Monday, December 11, 2017

Thank God For Donald Trump As Commander-in-Chief

Michael Thomas Flynn is a retired United States Army Lieutenant General who served in the U.S. Army for 33 years, from 1981 until 2014.In January 2017 he briefly served as National Security Adviser to President Trump. 
On December 1, 2017 he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with Russia's ambassador and disclosed that he is cooperating with the special counsel's office.
He is not the first, nor the highest ranking military officer to fall from grace because the Liberal Left declared war on him. First and foremost there was General David Petraeus. He was a 4-star general with over 37 years in the military. He was the most senior officer to be prosecuted.
There was also Army Gen. David D. McKiernan, the first 4-star relieved since Truman relieved MacArthur; and, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the Overall commander Afghanistan who was replaced by Gen. Petraeus; Cmdr. Derick Armstrong, Commander, guided missile destroyer USS The Sullivans; Cmdr. Joseph E. Darlak, Commander, USS Vandegrift; Cmdr. Jon Haydel, Commander, USS San Diego; Cmdr. Diego Hernandez, Commander, ballistic-missile submarine USS Wyoming; Cmdr. Michael Ward, Commander, USS Pittsburgh; Cmdr. Jeffrey Wissel, Commander, of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 1; and, Lt. Col. Blair Kaiser Commander of the 30th Airlift Squadron, an active duty C-130 unit embedded within the Wyoming Air National Guard. And there is Lieutenant Colonel Lance Annicelli, Commander of the 9th Physiological Support Squadron, Beale, Air Force Base.
In isolation, if one were to look at each of these cases individually, it would at first appear that these officers were singled out for their own personal transgressions. But taken together and looked at as a whole, it appears that there was something more sinister at work. There was a Cultural War going on. The Culture War has escalated into an un-Civil War. It is a Cold War, but could easily become a Hot War. Shots have been fired. Congressmen have been assassinated  outside of Washington DC while playing soft ball.
The extreme political Left had declared war on traditional America. What appeared to be “social engineering” was in fact a full frontal attack on our most sacred and cherished institutions; such as, the core values of the American Military (duty, honor, loyalty, moral purity), the traditional heterosexual family, Judeo-Christian values, morality, the heterosexual white American male, free speech, respect for each other, religious tolerance, and gender separation. The family, the church, and the military were the three institutional pillars of American Culture. The virtues we hold sacred were embedded in these institutions. George Washington, John Adams and Abraham Lincoln have all noted in one form or another that, “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Until we accept that as a nation, we are destined to continue to flail about rudderless in a tempestuous sea.
The Story of Colonel Lance Annicelli is a window into an unhinged system careening toward irredeemable corruption.
Thank God that President Donald Trump is our Commander-in-Chief. He and Secretary of Defense James Mattis are fighting hard to put an end to this madness. 



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At the inception of The Obama Administration in 2008 there were only two recognized genders, male and female. At the end in 2016 there were more than four dozen clamoring for recognition and for legally protected status. Many of these alternative genders were trying to gain access to the female toilet and dressing room. The gender of one’s birth was no longer accepted as an absolute. Individuals were afforded the option to choose a gender they felt most comfortable with. The choice of the moment was not binding. People were free to choose as many and as often as they desired. The rest of society was required to accept the gender choice of the moment of be labeled a racist, homophobe, bigot. Presidential Executive Orders and threats to withhold federal funds were used to force School Boards and State Educational Institutions to comply with what appeared to be the objectives of the radical homosexual agenda.The “Military” and the “Traditional Family” were not the only cherished American Institutions that were under attack. There was also the Christian Church, and the Educational Institutions at all levels from kindergarten to post-graduate school. These traditional institutions and the mainstream Americans who practiced them were called “the enemy”, and “deplorable”. The Nuclear Family (male-husband, female-wife and children), and traditional heterosexual people were considered outside of the normal while traditional deviants, the LBGTs (Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Gay, Trans-gendered, etc.) were touted as the new norm.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Show Your True Colors

The recent controversy swirling around NFL players who refuse to stand for the National Anthem and the showing of the American Flag is just another incidence of Fake News reporting and misinformation. It is pure propaganda. There is no Constitutionally Protected Free Speech Right involved. It is a work place dispute governed by a private employment contract between the football  players and the owners.
This is a Leftist attempt to kill two birds with one stone. On the one hand it enrages the fans because of the blatant disrespect shown to our sacred National Symbols. On the other, it furthers the Left's attempts to eat away at the strong masculine image of the American male by blurring gender lines and feminizing national sports.
The fans have stop attending games in record numbers leaving many stadiums with empty seats. Many have cancelled ESPN subscriptions and have stop watching games on television. There has been talk of an all out boycott of the NFL and possibly the NBA. President Trump, among others, has mentioned such a possibility.
The introduction of Politics into an American National Pastime has angered many sports fans. Sports have always been an avenue of relaxation where people get away from stressful situations. Sports have have served as common ground for Americans of diverse backgrounds to break the ice and to get acquainted.
Sports is the one subject, other than the weather, where rich and poor, Black and white, and old and young can strike up a conversation. The one thing they had in common was their love for America and respect for America's National Symbols. Everyone would stand and cheer for the Red, White and Blue.


Show Your true Colors. Display This Beautiful American Flag.
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In stead of catering to their fans, the players and owners are cannibalizing their own market. The resulting decrease in revenue eats away at the Owners' profits, and makes star players less attractive to corporate sponsors. A house divided cannot endure.
The Poster Child for this controversy is Colin Kaepernick, an aging Quarterback with diminishing skills who was rumored to be on the verge of being traded to another team. He played the Race Card and caused many other weak minded Black Players to follow his example. Instead of standing for the National Anthem and the Posting of the Colors, they dropped to their knees. Calling their protest, Taking a Knee, they were borrowing a term and a practice long used in the Black Baptist Church. The Act of Public Praying has always been referred to as "Taking A Knee" or "Kneeling In Prayer". It was practiced by Civil Rights Devotees during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Along with Sit-Ins, there were Pray-ins, Lay-ins and other types of  Civil Protest-Ins.
Kaepernick, who like Barack Obama is one half Black and was raised by white parents, claimed to be protesting racial injustice in America and said that he would not stand for the National Flag of a Country where police officers killed Black People indiscriminately. Anonymous sources hinted that he was secretly being paid by George Sorros and Left leaning groups to sow discord among the NFL players who are predominately Black. Regardless of his motivation, he has created a real Donnybrook.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

What is Critical Thinking Today?

The reason for this potentially provocative ,or maybe even insulting to some, post is to promote "critical thinking" - "critical thinking" is a way of thinking in which you don't simply accept everything that you are exposed to but rather question them - especially the media: 
"Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic diseases of the twentieth century [including the 21st century], and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press." ~ Alexander Solzhenitsyn. 
Sometimes, if not all the time, Truth hurts or at least annoys ... Policing "critical thinking" or common sense for racism, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, nationalism, separatism, revisionism, 1st Amendment, 2nd Amendment, etc., etc., etc. is nothing more than mind control and censorship via PC (Political Correctness). 
Critical Thinking (CT), open mindedness, is how we build bridges, PC, closed mindedness is how we break them. [CT (or non-PC) does not automatically equal "offending", as some PC advocates try to shut down CT, and even though most topics (especially nowadays) tend to be very subjective and emotionally loaded, objectivity and mutual respect are the most important ingredients in a constructive dialogue (which is very rare nowadays). 
 One after another, more and more awful acts of exploiting/attacking women, even on tax payers' money ... - where are the 'pussy hats', where is the "women's march" now, they are awfully and shamefully quiet .
 The reason for this potentially provocative ,or maybe even insulting to some, post is to promote "critical thinking"on the subject of the "Political Football" of the moment. That is Sexual Exploitation of Women in the work place. This exploitation is also harassment.

 Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), is a powerful Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. He is alleged to have paid off a former female staffer with taxpayer money after she claimed that he fired her for rejecting his sexual advances.
The report from Buzzfeed News details numerous sexual allegations against Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who is the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, including allegations that he had staffers transport women they believed he was having affairs with and used congressional resources to fly the women around.



BOMBSHELL: Powerful Democrat Ensnared In Major D.C. Sex Scandal Using Taxpayer Money

“One of my duties while working for Rep. Conyers was to keep a list of women that I assumed he was having affairs with and call them at his request and, if necessary, have them flown in using Congressional resources.”

 

A powerful Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee allegedly paid off a former female staffer with taxpayer money after she claimed that he fired her for rejecting his sexual advances.
The report from Buzzfeed News details numerous sexual allegations against Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who is the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, including allegations that he had staffers transport women they believed he was having affairs with and used congressional resources to fly the women around.

Documents from the complaint obtained by BuzzFeed News include four signed affidavits, three of which are notarized, from former staff members who allege that Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, repeatedly made sexual advances to female staff that included requests for sexual favors, contacting and transporting other women with whom they believed Conyers was having affairs, caressing their hands sexually, and rubbing their legs and backs in public. Four people involved with the case verified the documents are authentic.
And the documents also reveal the secret mechanism by which Congress has kept an unknown number of sexual harassment allegations secret: A grinding, closely held process that left the alleged victim feeling, she told BuzzFeed News, that she had no option other than to stay quiet and accept a settlement offered to her.
In this case, one of Conyers’ former employees was offered a settlement, in exchange for her silence, that would be paid out of Conyers’ taxpayer-funded office budget. His office would “rehire” the woman as a “temporary employee” despite her being directed not to come into the office or do any actual work, according to the document. The complainant would receive a total payment of $27,111.75 over the three months, after which point she would be removed from the payroll, according to the document.
Two staffers alleged in their signed affidavits that Conyers used congressional resources to fly in women they believed he was having affairs with. Another said she was tasked with driving women to and from Conyers’ apartment and hotel rooms.

Matthew Peterson, a law clerk at the time who represented the complainant, called the process “disgusting.”
“It is a designed cover-up,” Peterson said. “You feel like they were betrayed by their government just for coming forward. It’s like being abused twice.”
The woman, who did not want to be named for fear of retribution, said that Conyers told her she needed to touch his penis or find him another woman who would obey his sexual demands — she also said Conyers made her work at times other staffers did not have to keep him company.
The report adds:
One affidavit from a former female employee states that she was tasked with flying in women for the congressman. “One of my duties while working for Rep. Conyers was to keep a list of women that I assumed he was having affairs with and call them at his request and, if necessary, have them flown in using Congressional resources,” said her affidavit. (A second staffer alleged in an interview that Conyers used taxpayer resources to fly women to him.)
The woman said she told Conyers she was married and not interested in pursuing a sexual relationship, according to the affidavit. She said she was told many times by constituents that it was well-known that Conyers had sexual relationships with his staff, and said she and other female staffers felt this undermined their credibility.
“I am personally aware of several women who have experienced the same or similar sexual advances made towards them by Rep[.] John Conyers,” she said in her affidavit.
Another female employee also attested that she witnessed Conyers' advances, and said she was asked to transport women to him. “I was asked on multiple occasions to pick up women and bring them to Mr. Conyers[‘] apartment, hotel rooms, etc.”

One of Conyers' former staffers said this story would not “do shit to him,” adding that the congressman is “untouchable.”
Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi claimed in a statement to BuzzFeed News that she did not know anything regarding Conyers' sexual misconduct.
“The current process includes the signing of non-disclosure agreements by the parties involved. Congresswoman Jackie Speier has introduced legislation that will provide much-needed transparency on these agreements and make other critical reforms,” Pelosi said. “I strongly support her efforts.”
PS: Congressman Conyer's wife, Monica, who is about 35 years his junior, was sentenced to 3 years in prison for taking bribes as a Detroit city council person. Her father and two brothers are also convicted felons.)

Meet The New ACTING Commissioner of the SSA

On January 23, 2017, Nancy A. Berryhill became the Acting Commissioner of Social Security, with responsibility for overseeing one of the nation’s largest and most important domestic programs. (When will SSA get a real Commissioner? President Obama appointed only Acting Commissioners.)




 With a $12 billion budget and almost 64,000 employees serving in more than 1,500 offices across the country and around the world, plus 16,000 State employees making disability determinations, the Social Security Administration issues more than $960 billion in payments to nearly 66 million people each year.
Previously, Ms. Berryhill served as the Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Social Security’s largest component, where she successfully implemented many expanded service delivery options for the public. Prior to that position, Ms. Berryhill served two years as the agency’s Regional Commissioner for the Chicago Region and five years as Regional Commissioner for the Denver Region. In Denver, she developed numerous innovative, mission-focused initiatives such as video service delivery, use of webinar technology, and the creation of the first American Indian outreach guide.
Ms. Berryhill began her Social Security career as a GS-2 student employee. In her 40 years at the agency, she has held many frontline positions, including Claims Clerk, Service Representative, Claims Representative, Operations Supervisor, District Manager, and Area Director for the State of Illinois.
Ms. Berryhill has received numerous agency awards, including the Commissioner’s Citation, the agency’s highest recognition. In 2010, she received the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive, and in 2015, she received the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive, the highest honor awarded career executives in the Federal Government. Her work and achievements consistently demonstrate professional excellence, exceptional leadership, integrity, and commitment to public service.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Ms. Berryhill obtained her degree in Computer Science at the Control Data Institute in Chicago. She is a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

PREVIOUS ACTING COMMISSIONER:


Meet The New Acting Commissioner Of THe Social Security Administration, Carolyn Colvin.


On February 14, 2013, Carolyn W. Colvin became the Acting Commissioner of Social Security.  Prior to this designation, she served as the Deputy Commissioner, having been confirmed by the United States Senate on December 22, 2010 as President Obama’s nominee.  In addition to her role as the Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Ms. Colvin serves as a Trustee to the Social Security Board of Trustees.

Throughout her career, Ms. Colvin has managed programs that help people with their healthcare and financial needs.  She previously held key executive positions at Social Security Headquarters: Deputy Commissioner for Policy and External Affairs (1994–1996), Deputy Commissioner for Programs and Policy (1996–1998), and Deputy Commissioner for Operations (1998–2001).

Prior to returning to SSA, Ms. Colvin was the Director of Human Services for the District of Columbia (2001-2003); the Director of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (2003-2007); the Chief Executive Officer of AMERIGROUP Community Care of the District of Columbia (2007–2008); and, the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Transportation (2009-2011).  In addition, Ms. Colvin served as the Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Human Resources (1989-1994).

Ms. Colvin has received numerous awards and recognition for her managerial expertise and creativity, including Maryland’s Top 100 Women Award from the Daily Record (2005) and the Women of Achievement Award from Suburban Maryland Business and Professional Women (2005).  She has served on a variety of boards and commissions, including the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

Ms. Colvin earned her graduate and undergraduate degrees in business administration from Morgan State University.  Additionally, she completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at Harvard University, the Maryland Leadership Program, and the Greater Baltimore Leadership Program. Ms. Colvin is from Maryland and currently resides in Anne Arundel County.  She has one son and six grandchildren.
 https://judgelondonsteverson.me/2013/01/14/who-will-president-obama-select-to-be-the-new-commissioner-of-the-social-security-administration/


Who Will President Obama Select To Be The New Commissioner Of The Social Security Administration?


Michael Astrue
Michael J. Astrue was sworn in as Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) on February 12, 2007 for a six-year term that expires on January 19, 2013. President Barack Obama is expected to soon nominate a new Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. Astrue was appointed by President George W. Bush. The White House is silent about who will take the helm at SSA.  The SSA faces voluminous backlogs and claimants may have to wait up to 5 years just to get a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Some extreme cases have taken more than 10 years from the date of filing a claim to get a final decision on whether they are entitled to disability retirement benefits.
Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue’s six-year term expires January 19, 2013. His successor must be confirmed by the Senate, in a process that Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, expects will take a couple of months from the hearings to a vote.
Michael Astrue was still Commissioner of Social Security on 25 January. His term ran out on January 19 but the Social Security Act says he can stay in his job until a successor is confirmed. He hasn’t resigned so he’s still Commissioner. The same is true for Deputy Commissioner Carolyn Colvin. The rumor had been that Astrue did not intend to stay on after his term ended.  So far, he’s proving that rumor wrong. Astrue does seem to be clearing items off his desk. Take a look at what he just sent over to the Office of Management and Budget. I wonder if he’s planning to send over his version of new mental impairment listings before leaving.
The SSA has more than 11,000 employees at its headquarters in Woodlawn, Maryland. It provides benefits to retirees, disabled Americans and the children of deceased workers. The SSA paid more than $778,000,000,000 (that is billion) in benefits to 56 million people. The SSA’s budget rivals that of the Department Of Defense.
Carolyn Colvin is Astrue’s Deputy, but she is not considered to be a serious contender to replace him. She was confirmed by the Senate two years ago. Her term also expires January 19, 2013. She is a former secretary of the state Department of Human Resources and served as special assistant to Maryland’s Secretary of Transportation.
One possibility that comes to mind is that there will never be an announcement of an Obama nominee for Commissioner of Social Security. Astrue will leave the job in the near future and Carolyn Colvin will become the Acting Commissioner for the rest of Obama’s term as President. Colvin as Acting Commissioner, unlike Astrue and unlike a nominated and confirmed Commissioner of Social Security, would be serving at the President’s will. If Colvin displeased the President, she could be removed from the job by Obama nominating and the Senate confirming a Commissioner. I think it is more than possible that the President has had his fill of an independent Social Security Commissioner and wants someone who is truly on his team. I have no inside information. This is just my speculation. Of course, this can’t happen if Astrue keeps hanging around.
(BIOGRAPHY of Catolyn Colvin)
QUOTE: On February 14, 2013, Carolyn W. Colvin became the Acting Commissioner of Social Security.  Prior to this designation, she served as the Deputy Commissioner, having been confirmed by the United States Senate on December 22, 2010 as President Obama’s nominee.  In addition to her role as the Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Ms. Colvin serves as a Trustee to the Social Security Board of Trustees.
Throughout her career, Ms. Colvin has managed programs that help people with their healthcare and financial needs.  She previously held key executive positions at Social Security Headquarters: Deputy Commissioner for Policy and External Affairs (1994–1996), Deputy Commissioner for Programs and Policy (1996–1998), and Deputy Commissioner for Operations (1998–2001).
Prior to returning to SSA, Ms. Colvin was the Director of Human Services for the District of Columbia (2001-2003); the Director of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (2003-2007); the Chief Executive Officer of AMERIGROUP Community Care of the District of Columbia (2007–2008); and, the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Transportation (2009-2011).  In addition, Ms. Colvin served as the Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Human Resources (1989-1994).
Ms. Colvin has received numerous awards and recognition for her managerial expertise and creativity, including Maryland’s Top 100 Women Award from the Daily Record (2005) and the Women of Achievement Award from Suburban Maryland Business and Professional Women (2005).  She has served on a variety of boards and commissions, including the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
Ms. Colvin earned her graduate and undergraduate degrees in business administration from Morgan State University.  Additionally, she completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at Harvard University, the Maryland Leadership Program, and the Greater Baltimore Leadership Program. Ms. Colvin is from Maryland and currently resides in Anne Arundel County.  She has one son and six grandchildren. UNQUOTE.
Nancy Altman, who helps lead two Social Security advocacy groups, has emerged as a potential contender. She has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO and the Association of Administrative Law Judges (AALJ), a network of 1,400 ALJs who decide disability insurance claims. The endorsement of the AALJ is the kiss of death; so, she cannot really be considered a serious contender for the job.
Nevertheless, Judge Randall Frye, president of the AALJ, has  said the AALJ is backing Ms. Altman for Commissioner because of her expertise.
For her part, Ms. Altman has said “My goal would be to restore confidence in the agency and to let the workforce know how appreciative I am and the American people are for the work that is being done.”
One of the major challenges the next commissioner will confront is building administrative support to decrease the long backlogs in the disability insurance program. This is something that Commissioner Astrue was not able to accomplish despite all of the ALJs he was allowed to place on the federal pay roll and the increase in budget that he was granted. The new Commissioner will also be challenged to improve the quality of service that SSA employees are reputed to provide to the public.  Case workers and administrative staff members at SSA are notorious for their abrupt manners and surly attitudes resulting in a low level of public service. The Agency will be challenged to provide a higher level of service.
Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, was noted to remark that “This is an opportunity at the Social Security Administration to really take it to the next level, and it’s important to make sure it has the resources it needs”.

James Robinson Jr.
My choice for the next Commissioner is something of a dark horse. He is James Roosevelt Jr. He is a Health Care Insurance man and considering the controversy surrounding the implementation of ObamaCare, he would be a natural choice for President Obama for his 2nd term.
President Obama’s reelection lifted much of the cloud that hung over the health care industry in Massachusetts, where caregivers and insurers anticipated a push to repeal the national health care overhaul if Mitt Romney had become president. But Romney was not elected.
“This outcome provides an opportunity for greater cooperation and less contention,” said James Roosevelt Jr., chief executive of Tufts Health Plan.
But health care organizations are still seeking clarity on many features of ObamaCare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, many of which have not yet taken effect. The federal overhaul includes regulations requiring insurers to invest in new technology and funds for expanding Medicaid and revamping Medicare payments as the states press forward with their own efforts to rein in costs and build more integrated health care networks.
Obama’s victory “removes a layer of uncertainty for health plans, providers, and employers,” said Andrew Dreyfus, chief executive of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state’s largest health insurer.
In 2012 James Robinson Jr wrote an op-ed with Robert L. Reynolds, a Republican and CEO of Putnam Investments,  where he advocates raising the Social Security retirement age at a brisker pace and cutting back the growth of benefits with a different Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Robinson wrote “.. we should accelerate the rise in Social Security’s full-benefit retirement age from age 67 to 68 by 2030 and then index the full benefit age for future generations to gains in longevity. Life expectancy past age 65 has risen nearly 50 percent since 1940, when Social Security first began regular monthly payments. That said, we should improve disability options for those engaged in physically demanding jobs. No one expects coal miners or telephone line crews to work into their late 60s.”
He went further to say “On the benefits side, we should change the way we calculate the cost-of-living adjustment for all beneficiaries, by utilizing a revised Consumer Price Index which most economists agree more accurately reflects the rate of inflation for the expenses most seniors incur. Such a change would curb the rate of increase in benefits for future generations of retirees […]”
Considering President Obama’s attitude and behavior with respect to the “Fiscal Cliff” negotiations I am betting he will select James Robinson Jr to be the next Commissioner of the Social Security Administration.
This just in from former Democratic Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey.
The press and public have understandably focused in recent weeks on high-profile appointments such as the secretaries of state, defense and treasury as President Barack Obama builds his second-term team. They also should pay close attention to the search for a man or woman to serve as commissioner of the Social Security Administration — a post central to the national welfare and, with a six-year term, an appointment that will continue into the next presidency.
The Social Security Administration, headquartered just outside Baltimore in Woodlawn, touches the lives and pocketbooks of nearly every American. With this cornerstone of our social compact under demographic pressure and political threat, the president’s choice for a successor is vitally important.
Washington is a land of partisan extremes these days, a place where compromise is an orphan and dealmakers are a rare sight. Inevitably, Social Security will again be a political football as Congress attempts to manage America’s fiscal challenges. As a veteran of more than a few policy debates and political fights — some of which didn’t end the way I’d have liked — I want suggest what I think are key job requirements for the new commissioner:
•The nominee should bring substantial managerial experience. The Social Security Administration has roughly 62,000 employees. The agency processes payments of $4.5 billion to 6 million recipients every month. It needs a strong CEO capable of running a large and complex organization that does high-stakes work.
•The nominee should bring considerable policy expertise. For more than 20 years, actuaries have battled, often very publicly, over the viability of Social Security’s funding mechanism. It would be profoundly foolish today to ignore the demographic challenges the retirement of baby boomers will pose to the system. The remedy should not be a Band-Aid, but structural reform for the long haul.
The next commissioner, unlike some predecessors, should bring to the job a detailed historical knowledge of Social Security — of decisions that have made the system stronger and of others that have weakened it.
•Diplomatic skills will be essential. The commissioner of Social Security will need to deal not only with criticism from his or her natural political opponents but also with substantial pressure from natural allies. A commissioner perceived as a zealot or out of touch with the private sector will have a hard time advancing arguments for a new structure of benefits or changes to Social Security’s long term funding.
•The commissioner of Social Security needs considerable fortitude. One of the most important aspects of the job is appearing before Congress (approximately four times a year, though the frequency can shift). For at least the next two years, that will mean confronting a Republican-controlled Congress whose leadership lives in fear of tea partiers whose rhetoric would suggest they’d like to see Social Security dismantled altogether. The next commissioner of Social Security will need the strength of will and command of facts necessary to stand toe-to-toe with well-prepared congressional foes.
•Finally, the next commissioner will have to be someone passionately dedicated to the principles that underlie the Social Security system and eloquent in articulating those principles.
The vast majority of Americans want a fair system that offers dignity to the elderly while preserving economic opportunity for current and future workers. They deserve a commissioner who can ensure Social Security operates properly, provide a vision for its long-term future and lead the fight to preserve it from political critics or demographic threats.
(Bill Bradley)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Injustice and the Confucian Style.

Injustice and the Confucian Cycle

Courts and the Justice Department only care about convictions, not the truth.

We've noted that although the fall of Governor Spitzer removed a powerful man who had perfected the art of destroying other people without evidence of any crime having been committed, the manner of his going is profoundly disturbing.  His experience shows that any one of us can be destroyed in the same way Spitzer was destroyed, whether we've committed a crime or not.
As a prosecutor, his technique was to accuse a business or a highly visible person with a crime, reap publicity and name recognition, and move on.  He rode the publicity he gained into the governor's office which is bad enough, but the same process later destroyed him.
Politicians usually don't like to destroy each other; the fact that a wealthy, powerful man like Spitzer could be hounded out of office shows that none of us are safe.  The New York Times reported on March 21 that the Spitzer investigation was unusual:
The scale and intensity of the investigation of Mr. Spitzer, then the governor of New York, seemed on its face to be a departure for the Justice Department, which aggressively investigates allegations of wrongdoing by public officials, but almost never investigates people who pay prostitutes for sex.
What's most surprising about his downfall is that he was a Democrat.  Most media assume that only Republicans get enmeshed in sexual issues, and the NY Times noted that the justice department "almost never" spends resources investigating prostitution.
Even the National Organization for Women said there was nothing wrong with Mr. Clinton treating women shabbily because "He's right on the issues."
Governor Spitzer didn't invent his methods of abusing prosecutorial power for personal gain although he took it to new levels of injustice.  Disbarred Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong charged the Duke University lacrosse players with rape partly to help win an upcoming election.  The only reason his fraud came out was that his victims' families believed their sons and mortgaged their homes to hire investigators and lawyers to get at the truth.
The fact that Mr. Nifong was disbarred and Mr. Spitzer was forced to resign in disgrace won't stop ambitious prosecutors abusing their powers to win publicity.  This is because our government has deteriorated to the point that most government employees are much more concerned with benefiting themselves than with serving the people.
Large portions of our justice system are sliding into the abyss of the Confucian Cycle.  Thousands of years ago, Confucius pointed out that government employees, being as human and you and I are, want to increase their pay, reduce the amount of work they have to do, and generally benefit themselves rather than work to benefit society.  Many employees of our law enforcement agencies have lost interest in justice and are working to benefit themselves.

How Spitzer Fell

The FBI noticed Gov. Spitzer because his bank told the FBI that Mr. Spitzer had been spending some of his own money.  The FBI put an unusual amount of resources into the investigation and followed the money to the hooker.
The rules requiring banks to tell the FBI whenever you spend your own money were put in place to help track money which could be used for terrorism.  The bank doesn't need any evidence that you're a terrorist, or even that you have any illegal intent; your bank is supposed to rat on you whenever you spend a certain amount of money.
Rush Limbaugh got caught in the same snare when he tried to use his own money to buy pain-killers to which he had become addicted during episodes of severe back pain.  We've noted elsewhere that such drugs ought not to be illegal; our drug laws cause a great deal of suffering for people who have chronic pain.  Our courts have ruled that sick people do not have a right to buy the drugs they need unless the bureaucracy has blessed the drug; our courts think that our bureaucrats know more about what drugs you need than you or your doctor know.
Mr. Spitzer's fall and Mr. Limbaugh's troubles are symptoms of our "justice" system gone awry.  In the old days, persons accused of a crime were considered innocent until the government had proved them guilty.  Today, our legislators have passed so many laws that just about all of us can be found guilty of something; perhaps we're guilty of running out of toilet paper.
There are tens of thousands of prosecutors working for the various federal, state, and local departments of justice, and they all need something to do.  The justice department ranks lawyers by how much jail time they're able to inflict.
The department doesn't care, as an organization, whether the accused are guilty or innocent; their staff evaluation system keeps track of whether people go to jail and for how long because that's easy to measure.  Certainly there are individual lawyers and judges who care about actual justice; but the system doesn't because doing justice doesn't pay off in terms of increased budgets or promotions.

You Are At Risk

Our justice system has been abandoning the pursuit of justice in favor of personal gain for a long time.  I saw this in 1989 when the police took four children from friends of mine on false charges of child abuse.  My friend's mother-in-law got angry and spouted a wild tale; the cops didn't like him because he always voted against buying them new toys at town meeting and were glad to swoop down on him.
He ended up spending more than his net worth on lawyers.  He got his children back after his youngest child suffered two broken arms and became infected with worms while in state custody and his marriage was placed under great strain.  Financially, he never recovered.
Some years later, my employer was railroaded into jail by the government because the Navy didn't want to pay termination fees for ending a contract.  His story illustrates how you can protect yourself if the government ever starts asking you questions.

The Contract

In the late 1980s, the USS Stark was nearly sunk by an airborne missile and the USS Vincennes shot down a civilian airliner by mistake.  In both cases, crew training turned out not to have been realistic enough.  My company won the contract for a new trainer.
Unfortunately, the contract was supposed to have gone to a larger firm which had promised to hire the contracting personnel when they retired from the government.  Earmarks had not yet been perfected, so the bureaucrats couldn't just give the money to their friends.  They had to award the contract based on competitive bidding.  My company won the contract fair and square; they had no choice but to give it to us.
We didn't find out that we weren't supposed to have won the contract for a year or so.  We were frustrated by the fact that the government stalled instead of providing the data we needed to model the various weapons, ships, airplanes, bombs, and other items the students had to learn to use.
At the time, I had not fully applied what I knew of the Confucian Cycle to the U.S .Government; I made the mistaken assumption that the contracting office actually wanted to bring the project to a successful conclusion and deliver a quality trainer to the Navy.
I did not realize that they didn't care whether the trainer worked or not, they wanted the money to have gone to their friends so they could have good jobs later.  We saw a very similar situation recently with the Boeing airborne-tanker contract; fortunately, that fraud was visible enough that Sen. John McCain personally was able to put the kibosh on it.

The Reckoning

Unfortunately for us, President Reagan bankrupted the "Evil Empire" by funding Star Wars at a level the Soviets could not match.  Our trainer wasn't needed any more because it had been intended to teach blue-water fleet combat, not the sort of conflicts we're in now.  The contracting office didn't like us anyway because as they saw it, we'd taken "their" money, so they used the changed world situation as an excuse to terminate our contract.
The contract stated that the government could terminate the project at any time, of course, but it also called for termination payments.  According to the contract, the government owed us about $8 million.  They refused to pay; we filed a claim with the Contract Board of Appeals, a court-like system which is supposed to resolve conflicts more cheaply than suing in a real court.
The Contract Board of Appeals requires that the contractor supply information to the government and that the government supply information to the contractor.  One of the exhibits we got from the government was a Power Point which showed that they might owe us as much as $11 million.  We thought we were in decent shape to win our case.
It was a year or so before we got to the board.  As our hearing master gaveled the session to order, a government employee entered the room and told the group that the US Attorney had indicted my boss for fraud in connection with the case.  The hearing master noted the strange coincidence with respect to timing, but he had no choice but to suspend the hearing.

The Department of Injustice

We found that the Justice Department not only ranked their lawyers by how much jail time they got, they gave extra points for helping another government agency.  Rudy Guiliani had not yet shown everyone how to get elected mayor by bringing headline charges, but our US Attorney wanted to be moved to DC as a reward for helping the Navy; he thought he had a chance to shine even though no fraud had been committed and there was no evidence of any.

My Other Friend

I had another friend who'd worked on the contract as a consultant.  He knew how to protect himself from law enforcement.  He was a 3rd-generation Japanese-American who'd been born in a Wyoming concentration camp during WW II.
Our government had rounded up his parents.  They met and married in the concentration camp; he was born there.  This gave him a somewhat cynical view of Superman's concept of, "truth, justice, and the American way."
When the government's lawyers asked him to testify, he refused to tell them anything until they wrote him an "immunity letter."  He explained how the government works.
"You go before the Grand Jury and you testify under oath," he told me.  "It's perjury if you don't tell the truth.  This is a complicated mess, nobody can remember everything.  They go over your transcript with a fine-tooth comb.  If they find something they don't like, they tell you that some of what you said doesn't agree with something else they have.  You either stick with what you said and they hammer you, or you agree that you might have missed something.  At that point, they gotcha.  They can charge you with perjury which means jail.  Then they bend your testimony to get whatever they want.  If you complain, you go to jail."
He explained that the letter granted him immunity from any and all charges coming out of whatever he said.  That protected him from their manipulating his testimony and kept them from bringing pressure by threatening him with new charges.  "How did you get them to give you the letter?" I wanted to know.  He said:
"When they first called, I asked them if I was a target, a suspect, or a witness.  They told me I was a witness, so I asked for the letter.  They said they'd subpoena me and force me to talk.  I asked them how long they expected me to be on the stand.  They told me a half-day or so.  I told them they better get ready for two or three days.  They asked 'Why?'  Because, I told them, every question you ask me, including my name, I'll take the 5th amendment.  The only way you can break the 5th is for the judge to grant me immunity for whatever I say in answer to that question.  So I answer.  You ask me another question, I take the 5th, you ask the judge to grant me immunity, and so it goes.  Get ready for a long session.  The grand jury will get bored."
He also explained what he'd said when they asked him how giving his name could incriminate him.  The US Census Bureau claims that all answers are confidential.  "But during WW II," he told me, "the Census Bureau gave the Army the names and addresses of people with Japanese names or who lived in Japanese neighborhoods.  So much for government promises of confidentiality.  My parents were incarcerated because of their names; they could have been locked up because of their addresses.  I explained that I could and would legitimately take the 5th on my name and on my address and on anything else they asked me.  So they gave me the letter."
When the government called me before the grand jury, I asked for, and got, the same immunity letter and proceeded to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, without worry about getting caught up in the government's political games.

Even The Enron Trial Might Be Fraudulent

The Economist has published an article "Enron revisited" which adds compelling evidence that my friend's experience with Federal prosecutors is typical of what you should expect if they ever talk to you.  The article begins:
There may be a glimmer of hope for Jeffrey Skilling, the former chief executive of Enron who is now serving a 24-year jail sentence for his part in the his company's collapse. On March 14th, evidence emerged that government prosecutors may have misled the court and Mr Skilling's defence team about the content of interviews with key witnesses, including Andrew Fastow, Enron's former chief financial officer.
Mr. Fastow's testimony was crucial in convicting Mr. Skilling of fraud; he provided the only direct evidence that Mr. Skilling might have known about the fraudulent transactions which led to Enron's collapse.
Mr. Skilling's attorneys persuaded the court to order the FBI to turn over the original notes of their interviews with Mr. Fastow.  Somehow, the interview summaries which were provided to the court and to the defense team favored the government far more than the original interviews.
Mr. Fastow was a suspect from the beginning; there is no way he could have gotten an immunity letter as a condition of testifying.  The Economist suggests an explanation why his testimony might have evolved to become more and more favorable to the government the longer they talked to him:
... he had a powerful incentive to come up with a story that helped the government convict Mr Skilling: by cooperating, and entering a plea bargain, Mr Fastow was sentenced to only six years in jail.
The Economist explains why courts should never tolerate this sort of misconduct on the part of the government:
Mr Skilling's defence team allege serious prosecutorial misconduct of the sort that ought to result in Mr Skilling's conviction being overturned, with no possibility of a retrial. Brady v Maryland held that the government had to provide the defence all favorable evidence. That is because the government has "substantial resources and considerable other advantages" over defendants and the "system reposes great trust in the prosecutor to place the ends of justice above the goal of merely securing a conviction." [emphasis added]
The injustices perpetrated by Mr. Sptizer, Mr. Guiliai, and Mr. Nilfong confirm that we can no longer trust government prosecutors to "place the ends of justice over the goal of merely securing a conviction."  That's why you can't cooperate with any investigation unless they protect you by writing you an immunity letter.

What You Say When They Talk To You

The most important thing to ask is whether you're a suspect, a target, or a witness.  If you're a suspect or a target, they won't give you immunity unless you promise to rat on someone else whom they'd rather convict than you; that's how Mr. Skilling got 24 years while Mr. Fastow got his 10 years magically reduced to 6.
They can give you a letter if you're a witness, but they'd rather not because immunity makes it harder for them to pressure you into testifying the way they want.  Remember, they don't care whether the target is guilty or not, all they want is jail time to make themselves look good.
"But," you say, "don't some lawyers care about justice?"  Maybe, but a) you can't count on getting one and b) the ones who do care about justice don't get credit for as much jail time, so they don't get good performance ratings.  The good ones get passed over for promotion and leave for vastly more lucrative, but less powerful, private practice.
If you're a target or a suspect, the one and only rule is, "Shut UP!  Anything you say will be used against you."
Some years before they started putting their articles on-line, Forbes magazine published "The White-Collar Gestapo," which explained that once an investigator spends a certain amount of time on a case, he has to get some jail time, any jail time, or he loses career points big time.
The article explained that most innocent people had the mistaken impression that they can clear it all up by explaining what happened.  Forbes' advice - say nothing, especially if you're innocent.  According to YouTube, Gov. Spitzer offered the same advice.
Martha Stewart went to jail for talking to the government.  She was convicted for lying to investigators about something that turned out not to have been a crime at all.  The same thing happened to Scooter Libby - the investigators knew that no crime had been committed when they talked to him, but he was convicted of lying about a non-crime because his memory differed from a reporter's account of their conversation.
If the "justice" people want you to be a witness, make them prove it.  If they really aren't after you, they'll write you a letter of immunity, but without a letter, shut up.

Justice In The Confucian Cycle

The US justice department no longer serves society by promoting justice; it serves its employees by getting them publicity which they can use to get a bigger budget or get promoted or go on to higher office.
My boss went to jail for 6 months after spending over $1 million defending himself; the government paid $2 million instead of the $10 million their own documents showed they should have paid.  The US Attorney lost points because he had told Janet Reno that he had a racketeering case which could be good for 150 years.  Getting only 6 months of jail time after such an extravagant promise cost him a promotion cycle or two.
A few months after he left Club Fed, my boss got a call from an Army general.  After a few minutes of talking to no purpose, the general told my boss that the contracting office with which he had been dealing had been moved from Navy jurisdiction to an Army command.  Being told that the Navy had been punished by losing budget and staff was the only apology he could expect.
The bottom line is that when any law enforcement agency wants you to tell them anything, either get a letter of immunity or shut up.  If she'd shut up, Martha Stewart wouldn't have gone to jail.
If he'd shut up, Scooter Libby wouldn't have been convicted of lying.  Law enforcement no longer has anything to do with justice, all that's left is budget, power, and personal promotion - so it's wisest to keep your head down and watch your step.
Fortunately, our Founders were wise enough to give us certain protections if we're wise enough to use them.  The famous Miranda warning is not just something you hear on TV; they're not kidding when they read you your rights.  Your rights are there for a very good reason.  If you choose to give up your rights, the consequences may be dire.
Everybody knows the Miranda warning.  What you probably don't know is that it applies to witnesses as well as to suspects.  The government doesn't care whether you're guilty or not; they get the same points for jailing an innocent person as for jailing someone who's guilty.  Putting innocent people in jail is easier in some ways because an innocent person still has faith in the system and is more willing to talk.

The Legislative Food Chain

The problem is that every legislator wants to get noticed so that he or she can run for higher office.  That's why a lawmaker in Florida tried to pass a law regulating the toilet paper supply in restaurants.  This guy doesn't care whether regulating toilet paper is a legitimate concern of government; he wants publicity.
The same mechanism has led to our insane proliferation of laws.  Whenever anything happens, Senators and Representatives call hearings with press conferences, vow to "do something about it," and pass more laws. With more and more laws on the books, we're all guilty of something.  How many of us can be confident that we've filled out our tax returns correctly, to name but one example?
This is precisely what Confucius predicted thousands of years ago. He said that once the bureaucracy lost the idea of looking out for the welfare of the people, once government employees start looking out for themselves, society suffers.  As the politicians write more and more laws, as they steal more and more money, government overhead goes up and society becomes less efficient.
At some point, government costs so much money that the there isn't enough left to run society, and society collapses.
Regardless of which party is in power, the government share of GNP keeps going up.  We're to blame because we keep re-electing the same set of thieves.  This election cycle, just vote against every incumbent.  If we keep un-electing them when they steal our money, they'll eventually catch on and stop doing it.
But if we keep re-electing the same crooked crew, we've no one to blame out ourselves when it all falls apart.
Will Offensicht is a staff writer for Scragged.com and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Society.