The ABCs of Getting into Kindergarten

What in the world has been happening in the education system these last fifty years?

 

Fifty years ago, when I entered kindergarten, I had to demonstrate competency in a number of areas before the school would admit me (or anyone else).  I had to:

 

  1. Take an IQ test
  2. Know my colors
  3. Know my address
  4. Know my own telephone number and at least one another (Grandma’s & Grandpa’s – 256-2531)
  5. Count to ten
  6. Know my basic shapes: circle, square, triangle
  7. Identify some basic animals by word:  dog, cat, horse
  8. Know how old I was
  9. Know my left hand from my right
  10. Know how to tie my shoes
  11. Know what time it was
  12. Know my alphabet

 

Today, those are the requirements for passing the first grade.  Not entering it – passing it.  A local school board boasted that its first graders were so smart that now knowing the alphabet would be the requirement for passing kindergarten.

 

What?!  Kids don’t know their alphabet going into the first grade?!  I recall that some first grade classmate of mine didn’t know his alphabet.  I was shocked to find that it hadn’t been necessary, according to the teacher.  I had to know those things, although I had problems with telling time and tying shoe laces.

 

On the other hand, my younger brother’s friend didn’t know his own telephone number and his mother told our mother that he was going to be kept out of kindergarten and put into Special Ed if he didn’t learn it.  My mother was furious.

 

“Why would he know his own phone number?!” she exclaimed.  “He never dials it!”

 

So Mom put him on a stool so he could reach our wall phone and taught him to dial his own phone number.

 

Telephone numbers and telling time are tricky stuff, perhaps.  But I thought everyone knew their alphabet.  Do kids even know how to tell time anymore?  Do they even know what an analog clock is with all the digital clocks and watches that around now?  How will they understand the concept of time without the analog clock?  How will they gain any perspective of time?

 

How will children of the future learn anything if we keep setting the standards back (which is what will happen with Common Core)?  Personally, I think learning math through a computer is great.  The less classroom politics, the better.

 

But you can’t learn to read, write, speak, and spell correctly from a computer.  Learning language involves sight and sound.  The brain has to able to combine the two senses.  The children must be able to see the teacher forming the words with her mouth and hear her saying them in relation to the written word they see on the chalkboard (or computer monitor).

 

And it seems, while kids might be doing okay on the mathematics, they’re seriously lagging in the language arts.  That situation will only be made worse by Common Core’s dull manual reading and proscription of Western literature.  They don’t want your kids getting any ideas other than the Socialist notions that want to drill into their little noggins.

 

By the way, drilling is another teaching method with which Common Core intends to dispense.  Drilling and rote memorization is too dull and uninspiring for a future little geniuses.  They’ll be bored, according to the CC supporters.

 

However, drilling and memorization are how information gets into the brain, stays there, and becomes available for recall later.  Constant repetition and drilling reinforces the myelin sheath in the brain, the white coating that protects the axon, the brain’s transmission wires.

 

Without the myelin sheath (which doesn’t finish forming until late adolescence), the information leaks, just as a certain amount of energy is lost along electric transmission wires.  The information doesn’t get into the brain cells and since it isn’t there to retrieve, nothing comes back when the child is questioned – or, Heaven forfend – is tested.

 

That information is available through the Internet is very handy and convenient.  But the fastest computer can think and coalesce knowledge as well as the human brain.  Unless we want our children to become Borg Brains (Borgs are the machine-like villains in the later Star Trek series; “You will be absorbed into The Collective; you will be assimilated.  Resistance is futile.”), parents must voice their opposition to Common Core while there’s still time.

 

You must resist Common Core before the Borgs can come up with excuses for why it isn’t working, particularly in the Language Arts (it’s no way to learn math, either).  The Progressives know they’re putting Middle Class children at a terrible disadvantage.  They also cite the success of STEM programs, not mentioning that the STEM success in college and post-college programs are due to an influx of Asians into our schools, from kindergarten through graduate school.

 

Before you readers get all “racist” know that the Asians have a different diet, rich in the nutrient choline.  Choline is the main factor in the chemical make-up of myelin.  Its absence is supposed to be a factor in such ailments as Alzheimer’s Disease.  Choline can be found mainly in fish diets, but also in the crunch vegetables broccoli, brussel sprouts and asparagus, as well as peanut butter.

 

Not all Asians are super-smart rocket scientists.  Just the ones who wanted to escape the poverty of India or the Communism of China, and go to better schools, become successful, and keep the rewards of their success.

 

In other words, the “smart” Asians came to America.  Worried about the Chinese beating us?  Well, they’re already here and we can either hang our heads in disgrace or learn from their work and study ethic (as well as their diet).

 

The Chinese know America is the greatest country on Earth (or they wouldn’t be here).  Too bad our own kids will never learn that same lesson.

 

Not if Common Core has anything to say about it.

 

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Published in: on April 24, 2014 at 5:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Putin Juggernaut

Now that Vladimir Putin has Crimea – and Georgia – he sits on the borders of Ukraine, his tanks in the crouching position, licking his chops.  He knows there’s nothing to stop him. With his 2012 election victory, Obama gained the “flexibility” he needed to downsize our military, stopping our M1 Abrams and M2 Bradly tanks in their tracks.

Obama signed the order last year – 2013 – halting their production.  The Pentagon says they don’t want any more tanks.  In a way, they’re correct; we have enough abandoned tanks in Afghanistan and Iraq.  The Army claims its too expensive to bring them back to the United States.

They sure might come in handy in Europe, though, where those nations are in imminent danger of being overrun by Putin’s tanks.  Meanwhile, Obama is sending our anti-tank missiles to Syria, where they’re not needed, rather than to the Ukrainian front, where they are.

Today, the Dutch defense department reported that several NATO member countries scrambled jets after two Russian bomber planes approached their airspace over the North Sea.  They identified the planes as Russian TU-95 Bears, and said they had launched two F-16s from Volkel Air Force base to intercept them. The Russian jets were escorted by aircraft from the Netherlands, Britain and Denmark until they departed.

The Dutch ministry stated that such incidents have occurred before, on March 21 and Sept. 10 last year.

But Europe can breathe a sigh of relief:  Vice President Joe Biden is on the job, ensuring that the Geneva intervention holds.  It’s such a comfort to know that this moron has Europe’s back.  Freedom and liberty are vouch-safed with Biden and Kerry handling the negotiations!

 

How could anyone excuse Obama’s foreign policy as mere stupidity, inexperience, or daftness?  How could anyone who loves freedom support him or even tolerate him?  We are on Putin’s chessboard and Obama knowingly placed us there.  Had it not been for the lapse at the microphone, his cheerleaders might have been able to cover for him.

 

Obama plans to do exactly nothing about Putin and the Ukraine.  He’s already said so.  The former Soviet republics will be drawn back into the Communist fold, just as Putin has planned all along.  Then, with America’s weakness and China’s complacency (even partnership) assured, Putin’s tanks will then be on the borders of Poland, Hungary, and Romania.  They fell once to Communist and will be easy prey once again.

 

Step by step, the new Soviet Union will encroach upon old Western Europe, already beset by Muslim extremists who have no loyalty to their “adopted” countries.  Western Europe’s forces are no match for Russia’s arsenal or China’s wealth.

 

Things feeling a bit Neville Chamberlainish?  Like it’s 1938 all over again?  Jews in the Ukraine must “register” now.  America has fallen for presidential lies about socialist programs.  We’re all under the Obamacare mandate now, that no one wanted and woe to you if you didn’t sign up in the “exchanges”.  It’s curtains for you, to use an old-fashioned cliché, if you get sick.  The doctors told my mother that she’s too old for the heart shunt.  Well, she may be.  But she still wants to live, even if she is 90.

 

Unlike the Nazis in the 1930s and 40s, the Communists don’t need to get rid of their enemies here in America with ovens.  They just have to deny them health care.  Very simple.  Very neat.  No ovens.  No camps.  Just let whoever it is – die from whatever they have.

 

Remember the trash compactor scene in Star Wars on the Death Star, where Luke, Han, Princess Leia, and Chewie were about to be squeezed into human toothpicks?  Well, that’s us, now.  Between the taxes and the encroachment on our freedoms, China is pushing one wall in and Russia, the other.

 

Unlike Star Wars, where C3PO and R2D2 saved the day, it’s not going to be a happy ending for us.

Published in: on April 23, 2014 at 9:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Earth Day, 2014: None Dare Call It Lenin’s Birthday

In February 1964, John A. Stormer published his Conservative classic, None Dare Call It Treason, a book warning of the dangers of Communism.  The title of the book came from a quote by Sir John Harrington (1561-1612):  “Treason doth never prosper, what’s the reason?  For if it prosper, none dare call it treason.”  Harrington was a writer and also the inventor of the flush toilet.

Stormer dedicated his book, first published by the Liberty Bell Press in 1964, to his then-five year old daughter, Holly.  By July of 1964, the book had sold over a million copies.  Today, its sales stand at around 7 million copies.

Why speak of this fifty year-old classic on Earth Day?  Because April 22nd was chosen as Earth Day because it is the birthdate of Vladimir Lenin.  Not to be confused with May 5th – Cinco de Mayo – the birthdate of Karl Marx.  And Stormer’s book warned of the cataclysmic political theology with which Lenin overthrew Russia.

The second quote in the book, which heads the first chapter (“Have We Gone Crazy?”), is from Lenin:

“As long as [C]apitalism and [S]ocialism exist, we cannot live in peace; in the end, one or the other will triumph – a funeral dirge will be sung over either the Soviet Republic or over world [C]apitalism.”

Stormer warned of Communist plans to overturn our government, our economy, and our educational system.  Fifty years ago, he was warning about the corruption of the educational establishment and the Progressive educational methods they were following.

This Earth Day, we witnessed the on-going saga of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, making a stand for state’s rights in an increasingly bureaucratic, centralized government era, the very kind of collective government about which Stormer warned.

Under the guise of cheery, save the dolphins, whales, and dry-land tortoises theology, our children have been duped into celebrating the birthdate of a totalitarian, Communist dictator, Lenin.   Be forewarned that May 5th, they will be celebrating the Father of Communism, Karl Marx.

We mark these specific dates, while our own presidents are grouped all under one, Monday-holiday of Presidents Day.  Rather than celebrating our best presidents – Washington and Lincoln – all the presidents are lumped together, the good (Reagan), the bad (Wilson), the ugly (Nixon) and the mediocre (William Henry Harrison – he didn’t live long enough as president to be noted for anything else but having the shortest term in office).

Every April 22nd through May 5th we should revisit None Dare  Call It Treason and remind ourselves of what we should be celebrating – and what we shouldn’t.

Never mind Earth Day.  Happy Anniversary (a couple of months late) to this timeless classic.

Published in: on April 23, 2014 at 4:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Easter Sunday, 2014

Just finished reading Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus.

 

The title of O’Reilly’s readable and informative tome is a bit misleading, for it’s not simply an Easter tale.  Killing Jesus explores the ancient Biblical world from Jesus’ birth to his horrifying death on a cross some 36 years later.

 

Co-written with author and historian Martin Dugard, O’Reilly describes in page-turning detail that dusty ancient world and its denizens:  the Jews, the Gentiles, Pharisees, Sadduccees, Temple priests, Roman emperors, and Judean tetrarchs.

 

If you don’t recall your Bible school lessons, you’ll be reminded that the Centurion whose servant Jesus healed was a friend of the Jewish people and even helped build their synagogue.  O’Reilly reminds us that Jesus didn’t come, initially, to save the world (that’s in the Bible, too) but his own people, the lost sheep of Israel.

 

Don’t be too put off by that seeming rebuke by Jesus:  the Jews were essentially the only people of the monotheistic God at the time.  One of the Egyptian pharaohs had tried monotheism but his people were none too happy and as soon as they deposed him, went back to their old ways of worship.

 

Before Jesus could send any apostles out to spread the Good News, he first had to convince the Jews, which was a monumental task.  What would it avail him to spread the Good News to the Gentiles who knew nothing of Jehovah or Yahweh (God’s real name)?  First he had to set straight the Jews who would heed him before the Gentiles could be converted from paganism.

 

O’Reilly reminds us of just how much the Jews hated the Romans and their own temple priests.  They were all on the take.  The Romans taxed the farmers so heavily that they were forced off their lands and into the slums of the cities.  Without land, there was no way for them to grow their own food much less make a living.

 

What was left the Jewish peasants had to pay in tribute to the Jewish temple in Jerusalem once a year.  Meanwhile, the Judean ruler, Herod the Great, a nominal Jew made nice with his Roman masters.  Tiberius had set down a ruling that the Jewish people’s religion was not to be interfered with.

 

Meanwhile, Tiberius, O’Reilly and Dugard tell us, went mad with grief over the death of his wife.  He exiled himself on the island of Capris, where he tasked one of his Roman bureaucrats with the task of finding him young sex slaves, both male and female.  After he was through with them, he would hurl them off the island’s 1,000 foot cliff to the north so that they couldn’t carry any tales of his debauchery, drunkenness, and pedophilia back to Rome.

 

For decades, celebrities have raved about the famed “beauty” of Capris.  The island is featured on cruises as an excursion during the main cruise.  Little do people realize or understand its nightmarish history or its fame as a homosexual resort.  Bet the travel guides don’t mention the darker side of this accursed island.

 

Herod was not much better Tiberius.  By the time of Christ’s birth, he was crippled with gangrene and any number of sexually-transmitted diseases.  He sends his Roman troops off to slaughter the innocents of Bethlehem, about five miles outside of Jerusalem.  They dispatch the infants without mercy and probably with some pleasure.

 

O’Reilly and Dugard remind us that Julius Caesar was far worse, murdering 430,000 Germanic tribespeople (men, women and children) without mercy, for the crime of rebelling against the Empire.  In Jesus’ time, though, Tiberius was a much-feared emperor.

 

Details that don’t always come across clearly in the Bible, speak loudly and clearly in O’Reilly’s storytelling style.  Simon Peter begs Jesus to leave him alone, that he’s not a good man, that he’s not up to the task.  Judas Iscariot is restored to his original villainy, stealing from the charity box and balking when Mary Magdalene anoints Jesus’ head with expensive perfume.

 

Killing Jesus gives an excellent geography lesson.  Magdela is where Mary Magdelene came from.  Sephoris was the city Herod Antipas built, giving Joseph the carpenter (and presumably others) plenty of work.  Herod Antipas was a friend of Antony and Cleopatra, which was probably why the Emperor Augustus appointed him to the position.  In gratitude, Antipas builds a fortress city called Antonia in Antony’s honor.

 

Once you understand the grinding poverty of the Jews, it becomes quite clear why Jesus was so beloved of the crowds (in addition to healing the sick).  In the Bible, Jesus wearily says to yet another supplicant, “How long am I to be burdened with you people?” (He heals the woman, though).

 

Jesus makes Capernaum his city and does not wander all about Israel and Judea, as was always supposed.  Staying in Capernaum allows his disciples to stay and provide for their families yet still allows the good news to go forth for Capernaum is a seaport.  He chooses his disciples for their fluency in all the languages of the region:  Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.  Travelers then bring news of the Messiah to their homelands.

 

And the people come flocking by the tens of thousands.  So enormous are the crowds that Jesus has Peter take him out on his fishing boat and preach to the crowds on the shore.  The raising of Lazarus, a good friend of Jesus’, from the dead is the final convincing act for the Jewish peasants.  They’re sold.

 

But not so the priests of Jerusalem.  They send out spies to Galilee, to which Jesus has repaired because it’s beyond their jurisdiction, to trap him into admitting that he’s the Son of God.  Only he never says it and warns all those he heals and teaches not to reveal the truth yet, for if they do, it’s all over for Jesus.

 

They ignore his warnings, though.  He’s barely out of any town before the word is spread that he’s a healer and a miracle worker.  And, as the Sanhedrin discover, a cunning intellectual who not only avoids traps but leaves his interlocutors speechless.

 

Jesus is none too happy to find himself facing the cross.  O’Reilly says that he volunteered for the job.  However, in the English-version Bibles, he’s discovered stating that he did it because God asked him to.  When Killing Jesus comes to its eponymous climax, O’Reilly spares no details.

 

The whip has tentacles that dig into the flesh.  So as painful as the strike is, the drawing back of the whip causes the weights at the end of the rope to dig into the flesh.  The Romans boast that a truly good flaggeler can dig right down to a man’s spine.

 

As is portrayed in the Bible, Pontius Pilate sends Jesus to Herod Antipas because Antipas the actual ruler of the region.  But Antipas, while finding a conversation with Jesus interesting, is haunted by his execution of John the Baptist, and he sends him back to Pilate for final sentencing, clothed in an old purple robe.

 

Pilate himself writes the inscription that’s nailed over Jesus’ head on the cross.  When the Sanhedrin protest, he tells them he’s written what he’s written, like it or not.  O’Reilly assures us that it is a cross upon which Jesus is crucified.  The beam he carries through the streets is the tibulum.  Most accounts says that he was nailed to a tree, although the Greek word xylos can stand for any piece of wood – a stake, a tree, a plank.

 

O’Reilly gets at least one detail wrong – the description of Jesus’ appearance.  He maintains that Jesus would have had the strong bearing of a carpenter, accustomed to lugging heavy trees and stones.  But that’s not how Isaiah prophesized his appearance in Isaiah 53.  There, Jesus is described as being slender and scrawny, and not the least bit majestic-looking.  Just as you would expect.

 

The Bible doesn’t describe Mary Magdalene as a prostitute.  In Luke 7:37, an unnamed woman, whom the Pharisees describe as a “sinner” cries at Jesus’ feet and dries them with her hair in the King James version of the Bible.  This occurred in Capernaum, not Magdela.  In other accounts, when Jesus is in Jerusalem for his final Passover, a woman comes in and anoints his head with expensive perfume.  When the disciples and others complain, he tells them to leave her alone.

 

O’Reilly and Dugard explain that Magdalene’s name was omitted for her protection.  Other references in the Bible claim that she was woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons.  Whether Mary Magdalene was a prostitute or a woman possessed, she was forgiven by Christ, and was faithful to him to the end.  For her reward, she was the first person to whom the resurrected Christ appeared.

 

Most accounts outside of the Bible claim that there were few followers at Jesus Christ’s crucifixion.  O’Reilly and Dugard tell us this was probably the case, for the Passover sacrifice had begun and the people were at the Temple.  Otherwise, there would have been a riot.

 

Despite its rather grisly title, Killing Jesus is a worthwhile tale, whether you’re a devout or lapsed Christian, or someone from another faith who might be wondering what all the fuss has been about these 2,000 years or so.

 

Published in: on April 21, 2014 at 4:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ten Reasons Why You Must Quit Your Job?

James Altucher, the author of eleven inspirational and career books listed on LinkedIn the “Ten Reasons You Have to Quit Your Job.”  On his televised morning radio program, Glenn Beck asked his listeners to pass the word along. You can read what Mr. Altucher has to say in the link. I’ve rewritten some of the listings to make them more edifying.  Besides, I don’t have a job to quit.

  1. The Middle Class is dead

I couldn’t agree more. The Communists issued a fatwa on the Middle Class (what they liked to call the bourgeoise) back in the 19th Century. They envisioned a world where a few elite were incredibly wealthy and controlled all the money and the masses labored in the factories or the fields, content in their ignorance that no one had any more than they did (except the elite, of course). In the Workers’ Paradise the only ladders you climbed were the ones you used to paint or fix the roofs of elite mansions or your factory. Modern-day Communists have seen to it that businesses and corporations have been taxed out of Middle Class areas, leaving the basically jobless Middle Class with no way to finish paying for their homes or send their kids to college. They’ve been forced to take low-wage, dead-end jobs just to make ends meet, thus justifying the ends of the Communist elite.

2.  You’ve been replaced

The same technology that made your jobs and your lives easier 20 years ago has now made you a dunsel, to use the word from the original, 1960’s sci-fi series, Star Trek. A “dunsel” is an outmoded thing that no longer serves any useful purpose. I was replaced by the point-and-shoot digital camera, as my company no longer valued morale-boosting photos that the employees could pin up on their walls. In fact, there isn’t even anyone left in my former office place to photograph; they were all, more or less, “dunseled”. The few who are left work in a small corner on one floor of the office building. Not only was I dunseled, but left without any of the new workplace skills I would need. I had to buy the new computer applications that are now in use, learn them, and create projects with them in order to have a useful working knowledge of them. But not all skills are obsolete; I bought an old, 1960s typing manual to practice my typing. I haven’t taken a typing test in years. Eighty words per minute was the minimum, and I’m right on that brink. All hail, Capt. Dunsel!

3.  Corporations don’t like you

They sure don’t. They do everything possible to make sure you know you’re the least valuable employee in the company, especially if you’re not perfect. For every success you have, they find at least ten mistakes with which to counter your value to the company. That way, they don’t have to give you a raise or promote you. In our company, it was not uncommon for some of the PR Department supervisors to select certain scapegoats and publicly tell them that they didn’t know how to write. One super insisted that certain of us confess our guilt publicly in a teleconference call. I told her where she could go.

4.  Money is not happiness

Jesus said so. “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Notice he didn’t say money was the root cause, but the love of it. Money may not bring us happiness, but the lack of it can certainly rain on your parade. I’ve never had enough of it to know if it could bring happiness or not. I do know that inflation eats up the value of money. By the time you retire, it won’t be worth what it was when you earned it. Young people would be better off using some of their money to stock up the non-perishable goods (bath powder, soap, shampoo, etc.) now than pay an inflated price on it 20 years from now. Just make sure you find the stuff on sale and use coupons.

5.  Count right now how many people can make a major decision that can ruin your life

 

Well, you might as well count the stars. From the bean counter who decides employees need to press their noses to the grindstone not take a break from listening to unhappy customers to the idiot who decides to cross three lanes of highway traffic to get to the Dunkin’ Donuts to a president who thinks we’d be better off on a government health care system (one that raises premiums astronomically), just about anyone can ruin your day, to say nothing of your life.

 

6.  Your job isn’t satisfying your needs

That depends on how “needs” are defined. If needs are defined as food, clothing, and shelter, my former job satisfied them very nicely, thank you very much, in addition to providing some savings, which are now all but gone. If you describe “needs” as a need for creativity and innovation, the worst thing you can do is work at what you love for a living. I loved writing – until I went to work doing it. I loved photography and loved doing it for a living – at my old job, at least. Working for the local paper hasn’t paid me enough to keep the roof over my head.   In fact, it took up so much time that it wasn’t worth the $25 per photo I was paid; time I should have been using to work up my typing speed for a job that will pay the property taxes on my condo. I’m much happier writing my unpaid blog, where I can ignore critics to my heart’s content and write as much or as little as I choose.

7.  Your retirement plan is in the toilet

Thanks to Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, it is.

8. You’re trapped by excuses

Um, it’s more like I’m trapped by expenses than by excuses. I don’t think that the electric company would accept my excuse that I’d rather be a starving photographer than a working secretary for not paying my electric bill (watch out for scam artists, by the way, who tell you they can lower your electric rates. $1,100 later – which I can scarcely afford – I will never listen to Big Brother again).

9.  You’re afraid to make the leap

You’re darned right I am. I’m crazy but I’m not stupid. I have dozens and dozens of stories locked up in the vault in my head. That’s where they’re going to stay. Once burnt, twice learnt. When I was very young, I had some story ideas. I submitted them to a publishing company, which promptly plagiarized them. Ditto with an advertising agency, and a third time with a company for which I worked. At least there, I was ordered to do the writing. The person whose name went on my writing got the promotion, the raise, and the corner office. Never again. Maybe I’ll post them on my blog when I’ve retired at 80. But until then, it’s not happening.

10. Abundance will never come from your job

Or anywhere else, it would seem. But I have everything I want in my life: I have an abundance of books, movies, and music. I own my own home and God willing, I’ll find a way to pay the taxes and utilities on it in the future. No one can tell me what to do in my own home (except my nonagerian mother). I have my blog. I have my musical instruments and I have my pictures – a lifetime’s worth and more to come, I hope.

Don’t burden yourself down with too many material things. Expensive cars or jewelry. Big houses with big mortgages. My friend’s house is filled with valuable, even priceless, heirlooms dating back to his great-grandparents.   He was some really wonderful, unique items. But you have to be afraid to walk around in his dining room and kitchen for all the fragile items he has laying about, mixed in with everyday items like cookie jars, and calculators, and photographs and all the many wonderful memories to go along with them.

He was worried about his mother’s jewels, whether I might be coveting them. I showed him my own horde of jewelry, some costume, some real (though not very expensive), and my mother’s wedding ring set, the only pieces of jewelry I truly value. I told him I’d stopped wearing the work jewelry years ago because I felt like it all weighed me down.

Big Brother gave me expensive pocketbooks and handbags over the years that I never use. I have two pocketbooks – one for fall and winter, the other for spring and summer. That’s it. My real treasure is in my library and my photographs. The laughter of the people whose photos I’ve taken still rings faintly in my ears.

It would be nice not to have to worry about money. It would be nice not to have to go to work and walk on eggshells, fearing that someone will yell at me for some trivial mistake that won’t amount to a teaspoon of vinegar 20 years from now but which will jangle my nerves until the end of my days.

I’m not afraid to admit I’m fed up with the whole rat race business. Nevertheless, it’s my duty to rejoin that rat race as soon as I can meet their stringent qualifications: type 90 words a minute; know everything about Excel, PowerPoint, PhotoShop, InDesign, and probably Illustrator; be able to e-mail a letter to a group of people around the word; learn to communicate via Skype; keep an office organize; layout and edit a website; listen to angry people screaming over the phone (I have plenty of experience there). Get up at 5 in the morning and fall asleep at 8 in the evening, except on band nights and fit my blog somewhere in between.

If I had to work, how I would much rather be working for some news organization doing research. I’m quite good at it. I love hunting down mysteries and hidden information. I love interviewing people and taking their pictures. Since 9/11, I’ve been a news fanatic. I always want to know what’s going on in the world. No more surprises. Please. 9/11 was enough.

But alas, my days have been spent bolstering my typing skills, trying to get up to speed:

Jyh holy jyh shay jyh ahoy jyh they jyh jyh holy jyh shay jyh ahoy jyh they jyh jyh holy

Wait a minute… what does “shay” mean? I don’t even know. Hold on. Here it is:

Shay (n): a closed, two-wheeled, one-passenger, one-horse carriage of French origin, adapted from the sedan chair.

Like I said, it’s a really old typing manual from the days when people still used an operator to make phone calls (well, AT&T had just instituted the direct dial system) but when we first moved into our house in 1961, there was an operator and we were even on a party line. Very strange.

Anyway, I won’t be expected to know what “shay” means; just so I type it correctly. That will be my fate and if it is my cross to bear, than I must do so more humbly than I did when I was young. I can’t afford to dream anymore. Dreaming is for the young, Mr. Altucher, and no one has offered me any better position in life.

Dreams don’t always come true. But at least I can say I had it good for 12 years. That’s more than I expected when I was 18 and was told all I was going to be was a secretary.

The little brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

Published in: on April 17, 2014 at 10:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Shoot-Out at the Bundy Corral

In the end, the Bureau of Land Management, figuring discretion is the better part of valor, withdrew their 200-strong force from the Nevada ranch where supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy were rifle-to-rifle with the law to prevent them from taking Bundy’s cattle.

 

Bundy’s family had herded cattle on the land since around the time Nevada became a state in 1864. They didn’t own the land, but rather, paid a fee to have their cattle graze on the land. Right up until 1994, Bundy himself paid the fee. No problem.

The Bureau of Land Management – under the presidential Department of the Interior – was formed in 1946 through a merger of the General Land Office (GLO) and the U.S. Grazing Service, has roots going back to the creation of the GLO in 1812.

In 1994, the BLM and the EPA declared the dry land tortoise, which roamed in the Nevada desert, an endangered species. Many ranchers were driven off their lands and the land on which the tortoises was declared not only federal land, but protected land to be governed by the federal, not the state, government.

 

In 1994, Rancher Bundy basically said, ‘Hold your horses; I ain’t payin’ no grazin’ fees to the federal government ‘cause this ain’t their land. This here land belongs to Clark County and the state of Nevada.”

 

So, he didn’t pay his fees. Not because he was a no-account, lazy scofflaw, but because he believed in the U.S. Constitution, which did not give the president the right to seize private – or state – property. Even scientists believe it’s wrong to hold the rights of animals above the rights of humans. They note that the removal of the wolves in Yellowstone National Park led to a surplus of elk, which ate up all the bark of young aspen trees, killing off their own food supply.

 

At this time, there is a surplus of dry-land tortoises. Not that that matters to the Federal government. It turns out that back in the 1990s, Harry Reid’s son made a deal with ENN, a huge energy company in China to build an enormous solar panel factory and farm in the Nevada desert.

 

This project required huge tracts of land. The BLM, in league with the EPA, obliged, declaring this tortoise an endangered species in need of federal protection. With that, the government seized the land ranchers had been using to graze their cattle. Although Bundy’s ranch is north of the project, it would only be a matter of time.

 

Bundy stood his ground and publicly said that if it came to it, he would protect his land by force. Hundreds of supporters, toting guns and rifles, showed up. The BLM seized the cattle, but eventually released them again, allegedly at the urging of U.S. Senator Harry Reid, who was, no doubt, more concerned at the news of the Chinese connection than the fact that hired cowboys were running the cows to death over the rocky land, causing the cattle to break legs and die of exhaustion. Bundy lost 125 head of cattle in the drive.

 

Surprisingly, Glenn Beck is not in the lead on this cattle rustling by the Feds. He’s more concerned that violence might break out and that people will be injured, even though Bundy said violence would only be used as a last resort and only if the BLM fired first.

 

We can appreciate Beck’s Christian concern. The Christian thing to do would be for Bundy to allow himself to be arrested and bring the matter to court. Evidently, Bundy doesn’t have much faith in a judicial system – the 9th Court of Appeals – that would allow such outrages in the first place. Many Americans agree with him. Beck has invited those Americans to “unfriend” him on Facebook.

 

While we can appreciate Beck’s religious philosophy, he’s also a gun owner and supposedly a supporter of the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms. What does he think the Second Amendment is for? To shoot at targets? To shoot burglars and rapists? To shoot deer and bear for food?

 

Personally, I shudder at all those Duck Dynasty, Swamp People, Grizzly Bear Mom shows that shoot up wild animals for sport. I don’t fancy horror movies or mass murder films, either. I shut my eyes to them (as the Bible commands). However, I still have the American spirit, right or wrong.

 

The Constitution declares the Second Amendment: “A Right to keep and bear arms. A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

 

The Second Amendment doesn’t mention targets, burglars, bears, or deer; it talks about the security of a free State. Bundy very clearly spoke about the freedom of the State of Nevada and Clark County where he lives.

 

Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.”

 

Nevada is not a “sovereign” state but a federated state, with clearly stated rules in the Constitution about what the Federal government cannot do. Nevada is a member of the United States of America.

 

But it is neither Caesar’s nor Obama’s. Let us hope that the matter will be settled peacefully. But it’s not entirely a bad thing, either, that the citizens of the United States show that they’re willing to stand their ground. Maybe it’s the federal government that needs to lower its weapons, not the citizens.

 

 

 

Published in: on April 16, 2014 at 6:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Palm Sunday, 2014

Sometimes, our lives are so busy there doesn’t even seem to be time to dream, much less post to our blogs.

 

This past Sunday, my brain decided it needed a time-out and even though I was ready to get up around 8:30, I suddenly feel asleep again and into a strange dream.

 

In the dream, I was in the Sahara Desert. The desert of mountainous sand dunes, cresting and plunging like an endless stormy sea. I was in the desert of the Arab Muslims and they were gathering a great army for battle upon a crest of an enormous depression in the sand, like the mouth of a volcano.

 

The soldiers, jubilantly cheering and calling out to one another as though they were at a pep rally, were under the command of a single man. He was waving his arms and shouting orders; it was as though I could see through his eyes or over his shoulder and felt the waves of joy emanating from the troops. They were divided into units of brigades and each brigade had a banner. As each brigade formed up, the banner bearer called out the brigade’s name.

 

“The Islamic Brigade of Connecticut!” cried the next banner bearer.

 

“The Connecticut Brigade?” I repeated incredulously.

 

“Silence!” the commander said to me. He waved me on. Now I knew who I was; I was a reporter and photographer assigned to interview and photograph the troops before the battle. To a dreamer’s horror, I found myself admiring them.

 

‘But the Connecticut Brigade?!’ I mused to myself about the unlikely soldiers. What would Connecticut citizens be doing in a desert battle? What was going on here?

 

Up ahead, a group of shrouded women leaned out from the ranks, in curiosity. I hurried over to them. They would make an unusual story, I thought.

 

In the front of the ranks was a young girl of about seven or eight. The women, when they saw my camera, all shrank back behind the girl’s mother. I told them now to worry; I wouldn’t take their pictures.

 

The girl was quite a sweet little child.

 

“Do you realize that you’re sending your daughter to her death?” I asked the mother. She and the other women looked at one another.

 

“Oh yes,” she replied, the others nodding in agreement. “It’s a great honor. We’re very proud of her.”

 

I kneeled down to talk to the girl.

 

“Aren’t you afraid of dying?” I asked her.

 

“No,” she said. “I’m very proud to lead the brigade into battle.”

She grinned.

 

I supposed they knew their business. I silenced the inner voice that said this was all wrong. I was here to cover the battle, not judge it. That’s what we’re supposed to say, isn’t it? Mind our own business? Don’t get involved personally?

 

“Well, all I can say is, you’re a very courageous little girl,” I told her. She beamed widely.

 

Then I went off to one side so I wouldn’t be shot myself. I couldn’t see the “enemy”. I didn’t know who they were fighting. The battle commenced and I suddenly discovered that the little girl was by my side. How she got there, I couldn’t tell. But before I knew it, she was fatally wounded. I knelt by her side

 

Before dying, she said, “You were right, Jesus! God does love us! Now I go to Allah!”

 

With that, she slid down the dune and vanished, her blood streaking the sand.

 

‘Allah?’ I wondered, coming from a girl who just proclaimed the name of Jesus. I felt sad and disturbed. Something wasn’t right here.

 

“That’s just her word for God,” said a voice behind me.

 

Looking up, I saw what looked like Jesus, the Jesus we remember from pictures and movies like “Jesus of the Nazareth.”

 

“The girl spoke the truth,” he pronounced. “God does love you.” Some nearby Islamic women looked disconcerted.

 

I rose and turn around to face Him, my hands in my pockets, sizing this being up skeptically. As I did so, his smile froze on his face, like the smile of a nutcracker. Was this really the Son of God? I didn’t think so.

 

Our Christian God didn’t accept the blood sacrifice of seven year-old girls. Maybe Allah did; but not the Christian. Secondly, this fellow didn’t fit the Bible’s description of Jesus.

 

Despite our veneration for the Shroud of Turin, according to some non-English Bibles, Jesus had “black, curly hair, like sheep’s wool.” Nor did the prophecies of Isaiah support a Hollywood-handsome appearance.

 

The last lines of Isaiah 53 are often quoted:

 

“3 He was despised and rejected (or forsaken) by men; a man of sorrows (or pains), and acquainted with grief (or sickness); and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

 

4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

 

5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes, we are healed.

 

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

 

7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.

 

8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?

 

9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence and there was no deceit in his mouth.

 

How we are still prejudiced by beauty that no one remembers the first two lines of Isaiah 53. Who would dare to say that the Lord Jesus was not beautiful (handsome)? Yet this is what Isaiah tells us in those first two lines:

 

  1. Who has believed what we heard?  And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed.
  2.  For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.

 

After His resurrection, Jesus appeared in many forms and his disciples didn’t recognize Him until He chose to reveal himself. In some version or other of the Bible that I’ve seen, he was described, in one of the four Gospels, that he had black, curly hair like lamb’s wool.

 

As many historians will tell you, the Bible was extensively revised by the Council of Nicea, called by the Emperor Constantine in Bithynia in A.D. 325 (a region in western Turkey). Many accounts were deemed heretical and thrown out of the canon.

 

Why would all of Isaiah 53 come to pass except the first two verses? No word is found in the English translations of His physical appearance. Was it to test the faithful and the faithless? Were the descriptions found to be insulting, unkind, and even blasphemous, so that the early Christians edited them out of our Bibles?

 

Is our understanding so weak that we cannot accept that the Son of God was not, initially, handsome? He was also something of a cranky scold, if you read the Four Gospels through; he’d get so annoyed with His disciples’ questions that they became afraid to ask Him anything. But he could read hearts (minds) and knew what they were thinking anyway. He also tells his disciples that he didn’t volunteer for the mission, that he came to save Man because His Father asked him to do so.

 

Another thing about Jesus Christ: he never washed his hands. That’s right. When he was eating with the Pharisees, they noticed that he and his disciples didn’t clean their hands before dinner. He didn’t have to because he was as pure as a bar of Ivory soap, although he rebuked a woman who told him he was good.

 

“I am not good; only God is good [perfect].” That would explain the fig tree that he blew away and that later fable he told, seemingly correcting his prior act. When his astonished disciples asked him why he did it (it wasn’t the season for figs), his answer was, basically, because he could.

 

Huh? What?! My mother said it was to show that he also human.

 

So what are we to expect of a Second Coming? He said he would return, as a grown man (rather than a baby) on clouds of glory. No mistaking that. The child of Heaven is for Real had a sketch drawn of a good-looking man he said was Jesus. Okay.

 

But even in that picture, he doesn’t look like the figure in the Shroud of Turin, upon which most films about Christ are based. The truth is, even if we knew what Jesus looked like during his time on Earth, that doesn’t mean it’s what He looks like now. The Son of God can probably take on whatever appearance He chooses.

 

We must beware of our own prejudices about beauty, for our eyes and ears can deceive us. Worshipping beauty, any handsome man of that generally-accepted description could come among us, declaring himself to be the Son of God returned to Earth (alas that in our times, “clouds of glory” can be artificially produced), and mislead us into committing great evils.

 

Jesus told the Pharisees that it was not what we put into our mouths that was evil and unclean but what came out of them: lies, blasphemies, hatred, and profanity.

 

Strange that in our times we are such slaves to good hygiene, buying endless tubes of toothpaste, bottles of dental rinse and mouthwash, dental floss, chewing gum, and breath sprays that our breath should be sweet and our teeth the purest white, while uttering the worst profanities, lies, blasphemies, insults, and cruelties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on April 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

So Long, “Fare Well” to Sebelius

Hot on the high-heels of Lois Lerner’s contempt-of-Congress charge, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced her resignation yesterday.

 

“Kathleen will go down in history for serving … when the United States of America finally declared that quality affordable health care is not a privilege but it is a right for every single citizen of these United States of America,” Obama said.

 

Sebelius, Obama, and Nancy Pelosi will go down properly in history as foisting off on American’s the most unconstitutional act since Johnson instituted welfare. Seven million people have signed up. But that doesn’t mean they’ve paid for it.

 

Nor is it clear whether they’ve signed up for actual health insurance or Medicaid. Without his eponymous health care plan, Obama has warned that many Americans will show up at an emergency room with an emergency, but no insurance to cover it. And the hospital will refuse to treat you. And now it’s “too late” to sign up, in case you’ve had second thoughts (or have gotten a job that will allow you to pay Obamacare’s outrageous premiums).

 

For those of us who are unemployed, but not yet eligible for Medicare, and can’t afford the premiums, the threats are useless since no doctor in his right mind will treat a Medicaid patient. Throngs of doctors are signing out of their commitment to Medicaid, my personal doctor among them. Just where does he think we’re going to get the money from, at any rate?

 

The doctors who will replace them are nurse practitioners, underqualified medical school graduates, or immigrant doctors who either can’t speak English or speak it so badly that they won’t know whether you need your appendix taken out or an ingrown toe nail.

 

Obama and his minions declare insistently that Obamacare is here to stay and that there’s nothing we can do about it. That is for the American people to decide, not a bureaucratic poser who threatens the American people with a my-way-or-the-highway attitude.

 

If enough people decide that Obamacare is making them sick in addition to bankrupting them, they will find a way to rescind it. This is not welfare, in the sense that we can shrug it off as more totalitarian government. Obamacare affects us individually, personally, and financially. We shouldn’t shrug it off.

 

Not when the government can penalize you through a fine if you don’t sign, and prison if you refuse to pay the penalty. Not when hospitals can refuse to admit you a second time if, within 30 days, you are re-admitted for the same ailment. If you suffer a stroke, they send you home, and then you suffer a second stroke, that’s your hard luck. To Obama, that’s just one more WWII generation, most likely Conservative, voter out of the way.

 

Behold his mighty pen and tremble!

 

Unlike the British, Americans are not a patient people, if you will excuse the expression. They’re already furious over waiting times. They’re even less tolerant of medical malpractice. Obama may think he has them running scared. But the record, so far, doesn’t bode well for the Democrats.

 

They’re terrified of the mid-term elections in November. That’s why Sebelius has been given her sentimental discharge orders. American’s poor memories never fail to forget what happened six months earlier. That’s partially how Obama won two elections; who remembered reading his autobiography where he bashed suburban America? Who remembered how he said that if it were up to him, he’d shred the Constitution? Who remembered ancient history when his campaign dug up the divorce records of his U.S. senatorial opponent Jack Ryan, in the midst of divorcing his wife, actress and blonde bombshell Jeri Ryan (“Seven of Nine” on the series Star Trek: Voyager), essentially clearing the field to take his Senate seat with no opposition at all?

 

This is April. Will anyone remember in November Sebelius’ departure?

 

 

Published in: on April 11, 2014 at 5:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

No Superman Rescue for Lois Lerner

After a five-hour debate, the House Oversight Committee voted along party lines, 21-12, to hold former IRS Director of Tax Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress.  The charges come after Lerner failed to answer questions about the IRS targeting of conservative groups and after her failure to cooperate with the Committee investigation into the targeting.

 

Democrats repeatedly defended the Lerner’s Constitutional rights, arguing she did not waive her Fifth Amendment rights even though she made a statement before declaring she would not answer questions last year and again in early 2014.  Republicans argued Lerner did in fact waive her Fifth Amendment rights due to making a statement.  They also defended the rights of taxpayers who were targeted by her organization to hold her accountable for her actions.

 

The contempt charge will now go to the full House for a vote. A date for when that vote will occur has not been set.  If the House votes to hold her in contempt, the charge will then go to the court system.  Yesterday the House Ways and Means Committee referred Lerner to the Department of Justice for criminal charges.

 

The decision to hold Lois Lerner in contempt comes 11 months to the day since she revealed this unlawful scheme with a question she planted at an ABA meeting,” ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said in a statement.

 

“From the very beginning, she has ignored a Congressional subpoena – refused to answer questions on two occasions by pleading the Fifth Amendment. We believe – as many others do – that she waived her constitutional right to remain silent because she invoked it after she publicly proclaimed her innocence. Lerner has misled the American people and Congress from the very start. Contempt is justified and the appropriate sanction in this case.”

In response to a question about the IRS’s handling of Tea Party exemption applications, asked at the May 10 meeting of the Exempt Organizations Committee of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association, Lois Lerner, Director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations office, made the following response: 

“We get about 60,000 applications for tax exemption every year, most of them are 501(c)(3) organizations. But between 2010 and 2012 we started seeing a very big uptick in the number of 501(c)(4) applications we were receiving and many of these organizations applying more than doubled, about 1,500 in 2010 and over 3,400 in 2012.  So we saw a big increase in these kinds of applications, many of which indicated that they were going to be involved in advocacy work.

So our line people in Cincinnati who handled the applications did what we call ‘centralization’ of these cases. They centralized work on these in one particular group. They do that for efficiency and consistency  — something we do whenever we see an uptick in a new kind of application or something we haven’t seen before. Folks might remember from back a few years ago we had credit counseling organizations and we centralized those cases. We had mortgage foreclosure cases and we centralized those cases. We do it for consistency.  So they went ahead and did that. How they do centralization is they have a list in their office that they give out to folks who are screening cases that says if it is one of these kind of cases and it can’t be screened it needs to go to group X.  So centralization was perfectly fine.

However, in these cases, the way they did the centralization was not so fine. Instead of referring to the cases as advocacy cases, they actually used case names on this list. They used names like Tea Party or Patriots and they selected cases simply because the applications had those names in the title. That was wrong, that was absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate — that’s not how we go about selecting cases for further review. We don’t select for review because they have a particular name.

The other thing that happened was they also, in some cases, cases sat around for a while. They also sent some letters out that were far too broad, asking questions of these organizations that weren’t really necessary for the type of application.  In some cases you probably read that they asked for contributor names. That’s not appropriate, not usual, there are some very limited times when we might need that but in most of these cases where they were asked they didn’t do it correctly and they didn’t do it with a higher level of review. As I said, some of them sat around for too long.

What have we done to take care of this? Oh, let me back up. They didn’t do this because of any political bias. They did it because they were working together. This was a streamlined way for them to refer to the cases. They didn’t have the appropriate level of sensitivity about how this might appear to others and it was just wrong. So when we found out about it we did a couple of things. First, we said that list that goes around for centralizing cases any changes on that list have to be reviewed and approved at the Director of Rulings & Agreements level so line staff can no longer change or add to that list without calling us to look at it.

We also went back and looked at questions that had been sent out to folks because some of them were extensive and where the questions weren’t necessary we gave the organizations flexibility as to which questions they needed to answer and gave them more time to answer them.  In some cases, we told them to just ignore the letter we already sent and sent a new list of questions. In some cases we said we don’t need those questions answered. We can deal with your application without responses to those questions. We also sorted the cases to try and figure out which cases needed a further look and which cases could be handled through almost a screening process. We might need a little bit more information.

The problem in the (c)(4) area is that the kind of activity the organizations were doing is okay for (c)(4)s but it can’t be their primary activity. So that weighing and balancing is a little different than when we have a (c)(3) that says you can’t do any political activity. That’s a pretty easy question. So I guess my bottom line here is that we at the IRS should apologize for that, it was not intentional, and as soon as we found out what was going on, we took steps to make it better and I don’t expect that to reoccur.

Lerner now joins Attorney General Eric Holder, who was held in contempt of Congress in June 2012.

 

The fact that the words “Tea Party” and “Patriot” acted as a trigger for the IRS (somewhat like the bell for Pavlov’s dogs?), indicates that politics were involved. This is the same IRS that Obama is going to use to hunt down scofflaws who refuse to sign up for his Obamacare.

 

The Tea Parties organized in 2009 after they saw the success of their rallies. They began filing immediately – the Tea Party to which I belonged certainly did. That Tea Party’s president was a lawyer who knew the Ps and Qs of non-profit, tax-exempt organizations.

 

Despite Lois Lerner’s false assertions, non-profit organizations do not necessarily have to “benefit” the community in a financial sense or provide “charity” work. Our band is (or was) a (c) (3). We’re a band. In fact, we’re a for-hire marching and concert band. The organization gets paid to play. It’s permitted to accept remuneration, although there is a ceiling on the remuneration, above which it would just be taxed on the money.

 

That’s all. If we made more money, our band members wouldn’t have to trade in their uniforms for orange jumpsuits – unless our treasurer didn’t pay the taxes, of course. We don’t pay our individual members; that’s the one requirement, although we would be permitted to pay a band director for his or her work. As long as the money goes have the benefit of the organization. (The band officers can’t simply pocket the money.)

 

The Tea Parties who opted to become (c)(4)s knew the rules about supporting candidates. Not only were they aware of it, but they didn’t want to finance candidates because they didn’t want to wind up backing the wrong (RINO) GOP candidates. The Republicans certainly tried to boss our Tea Party around, but we showed them the door.

 

Now Lois Lerner has to eat her words. The Committee has found grounds to hold her in contempt of Congress. What will the House of Representatives do? The RINOs in the House dislike the Tea Parties intensely. They wanted us silenced as much, maybe even more than, Nobama and the Democrats. Will they hold her in contempt on the grounds of lying to the House Investigating Committee and impeding the rights of the Tea Parties to assemble peacefully and advocate for Conservative issues?

 

Or will the RINOs roll over, as they often do, and award her the Congressional Medal of Honor, instead?

 

Published in: on April 10, 2014 at 4:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

What Has The Smoking Gun Blog Been Smoking?

The Rev. Al Sharpton – an FBI agent informing on the mob? Are they serious?

That’s the report according to The Smoking Gun blog. They claim the 59-year old Sharpton has been working with the FBI and NYPD since the mid-1980s, targeting the leaders of the Genovese crime family, the largest, most-feared Mafia organization in the country. The Rev. Al even goes by the code name of “CI-7.”

It’s not hard to imagine Al as a crook; he’s done some time. But why would the Mafia want anything to do with Al?

Still, TSG claims his “secret life” “is based on hundreds of pages of confidential FBI affidavits, documents released by the bureau in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, court records, and extensive interviews with six members of the Genovese squad, as well as other law enforcement officials to whom the activist provided assistance.”

“Genovese squad investigators–representing both the FBI and NYPD–recalled how Sharpton, now 59, deftly extracted information from wiseguys. In fact, one Gambino crime family figure became so comfortable with the protest leader that he spoke openly–during ten wired face-to-face meetings–about a wide range of mob business, from shylocking and extortions to death threats and the sanity of Vincent “Chin” Gigante, the Genovese boss who long feigned mental illness in a bid to deflect law enforcement scrutiny. As the mafioso expounded on these topics, Sharpton’s briefcase–a specially customized Hartmann model–recorded his every word.

Task force members, who were interviewed separately, spoke on the condition of anonymity when describing Sharpton’s work as an informant and the Genovese squad’s activities. Some of these investigators provided internal FBI documents to a reporter.

“Records obtained by TSG show that information gathered by Sharpton was used by federal investigators to help secure court authorization to bug two Genovese family social clubs, including Gigante’s Greenwich Village headquarters, three autos used by crime family leaders, and more than a dozen phone lines. These listening devices and wiretaps were approved during the course of a major racketeering investigation targeting the Genovese family’s hierarchy.”

Sharpton shouldn’t be the source of an investigation; he should be the subject. Having already served time, one can only think that he volunteered to get himself off the hook. He’s a loose cannon whom someone needs to dish the dirt on him. The list of controversies he’s stirred up as an activist is long: Bernhard Goetz, whom he claimed was a racist (a jury found that the shooting was the result of a robbery attempt, not racism). Howard Beach, where a mob of white men assaulted three black men whom they suspected of robbery. Sharpton led 1,200 demonstrators on a protest march through the streets of Howard Beach.

Bensonhurst was a more serious, and obvious case of racism, with four black teens beaten up by a mob of approximately 20 Italian-American Brooklynites. One of the two leaders of the mob was acquitted of the most serious charges. When Sharpton led yet another protest march, an Italian-American resident tried to stab him. This is the Sharpton we’re supposed believe the Mafia took into their confidence?

Then there was the Crown Heights riot. A car driven by Jewish man as part of a procession led by the cops went through an intersection, was struck by another vehicle, causing it to veer onto the sidewalk, accidentally striking and killing a 7 year-old black boy and severely injuring his cousin. A private ambulance was ordered for the Jewish driver because the cops feared for his safety while the boy was still pinned under the car. The black neighborhood rioted for four days. They beat Jewish residents and looted Jewish stores. Mayor David Dinkins attempted unsuccessfully to prevent Sharpton’s protest march.

In 1995, a black Pentecostal Church, the United House of Prayer, which owned retail property on 125th street, asked the Jewish tenant who owned Freddie’s Fashion Mar to evict a long-time subtenant, a black-owned record store. Sharpton led a protest march against the eviction. One of the protesters set fire to Farari’s store.

Amadou Diallo, mistaken by police for a suspect, was shot to death. Sharpton led protests against police brutality and racial profiling. The family was later awarded $3 million in a wrongful death suit against New York City.

Tyisha Miller, a 19 year-old black woman in Riverside, Calif., decided to commit auto-cide at a local gas station. She was unconscious when police found her, and had a gun in her lap. As the cops broke the window, she reached for her weapon, and the cops opened fire, hitting her 23 times. Sharpton led protests against her killing, stopping traffic on a busy highway. He was later arrested for his participation and leadership in the protests.

In 2001, Sharpton was arrested – by the F.B.I. – on trespassing charges while protesting against U.S. military target practice in Puerto Rico near a U.S. Navy bombing site. The base was later closed.

West African immigrant Ousmane Zongo, unarmed, was shot by undercover cops during a riad on a warehouse in Manhattan. Sharpton was on hand to protest his killing.

In 2006, Sean Bell was shot in Jamaica, Queens, by plainclothes detectives. The detectives were acquitted of charges of manslaughter and reckless endangerment. Nevertheless, Sharpton led protests at major river crossings throughout New York, closing bridges and tunnels. He and 200 others were arrested.

In the Dunbar Village Housing Projects in West Palm Beach, Fla., four black men were arrested for allegedly raping and beating a black woman at gunpoint. Sharpton held a press conference to highlight what he said was unequal treatment of the four suspected rapists.

At his press conference Sharpton said that any violent act toward a woman is inexcusable but he felt that the accused youths were being treated unfairly because they were black. Sharpton contrasted the treatment of the suspects, who remain in jail, with white suspects involved in a gang rape—which he claimed was equivalent to the Dunbar Village attack—who were released after posting bond.

Finally, there was the infamous Tawana Brawley case in 1987. On Nov. 28, 1987, the then-15-year-old Brawley was found – alive – lying in a garbage bag, her clothing torn and burned and with various slurs and epithets written on her body in charcoal. Brawley claimed she had been assaulted and raped by six white men, some of them police officers, in the town of Wappinger Falls, N.Y.

Attorneys Alton H. Maddox and C. Vernon Mason joined Sharpton in support of Brawley. After seven months of examining police and medical records, the jury found “overwhelming evidence” that Brawley had fabricated her story. Sharpton, Maddox, and Mason accused the Dutchess County prosecutor, Steven Pagones, of racism and of being one of the perpetrators of the alleged abduction and rape. The three were successfully sued for defamation, and were ordered to pay $345,000 in damages, with the jury finding Sharpton liable for making seven defamatory statements about Pagones, Maddox for two, and Mason for one. Sharpton refused to pay his share of the damages; it was later paid by a number of black business leaders including attorney Johnnie Cochran

With a record like that, how could anyone, least of all the F.B.I., trust this nut-job as an informant? Sharpton himself denies the charges of being a mob information and it’s the one instance in his entire career where he’s probably telling the truth.

Published in: on April 9, 2014 at 8:17 pm  Leave a Comment