The State of Illegal Immigration 2015: Reality vs. Republican Fantasy

By Brian E. Frydenborg (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter @bfry1981) 

Introduction

Illegal immigration is seldom not in the political spotlight these days. Prominent Republican politicians, in particular, are quick to emphasize the supposed massive harm that illegal immigration causes the United States and its legal citizens and residents. Calls to deport all illegal immigrants are now routine and regular among leading contenders for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination for the 2016 election. In fact, the consistent Republicans leader and frontrunner in the polls of late, businessman and reality-TV personality Donald Trump, seems to talk about this issue more forcefully and more prominently that any other candidate. Add to this fact that he seems to be getting a nearly unlimited amount of press coverage and the situation is clear: illegal immigration is currently one of the most talked about political issues, possibly the most talked about issue, and looks to be a dominant topic throughout the 2016 election season, with or without Trump.

Leading Republicans, especially Mr. Trump, have made some bold claims about illegal immigration: who the immigrants are, what effect they are having on our country and economy, what solutions will best work towards addressing the problem. Here, we will get to bottom of the real nature of the human beings who come to work and live in the United States illegally and the effects they collectively have on America as a whole and the states where they are most numerous. Then we will look at what some of the leading Republicans are saying, and see how that squares with the reality of the situation.

 

The Current State of Illegal Immigration

Pew presents research that shows illegal immigrants living in the U.S. peaked after a steady increase of many years in 2007 when they reached 12.2 million people (about 4% of America’s population then). That level has since reached a relatively stable level and has declined from its 2007 peak of 12.2 million to 11.3 million in 2014 (3.5% of the U.S. population), and was as low as 11.2 million in 2012. These people represent 26% of America’s foreign-born population, down from 30% in 2007. That means that, roughly, for every four foreign-born people that enter the U.S. and stay, three do so legally.

The unauthorized immigration in the United States violating the immigration laws is the cause of concern for the government. In the year 2011 US has got about 11million illegal immigrants representing 3.4% of total US population. The highest number of immigration happened in 2007 i.e., 12.2million. but after the recession, many illegal immigrants left the United States. To know more about this click Suggested Web page

A little over half of the illegal population (52 %) are Mexicans as of 2012 but this percentage is in decline, as are their absolute numbers, to 5.9 million down from 6.4 million in 2009.  At the same time, illegal immigrants from other some other parts of world have slightly increased. After Mexico, for 2013 only El Salvador had an illegal immigrant population that is more than 5% of the total illegal population, and only slightly so. The country with the next highest number of its people living illegally in the U.S. is Guatemala, with a little under 5%. India comes next, in the middle between 4% and 3%, followed by Honduras and then China, with a bit under 3% each. The only other country that broke 2% was the Philippines, and only slightly. The Dominican Republic follows at close to 2%, with South Korea slightly behind. The only other countries that are each contributing at least 1% of the total illegal U.S. population, in descending order, are Ecuador, Colombia, Haiti, Vietnam, Peru, and Brazil, the last thee at 1% and the others only slightly above this.

As of 2013, almost sixteen percent had arrived just recently (less than five years prior), over 24% had been in the U.S. from five to nine years, over 28% percent had been in the U.S. from ten to fourteen years, 14.5% had been in America for fifteen to nineteen years, and 17% for at least twenty years. Combining elements of this data, we can see that in 2013 over 40% of illegal immigrants had been living in the U.S. for less than a decade, while almost 32% had been here for at least fifteen years. The largest number of illegal immigrants, over 28% of the total, arrived from 2000 to 2004 and about 24% arrived from 2005-2009. This means that about a little over one-half the total illegal immigrant population arrived in the decade of 2000-2009 (for those looking for political “blame,” George W. Bush was president for almost that entire time, meaning more of the current illegal immigrants arrived under his presidency than under any other president). About 17% arrived from 1995-1999, and about 11% from 1990 to 1994 (28% overall from that decade). About 12% have arrived from 2010 on, and only about 8.5% before 1990, although it should be remembered that in 1986 the Reagan Administration gave legal status to about 2.7 million illegal immigrantswho had entered the U.S. before 1982 after Congress passed a law authorizing Reagan to do so in 1986. Further action by Reagan and his successor, George H. W. Bush, added to this number and brought it closer to three million than 2.7 million. In addition, many Cuban immigrants have legal status in the U.S. as the special situation between Cuba and the U.S. over the decades since Castro’s revolution gave way to special policy, law, and agreements for people arriving to the U.S. from Cuba, giving them legal status in ways that if they were not specifically Cuban would have left them part of the illegal immigrant community. As of 2013, over 1.1 million people born in Cuba were living in the U.S, the product of a half-century of these special policies.

The recent decline in illegal immigration is in part due to the Great Recession; since 2009, about 350,000 people each year (100,000 of them Mexican) have entered the U.S. illegally, but this represents a dramatic decline in the number of immigrants from over a decade ago, when far more people were coming to the U.S. illegally and far more illegal immigrants as a share of the total pool were recent arrivals, with the proportion of illegal immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for at least a decade almost doubling since 2000 while the proportion who have been in the U.S. for less than five years being more than halved since 2000.

Also, from 2009 to 2012, the illegal immigration population fell in fourteen statesand rose in only seven. Illegal populations decreased in Oregon, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, New York, Massachusetts, and grew in Idaho, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Jew Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. The six states of Texas, Florida, California, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey together have 60 % of the illegal immigrant population in the country, and Nevada is the state with the highest proportion of its population (8 %) consisting of illegal immigrants. Nevada also stands out as the state with the highest percentage of K-12 students who have at least one illegal immigrant parent (18%), while next-highest are the states of California, Texas, and Arizona, where that number is between 13% and 11%. Overall in the U.S., about 7% of all K-12 students fall under this category, with almost four-fifths of those being born in the U.S.  Illegal immigrants also make up 5.1 % of the labor force, a rather high percentage considering they just account for 3.5% of the population. The states with the highest percentage of illegal immigrants in their labor forces (ranging from 10% to 8%) are Nevada, California, Texas, New Jersey, and, again, Nevada leads the pack with 10% (for those wanting more data on illegal immigrant populations state-by-state you can look here and here).

As far as their socio-economic status, in 2013 illegal immigrants were almost twice as likely be living in poverty (27.6%) than the population as whole (14.5%, taken from census data including illegal immigrants), are far less educated—only 13.6 % of illegal immigrant adults had at least a college degree and only a little more than half had successfully finished high school compared with 31% and almost nine out of ten for the whole population, respectively—and are much less likely to have health insurance, with only about one-third of illegal immigrants having coverage compared with over 86.8% of Americans in general.

Republicans might be particularly surprised to learn about illegal immigrants’ contributions to the U.S. system overall. At the federal level, their tax contributions far outweigh any financial payments they receive. For example, Illegal immigrants pay about $15 billion in payroll taxes each year into Social Security, but only take about $1 billion in benefits, and over the years they have paid about $300 billion into Social Security, accounting for 10% of the contributions even though they are only about 3.5% of the population (and never more than their 4%-2007-peak) and are only about 5% of the labor force. They also paid $11.84 billion in 2012 alone in state and local taxes with about 8% of their income (compared with 5.4% of the income for the richest 1% of Americans). Only a small percentage of illegal immigrants receive any type of federal benefits, even though they still often pay payroll taxes that go to Social Security and Medicare. Giving all illegal immigrants temporary legal work permits could bring in as much as $2.2 billion more in state and local taxes. President Obama is trying to do this for a 5.2 out of America’s 11.4 million illegal immigrants through executive action (which would generate about $845 million in new state and local taxes if fully implemented), despite lawsuits from twenty-six states, twenty-four of which have Republican governors, that have put his program on hold.

While there is some variation at the state and local level, state and local costs associated with illegal immigration are an overall small percentage of state and local spending, and have only a “modest” effect on state and local budgets (averaging 5% of the relevant programs), an impact that is greatly offset by state and local taxes paid by illegal immigrants and by federal assistance for covering these costs, though not wholly offset, with some states pulling in modestly less revenue relative to expenditures related to illegal immigrants and other states (e.g., Texas) pulling in significantly more revenue from them than they spend on them. These numbers only relate to state revenues and expenditures, and do not even factor in other much-harder-to-measure but very significant economic benefits for the states’ economies (e.g., illegal immigrant consumer spending, productivity and contribution to states’ GDPs, and the costs employers save by paying relatively low wages to them).

Thus, for America as a whole, illegal immigration would seem to bring in more economic benefits than costs.

As for crime, immigrants tend to be imprisoned less often than native-born Americans (one-fifth the rate of native-born Americans and decreasing significantly over the years), seeming to have either or a combination of less of a crime-committing tendency or being “more responsive to deterrent effects” and going out of their way to avoid any problems with law enforcement. This is also true across all immigrant groups, from Indians and Bulgarians to Mexicans and Guatemalans. However, it should also be noted that the data of this study was not able to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants. Crime also decreased nationally as illegal immigration increased and crime decreased even more so in states with large immigrant populations, with immigration even seeming to actually decrease crime in cities. Even statistics that show proportions of illegal immigrants in federal prisons are relatively high for violent crimes are incredibly misleading, as almost all of these crimes are handled by state and local authorities; for example, the statistic that illegal immigrants in 2013 were 9.2% of all federal prisoners held on murder charges might seem bad, but this only involved eight cases. In short, there is no data linking illegal immigrants or specific groups of them, such as Mexicans, with higher rates of committing violent or drug-related crimes than the native-born American population. In fact, four out of five drug-related arrests by the U.S. Border Patrol—and this does not include normal domestic arrests, only those made by the Border Patrol—involved American citizens. This suggests the problems are not so much about Mexicans bringing drugs into the U.S. from Mexico, but, rather, Americans bringing drugs in from Mexico and, more generally, the high American demand for illegal drugs.

Many Republicans “Know-Nothing” About Immigration As an Issue or How to Handle It and Their Harsh Approach to Immigrants Matches Their Harsh Approach to Everything Else

The current leader—and dominantly so, from polls to media coverage—among the Republican presidential candidates, real estate mogul and reality-TV-personality Donald Trump—has called for deporting all 11+ million illegal immigrants, as well as any of their American-born children, whom are derisively called “anchor babies” by Trump and those with harsh views on immigration but whom are widely accepted to be defined as citizens under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.  Such a move would cost at least hundreds of billions of dollars to well over a half-trillion and take as long as twenty years, and if associated economic costs are included, could cost closer to $1 trillion for America overall.  Trump’s comments also suggest he clearly believes that many illegal immigrants are criminals: drug traffickers, murderers, rapists, etc. But Trump’s plan andviews on illegal immigration, like many Republicans and conservatives’ views on this issue, are based on a highly inaccurate fantasy of “false assumptions” that islight on facts and heavy on mythology. Trump seems to be dragging other candidates down with him on this issue, too.

Critics of the Tea Party and the Republican Party often find a dearth of rationalityand practical or forward thinking; that in 2015 the number one issue in theRepublican nomination contest—illegal immigration—is, as noted above, a problem that has dramatically lessened in severity, volume, and proportionalityhas done little to reduce the incessant importance of this issue in the conservative/Republican mind. With America as a nation facing real-life severe, looming crises and with most of the of the oxygen in the political discussion of one of America’s two major political parties being burned focusing on a problem that is becoming far less of an actual problem while other problems only increase with severity, there is little to respect in that party—the Republican Party—as being worthy of serious consideration for taking over the reins of governance of our modern super-state replete with crises requiring serious, rational, and grown-up solutions. America is hardly the only place where such xenophobia is growing,for one only needs to look at Europe in recent years, for example, to dispel such a notion. And as alarming as the recent nativist wave should be for all Americans and people in the world for whom a well-governed, rational America tackling its crises head-on and being an example worthy of emulation and alliance throughout the world, the emergence of xenophobia in this time of crises should also hardly be surprising. There is nothing new in America having a fluctuating undercurrent of nativism, or anti-immigrant feeling, hinged with anything from a hint of intolerance to outright bigotry and violence (just watch Martin Scorsese’sGangs of New York to get a loose sense for this vibe in years past), but in the year 2015, to see a party—its leaders and base of constituents—so crudely consumedby blind, ignorant, and irrational fear and hatred of “the other” is banal in the most tedious and hackneyed sense.

While many of us are ready to move forward into the twentieth century, too many others are stuck in the nineteenth. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton came out with a bold new plan to tackle the $1.2 trillion student loan debt-bubble andcollege financing, put forth a detailed economic plan that emphasizes raisingmedian and women’s income, proposed a bold environmental/energy policy thateven exceeds President Obama’s recently proposed plan, laid out an immigration policy that would give millions of hard working, law-abiding illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, and spoke out passionately about the racism in American society and in its criminal justice system.  A Republican Party that lost the last two presidential elections by losing a majority of all American gender and ethnic categories by more than ten percentage points (and often far more) except males as a group and whites as a group  is running on defining an exclusive America that rejects or ignores others—illegal immigrants, homosexuals, the poor and uninsured (Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Scott Walker both just released health care plans that would dramatically lessen assistance for the poor and uninsured, those people most in need of healthcare)—is now seeking to build a community and constituency of Americans based on existing affluence, privileges, rights, and opportunities and that takes care of it members through the distribution of benefits through the system while excluding from these benefits those who are currently shut outside of this community.  How this party expects to win in the face of changing American demographics that very much do not favor white voters and will only make such strategies even less likely to succeedthan in the past is a mystery for which no one has an answer. It is the 2012 election’s “makers vs. takers” debate all over again, and is the political equivalent of a town election campaign based on shifting resources to the nice, gated communities of homeowners and away from those outside these gated community—immigrants, the poor, the uninsured, perpetual renters, homeless, and those struggling while working part-time jobs with no benefits.

For such a campaign, America is a gated community where those with means should band together; in the immigration debate, this is about keeping “non-Americans” out of the community and shutting the gate, but this theme runs rampant through all the other Republicans’ policies, generally speaking, except those who are to be shut out are no longer illegal immigrants without American citizenship, but American citizens of much lesser means looking for ways into the gated community but whose chances are all but crushed by a society that keepspunishing them for their lack of means. All this is part of a general redistributionof wealth, energy, and resources away from the needy and to the affluent. If many Republicans want to deport millions of illegal immigrants, this same crowd also wants to deport millions of Americans not from the soil of our nation but from the rolls of welfare, Medicaid, educational assistance, affirmative action, Obamacare, and other programs that make a major difference in the lives of those Americans without means. Thus, immigration warfare and class warfare are in many ways one in the same, from the same exclusive heart and spirit that captures so much of today’s conservative movement.

One final point: 72% of Americans are against forcing illegal immigrants to leave America, with only 27% against letting them stay; this even includes a majority of Republicans (56%), but you would not know this from listening to many of the leading Republican candidates.

Time for Republicans to Look to Lincoln

In thinking about immigration as an issue, perhaps the greatest Republican—Abraham Lincoln—can be the most instructive even 150 years later. In Lincoln’s time and before the Civil War, a new political party emerged, popularly called the “Know Nothings” and officially called the (Native) American Party (it doesn’t get more nativist than that for an official title!). They were virulently anti-immigrant and would likely capture the same people that in today’s America that are so angry and paranoid about immigration. For Lincoln, the anti-immigrant sentiment was dangerously similar to proslavery sentiment.  In a speech given shortly after Independence Day in 1858, Lincoln noted how that holiday was often celebrated by the descents of the Americans who fought the Revolution as a day to celebrate both their ancestors and their connection to these ancestors. He continues:

But after we have done all this we have not yet reached the whole. There is something else connected with it. We have besides these men—descended by blood from our ancestors—among us perhaps half our people who are not descendants at all of these men, they are men who have come from Europe—German, Irish, French and Scandinavian—men that have come from Europe themselves, or whose ancestors have come hither and settled here, finding themselves our equals in all things. If they look back through this history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none, they cannot carry themselves back into that glorious epoch and make themselves feel that they are part of us, but when they look through that old Declaration of Independence they find that those old men say that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” and then they feel that that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences their relation to those men, that it is the father of all moral principle in them, and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration, [loud and long continued applause] and so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world. [Applause.]

Thus, for Lincoln, a shared love of freedom and equality within immigrant and native-born alike united all as Americans. But also for Lincoln, discriminating against a black man in America was the same as discriminating against a German man or anyone else:

Now, sirs, for the purpose of squaring things with this idea of “don’t care if slavery is voted up or voted down,” for sustaining the Dred Scott decision [A voice—“Hit him again”], for holding that the Declaration of Independence did not mean anything at all, we have Judge Douglas giving his exposition of what the Declaration of Independence means, and we have him saying that the people of America are equal to the people of England. According to his construction, you Germans are not connected with it. Now I ask you in all soberness, if all these things, if indulged in, if ratified, if confirmed and endorsed, if taught to our children, and repeated to them, do not tend to rub out the sentiment of liberty in the country, and to transform this Government into a government of some other form. Those arguments that are made, that the inferior race are to be treated with as much allowance as they are capable of enjoying; that as much is to be done for them as their condition will allow. What are these arguments? They are the arguments that kings have made for enslaving the people in all ages of the world. You will find that all the arguments in favor of king-craft were of this class; they always bestrode the necks of the people, not that they wanted to do it, but because the people were better off for being ridden. That is their argument, and this argument of the Judge is the same old serpent that says you work and I eat, you toil and I will enjoy the fruits of it. Turn in whatever way you will—whether it come from the mouth of a King, an excuse for enslaving the people of his country, or from the mouth of men of one race as a reason for enslaving the men of another race, it is all the same old serpent, and I hold if that course of argumentation that is made for the purpose of convincing the public mind that we should not care about this, should be granted, it does not stop with the negro. I should like to know if taking this old Declaration of Independence, which declares that all men are equal upon principle and making exceptions to it where will it stop. If one man says it does not mean a negro, why not another say it does not mean some other man? If that declaration is not the truth, let us get the Statute book, in which we find it and tear it out!

In an 1859 letter of Lincoln’s in which he wrote why he would not support certain anti-immigrant initiatives, Lincoln expressed his disdain of any measure based on the exclusion of people:

Understanding the spirit of our institutions to aim at the  elevation of men, I am opposed to whatever tends to degrade them. I have some little notoriety for commiserating the oppressed condition of the negro; and I should be strangely inconsistent if I could favor any project for curtailing the existing rights of  white men, even though born in different lands, and speaking different languages from myself.

An earlier 1855 letter has Lincoln expressing a deep sadness with the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment:

I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ” all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal,  except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes,  and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy.

Well, it sure seems Lincoln would feel despair in reaction to his own Republican Party today on the issue of immigration (not to even mention others). As usual with Lincoln, I find myself as a writer humbled in reading him, and at this point I cannot “add or detract” to his poetic words. Perhaps no other American can so beautifully and simply express how anti-American it is to be anti-immigrant. Trump and other Republican presidential hopefuls are missing the facts of realityin their framing of this issue. But when it comes to the spirit of their sentiment, it is their own Lincoln they should read to can see how deeply wrong they truly are.

Dispelling Stupidparty Myths – The GOP is Ideologically No Longer the Party of Lincoln

Social media has become an excellent medium for people to express their political views – the feeling of anonymity, however, has compelled historical revisionists to unabashedly disseminate fabricated political material. There are countless myths making the rounds, but one in particular annoys me: the belief that the contemporary Republican Party, from an ideological standpoint, mirrors the Party of Lincoln. While this is a true from a abraham_lincoln_quote_on_slavery_poster-rb55286ed20134ebbb631c30445995e8a_z77ll_8byvr_1024technical standpoint, i.e., the GOP party label is the same, the ideological makeup of the Party has changed drastically. The contemporary Republican Party has become a bastion of staunchly conservative ideals, but this wasn’t the case during Lincoln’s presidency as Republican Radicals (the progressive faction) had an enormous influence on the Party’s desire to abolish slavery. Without progressive thought, the Party of Lincoln, which included Radical Republicans (known as progressives before joining) and Abolitionists—who teamed up with the newly founded Republican Party—the institution of slavery may have existed much longer.

The inspiration behind the Republican Party’s formation was largely based in an anti-slavery philosophy, exemplified by the first Republican nominee, John C. Fremont, slogan “Free soil, free silver, free men.” This rhetoric was adopted by the Republican nominee for President Abraham Lincoln:

“I have always hated slavery, I think as much as any Abolitionist.”
–July 10, 1858 Speech at Chicago

“Now I confess myself as belonging to that class in the country who contemplate slavery     as a moral, social and political evil…”
–October 7, 1858 Debate at Galesburg, Illinois   

 “He [Stephen Douglas] is blowing out the moral lights around us, when he contends that whoever wants slaves has a right to hold them; that he is penetrating, so far as lies in his power, the human soul, and eradicating the light of reason and the love of liberty, when he is in every possible way preparing the public mind, by his vast influence, for making the institution of slavery perpetual and national.
–October 7, 1858 Lincoln-Douglas Debate at Galesburg, Illinois

One thing was clear: regardless of the motivation behind Lincoln’s presidential run, whether it be keeping the Union intact or channeling Northern resentment based on the South’s economic paradigm, Lincoln abhorred the institution of slavery on a personal level. To claim otherwise is false. On the other hand, the Democrat faction representing the Southern States epitomized conservatism as the faction seceded to preserve an immoral system. And this is precisely the area of history that Stupidparty disciples like to narrow in on – but it’s a misleading tactic due to Southern Democrats encompassing an entirely different political philosophy when compared to contemporary Democrats. They can’t seem to grasp the concept of ideological realignment. Remember, party politics aren’t static; progressivism was ultimately responsible for the abolition of slavery, not conservatism. (Some examples of progressive legislation implemented by the Republican Party during the Civil War were the development of America’s infrastructure [railroads], the creation of a national bank system, and a temporary income tax.)

About fifty years later, the Party experienced an ideological schism that saw the progressive faction leave the party. Prior to the ideological split, Teddy Roosevelt, one of the most idolized presidents of all time, confronted the industrialists and financiers with trust busting and he also strengthened regulations.

cartoon68Roosevelt was unquestionably a big government progressive. Leading up to the Presidential Election of 2012, tariffs became the hot button issue – it was the issue that contributed to a rift forming between President Taft and former President Roosevelt; and of course, Taft’s shift to more conservative ideals contributed to it as well. The 1912 Republican Convention was chaotic: feeling slighted by the delegates favoring Taft, Roosevelt—in his bid for a third term—walked out with the progressive delegates and formed the Bull Moose Party.

The move was significant in Party realignment because the progressive faction that left was a powerful and influential faction within the Republican Party since the Civil War. Nonetheless, the Party dissolved after four years, leaving many progressives without a party affiliation, even though some reluctantly remained in the Party, which became dominated by conservatives. Eventually, most progressives joined the predominately Democratic New Deal coalition—at the same time, the majority of Democratic conservatives joined the Republican Party—and the remaining Republican Party progressives left in the 1940s. The realignment was crucial to understanding the contemporary makeup of the Republican and Democratic Parties.

Incidentally, I suspect that some readers are wondering about the evolution of the Southern Democratic Party – the faction that conservatives typically highlight in their attempt to label the contemporary Democratic Party as still being racist. Let me explain: while the Southern Democratic coalition was responsible for Jim Crow, their motivation stemmed from conservative ideals. In addition, many Southern Democrats in the 1960s felt betrayed by the Party’s acceptance of Johnson’s Great Society and switched to the Republican Party. In the 1970s, the remaining conservative Democrats, angered with Carter’s presidency, ended up supporting Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. As of now, the Southern Republican Party is made up of ex-conservative Democrats.

Rather than accepting Stupidparty arguments relating to the contemporary Republican Party—from an ideological perspective—being responsible for the abolition of slavery, it’s better to analyze historical facts in order to paint an accurate picture. The historical revisionists are crafty, but they’re not the sharpest tools in the shed. It’s crucial to note: the progressive faction that was responsible for the abolition of slavery no longer exists in the Republican Party, therefore, taking credit, as a political entity, for the dismantling of slavery is an outright sham – in reality, the contemporary Republican Party caters to the demands of bigots and racists. The previous notion is bolstered by Trump’s ascendency, which is being fueled by xenophobia and arbitrary hate. The Party that once fought for progressive values has devolved into a paranoid propaganda machine, intent on restricting the vote; deporting 11 million people; and denying the existence of institutional and systemic racism.

The term systemic racism is used to define the impact of race and racism in the development of United States. It also explains how racism is harming one part of the society and helping others. it questions why so much of discrimination is still prevalent in the society. To know more about racism click learn the facts here now

To my astonishment, there are even those who defend the Southern institution of slavery under the transparent guise of state’s rights.
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Now, the Democratic Party’s history is not immune to criticism, the Southern Democratic faction in particular, but ideological schisms transformed the Party’s ideological underpinnings to that of progressive ideals, analogous to what the Republican Party once was. So please, if you come across an individual trying to pin the abolition of slavery to conservative ideals, remember to invoke the role that progressive thought had on toppling conservative tyranny. Hopefully, once presented with these facts, they’ll dispose of this false notion and understand that the contemporary Republican Party has become the antithesis of the Party’s founding philosophy.

WHO AM I? I HAVE SINGLE HANDEDLY REINVENTED MEDIA -NOW PROPOGANDA

Why is the Least Trusted News Media, the Least Trusted News Media? – And who is responsible?

Profitizing Hate, Ignorance and Stupidity

This might seem like an easy question. But simply relying one one’s gut is just not good enough. We are not interested in opinions; we want to know the facts. We all have a gut understanding of why the Economist, the BBC and NPR are trusted. They have journalistic integrity. They have objectivity. They do not start with an agenda and then thrust all stories into that agenda. You remember -what news use to be like before a certain Australian reinvented the wheel. Stupidparty will try and and blunt the effectiveness of good journalism by infantile labeling, providing false equivalence, and simply making shit up.

But we do not label here. If we make an assertion we back it up. The Pew survey reveals what any critical thinker was well aware of—we all intuitively know the media that is responsible for making people more stupid, less informed. This statement is not an opinion.

The pew survey is done to understand the behavior of American citizen. Its mission is to shape the United States and the world with its finding and generate a foundation of fact to help in making strong decisions and enrich the public dialog. To know more about pew survey click Learn even more here

So let us show why we are so adamant on this point, but it will require some connecting of the dots, an ability to see patterns. Have no fear, we are going to make this task really simple, so simple that even Stupidparty disciples will be capable of understanding—so simple that we will be able to simply force them out of their caves, kicking and screaming—where the sunshine of truth can let them sweat out or their bile and ignorance for all to see. So as simpleton Sean Hannity is apt to say “Let not your heart be troubled”—for here we think with our brains and all will be revealed.

Let us start with the poll data:

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I have highlighted the key culprits of distrust, the media that has made journalism a joke, and thereby tainting all media. But before we begin we should add some perspective. It is not like all journalists have been like Walter Cronkite. People have been complaining about the media through the ages.

You may haPictureve recognized something odd about that poll data. A pattern. But I am not here simply to bash Rupurt Murdoch, as that would be lazy and overly simplistic. But we should spend a moment to get an understanding of this man –who on paper has done more damage to the US political process than any other single person.

But in reality he is not the real problem –his horrendous role was more accidental than pre meditated. Rupert Murdoch only cares about one thing—making tons of money by increasing circulation and ratings. This Australian media magnate first had to break into the English establishment and really shake things up. Murdoch had no scruples, he is an opportunist, an equal opportunity offender. Sure he is right wing, but that was never that important—he would far rather be king maker, support and curry favor with the likely winner. If he could help elect a Prime Minister of either party, Conservative or Labour, then that is what he would do.

As it turned out his strategy for the UK was very different from what he was going to do in the United States. He knew what his readers wanted, well his male readers wanted. They wanted boobs. Yes literally, boobs, sex and scandal, this was what Murdoch figured out—and he gave it to his readers, and soon his paper took off and gained the highest circulation.

On page three, every day a gorgeous naked model would adorn the page. Other pages would also discuss related topics. When there was real news, the headline on page one would invariably find a way to sexualize it. Boobs, sex scandals would adorn virtually every household. His Sunday paper the News (Screws) Of The World, followed suit. People in England would typically buy more than one paper and on Sunday household might by three to five national papers. The news was really fun.Picture

Love or hate them, these stories tended to have merit, so one should not compare this to all the silly “Alien UFO Conspiracy” stories that Americans get with their National Enquirer and the like. But the deeper thinkers did realize that what Rupert Murdoch was doing was insidious. Check out the below short remake of It’s a Wonderful Life – starring a young Hugh Laurie (yes, he of “House” fame) as Rupert Murdoch—a skit that was made thirty years ago, but made to look even older to tie back to the original movie  https://vimeo.com/57263481

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But Rupert’s misdeeds in the UK finally catch up with him. In July 2011 Murdoch faced allegations in the UK that his companies, including the News of the World, owned by News Corporation, had been regularly hacking the phones of celebrities, royalty and public citizens.

British law makers went on to report that Rupert Murdoch is not fit to run a major international company, finding him ultimately responsible for the illegal phone hacking that has corroded his global media empire and damaged the political establishment.

The lawmakers said the 81-year-old News Corp chief lacked credibility, his son James appeared incompetent and the company was guilty of “willful blindness” towards its staff at the News of the World tabloid.

Murdoch always recognized that selling boobs was not going to work in the more puritanical and more censored USA. So rather than selling boobs, he had to finds boobs to sell to. And so began the remarkable career of our chief culprit, the “loudest voice in the room.”

Murdoch does not appear to have a huge respect for journalistic standards or ethics. Notwithstanding Murdoch’s well-known reputation, the debacle that is Fox may well now be beyond his control. He has created a Frankenstein that now has a life of its own. The brain inside that Frankenstein is Roger Ailes, and only in understanding Roger Ailes can we really fathom what happened.

Roger Eugene Ailes (born May 15, 1940) is president of Fox News Channel and chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group. Ailes was a media consultant for Republican presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush and for Rudy Giuliani’s first mayoral campaign (1989). In 1996 Ailes was hired by Rupert Murdoch to create Fox News Channel for News Corporation to help with the new channel’s launch, on October 7, 1996.” (Wiki)

Because of Roger Ailes’s huge success—in 2010 earning about $800m in profits—he can now pretty much do whatever he wants. Employees must be subservient to his agenda. Even Murdoch, who is very conservative, needs to be careful. He surely respects the profits but was quoted as saying, “You know, Roger is crazy,” Murdoch recently told a colleague, shaking his head in disbelief, “He really believes that stuff.” http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-roger-ailes-built-the-fox-news-fear-factory-20110525#ixzz2d8RnLIov

Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson goes on to discuss how Ailes would like the outside world to perceive his earlier years and that he is now different from his very partisan past. In a recent biography of Ailes, “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” Gabriel Sherman “delivers a portrait of a manipulating, conniving, controlling, petty and fear-mongering man.” This book, which interviewed 614 people, does indicate that Mr. Ailes has a fertile imagination when it comes to trying to shape his image. But “deception isn’t the theme that knits together the key Ailes epochs documented in The Loudest Voice in the Room. Loyalty is.” The more power you have, the more loyalty you can demand. “I see the most powerful man in the world is here,” President Obama said, according to an “author interview with a person familiar with the matter.” Moving to launch Fox News simply gave Ailes heretofore unknown megaphone methods of thrusting partisan propaganda on a public not equipped to recognize Fact from Fiction, especially when delivered as news under the guise of “fair and balanced.”

As described in the article, he created one of the most “powerful political machines in American history,” which took the helm in navigating Stupidparty—talking points and advancing the agenda of the far right. Fox News tilted the electoral balance to George W. Bush in 2000, prematurely declaring him president in a move that prompted every other network to follow suit. It helped create the Tea Party, transforming it from the butt of late-night jokes into a nationwide insurgency capable of electing.

Take it from Rush Limbaugh, a “dear friend” of Ailes. “One man has established a culture for 1,700 people who believe in it, who follow it, who execute it,” Limbaugh once declared. “Roger Ailes is not on the air. Roger Ailes does not ever show up on camera. And yet everybody who does is a reflection of him.”

By hiring Ailes, Murdoch new that success in the USA was dependent on a different strategy

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Having established the hierarchy, it is now time to start connecting all the dots to the Pew Survey of the least trusted news media

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The above chart depicts how just one Oligarch has successfully had a huge impact in transforming and dividing America into two camps—the critical thinkers and the non-critical thinkers. Because the more you watch or listen to the individual above, the less politically informed you get. Allow me to prove my point:

Take global warming, whether you are in denial or not on this issue is not relevant. I have already proven that the vast bulk of scientists have concluded that climate change is occurring. This is an indisputable fact. But the more you watch Fox, the more ignorant, the more Stupidparty you get. Here are the numbers:

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http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/dec10/Misinformation_Dec10_rpt.pdf 

But a picture of this mission to uneducate is worth a thousand words:

The higher the Number, the greater the Ignorance………The More you watch Fox……

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Fox News . . . investing in ignorance . . . Fox News . . . investing in ignorance . . .

 

A remarkable 60% of those who watched Fox News almost daily believe that “Most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring,” whereas only 30% who never watch it believe that. Only 25% of those who watch CNN almost daily hold that erroneous belief—and only 13% who listen to NPR or PBS almost daily.

 As reported in ThinkProgress:

“WPO found one bright spot in its lengthy report: ‘Those who had greater exposure to news sources were generally better informed. In the great majority of cases, those with higher levels of exposure to news sources had lower levels of misinformation.’ However, there was one exception, Fox News. . . .

“This data coincides with results of previous surveys finding that Fox News viewers are more misinformed about public policy issues. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll [in 2009] found that Fox News viewers were overwhelmingly misinformed about healthcare reform proposals. A 2008 Pew study ranked Fox News last in the number of ‘high knowledge’ viewers and a 2007 Pew poll ranked Fox viewers as the least knowledgeable about national and international affairs. And a 2003 study from the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland found that Fox News viewers were most likely to believe that Saddam Hussein had links to al-Qaeda, that coalition troops found WMD in Iraq, and that world public opinion supported President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq.”

NBC News Poll 2009.

72% of self-identified FOX News viewers believe the healthcare plan will give coverage to illegal immigrants,

79% of them say it will lead to a government takeover,

69% think that it will use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and

75% believe that it will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing care for the elderly.

http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2009/08/19/4431138-first-thoughts-obamas-good-bad-news

Fox will deny and try and shoot the messenger, but they will be unable to come up with studies showing anything different. It should be pointed out that this does not necessarily mean that Fox viewers are the most uninformed on all subjects, just on the subjects that Fox wants them to be uninformed about.

In trying to debunk these polls, Fox News (out of desperation) utilized a Stupidparty zealot, John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, a book on a Stupidparty myth that has been thoroughly and easily dismissed herein. Being a true Stupidparty advocate, Lott does not believe in Global Warming (citing weather “forecasters” ill equipped to address the issue). He denies that after the financial meltdown, the stimulus created the jobs and dismisses statements by the CBO as biased. “The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is a federal agency within the legislative branch of the United States government that provides economic data to Congress. The CBO was created as a nonpartisan agency by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974.” (Wiki)

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/01/05/truth-fox-news-viewers/#ixzz2d8wf4rLb

Please note that I eviscerate John Lott here.

Now let us deal with some of the spawn of Murdoch’s Frankenstein, how low can they go?

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Matt Drudge is no journalist. He had to leave Fox because he was too extreme even for Roger Ailes. It is worth getting some background on the man recognized for playing a significant role is driving the news cycle, filling the void created by mainstream Journalists who are “dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity.”

Drudge says that he “failed his Bar Mitzvah“, and graduated 341st out of a class of 355 from Northwood High School in 1984, giving himself, in his words, a “more than adequate curriculum vitae for a post at 7-Eleven“.[1] In the 1980s, Drudge worked as a telemarketer for Time-Life Books.

Drudge was unknown before he began the news aggregation site, the Drudge Report.[4] For many years, he took odd jobs such as night counterman at a 7-Eleven convenience store,telemarketer for Time-Life books, McDonald’s manager, and sales assistant at a New York City grocery store. In 1989, he moved to Los Angeles, where he took up residence in a small Hollywood apartment. He took a job in the gift shop of CBS studios, eventually working his way up to manager. Here, he was apparently privy to some inside gossip, part of the inspiration for founding the Drudge Report.

It is the Drudge report, a report that simply regurgitates news stories from any one or any where, picking and choosing to dovetail with his own unsophisticated world view—that other Journalists fawn to—because it is so much easier not have to one’s own research, fact checking etc. Drudge also set up Drudge radio—and the Kings of hate radio—Limbaugh, Hannity, Mark Levin and Michael Savage all adopt the same faux journalistic techniques.

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Andrew Breitbart was no Journalist, now deceased, but his machinery carries on. Drudge met Andrew Breitbart in Los Angeles during the 1990s and became his mentor, with Breitbart later helping to run the Drudge Report.[6][7] Breitbart announced in 2005 that he was “amicably leaving the Drudge Report after a long and close working relationship with Matt Drudge” but still helped run Drudge’s website from Los Angeles by working the afternoon shift, in addition to running Breitbart.com.[8][9][10] Drudge frequently links to Breitbart’s site, but does not get paid for this service.[7]

Listening to radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh helped Breitbart refine his political and philosophical positions,  In 2004 he was a guest commentator on Fox News Channel’s morning show and frequently appeared as a guest panelist on Fox News‘s late night program, Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld. Breitbart also appeared as a commentator in the 2004 documentary Michael Moore Hates America.[23]

ACORN undercover videos

Breitbart brings down Acorn by making false allegations—But Stupidparty disciples do not care. A former Massachusetts Attorney General hired to investigate the matter found no pattern of illegal conduct by the ACORN employees and said the news media should have been far more skeptical, demanding the raw video from which the edited versions were produced.[26]

Shirley Sherrod resigns after being slandered—but Stupidparty disciple don’t care.

In July 2010 Breitbart was accused of smearing USDA official Shirley Sherrod with a viral video titled “Proof NAACP Awards Racism”. The video showed Sherrod speaking at a NAACP fundraising dinner in March 2010 admitting to a racial reluctance to help a white farmer get government aid. The NAACP later posted the longer 43-minute video of the speech In it, Sherrod said her reluctance to help a white man was wrong, and she had ended up assisting him. The NAACP then reversed their rebuke of Sherrod,[28][29] and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack apologized and offered Sherrod a new government position.

 “Friends of Hamas”

On February 7, 2013, Ben Shapiro published an article on Breitbart.com reporting allegations that former Senator and nominee for United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) may have been paid to speak at an event sponsored by a group called “Friends of Hamas“.[36] Breitbart.com said that the story was based on “exclusive” information by “Senate sources”. The story was later repeated by other conservative opinion websites such as RedState,[37] National Review,[38] Washington Times,[39] PJ Media[40] and commented on by US Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.

An investigation by Slate reporter David Weigel failed to confirm the existence of the purported group.[41] On February 19, New York Daily News reporter Dan Friedman said that the story had originated from a sarcastic comment he made to a Congressional staffer, Other media including Washington Post,[46] New York Magazine[47] and The Daily Beast[48] strongly criticized Breitbart.com for its inaccuracy and low journalistic standards.

Mis-identification of Loretta Lynch

On November 8, 2014, Breitbart.com posted an article headlined “Obama’s attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch represented Clintons during Whitewater.” The article, by Warner Todd Huston, erroneously reported that Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama’s nominee for attorney general, had been part of Bill Clinton‘s defense team during the Whitewater scandal. In fact, the two Lynches are different people. After this mistake was pointed out by several news outlets, Breitbart did note that the two Lynches were different people, but “buried its correction at the end of the article without bothering to fix the mistake in the story itself.” This generated further criticism; The New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal noted, “The appended correction didn’t really do justice to the scope of the misidentification.” Other media watchdogs noted “that Breitbart had let the mistaken fact stand in the headline and the article itself,” and even published a second story containing the incorrect information on November 9. By November 10, the initial story had been deleted from Breitbart.com.

James O’Keefe partner in Crime and real life Criminal

Stupidparty has had some success in various fabricated sting operations. I am personally aware of his effort to undermine the Wendy Davis campaign to become Governor of Texas. O’Keefe inserted his operatives into the campaign for months to try and gain trust and seek mistakes. I guess they could not find much, so onto plan B—entrapment. An O’Keefe operative approached a young staffer, just out of College, and advised this person that she/he had destroyed some ballot applications because the applicants were clearly racist. Now this would be against the law, but luckily the young man did nothing wrong and said that that was illegal and he would look into what to do. Now technically the moment you become aware of an illegal act you should report it to the authorities. Thus the next morning O’Keefe shows up in person at his young man’s house with the media—asking for comment. Fortunately this kid was smart enough to say nothing and so O’Keefe had just wasted months of effort. But did he though? Because trying to throw a young man to the the flesh eating zombie base not only puts this young mans life in danger, but makes O’Keefe look good to people who can not think critically. O’Keefe knows his audience. But this type of fake news effort, similar to Murdoch’s phone tapping UK escapades, lead to criminal behavior:

O’Keefe and colleagues were arrested in New Orleans in January 2010 during an attempt to make recordings at the office of United States Senator Mary Landrieu, a Democrat. He and three fellow activists were apprehended with two of them dressed as telephone repairmen including Robert Flanagan, the son of William Flanagan, acting U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Louisiana at the time. The four men were charged with malicious intent to damage the phone system. O’Keefe said he entered Landrieu’s office to investigate complaints that she was ignoring phone calls from constituents during the debate over the Affordable Health Care bill. The charges in the case were reduced from a felony to a single misdemeanor count of entering a federal building under false pretenses. O’Keefe and the others pleaded guilty on May 26. O’Keefe was sentenced to three years’ probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine. The other three men received lesser sentences.

In October 2014 O’Keefe was accused of soliciting Colorado Democratic campaign staffers for then-U.S. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), as well as independent expenditure organizations,[clarification needed] to commit voter fraud.

When a Rolling Stones reporter wrote a tongue in cheek obituary about Breitbart, evidently Breitbart’s Zombie fan base did not react so well.

Well done, Breitbart fans, well done! In less than 24 hours you’ve hacked into my Wiki page, published my telephone number on Twitter, called the Rolling Stone offices pretending to be outraged “advertisers” (anonymous ones, who hung up before we could figure out which “ads” to pull), and then spent all night calling and texting my phone with various threats and insults, many of them directed at my family. “Better grow eyes in the back of your head,” was one; “I’m going to take a shit on your mother’s grave,” was another; a third called my wife a “piece of shit like you,” and many others called me a “pile of human excrement.”

So there we have it. This is what Rupert Murdoch has created. This is the end game from profitizing hate, ignorance and stupid. The more prevalent these attitudes become, the bigger the profits to Murdoch and his minions. The result is that he rest of the media has become polluted as they race to the bottom of the sewer. Just look at CNN. If ever there was an example of Stupid trumping Cowardice. If CNN had just had some balls they would never have found themselves held in contempt by both sides. A whole industry promoting misinformation is now in full bloom. But there is an Achilles heel—which we might well be witnessing now. What happens when Zombies start attacking each other, eating there own flesh and blood? This is bound to happen once they have sucked the life out of every intelligent thought. Perhaps that is the only way of killing off this deadly Stupidparty virus that has been growing exponentially? This is what we may be  seeing in the one man wrecking ball called Donald Trump. Long live the emperor of the Zombies—leading his Zombie army fat full charge right into the Zombie army. Now that is feast that I would love to witness.

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Iran, the Constitution, Stupidparty and Treason.

Republicans: Wrong on Iran Deal & Constitution, Wrong for USA & Israel

It’s hard to be so wrong and silly on such substantive issues as war and peace, nuclear proliferation, improving our relationship with Iran, and our Constitution, but the Republican Party (better known as the Stupidparty) is trying very hard and is succeeding spectacularly.  We should all give Republicans due credit by making it clear how dead-wrong they really are.

By Brian E. Frydenborg (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter @bfry1981) July 22nd, 2015

Reuters

“Republicans, in fact, often find themselves empowering America’s enemies through their actions).”

Treason is not a word that should ever be used lightly.  Expressing a dissenting opinion during wartime, for example, should not be thought of as treasonous, even though some still seem to think that using that word is appropriate.  Challenging your government, its officers, and your fellow citizens when you believe they are incorrect is also something that a sane definition of treason should not include.  In the words of the great journalist Edward R. Murrow, “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.”

And yet, how you express these opinions, and who you are and in what capacity you are speaking, can matter in certain circumstances.

With the Obama Administration’s twenty months of negotiations with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s negotiators on a nuclear deal (full text here) to prevent or slow Iran’s ability to acquire nuclear weapons production and deployment capabilities ending in(despite some delays) a momentous, historic success, we reached those certain circumstances during the negotiations with a letter signed by forty-seven out of fifty-four Republican senators, nearly half of the one-hundred-strong United States Senate, our senior legislative body.  This extraordinary action can also be viewed as one-sixth the power and authority of our government, being roughly one-half of one-third of one of our three co-equal branches of national government (the other two being the presidency’s Executive Branch and the federal courts of the Judicial Branch).  The short letter of the senators, authored by Sen. Tom Cotton and titled “An Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” basically claimed that the president and his officials alone could not conclude a meaningful agreement without their approval and could only reach “a mere executive agreement,” that most of them would likely still be senators when Obama leaves office in January 2017, and then concluded that the “next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and the future Congress could modify the terms of the agreement at any time” (with “any time” not actually being true because any president could veto any changes and that veto would be insurmountable without a two-thirds vote against the president in both the House and Senate).  The letter was directly addressed to Iran’s leaders and was clearly designed to sabotage and undermine the Obama Administration’s efforts towards reaching an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program (meaning that both Republican hardliners and Iran’s Islamic hardliners found common cause in opposingthe agreement; Republicans, in fact, often find themselves empowering America’s enemies through their actions).  The letter was produced and released on official United States Senate stationary with the official Senate letterhead and was signed by forty-seven sitting senators.  They were not merely conveying their opinions as individuals, but were conveying them as senators and in their official capacity.

The relevant historians find this to be unprecedented, including the official Senate Historian himself who said that “We haven’t found a precedent…That doesn’t mean there isn’t a precedent. After 200 years, it’s hard to find anything that unprecedented.”  In the end, he says, “We really didn’t find anything.”  Secretary of State John Kerry, the Obama Administration’s point man on negotiations with Irancomplained of the letter’s unprecedented nature.  The complaints did not stop there…

Now, there are some basic lessons from American history and some principles behind our Constitution that these forty-seven Republican senators, and those who support them, seem to miss.  Actually, we can say this about a whole lot of things when it comes to Republicans and conservatives, who often seem to prefer the disaster that was the Articles of Confederation (see the thoughts on its “Deficiencies” of Founding father, author of the Constitution, and [fourth] President James Madison) over our Constitution and constantly read the latter as if it was the former (they should read Federalist No. 63, in which Madison discusses the need for both government power and the people’s liberty to be checked).

The article of confederation came into existence in the year 1777. It was formerly known as articles of confederation and perpetual union. It was the agreement between thirteen states of America and it served as the first constitution of the country. Bt the article of confederation got replaced in the year 1789 by present United States Constitution. Click here to know more it is scam

That could be a whole other article, but the point about the Republican senators’ letter goes back to issues from the very period of the Articles of Confederation that led to its being scrapped in favor of the Constitution (see The Federalist Papers Nos. 15-22).  The period of 1781–1789, during which the Articles of Confederation governed the United States, saw tremendous chaos in the realm of the new nation’s foreign affairs.  Though in theory foreign policy was supposed to more-or-less be conducted by the national Congress of the Confederation, in practice the weak and ineffectual national government proved unable to prevent individual states and individual people from meddling in foreign policy, confusing other parties as to who really speaking for the United States and with real authority.  To say this led to misunderstandings and crises would be an understatement.  After the Constitution went into effect in 1789, over time“Americans began to see alternative negotiating as treason.”

Still, with a new government in place and officials navigating in unchartered waters, it would take some time for clear limits to be established and understood.  While the primacy of the Executive Branch in foreign affairs was clear in the Constitution as originally worded, what crossed the line and how this line would be enforced was not as clear.  This gray area was left for Congress, Executive practice, and the Federal Judiciary to decide.  And that is what began happening.  When hostilities on the open seas emerged with Revolutionary France during the undeclared “Quasi-War” (1798-1800), a private citizen named George Logan took it upon himself, without approval from the government, to travel to France in 1798 to negotiate on behalf of the United States.  In response, Congress passed a law known as the Logan Act in 1799 that basically criminalized unauthorized diplomacy.  This law still remains on the books today and has been modified slightly in the modern era, yet there has never been a full prosecution of anyone over this law; over the entire history of the Act, only one Kentucky farmer was charged with violating it in 1803, but his case was never even brought to trial.

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In terms of the Senate Republicans’ Iran letter, there seems to be a consensus among serious non-partisans and policy analysts that the letter itself is almost farcically sillyand “embarrassing”; it presumes to lecture on U.S. Constitutional mechanisms, then proceeds to mischaracterize one of the key mechanisms in question, claiming that Congress “ratifies” treaties when actually it simply give its advice and /or necessary (but not sufficient) consent to the president, who makes the ultimate decision on ratification if and after the Senate votes to consent (in Iran’s snarky responses to the letter, the fact that the Senators mischaracterized their own Constitution was, embarrassingly, not lost on the Iranians).

However, there is some debate among scholars and analysts as to whether or not the letter is a clear violation of the Logan Act.  Some say it is a clear violation, others feel it is more gray, some say it is pointless to even determine this because prosecution under the act is both impractical and unlikely.  If you’re thinking that Logan was outside the government and that that means senators can’t be in violation of the act, before we go any further, it is time to open up the U.S. Constitution that both restricts and empowers the Federal Government.  For forty-seven Republican senators, and anyone who agree with their action of sending a certain letter to Iran’s Supreme leader at this moment in time on the subjects it covered, they may need to blow the dust off of their copy.

Article I is the section of the Constitution that lays out the powers and responsibilities of the U.S. Congress, and it very clearly does not authorize Senators or any other member of Congress to engage in foreign relations or negotiations of their own accord.  However, in Article II, which deals with the powers of the President, the U.S. Senate is given “Advice and Consent” roles in Section 2 in relation to the President’s and the executive branch’s express powers to be the executors of foreign policy: “[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.”

Congress legislates, but the president executes the actions of government.  The Constitution was clearly designed to have one principal agent, the president (and any people to whom he chose to delegate authority), act in the arena of foreign relations with the Senate’s “Advice and Consent.”  Having multiple centers of gravity in the same type of power with respect to foreign relations would have been to invite chaos and disaster and inconsistency (as during the Articles of Confederation era), and this the Constitution clearly avoids having.  The president’s Constitutional powers empower the presidency to make “presidential or sole executive agreements” without a Congressional role, agreements that fall short of the stature of “Treaties” that can be subjected to future change or rejection but are hardly insignificant.  That is not to say the Senate has no role, as clearly the President is supposed to act with senators’ “Advice and Consent,” and best practice and the best results come from when the president and the Senate work together in the process of treaty-making, with the president often delegating senators to negotiate or involving them in negotiations.  However, with the treaty Power falling under Article II, and the president having “Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate,” and not the other way around, it is clear that the president leads and that senators cannot act independently of the Executive Branch in this realm, save to offer their “Advice” or to withhold their “Consent.”  Advising and Consenting in no way even implies unilateral insertion into an official process or unilaterally officially communicating to active parties in an official negotiation; there is no Constitutional room for senators undermining the Executive Branch’s negotiating positions and negotiations through official non-legislative action directed specifically at negotiations or the parties involved in them; such actions would be clear violations of both the language and spirit of Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution.

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So even if there was not a violation of the Logan Act, or any law with a specific penalty,there is perhaps an even stronger case to be made that the senators violated the Constitution and encroached on the prerogatives of the Executive Branch and the presidency.  In American jurisprudence, there is a concept known as the “sole organ” doctrine that is confusing and misunderstood and often taken out of context.  But, as constitutional scholar Louis Fisher shows in his lengthy and comprehensive discussionof the Executive Branch’s prerogatives regarding foreign policy, where there is little confusion among the framers of the Constitution and the Judicial Branch’s interpretation is in the consensus that the Executive Branch is the sole executor of foreign policy, and that this includes all communications to and through foreign powers.

And yet, what we have happening here today is exactly what the Constitution was designed to prevent: members of the Senate inserting themselves publicly and without presidential authorization into ongoing negotiations between the Executive Branch of government, acting within its Constitutional authority in its capacity for action, and the government of Iran.  To insert themselves directly into the negotiations with messages that expressly contradict both the intent and the spirit of the elected president’s administration is a clear violation of both the separation and the division of powers as laid out in the constitution.  And the fact that it was done to deliberately undermine the goals of a presidential administration engaged in active negotiations with a foreign power makes it treasonous any way you slice it or dice it.  That it does not fit the prosecutable Constitutional definition of treason as laid out in Article III Section 3 does not mean it does not fit the dictionary definition and spirit of the general concept of treason (it clearly does).  Senators may no more publicly use their office to undermine the president’s authority to engage in negotiations as an executive head of state than the president may issue an executive order that empowers himself or those acting on his authority to violate laws that Congress passes.  The Senate does not consist of one-hundred individual ambassadors-at-large-to-the-world able to act on their own impulses any more than the presidency consists of one legislator-at-large able to legislate at will.  To use Alexander Hamilton’s words in Federalist No. 75, “the Executive…[is] the most fit agent” for “the management of foreign negotiations,” a sentiment echoes by John Jay notes in Federalist No. 64.  That is partly why executive power and legislative power, unlike in Britain and other parliamentary systems, are divided and separated by our Constitution.  For a president to legislate or a senator to execute, is, if you’ll pardon the expression, un-American.

Thus, the Republican senators’ letter is clearly a violation of the Constitution, even if it may be less clear as to whether their letter is a prosecutable offense under the Logan Act.  Yet even worse than the their specific treasonous-in-spirit-act is the fact that their position is so wrong and dangerous for everyone involved: Americans, Iranians, all the peoples of the Middle East (including Israelis), and even the whole world.

I have discussed the deal’s details before.  But even as Iran’s ability to produce a weapon would increase towards the end of the fifteen-year-agreement, the length of time required to make a weapon in the event of a breakdown in the agreement—termed “breakout time”—even at that juncture would still take longer than it would currently take Iran, before the implantation of this new agreement.  Now, Iran’s breakout time is two-three-months; once the agreement is in place, it would take Iran a year to produce a bomb.  That’s a big difference in my book.

As I have written, and as President Obama himself has noted, those opposing this deal do not have logic on their side at all.  When negotiating a deal, both sides must make concessions; neither side will be totally happy with the results, and the fact that this deal is not a perfect deal from the perspective of the interests of America is simply the reality of negotiating a deal, and does not mean that the deal is a bad one, is not good, or should be rejected.  The idea that Iran would have likely given up more ground—whether, as Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump claims, Iran would have cowed before the supposedly-awesome might of Trump’s negotiating skills, or whether, as reporter Major Garret obscenely suggested, that Obama should have jeopardized an entire nuclear deal affecting millions by tying it to the fate a few American citizens being detained by Iranian authorities (and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are released in the near future, much like Kennedy quietly and subsequently removed Jupiter nuclear missiles from Turkey as part of a secret caveat helping to end the Cuban Missile Crisis)—is just not grounded in reality, considering especially that Iran already gave a lot of ground.  So don’t let anyone tell you that a significantly better deal for the U.S. at this time could have been reached.  If sanctions were ratcheted up and a significant amount of time went by before resuming negotiations, perhaps Iran would be feeling more pressure, but it would also be much closer to a bomb or might already have one by the time negotiations resumed.  So, that would have been a bad risk to take.  No deal now, and no deal in the future, would have allowed Iran’s already strong nuclear program to continue unhindered, then, and nuclear weapons capability would have been certain in the near future.  No deal, with a nuclear Iran and Middle East with a deteriorating and expanding Sunni-Shiite regional conflict, is not in anyone’s interests, except ISIS and other terrorist groups.  And as Obama himself correctly made clear, “Put simply, no deal means a greater chance of more war in the Middle East.”  The only other realistic alternative to this risky status quo and this agreement, then, is a risky military path, from a single strike up to and including all-out war.  These military options seem to be the ones favored by Saudi Arabia’s new king and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu (one of the largest critics of the deal), who would love to have America fight a war against Iran on their behalf.  Yet even just a limited strike could risk a radicalization of the Iranian regime and to galvanize the people behind Iran’s ayatollahs, who aren’t exactly currently loved by many Iranians for leading their country to diplomatic isolation and economic sanctions.  A lot of people would die in those strikes and their responses, likely including many Israelis.  And an all-out war, with Iran’s mountainous terrain and large population, would make the Iraq war, by comparison, look like child’s play.  And I frankly don’t think Americans are willing to wage a war that could take much longer than our recent war in Iraq and result in far more casualties for Americans, especially when this deal presents a viable alternative to war.  Even with a war, it is very difficult to know that we would be able to eradicate Iran’s nuclear capability, and if Iran was in possession of any nuclear weapons during a war it was fighting on its own territory, if its situation were desperate, that would only increase the chances, not lessen, of the use of nuclear weapons in combat for the first time since Nagasaki in 1945.  If America stopped its efforts short of a full regime change and the eradication of Iran’s nuclear program—very tall tasks, indeed—then the result would a humiliating disaster for America that would leave every party in a worse off situation than before fighting began.  So, no, when this deal is stacked up against realistic alternatives—not Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice fantasy negotiations, but negotiations that would have taken place in the real world—there really is not a better alternative or one with less risk.  And this is the only one of the realistic options that does not involve massive bloodshed that severely limits Iran’s nuclear program and keeps it from developing a bomb for at least a decade and then some.

Perhaps most importantly, we have a chance to begin anew our relationship with Iran.  Recognizing this potential, over 100 former American ambassadors praised the deal.  The United Nations Security Council has already unanimously endorsed the deal, and has also voted to lift sanctions on Iran (the latter provoking complains from the U.S. Congress). This deal enjoys broad global support for good reasons.  I’m not going to mince words at all here: this is, clearly, Obama’s greatest achievement in foreign policy (including the killing of bin-Laden, who relevance had decreased significantly in the years before his death) and possibly even of his entire presidency.  TARP and the stimulus packages were either a joint-effort with the departing Bush Administration and/or with Congress; this, on the other hand, was all Obama and his team.  This may very well be the biggest foreign policy development in over forty years, since Nixon went to China in 1972 and began a path that led to engagement between the two countries that has benefitted both nations in many ways and helped to prevent war between us.  No singe act of a U.S. presidential administration has happened from that 1972 trip until this Iran deal that has so much potential to be a game changer and to change the course of world history so greatly.  This is truly a monumental achievement of great substance that makes many millions of people safer than any of the realistic alternatives; Obama, Kerry, and Rouhani and their negotiating teams should be hailed as heroes.

But all the Republicans do is bash this deal, with incredibly myopic points that do no address any of the points I raised about realistic alternatives being far worse.  The Republican clown-car of potential candidates vying to be their party’s choice to be the leader of the world would, if their words are to be taken seriously, dramatically escalate the likelihood of all-out war and would see current levels of bloodshed all over the Middle East very likely rise should any of them occupied the White House.  From supporting treasonous and un-Constitutional acts to endangering Americans, Israelis, and the world with awful policies and deeds that illogically undermine the very sound policies of the Obama Administration, the Republican Party is not to be trusted, respected, or voted into power because they are just so wrong.

 

The “Magical” Supreme Court, the Constitution and Gerrymandering.

On the subject of our imperiled Democracy, don’t hold your breath hoping we will  get to see many more ‘magic tricks’ from the Supreme Court after  the magical tri-factor of opinions erupting in June 2015.

Supreme Court Decision: Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

While everyone is wild with excitement over the Gay marriage decision, an historic event that delights more than half the Country, and drives the Stupidparty disciples from their caves, into the burning sunlight of public exposure,

The history of Gay marriage or same-sex marriage dates back to 1970s, which then came under the question of civil marriage right and what is the benefit of getting married in the same sex, the lawsuit which was filled became unsuccessful. But it became legalized in the year 2004 by the court of Massachusetts.  To know more about gay marriage click this review

a place where hate will go to fry—and the upholding of Obamacare in a case where the Stupidparty legal team somehow managed to congregate a bunch of self-evident odious mental midgets as plaintiffs—hidden behind all this, another case has been decided, that in terms of trying to actually salvage a defunct Democracy, has larger implications.

In our platform for reform we had established the Six Simple Fixes for US Democracy, see point 2:

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Lets us look at just one example of how Gerrymandering works. Florida is a Blue State yet Stupidparty wins this “Blue state” hands down by securing 17 Congressional seats compared the Democrats who only win 10 seats. The since the Democrats should have at least a one seat edge, how come the Stupidparty walks away with an undeserved 8 additional seats? Well, study how the district below has been cunningly created to corral as many Democratic voters into one district as possible.  Florida—20

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 In 2012 The Democrats won this seat with 88% of the vote. Now let us look how this microcosm morphs out on a large scale.

 How to Condense Democratic votes into one congressional district 

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Justice Ginsburg Deals a Blow to Partisan Gerrymandering

And it is not like we do not now understand what happens if you ban Gerrymandering. California was able to do precisely that, once they ditched the economically disastrous Stupidparty. Since a Democratic governor (Jerry Brown) was installed, with Democrats holding a massive majority in the Assembly and the Senate, we can now see the results of basic critical skills re asserting themselves. The Stupidparty is presently pretty much irrelevant at the local level; it might even be dead, thus allowing for a rebirth of something that used to be referred to as Republicans.

There has been dynamic electoral reform.

1) Lawmakers have been voted in from districts drawn up by a nonpartisan commission. Yea!

2) In the new nonpartisan system, the two top primary finishers run against each other. Yea!!

3) Last year voters eased the stringent term limits that forced out seasoned legislators. Yea!!! or not. What ever.

The New York Times reports (Oct 19, 2013):

In the past month, California has been the stage for a series of celebrations of unlikely legislative success—a parade of bill signings that offered a contrast between the shutdown in Washington and an acrimony-free California Legislature that enacted laws dealing with subjects including school financing, immigration, gun control and abortion . . . The new atmosphere in Sacramento also offers the first evidence that three major changes (listed above) in California’s governance system intended to leach some of the partisanship out of politics—championed by reform advocates—may also be having their desired effect in a state that has long offered itself as the legislative laboratory for the nation.

As The New York Times goes on to report, Stupidparty representatives in more logically drawn up districts have to contend with a less-partisan base. Now such representatives (not having been selected from a partisan primary) have to deal with the realities of an election where the outcome is not preordained; they have to be more responsive to their constituents and be sensitive to the changing demographics. Stupidparty reps have to listen to minorities, immigrants, etc., and they can begin to morph back into Republicans, back into being in touch with humanity.

Republican Rep. Anthony Cannella (for he is no longer Stupidparty) is quoted as saying, “It’s given more courage to my Republican colleagues . . . They were afraid of getting primaries. Now, it’s not just their base they have to appeal to.”

Another Republican: “It gives Republicans the chance to break from their caucus on certain issues . . . It is very different than it was four or five years ago.”

Now that we have set up the context, let’s go back to the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Gerrymandering. The case hinged on the term “Legislature.” Can the term the Legislator mean the “people?”

Here we have a classic case of should the constitution be a living breathing concept or should it literally never evolve. Justice Roberts was chosen for his encyclopedic knowledge of the constitution and for his politically rigid and conservative background that demands adherence to the notion that the constitution must be bubble wrapped in its time warp.

This is odd because the Founding Fathers where hardly Stupidparty – in fact they would loathe what is happening today on the right. The original root of true intent could perhaps best be summed up by Thomas Jefferson:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

So what does “Legislature” mean and what could it mean? Well this is a no brainer for John Roberts:

In his dissent, Roberts accused the majority of performing a “magic trick” with the wording of the Constitution. His dissent begins with an account of Arizona’s passage of the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution, providing for the direct election of US senators. “What chumps!” the chief wrote. “Didn’t they realize that all they had to do was interpret the constitutional term ‘the Legislature’ to mean ‘the people’? The Court today performs just such a magic trick with the Elections Clause.”

But Robert’s dissent was far too polite for Scalia who torches the majority with these words:

“[T]he majority’s resolution of the merits question (‘legislature’ means ‘the people’) is so outrageously wrong, so utterly devoid of textual or historic support, so flatly in contradiction of prior Supreme Court cases, so obviously the willful product of hostility to districting by state legislatures, that I cannot avoid adding my vote to the devastating dissent of the Chief Justice.”

Why would any one be hostile to rigging elections? Anyway their case seems water tight  to me.

Now before proceeding, I have to say that I am rather cynical about the Constitution. It seems to me that it can used as a tool for good and bad, dependent on the opinion (politics) of the individual Justice. You can know nothing about the constitution and yet you will know how Justice’s Scalia, Alito and Thomas will vote on virtually every issue. Two of the Justices seem pretty tight with right wing political organizations to the point that one has to wonder why they do not permanently recluse themselves. Justice Scalia allows religious superstitions to steep into his very being.

Justice Alito of course sided with Justice Thomas and Scalia. But his views on Gerrymandering should never have been a surprise:

Back in 2005 then Congressman Barny Frank had some prescient comments regarding Alito.

“It is also interesting to watch them [the right wing] try to deny the very, very deep conservatism of the nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Alito. They are hiding his views on abortion. Recently, in the Boston Globe, an article by Kenneth Starr and Ronald Cass tried to explain away one of the most astounding examples of his extreme conservatism: his opposition to the basic principle of one man, one vote as articulated by the Warren Court. And given the difficulty of trying to get someone confirmed who has views that extreme, these two advocates tried to explain it away by claiming it was all about gerrymandering and proportional representation.”

Professor Michael Tolley of Northeastern University wrote a very good letter exposing the inaccuracy of this attempted defense of Judge Alito and reaffirming that in fact what was involved in his 1985 statement was an objection to that basic principle of democracy articulated by the Warren Court, that it should be one man, one vote.

“Does Alito believe, like O’Connor, in the principle of “one person, one vote”? Or is he against the use of federal judicial power to remedy discrimination resulting from malapportioned legislative districts? The difference between disagreeing with the extension of the principle “one person, one vote” to issues such as partisan gerrymandering and disagreeing with the principle of “one person, one vote” is the difference between a moderate and someone out of the judicial mainstream.

Alito is a core representative of the Federalist Society. It was the Federalist Society that encouraged George H Bush to stop the ABA (the American Bar Association) from rating judges – thus doing away with notion that Judges should viewed on merit in addition to being philosophically in agreement with the President – this leading to the appointment of two second rate political hacks posing as individuals actually trying to interpret the law – Alito and Thomas.

Federalist Society, is an organization of conservatives and libertarians seeking reform of the current American legal system in accordance with a textualist or originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. It is one of the nation’s most influential legal organizations. It has played a significant role in moving the national debate to the right on the Second Amendment, campaign finance regulation, state sovereignty, and the Commerce Clause. It plays a central role in networking and mentoring young conservative lawyers

As The Huffington Post  reports:

Alito’s class at Princeton was the last all-male class at the university, and when Alito was angling for a promotion within the Reagan-Meese Justice Department in 1985, he bragged that he was a “proud member” of Conservative Alumni of Princeton, a group that aggressively fought the university’s efforts to diversify its student body by accepting more women and people of color. (He developed a surprisingly thorough amnesia on the topic between his Justice Department days and his Supreme Court confirmation hearings.)

At the Justice Department, Alito was part of a team that pushed to limit civil rights protections and advance a right-wing legal ideology. Even in that hothouse of right-wing activism, he was an outlier, unsuccessfully trying to push Ronald Reagan to veto an uncontroversial bill against odometer fraud on the grounds of federalism. Alito argued that it is not the job of the federal government to protect the “health, safety, and welfare” of Americans. He continued to push that kind of federalism argument as a judge, dissenting from a ruling that upheld a federal law restricting the sale of machine guns. On the Third Circuit Court of Appeals he was often the lone dissenter staking out far-right interpretations of the law that consistently sacrificed the rights and interests of individuals to powerful corporate or other institutions.

But suddenly these right wing extremists have zero interest in the Constitution when it comes to promoting business interests over the people.

Knox v. SEIU, (Service Employees International Union) in which Alito led an attack on unions by deciding to answer a question that had not even come before them in the case. In essence, he and the other conservative justices argued that a system that allows workers to opt out of assessments for unions’ political work was suddenly unconstitutional, and required an opt-in. Justice Sotomayor slammed the Alito decision for ruling on an issue which the SEIU had not even been given an opportunity to address. That kind of right-wing activism moved People For the American Way Foundation’s Paul Gordon to write that the Court’s conservative judges “might as well have taken off their judicial robes and donned Scott Walker T-shirts in their zeal to make it harder for unions to protect workers.”

So this justification for heinous rulings, because the Constitution “must be taken literally”, is just stuff – it all goes out the window when push comes to shove. As The American Constitution Society reports:

“Judicial activism” mantra has been inordinately effective in shaping the debate over judicial nominations. It has allowed them to push through deeply conservative nominees [and] changed the course of American jurisprudence from one based on advancing principles of equality and liberty to one centered on protecting wealth and privilege.

So how do Supreme Court Justices get nominated? Why has the Supreme Court trended so? I believe that all critical thinkers accept that money has a corrupting influence in politics.

American Spending on Elections: For the 2012 US election—the parties (basically two parties) spent $6,000,000,000. And every cycle, it just keeps getting worse:Picture

UK V USA Money corrupting politics.Picture

It is worse than indicated because the USA presidential elections occur every four years (not five, as in the UK), plus the USA has critical congressional elections every two years. Midterm congressional elections cost more than 50% of the presidential cycle. So actually it is fairer to say that U.S. elections cost almost $10b, (see below graphics) when they should only cost about $100m—that is, if you wanted a relatively uncorrupt system, or congressmen actually looking after their constituents).

If these trends continue then of course that must mean that any remnants of Democracy get ceded to the Oligarchs – the top 0.01%. I defy you to imagine a more plausible consequence. Some already argue that we are already at that point. I would argue that we have not yet arrived at a “Hunger Games” Scenario but that is the direction we are headed. There are already a growing number of the well to do that are so narcissistic as to resemble the ruling class as comically spoofed on in the “Hunger Games”. 

Accepting money corrupts – this would mean that the US political process is 50 times more corrupt than the UK. In the following graphs the amount of money spent by the UK has been multiplied by a factor of 5 – to accommodate the difference in population

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Thus politicians are in the pocket of the people who contribute to their campaigns –and as these contributions increase, so the best interests of the voters get marginalized. The Asset Strippers, the Beneficiaries, they are taking control. They are the oligarchy in waiting; the democracy we think we see—it is just a miragePicture

With these five guys—­­Big Business must win every time—they are fine with unlimited funds for the Asset Strippers to buy politicians. The Supreme Court justices are not chosen on merit; money chooses the justices. The more money in the political process, the less the newly selected justices will reflect the will of the ever more suppressed and uninformed electorate. Belief in Myth is ignorance, and the ignorant can be easily manipulated. Money will use an outmoded and ever-more-moribund Constitution to further its own agenda and not the agenda of the people. The Constitution had a history of evolving, but that is history now, June 2015 victories not withstanding.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Ritchie, December 25, 1820

“A judiciary independent of a king or executive alone is a good thing; but independence of the will of the nation is a solecism, at least in a republican government.”

Four of the six most conservative justices of the 44 who have sat on the court since 1937 are serving now: Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Alito, Scalia and most conservative of all, Clarence Thomas. (The other two were Chief Justices Burger and Rehnquist.) Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the swing justice on the current court, is in the top 10.

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Therefore one needs to see the dissenter opinion in a new light. Alito’s ideas of Democracy are extreme; Thomas a bitter man with savagely right wing views, only departing from Scalia and Alito on rare occasions where his colleagues are totally racially insensitive. So these three Justices will happily conveniently bury their heads so deep into a document, that would then be destined to turn to dust, having incinerated Democracy itself—if there were not some critical thinkers that still have some remnants of influence and can block such conceit.

The Gerrymandering case hinged on the term “Legislature.” Can the term the Legislator mean the “people” For what is at stake is the continued ability to treat the people with contempt – a contempt that the Supreme Court has earned for itself with the Citizens United decision, the Shelby County v. Holder Voter Suppression ruling, and finally the efforts of the extremists to  secure the tri –factor of contempt for the will of the people  in the Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

As discussed the “Rotten Apples” appeared to be on solid footing, but during oral arguments Justice Elena Kagan raised a very interesting point – that focused on the numerous laws that promote voter suppression (laws that are not required since Voter fraud by the Voter is Mathematically irrelevant). Her question:

“there are “zillions” of laws regarding elections that were passed by voters without the involvement of the legislature, including those requiring photo IDs to vote and allowing voting on machines and voting by mail. “So would all these be unconstitutional as well?”

I would love to know how the Rotten Apple constitutional purists would have tried to address that question. But then Justice Ginsburg steps forward to put the boot into Stupidparty with her majority opinion.

“The people of Arizona turned to the initiative to curb the practice of gerrymandering,” Ginsburg wrote. “In so acting, Arizona voters sought to restore ‘the core principle of republican government,’ namely, ‘that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.’” Ginsburg’s opinion was joined by the three other liberal-leaning justices and Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Ginsburg went on “It would thus be perverse to interpret ‘Legislature’ in the Elections Clause to exclude lawmaking by the people, particularly when such lawmaking is intended to advance the prospect that Members of Congress will in fact be ‘chosen . . . by the People of the several States,’” Ginsburg wrote, having observed that Gerrymandering effectively rigged the elections to keep one party in power.

So you see, it just takes a slight degree of mental agility to allow the Constitution to magically be a force for good –as opposed to being a tool for individuals who are happy to destroy Democracy, by allowing elections to be “rigged” allowing voting to be suppressed and allowing unlimited amounts of Corporate dark money to buy up every politician in congress.

Now that was not so difficult was it? A victory for the people—god forbid. I have already discussed why Alito, Scalia and Thomas really cannot be trusted to use the Constitution as a positive tool. But Roberts – what makes him what he is? He is smart and does not appear to be closed minded. His dissent against Gay marriage did not appear to come from a dark place; it was rational and well meaning –especially within the context of his life experience. But this is where we get to the rub—his life experience. Like actuaries who are mathematically brilliant but usually lacking in basic common sense (because they just cannot depart from their box), Roberts’s knowledge of the Constitution is unquestioned, yet the founding fathers would surely have wanted him to think outside the box. The Founding Fathers believed in evolution, they fully understood than the laws that made sense in 1760, would often times not make sense in future generations. So how can Roberts be so oblivious?

“One must truly wonder, if, in Roberts, we are seeing a textbook example of the myopia, lack of self-awareness, and narrow-mindedness that can result from attending the non-racially-diverse Roman Catholic grade and boarding schools in 1960s and 1970s small-town, rural, overwhelmingly-white Indiana”

After that Harvard, Harvard Law School, then law clerk for Judge Henry Friendly, then Justice Rehnquist, then working in the  Attorney General‘s office during the Reagan Administration.

That appears to be that. He might as well have been born and bred in the Truman Show, his bubble is so complete, so suffocating. What else does he have other than a Catholic devotion to the Constitution. Think you can find anything interesting about him other than his bot like expertise on the Constitution? Trying to find anything interesting about Roberts outside of his singular expertise was problematic. This linked article pops up if you google him—“Here are 10 things you did not know about Justice Roberts.” Check it out or just trust me—nothing noteworthy at all; perhaps the Journalist was just incompetent. Wikipedia?  Nothing. Other sites, nothing, nothing, nothing. No apparent real life experiences to influence, shape or deepen his world view. So everything must remain two dimensional, no ‘magic tricks’ will ever inspire his opinions. If someone could invent the Manchurian candidate destined to ensure that the Constitution stagnate then, John Roberts is that man. He is at least a Dad, so perhaps he might become more vested in the survival of our species – a survival threatened by Stupidparty.

But today we can celebrate.  We can take a moment from the doom and gloom that Stupidparty inflicts upon critical thinkers every day of the week, to feel that yes, there is yet life lurking at the core of the Country.

In the most recent midterm elections the Stupidparty has managed to increase their majority in Congress notwithstanding the fact that they lost the popular vote by at least 1,000,000. This was done by Gerrymandering which has also allowed them to control more Statehouses, that in turn would lead to more gerrymandering in an ever expanding vicious circle of cheating, because cheating, lying and bullshitting is all that they have to offer. This Supreme Court decision can reverse those trends.

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But these are dark and stormy days and there is a final double plot twist at the end of this tale. The dead villain, is it really dead? Did the heroes really just turn their backs on the corpse, without double checking the pulse? Remember that Justice Elena Kagan question about those insidious voter suppression laws – well one unintentional consequence of this Supreme Court decision, is to make those laws constitutional.

Tragic right? No, hardly – because as already discussed, the “Rotten Apples” (except Roberts) only pretend to be puritans when it suits them. So if this Gerrymandering Court decision had gone the other way – you can bet your bottom dollar that the Supreme Court would either not  take such a voter suppression case, and even if they did, they would have found a way to make those voter suppression laws Constitutional even though they were determined by the people and not by the “legislature”

So much for the complexity of the Constitution, which apparently requires magic, to remain relevant.

Historical Revisionism: Republican Civil War Delusions

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Math debunks Myth again. Here we address the question of how much of the Civil War was driven by the the issue of slavery. We calculate that issues not connected to Slavery took up a mere 15% of the conversation. As Jason Newell will explain the “not associated with slavery” portion at 15% is actually being rather

You know what? It’s time to put “the Civil War wasn’t about slavery” bullshit to rest.

The civil war would have almost destroyed the United States of America.  In this conflict, 630000 soldiers were killed within four years of war. At the end of the war, the total population came down to 35 million. The war was fought for the property rights. the property in question of four million slaves of the south. To know more about civil war click Suggested Web page.

kind.

By Jason Newell

You know what? It’s time to put “the Civil War wasn’t about slavery” bullshit to rest.

In recent weeks, I have come across incredibly uninformed statements regarding American History on social media (a possible consequence of public school curriculum not thoroughly explaining, or even disregarding, important aspects of African-America history)—in particular, the argument centered on the institution of slavery not being the primary catalyst of the Civil War. And while I commend certain media outlets in their attempt to dispel this false notion, their analyses have fallen upon deaf ears. That is why I find it necessary to topple this myth—and I will do so with a methodical approach. The most referenced historical events related to the Civil War, or not related for that matter, will be categorized in three ways:

1) Associated with slavery.

2) Not associated with slavery.

3) Likely associated with slavery (included as a consequence of some causes, or events, being on the fence).

For example, let’s say the event was the Dred Scott decision—it would be listed as “Dred Scott decision (associated with slavery),” along with an explanation as to why it’s related. It’s really that simple! So, let’s topple the Stupidparty myth of slavery not being the primary cause of the Civil War. Here are the causes that I have determined to be associated with slavery (in a list format, but not in chronological order):

Associated with slavery.

1) The Institution of Slavery

Self-explanatory.

2) The Dred Scott Decision (associated with slavery)

The Supreme Court’s holding that a slave was considered the property of his master.

3) The Abolitionist Movement (associated with slavery)

The movement’s primary goal was to dismantle slavery.

4) The Harriet Beecher novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (associated with slavery)

Written in order to reveal the harsh realities of slave life.

5) The Underground Railroad (associated with slavery)

A network of routes for African-American slaves to escape slavery. What was the response of angry slave owners? To pass the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

6) The Missouri Compromise (associated with slavery)

Everyone that has gone to grade school knows about this one. It was designed to ban the expansion of slavery north of the 36°30′ parallel—it was repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

7) John Brown (associated with slavery)

The abolitionist who attacked Harper’s Ferry in order to liberate slaves—he was inspired by the immoral system of slavery.

8) Raid on Harper’s Ferry (associated with slavery)

See #7 above.

9) Election of Lincoln (associated with slavery)

Lincoln, in a speech delivered in 1859, said the following about slavery:

I think Slavery is wrong, morally, and politically. I desire that it should be no further spread in these United States, and I should not object if it should gradually terminate in the whole Union.”

10) Southern Secession (associated with slavery)

First of all, look at this excerpt from Missouri’s declaration of secession:

“Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth”

And check out this gem from Texas’s declaration of secession:

“ [The North] Proclaiming the debasing doctrine of the equality of all men, irrespective of race or color – a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of the Divine Law”

These are but two examples of Confederate State’s citing slavery as a justification to secede from the Union. By the way, I don’tPicture see much about “tariffs” in these formal declarations.

11) Fort Sumter (associated with slavery)

After South Carolina seceded, it attacked Fort Sumter (a U.S. Army post). The South was the first to attack, the North did not take any offensive measures until several days later—the war would be more aptly named if it was called the “The War of Southern Aggression.”

12) Constitutional question of slavery/Three-Fifths Compromise (associated with slavery)

Slavery was ingrained in the formation of U.S. Constitution: for one, pro-slavery Founders wanted African-Americans to be counted for political representation—therefore, they were given three-fifths the representation of an American citizen. This was done to increase Southern representation in Congress, even though African-Americans couldn’t vote.

Moreover, due to pressure from pro-slavery Founders, the abolition of slavery could not be implemented by Congress until 1808—talk about kicking the can down the road.

13) Economic envy between the North and South (associated with slavery)

While the North was in fact industrialized, free labor in the South created Northern resentment. You see, the North actually had to pay their “agricultural employees.”

14) Social reformation (associated with slavery)

The Women’s Movement, with inspiration from the Bible, started to view the system of slavery as immoral.

15) Nat Turner’s Rebellion (associated with slavery)

A slave rebellion that resulted in the Southern States placing further restrictions on African Americans, such as prohibiting education for free African-Americans.

16) Gag Rule (associated with slavery)

Pro-slavery congressmen passed gag rules to table all anti-slavery petitions.

17) Amistad Slave Ship (associated with slavery)

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of slaves illegally brought to the US—slaves, at this time, were no longer allowed to be imported.

18) Annexation of Texas (associated with slavery)

Texas was admitted to the Union as a slave state.

19) Popular Sovereignty Slavery (associated with slavery)

Lewis Cass wanted territories to have the ability to decide whether or not to permit slavery—Congress had typically outlawed slavery in the territories. 

20) California bans slavery (associated with slavery)

California’s State Constitution makes slavery illegal.  It’s admittance into the Union was perceived by Southerners as changing the balance of power between free and slave states.

21) Compromise of 1850 (associated with slavery)

Large concessions were made on the slavery issue: California was admitted as a free state; the Utah and New Mexico territories could determine whether or not to implement slavery; slavery was abolished in Washington D.C.; and it simplified the process for slave masters to recover slaves.

22) Fugitive Slave Act (associated with slavery)

This act required escaped slaves to be returned to their masters. Northerners believed it was a “slave power conspiracy” used to increase Southern representation.

23) Kansas-Nebraska Act (associated with slavery) 

This act created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska and allowed inhabitants of these territories to choose whether or not slavery would be instituted.

24) Bleeding Kansas (associated with slavery) 

The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act led to violent confrontations in Kansas between abolitionists and proponents of slavery—these confrontations greatly inflamed tensions between the North and South

25) Eli Whitney Cotton Gin (associated with slavery)

This invention incentivized the continuation and eventually expansion of slavery.

26) States vs. Federal rights (associated with slavery)

I guess, in some warped, abstract way, you could look at the Civil War as being a states’ rights issue. However, the Southern States were appealing to the argument of states’ rights in order to perpetuate the existence of an immoral economic system. The inclusion of the states’ rights argument is nothing more than a ploy—utilized by Stupidparty disciples—to cloak the primary cause of the Civil War, slavery.

______________________________________________________________________________

Ok, now onto the causes supposedly “not associated with slavery”:

27) Tariffs (not associated with slavery)

Sociologist James W. Loewen thoroughly refutes the tariff claim:

“[The Tariff Thesis is] flatly wrong. High tariffs had prompted the Nullification Crisis in 1831-33, when, after South Carolina demanded the right to nullify federal laws or secede in protest, President Andrew Jackson threatened force. No state joined the movement, and South Carolina backed down. Tariffs were not an issue in 1860, and Southern states said nothing about them. Why would they? Southerners had written the tariff of 1857, under which the nation was functioning. Its rates were lower than at any point since 1816.”

It can be seen that there was no incentive for Southern States to secede due to tariff issues, as the South successfully wrote the tariff of 1857—and, as mentioned earlier, Southern States didn’t include the tariff argument in their declarations of secession.

28) Nullification Crisis (not associated with slavery)

South Carolina, in response to the economically disadvantaging Tariff of 1832, threatened nullification, which is a state’s refusal to accept federal law. The confrontation was eventually quelled with the passage of the Tariff of 1833 as it agreed to remove the Tariff of 1832 within 10 years.

29) Industrial Revolution (not associated with slavery)

The discovery of steam power, the advancement of machines, and improvements in logistics and transportation revolutionized the global economy—these advancements, for the most part, benefited the manufacturing sector. Slavery wasn’t the driving force behind industrial development.

30) Manifest Destiny (not associated with slavery) 

Western Expansion was justified with the philosophy of Manifest Destiny. In essence, God, through divine command, sanctioned Western Expansion—the move West, according to its adherents, would create a “sea to shining sea” empire, and thus, fulfill God’s demands.

31) Mexican American War (not associated with slavery) 

Inspired by Manifest Density, President James Polk supported a conflict with Mexico in order to obtain new territory. After Mexico’s surrender, the United States received large chunks of what was previously Mexican territory.

______________________________________________________________________________

Causes on the fence (referred to as “likely associated with slavery”):

32) Election of Democrats & Whigs (likely associated with slavery)

While the election of these two political parties didn’t solely revolve around the slavery issue. Southern Democrats campaigned for slavery, while the conscience Whigs campaigned against it. The subject matter of candidates for office presumably related to the issue of slavery.

33) Lincoln-Douglas Debate (likely associated with slavery)

The debates between the two candidates involved political topics apart from slavery, so they weren’t only about slavery. But, the slavery issue did come up in all seven debates between the two candidates.

______________________________________________________________________________

My, oh, my, it feels so good to refute Stupidparty arguments regarding the primary causes of the Civil War being “tariffs” and “space aliens.” Just for fun, I made a visual representation of the three categories (by percentage):

Picture

(*The “not associated with slavery” section would be even smaller if I decided to remove tariffs from the category—but I’m simply being nice.)

Filmmaker, Ken Burns, who produced the PBS television series The Civil War—a man with extensive knowledge on the causes behind the Civil Warsaid the following about bogus arguments related to the Civil War: “If you read South Carolina’s Articles of Secession in November after Lincoln’s election of 1860, they don’t mention states’ rights, they don’t mention nullification, they mention slavery over and over again.” Touché Ken, touché.

I must admit, it’s quite a chore to tell conservative revisionist that they can’t abide by their own set of “facts”—facts that were likely derived from Fox News or Breitbart. Who knows, conservatives, especially from the South, may concoct these historical myths in order to cope with the loss of the Civil War; or, maybe, it’s a way for conservatives to conveniently bypass the existence of institutional and structural racism in the United States. Whatever the reason, denying the facts is the definition of insanity. Disappointingly, when conservatives are confronted with facts that dismantle their fallacious arguments, they resort to—especially on social media—mindless, automatistic responses, such as typing in all caps and slinging homosexual slurs.

Confederate and Stupidparty denialism is a truly disturbing trend: advocates for the “Confederate Flag not being a racist symbol” nonsense truly highlights their abnormally elevated level of delusion. Incidentally, while I understand that symbols can evolve over time, or may become altered in a Foucauldian fashion (changing the meaning of symbol can help people heal, e.g., a persecuted group adopting a racial epithet to positively transform its definition)—contemporary defenders of the Confederate Flag aren’t ailing from historical trauma.  My question is, why do Southerners, white Southerners to be more specific, believe that they’re victims? Did they forget about the actions of their immoral ancestors?  The negative externalities of slavery are still being felt by African-Americans.

It must be said that the Confederate and Stupidparty attempt to both distort American history and alter the meaning of a racist symbol is a slap in the face to the African-American community, whose ancestors were brutally enslaved in order to uphold an immoral economic system. Maybe, just maybe, race relations will improve once these denialists begin accepting historical realities—telling the truth would be a good start.

Obamacare Survives. Why?

PictureBack In February, this news site explained exactly what would happen and why. It is also no great surprise that three of the justices are so bitter and out of touch that they could not recognize hate and incompetence—even when it smacks them in the face with a two-by-four. You would think that if you were looking to destroy Obamacare that the highly paid legal team of the American Enterprise Institute could find just four plaintiffs that were actually harmed in some way by the law.

Now the question arises what is ObamaCare, it is the patient protection act came into effect from 2010. It not only covers the health insurance but it is more than that what American thinks. To take the advantage of ObamaCare one can enroll for this health care exchange from 1st November 2018 and the last date of enrolment is 15th December 2018. The most interesting part of this act is you have to have the health insurance for at least up to nine months. The critics of President Obama created this to reform the health care sector and named it.

If you already have a health insurance it must provide all the ten health benefits and the insurance company can’t ignore the pre-existing health coverage.  Even the parents can include their kids in this plan. For the people who can not effort to buy health insurance, the Medicaid was extended for them. Not all the states had this privilege of extended Medicaid even after federal government subsidies. People with too much Medicaid will receive a tax credit, as the poverty level increases every year to keep p with the inflation. The five factors which determine the cost of Obamacare are age, where you live, which plan you choose, family size. To learn more about ObamaCare click Crypto CFD Trader System.

But no, that was a task beyond those fat cats. As the country hurls towards an oligarchy, with the full backing of the Supreme Court – the only thing that might cause this march towards oblivion, is the sheer overwhelming stupidity of the vehicle being used to crash down the gates of democracy – The Stupidparty. We just hope the voters can figure this out in time, before it is too late.

Welcome to a new way to promote facts to the American people in order to inoculate us all from all the deadly myths that threaten us all.

Now please read on…for the full story.

Stupidparty Myth #1—USA has the best healthcare system; thus, why reform?

Stupidparty Healthcare Expertise.

“Shortly before the Missouri primary, Santorum—arguing against Barack Obama’s healthcare law—made some rather startling claims about the medical system in the Netherlands, claiming that 1 in 20 deaths in the country were caused by forced euthanasia, and that elderly Dutch wear bracelets that say ‘do not euthanize me’ and ‘don’t go to the hospital, they go to another country, because they’re afraid because of budget purposes that they will not come out of that hospital if they go into it with sickness.’

The euthanasia act came into existence in the year 2002 in the Netherlands. It is an assisted suicide and not a punishment. the physical assists to patents request to end life depending on his or her health conditions and consultation with another physician . to know more about Euthanasia Act click on the link Crypto Code software

“When asked by a Dutch reporter where the candidate had gotten these alarming facts, a campaign spokeswoman would only say, ‘It’s a matter of what’s in his heart.’”http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/04/10/our_favorite_rick_santorum_moments

Are you ready for the Facts? Can you handle the Truth? Time to swallow the blue pill

Are you ready, hey, are you ready for this?
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat?
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I’m gonna get you, too
Another one bites the dust

Stupidparty Myth #1—USA has the best healthcare system; thus, why reform?

This is what Stupidparty does not want to reform—USA #46 out of #48:

Picture

http://www.bloomberg.com/visual-data/best-an-worst/most-efficient-health-care-countries  *since crafting this Graphic – Bloomberg has posted updated info, putting the USA at #46. This slight improvement likely due to increasing impact of Obamacare.

As you can see, not only is the system lousy; it is far more expensive—with the only exception being Switzerland, which comes in at #9. In terms of percentage of GDP, the USA is in a class of its own.

Picture

                                                 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/29/most-efficient-healthcare_n_3825477.html  Picture
 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a1/International_Comparison_-_Healthcare_spending_as_%25_GDP.png

There are several key problems with the U.S. healthcare system, one being that even though 49.9m Americans (in 2010) did not have coverage, the rest of us still pay about 50% more than we should.  Absent reform (i.e., Stupidparty plan), the number of Americans without insurance was projected to grow to 67m by 2020 as premiums doubled. This number a) assumes that Stupidparty states stop their attacks on public workers (i.e., no more Stupidparty) and b) does not factor in the ever-decreasing coverage actually provided by most employer-sponsored plans. http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/27/politics/btn-health-care/index.html

Stupidparty states relative to Blue States in % uninsured.

Picture

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_insurance_coverage_in_the_United_States#Estimates_of_the_number_uninsured

 The rest of us still pay about 50% more for healthcare than we should.

 So how did the U.S. end up being 50% more expensive than necessary—in addition to ignoring the needs of the people who cannot afford such usurious pricing? It is all in the History and the Myth.

The History.

Winning the Second World War opened up a Pandora’s box for the Allies. Europe went broke fighting the Nazis, and the biggest concern was social unrest, leading to more and more countries falling under the spine-tingling shadow of Stalin. The American economy was in better shape, having benefitted from Keynesian medicine during a deflationary environment—i.e., the investment in the war effort, on top of the New Deal, put America ahead, and Americans were willing to provide loans (the Marshall Plan) to Europe (debt for Europe) to help mitigate unrest.

Churchill dreaded the implication of millions of people who had put their lives on the line coming home to no jobs, no hope. Stupidparty philosophy would say people without jobs should starve (even veterans), but Churchill had never heard of Stupidparty and was in fact destined to die about thirty years before its birth. So he had another idea. Winston Churchill, a Conservative icon in the USA and Britain, initiated what is now called the welfare state. This included the national health system. The prime motivation was simply to help people who needed help get people back on their feet, and create social stability.

The birth of healthcare in the USA was somewhat different. Its birth has been captured on audiotape. You can hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmHTte8jRLk. When policy advisers introduced the concept to President Richard Nixon, he was initially aghast. But when it was explained that insurance would provide the coverage and that plenty of profits could be made, well, he was immediately on board.

The USA started on a more suspect foundation, but how does it remain so far behind the other developed nations? Because of various

The Myths.

Myth #1.Picture

The USA is the best. See charts above.

Myth #2 Obamacare.

Actually, it is the Affordable Care Act—built on old GOP philosophy and enacted by Romney as governor of Massachusetts, the state that now has the lowest number of uninsured and ranks at the top or near the top in various categories of health, as will be illustrated.

Myth #3 Europeans have to pay higher Taxes.

Even when the U.S. mainstream media attempts to do objective analysis, they fall into this trap. When Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN did his earnest and heartfelt analysis comparing the USA to other countries, all his efforts came crumbling down—because he said Europeans pay more taxes, a point you can only make if you put it into perspective. This tax argument implies that Americans are getting healthcare free (since it is often part of a person’s benefit package). At the end of the day, an American is paying 50% more—so calling the European system a tax is just playing with words. If an American company were not responsible for your healthcare and the associated administrative costs, these fees (taxes), that they would no longer have to pay could simply go back into the employee’s paycheck.

Myth #4 Obamacare is a government takeover.

No, it is not.

Myth #5 The public option is a government takeover.

Since the Stupidparty failed to change the title in an Orwellian fashion, to the “public death panel option” (as they tried to!!!!!! with the Affordable Care Act), it is really a mystery how Stupidparty Disciples can get so confused. Well, maybe not such a mystery when one considers the massive amount of misinformation put out by lobbyists, Stupidparty reps, and their Benefactors.

The public option is in fact remarkably simple. You would merely have the option of buying insurance from the government. Nobody is forcing you to opt out of your current plans. The Stupidparty feared the public option because they realized that mathematical logic would over time drive consumers eagerly to reevaluating the single-payer approach (an approach that could still allow people to buy healthcare from the private market). The reform we ended up with, while vital, is far less satisfactory and far more complex—all in order to keep Benefactors well fed. Math was mainly overpowered by Myth.

Sometimes I hear businessmen complaining about Obamacare. But unless they advocated for the public option or the single payer, these businessmen deserve no sympathy, this is their fault. However Business should not be forced to do this task. It is a tremendous waste of their resources.

So why is the U.S. system so inefficient?

  • Insurance companies can only pay out about $65 for every $100 in premium.
  • Individual insurance companies have less clout to bring down costs of medicine and medical care.
  • Doctors’ offices employ an array of people and systems to figure out coverage and co-insurance issues, chase down the disputes, the nonpayers, liaising with multiple insurance companies, each with its own rules, etc.
  • Hospitals likewise devote massive resources to coverage issues, disputes and chasing nonpayers, and dealing with people with no resources.
  • Because so many people do not have coverage, they cannot get preventive measures; thus, by the time they’re up in the emergency room, their condition is more severe, making more it difficult to get back to work, to look after kids or other family members or save their own business.
  • The U.S. health system has another major drawback, which hurts not only people without coverage but also those with coverage or those who may be owed money by others……

Bankruptcy—barely an issue in Europe. As many as 62% of bankruptcies were caused by medical costs, according to a Harvard study. Close to three out of four health-cost related bankruptcies are filed by people who had insurance—just not good enough insurance enough to cover the high costs of modern medical care. “I may see a $100,000 bill covered by insurance—but it comes with a $20,000 co-pay,” Rose said. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/documents/american_journal_of_medicine_09.pdf

Myth #6.

Bankruptcy no big deal, only 1% a year.

Actually, 1% is a big deal when you put this number in its proper perspective, Assume someone has a working career of thirty-five years; this would mean that person has a 35% chance of going bankrupt. Are you happy with those odds?

Myth #? (no number, as it is not an obvious myth): cancer-survivor rates.

So now Stupidparty Disciples fall back onto one rather dubious argument, that U.S. cancer-survival rates are better. But this is highly dubious.

While it appears that U.S. rates are generally better than in Europe (only if you are insured), Dr. Otis Brawley, the chief medical officer and executive vice president at the American Cancer Society (in commenting on a paper written by Tomas Philipson, of the University of Chicago, with others), said that it “has a huge fatal flaw in it. . . . When you look at survival from time of diagnosis to time of death and you have a screened population that has a lot of diagnoses, you’re filling that population with people who don’t need treatment and because they are over-diagnosed, they have very long survival,” he added. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/04/09/cancer-care-costs-higher-in-us-than-europe-but-survival-longer

But even with that caution in mind, survival rates in Canada, Japan, Australia, and Cuba were all comparable to or higher than U.S. rates on all types of cancer except for prostate. The prostrate-cancer exception is also likely due to aggressive screening picking up cases that actually never need to be treated (and unnecessary treatment comes with its own problems)—thus, one is not comparing apples to apples.

Dr. Marie Diener-West, a professor of biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, told us that it would be a stretch to draw too many conclusions from comparing survival rates. “Part of the problem with the comparison is that it might not actually be comparable populations,” she said. “It could be [one is] an older population, it could be they have more comorbidities [other conditions] that are affecting their survival in addition to cancer, there could be occupational differences. There are many different factors that could be playing a role.”http://www.factcheck.org/2009/08/cancer-rates-and-unjustified-conclusions/

How does one explain such massive levels of confusion? The Stupidparty strategically just wants to destroy Obama. They do not really care how. The method is misrepresentation; the driving force is the money from the Benefactors, and the conduits are Fox “news,” non-sport talk radio (what many people refer to as hate radio), and paid-off congressmen. All of this will be properly illustrated in later chapters.

Personally, and outside of satellite radio and NPR, I have yet to come across, on a regular basis, any talk radio that actually benignly cultivates the mind. From my experience, it invariably cultivates fear, zero objectivity, questionable information—creating fertile ground for increased fundamentalism and bigotry. Because of this, I rarely listen to terrestrial talk radio anymore. This may explain why there will no chapter devoted to the characters that dominate that media.

Curtain Call. – -Oh alright, just one more time:

Are you ready, hey, are you ready for this?
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat?
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I’m gonna get you, too
Another one bites the dust

Bernard “Bernie” Sanders: The Political Foresight Champion

“[After Clinton’s introduction] Introducing second, from the progressive corner, weighing 200 pounds—he hails from Brooklyn, New York, and was rated, by many, as the best vote-for-vote politician in Washington, with one no-vote on Iraq, a prediction of the Great Recession 10 years before it occurred, and a 100% approval rating from the Human Rights Campaign, the former Mayor of Burlington, Member of the House, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, and current United States Senator from Vermont, Bernie ‘I Support the Middle Class’ Saaaannnnnddderrrrrrrrrrrs!” Picture

Bernie Sanders has just stepped into the boxing match known as the Democratic primary— bouncing up and down, punching his gloves together, with his head held high. Bernie is ready for a knock-down, drag-out fight against the establishment. Waiting in the other corner is a political titan, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hillary has done it all: she was First Lady, served as Governor of New York, ran for the Democratic nomination in 2008, and most recently, was handpicked by Barack Obama to serve as the Secretary of State. And moreover, Hillary’s political positions aren’t that far off from what Bernie is propagating. However, there lies one key difference: Bernie’s political foresight makes Nostradamus look like a Medieval street prophet.

How so? Bernie has the upper hand on Hillary with regard to three specific issues: the War in Iraq, the financial crisis, and pro-LGBT positions. Let’s start with the War in Iraq, a conflict that Bernie opposed from the outset.

“I am concerned about the problems of so-called unintended consequences. Who will govern Iraq when Saddam Hussein is removed and what role will the U.S. play in ensuing a civil war that could develop in that country?”

Bernie didn’t authorize the Bush Administration to conduct operations in Iraq. Instead of pandering to the financial elite by supporting false pretexts for war, conjured up by Saruman Cheney (an incredibly nerdy LOTR reference, I know), Bernie had the mental wherewithal to comprehend the difficulties of controlling a post-invasion Iraq, whereby he predicted the creation of a power vacuum that would foster an environment of extremism.

Years later, Iraq has become a breeding ground for radical jihadists seeking to construct a Muslim caliphate. Thanks to George “Dumbya” Bush, and his pro-defense inner circle, the Middle East has reached a dangerous crossroads, one between moderate Muslims, and those who seek to distort the Koran to fit their morally backwards religious objectives, such as, oh, you know, banning the breeding of pigeons, as they fly over head and expose their genitals to unsuspecting civilians. Apparently, Middle Eastern pigeons are as well-endowed as Ron Jeremy, or, breeders supplement their diets with Cialis…

But back to my point, Bernie’s astute argument also sheds light on America’s future role in post-invasion Iraq—the underlying inferences being: 1) how long will conflict last, 2) the level of engagement required, and 3) the role to which the US will play in dictating domestic Iraqi affairs. Factors the Bush Administration, Republicans, and duped Democrats refused or naively disregarded. Bernie’s cautious calculations and tamed foreign policy objectives demonstrate his lucid political foresight.

The democratic socialist, from the great state of Ben and Jerry’s, also predicted the 2008 Financial Crisis in a Congressional hearing on financial bailouts, ten years before the financial collapse.

The financial crisis of 2008 is also known as the global financial crisis. It is considered as one of the worst financial crisis after 1930. The global economy is still recovering from its impact. It is said that banks are responsible for these worst financial condition, as it created too much money to push the housing prices. To know more about financial crisis click Bitcoin Trader software

In sum, Bernie Sanders calls out trickle-down economics, wealth inequality, hedging, Federal Reserve bailouts, economic cronyism, and has hinted at these policies culminating in an unsustainable system that would contribute to financial turmoil. Bear in mind, the economy at the tail-end of the previous century was booming, so Bernie’s statement may have fallen upon deaf ears. Nonetheless, Bernie’s refusal to mollycoddle the financial elite was a political standpoint that has become mainstream ever since the financial collapse. And while one can’t tie Hillary to these policies—as she was the First Lady at the time—her husband, with the benefit of hindsight, was perhaps a bit too comfortable with the now faded icon, Alan Greenspan, who created an economic paradigm that justified massive wealth accumulation by financial giants, shady derivatives schemes, and white collar gambling on Wall Street. The untouchable Greenspan Ayn Randian unfettered capitalism dream that was fated once again to lead to economic Armageddon. Once again, Bernie’s political foresight brings credibility to his consistent moral convictions.

I will concede, hPictureowever, that a few individuals on the Right, like Ron Paul, predicted the financial meltdown, but Paul’s solutions to the problem would have exacerbated the crisis. For one, Paul has consistently advocated for the radical roll back of the government regulatory scheme, but what he fails to realize is that deregulation and a lack of oversight were a couple of the primary factors behind the economic collapse. To be more specific, certain regulations were weakly enforced and sufficient safeguards were not instituted, despite warnings signs of an impending financial collapse starting in 2007. So, while Ron Paul’s prediction is accurate, his economic proposals, assuming they had been adopted, would have only deepened the crisis,

PictureIncidentally, Bernie, in 1979, wrote about the potential issues associated with the privatization of television networks. One excerpt that stands out is his reference to the TV industry’s objective—due to it being mostly owned by private corporations—of intentionally stupefying American television viewers in order to drive advertising profits. Essentially, according to Bernie, television content that lacked intellectual subject matter would become commonplace: a prediction that has panned out. I mean, have you watched Fox News lately? Viewers of this jingoistic propaganda machine are less informed than individuals who don’t watch news at all. Bernie’s prognosticating is surely eerie, especially when one considers that  90% of the American media is owned by 6 corporations.

In my opinion, Bernie’s unwavering backing of LGBT rights draws another distinction between the two Democratic frontrunners. Remember, Hillary Clinton, in the 2008 Democratic Primary, ran on an anti-gay marriage platform; a possible consequence of public sentiment regarding same-sex marriage not hovering at, or over 50%–a position made out of political convenience, rather than doing what’s right. My criticism isn’t only confined to Hillary Clinton: Barack Obama played the same “my opinion evolved” card, acting as if they never favored same-sex marriage in the first place. And while a presidential candidate’s opinions typically reflect party preferences, Democrats, as a coalition, have supported same-sex marriage by a majority for years—so why the wait?

On the other hand, Bernie Sanders was in favor of same-sex marriage when it was largely unpopular: he voted against numerous anti-gay marriage measures and received a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign—he never had to “evolve” his opinion. Bernie unquestionably recognized marriage as a right which should be granted to all American citizens, regardless of sexual orientation. Public opinion is peripheral to Bernie’s support of human rights: understanding the immorality of legally suppressive measures, even if supported by a majority, is key to becoming a morally upstanding leader. Bernie’s acceptance of same-sex marriage is, to some degree, analogous to Civil Rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, as they were able to differentiate between just and unjust laws regardless of restrictive social mores.

Political foresight is a skill limited to a few intuitive politicians—Bernie being one of them. His entrance into the race, whether or not he dethrones Clinton, forces Clinton to accept more left-leaning positions, especially in regards to foreign policy, financial markets, and civil rights. Moreover, Clinton substantially benefits from a strong primary challenge, as it prepares her for the grueling and hyper-scrutinized general election. Thankfully, the Democratic nominee will be running against circus clowns, who tend to have the mental capacity of domestic Turkeys—an animal known to get frightened and, in a state of panic, continuously run into a corner until a Turkey mountain is created, which suffocates those stuck on the bottom.

In the end, Bernie’s heightened political foresight and adherence to moral convictions can set the standard for what Americans expect from their elected leaders: an ability to think critically, and a strong, “stable,” moral character.

How Not to Fight Terrorism or Gun Violence: See the Republican Party

In this extremely powerful piece Brian discusses issues that also drive me crazy. To watch a genuine statesman like President Obama constantly stymied by a nation who does not come close to measuring up to his abilities—is like watching a Greek tragedy unfold. He is way too constrained, as he must be, to really explain how absurd society has become. The issues are prioritized just defies belief. One would have thought that after the 9/11 attacks that th2353366.jpge US would spend more than a nano second in introspection. But no, even though the world really wanted to join with America in it’s grief, the Country was doomed to double down in Stupid. Since being elected Obama has had to operate against an opposition that has become totally dependent on its Stupidparty bigot base. America has an infantile Gun culture, we all know this, yet we are all held hostage by the NRA, a thoroughly insidious organisation that should exiled—them and Fox etc, how else do people get so much false information, so much hatred—and unlike Brian I was horrified by the actions of the Boston police as the events reached their climax…. to be continued as postscript to this excellent piece of reporting:

How Not to Fight Terrorism or Gun Violence: See the Republican Party

Gun violence in the USA is the major area of concern for the government; it results in thousands of deaths in the country. 2013 alone has seen 73505 firearm injuries and 33636 deaths.  These deaths happened because of homicide, suicide and negligent use of firearms.  To know read more about gun violence click Crypto VIP Club review

By Brian E. Frydenborg (LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter @bfry1981) June 20th, 2015

I wrote, but never published, the below piece in the weeks after the Tsarnaev brothers carried out their horrific lone wolf terrorist attack on the city of Boston at the finish-line for the Boston Marathon on April 15th, 2013.  The points I raised then are just as relevant now.  When President Obama addressed the nation on the recent white-supremacist terrorist Charleston shooting, it was a sobering, depressing moment.  His tone, his body language, screamed defeat and resignation, resignation that anything could or would be done in response to this act of terror.  The contrast between this Obama and the Obama who took office—who was full of hope and enthusiasm and belief in the American people and system—was crushing to see.  I have hardly seen all of Obama’s press conferences, but this was the most dejected I had ever seen him.  There was an undercurrent of anger in him too, but more than anything, Obama conveyed a sense of hopeless frustration in that press conference:

Tintinb622Until the investigation is complete, I’m necessarily constrained in terms of talking about the details of the case.  But I don’t need to be constrained about the emotions that tragedies like this raise. I’ve had to make statements like this too many times.  Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many time.  We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that once again innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.  Now is the time for mourning and healing, but let’s be clear: at some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.  It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.  And it is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. And at some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.

At some point, but not now, and not during my presidency, because I am powerless as things stand now to do anything about this,” Obama seemed to silently be thinking.  This was before Obama’s big week at the Supreme Court, and his singing of Amazing Grace and his eulogy in Charleston.

Comedian Jon Stewart—ironically, and, over his long career as host of The Daily Show, hardly for the first time—outdid the president  in deliveing an even more searing, relevant, and necessary message on the Charleston shooting.  The day of the shooting, Stewart chose to forego comedy completely and to deliver an impassioned monologue about our inability to confront either racial issues or domestic gun violence, and our superability to freak out about foreign people killing Americans but to just nihilistically shrug away the far more frequent violence of Americans killing other Americans:

I honestly have nothing other than just sadness once again that we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other and the nexus of a just gaping racial wound that will not heal, yet we pretend doesn’t exist. And I’m confident, though, that by acknowledging it, by staring into that and seeing it for what it is, we still won’t do jack shit. Yeah. That’s us.

And that’s the part that blows my mind. I don’t want to get into the political argument of the guns and things. But what blows my mind is the disparity of response between when we think people that are foreign are going to kill us, and us killing ourselves.

If this had been what we thought was Islamic terrorism, it would fit into our — we invaded two countries and spent trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives and now fly unmanned death machines over five or six different countries, all to keep Americans safe. We got to do whatever we can. We’ll torture people. We gotta do whatever we can to keep Americans safe.

Nine people shot in a church. What about that? “Hey, what are you gonna do? Crazy is as crazy is, right?” That’s the part that I cannot, for the life of me, wrap my head around, and you know it. You know that it’s going to go down the same path. “This is a terrible tragedy.” They’re already using the nuanced language of lack of effort for this. This is a terrorist attack. This is a violent attack on the Emanuel Church in South Carolina, which is a symbol for the black community. It has stood in that part of Charleston for 100 and some years and has been attacked viciously many times, as many black churches have.

He concludes his monologue by noting that “We’re bringing it on ourselves. And that’s the thing—al Qaeda, ISIS, they’re not shit compared to the damage we can do to ourselves on a regular basis.” Picture

The truth of Stewart’s concluding statement is something very few major American political leaders even attempt to acknowledge, let along discuss.  The Department of Homeland Security itself is equally (and in some ways more) concerned about domestic right-wing terrorist attacks than attacks by Islamic extremists.  And this perspective and Stewart’s are completely in line with American history and facts because since the 9/11 attacks, 48 people were killed by non-Muslims in terrorist attacks in America, compared to only 26 people being killed by Muslim terrorists on American soil.  In the era before 2001, most notably, white anti-government extremist Timothy McVeigh carried out the biggest terrorist attack in American history before 9/11, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds more in Oklahoma City in 1995.  But domestic terrorism stretched back much earlier: between 1882 and 1968, over 4,700 Americans were killed by extremist lynch mobs, often involving the terrorist Ku Klux Klan.  And especially in the years of Reconstruction (1865-1877) at the end of the Civil War in 1865, Ku Klux Klan terrorists and other terrorists murdered thousands of freed former slaves and their white allies in a terrorist guerilla insurgency against Federal troops and the new state governments they had set up that provided freedom for former slaves, an insurgency which succeeded and paved the way for the institutionalized mass oppression backed by terror that was the Jim Crow and segregation era.  The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw a spate of anarchist terrorism, including the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901.

In the wake of the Charleston shootings, I now present my thoughts from over two years ago about how the threat of Islamic terrorism needs to be put in a healthy. proportional perspective and that we need to take much (but most certainly not all!) of the energy devoted to combatting that threat and devote it to dealing with more serious, deadly, and pressing issues here at home.

How Not to Stop a Terrorist 

A nineteen-year-old amateur terrorist on the run does not even come close to warranting a citywide shutdown.  That it did happen should scare us all.

By Brian E. Frydenborg- May 20th 2013

Firstly, I want to begin by making clear that the Boston Police Department, the Watertown Police Department, Boston’s first responders, the National Guard, the FBI, the ATF, and other city, local, state, and federal workers did a great job helping the wounded, saving lives, keeping the Boston metro area safe, and bringing justice to one of the perpetrators of the horrific attacks in Boston and apprehending the other.  The people of Boston, for responding to so well under attack and pressure, also deserve a lot of credit.

Having said that, the scene that unfolded on CNN live over the course of these events should deeply disturb all Americans for reasons that very few American commentators or pundits have even discussed.  And I have to admit I am deeply disturbed that I am, apparently, one of the few people I know who feel this way.

I admit, I have hardly been able to see or read all commentary on the internet or watch every TV news program, but so far I’ve only come across three pundits who have expressed my views or views similar to them: Harvard’s Stephen Walt, writing several pieces for Foreign Policy, Michael Cohen, writing for Britain’s The Observer, and Michael Shapira, writing for the The Washington Times (and yes, I am troubled that I agree with The Washington Times).  Those commentators on major TV networks or writing for most major publications, not so much.  It honestly makes me feel very alone and isolated, and that, as much as I love my country, I feel at times as if I cannot identify with it or feel a part of it.  This feeling has been creeping into me over the last decade, but after these recent events, it has never been more profound or more disturbing.

Before getting into what specifically I had problems with, let’s go through a few basic facts.  Firstly, two brothers, who it seems acted alone, planted two pressure cooker bombs on a major street in Boston at the finish line for the Boston Marathon on the afternoon of April 15th and exploded them during said marathon.  Three people were killed by the bombs and 264 wounded, some of them grievously so.  Before the authorities had any real suspects, a massive security presence arrived in Boston: state and local police, National Guard troops, FBI, ATF, and others.  When photos of two suspects were released on the early evening of April 18th, only a few hours later authorities were able to identify them even as they proceeded to attack and kill an MIT Police Officer, stole a car and took the owner hostage. Later, in the early hours of April 19th, a firefight ensued between authorities and the brothers in Watertown, resulting in the wounding, capture, and later the death of the older brother while the younger brother escaped. At dawn, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick then issued a call for all Boston area residents to “shelter in place,” what was essentially a non-legally-binding request to lock down the entire Boston metropolitan area. Not only Boston was shutdown but also its suburbs: people were told not to come into work and most businesses were shutdown, the subway, Amtrak, almost all taxis and public transportation were shutdown, and all this on a weekday.  In effect, the Boston metropolitan area ceased to function for over a day.  Ironically, only after the lockdown request was rescinded was the other brother found by a Watertown resident who was out and about on his property, out and about precisely because the order had been lifted.  Soon after authorities apprehending the suspect.  Overall, a good win for law enforcement and authorities, bad guys caught or dead.  But the issue of the lockdown is something else entirely, and I am going to single that out from what I feel was otherwise a good job on the part of government officials.

PictureAnd here is where I depart company with my fellow Americans and am part of some sort of extremely tiny minority:  I think this massive lockdown was a shockingly over-the-top, ridiculously unnecessary, and disturbingly unprecedented action.  And I want this in particular to be clear to my readers: never in this history of terrorist attacks has an entire city, an entire metro area, been shut down in such a near total way in response to an attack or attacks.  They say never say never, well, I am saying this never, ever happened in the history of terrorism until the authorities in Boston made that call.  Anyone who doubts the scale of the lockdown needs only to look at these pictures posted by Boston-area residents.  As a student of politics and public policy, of terrorism and history, of comparative policy and human behavior, I can tell you that major cities have been dealing with terrorism for over a century.  There were anarchist bombings all over the country early in the twentieth century.  Jewish terrorists used bombings against British forces in Mandate Palestine, and Palestinians and Lebanese have used terrorist bombings against Israeli forces and sometimes civilians.  Europe has had to deal with terrorist bombings from a variety of groups, from the Red Brigades to the Irish Republican Army to Basque separatists.  The Tamil Tigers regularly hit targets in Sri Lanka.  In the last decade and then some, terrorist attacks hit London, Madrid, Mumbai, Jerusalem, Moscow, cities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, more recently Libya and Syria and many other places.  Some of these cities routinely deal with terrorist attacks, cities like London, Jerusalem, Baghdad, and Kabul.  In Western/developed countries in particular, most of the counterterrorist operations are successful, the perpetrators caught or killed, further immediate attacks stopped or prevented.  These countries are able to more or less tactically successfully deal with these incidents, and they all have one thing in common: they never, ever shut-down an entire city in response to a few bombings.  In fact, many of these incidents were far more deadly than the bombings in Boston.  So why the near-total city shutdown in Boston, when competent, successful, prudent, and experienced counterterrorist officials in places like London, Madrid, and Jerusalem never even came close to making such a call?  What was so different about Boston’s incident that warranted such an unprecedented, massive shutdown compared with far deadlier attacks in Barcelona, Berlin, Baghdad, Belfast, Beirut, Bersheeva, or any of many other places?

Seen in the context of other similar—or worse—incidents and what the general (at least in developed countries quite often more or less successful) responses to them were, the shutdown of the Boston metro area makes no sense and is beyond the definition of overkill.  Of course it is natural for people to overreact.  And it is natural for a place like Boston which is so unused to such attacks to overreact.  But public policy is not supposed to be about giving in to immediate emotion.  Policymakers have a responsibility to coolly assess the situation, and make decisions based on looking at how successful responses have worked in similar situations, prudently using an appropriate level of time, effort, energy and resources.  And, simply stated, there is nothing in the history of counterterrorism which even remotely suggested that the necessary response was one of such a massive proportion as Boston’s response, a response in which a major metropolitan area in the U.S. was shut down in order to track down one remaining suspect who was a nineteen-year old kid (and an amateur, at that) whose picture was already on every television screen in America.  If one crazy punk can cause an entire major U.S. city to shut-down, then we are doing something wrong and the terrorists are winning.  Maybe they have even already won.  Osama bin Laden’s goal with the 9/11 attacks was to draw the U.S. into a long, costly, bloody war that would drain our treasure, international standing, and our will to fight overseas, make the U.S. pull back our support for the non-Islamic regimes in the Middle East and South and Central Asia, and use such a conflict to draw recruits to al-Qaeda from all over the world.  While we hesitated putting a massive presence on the ground in Afghanistan, with Iraq, gave him exactly what we wanted.  It took a few years, but the sickening truth is that bin Laden played us like a harp.  Now, it seems, we are at an even more extreme progression of bin Laden’s trap: the point where we can let one nineteen-year-old kid shut down a whole city and paralyze the lives of millions.

Let’s go through the typical responses I hear when I raise this issue:

“But the authorities didn’t know if there were other attackers or sleeper cells.” Yeah, and neither do any authorities after any terrorist attack in any city, but they don’t shut down a whole city.

“Any cost is worth saving lives.”  Really?  If one American citizen was taken hostage in, say, North Korea, do we then invade that country?  When shooting sprees and murders take place in the U.S., do we shut down whole towns and cities to catch the perpetrators and protect people?  Or do authorities take a more limited approach, not shut down a whole city and disrupt the lives of millions, and target their efforts in a more limited but relatively reasonably cost-effective response?  As Stephen Walt points out, not long before Boston, there was a heavily armed police officer with military training who was killing people in L.A., but L.A. wasn’t shut down.  The DC-area sniper-team a few years back killed people over a much longer period of time, and DC was not shut down.  London had a much worse attack a few years back which killed far more people, and the Brits did not shut London down.  The point is, lives can still be saved, killers and terrorists still stopped, without shutting down whole cities and disrupting the lives of millions (what terrorists generally want, right?), and the estimates of the costs of shutting Boston down for a day have ranged from several hundred million to a billion dollars.  And, again, I want to re-emphasize this was to chase down a single remaining suspect.  It cannot cost us hundreds of millions of dollars every time a terrorist strikes, there is no way that that kind of loss and/or expenditure is necessary, let alone sustainable, and that kind of inefficiency of application of resources is—and should always be viewed as—unacceptable.  If anything, it encourages would-be-terrorists who seek that kind of massive overreaction.

“Maybe he would have gotten away if the city hadn’t been shut down!” Not likely.  Again, if these other cities like London and Jerusalem are good at catching these terrorists without shutting down an entire city, why can’t we be as good and as efficient as they are?  And it was only after the request to stay indoors was lifted that a local resident left his house and found the suspect.

“Well, it was different in Boston.”  Was it really?  As I pointed out, many other attacks have been far worse, and deadlier, and involved more terrorists and multiple cells.  If anything, Boston was different in that the attack was small, using low-grade explosives that only killed three people, and with just two lone-wolves involved.

“Well Boston isn’t used to this kind of stuff, so it’s understandable.”  Again, government officials are supposed to transcend visceral gut reactions and emotion.  So, no, it’s not understandable form a public policy perspective.

It seems like it is asking for a lot these days, but I just want my country to be competent and measured in the way I see other modern, developed countries often conduct themselves.  I want us not to be the overreacting, Incredible-Hulk-meets-Daffy-Duck of nations.  And I want us to have a healthy perspective and sense of proportionality.  I must be naïve, and Walt laments this, too, when he wrote that

The more I think about the events that transfixed Boston and the nation last week, the more troubled I am. Not by what it says about the dangers we face from violent extremists (aka “terrorism”), but for what it says about our collective inability to keep these dangers in perspective and to respond to them sensibly. I am beginning to wonder if our political and social system is even capable of a rational response to events of this kind.

…The grossly disproportionate reaction to the Marathon attacks tells me that our political system is increasingly incapable of weighing dangers intelligently and allocating resources in a sensible manner. Unless we get better at evaluating dangers and responding to them appropriately, we are going to focus too much time and attention on a few bad things because they happen to be particularly vivid, and not enough on the problems on which many more lives ultimately depend.

He points out that far more people were killed while the Boston drama was underway by a factory explosion in Texas on April 17th, and links to Michael Cohen’s article.  Cohen notes that the plant which exploded had not been inspected by federal government Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors since 1985, and that the Republicans want to cut that agency’s funding even more.  He notes that far more people are killed by non-terrorist gun violence in the U.S. (as I have pointed out), and that while the Boston incident and aftermath unfolded, the Republicans killed the legislation on background checks that had an overwhelming majority of Americans supporting it.  As he concludes.

It is a surreal and difficult-to-explain dynamic. Americans seemingly place an inordinate fear on violence that is random and unexplainable and can be blamed on “others” – jihadists, terrorists, evil-doers etc. But the lurking dangers all around us – the guns, our unhealthy diets, the workplaces that kill 14 Americans every single day – these are just accepted as part of life, the price of freedom, if you will. And so the violence goes, with more Americans dying preventable deaths. But hey, look on the bright side – we got those sons of bitches who blew up the marathon.

Since 1980, there have been more than 900,000 U.S. gun deaths, but less than 3,000 terrorist-caused deaths in America since 1970. In an amazing level of hypocrisy, Republicans continually make the argument that, as far as mass shootings go and general gun violence goes, well, “stuff (sh*t, if you will) happens,” and there’s little we can do about such things, but when it comes to anything involving terrorism, or what they consider terrorism, they will move heaven and earth and spare no expense, will literally bankrupt the nation, to address this threat.  Laissez-faire for any kind of a threat that is frequent and can be expected, but activist for the rare, freakishly-low probability event.  Vote Republican for protection from something that almost never happens at the expense of protection from common occurrences.  This is a governing philosophy which appeals to raw emotion and fear of “outsiders,” “others,” “non-Americans” and (GASP!) Muslims, and that wholly relies on a total lack of perspective and introspection.  It plays to the alpha-male, jingoistic types who want to blame all of America’s ills on foreigners, immigrants, globalization, outside influence, and the “turning” of America away from its “traditional values” and its “true self.”  It appeals to people who want to do anything but look at what America does wrong, what needs to be fixed at America’s core, and who refuse to learn from the rest of the world; it seeks solutions by going after external threats in order to avoid any self-reflection or national self-examination whatsoever, and claims facts that do not support its simplistic, “America: love it or leave it” worldview as concoctions of a non-existent elite liberal media/academic industrial complex.  One Republican State Senator from Tennessee even joked that we need to ban pressure cookers, the devices used in the bombings in Boston, to draw attention to what he thought were outrageous attempts to ban assault weapons, in what is perhaps the most obvious example of the sickness in our society that ties those two issues together and exposes our national myopia.

Let’s embrace this myopia, Republicans seem to say.  Sandy Hook, a number of other recent mass shootings, thousands incidents every year that see thousands of Americans killed by gun violence, a Texas fertilizer plant that exploded and killed 14 people and had not been inspected by a (now gutted) federal agency since the 1980s, and a whole host of other problems, deserve little or no attention and cannot be solved, so, do not dare suggest any further funding or attention to these issues from government, but terrorism?  Let’s spend trillions combating an issue that barely affects any Americans year in and year out, let’s invade two countries in response to 9.11, one of which had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, and let’s focus on the wrong country between those two at the expense of getting the guy who did attack us so that it takes ten years, millions of dead, wounded, and displaced, and trillions of dollars, but when it comes to passing universal background checks for gun purchases, let’s filibuster legislation that is filled with loopholes anyway so that not even the lowest common denominator, no-brainer safeguard can become law.

Let’s focus on the hysterical and sensational and forget about the substantive and every-day problems, spend money fighting a war(s?) against a tactic (and how do you defeat a tactic like “terror” anyway?) in far-away lands but do almost nothing in the war against poverty in our own country.  Let’s watch our children sink in educational achievement, and our workers get paid less than and less as inflation lowers our salaries that have stagnated since the 1970s, let’s not pave our roads or maintain our bridges or rail networks, let’s keep putting off every big domestic issue in favor of chasing around the globe a few thousand loosely-affiliated, brainwashed, murderous fools who can never do as much damage to us as we can do to ourselves and forget that any other issues exist or are deserving of marshalling our collective national effort and will.

This myopia seems to be our current default.  And I’m with Walt in wondering if we are even capable of doing better and with Cohen in wondering why other—dare I say more important—Issues don’t get the same or even more attention.

I am not saying there is never going to be a reason to shut down a whole city.  WMD or a massive number or attackers would be a different story.  But now, have we set a precedent where total city shutdowns are to be the expected norm for incidents like this?  Will there be no end to the hysteria at the policy planning level?  It’s bad enough that two wars have greatly sapped our resources with our international terrorism response, let’s try to make sure our domestic counterterrorism policies don’t do the same.  The 9/11 attacks were horrible, and scarred the New York City area especially.  But the response to 9/11 is not more important that education, that being safe from routine crime, than our heath, than our national infrastructure, than our future.  But looking at what we’ve put our money behind for the last ten years, you would think that avenging 9/11 was practically all that mattered.

Terrorists can’t defeat us.  But they can goad us into defeating ourselves.  And right now, I am worried about whether or not we are losing by beating ourselves.  Because that’s how the terrorists win.  And that is unacceptable.

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PostScript… continuation from Introduction:

As we prove, Guns do not make you safer, and having an apposing opinion is not acceptable. You do not get be wrong when your ignorance costs lives. Brian discusses domestic stupidparty terrorism, all of which we additionally Mathematically substantiate here. The causes, the issues that lead to South Carolina, have also been explained here and here – in manner not done by the regular media who still have to pander to their audience. We do not pander, we are not interested in opinion. Brian below explains the massive over reaction of the Boston authorities in the aftermath of the Boston bombing. But he misses one point that I feel extremely strongly about. No – the Boston police force behavior was absolutely not acceptable, and indicative of a culture that wants to take us back to 1850. Having surrounded the second perpetrator, who was hiding in a boat, evidently unable to do further damage – it is not acceptable to re enact the final scene of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Yes the Boston police are no more evolved than the Bolivian police circa 1850. One little detail that seems to escape virtually every one—no body knew whether this attack was part of a bigger conspiracy and you have just one living potential lead. But this gun crazy country just does not think like that, just does think. Just make my day punk!

America desperately need a noble, intelligent and self-aware agenda, or as Robert Burns wrote:

Oh, that God would give us the very smallest of gifts
To be able to see ourselves as others see us
It would save us from many mistakes
and foolish thoughts
We would change the way we look and gesture
and to how and what we apply our time and attention

Had enough vacuous non news from standard outlets? Keep on reading