Monday, January 31, 2011

The Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) Con

     Since the late 1970's,  some 34 states have called for a new Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) that purportedly would be limited to considering a Balanced Budget Amendment or other amendment.  From the get-go, opponents of the Con-Con have called it the Con-Con con, in that a constitutional convention is exactly what the name implies: a constitutional convention. 
      In a 1988 letter to Phyllis Schlafly, then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Warren Burger wrote that a constitutional convention could not be limited to single issues or even a few issues. Specifically, he wrote the following:
     "...[T]here is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention.  The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda.  Congress might try to limit the Convention to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that the Convention would obey.  After a Convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the Convention if we don't like its agenda.  The meeting in 1787 ignored the limit placed by the Confederation Congress 'for the sole and express purpose.' 
     "With George Washington as chairman, they were able to deliberate in total secrecdy, with no pres coverage and no leaks.  A Constitutional Convention today would be a free-for-all for special interest groups, television coverage, and press speculation.
     "Our 1787 Constitution was referred to by several of its authors as a 'miracle.'  Whatever gain might be hoped for from a new Constitutional Convention could not be worth the risks involved.  A new Convention could plunge our Nation into constitutional confusion and confrontation at every turn, with no assurance that focus would be on the subjects needing attention.  I have discouraged the idea of a Constitutional Convention, and I am glad to see states rescinding their previous resolutions requesting a Convention."
     Here's the link to Chief Justice Burger's letter:  
      In a nutshell, a constitutional convention, regardless of the motivation for calling it, is still a constitutional convention. Anything and everything in the Constitution would be up for grabsThere is no quick fix for the problems that ail America, and a new constitutional amendment or convention is no substitute for a vigilant, well-informed citizenry.
    Recently, someone began circulating a resolution for a major political party to present at a state party convention.  The resolution in its original form contained divisive language: language pitting Republicans against Democrats and conservatives against liberals.  It's not a partisan issue; it's an American issue.
     I've taken the liberty of changing or deleting the divisive language and correcting the punctuation and grammar.  As it was written strictly for one political party in one state, I've made other needed changes.  Please make any other changes you believe are necessary.  Below is my emended version of the resolution against the Con Con.


RESOLUTION OPPOSING ANY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION

WHEREAS, the State Legislature will be/may be considering a number of Senate and House Joint Resolutions calling upon Congress to call a Constitutional Convention (ConCon) for the purpose of passing a Balanced Budget Amendment or other supposedly limited purposes to the Constitution, and

WHEREAS , there is no provision in the Constitution or in law to limit the convention to any one agenda item, and

WHEREAS, a runaway convention carries a host of unintended consequences:

• Repeal of the Second Amendment

• Repeal of the Tenth Amendment

• Repeal of the Electoral College in favor of a popular presidential election

• Repeal of presidential term limits

• Recognition of International Law as a part of our Supreme Court decision making (which is already being done unconstitutionally

• Re-write of the Fourteenth Amendment by excluding the “under the jurisdiction thereof” phrase to include children born of Illegal Aliens

• Adoption of a North American Union (open borders as proposed by George W. Bush,) and

WHEREAS, a Balanced Budget Amendment without a cap on federal spending and taxes would require a large tax increase and/or exorbitant fees to match the revenue with the spending, and

WHEREAS, a Balanced Budget Amendment without built-in safeguards to cap spending would merely give constitutional cover to the big spenders to raise taxes, and

WHEREAS, the cost of waging an effective campaign against bad amendments would be enormous and possibly a losing effort, and

WHEREAS, the original constitution was intended to protect the people from excessive governmental control and is still sufficient to meet today’s needs if the president, the congress and the judiciary would honor and enforce the original intent, and


WHEREAS, only 34 states are needed to force congress to call a ConCon and only two more states are needed, now therefore


BE IT RESOLVED BY ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬_____________________________that all (name of state) legislators be contacted and urged to vote NO on any and all resolutions calling for a Constitutional Convention for any reason however well-intended., and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the 1979 resolution, or any other resolution, calling for a Constitutional Convention be rescinded, and


BE IT FURTHER RESLVED that a copy of this resolution be faxed to every state  Senator and House Member.

PASSED AND APPROVED this ___day of January, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Critical Look at those Curious Hand Signs

     In public writings, I like to stay away from conspiracy theories.
     It’s not that I don’t believe that there are political conspiracies. Oh, far from it. To doubt it means accepting the view that politicians and bureaucrats always tell the truth and never have ulterior motives. It means that bills before Congress are always intended to do what their sponsors say they’re designed to do. It means that Nixon didn’t know a thing about Watergate. It means a lot of other things that no reasonable person can accept as fact.
     I prefer to stay away from them because, in most arguments, the theory has a way of becoming the issue. Any limitation in the theory—and all theories have limitations—will be taken as an excuse to reject the facts.
     If you’re going to espouse conspiracy theories, you should at least try to limit your theory's limitations. That is, adjust your theories to fit the facts and not the other way around.
     Let’s take the theory that a Great Conspiracy blankets the whole world and that its participants signal to one another via Satanist hand signs. There’s one problem with seeing a conspiracy every time we see one of these hand signs: Each of those hand signs has multiple meanings.

     One of these signs—the index and middle fingers raised together—can mean “peace,” “victory,” “I have marijuana,” or “I’m Taiwanese.” (When Taiwanese see a camera, they immediately grin and hold up two fingers for no apparent reason. By that gesture, you can tell to that their nationality is Taiwanese and not Chinese.)
     Inverted peace signs can signify the number two in America or an insulting gesture in Britain.
     Another sign can be a clumsy way of waving “hello.”
     Yet another is commonly used to mean, “I love you.” Some conspiracy theorists argue that Helen Keller, an alleged Satanist, was a proponent of sign language. Linking misconception unto fancy, they conclude that the "I love you" sign must signify service to Satan.  Well, I don’t know about the Satanist part, but Helen Keller was opposed to sign language—notwithstanding that a form of sign language was used to teach her to communicate.
     What about the corona—that is, the sign that involves holding up your index finger and pinky, and holding your middle and ring fingers down with your thumb? That one can mean, “Go to hell,” “Go, Longhorns (a football team in Texas), or it can be a Satanist sign. In certain European countries, it means, “Your wife is cheating on you.”
     So you see, ascribing the same meaning to all of these signs under all conditions means twisting facts to suit theories rather than the other way around. It’s not just a loophole in the conspiracy theory; it’s a gap so large that and eighteen wheeler could turn around in it.
     Let’s tighten it up a bit, shall we? For the purpose of this article, let’s ignore all the hand signs that are commonly used for various purposes throughout the world. “Peace” signs and inverted peace signs are out, and so is the American Sign Language sign for “I love you.”
     Let’s narrow our examination to two signs: the inverted “I love you” sign and the corona. Taking this further, let’s exclude the photos in which the corona obviously refers to the Texas Longhorns sports team. Since the corona is also said to be used as a Buddhist and Hindu sign, (though I've never seen an example of this) let’s exclude any photos that depict Buddhists and Hindus giving anything that may resemble this sign.
     What do we have left after all this narrowing down and exclusion? We have a few photos in which the corona might—I stress might—refer to Buddhism, Hinduism, or the Texas Longhorns; but we also have photos that beg explanation. We also have the inverted “I love you” sign under circumstances that couldn’t possibly mean, “I love you.”
     Trusting as I do the ability of each person to decide for himself, I offer only a minimum of personal comment in the following clip:
video
Or check it out on You Tube: Those Curious Hand Signs
     A lot of professing Christians reject the conspiracy theory that the world’s opinion molders and other powers and principalities are under Satan’s control. After all, isn’t the Lord of Heaven also the Lord of All?
     Is that what the Bible says? At least eleven New Testament verses address that question. A useful site called gotQuestions.org quotes all eleven of them here.
     Of course, the religious question raised in the previous paragraph may be unrelated to the questions concerning hand signs, or they may be inseparably intertwined. I won’t try to make up your mind for you. You’ll have to do that for yourself.
     As I said in the beginning of this article, I like to avoid conspiracy theories in my public discourse. I offer facts and trust people to form their own conclusions.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Micro-tells Expose Beijing’s Hostile Intentions and South Korea’s Weakness

     You may be wondering what a micro-tell is. A micro-tell is an unintended signal that—if noticed—can reveal hidden thoughts. A micro-tell differs from a tell in that it’s so brief or minute that it can easily escape detection, yet its message can be of great importance.
     Yes, I’ve borrowed the term from the study of body language.
     So what about those secretive critters known as politicians, who often hold the destiny of nations in their conspiratorial hands? They’re quite adept at hiding their intentions and their weaknesses when it comes to dealing with other nations, but their behavior in smaller matters can give them away.
     Hence, I’ve written this article about an obscure taekwondo competition in Guangzhou, China, on November 17 of last year.
     Many athletes at some time or other have had to “swallow” unfair rulings. The Yang Shu-chun incident, however, was thread that, once tugged a little, unraveled a tapestry of deceit and aggression of international proportions. At one end of the thread was that one, obscure event; at the other was my discovery of the degree to which South Korea has slipped under Beijing’s hegemony—as well as a strong indicator that “China’s peaceful rise” is a lie for temporary convenience.
     At the 2010 Asian games in Guangzhu on November 17, Taiwanese athlete Yang Shu-chun was favored to win a gold medal. On that date, she competed against the Vietnamese athlete T. H. Vu (Wu Shr Hou, in Chinese) in a taekwondo match in the 49 kg. category. If Yang had been allowed to win, her next and final competitor would have been a Chinese athlete.
There was just one problem: One of the two judges that day just happened to have been the Chinese athlete’s coach, a Mr. Chao. Hmmm. It already smells like a conflict of interest. With China hosting the event and the coach of a Chinese competitor judging the event, how would you think it turned out?
     Before the match, each competitor was testing the sensors on her socks. Because the technician claimed that Yang’s sensors weren’t working properly, she had to change socks. Because Yang’s feet were very small (22 ½ cm.), the only socks available to her were an older pair that will be allowed until July 2011.
     These socks had an extra sensor on each heel, which was promptly removed and placed on the floor beside Yang’s coach’s seat.
     A series of photos from the blog Applause for U picks up the story from there:
     The above-linked series of photos was taken from a video. Applause for U also features a You Tube video of the incident.
     With only 12 seconds remaining in the first round, Yang Shu-chun was ahead 9-to-0. Videos show that the Chinese coach stopped the match, walked over to where Yang’s coach sat, picked up the sensors from the floor, and claimed that he had removed them from Yang’s socks.      As obvious as the deception was, it was backed up by the Korean-based World Taekwondo Federation.
     Ordinarily, I’m not interested in spectator sports. If they enjoy their sport, it’s their lives and they’re free to live them as they see fit; but I’d rather live my life than watch someone else live his.
     I was, however, intrigued by the heavy hitters who went to bat for the Chinese even when videos clearly revealed that Yang had been cheated out of the victory that was rightfully hers. Why would the World Taekwondo Federation risk its credibility by obviously cheating in a competition they were sponsoring? The world at large would scarcely notice it, but athletes who have worked for years to get to the Asian Games would like to believe in the fairness of the system—unless they happened to be favored by referees who cheat on their behalf.
     As the Internet buzzed with still photos and videos showed that there were no sensors on Yang’s heel, and that the Chinese coach had picked them up from the floor, the World Taekwondo Federation website ran the headline “Shocking Act of Deception!” The “shocking” cheater, according to them, was Yang and not the Chinese coach.
     I teach a course in Journalism English to Taiwanese college students. I immediately gave them assignments in investigative journalism, trying to cover all bases.
     Are there any clear photos of Yang Shu-chun’s heel during the match? What would Korea gain by cheating on behalf of Beijing? Has Korea cheated on behalf of Beijing before? I was assuming that, for an international sports organization to stoop to the level of the World Taekwondo Federation there must be weighty reasons for their obvious and shocking acts of deceit. Also, for Korea’s cheating on Beijing’s behalf to be meaningful, Beijing would have to welcome it or even encourage it. Does Beijing itself have a record of cheating in international athletic events?
     Most of the teams came through with flying colors. Here are the links to the simulated “newspapers” that they created for the course:

     My students were unable to find any information about Beijing cheating without outside help; and they were unable to find information as to South Korea’s motive in cheating on behalf of Beijing. No matter; I found both after about 10 minutes of searching.
     According to the article “China stripped of 2000 gymnastics medal for underage athlete,” dated April 28, 2010, the answer is, “Yes.” Details of the article reveal that Chinese cheating in athletic events is so pervasive, and at such high levels, that much of their cheating (such as producing fake passports can be carried out only with high-level government assistance. 
     Gangster regimes, lacking the legitimacy that comes with the consent of the governed, seek legitimacy wherever they can get it—even if they have to steal it.
At the 1938 Olympics in Munich, Hitler sought ratification of his “super race” fantasy. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union entered some decidedly masculine-looking entrants in women’s weightlifting competitions. Now it’s Beijing, with its Middle Kingdom fantasy pumped up with a narcissic craving for “great nation status.”
     What about South Korean motives for cheating on Beijing's behalf?
     The following article in the Chosunilbo (an English-language, on-line Korean newspaper, dated December 17, 2007) reveals that South Korean legislators are concerned that their government too often tries to “curry favor with China.” The title of the article reveals a motive for cheating on Beijing’s behalf: “It's Principles vs. Profits in Dealing With China.” (sic)
     In the final paragraph, we read, “Fifteen years after the establishment of ties with China, South Korea leads the world in investment in China and the number of students studying there, and it is concentrating more on China than ever before. But unlike the German case, South Korean politicians and diplomats are always trying to curry favor with China.”
     So, there we have it; but what exactly do we have? We have strong circumstantial evidence that South Korea, losing confidence in America’s promises of security, is slipping under Beijing’s hegemony.
     We also have concrete evidence that “China’s peaceful rise” is just a façade. We can discern a nation’s intentions with regard to other nations by observing their treatment of individuals in those nations. Beijing was willing to call upon the resources of one of the most powerful nations on Earth—China—in order to gain bragging rights in a sports competition that would soon be forgotten.
     With Beijing, that’s nothing new. Only a few months ago, they called upon their resources in a childish attempt to deny one of their citizens—a blogger—a Nobel Peace Prize. In the process, they showed astonishing ignorance of how the Nobel Committee actually operated. They imprisoned the blogger for stating facts that Beijing dared not refute, and denied his family the freedom of receiving the prize.
     Going back to March 31, 1994, Chinese soldiers robbed and murdered 31 Taiwanese tourists in what has become known as the Lake Qiandao (pronounced Chiendao) Incident. After weeks of claiming that the tourists had died in a boating accident, Beijing arrested three civilians for the crime. That’s right: In a gun control zealot’s paradise, three people supposedly robbed and murdered 31 people. To this day, Beijing has never given an accounting of what had happened.
     During the Cold War, the Soviet Union often did that sort of thing to American citizens just to show that they could get away with it; it demonstrated their power and America’s weakness. Like a dog returning to its vomit, Beijing appears to be doing the same thing.
So much for great nation status. So much for China’s “peaceful rise.”
     Oh, please allow me to conclude on a cheerful note.  Yang Shu-chun returned to a hero's welcome in Taiwan.  Taiwan's national government is pursuing the issue all the way to an international sport arbitration in Switzerland.  A fan in Taiwan ordered a "gold" medal struck for Yang, and the maker of the medal charged only for the materials that went into it.  Yang's boyfriend proposed marriage to her in front of the news media.  She replied, "Don't talk foolishness.  My parents are present."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Avarice, Ambition, Lawyers, and Politicians

     The American Action Report had posted the following article as a stand-alone page.  For the convenience of my readers, I've placed all reposted articles on one page.

America’s present economic and political systems are controlled by people steeped in avarice and ambition

[The following message was written by a Harsha Sankar, a Virginia resident whose messages generally focus on problems caused by lawyers. I have made no changes in his message other than the correction of two typographical errors and the spelling of a single word.]


Dear Citizen, May 2010

One in five Americans is “laid off”, underemployed, or simply not working. One in eight mortgages is in default of foreclosure. Today, one in eight Americans is on food stamps. More than 120,000 families are filing for bankruptcy every month. The economic crisis has eliminated over $5 trillion from pensions and savings. Ten million homeowners are facing homelessness.

In the 1960’s, median family income, adjusted for inflation, rose 33%. In the 2000’s, it rose just 1.6% as families were spending twice as much, adjusted for inflation, on mortgages than a generation ago. Families are also spending twice as much for healthcare. They are now spending all income and savings to barely stay afloat. One bad diagnosis, one punitive legal action, or one pink slip will push millions over the cliff. Hard work and productive skills are no longer guarantors for economic viability. Tens of millions of once-secure middle class families now live paycheck to paycheck. Decent retirement is just a dream.

So obviously the middle class is being squeezed. Many have benefited and prospered at their expense. Boring and simple banking, once possible with a boring and simple legal system, has given way to “creative” banking. The financial industry generates many billions in fees. This is only made possible by deceptive terms buried in the fine print of incomprehensible and opaque contracts. Shysteristic banking is only due to a shysteristic legal system.

Homelessness has become common phenomenon because of this.

Where does this shysterism radiate? Please read the following.

1. Environmental groups have filed more than 3,300 suits. Every single suit seeks attorney fees and many have charged $650 per hour. While federal law usually limits attorney fees to $125 an hour, these environmental attorneys have received $37 million from federal taxpayers. These monies had nothing to do with environmental protection.

2. For hardly any work which involved several hearings, Acorn and its allies received $450,000 in attorney’s fees from Missouri taxpayers

3. A 9/11 settlement up to $657.5 million to more than 10,000 ground zero rescue and recovery workers will be decided by attorneys and attorney judges. It will not be decided by lawmakers.

4. In another typical lawsuit for money against the pharmaceutical industry, Pfizer was held liable for its marketing of its epilepsy drug neurontin. $142 million in damages were awarded despite the fact the plaintiff offered no testimony from any physician claiming he/she would not have prescribed the medication had they known better.

The voices of reason and restraint are today being drowned by the BAR. Americans are driven to distractions by the omnipresent,”omniscient” and omnipotent legal profession. The haves and well-connected can break and make the laws while the rest face road stops and unlawful searches, surveillance,and seizures.Too few Americans fully comprehend the extent the lawyer/lobbyists unconstitutionally have over government and society. The bar associations have to be deemed a criminal organization. It is an international cabal with no allegiance to Americans.

America’s present economic and political systems are controlled by arrogant people steeped in avarice and ambition. Impoverished people will rebel if America’s economic decline remains unabated. Societal instability happens when there are gruesome gaps between rich and poor. Americans must unshackle themselves from the chains that all non-democratic institutions place on them.

Very Truly Yours,
Harsha Sankar
908 Valley Ridge Road
Covington,Virginia 24426

[Note from American Action Report: In a separate letter, Mr. Sankar wrote that, in the midst of the aforementioned greed-fueled political and economic crisis, the U.S. House of Representatives voted almost unanimously to spend your money on a missile defense system for Israel. The Congressional Budget Office has not given a cost estimate, but the Obama Administration, which requested the expenditure, has estimated the cost at $205 billion of your money. The FY 2009 budget for the entire Department of Defense was $653 billion.] Source

FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 284


H R 5327 2/3 YEA-AND-NAY 20-May-2010 1:48 PM
QUESTION: On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass, as Amended
BILL TITLE: To authorize assistance to Israel for the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system

DEMOCRATIC YEA 244 NAY 3 NOT VOTING 6
REPUBLICAN YEA 166 NAY 1 NOT VOTING 10
TOTALS 410 4 16

---- YEAS 410 ---

Ackerman
Aderholt
Adler (NJ)
Akin
Alexander
Altmire
Andrews
Arcuri
Austria
Baca
Bachmann

Baird
Baldwin
Barrow
Bartlett
Barton (TX)
Bean
Becerra
Berkley
Berman
Berry
Biggert
Bilirakis
Bishop (GA)
Bishop (NY)
Bishop (UT)
Blackburn
Blumenauer
Blunt
Boccieri
Boehner
Bono Mack
Boozman
Boren
Boswell
Boucher
Boustany
Boyd
Brady (PA)
Brady (TX)
Braley (IA)
Bright
Broun (GA)
Brown (SC)
Brown, Corrine
Brown-Waite, Ginny
Buchanan
Burgess
Burton (IN)
Butterfield
Buyer
Calvert
Camp
Campbell
Cantor
Cao
Capito
Capps
Capuano
Cardoza
Carnahan
Carney
Carson (IN)
Carter
Cassidy
Castle
Castor (FL)
Chaffetz
Chandler
Childers
Chu
Clarke
Clay
Cleaver
Clyburn
Coble
Coffman (CO)
Cohen
Cole
Conaway
Connolly (VA)
Cooper
Costa
Costello
Courtney
Crenshaw
Crowley
Cuellar
Culberson
Cummings
Dahlkemper
Davis (AL)
Davis (CA)
Davis (IL)
Davis (KY)
Davis (TN)
DeFazio
DeGette
Delahunt
DeLauro
Dent
Deutch
Diaz-Balart, L.
Dicks
Dingell
Doggett
Donnelly (IN)
Doyle
Dreier
Driehaus
Duncan
Edwards (MD)
Edwards (TX)
Ehlers
Ellison
Ellsworth
Emerson
Eshoo
Etheridge
Fallin
Farr
Fattah
Filner
Flake
Fleming
Forbes
Fortenberry
Foster
Foxx
Frank (MA)
Franks (AZ)
Frelinghuysen
Fudge
Gallegly
Garrett (NJ)
Gerlach
Giffords Gingrey (GA)
Gohmert
Gonzalez
Goodlatte
Granger
Graves
Grayson
Green, Al
Green, Gene
Griffith
Grijalva
Guthrie
Gutierrez
Hall (NY)
Hall (TX)
Halvorson
Hare
Harman
Harper
Hastings (FL)
Hastings (WA)
Heinrich
Heller
Hensarling
Herger
Herseth Sandlin
Higgins
Hill
Himes
Hinchey
Hinojosa
Hirono
Hodes
Holden
Holt
Honda
Hoyer
Hunter
Inglis
Inslee
Israel
Issa
Jackson (IL)
Jenkins
Johnson (IL)
Johnson, E. B.
Johnson, Sam
Jones
Jordan (OH)
Kagen
Kanjorski
Kaptur
Kennedy
Kildee
Kilpatrick (MI)
Kilroy
Kind
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kingston
Kirkpatrick (AZ)
Kissell
Klein (FL)
Kline (MN)
Kosmas
Kratovil
Lamborn
Lance
Langevin
Larsen (WA)
Larson (CT)
Latham
LaTourette
Latta
Lee (CA)
Lee (NY)
Levin
Lewis (CA)
Lewis (GA)
Linder
Lipinski
LoBiondo
Loebsack
Lofgren, Zoe
Lowey
Lucas
Luetkemeyer
Luján
Lummis
Lungren, Daniel E.
Lynch
Mack
Maffei
Maloney
Manzullo
Marchant
Markey (CO)
Markey (MA)
Marshall
Matheson
Matsui
McCarthy (CA)
McCarthy (NY)
McCaul
McClintock
McCollum
McCotter
McDermott
McGovern
McHenry
McIntyre
McKeon
McMahon
McMorris Rodgers
McNerney
Meek (FL)
Meeks (NY)
Melancon
Mica
Michaud
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Miller (NC)
Miller, Gary
Miller, George
Minnick
Mitchell
Mollohan
Moore (KS)
Moore (WI)
Moran (KS)
Moran (VA)
Murphy (CT)
Murphy (NY)
Murphy, Patrick
Murphy, Tim
Myrick Nadler (NY)
Napolitano
Neal (MA)
Neugebauer
Nunes
Nye
Oberstar
Obey
Olson
Olver
Ortiz
Owens
Pallone
Pascrell
Pastor (AZ)
Paulsen
Payne
Pence
Perlmutter
Perriello
Peters
Peterson
Petri
Pingree (ME)
Pitts
Platts
Poe (TX)
Polis (CO)
Pomeroy
Posey
Price (GA)
Price (NC)
Putnam
Quigley
Radanovich
Rahall
Rangel
Rehberg
Reichert
Reyes
Richardson
Rodriguez
Roe (TN)
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rogers (MI)
Rohrabacher
Rooney
Ros-Lehtinen
Roskam
Ross
Rothman (NJ)
Roybal-Allard
Royce
Ruppersberger
Rush
Ryan (OH)
Ryan (WI)
Salazar
Sanchez, Loretta
Sarbanes
Scalise
Schakowsky
Schauer
Schiff
Schmidt
Schrader
Schwartz
Scott (GA)
Scott (VA)
Sensenbrenner
Serrano
Sessions
Sestak
Shadegg
Shea-Porter
Sherman
Shimkus
Shuler
Shuster
Simpson
Sires
Skelton
Slaughter
Smith (NE)
Smith (NJ)
Smith (TX)
Smith (WA)
Snyder
Space
Speier
Spratt
Stearns
Stupak
Sullivan
Sutton
Tanner
Taylor
Teague
Terry
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (MS)
Thompson (PA)
Thornberry
Tiahrt
Tiberi
Tierney
Titus
Tonko
Towns
Tsongas
Turner
Upton
Van Hollen
Velázquez
Visclosky
Walden
Walz
Wasserman Schultz
Waters
Watson
Watt
Waxman
Weiner
Welch
Westmoreland
Whitfield
Wilson (OH)
Wilson (SC)
Wittman
Wolf
Woolsey
Wu
Yarmuth
Young (AK)
Young (FL)

---- NAYS 4 ---

Conyers
Kucinich Paul
Stark

---- NOT VOTING 16 ---

Bachus
Barrett (SC)
Bilbray
Bonner
Diaz-Balart, M.
Engel Garamendi
Gordon (TN)
Hoekstra
Jackson Lee (TX)
Johnson (GA)
Kirk Sánchez, Linda T.
Schock
Souder
Wamp


Worth Repeating

     The American Action Report had originally reposted this article as a stand-alone page.  It is now moved to a page with other reposted articles.

     Lest we grow weary in our battle to reclaim the American Republic, take a look at the beating the other side is getting. State by state, we're gaining ground.
     Let's not forget, though, that the winners will not necessarily be the ones who have the most support or get the most votes on Election Day. The winners will be the ones declared the winners by the vote counters. In each state, voters should do all they can to insure honest vote counts. That must include suing election commissions to make sure that only paper ballots are used.
     Touch-screen voting machines are easily hacked and are wrong 5% of the time. Since most elections are won or lost within a range of 3%, that can amount to the whole ball game. Diebold vote counting machines can be rigged after the vote is taken.
- FOXNews.com - June 07, 2010
Incumbents Fight for Political Life, Newcomers Eyeing Victory in Tuesday Elections
     With each primary seeming to deliver one surprise after another, the elections in a dozen states on Tuesday could offer a glimpse into what the new class of lawmakers will look like in Washington and state capitals across the country.
     Political newcomers are once again poised to shake things up.
     With each primary seeming to deliver one surprise after another, the elections in a dozen states on Tuesday could offer a glimpse into what the new class of lawmakers will look like in Washington and state capitals across the country.
     Last month, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter was ousted by Rep. Joe Sestak in the Democratic primary, and Tea Party-supported Rand Paul won the open Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Kentucky.
The contests further fueled the mindset that 2010 is a year for political upstarts and that no incumbent's reelection can be taken for granted. The Tea Party movement has once again pushed several candidates to the fore in Tuesday's elections, while at least one Senate incumbent is scrambling to avoid Specter's fate.
Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln was pushed into a Democratic primary runoff last month against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter after she failed to win 50 percent of the vote. She is the highest-profile incumbent at risk of losing in Tuesday's elections.
     Her opponent is heavily supported by the unions, while Lincoln has been trumpeting the endorsement of one of Arkansas' most famous natives, former President Bill Clinton.
     Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, told Fox News that Lincoln would be "lucky" to pull out a victory, an unusual turn of events for a Southern incumbent in a primary. Sabato, though, said the biggest political changes will come in November and not in the primaries; he predicted that about a half-dozen of the 200 or so incumbents up for reelection Tuesday could lose their seats.
     Lincoln beat Halter by two points in last month's election and is keeping her chin up. She told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that she's not worried about the anti-Washington sentiment.
"I think Arkansas people are very independent-minded. And that's one of the reasons that we won the primary," she said. "And we are going to win on Tuesday."
     Halter, on the same show, described Lincoln as a special interest-supporting, Wall Street-funded incumbent who isn't sticking up for the people in her state.
     The two candidates have spent more than $10 million combined, making it one of the most expensive campaigns in the state's history.
     Several high-profile elections are also being held in California, Nevada and South Carolina on Tuesday.
In California, two political newcomers have taken the lead in the races for U.S. Senate and the governorship.
Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard and former adviser to John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, has claimed a significant lead over former Rep. Tom Campbell in the Republican primary race to challenge California Sen. Barbara Boxer in November. Tea Party favorite Chuck DeVore, a state assemblyman, has not been able to pick up a lot of traction in the race.
     In the race for governor another business tycoon has taken the lead for the Republican nomination. Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who was an early frontrunner, appears to have recovered in the polls from attacks on her immigration stance from California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. Attorney General Jerry Brown is expected to win the Democratic nomination easily.
     A Los Angeles Times/USC poll released late last month showed Whitman leading Poizner 53-to-29 percent.
     The same poll showed Fiorina leading Campbell 38-to-23 percent. DeVore had 16 percent.
The survey of 1,506 registered voters was taken May 19-26. It had a margin of error of 2.6 points.
Matt Klink, a Republican political consultant, said voters in the state do not appear to be turned off by the fact that Whitman is using tens of millions of her own money to fund her campaign.
     "The fact that Meg Whitman has the ability to self-fund her campaign -- I think that ultimately people don't look very hard at where the money comes from. They look at the messages that come out," he told Fox News.
     Though DeVore has not surged in California, several other Tea Party-backed candidates have had a strong showing.
     In the Nevada Republican Senate primary, Tea Party-supported Sharron Angle has vaulted to the front of the field, surpassing former state Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Lowden and Las Vegas businessman Danny Tarkanian in a recent poll.
     The Las Vegas Review-Journal poll conducted by the Mason-Dixon firm put Angle at 32 percent compared with 24 percent for Tarkanian and 23 percent for Lowden. The poll of 500 likely GOP primary voters was conducted June 1-3 and had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.
     Those candidates are vying to challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in November. Angle lagged far behind until recently, but the volatility of the race means anything could happen before polls close. While Tea Party groups are elated at Angle's surge, Lowden's campaign is warning that she may not have the kind of general election appeal to defeat Reid.
     Tea Party-backed candidates are also mounting a challenge against Republican Rep. Leonard Lance in New Jersey.
     And South Carolina Rep. Nikki Haley, who boasts the support of both Tea Party groups and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is trying to become her state's first female governor.
     That race has become a spectacle as two political operatives have come forward to claim they had affairs with Haley. Lobbyist Larry Marchant, who was working for Haley primary opponent Lt. Gov Andre Bauer until last week, claimed he had a one-night stand with Haley -- though he offered no evidence -- after blogger and former Haley communications consultant Will Folks claimed they had a relationship.
     Haley has vehemently denied the charges. Palin stepped to her defense last month, claiming on her Facebook page that the attacks against Haley were typical for "conservative 'underdog' candidates who surge in the polls and threaten to shake things up."
     Bauer, Attorney General Henry McMaster and Rep. Gresham Barrett are also running for the GOP nomination for governor. The winner will face one of several candidates from the Democratic side: state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, state Sen. Robert Ford or Education Superintendent Jim Rex.

© Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright 2010 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
All market data delayed 20 minutes.

Step into Japan's Moccasins

    (It's not all that often that I repost an article to the American Action Report.  It's rarer still for me to repost one of my own articles.  Every couple of years or so, the wording of Japanese history books becomes a major political issue for the Chinese Communist Party in China, and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in Taiwan, and perhaps other countries.  The Japanese are accused of not being contrite enough in their wording of accounts of their role in World War II.  
     The real purpose of the controversy is to keep Japan in a post-war doghouse in order to give more leeway to Beijing's hegemonic ambitions.  Below, without changes, is a letter I wrote to the Taipei Times almost six years ago.  Since the new textbooks should be coming out by spring, I thought I'd get the jump on Beijing and their quislings.)
     During the controversy over the precise wording of Japanese history books, I was coincidentally engaged in a study of cultural and other influences that go into the writing of textbooks. The failure to consider these influences generates more heat that light in any textbook debate.
     Although restitution to victims of Japanese atrocities during World War II is of concern to this letter writer, it is outside the scope of this particular letter.
     The main purpose of education is for each generation to pass its values to succeeding generations. Nowhere is this more evident than in social sciences such as history.
     Unfortunately, no nation succeeds in living up to its own values on a consistent basis. The loftier the values, the greater the discrepancy. To further complicate matters, a textbook is useless if schools choose not to assign it. If a high school history book told Japanese children that their kindly old grandfathers were sadistic rapists, thieves and murderers, their only buyers would be Japan's enemies in Beijing -- history's most prolific mass murderers.
     Writers of history textbooks face disadvantages not faced by writers of popular histories found in bookstores. (Ironically, it's the popular histories that save history from the fate of being no more than "a set of lies, agreed upon.") They find themselves carefully selecting words and facts in order to promote the values they wish to impart. The best they can hope to produce is a textbook in which inconvenient facts are sacrificed on the altar of truth.
     In A Nation Grows, the US history book I selected for my study, I found dozens of dubious passages. To give only a few examples, the seizure of Native American lands was compared to the immigration of Europeans to New York City. [AAR Note: This referred to the English supplanting the Dutch in New Amsterdam and renaming the place New York City.]  The Trail of Tears, along which 4,000 of my fellow Cherokees and thousands of other Native Americans were forced to travel, was given only five words, with no mention of what had taken place. The only Revolutionary War battles described took place in four Northeastern states.
     New England's virtual monopoly on the importation of slaves was described in the passive voice -- thus leaving the culprits unnamed. Scornful fingers were pointed at Southerners.
     Andrew Carnegie was praised for his supposed concern for the poor, while his depredations on the poor were condemned without mentioning him by name. One of the authors of A Nation Grows was a professor at Carnegie-Mellon University.
     The concern over Japanese history texts is valid, but critics should view those concerns within a cultural context. The challenge is how the Japanese can promote the best of their history while facing the fact that the Japanese -- like the Chinese and the Taiwanese -- have not always lived up to their own best values.
     Perhaps Beijing would like to produce a history book that accurately portrays the murder of 65 million Chinese by their fellow Chinese since 1949, the cultural genocides in Tibet and Turkestan and other shameful acts. Perhaps Taiwan's history textbooks should be similarly larded with mea culpas. By walking a mile in Japan's moccasins, Japan's critics may realize the enormity of the task they demand of the Japanese.
     They may also realize that Beijing's histrionics have nothing to do with historical justice and everything to do with power politics in the Pacific.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How the Israeli Regime Manipulates the "Exodus" Narrative

     Advertising has been defined as the art of making corporate propaganda look like revealed Truth.  In fact, I once took a master's level course called Advertising, Public Relations, and Propaganda.  All three areas comprise a single area of psychology.  All three areas involve bypassing rational processes.  
     No matter how rational you think you are, you don't have immunity to these techniques unless you know what they are.  I'll describe a few.
     Your rational mind has a gatekeeper, so to speak.  In some ways, it's like an anti-virus program on your computer.  
     When information comes knocking at the gate of your mind, the gatekeeper determines whether the information is true and just how credible it is.  This gatekeeper either rejects the information, or it accepts it as a document file.  If it passes the gatekeeper, it may eventually become part of your brain's hard wiring; in which case, it becomes harder to delete.
     Advertising (a.k.a. propaganda) seeks to fool the gatekeeper.  Just as a computer virus may be disguised as a harmless file extension such as JPEG, advertising is often disguised as entertainment.  If it fools the gatekeeper, it doesn't go into a file folder somewhere, where it may be easily deleted; instead, it goes directly to your brain's hard wiring.
     As early as the Middle Ages, some political leaders wouldn't undertake a major initiative until a minstrel has written and popularized a song about it.  It's hard to disagree with a song that you enjoy singing; and, since it's disguised as entertainment, it bypasses the rational thinking processes.
     Actually, this phenomenon goes beyond the art of disguising propaganda as entertainment.  This technique can employ anything that is designed to mimic something that you're already conditioned to accept.
     For example, suppose you're waiting your turn at the photocopier and someone else wants to cut in ahead of everyone else.  You're conditioned to believe that he shouldn't be allowed to do this unless he can offer a good reason for it.  
     Some years ago, psychologists created an experiment with three "groups" of unsuspecting subjects.  Individuals in the first group heard, "May I get ahead of you?"  Around two thirds of the subjects allowed the intrusion.  
     The second group of subjects heard, "May I get ahead of you?  I need to make some copies."  That, of course, was not a good reason, since that's the only reason anyone would use a photocopier.  Nonetheless, it had the structure of a rational argument, and the rate of agreement jumped to three fourths.  
     The subjects in the third group heard, "May I get ahead of you?  The boss needs some copies right away."  That, of course, was a valid reason.  The rate of agreement from this group was only slightly higher than for the second group.
     The conclusion of the study was that most people spend most of their time in a state of "non-thought" and are open to suggestion if they're offered what mimics a rational argument.  I'll get back to that one later.
     Let's consider another phenomenon: That it's difficult for the average person to maintain two separate images in their minds at the same time.
     In different parts of a single survey, people heard the same question twice.  The first time, they were asked if they agreed with the statement that "abortion is a personal decision to be decided between a woman and her doctor."  The second time, the statement was, "The rights of unborn children should be protected by law."  Both statements enjoyed agreement from two thirds of the respondents.
     In a nutshell, Israeli arguments for the occupation of Palestine mimic the popular version of the Genesis narrative pertaining to God's promises to Abraham.  You can  momentarily convince a supporter of Israel that the rights of Palestinians should be protected, but it's an easily deleted file.  The popular version of the Genesis narrative is part of their hard wiring.
     The only way that it can be deleted is through reformatting the hard drive.  You do that by creating a situation in which they have to watch both images at the same time.  Some will become very angry with you, but I see no other way.
     I said I'd get back to the mimicry.  So I shall.
     The Israeli narrative of their occupation of Palestine mimics the story of Exodus, in the Old Testament.  It's attractive but false.  It justifies ethnic cleansing because it mimics the Lord's command that the inhabitants of Palestine be driven from the land.  The the book of Exodus, the Israelite religion was just getting started, and the Philistines (ancestors of today's Palestinians) were an idolatrous people who may tempt the Israelites away from the Lord.
     Judaism today is well established.  Palestinians are predominantly Muslims, who more closely adhere to the Law of Moses (they call it Sharia Law) than the Jews do.  
     Furthermore, the Lord's promise to Abraham was that Abraham would become the father of "many nations," and not just the Jews.  The Promised Land was to be inherited by Abraham's descendants.  I've seen nothing in the Bible that would exclude the descendants of Abraham's firstborn son Ishmael, who was the ancestor of Mohammad.
     The Old Testament records examples of Israel descending into idolatry and other abominations, for which they were delivered into captivity.  Each time they returned to their homeland, it was because they were repentant and they were led by righteous men.  Each time they returned, they returned as peaceful new neighbors and not as conquerors.  They didn't steal land; they paid for it.
     There are other examples of the Israeli regime using mimicry for propaganda purposes, but I'll mention only two more:.
     One isthe attempt to equate opposition to Zionism with anti-Jewishness.  Like Satan, who disguises sin as enlightenment, the Zionists apply a thin veneer of counterfeit Jewishness to camouflage their corruption.  Jesus called religious leaders of their ilk "whited sepulchers." 
     The other is the deliberate confusion of the word mine, as in "This Land is Mine."  When you say, "This teddy bear is mine," you mean that you have exclusive ownership of it; you're free to tear off its arms if you wish.  "This dog is mine," limits your actions.  "This girl is my sister," has nothing to do with ownership; it refers only to a relationship.  "My homeland" is another relationship that mustn't be confused with ownership or sovereignty. During the time of Joshua, they "took possession of the land."  Afterward, they were returnees, and there is no biblical record of force being used against Jerusalem's inhabitants.
     I mentioned the possibility of forcing a deluded supporter of Zionism to come to grips with both the myth and the reality of "modern Israel" at the same time.  Here it is:             

video


 "This Land is Mine" (with introduction and subtitles)
or watch it at You Tube and the following URL: