserving that is constitutionally legislated would be a better plan.

It provides no protections for the parents. It provides no protection for felons. It also does not make them here legally, though it does provide a path to acquiring visas, work permits, and legal residency (though not citizenship).

Obama almost got this right. Almost.

It is also just a move to secure more votes from one of Obama's collectivist-socialist demographics. Since his Marcusian ideology conjoined with his adherence to Critical Race Theory loves to segregate the individuals that comprise our great republic into little special-interest demographics, this is meant to appeal to a segment of "hyphenated  Americans". It is intended as special treatment for some in order to gain the votes of another group that sympathizes with that special little group. Our Constitution isn't about groups. It is built upon the ideals of Individual Natural Rights. So, this move, though almost the right thing, is done in a way that actually violates the American Ideology.

The executive branch does have a certain level of power in what laws it chooses to enforce and prosecute (and to what extent). However, the constitution is clear on which branch is the ultimate authority in immigration and naturalization policy -- The Legislative Branch. In issuing the executive order, Obama did bypass Congress and did violate Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution. This is something that he should have tried to put through Congress first. It is a good idea, very poorly enacted.

The other place that Obama got it wrong is that he has not coupled this with a move to more aggressively execute other laws already in place to thwart and prevent illegal immigration. He got the cart before the horse, then chock-blocked the cart and pointed a gun at the horse for not being able to make the cart move.

The first step must be to better secure the borders and deter/combat illegal immigration.  You can't effectively employ a common sense policy concerning those already here until you stop others from coming over. By issuing this policy before securing the borders, all he has done is encourage more illegals to pack up their minor children and come to America. After 5 years, this policy applies to the kids. So all they have to do is evade deportation for five years.

In addition, illegal border crossings are not just people seeking a piece of the American Dream. Many of them are done in conjunction with other criminal activities such as drug and weapons smuggling. "Coyotes" that bring those seeking the American Dream also traffic in people intent on harming our great republic such as terrorist financiers, intelligence gatherers, and direct-action operatives.Others conduct human trafficking to support underground sex-slavery and "sweat-shop" slavery activities.

Living near the border gives me a certain perspective on illegal immigration. People who jump the border illegally cause millions of dollars in damage to private property and national forests. They also engage in theft, vandalism, and home invasion during their treks. There are areas in the Arizona mountains that would be great hiking areas if they weren't destroyed by illegals and made dangerous by smugglers and traffickers who will attack, rape, steal, and brutalize American Citizens camping or hiking along their "ratlines".

All of the above do nothing less than harm our great republic and threaten our individual citizens. The primary responsibilities and obligations our federal government is mandated to perform includes providing the common defense of the individual citizens of this country. Failing to secure the border and drastically reduce illegal immigration is failing to perform this basic function. The federal government also has the core mandate, obligation, and responsibility to secure the blessings of liberty to our individual citizens. Allowing their land to be destroyed and trampled is contrary to this mandate. It also disrupts the businesses of ranchers and farmers along the border. That is anything but "securing the blessings of liberty". Those responsibilities are to individual citizens, not special-interest demographic groups invented and catered to by collectivist, Marxist and Critical Race Theory ideologies.

If you doubt those mandates and obligations to the federal government are in the US Constitution, I challenge you to read the Preamble, then go and read the Federalist Papers if you have any questions on what those terms actually meant in the day they were scribed (the definitions that apply, not modern slang interpretations).

The second step is to engage Congress with a proposed plan to eliminate some of the red-tape involved  in the immigration and naturalization process. One of  the reasons illegal immigration is so rampant is that legal immigration is cumbersome. There is too much bureaucracy involved in the process. That bureaucracy belongs to the executive branch. So, Obama's own minions in his oligarchy are partially to blame for the difficulties. However, those policies need to originate in Congress.

 We want LEGAL immigration. We want people who can better our society to come here. We need engineers, entrepreneurs, scientists,  and mathematicians. People with these skills need to be encouraged to come here and seek citizenship. If you need a historical example of why this is a good policy, look no further than Albert Einstein and Elon Musk (creator of Paypal).

The third step is subsidy reform. Tax-paying Americans should not be paying for health care, housing, and food for these immigrants, legal or illegal. Part of immigrating to our great republic needs to include being a productive contributor. We already subsidize our own lazy citizens too much. Our "poor" would be considered rather wealthy in other countries such as Iraq, Kenya, and South Africa.  Subsidizing those who come here illegally that seek the American Dream will not realize it if they never have incentive to earn it. Showing them that hard work and merit are the road to prosperity does much more for our country than giving away our tax dollars. My great-grandparents worked their butts off and earned what they acquired during their lives. They knew that the American Dream in their day meant merit and earning their own way. That attitude cultivated the admirable work ethics of my grandparents and my parents. Handouts do not cultivate that work ethic or prosperity for anybody.

Without first accomplishing those first three steps:  Secure the Border, Reform/Streamline the Immigration and Naturalization Process, and Subsidy ("entitlement") Reform; this policy really does nothing positive. It encourages more people to break the law with impunity. It may grab some knee-jerk backing from some citizens/voters who don't take the time to actually research the issue. However, without the first two steps, it will make things worse for everybody in the long run. It will even make things harder on some of these immigrants who were brought here as minors. Many of them may not be prosecuted or deported. However, they may end up watching their parents shipped back home when they are allowed to remain.

Should We Pay Attention to the "Ultimate Arbiters"?

I am not a huge fan of John Wayne. Yes, I know, several conservatives just raised their eyebrows and began typing "RINO" into the comment box already. I don't dislike John Wayne's work. I'm just not a huge fan.

I prefer Clint Eastwood and James Stewart. I prefer James Earl Jones. All of them actually served in the military, didn't just pretend to on the silver screen. Eastwood was an NCO in the US Army. In fact, he used his GI  Bill to acquire his degree in drama. James Earl Jones was a Lieutenant (Infantry) in the US Army during the Korean War. Stewart served in the Air Force Reserve, eventually earning the promotion to Major General under appointment by Ronald Reagan. All three are conservatives, though Eastwood admits he leans libertarian on some issues.

However, I have far more respect for John Wayne than say, Matt Damon. The Duke at least tried to serve. When he was declared "4F", he turned and did what he could to support those in uniform. He studied strong warrior personalities and portrayed them as heroes. John Wayne also was a self-admitted socialist while in college. Those short-lived socialist leanings may have not even encroached had he been accepted into Annapolis, where he applied, instead of attending USC. However, maturity, experience, and a dose of the real world pushed him to the opposite side of the political spectrum. Until his death in 1979, he was a strong supporter of right-wing policies and his friend Ronald Reagan.

Too many of today's celebrities attempt to portray self-emasculated "heroes" who rebel against the oppressive alpha-types that are out there trying to get the job done. It's why I highly recommend movies such as "Act of Valor" and "Bravo Two Zero" over, say "Green Zone". "The Battle of Los Angeles" also attempts to paint strong warrior, patriotic, alpha-types in a positive light, though it is science fiction.

At a recent celebrity fund-raiser, Obama told the socialist-oligarchy supporting sycophants present "You're the tie-breaker. You're the ultimate arbiter of which direction this country goes". So why are these professional pretenders the "ultimate arbiters"? It's simple. Too many people are too stupid to recognize that most actors are experts in one topic:  acting. They pretend to be somebody they are not for a living. In other words, they lie for a living, as a form of entertainment. Sorry, a professional juggler is not a prime choice authority on energy production in the US.

Playing a doctor on TV does not a doctor make. Because George Clooney portrayed a doctor on "ER" does not make him an authority on the healthcare system. The socialist machine can use Clooney's liberal jaw-jacking to yank on heartstrings all they want. Their money should be considered wasted. Clooney knows as much about the healthcare industry, insurance, HSAs, the economy, paying payroll taxes, and running a doctor's office as I do about walking on the moon.

I don't discount celebrities' assessments and analysis of socio-political issues simply because most of them are liberals. I discount them because most of them are not authorities on the subjects they spew their word-vomit over. They do two or three weeks of familiarization on some subject in order to play a role, and they believe themselves experts on the subjects. That's something people need to understand. These SAG union members will fall into lock-step on their "issue of the day" thinking that their opinions matter more than the facts they never bothered to research on the subjects before opening their mouths.

One celebrity I do pay attention to is Mr. Adam S. Baldwin. It's not because his roles as John Casey and Jayne are so awesome. (They are!). It's not because he did such a breakthrough performance in "My Bodyguard". (He did, great movie!). It's because I have seen this guy debate political issues with a firm and deep knowledge of history and the Federalist Papers. Even then, I don't take his word for anything. I fact-check things he says. 99 times out of 100, he's spot on.

Roseanne Barr, not so much. I have had a few conversations with Rosie. She is not as dumb as her characters seem to be. She also isn't as dumb as some of her soundbites make her out to be. One thing that did seem obvious is that she is a little confused. She seems to follow lock-step with the lib-progs. However, when calmly chatting one-on-one about issues, it seems she needs to burn her Party card and visit a TEA Party meeting. Once in that meeting, she needs to latch on to the libertarian in the group. Her personal views are a lot more right-leaning than her public rhetoric makes her out to be. Given the views she expressed to me on the Federal Reserve, the IRS, and tax reform, I can see her reading Stephen Moore's last two books as well as Neal Boortz's two books on The Fair Tax. However, her views on those subjects would make her socialist peers weep, scream, and writhe in disbelief.

I raise these examples to illustrate a simple point. Celebrities are just people. Some do have experiences and education that make them authorities on certain subjects. However, for economics and finance, you may want to pay more attention to Peter Schiff and Stephen Moore (Wall Street Journal contributor, not the novelist). On the subject of Obamacare, I suggest paying attention to Dean Clancy over Sarah Jessica Parker.

I suggest fact-checking everything non-expert celebrities utter. Seek all of the facts and not just those that support the pejorative they (are usually paid to) spew. The only thing less responsible than being too lazy to research the facts and make up your own mind is to take the words of actors as though they are the words of experts.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June 14th Is Important To Remember

 June 14th is an important day. On the federal calender is holds two important dates of significance, both worthy of celebration. Even those who may argue the reasons for celebrating will acknowledge solemn assent to observe the day in at least some capacity.

June 14th is Flag Day. It is the day set aside to commemorate our adopted and beloved Stars and Stripes, The field of blue, and the currently 50 (not 57) stars. The best form of observance is to proudly display the flag on your property and remember its significance.

Flag Day originated in 1885, conceived by a school teacher in Wisconsin. This was back in the days when schools still taught an amount of respect and reverence for our great republic and the beloved US Constitution that forms the supreme law of the land.

In 1889, word of commemorating the date our flag was adopted (June 14, 1777) spread to other educators. A kindergarten teacher in New York named George Balch planned a ceremony for his students as well. By 1893, several states and historical societies had Flag Day festivities instituted as regular events.

In 1916, ultra-progressive President Woodrow Wilson, in the middle of World War I, issued a proclamation calling for nation-wide celebrations of Flag Day. The intent was to increase patriotic awareness within a country at war in Europe.

Through an act of congress, President Truman signed into law in August of 1949  that June 14th be designated Flag Day as a national holiday.

However, June 14th holds an even older significance. On June 14th, 1775, the colonies joined together and established the US Army. Though this was more than a year prior to the official issuance of the Declaration of Independence, the colonies were already at war. The Declaration enumerates several crimes King George committed against free and independent people. However, by June 14, 1775, the colonists already had their fill of most of these crimes. People who believed in the Natural Rights as described by John Locke and a better way of self-governance proposed by men like Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington took up arms in what was thought to become a fruitless effort.

By June 14th, 1775, several battles to defend individual rights had already taken place. With word that more British Redcoats were inbound to "suppress the upstart insurrections", John Adams approached the Continental Congress. The congress approved a $2,000,000.00 (2 Million) dollar allocation to fund, equip, organize, and train the volunteers in Boston and New York to defend those cities against the British Invasion.  The act of congress also formed 10 companies of infantry from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. George Washington was placed in charge of the units on June 15, 1775. He formally took command on July 3, 1775 in a ceremony in Boston.

While July 4th is the day to celebrate our posting of consolidated grievances for the crimes committed by King George, our extended middle digits in his general direction, and the birth of our nation; the war for our liberty began more than a year prior.

June 14th should be celebrated with almost as much fanfare. It marks the birthday of that proud symbol of our great nation, its thirteen original colonies, our current 50 beautiful states, our moral values, the blood we shed to protect her, and our loyalty to each other. It is also the day to celebrate the first national military force that stood up to fight for her birth, our liberty, and our way of life.

October 13th 1775, the US Navy was established. (October 12th is "Constitution Day") November 10, 1775 the Marine Corps was formed (November 11th is "Veterans' Day"). The US Air Force was established as a force separate from the US Army on September 18, 1947.

Mark those dates on your calender as well.

God Bless the USA!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Layman's Analysis of AZ-CD-8 SE Results

Some may be expecting some form of whining over Barber's victory over Jesse Kelly. While there are things about the election I could "call foul" about, I won't. Though many thought Kelly started the campaign as the probable victor who had to play defense the whole time, I knew Kelly was facing a hard battle. He had a left-leaning concentration in Tucson to contend with. He also faced many Giffords supporters that were quick to back Barber. There were other issues that came into play, yes. In an earlier article, I expressed concern over a still unverified rumor.

Another issue is voter turnout. In the heavily conservative Cochise County, there was a reported 20% turnout for the primary. The special election yielded a 31% voter turnout, an increase of only 11%. As of Saturday, there were at least 300 PEVL ballots (early, mail-in ballots) still not returned. That was just in 4 of the county's 64 voting precincts. In the primary, Kelly garnered the majority of PEVL votes.

In contrast, Pima County, which contains Tucson, has 281 voting precincts, 324k registered voters, and a 50% voter turnout percentage. The turnout for the primary was only 31% by comparison, a 19% bump from the primary. Clearly, Pima County residents were more willing to take the time out of their busy days to cast a ballot.

(Figures taken from the Arizona Secretary of State Elections site)

Some politicos and political analysts have posited that the results of this election will indicate how Arizona will vote in the November Presidential Elections. With 69% more registered voters likely to turnout for the November election in Cochise County as well as the additional 50% in Pima County, the results only indicate that the race in Arizona may be closer than initially anticipated. It would be foolish to try to predict the results this early in the race. 

The figures that emerge after the August 28, 2012 primaries will be interesting to track and compare, as well as the results by county in the November general election. In the General Election, Cochise County and part of Pima County will comprise CD-2, while the majority of Pima County and all of Santa Cruz County be part of CD-3.

While voter fraud may have occurred in the election, a 6.7% victory margin is too wide to claim it had much of an impact on the results. The results are more likely the result of voter-burnout in Cochise County combined with some people confused, thinking the primary was the special election. Some may not have cared about who won a congressional seat for the 6 months left in the term. Another possible conclusion that could be drawn from the low turnout in Cochise County is some voters just refused to vote, since their candidate lost the primary. Any who don't like the outcome but didn't vote have only the person in their mirrors to blame. In any case, Barber won fair and square.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review: I AM A CONSERVATIVE by Kurt Schlichter

Kurt Schlichter's book, I Am a Conservative: Uncensored, Undiluted and Absolutely Un-PC, hit the virtual bookshelves last Wednesday. Since then, it has floated around the top 5 in the "Political Humor" section, seeming to bounce between #1 and #2 depending upon how long Kurt has been active on Twitter at any particular moment.

Those who follow Kurt Schlichter on Twitter have come to either adore or despise his quick-witted and sharp tweets, depending upon your political viewpoints. Those who have not met the man may find his tweets a bit brazen and callous at the time. However, after spending just five minutes with him in a pub, you will find that his comments are meant as somewhat tongue-in-cheek commentaries on current events. Don't misunderstand that to intend that he does not mean what he tweets. He does. However, the hyperbole in his voice draws out the humor behind his commentaries. He deftly applies the Alinsky Tactic of humor with a definite conservative ideology twisting it.

Those unfamiliar with Mr. Schlichter may be surprised at his resume. Kurt is a Colonel ("full-bird" O-6) in the California Army National Guard. He is a Gulf War (Desert Storm) veteran with multiple deployments overseas on combat, contingency, and humanitarian support missions. He is also a lawyer practicing in California. Kurt's seeming workaholic nature also includes the job of "Journalist", writing for Big Hollywood ( and other news outlets. 

The book is mostly a collection of his greatest hits from Twitter. Those right-of-center in political ideology will find the book hilarious while ringing of some truths many wish they had said. Those left-of center may even find a little humor poking fun at themselves. The issues Kurt addresses are real concerns in today's America. Behind the humor is a clear conservative message about individual rights, personal responsibility, and demanding accountability from those who asked us to hire/elect them as leaders. In that, his signature Twitter hashtag, "#caring", emotes a double purpose. While it seems to mean "I couldn't care less", it is obvious he cares deeply for this country, its citizens, and the future of our great republic. 


I am a Conservative:  End all government "job training" programs. All of them. Now. They do more harm than good.

I am a Conservative:  Hey liberals — A "hero" isn't some pinko who organizes a letter writing campaign to promote windmills.

I am a Conservative:  Inspired by your bumpersticker, I say feel free to have your lips "COEXIST" with my ass.

I am a Conservative:  I do not think we should legislate morality — or legislate away the consequences of bad choices.

Excuses are the building blocks of failure.

Have you noticed that no one is ever “sensitive” to the needs of the people who actually produce something besides social pathologies?

I highly recommend this book for anybody willing to take a less serious glance at some of today's most pressing political and social issues. I also recommend  it because I am a Capitalist. Kurt is paying me in beer and lattes to recommend his book. So buy it at the Amazon Kindle Store. There are no excuses. You don't have a Kindle ? On what device are you reading this review? most likely has a free application for reading an e-book available  for your gizmo. 

So, Kurt, now can I get that e-signature on my copy of your e-book? #bored #caring #waitingformylatte #notipforbarista

Monday, June 11, 2012

Teachers' Unions Failing to Comprehend The Signs?

The June 5th Wisconsin Recall Election sent a chilling message to public sector workers' unions. Despite unions outspending $7 to $1 in an effort to recall Governor Scott Walker and elect Mayor Barrett to replace him, Governor Walker won the election by a remarkable percentage (7%).

According to several sources, some teachers' union members crossed the picket line and voted to keep Gov. Walker in office. A reported 38% of union families (not restricted to teachers' unions) voted in favor of Gov. Walker in the recall. The actual results of the election seemed contrary to media polling because many voters feared making public statements. They did not want to be overheard speaking to poll-takers outside of election sites. So, many either declined to comment or lied to the survey takers.

The results of the recall election, with Walker, his Lt Governor, and three of four recalled state senators beating the attempted recall, sent a bold message to unions. That message is that tax-payers will no longer be bullied by public sector unions. The whole country watched this one state-level election because of how vital that message is to the tax-paying citizens of  our country.

However, it seems the teacher's unions are blind to the signs. In Arizona, Jan Brewer signed HB 2622. Unions see this as a blow because the bill redirects education funds to voucher programs in areas where the schools are failing to meet the state standards. What this means to the unions is that, in those poorly performing schools, their class sizes could fall dramatically. That would decrease the unions' arguments for decreased class sizes and requirements for more teachers. More teachers will still be required. They will just be in Charter and Private schools. They won't be union teachers. That means fewer due-paying members. Unions don't want the tax-paying parents to have a choice in how their kids are raised. They want tax-payers to pay them to decide that for them.

In Indiana, Governor Mitch Daniels and the state legislators implemented a great school-choice program. The program includes charter schools and vouchers. It even includes an incentive for students to work hard and graduate early. A portion of the state taxes allocated per student go to those who graduate early to help defray the costs of college. For similar reasons regarding Arizona's HB2622, unions don't like that idea.

For more information on Indiana's, Arizona's, and other common sense education programs that work, please see my article from May 21, 2012.

Now, in Chicago, we have unions proposing things that have even the liberals in Chicago's City Hall raising their eyebrows and turning out their empty pockets asking "with what money?". The Chicago Teachers' Union has voted to strike.

The average public school teacher in Chicago is salaried at over $74k for 9 1/2 months' work. Starting pay, right out of college, for a Chicago Public School Teacher is over $55k. Their current retirement pension rate tops out at 75%. (Military tops out at 70%. Most military retirees are closer to 50% and very few qualify to remain in service the full 30 years of active service required). They want more. They also want smaller class sizes so they can justify tax-payers hiring more employees who will be forced to pay union dues.

Meanwhile, in one Chicago-area charter school, union thugs moved in and forced the teachers to vote in favor of unionizing the school. Since charter schools are public partnerships with private institutions, the school responded by announcing that it is shutting down rather than bend to the union. So, the union effectively shut down the private sector jobs linked to that school. In response, the CTU has filed suit against the school in an effort to force it to stay open, and force them to employ union teachers against their will.

One little bit of common sense that CTU members fail to realize is that, should they get rid of the unions, they could split the dues amounts, cost the tax-payers over $500k a year in doing so, and see a raise in net income by doing so. If they applied that raise in net income to their own version of a 410K plan, it would offset the burden on tax-payers for their pensions. It could further increase the overall pension benefit they receive (especially if it is a Roth-type of retirement plan). Or, if they really cared about educating  the kids, the over $1M paid by tax-payers to union dues per year could go to better facilities and materials. Instead, these so-called educators bend to their Marxist masters. They fall in lock-step to the beat of the socialist drum. Who suffers? The tax-payers and the students.

The CTU (and other public sector unions) also fail to realize that they don't work for the politicians and bureaucrats. They work for the tax-payers. They work for the property owners paying property taxes. They work for those who pay sales taxes (from their own pockets, not from welfare funds). People have had enough of their money being wasted. Do we need to put it into braille, have a reality TV show made about it, or put a sign written in poor English on their lawns for them to get it?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Disturbing Rumor Of Dirty Pool?

Those who pay attention to various campaigns and speeches from political figures may have seen something going on.

President Clinton has made some statements of late that seem to cut at Obama's foundation. Though he may backpedal a little later, the impact of the original statements has its effects. Anybody with three working brain cells can see what Slick-Willy is doing. He is setting up Hilary for a 2016 run at the White House. He seeks to not disenfranchise his party in the process. However, a Romney win may enhance a 2016 candidacy for Hilary. I'm sure that these "gaffes" have some level of intention as part of a political strategy.

These suspected intentions of these "gaffes", as well as the initial statements themselves, work to bolster conservative goals in the near future. For those backing Romney, they are good news for the 2012 race. If combined with maintaining conservative seats in the House of Representatives and increasing the number of conservative US Senators, it will set the stage, in 2013, for at least two years of reforms at the federal level.

Some of those reforms will not be popular with the left-wing. They hope that such policies and actions will spawn at left-wing take-over of the house in the 2014 elections such as the TEA Party did in 2010. In a long-term strategy, it is a smart move, though a risky one. It will put the pressure on conservatives to do the right thing and gain positive results in a rather short amount of time. It sets the stage for Alinsky Tactics come 2014 and 2016.

However, it does give conservatives the ground to accomplish many short and mid-term goals. If effective in these goals, the strategy of the left will backfire. Conservatives have their work cut out for them.

This form of "dirty pool" is not restricted to the left and Bill Clinton.

I attended a monthly TEA Party meeting in Cochise County, Arizona. Cochise County falls within Arizona Congressional District 8 (For US House of Representatives), Gabrielle Giffords vacated seat. In the special election to fill the vacated seat, primaries were held recently. In the GOP primary, there was a tight race. The nominee was USMC veteran, Jesse Kelly. I didn't support Jesse in the Primary. I put my support behind retired Green Beret, Frank Antenori. However, once the dust settled and the nominee was chosen, I quickly turned to backing Jesse. Once the dust settles in any primary, it is important to unify behind our nominee. As the great Andrew Breitbart said at CPAC 2012, "Ask not what your candidate can do for you; ask what you can do for your candidate!".

There is a reason I state the military backgrounds of these two candidates. Southeast Arizona is a largely military and veteran community. The military record of candidates quickly becomes a campaign issue, especially among conservatives.

At this TEA party meeting, I met with several volunteers for the Jesse Kelly Campaign. I asked how things were going, and the usual networking to get press releases, candidate statements, and other such things. A couple of them brought up a concern.

 Martha McSally is a retired US Air Force Colonel (O-6). Frank is a retired Army Senior NCO. Jesse was an NCO in the USMC. According to rumors, McSally or her supporters are allegedly campaigning against Kelly in the special election. The supposed perceived lack of unity behind Jesse in the Special Election against Ron Barber is based upon military service. Retired officers, especially those from service in the Air Force, are being urged to not vote for "this former enlisted Marine". This is the perception from Kelly campaign volunteers who have been walking these precincts, and not from any statement made from McSally or her campaign. If true, however, this is a violation of Ronald Reagan's "11th Commandment".

I attempted to contact the McSally campaign office for comment. As of the initial publishing of this article, they have not returned my call or provided a statement.

In truth, Kelly, Antentori, and McSally are all far more conservative than Ron Barber. Any of the three is a much better choice than putting another Marxist in the US Congress. They should be backing the current nominee. If any of them are attempting to undercut the nominee in an effort to pull a similar strategy as the one Clinton may be conducting, they are revealing themselves as a leftist in RINO clothing. I have no problem with the left using such tactics in such an obvious manner. It will backfire on them. I sincerely pray that rumors of such occurring among conservatives are nothing less than ramblings of tired, frustrated grassroots campaign volunteers.

Some of the facts and information related to me include a lower Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL) return for the special election than there was for the primary. Jesse Kelly won the primary through mostly PEVL ballots. The precincts with the lower return all happen to be precincts where McSally did rather well in the primary. While this proves absolutely nothing in and of itself, the coincidence is eyebrow-raising. It merits some further research that will only be possible after the election on June 12, 2012.

The topic also indicates that voters and conservatives around the country need to be on the look-out for this tactic possibly being employed in their own local elections. Conservatives, now is the time for unity. Do not fall to or employ the divisive tactics of the left.