Monday, September 27, 2010

What Tea Party Congressmen Can Expect

As I write this article, the 2010 congressional elections are five weeks away. Even if you’re a Tea Partier who isn’t running for Congress, this article is still for you. After all, you’re not electing a political messiah—that attitude has gotten our country into enough trouble—you’re electing a representative. Your congressman will need you more after the election than before. Just the same, I’ll address you, the reader, as if I were addressing “you,” the Tea Party congressman.
One of the first things you should do when you reach your office is look for the restroom. In January of 1973, newly minted Congressman Ed Young spent the first three weeks going down the hall to meditate. Then he learned that he had a sanctuary in his own office. Asking could have saved him time and steps.
New congressmen attend seminars teaching them the ropes and showing them their leashes. You’ll be told something like, “To get along, go along.” Of course you want to get along, but the phrase, go along, means to obey entrenched politicians as if you were (as a former legislative analyst put it) their cattle.
That will be your first pitfall. You can’t be fully independent; and you must, at first, defer to the views of others. For that reason, you should resolve to find out what veteran congressman’s views are closest to your own and seek advice from him.
When seeking out wiser veterans, be as discerning as you can. If a congressman tells you that he entered Congress with Newt Gingrich or Bob Barr—as if that remark is supposed to boost him in your eyes—take that as a warning that he’s a neocon plant.
After all, if you were entering a culinary school, what would you think if a prospective culinary instructor told you that he’d learned his skills along with Jeffery Dahmer or Hannibal Lector?
Oh, I’m sure you’ve been told, “Read each bill before you vote on it.” If you did that, you wouldn’t have time to do anything else. The good news is, you can satisfy the reason that people tell you to read each bill. They don’t want to burden you with a lot of reading. What they really want is for you to know what’s in each bill before voting on it. That’s a reasonable request, isn’t it?
You can usually satisfy that request by keeping in close touch with special interest groups on all sides of an issue. They will find things in the bill that you would never have located even if you spent all your time reading bills.
Again, this calls for discernment. Reasons given for supporting a bill often differ from the real reasons—ulterior motives, in other words. Yes, yes, I know: It sounds like conspiracy theory. You’ll soon learn (if you didn’t know already) that Machiavelli was right when he said, “Politics, by its very nature, is conspiratorial.”
You should also do as the late Senator Strom Thurmond said. When reviewing a bill, ask yourself three questions, in order: “Is it constitutional?” If it isn't, don’t bother with the next two questions. “Is it wise?” Ditto. “Can we afford it?” That will greatly simplify the decision on whether to vote for it.
If there’s still some doubt in your mind, vote against it. You see, every bill has some impact on people’s freedoms. If for no other reason than that, most bills are bad bills. On top of that, it’s much more difficult to repeal a bad bill than it is to pass a good one.
Respect for your office staff often means a healthy dose of humility—recognizing that their knowledge and insight can take you a long way in building your team. Going back to then-Congressman Ed Young, I was interviewing him in his office (in January 1973) when the phone rang. The side of the conversation I heard went something like this:
“Oh, hi, Floyd. What did you want to talk to me about?”
“I thought you called me.”
“Well, I’ll tell you what, Floyd: You ask your secretary, and I’ll ask my secretary, and we’ll find out who called who and what we wanted to talk about.”
Of course, your dependence on your staff means you’ll have to use wisdom in selecting your staff and building a smoothly working office.
You’ll also find out that very few congressmen actually write bills. There’s much more to writing a bill than just writing what seems like a good idea at the time. Somebody has to do the research and find out how the bill would impact laws that are already on the books.
From time to time, I hear people say that they don’t have any political framework or philosophy. If a bill sounds good, they vote for it. Bad idea.
It’s like a church I once heard about. Four proposals were placed before the congregation. Each proposal sounded good, so they voted for each proposal. Then somebody pointed out how each proposal impacted the other three proposals. Here are the four things the church had decided to do:
1. Build a new sanctuary.
2. Build it on the same site as the old sanctuary.
3. Build the new sanctuary using as many salvageable materials from the old sanctuary as possible.
4. While the new sanctuary was being built, they’d continue to hold services in the old sanctuary.
So, you see, Mr. Tea Party Congressman, you need a framework and a philosophy to guide you—a framework that overarches all that you do.
Bills are often written by the people who would most benefit from them, and these interest groups often do the necessary legislative research on them. While this can save you a great deal of time, and give you the benefit of a great deal of expertise for free, there are also pitfalls. Don’t turn up your nose at this kind of assistance, but do sniff at it a little more carefully than usual.
There’s another tendency you should try to avoid. The rightness or wrongness of a bill can’t be weighed by how much support or opposition it has. That’s often because of the incentives involved in supporting or opposing a bill.
Let’s say a certain bill would cost the taxpayers $50 million. That’s just a few cents per taxpayer. You wouldn’t find much serious opposition to the bill. Let’s say that same bill would benefit a certain company to the tune of $25 million. That company would have the incentive to drum up a lot of support for that bill, wouldn’t they? Here, the if-in-doubt rule applies: If in doubt, vote against it.
There’s much more I could say, I’m sure, but I’ll leave you with one of the most important points. You can’t give what you don’t have. Every dollar you handle as part of your job belongs to someone else: the taxpayers. It’s theirs. If you presume to give what is not yours to give—whatever the reason—it’s not generosity; it’s theft. Anything that’s immoral or unethical for a private citizen is just as immoral or unethical for an officeholder.
When you take lessons on how to do your job as congressman, the entrenched power brokers will leave out some important information. It’s called the mushroom treatment; on those matters, they’ll keep you in the dark and feed you manure. For my four-part explanation of how Washington really works, click here, here, here, and here.
They’ll also give you the mushroom treatment on foreign policy. Will Rogers had it right: “Diplomats are as important at starting wars as soldiers are at finishing them. Take the diplomacy out of a war and the whole thing will fall flat in a week.” If you want to know who America’s enemies are, don’t trust the sources that benefit from starting wars.
For a crash course in these matters, check out the series of articles titled “How Terrorism Really Works.” For a series of articles giving you an overview of what we must do to “take America back” from the such disaster industry characters as banksters and the military-industrial complex, check out Reclaiming America’s Representative Government.”
I started this blog, the American Action Report mainly as a guidebook for freedom rather than as an alternative news source. The Vatic Project does a fine enough job as a news source.
I think I’ve given you enough to read.
In the closing credits to the old television series Profiles in Courage, then President Kennedy said, “These stories of past courage can teach; they can offer hope; they can provide inspiration; but they can not supply courage itself. For courage, each man must look into his own soul.” In a sense, I’ve tried to do with the American Action Report what John F. Kennedy said he’d tried to do with Profiles in Courage. I would suggest, though, that you look higher than your own soul and seek wisdom and courage from the Universal Soul Who is the Source of both.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

ECFA: Formosa Sovereignty Betrayed

(This is the first part of a two-part series.)
At first they called it CEPA: Closer Economic Partnership Agreement, but that went over like asparagus ice cream. CEPA was what they called the “agreement” that Hong Kong had signed beneath the barrel of a gun when Hong Kong became a colony of Beijing. CEOF (Closer Economic Operational Framework) was suggested and rejected.
Then CECA (Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement) was put forth to a wary Taiwanese public, and it was rejected for two reasons. For one, it sounded too much like CEPA. For another, in the Taiwanese language, it sounds like “washing feet;” the very sound of it was humiliating.
Since then, they’ve called it ECFA (Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement.) (For Michael Turton's excellent article, click here.)
So, what is ECFA? It’s some kind of agreement between China and Taiwan, but, beyond that, I can’t tell you. It’s a secret.
It’s “some kind of agreement?” What kind of agreement is it? Well, it’s sort of a quasi-treaty? Taiwan’s Council of Grand Justices ruled that ECFA is an administrative agreement, which obligated the legislature to review the agreement article by article and give it two readings—one in committee and one in the full legislature. (Click here.)
But what do judges know, anyway? Ma, figuring that he knew what was best, insisted that it was a quasi-treaty. What’s a quasi-treaty? Is it a treaty or not? It all depends on where the advocates of this—er, um—quasi-treaty are standing when they talk about it. You see, Ma Ying-jeou, who spent years pushing the agreement, is Taiwan’s quasi-president; and his view, apparently, is that Taiwan is a quasi-country.
The agreement wasn’t signed by government entities but by informal agencies set up for the purposes of discussions between two governments, neither of which recognizes the other. By international law, then, it’s not a treaty.
When ECFA was presented to the legislature for passage, Quasi-president Ma told the legislature that they should treat it as though it were a treaty. That is, they should not consider it provision by provision but as a whole, as international law requires for treaties.
When Quasi-president Ma was visiting Japan, however, he told his hosts that ECFA is not a treaty because treaties, by definition, are between two sovereign states. Ma told them that the People’s Republic of China (a.k.a. the butchers of Beijing) doesn’t exist and that he—Super Ma—is the president of Taiwan, all of China, Tibet, East Turkestan, and Hong Kong. I wonder if the Japanese kept a straight face when they heard that one.
By contrast, when a middle-level Chinese bureaucrat came to visit Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou suddenly became “Mr. Ma,” who groveled before a Chinese master and countenanced police brutality to keep Taiwanese flags and patriots from being seen.
That’s the way it works. When he’s running the show, Ma is Dracula Prince of Darkness. When even the lowest Beijing lackey shows up at his door, he becomes Renfield, groveling at Dracula's feet.
The Ma administration used tax dollars to promote ECFA, not with facts, but with smears. They produced a slick cartoon that said absolutely nothing about the contents of ECFA but, instead, caricatured the people of Taiwan.
The cartoon featured two stereotypes. One was an ethnic Taiwanese from the southern part of Taiwan, and who could be described as low class in every way. He was poorly informed and, being poorly informed, he was opposed to ECFA—though he didn’t know why. The other, an ethnic Hakka from central Taiwan, was educated, spoke several languages, was reasonable, and kept herself informed on the issues. She, of course, was in favor of ECFA.
Quite understandably, a lot of people asked why their ethnicity should be brought into the question. Why should they go into other details about them to reinforce offensive stereotypes?
One perceptive writer pointed out that the two caricatures didn’t represent a dichotomy; they represented a three-way view of ethnicity in Taiwan. One was the ignorant Taiwanese bumpkin from the south; who wouldn’t get with the program. The second was the good little Hakka girl from central Taiwan, who did get with the program. The third—unseen—was the elitist Mainlander in the north (those who were pushing ECFA), who defined for everyone else what the program should be. (To read the article, click here.)
Let’s get back to ECFA. What is it? It has been passed, but we won’t really know what’s in it until after it has gone into effect.
Even before Ma became quasi-president of Taiwan, he argued that Taiwan should become economically integrated with China for about thirty years and then decide whether Taiwan should become politically integrated with them. Wait a minute. After giving Beijing control over Taiwan’s economy, everything else will fall like a ripe fruit.
From the beginning of his quasi-presidency, Mr. Ma (or Super Prez, depending on your perspective) argued that it was urgent for Taiwan to pass ECFA. If Taiwan didn’t submerge itself into the Chinese economy, it would be left behind by other Asian nations. (Why is that? Other Asian nations weren’t surrendering their economic independence, and they were doing fine.)
For many years, Beijing had been pressuring other countries not to sign FTA’s (free trade agreements) with Taiwan. The quasi-administration’s argument was that ECFA would put an end to that problem.
Quite reasonably critics of ECFA asked how that would happen. Wouldn’t ECFA give Beijing even more leverage to prevent Taiwan from signing FTA’s with other countries?
Ma’s gaff-prone premier Wu Den-yih confidently answered that question. Sure, he agreed, ECFA would give Beijing more leverage to prevent Taiwan from signing FTA's, but he didn’t believe Beijing would do so. After all, he said with a straight face, Beijing knows how important it is to Taiwan to sign FTA’s with other countries.
(I couldn’t make this up. Considering that Wu is a veritable cornucopia of stupid remarks on almost every important issue, I suspect that he has diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of the brain.)
Mr. Wu, are you not aware that the butchers of Beijing are not philanthropists who have Taiwan’s best interests at heart—or anyone else’s best interests at heart? Why don’t you just wear a dunce cap and make it official?
(You may recall from a previous article (Click here) Wu, speaking in defense of dumping toxic waste into rice farmers' water tables and into fishing areas and tidal basins, said that dolphins are fish; and that the endangered humpbacked Indo-Pacific dolphins should be smart enough to swim away from polluted water.)
(In part two, I’ll describe the ECFA debates that didn’t reveal anything useful—except that Tsai Ing-wen made the mistake of assuming that television debates are about facts and reasoning, while telegenic Ma knew otherwise. I’ll also cover the “birdcage” referendum that was never allowed to fly. Conclusions are not very pretty.)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"How Dangerous Are the Muslims?"

Messages of hatred against Muslims in the United States have come so thick and fast over the past few months, I hardly know where to begin addressing them. In Florida, a self-proclaimed "Christian minister" has turned his back on Our Savior's example of love, meekness, and humility to say that he'll lead a Koran-burning on September 11. In New York, narrow-minded people are freaking out over a Muslim-run community center that is nowhere within sight of the former site of the World Trade Center, yet they're calling it a "Ground Zero Mosque." It's nothing of the kind. (For Keith Olbermann's powerful response to this vicious slander, click here.)
Congressman Ron Paul perceptively said that the organizers of the anti-Muslim hate mongering, particularly the hysteria over the community center, is to "continue the hatred toward Islam rather than Al Qaeda in order to justify their foreign of intervention and nation building and occupation because, if you don't have an enemy that you despise, it's hard to get that support." (Click here.)
Elsewhere, a cab driver who was only trying to make an honest living and support his family was slashed repeatedly because he answered, "Yes," when asked if he were a Muslim. (Click here to see what the bigot did to this innocent man who wasn't much different from you or me.)
The Colbert Report successfully uses humor to ridicule the mentality of anti-Muslim bigotry, but Colbert also draws attention to how many acts of hatred have occurred in recent months. (Click here.)
Bigoted distortions about Muslims, here, [
Adapted from Dr. Peter Hammond's book Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary] are designed to convince people that Muslims are innately dangerous. Specifically, people are supposed to fear for their lives if Muslims are "allowed" to increase as a percentage of the population. If the implications of all this is true, then there should be a direct correlation between murder rates and the percentage of Muslims found in a given population.
To test this assumption, I took the percentages given in the article making the accusations about Muslims and compared them to the "deliberate homicide" rate for the countries mentioned in the article. Considering the way some people thoughtlessly equate Islam with terrorism, hate mongers apparently expect us to be fearful of getting murdered. Taking this person's figures at face value, I compared them to actual murder rates from Wikipedia and I recorded the murder rates for all but the few countries not mentioned in those two sites.
As you can see from the chart below, there is no correlation between a country's murder rates and the percentages of Muslims in a country's population. As the percentage of Muslims in a country's population increases, the murder rate remains unchanged.
If you compare the bar graph below with the one below it, you'll see a difference between the third bars. That's because the unusually high murder rate in the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago was what is called an outlier. You'll see the same uncharacteristic jump in the line graph above. In the second bar graph, I removed the outlier for a more reliable comparison.

Below,you see the same bar graph with the outlier (Trinidad and Tobago) removed.
According to the anti-Muslim email message I received, some 0.6% of the people of the United States are Muslims, and 100% of the people of Yemen are Muslims. According to, the murder rates in the two countries are as follows: 4.2802 per 100,000 people for the United States, and 3.36276 per 100,000 for Yemen. The murder rate in Yemen is about three fourths the murder rate in the United States. That figure hardly supports the argument that Muslims are dangerous.
Let's look at it another way. Of the 62 countries listed in the NationMaster survey, the nations with the ten highest murder rates are, in order, Colombia (0.0% Muslim), South Africa (2.0%), Jamaica (0.0%), Venezuela (0.0%), Mexico (0.2%), Estonia (0.7%), Latvia (0.4%), Lithuania (0.1%), and Belarus (5%). The nations with the ten lowest murder rates, from lowest upward, are Qatar (100.0% Muslim), Saudi Arabia (100.0%, Japan (1.0%), Hong Kong (not actually a country but a colony of Beijing, 1.0%), Greece (1.3%), Indonesia (86.1%), Switzerland (3.1%), Ireland (2.0%), Norway (1.8%), and Denmark (2.0%).
Wikipedia (Click here.) gives a more comprehensive list, but the result is essentially the same: There's no correlation between Muslims and murder rates. On Wikipedia's list, the ten highest murder rates are found in El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica, Guatemala, Venezuela, South Africa, Columbia, Belize, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic. The lowest murder rates (from the lowest up) are found in Liechtenstein, Iceland, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Brunei, Morocco, Lebanon, Oman, and Algeria.
When you read the anti-Muslim email messages, they seem "reasonable." On closer examination, though, you'll find that they're not giving facts; they're giving general impressions. They serve only to create a sense of unease that may further be fed until it becomes hysteria.
A couple of generations ago, my classmates and I wondered how it was possible for our parents to have given in to the hysteria against Americans of Japanese ancestry. We wondered this even as we were giving in to the hysteria against black people who simply wanted the quality of education that the better-funded, predominantly white schools could provide.
H. L. Menckin once wrote something like, "History has proven that people don't learn from history." Please, in this generation, don't let it be true.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The "Official Story" of 9/11: A Fairy Tale

[This is the second part of a four-part series addressing the motives, the means, and the opportunity for the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. In this part, I address what has come to be regarded as the “official story” of the events. Notwithstanding that the FBI, the 9/11 Commission Report, and other official sources have debunked certain aspects of the “official story,” the “official story” persists as the established version of events. In this article, I present to you a presentation of the “official story.” Pardon me if I Clancy the story a bit; but certain technical points should not be omitted from the story.] Not very long before the infamous destruction of the World Trade Center and the damaging of the Pentagon, a cave man on the other side of the world from the United States brooded over America’s freedoms. He hated America because of its freedoms; so he decided to destroy the World Trade Center and put a big hole in the Pentagon. That sounds perfectly reasonable, don’t you think?
Of course, he would need help if he were to destroy both towers and mess up the Pentagon all in the same day. To help him in his crusade, he managed to find nineteen misfits who were so stupid that most of them didn’t even know how to fill out a visa request. (Click here.) As it turned out, they got lucky; some of them wouldn’t need the visas anyway. The student visas for Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi were finally awarded in March 2002. (Click here.)
So how does a person as dimwitted as those misfits learn to fly a Boeing 757, navigate a course reversal, and read the instruments well enough to chart a course for New York City, locate the World Trade Center or the Pentagon, and hit all three buildings dead center?
If you’re Hani Hanjour, you spend $40 for lessons on how to fly a Cessna 172.
Take a look at the composite photo comparing the cockpit of a Cessna 172 with that of a Boeing 757. There's not much difference, is there?The next hurdle was coordinating their take-offs, hijacks, and attacks. These guys who couldn’t fill out visa forms, fly planes, or even spell Washington managed to do all that. Then the nineteen misfits who couldn’t seem to do anything right had to get their weapons past security guards at two airports. That’s nineteen chances of getting caught.
According to the official story, it was easy because there was no ban on cardboard cutters and the sort of plastic table knives served with airline meals. After all, the knives they used were less threatening than the airline meals that came with them. Oh, how do we know that they used cardboard cutters and disposable plastic knifes rather than machetes, AK-47’s, and bazookas? While the hijacking was in progress, Ted Olsen’s wife Barbara called Ted on her cell phone and told him this—no, come to think of it, it was the seat phone on the plane—no, the plane didn’t have a seat phone—come to think of it, it was her cell phone after all—no, cell phones didn’t work at that altitude in those days. Oh, well, when and if Ted makes up his mind which, I'll let you know. (See here and here.)
No, come to think of it, the FBI confirmed that the call was never made. (See
here.) (For call records for passengers on that flight, see here.) The hijackers of all four planes remembered to—and knew how to—turn off the aircraft transponders. (See here.)
Let me digress a moment to tell you who Ted Olson was. He was the Elena Kagan of his day. He was the lawyer who argued before the Supreme Court, in effect, that the Florida vote recount in the year 2000 should be stopped while Bush was ahead. Bush seriously considered rewarding him with a seat on the Supreme Court, but, already in his sixties, Olson was considered too old for consideration. Instead, he was appointed United States Solicitor General. Ted Olson, then, was a key player.
Some people thought it strange that, only minutes after his wife supposedly died in the crash of Flight 77, he called a news conference that served only one purpose: to absolve airport security personnel of any blame in the 9/11 deaths. Olson was the only source of “information” that the hijackers used disposable plastic knives and cardboard cutters to terrify dozens of passengers (including the pilots and co-pilots, all of whom were military trained) into submission. Isn't that what you would do only minutes after hearing that your spouse had died? Immediately call a news conference and make excuses for the airport security personnel whose negligence got her killed? Or did she die? (See the American Action Report’s “What Happened to Flight 77’s Passengers? Click here.)
Getting back to our fairy tale, our three novice pilots managed to turn the planes around and navigate hijacked planes hundreds of miles. Two located the World Trade Center and one located the Pentagon. The fourth novice pilot reverted to type and crashed the plane in the middle of a field. He must have been a Boy Scout because he was true to the Boy Scout outdoor code: “Leave No Trace.” There was barely a trace that a plane had crashed there.

The military has a strict policy about airplanes that stray off course. Of dozens of planes that had strayed off course before September 11, every one of them was intercepted by military planes that had scrambled within fifteen minutes of their straying off course. Of dozens of planes that had strayed off course since September 11, all of them had been similarly intercepted.
The September 11 hijackers got lucky; nobody intercepted them. It was a little early for a coffee break, wasn't it?

Each plane that struck the World Trade Center hit it dead center. The plane that struck the Pentagon brought it straight into the building. On December 1, 1984, the Boeing deliberately crashed a 720 in a controlled impact demonstration (CID) and they didn't do it as well as those novice pilots. (Click here to see the CID, and here to see a professional forensic simulation of Hani Hanjour's feat.)

According to the “official version” of the events of September 11, 2001, the heat from burning jet fuel melted the steel framework of the twin towers. Upon melting, the towers collapsed in a manner called pancaking. That is, each successive collapse of a story caused the next story to collapse until both towers collapsed straight down, almost at free-fall speed, into their own footprints.

That’s the “official version,” anyway. You see, in several respects, the 9/11 Commission Report is like the Bible: You’re not supposed to question it, very few people have actually read it, we have priests (in the corporate-owned media) to tell us what it says and means; and, if you have the temerity to present facts that contradict faith, the Inquisition will get you.

It just so happens that some people have read the 9/11 Commission Report, and their findings were reported in a peer-reviewed article in a science citation index (SCI) journal. (Click here.) The 9/11 Commission Report says that the “heat theory” is “not supported by the facts,” and that “pancake theory” is “not supported by the facts” either. In short, the 9/11 Commission Report admits that the commissioners don’t know what caused the twin towers and Building #7 to fall.
Of course, the 9/11 Commission Report is not the "official version" of events. If we want to hear the "official version," we have the high priests, scribes, and Pharisees of the corporate-owned media to tell us, and plenty of crosses to support their views.

Another peer-reviewed SCI journal article reports that military grade super nano-thermite was recovered from the site of the World Trade Center less than ten minutes after the buildings fell, and other samples were recovered over the next few hours. (Click here.)
Engineers use thermite to cause tall buildings to implode as a low-risk means of demolition. The form of thermite recovered from the World Trade Center was far superior to that used by even the best demolition crews. Unlike ordinary thermite, it can be painted onto building surfaces.

You may have been taught in high school that church cardinals refused to look into Galileo’s telescope because, as one cardinal remarked, “I’m afraid of what the devil might make me see. The high priests and Grand Inquisitors of the Official Version of 9/11 religion take the same view of peer-reviewed, SCI journal articles. Thus, proven facts are called “theories,” and disproven articles of faith are called “facts.”

Faith and fact don’t have to contradict one another. It was Jesus of Nazareth Who said, “And you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.”
More recently, George Washington wrote, “The Truth shall prevail when pains are taken to bring it to light.”
Oh, but every fairy tale must have a "happily-ever-after" ending. Remember that, according to the "official version" of this story, the caveman and his nineteen misfits attacked America because "they hated our freedoms." After the attacks, President Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act into law, effectively abolishing those freedoms; and the terrorists lived happily ever after.

Other September 11, 2001, articles in this blog

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How Ridiculous is Your Congressman?

Congressmen tend to get re-elected mainly because they were elected in the first place. The only way they can get voted out of office is for the people who elected them to admit that they'd made a mistake. Most people are not willing to eat that much crow.
Tell someone that his congressman is corrupt, they'll figure that it's not unusual. Tell them that he's on the wrong side of the issues, and they'll figure that he has a right to his opinions. In most cases no betrayal can be serious enough to get that many voters to change their minds--well, almost none. When people learn that their congressman didn't get there because he's smart and understands the issues better than they do, that's when they start to rethink their votes.
Machiavelli wrote that a leader can be hated and still retain the support of the people; but, if the leader makes himself an object of ridicule, and an embarrassment to the voters who elected him, the people will turn against him.
I've just begun this list of congressmen who have made themselves objects of ridicule and embarrassment. I'm sure you can add a few. Please do.

Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga) demonstrates that he knows almost nothing about issues that he considers important.

Hank Johnson (D-Ga), in a short talk, changes the dimensions of Guam several times and suggests that U.S. Naval presence in Guam might make the island tip over.

Bob Etheridge (D-NC) shows that he's unclear on the concept of what a representative is supposed to do. Has he been watching too many gangster movies?

Henry Waxman (CA), has his low-tech version of a teleprompter. During an interview, he keeps asking someone off camera what the facts are concerning an issue he considers important.

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is a one-person gaff machine. She says that the healthcare is a significant job-creation bill (here.) She also says that a proposed economic recovery package will create or save 500 million American jobs (here.) The entire population of the United States is around 310 million people, including retirees and children. Dick Cheney doesn't blink, but that's all right; Nancy Pelosi blinks enough for both of them. (here) Pelosi is math-challenged; she thinks that $2.66 is almost three times "a dollar and something." (here) For "Nancy's Greatest Hits," click here.

Read the bill? No way!
(John Conyers, (D-Mich) and Steny Hoyer, (D-MD) think that reading the bills on which they vote is a foolish waste of time. Conyers said that, if congressmen read every bill that came before them, they'd "never get anything done. (Actually, that might be an improvement.)

James Clyburn (D-SC) admits that "most of what we do" isn't authorized by the Constitution; but says that Congress shouldn't be limited by the Constitution. On the other hand, he claims that pork barrel spending is necessary because it's mandated by the Constitution. If you disagree with Clyburn, you're a racist, even if you have a well-established record for promoting civil liberties. (What a jerk!) To read some of Clyburn's ridiculous excuses for corruption, see the article "Jim Clyburn: Poster Child for Corruption."

Phil Hare (D-IL) doesn't know what the Constitution says and he doesn't care what it says, but he loves the Constitution. He also confuses the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution. Though he was caught on You Tube speaking against the Constitution for three minutes, he later said that his remarks were "taken out of context." For his convoluted excuse, click here. What a fathead!

David Obey (D-WI) doesn't care if trillions of dollars borrowed against our future for the so-called "stimulus package" are spent badly. When he's told that "there are a thousand ways" tax dollars can be spent badly, he says, "So what?" Over and over in the interview, he says, "So what?"

Pete Stark (D-CA) was asked about the necessity for having the U.S. government protect America's borders from illegal intrusion. His position is that protecting America's borders is the job of "minutemen." This is a video that must be seen to be believed.

Harry Reid (D-NV) says that no one in the United States is forced to pay taxes. He keeps repeating that, in the United States, taxation is "voluntary."

Trent Franks (R-AZ), Mike Pence (R-IN), and Steve King (R-Iowa) offer gushing tributes to Dubya Bush upon his departure from the presidency. Judging from their comments, they must have been living on another planet while Bush was in the White House.

Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) explains when a lie is not a lie.

Louie Gohmert (R-TX) implied that the Democrats are hoping for another terrorist attack.

Eric Cantor (R-VA) thinks that the decision to go to war with Iran should be decided by the "commanders on the ground." No, the Constitution grants that authority to Congress and only Congress. When he was sworn into office, he took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. Shouldn't he have read it by now to see what it says?
Peter King (R-NY) seems to have nothing more important to discuss than television coverage of Michael Jackson’s death or whether a community center should be built in Manhattan. Regardless of how you felt about Michael Jackson, shouldn't a congressman have weightier matters to consider? One person responded by suggesting a simple and obvious solution to King’s Michael Jackson problem: change channels. Now that he has latched onto Newt Gingrich’s hate-fueled, anti-Muslim issue, we can hope he has hitched his wagon to a falling star.

John Boehner (R-0H) was caught handing out checks (bribes, actually) on the floor of the House to influence the votes on legislation that was coming up that morning. When Boehner was caught, he said that he knew it was wrong, but it had been going on in the House for a long time and that he—noble soul that he was—was trying to stop the practice.

John Salazar (D-CO) presents himself as a centrist and says that he's in favor of "clean" alternative energy such as nuclear energy and "clean coal." Oh, you say you've never heard of clean coal. Well, don't feel rained on; geologists have never heard of it either. If you want to know more about clean coal, or if you're in need of a hearty laugh, take a look at this video. According to Pat Ridz of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, Salazar's Republican opponent, a character named Tipton, is supported by Clintonistas. She adds, "And we all know Clinton is a banker-funded puppet just like Obama and Salazar....The only way out of this is voting third party and not agreeing to play this game any longer."

Mark Kirk (R-IL) went to China and advised Chinese banks not to trust the United States government's budget numbers when the Chinese banks consider whether to foreclose on U.S. government debts to China. Sure, his remarks to China were financially sound, but they were reckless. Two kinds of people can never be trusted: knaves who lie and fools who don't know when to shut up. And hasn't anyone told him that unauthorized negotiations with a foreign government is a violation of the Logan Act and can land him in prison for three years?

Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) admitted at a town hall meeting that he knew only one of the five rights that are guaranteed by the First Amendment (freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom to petition for redress of grievances, and freedom of the press;) and he didn't know what Article One, Section 1 says (that Congress shall make laws.)

Gresham Barrett (R-SC) introduced a bill to deport all visa-holding citizens from countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism. He said that he introduced the bill as a response to the "underwear bomber" and the Fort Hood shooting. There's one problem with his rationale: Barrett's bill would not have prevented either event from taking place. The "underwear bomber" didn't have a visa but was allowed on the plane anyway; and the accused Fort Hood shooter was already an American citizen. Either Barrett was ignorant or he was grandstanding.

Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is widely quoted as saying,
"Those who survived the San Francisco earthquake said, 'Thank God, I'm still alive.' But, of course, those who died, their lives will never be the same again."

Scott Brown (R-MA), on the night he was elected, said of his daughters, ''In case anyone's wondering out there, yes, they're both available. ... Only kidding. Only kidding. Arianna is definitely not. But Ayla is.'' Did he think that the only way they could find husbands was if he got elected to the Senate?

Joe Barton (R-TX) apologized to BP officials after Obama called BP CEO Tony Hayward on the carpet and demanded that he set up a fund to pay for only a small fraction of the damage the BP oil spill had caused.
The purpose of this article, as I’ve said, is to highlight ridiculous people in Congress, but pardon me if I take a moment to turn the spotlight on an out-and-out jerk.
Newt Gingrich compared the building of a moderate Muslim community center in Manhattan to placing a swastika near the Holocaust Museum. The truth is, the imam who seeks to build the center has assisted the FBI in counter-terrorism efforts and is widely known for bringing people of different faiths together. News commentator Joe Scarborough said that he (Scarborough) prays that a Republican of stature calls him down on that issue. Guess what? His prayers have been answered. (here, here, and especially here)

Please add to this list. I'm sure there are hundreds of fools, idiots, jerks, and otherwise risible and embarrassing people in Congress.
Saturday Night Live
couldn't possibly spoof those clowns. As a result, such programs as Saturday Night Live are facing unfair competition from C-Span and C-Span 2. We have a long way to go and only a short time before the congressional elections, when we can correct this pitiful state of affairs.

I don't favor voting everyone out of Congress. If we did that, the unelected bureaucrats would run all over the novices we elect. If we kick out all the crooks, fools and ignoramuses, that's be a good 90% or more. That should be enough. If you remain undecided when you step into the voting booth, remember this:

"If in doubt, vote him out."
Oh, but what if the incumbent (and incompetent) congressman is opposed by someone as bad as he (or she) is? Do you vote for the "lesser of two evils"? No, that's a good cop/bad cop routine that has been played on voters for as long as I can recall. Whether you're a liberal or a conservative, playing that game always works against the voters. For a voting strategy that works, see the following articles:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September 11's Lucky Winners

[All of the articles I've seen on the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, have focused on certain anomalies concerning the events. From there the writers have examined all areas of these anomalies. I'm trying something different: a deconstructive approach to investigating the events now collectively called 9/11. In this article, the first of a four-part series, I'm examining motive. In part two, still focusing on motive, I'll examine an organization I've never seen mentioned in any 9/11 literature. Part three deals with means; that is, I'll describe certain things about how the attacks were carried out. I have found that the most effective means of discovering internal problems with a story is simply to retell the story as it has been "officially" told to us. Due to certain technical discoveries that have been made since the story was first presented to the American people, this version of the narrative will be more Clancied than you may be accustomed to hearing. Finally, in part four, I'll explore the area of opportunity. Who had the ability to make sure that certain things (the means) would take place the way they did? Motive, means and opportunity—these are the three requirements that mark the difference between evidence and proof.]

Until I began researching the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, I had always thought that the luck enjoyed by Timothy Dexter (1748-1806) was unique in American history. Oh, you’ve never heard of Timothy Dexter?
Timothy Dexter was an illiterate, dimwitted businessman who always had astounding success with the most unlikely business ventures. He bought up all the Continental money he could, although it was considered worthless. When Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton chose to back the currency at full value, this measure made Dexter wealthy.
Dexter grew even wealthier by exporting mittens and bed warmers to the West Indies; shipping coal to the coal mining town of Newcastle, England; and sending Bibles and stray cats to the Caribbean Islands, among other unlikely ventures. (See Dexter’s bio here.)
More recently, Larry Silverstein, the last owner of the World Trade Center, was even luckier than Timothy Dexter. Unlike Dexter, Larry Silverstein wasn’t considered the village idiot. He was, in fact, a friend of Benjamin Netanyahu, who reportedly telephoned Silverstein at least once a week.
When Larry Silverstein bought the World Trade Center (WTC) for $125 million in July 2001, he bought a white elephant. WTC’s low occupancy rate was enough to make it a major money-losing investment. Still worse, Silverstein would be saddled with having to remove all the WTC’s asbestos at a cost of about $1 billion. (Click here.)
Silverstein also took out an insurance policy guaranteeing him $3.5 billion in the event that the World Trade Center suffered a terrorist attack. The policy carried a double indemnity in case the World Trade Center was attacked twice. Now, what are the odds of that happening?
As the insurers and Silverstein disagreed over whether 9 11 was one attack or two, they split the difference, and Silverstein pocketed $4.5 billion. Thus, instead of suffering a guaranteed $1 billion loss, Silverstein’s investment in the World Trade Center made a 3,500% profit in less than two months. Timothy Dexter never got that lucky.
Silverstein’s luck went beyond money. He and his two offspring worked at the World Trade Center. Silverstein himself ate breakfast on the top floor of the building every weekday morning without fail. On the morning of September 11, 2001, all three men were somewhere else. (Click here.)
There were other lucky winners that day. Among them were 4,000 Israelis believed to have been in or around the World Trade Center the day the towers fell. Many American Jews were killed that day, but only 5 out of 4,000 Israelis died.
Odigo, an Israeli-owned electronic instant messenger service, admitted that two of its employees (both Israelis then in Israel) had received non-specific warnings that a major terrorist attack was about to take place. This was two hours before the first plane hit the World Trade Center. This warning came some 84 minutes before the Federal Aviation Administration knew about the hijacking. [American Action Note: The non-specific nature of the warning indicates second- or third-hand information. It was, nonetheless, an indication that some kind of warning was going out to Israelis, and that the original source had more specific advance knowledge.] (Click here.)
Goldman Sachs was another lucky winner that day. On September 10, their Tokyo office warned its employees to steer clear of the American buildings. Would this information have been transmitted to the New York office, or did it come from the New York office? (Click here.)
Zim Integrated Shipping Services, which was 49% Israeli owned, had its offices on the 47th floor of the WTC North Tower, leased until the end of 2001. Only a week before the attack, they broke the lease and vacated the building. This move cost them $50,000. As it was with Larry Silverstein, what looked like bad business turned out to be a lucky move. The first plane to hit the World Trade Center struck the 47th floor of the North Tower, dead center. (Click here.)
Clearforest, the sole Israeli company remaining in the building had 19 employees, 16 of whom were somewhere else that day. The remaining 5 employees safely evacuated the building.

The men known as the five dancing Israelis (Click here.) made a very lucky guess that day.
I wish I could take lucky guessers like them horse races. They managed to have videotaping equipment already set up before the first plane hit the World Trade Center. When they were spotted laughing, dancing, and giving one another high fives, they were mistaken for Arabs. The van they’d used belonged to Urban Moving Systems, a front for the Israeli Mossad. When interviewed on an Israeli television program, one of the men said that they “were there to document the event.” What event? At the time they’d set up their equipment, the event had not yet happened. Was that a lucky guess or what? (Click here.)
Probably the luckiest winners of the day were the top officials in the Israeli regime. Haaretz, a moderate Israeli newspaper which is said to be read by Israel’s top leaders, carried an article reporting that Benjamin Netanyahu openly boasted that the mass murder on September 11 was “very good for Israel.” Netanyahu crowed, "We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq." He silkily purred that the mass murder of 3,000 Americans “has swung public opinion in our favor.” The New York Times also reported this news story. (Click here.)
At the time of the attacks, then former Prime Minister Ehud Barak was in London. Barak was astonishingly lucky that day. Only a few minutes after the first plane hit the World Trade Center—four hours before news sources confirmed that investigators were working under the assumption that the events were “part of a terrorist attack”—five hours before Osama bin Laden was named as a suspect, Ehud Barak just happened to appear in the BBC newsroom in London. An hour later, while two of the hijacked planes were still in the air, Ehud Barak, obviously well prepared, gave an interview in which he gave “information” that President Bush wouldn’t know until nine o’clock that night. Was he a really lucky guesser or what? (Click here.)
If you think Ehud Barak was a lucky guesser, Robert J. Loewenberg will really blow you away. He was in Israel at the time of the attacks; that's seven hours ahead of New York time. He managed to produce a well-researched, painstakingly written article about the attacks within hours of their occurrence. Most of the information in the article was unknown to American intelligence agencies until (going by Israeli time) the next morning.
     Here is the time line as I wrote it in my comments (Click here.) to the Vatic Project:
"A key word in the article is today's, but left unsaid was the time of day. The author of that article, Robert Loewenberg, is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Israel. Israel, where his bio says he now lives, is in an earlier time zone.
"When the first plane hit the World Trade Center, it was 3:45 P.M. in Israel. Israel evacuated its embassies at 5:54 P.M. Israel time. At 9:00 P.M. Israeli time, an FBI spokesman told CNN that they were "working on the assumption" that the crashes were part of a terrorist attack. At 11:00 P.M. Israeli time, Osama bin Laden was named as a suspect, based on "new and specific information." Earlier suggestions that Muslims or Arabs were involved in the attacks had been reported as "unconfirmed." At 3:30 A.M. September 12 Israeli time, Bush addressed the nation but doesn't identify the attackers. As he speaks, member of Congress tell CNN during "private briefings" that there's "enough evidence" to convince them that Osama bin Laden was behind the attacks. At 6:30 A.M. September 12 Israeli time, Bush wrote in his journal 'The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today....We THINK it's Osama bin Laden.' (emphasis added)
Loewenberg's article was obviously well prepared; it had to have taken hours to write. Given the time line, those were hours he didn't have. Prior knowledge? You bet."

Of course, I’m not suggesting that Israel did 9 11. No, our government leaders tell us that Israel’s enemies did it; and of course our government leaders wouldn’t lie to us, now would they? And isn’t it ironic that the big losers from the September 11 terrorist attacks are the very people who are officially blamed for the attacks and who, as a result, have suffered more than anyone else? Or is irony the proper word for it?
Other September 11, 2001, articles in this blog