Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tragic murder of MIT officer comes back to haunt journalists in PennState fiasco.


Last week thousands of police officers, civilians, friends and family gathered for a memorial service for murdered MIT campus police officer Sean Collier who was shot and killed by the Boston marathon bombers but whose tragic murder eventually led to their capture.

Collier's murder and the enormous outpouring of solidarity by police organizations from all over the country and from as far away as Canada, along with thousands of Boston police mourning this murdered MIT officer who was responding to a domestic disturbance call, dregs up how journalists all over the country led by ESPN journalists like Gene Wojciechowski,  Jemele Hill, Johnette Howard, Jay Bilas and joined by Sean Gregory at Time magazine, disparaged Penn State campus police as not "real police" as the primary basis for their attacks and accusations against Joe Paterno in the Sandusky scandal.

The news media accused Paterno of everything from not reporting what McQueary had told him at all, to "not doing enough" because he "only" reported it to the head of Penn State Campus Police and Tim Curley, his immediate superior, and A.D.

That Penn State Campus Police weren't the "real "  or legitimate police was at the heart of all of the original attacks against Paterno  and was the self serving holier-than-thou and equally ignorant weapon used by journalists in all of the initial avalanche of criticism of Paterno, led by ESPN journalists, especially Jay Bilas and Stuart Scott on television and Gene Wojciechowski in print. Wojciechowski was especially strident in his attacks about going to Penn State campus police, which according to Wojciechowski, wasn't really going to the police at all.

This mantra was repeated ad infinitum by almost every journalist reporting on the Sandusky story: Paterno calling the head of Penn State campus police and his immediate superior, A.D. Tim Curley, was not,  in the out of control,  self-serving mob mentality of the news media at the time,  reporting it at all.Campus police didn't count. Even Pennsylvania Superintendent of Police Frank Noonan, wanting to jump on the media bandwagon and get into the act said at the time Paterno "should have come to me instead". ( Would he have taken a call from the mother of Victim 2 who also went to Penn State campus police, or do you have to be a big shot like Paterno to get Frank Noonan to take your call? Or was it just that Noonan wanted free tickets?)

That Penn State campus police weren't the "real"  or legitimate police was also the sole basis of the attacks by the editors of the Philadelphia Daily News who covered the front page with Paterno's picture and the words "Shame". That Paterno only reported what he was told to the head of campus police, and arranged for McQueary to meet with the head of campus police to tell his story in person was, in the self-serving, revenue generating mentality of the news media, "shameful". Never mind that William Lynn, a Philadelphia catholic priest sentenced to 6 years in prison for burning a list of 34 pedophile priests who had been molesting children for years  and never  reporting it on orders from Philadelphia Cardinal Bevilaqua  never got the "shame" treatment from the Philadelphia Daily News.  But  Paterno  reporting what he was told to campus police was, according to the Philadelphia Daily News, shameful. Putting the nationally known Paterno on the front page while the priest, William Lynn, a nobody whose name or face wouldn't sell a single newspaper didnt have anything to do with it, did it?

Given the tragedy of MIT officer Collier's murder in the line of duty and the  outpouring of support from thousands of police officers from jurisdictions all over the country, maybe its time to realize the real shame belongs to Sean Gregory at Time,  Jay Bilas, Gene  Wojciechowski, almost every reporter at ESPN with the exception of Don Van Natta,and their producers, along with the editors at the Philadelphia Daily News, the reporters at Deadspin, Roland Martin at CNN, and every other person who disparaged Penn State campus police as not being "real police" and who used that as the basis for attacking Paterno.

Would any of these  journalists now have the courage to write that campus police aren't real police? Would Gene Wojciechowski , Jemele Hill, Jay Bilas, Sean Gregory or Roland Martin have then guts to  write it?

Maybe they'd like to tell the Penn State campus police detective who investigated Sandusky in 1998  who now works for Homeland Security that he wasn't a real detective. Maybe the evidence he presented to D.A. Ray Gricar wasn't real evidence which is why Gricar at the time declined to prosecute. Maybe the evidence campus police presented to former Pennsylvania Attorney General and now governor, Tom Corbett in 2001 wasn't real either which is why Corbett also declined to prosecute.

Most of the journalists who attacked Paterno for "only" going to Penn State campus police (none of whom ever wrote a single article attacking the church for the systematic child abuse in their midsts, or any other acts of child abuse by anyone) acted like this was a police agency made up of rent-a-cops, retired or off duty officers moonlighting for extra money, or security officers provided by some security firm instead of exactly what they are --  real  police officers who trained at the police academy like any other police officers and have the same color of authority in their jurisdiction as any police officer anywhere in the country.

No one today in the news media, not Sean Gregory at Time or Roland Martin at CNN, or Jay Bilas or Gene Wojciechowski, or anyone else in the news media  would dare say campus police weren't real police. They know what would happen to them if they did. No one would say that the campus police officers at the University of Central Florida, responding to a 911 call that someone had pointed a gun at another student in a dorm and who arrived with guns drawn were not real police officers. And no one now is saying the Penn State Campus Police detective who investigated Sandusky and who is now at Homeland Security was not a real police detective.  Except maybe Gene Wojciechowski , Johnette Howard, Jemele Hill , Jay Bilas, Stuart Scott, Sean Gregory, Roland Martin and every other member of the news media who said Penn State campus police weren't the real police.(There are some who find fault with the fact that Gary Schultz, in a dual role was the head of campus police. They universally ignore the fact that this was the result of decisons made by the Penn State board of governors, university president and sanctioned by the Board of Trustees and had been in place for decades. Captain Tom Harmon, Chief of Penn State campus police reported to Schultz, and as far as anyone knows, with no complaints. Whatever validity, if any, there might be to the argument that Schultz wasn't qualified to be head of campus police, that was a decison made by those responsible for governance at Penn State and had nothing to do with Paterno. And nothing to do with media trashing of campus police).

This self-serving and pervasive lack of journalistic standards and principles,mostly the result of incompetence, ignorance, cowardice and ineptitude from the top down and led by journalists and executives who are more interested in generating revenue than the truth, is the biggest reason the most recent studies show at least 70% of the American public no longer trust the news media or find them credible.

Whether it was the media's swallowing of Louis Freeh's smearing of Richard Jewell as the Olympic bomber in 1996 or the lock step herd mentality that reported on the certainty of Sadaam's WMD without demanding any proof and which drove the country to war, this lack of any journalistic standards or professionalism  has been going on for least 20 years. And the country has been the worse for it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

On Boston Marathon, news media recalls '96 Olympic bombing but not Louis Freeh's smear of Richard Jewell.

Recently, the news media has started making comparisons between the Boston marathon bombing and the bombing in Centennial Park in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics and how long the Olympic bombing investigation took until Eric Rudolph was arrested years later for bombing two abortion clinics and confessed to being the Olympic bomber.

Tom Fuentes who was an assistant FBI commander at the time in Atlanta when the bombing took place said on CNN,  it took weeks and months to simply identify the roofers nails that were used in the bomb  much less have  a suspect. 

Completely ignored by Wolf Blitzer and again by Anderson Cooper who also invoked memories of the Olympic bombing,  was how then FBI director Louis Freeh leaked Richard Jewell's name to the press and identified him as the Olympic bomber even though he didn't have a shred of proof or evidence of any kind to substantiate it or even to point to Jewell as the bomber.  And he couldn't have because Jewell was completely innocent.

But with the world's media in Atlanta for the summer Olympics in 1996 and the bombing becoming the biggest, most notorious criminal case in the United States and the world for that matter, and with people clamoring for answers and the news media applying pressure,  Freeh decided it was easier to frame a completely innocent man and get the heat off himself and the FBI. And the media willingly complied, without asking for proof or evidence,and  instead hounded Jewell everywhere he went, camping out in front of his home by the hundreds,and  making Jewell  the object of scorn, derison, ridicule and hate, all over the world. They wanted to be there when the FBI arrested him. And it was all for nothing.

There is a  reason why the news media, when discussing the investigation into the Boston marathon bombing and comparing it to the Olympic bombing and speculating about what might be expected in comparing the two  investigations ignores what Louis Freeh did as FBI director to Richard Jewell.

The reason is two fold. First, Freeh made them all look like idiots in the Olympic bombing case and the news media hates to have to own up to their own stupdity and lack of standards. In Jewell's case they not only had to own up, they had to pay up because Jewell sued them and settled out of court with CNN, NBC, Tom Brokaw and other news organizations for tens of millions of dollars.

The other reason the media doesn't want to mention Freeh  is because they and Freeh,  did the same thing again, this time with the Freeh Report regarding the Sandusky scandal, Penn State and Joe Paterno, a story that was a cash cow for the media for months. To bring up what Freeh did to Jewell at the Olympic bombing would be to open up the Pandora's Box of what Freeh in his report did to Joe Paterno with the same degree of proof which is to say none and the same results --  the news media swallowing what Freeh said as they did with Jewell even though Freeh did not have an iota of proof, something  that should have been obvious to anyone reading his report but finally put into the record by former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, former FBI agent Jim Clements and Dr. Fred Berlin who reviewed Freeh's report and concluded it was as false as Freeh's smear of Richard Jewell.

What made Freeh's framing of Richard Jewell all the more abhorrent was that Jewell was the genuine
 hero of the Olympic bombing. Hired as a part time security officer for the Olympics, it was Jewell who first spotted what the thought was a suspicious knapsack under a bench, went to investigate and looked inside and saw the wiring of a bomb. He alerted police and he and other officers helped clear the area but not before the bomb went off killing one woman. But clearly Jewell saved many lives by noticing the knapsack, investigating, and clearing the area as quickly as possible.

That the man who was the real hero of the Olympic bombing was the man Louis Freeh smeared and framed and let hang for 3 months without a shred of proof or conscience before declaring that Jewell was no longer a suspect, is evidence of just how low Louis Freeh is capable of going and just how venal he could be when it was to his advantage, something that was clear in the Freeh Report on Penn State but was also clear back in 2000 when Businessweek ran a cover story editorial called "the Case Against Louis Freeh", demanding his resignation and documenting Freeh's history at the FBI of, in their words, "tainting evidence","misleading federal investigators and judges" and " trampling on the civil liberties of American citzens" ( and this is the man the Penn State Board of Trustees chose to do their investigation).

The media now glosses  over what happened to Jewell in the Olympic bombing  investigation in their comparisons to the marathon bombing,  precisely because of what they have invested in  the Freeh Report and to avoid opening a Pandora's Box of embarrassing questions.  So in comparing the two investigations  the media pretends that what happened to Richard Jewell didnt happen   Because in today's news media,when in their minds offending anyone is bad for business,  telling the truth about everything just wouldn't be good for business.

NOTE: On Wedesday evening Anderson Cooper did an interview with former FBI agent Tom Fuentes who was an FBI commander in Atlanta at the time of the Olympic bombing  and Cooper specifically mentioned Richard Jewell and how he spotted the knapsack that contained the bomb and how he and two other officers cleared the area. Fuentes also acknowledged that and Jewell's help,  but neither said a word about how Jewell only days later  was named as the prime suspect under Freeh's direction, was hounded by the a media horde 24 hours a day to such a degree his mother pleaded with President Clinton to intervene, and how Freeh and the FBI left  Jewell to hang that way for three months because they had no suspects. This is Louis Freeh and whose word the news media has taken.







Sunday, April 14, 2013

Maureen Dowd plays the fool in column on Hillary Clinton "foolery"

In a recent column called "Can We Get Hillary Without the Foolery", Maureen Dowd puts on display every aspect of dishonest journalism, distortion, and personal lack of integrity that is driving mainstream journalism out of business. She either has a very short memory or doesn't have the professional integrity to admit she and everyone like her who supported Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries and those few who still do, were the ones made fools of by the foolery of Barrack Obama who took the press for fools, along with the kind of cocktail party liberals Lenny Bruce used to tear to pieces in his routines on race, and Obama was amply rewarded.

Dowd, in her column wrote:

"Did she (Clinton)  learn, from her viper’s nest and money pit of a campaign in 2008, how to manage an enterprise rather than be swamped by rampant dysfunction? Did she learn, when she wrapped herself in an off-putting and opaque mantle of entitlement in the primary, that she’s perfectly capable of charming reporters and voters if she wants to, without the obnoxious undertone of “I’m owed this"?

Dowd has obviously forgotten the movement she joined and championed in 2008 the news media's  "it was time for a black president" campaign, the mantle of entitlement that accompanied almost every article written during the primaries, the purpose of which was to create an atmosphere of entitlement and inevitability regarding Obama's nomination, something that continued to the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Denver in the form of political threats and extortion that Dowd either knows nothing about or doesn't want to talk about.

She also seems to be suffering from short term memory loss when she talks about Clinton's "money pit of a campaign". Given Dowd's state of mind perhaps we should forgive her for forgetting that it was Obama, on at least three public occasions including the debate moderated by the late Tim Russet,  who publicly pledged that he would only use public financing in his presidential campaign if he was the nominee in keeping with his theme of bringing "change" to Washington politics, then promptly reneging on the promise as soon as he got the nomination and raised record amounts of money while John McCain stuck to his promise to use  public financing and was outspent 5-1.

Never mind that Obama has proved to be the most underhanded, deceitful two faced politician since Richard Nixon to go along with probably being the least qualified in the history of the Democratic party. Never mind that the groups that supported him are now showing up at the White House with petitions signed by millions of people telling Obama not to sell them out again, this time on the budget.

Never mind that Obama promised to close Gitmo, something Colin Powell called a stain on the United States, in the first month of his presidency and to this day hasn't found the guts to stand up to the right wing and close one of the worst cases of human rights abuses in American history after slavery and the Japanese internment camps during WWII. When you have a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former Secretary of State supporting the decision and you still don't have the political courage to do it, you get the first four plus years of the Obama presidency.

But Dowd, seemingly oblivious to the candidate she supported in 2008 gives us more. She writes:

" The other side (of Clinton)  is darker, stemming from old insecurities; this is the side that causes her to make decisions from a place of fear and to second-guess herself. It dulls her sense of ethics and leads to ends-justify-the-means wayward ways. "

"Ends- justify- the-means wayward ways"?  Does she mean like the time Obama was caught lying to the unemployed in Ohio  during the 2008 primaries,  telling them the cause of their high unemployment was NAFTA ( a lie proved by and that if they voted for him he would get rid of NAFTA while at the same time sending Autan Goolsbee to the Canadian embassy in Chicago to tell them to ignore everything Obama says publicly in Ohio about NAFTA, he has no intention of getting rid of it? That kind of "ends-justify-the-means wayward ways"?
 And by darker side, did she mean like Obama lying for seven consecutive days about the incident, saying at first Goolsbee didnt even work for the campaign, then when that was proved a lie, admitted he worked for the campaign but that they never sent him to the embassy and when that was proved a lie said ok, he works for the campaign and they sent him to the embassy but never told him to say that, which was then proved a lie when someone in the Canadian embassy fed up with Obama's duplicity released the minutes of the meeting which proved he indeed sent Goolsbee there to tell them to ignore what he is saying about NAFTA publicly.

 Is that the dulling of a "sense of ethics that leads to ends-justify the means ways"? Or was it Obama's campaigning for the public option, promising it in campaign speeches since 2007, holding town hall meetings supporting it and then  selling it out in a cave-in to the health insurance lobby even though he had ample votes in congress to pass it and  then claimed he never campaigned for it?

Dowd's professional denial ignores the fact that she supported and maybe continues to support a politician who has gotten caught in more lies and duplicity in a week than the average dishonest politician does in a career and lied so egregiously during the 2008 Democratic primaries it would have ended the political career much less  the presidential candidacy of any other politician. But  for people like Dowd and others who made Obama a cause celebre because of a statement they wanted to make on race, they thought it best to ignore the content of his character and focus on the melanin content of his skin.

Dowd then writes: "If Obama is the kid who studies only on the night before and gets an A, Hillary is the kid who studies all the time, stays up all night and does extra credit work to get the A. She doesn't know how not to drive herself into the ground. "

 This is more of Dowd's self-delusion. Obama is the kid who never studies and as a result  knows absolutely nothing about anything he is talking about. What he does know is how to bamboozle some of the  teachers like Dowd.  All it takes is using 250 words to say what a precocious 15 year old could say in 3, and Obama gets an "A" from a fawning Maureen Dowd and others.

 Like the Nobel Peace Prize Obama was awarded for doing absolutely nothing and which so infuriated other winners many publicly said the Nobel committee diminished the value of the prize by awarding it to Obama.  Obama is not the kid who doesn't have to study to get an "A" he is the kid who figured out how to bamboozle his elders, flash an infectious smile, and sell snake oil to those willing to buy. Except millions  who bought  the snake oil are now showing up on the White House lawn with petitions and their empty bottles of snake oil which did nothing to solve their problems and are demanding he make good on his promises since, at this point, a refund isnt possible.

More Dowd: "But many experts feel, as John Cassidy wrote in The New Yorker, that, compared with the work of more geopolitical secretaries,(of State)  her “signature achievements look like small beer.”

Dowd wants to ignore that when you work for a small president with no ideas no backbone, no convictions, no principles not a clue about what he is doing  and doesn't have the respect of leaders around the world, even small beer is a big accomplishment. One can still remember the glow on Clinton's face during the Libyan crisis when she showed up in London to meet with the Prime Minister to discuss what to do about Libya, and was told to her surprise that  British and French fighters were already attacking Ghaddaffi military targets because both the British and French simply got tired of Obama's diddling.

When you work for a president who sees Iranians protesting a rigged election getting shot and killed in the street by an oppressive regime and whose response is to say he "doesn't want  to meddle", small beer is an accomplishment. Like making lemonade out of the of lemons that is the Obama presidency. 

Dowd concludes with: "Her challenge is to get into the future and stay there, adding fresh people and perspectives and leaving the Clinton mishegoss and cheesiness in the past."

After eight years of  having The Cheeze Whiz Kid in the White House, a Cheeze Whiz Kid which Dowd helped sell and still promotes, real cheese of any kind will be more than welcome..

So before Dowd comments on anyone else's foolery much less Clinton's she needs to wise up and own up to Obama's foolery her own foolery and the other foolery in the press not to mention groups like MoveOn, the PCCC, Democracy for America who continue to be made  fools of by Obama but who all decided to look the other way in 2008 every time Obama was caught in his own foolery, a lie or talking out of both sides of his mouth, all of which foreshadowed what was to come.

Its not Clinton's challenge to get into the future as Dowd claims. Its Dowd's challenge to get into the present which other former  Obama supporters seem to be doing as evidenced by  the recent email from complaining about Obama's attempted capitulation to Republicans on Medicare and Social Security in his budget which began with the words, " He's done it again".

 In a different way, so has Dowd.



Thursday, April 11, 2013

A gun law no one could oppose ( but will they?)


 In the last two days two people have been shot and killed by a four year old and six year old respectively who got their hands on an adult's gun and killed someone accidentally.

Three days ago in Tennessee the six year old nephew of a sheriff's deputy got his hands on a gun that was not secured and accidentally shot the deputy's wife in the head killing her. Two days ago, in Toms River N. J. a four year old took the unsecured rifle of his father and accidentally shot and killed his six year old playmate.

In February three year old Temorej Smith found a pink handgun in his house he thought was a toy and shot himself in the head killing him. In December of 2012, a four year old boy in Houston and a 5 year old girl in Philadelphia accidentally shot themselves with guns owned by their parents.

Last year more than five other children were killed in the same way, a child getting his or her hands on a gun owned by, according to Wayne LaPierre, a "law abiding responsible citizen" and then accidentally killed another child either at school or at the home.

And lets not forget, the 27 killed at Newtown Connecticut were killed by a shooter who used his mother's unsecured AR-15 which she left laying around.

These guns were owned by people who Wayne LaPierre calls " law abiding responsible citizens". Except these people are anything but responsible and are only law abiding because there are no laws currently on the books that would make their gross negligence and irresponsibility a felony.

This should stop.

States need to pass a Firearms Responsibility Act that would make the registered owner of a gun criminally liable as an accessory to any crime committed by any third party with the gun registered in their name and also make them criminally responsible for any bodily harm or death caused by their gun in the hands of someone else. And there should be a federal law that bans any person whose gun was used by anyone else in a crime or caused bodily harm from obtaining a gun for life.

This will insure that "responsible" gun owners who have been irresponsible become responsible and those who aren't will go to jail, pay the price for being a convicted felon, and lose their ability to own a gun for life.
This will also make those who buy or provide guns for others criminally liable for what happens with that gun if it can be traced which will help cut down on gun trafficking since it will be less likely that anyone trafficking in illegal guns, or buying guns to illegally sell to others in the U.S ( most of the guns used in crimes in New York City were purchased in Virginia) will be willing to go to jail for whatever crimes are committed with those guns.
In the case of the two people shot and killed in the last three days by children getting their hands on guns left lying unsecured by adults, no charges will be filed against anyone because it is being ruled an accident.
It was no accident. It was criminal negligence on the part of the adults who left the gun lying around where a child could get it. And the sooner legislatures wake up to that fact, the sooner there will be more "law abiding responsible gun owners" who will become even more law abiding and responsible than before. Or face prison.

There are three  other common sense gun laws that would cut down on the sale of illegal guns and gun trafficking:

1. Anyone purchasing more than two guns within any 30 day period other than a licensed gun dealer must register and go into a special data base identifying people purchasing multiple guns within that 30 day period.

2. Make it a federal crime with mandatory prison time for transporting a firearm from a state where that firearm is legal to a state where it is illegal.

3. No one with an out of state I.D. can purchase more than one gun within a 60 day period. This will eliminate situations where a gun trafficker can go to a state like Virginia with its lax gun laws and buy a trunk load of guns to sell illegally in a place like New York.

With states having the explicit right to ban any guns they wish and impose any restrictions they wish, its not as important for the federal goverment to pass laws banning certain kinds of weapons as people seem to think. The states can do it and federal laws can be passed to insure that these laws arent violated by people in states where these weapons are legal.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Obama's ineffective pitch for the gun control vote.

Barrack Obama went to Hartford Connecticut to make a final pitch for a vote on federal legislation on gun control that 91% of the American people support , expanded national background checks for people who want to buy a gun.

The roadblock for this or any gun legislation are 15 conservative Republican senators who are pledging to filibuster any gun control legislation to keep any kind of gun control legislation from even coming for a vote.

Obama's speech wasn't anything anyone hasn't heard before. And there was no reason to go to Connecticut to give it. If he and his advisors thought that what people who know nothing about honest and effective visual presentation call "optics" was going to matter he was wrong. Any appeal on gun control and allowing a vote to take place would have been far more effective coming from the Oval Office or the East Room. After all that is the White House which is supposed to have some sense of authority, morality, national unity and sense of purpose.

As it was, Obama's speech had such an impact and was so effective, that senate Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell announced he was going to become the 15th Republican senator to threaten a filibuster.

Instead of pleading with Republicans not to filibuster legislation 91% of Americans say they want, instead of asking, instead of begging, instead of invoking a weak plea for everyone to "play by the same rules" like this was some kind of game, Obama could have gone on the attack.

He could have pointed out the courage of the teachers at Sandy Hook who lost their lives trying to protect children from the shooters onslaught and called anyone who would filibuster gun control legislation because they didn't have the political courage to stand up and vote while these teachers stood up to bullets to protect children are simply cowards. He could have pointed out that while those teachers showed unparalleled courage trying to protect those children against bullets, these 15 Republican senators do not even possess the courage to stand up and cast a vote.

He could have pointed out that the purpose of the filibuster was to keep these 15 Republican senators from having to cast a vote one way or the other so they wouldn't have to be held accountable either to the NRA or to voters because they don't have the courage to be held accountable.

He could have gone over the heads of those senators and appealed to the people of those states -- the people of Kansas, Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and others and ask these people if there is a single household in any of those states who don't admire and respect the courage of those teachers who were killed trying to protect those students. Then ask if they can have the same respect for the senators who represent them who don't have the courage to stand up to a vote.

Ask them to compare the teachers who had the courage to face bullets with their elected senators who seem not to have the courage to face political accountability and ask if this is the kind of representation they can be as proud of as they are the teachers at Sandy Hook.

Obama could have asked the people of those states to call their senators and tell them to display 1/1000th of the courage those teachers displayed and allow a vote, no matter which way they vote.

Obama could have shamed the senators threatening a filibuster and accused them all of being political cowards afraid to face a vote and compare them to the teachers of Sandy Hook and what they stood up to face. 

Obama could have said a lot of things. He could have gone on the attack. He could have used shame and invoked political and personal cowardice against those who are trying to obstruct a vote.  And he could have said that whether or not we allow a vote will define what kind of country we are and if we are still a country of the people by the people and for the people.  He could have been tough. He could have stood for the morality and heart of the democratic system which is the vote. He could have shown some righteous anger against those whose  purpose is to obstruct that vote and questioned their morality.

Obama could have. But he didn't. Maybe someone else will.

NOTE:On Thursday, 16 Republican senators voted against a filibuster allowing the debate and a vote to go forward. The credit goes to Manchin of West Virgina a Democrat, and Pat Toomey, Republican of PA, both with "A" ratings from the NRA who defied them and presented a bi-partisan bill on expanded background checks.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Obama taken down by a federal judge, progressives and "by far the best looking attorney general" he ever saw.

This has not been a good week for Barrack Obama though not nearly as bad as it's been for his progressive and Democratic supporters during the last five years of his presidency.

This week a federal judge all but called Obama a political hack in reversing Obama's decision, through HHS Secretary Kathy Sieblus, to ignore the science and testimony of experts and put limits on who and how people could have access to the morning after pill.

In his 54 page ruling, Judge Korman accused Obama of "bad faith" in his decision not to make the pill universally available and accused Obama of being "politically motivated".

In 2011, Obama's Health and Human Service secretary Kathleen Sebelius in what was called an "unprecedented decision", overruled the recommendations of the FDA which was to make the pill available to all ages without a prescription.

The list of scientists and physicians recommending this action was a long one and included the American Medical Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In 2011 FDA commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg issued a ruling that the morning after pill known as Plan B One Step which is designed to prevent pregnancy up to 24 hours after intercourse, was safe to dispense to all ages without a prescription, but she was overruled by Sebelius in what the NY Times reported as being the first time a countermanding of this kind as ever occurred.

Judge Korman's scathing ruling overturning Sebelius and Obama accused their decision  of "being politically motivated, scientifically unjustified and contrary to agency precedent".

It was clear that  this was another incidence of Obama's caving in, or in this case trying to avoid  criticism from the right wing because he didnt have the backbone, convictions, principles or sense of right and wrong to stand up to them and instead played politics.

Obama ignored the science and the FDA, and was more concerned about Republican and conservative backlash against the decision than in doing what was right.
Remember this is the same man who as a U.S. senator, supported Washington D.C.'s ban on handguns, then a year later supported the Supreme Court decision striking it down.

Ignoring science to make a political decision so he can avoid political heat, or avoiding any decision that would result in criticism from the opposition has been a hallmark of Obama as a politician for as long as he's been a politician. Ignoring science for the sake of politics has also generally been the hallmark of conservatives, exactly the group Obama was trying to appease.

Obama's bad week continued with progressive groups wringing their hands over the leak of Obama's proposed budget which also caves in to Republicans by offering Social Security and Medicare cuts.

Why these groups are unhappy now is hard to fathom. They were instrumental in his getting the nomination by looking the other way whenever Obama was caught in a lie or a subtrafuge during the 2008 primaries. You can generally identify a member of MoveOn,  the PCCC or Democracy for America  by the imprint of Obama's footprints on their backs. They've had them for five years. After weeks of sending out emails (rightly) criticizing Republican polices and using them to raise money with lines like " show president Obama you have his back. Contribute to help pass President Obama's agenda" they are now sending out emails convulsing over the fact that it's become apparent that President Obama's agenda includes the same cutting of social security and Medicare that they were ostensibly trying to raise money to stop. Maybe someone didnt get the memo. 

Obama himself characterized his budget as "not my ideal budget". He needn't have bothered. No one except those with vacation homes in the Okeefenokee Swamp expected Obama to do anything related to ideals.

This week progressive organizations started circulating petitions telling Obama not to cut social security or Medicare. Or else what? They wont vote for his re-election in 2016?

The week ended with Obama having to apologize for comments he made about Kamala Harris, California's attorney general as being " by far the best looking attorney general in the country". Women's groups immediately attacked him for making  sexist remarks and demanded an apology which he gave.  With the Supreme Court having heard arguments this week for same sex marriage had Obama said it about Eric Schneiderman of New York he might have made some political points.

The political question now is will Hillary Clinton supporters ever stop telling Obama supporters and the news media  " I told you so"? Probably not.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The NRA wants armed guards in every school? Let's tax guns to pay for it.

Wayne LaPierre is still pushing his absurd idea of armed guards in schools as the NRA answer to Newtown. Aside from the abject stupidity of LaPierre's idea and that it resulted in a New York Daily News front page showing LaPierre and the headline, "The Craziest Man in America,"  it exposes something else. LaPierre's idea has nothing to do with protecting children or anyone for that matter. It's about wanting to do everything possible to avoid new gun laws. And he wants to do it any cost. The problem is he wants the cost to be borne by everyone but gun owners and  the NRA. LaPierre wants everyone else to pay the price for his idea.

But in case LaPierre hasn't noticed, everyone else has been paying the price for the NRA's ability to remain part of the problem and their success in intimidating some spineless members of congress who worry more about their own reelection than in the welfare of the people they represent. 

The general reaction to La Pierre's idea has been contempt and derision. The American Federation of Teachers today called it "an absurd hoax". But it also exposes the selfishness, self centeredness and arrogance of the NRA leadership. To them, and a few lunatics who think like they do like the Montana sheriff who said he'd be willing to die rather than enforce the kind of gun bans being talked about, for these people their guns are more important than anything. And anyone.

But if LaPierre is serious about armed guards in schools as the answer then how about imposing a School Protection Tax on every sale of every gun and box of ammunition in the country?  It could be a 25% surcharge (or more - whatever it takes to pay for it) on every transaction in America related to firearms, the importation, sales to gun shops and retail sales.
Just like the cigarette tax which goes to cancer research and prevention, the tax money would pay for the armed guards in every school that La Pierre says would solve the problem and prevent the kind of mass murder we saw at Newtown that was committed with an assault weapon. So why not make gun owners and NRA members pay for it, since what's behind LaPierre's suggestion is that gun owners should be able to indulge their hobbies, fantasies or their fears unfettered and without restriction, not even the inconvenience of extended background checks,  as a way of trying to curb mass murder committed with assault weapons. So, if that is what matters, then let those who are proposing the idea in their own self interest pay for it.
The fact is, tax payer dollars paying for drug addicts to get their fix from government monitored clinics would do more good and do more to reduce violence, not to mention instantly putting drug dealers everywhere out of business, than Wayne LaPierre's idea of armed guards in every school, paid for by tax payers subsidizing gun owners not having to be inconvenienced by things like extensive background checks or only having ten rounds in a magazine instead of thirty.
But if LaPierre is serious about his idea, then let's put it to the test and see if it works, but let gun owners and the NRA pay for implementing the LaPierre's idea.
In the end there is only one group that would oppose the idea of taxing firearm related sales to pay for LaPierre's idea of armed guards in every school, and that's LaPierre and the NRA themselves.
And that is all anyone needs to know about Wayne LaPierre and what he thinks matters most and what he has defined the NRA as believing is most important - themselves.

NOTE: With Colorado and New York already having passed laws banning assault weapons and high capacity magazine clips, Connecticut has just passed its own tough gun laws banning over 100 assault type rifles and all clips that hold ten rounds or more. It will also require those who already own these clips to register with the state. And Maryland has now joined in and is passing their own assault weapon ban and ban on high capacity magazine clips.

With those ignorant of the true meaning of the second amendment trying but failing to stop this legislation, all of this is exactly what was suggested here months ago -- that states ignore the current Supreme Court's over tuning of 224 years of Supreme Court precedent which ruled the Second Amendment had nothing to do with an individual right to own a gun and did not confer any such right and pass whatever gun laws they wished. Gun laws have always been a matter for state and local governments, the second amendment has nothing to do with any constitutional right to own a gun, and states are now taking the initiative and passing any laws they wish. The next step is to pass a federal law which makes it a felony for any resident of state which legally allows such weapons to transport them to a state that does not.