When -Isms Collide: The Attempted Hijacking of Atheism by Radical Feminism

March 21, 2013

 — by tamerlane

On his atheist/science blog, Pharyngula, PZ Myers chronicles his ongoing junior high drama intellectual debate with feminist blogger Melissa McEwan of Shakesville.  McEwan initially took Myers to task for his snarky slam at Michele Bachmann.  Myers apologized profusely, took down the post, and asked for suggestions on how atheist men could to be more sensitive to women.  McEwan responded with a list of eighteen points, twitted over the course of eighteen minutes.  When Myers expressed “reservations” about the points, noting they applied neither exclusively to atheists nor men, McEwan accused Myers of only feigning willingness to “do better.”  Myers continues to grovel while McEwan chastises.  Which is kinda of funny, considering McEwan is greatly indebted to Myers for sponsoring her and her fellow radical feminists’ attempted hijacking of the new atheist movement.

I, too have considerable reservations with Melissa McEwan’s My Advice to Atheist Men. Disjointed and repetitive, it makes several, serious allegations of “systematic misogyny” among the atheist online community.  Her accusations are vague and overbroad, completely unsubstantiated by example.  Her language & approach are hectoring and not conducive to an open exchange of views.  Just another day in Shakesville, folks.

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Feminism For Dummies (a.k.a., You Men)

McEwan begins by chiding atheist men for “engaging in misogyny yourselves” and informs them “you [don’t] get to be nasty in explicitly misogynist ways to women who aren’t ‘on your team.'” As evidence, McEwan provides a screenshot of a Pharyngula post wondering whether Michele Bachmann, mouth agape to ingest a giant corn dog, can disengage her jaws like other reptiles.  However puerile, Myers’ comment was a non-gender specific reference to Bachmann’s antediluvian beliefs.  By mislabeling it “sexual objectification”, McEwan cries ‘wolf’.  Indeed, Myers was perhaps the only blogger on the planet to avoid a sexual reference to that photo.  McEwan neglects to provide actual examples of “explicitly misogynist” conduct by atheist bloggers.

She then calls for “zero-tolerance policy for misogyny in your comments. No slurs, no misogynist narratives, no questioning women’s agency.”  A reasonable suggestion, except … does McEwan consider herself the final arbiter of what is misogyny?  Her answer will be: if one woman declares something misogyny, then it’s misogyny — end of discussion.  She also ignores the possibility that the nasty comments may be the work of  anti-atheists.  Further, McEwan’s tendency to use feminist neologisms like “women’s agency” in milieus where most people don’t know their meanings, much less have ‘bought into’ them, is adversarial.

In her list, McEwan intersperses sweeping condemnations of male atheist behavior: her humanity has been questioned; widespread misogynist attacks occur; atheist women “have been treated like a monolith”; women have been denied “opportunities … as contributors, as moderators, as guest posters”.  Typically, McEwan fails to provide evidence — apart from one tweet suggesting she go fuck herself.  Trolls happen, Melissa.  Besides, radfem atheists have a home of their own, Freethoughtblogs.com, run by Myers, where at least 13 of the 36 bloggers are female, including several feminists, LGBTPDQ activists, as well as male fellow-travelers.  Myers has systematically culled any dissenting voices from the blogroll.

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I Win the Debate

McEwan links two Shakesville lectures posts as a primer “on how to effectively and safely communicate with women about women’s issues.”  In them, McEwan admits to an underlying mistrust of men for their “eyerolling and exasperated sighs in response to polite requests to please not use misogynist epithets”.  She repeatedly ridicules men who disagree with her for “trying to prove the point.”  Here we have the tautological “mansplaining” polemic.  The man says ‘but I’m not misogynist,’ and the radfem says ‘yes, you are.  You just proved your misogyny by denying it.’  No further evidence need be produced. Debate, disagreement, are stifled.

Atheist men are instructed to never “play devil’s advocate.  That is not compatible with a safe space for many women.”  McEwan uses “safe space” often, another neologism with a secondary meaning.  In practice, “safe space” equals: ‘You’re not allowed to disagree with me. I win the debate.’  When McEwan writes “[d]on’t appropriate or ignore women’s lived experiences. Let women be the experts on our own lives”, it sets up the polemic: ‘You’re not a woman, so you can’t understand.  I win the debate.’

Also forbidden is any attempt to discuss misogyny “objectively.”  In her “Feminism 101 for Dudes”, McEwan explains that asking a “woman with intersectional marginalizations” (yet another neologism) to discuss “in the abstract” an issue “is to fail to understand that one’s womanhood is inextricably linked to the other aspects of one’s identity.”  Ergo, all women’s assertions are subjective, hence irrefutable. I win the debate.

McEwan warns us “that there are privileged women in the atheist movement who may collude to marginalize non-privileged women ….”  Because any women who don’t share McEwan’s views suffer from Stockholm Syndrome, Patty Hearsts brain-washed by the Patriarchy/Kyriarchy.

“Don’t accuse women of overreacting when we are merely reacting,” McEwan admonishes. “Don’t accuse us of being oversensitive; maybe you are not sensitive enough.”  McEwan must first provide a benchmark for identifying an overreaction; otherwise, her claims are unfalsifiable.  (“Not even good enough to be wrong,” as Feynman would have put it.)  Further, her phrasing is confrontational, as it fails to acknowledge the possibility of a woman ever over-reacting or being overly sensitive to an issue.  The net effect is to shield McEwan’s assertions from scrutiny.

For McEwan, simply “not being a dirtbag” is not “sufficient action to consider … a straight (cis) privileged” man as her ally.  Total, unquestioned & blind acceptance of her positions is required.  In a final dig at Myers, McEwan complains “if you’re not willing to make the effort to make movement atheism more inclusive, don’t pretend that you are. Be a real ally, or don’t.” That’s bullying, and McEwan might consider rewarding the try, because wet rags like Myers are few and far between.  Instead, she punishes, alienating many potential allies.  No wonder McEwan’s infrequent forays beyond the echo chamber end so badly.

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There Goes the Neighborhood

I first ran across McEwan in 2008, during the self-immolation of the PUMA movement.  A persistent theme in her blogging, shared by the denizens of FTB, is a desire to constrain the rules of engagement, to stifle opinions contrary to her own, and to portray any considered rebuttal of her assertions as a refusal to listen — and proof of misogyny.  In fact, McEwan, et al. deny the very right to question certain radfem constructs.  Even polite attempts at rational disagreement are routinely deleted from comment streams at Shakesville and FtB blogs.

Melissa McEwan is but one of a cohort of “Atheism Plus” activists bent on commandeering the atheism movement for their other socio-political objectives.  This is a bad idea.  Take politics for example:  Sam Harris and Penn Jillete are libertarians; Dawkins and Dennett are liberals; Hitchens was sometimes leftist, sometimes neo-con, always inflammatory.  Yet they found common cause in promoting vocal atheism.  And look how much they’ve achieved by staying on topic.

Radfems are especially prone to injecting their dialectics & intolerance where ever they go.  Skeptics and atheists, however, are especially immune to circular logic, unsubstantiated claims, and the stifling of debate.  Evidence-based reasoning and Post-Modernist woo do not mix well, and the A+ zealots have largely retreated to brood within the friendly confines of their online echo chamber.

Their hubris, however, is unabated.  Recently, A-plussers have spanked Richard Dawkins for supporting abortion rights but in the wrong way, and for his “racist” (sic) debunking of homeopathy and acupuncture.  Dawkins (a former patron of Myers, btw) has been on the A+ shit list since 2011, after he weighed in on a minor brouhaha known as “Elevatorgate.”  Dawkins was the keynote at an atheist conference in Dublin where a young atheist, Rebecca Watson (a.k.a. SkepChick) also spoke.  Watson lingered in the hotel bar, chatting with a few people until the wee hours, when she left and got in an elevator. A man who she’d been talking with followed, and asked her up to his room for coffee and further discussion.  Was he hitting on her?  Mos def.  Did he “sexualize” her?  Was it “misogyny?” No, and Dawkins was not alone in calling out Watson for hyperbole.  In response, the A-plussers declared a boycott of Dawkins, his international research foundation, and his numerous best-selling books. Good luck with that windmill!


(c) 2013 by True Liberal Nexus.  All rights reserved.


You Have the Right to Be Assassinated

March 6, 2013

This is a public service announcement:

You have the right to be assassinated.

In response to an inquiry by Senator Rand Paul, mafia lawyer Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed that American citizens have a Constitutional right to be assassinated on U.S. soil by the President whenever he wishes. This right had formerly been extended only to U.S. citizens on foreign soil, like Anwar al-Awlaki, who was guilty of being suspected of aiding terrorists, or al-Awlaki’s 16 year-old son, Abdul, who was guilty of being al-Awlaki’s 16 year-old son.

Paul had asked drone-murder aficionado John Brennan whether “the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial.” Brennan, noting that the CIA only assassinates abroad, passed the question to the Justice Department. In a letter, Holder reassured Paul that the right to death by presidential decree does exist:

“It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.”

As examples of such “extraordinary circumstances” Holder mentioned 9/11 and Pearl Harbor. Silly FDR shipped Japanese-Americans to internment camps, when under the Constitution, he could have just killed them! But there’s no need to worry that this power would ever be misused. Holder promises that “were such an emergency to arise, I would examine the particular facts and circumstances before advising the president of the scope of his authority.” We’re in good hands.

In a recent white paper, Holder detailed the constitutional process under which you will be assassinated: when “[an] informed, high-level official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States.” This is entirely in keeping with Amendment VI, which states:

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury …; and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”

Because Amendment V stipulates that “[n]o person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”, some foolishly “have argued that the President is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen.” Holder cleared up this common misunderstanding in a speech last year. “‘Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same” — a definition Holder made up himself, cutting through red tape to expedite the airmail delivery of your Constitutional Rights package.

Despite whining from ignorant people that “a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury” is required before a person can “be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime,” it’s perfectly OK for the president to play judge, jury and executioner. That’s because: 1) Congress is “regularly informed” whenever “lethal force is used against United States citizens”; 2) We’re at war, pal, and the president can off anybody he likes in a war. But rest assured, for only The Godfather President obama can make the final decision whether you will be assassinated. It’s obama who keeps the Secret Kill List, obama’s finger that points to the face of the one to die next. We’re in good hands.

So, if you ever hear a strange buzzing overhead, or get a rude knock on the door in the middle of the night, it means your Constitutional Rights are about to be exercised.

(c) 2013 by True Liberal Nexus. All Rights Reserved.


Elizabeth Warren’s Damages

November 2, 2012


No Patty Hewes

In the long-running series DAMAGES, high-powered attorney Patty Hewes (played by Glenn Close) takes on corporate criminals on behalf of victims of pension fraud and industrial poisoning.  The fictional Hewes & Associates always represents the little guys, never the fat cats.

Elizabeth Warren claims to be on the side of the little guy, too:  “I have been out there fighting to help protect people who have been run over by big corporations”, Warren insists. Except her lengthy list of clients is devoid of plaintiffs, instead comprised entirely of billion-dollar defendants, most who sought to avoid paying asbestos- and other toxic material-related liabilities.  Everyone knows Warren is a bankruptcy expert. Few realize her specialty is helping big corporations hide behind Chapter 11 to evade compensating the people they robbed, poisoned or got killed.
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Expert Advice

The latest Warren case to be uncovered is the Dow-Corning breast implant suit, in which Warren states she “served in an advisory capacity to Dow Chemical in the early days of the Dow Coming bankruptcy.”  Dow and Owens-Corning partnered in Dow-Corning (“D-C”) to manufacture and market breast implants beginning in 1962.  In 1994, 240,000 women filed suits claiming a variety of medical problems resulting from silicone leaks.

A tentative $3.75 billion settlement was proposed that year, but a judge, finding that amount grossly insufficient to cover all the claims, ordered the parties to return to negotiations.  Then, in May of 1995, D-C filed for bankruptcy, blocking any new lawsuits and “indefinitely delay[ing] settlement of existing litigation against the company.”

Warren’s “advisory capacity”, it seems, was to counsel Dow to protect its assets behind Chapter 11.  Dow, with around $20 billion in annual revenues and $70 billion in assets, could easily weather that one settlement.  But with more than a million women having received D-C implants over the years, Dow — facing accusations of negligence stemming from its original silicone research — had motivation to put a lid on the matter. A November, 1995 ruling on a D-C implant case, awarding a single plaintiff  $14 million, gave further reason to follow Warren’s advice — sacrifice the child company to protect the parent.  D-C now offered a reduced, final settlement of $2.4 billion, with a cap of $200,000 per claimant and as little as $650 each.

Richard Broude, one of Dow’s attorneys (and frequent Warren collaborator on bankruptcy cases) said at the time, “Dow Corning, like any independent company, is doing what’s best for itself. It doesn’t matter whether it has two shareholders or thousands.”

This bankruptcy-as-firewall ploy was was pioneered by Johns-Manville Corporation in the ‘Eighties to evade asbestos poisoning liabilities.  Warren later worked for the resulting Johns-Mansville Trust.  In addition to the token D-C trust fund, Dow shielded itself with a bit of legal chicanery — D-C would have to win a suit against its parents before it could pay out to the victims.  This same trick was later used by another Warren client, Travelers.

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A Snake

Elizabeth Warren claims to defend women’s rights, especially on health issues.  Then why did she help a $70 billion company get away with paying as little as $650 to each woman it poisoned?

In all of her extensive legal work, Warren has only represented big corporations.  Her standard tactic: set up a token trust fund that pays a pittance while shielding corporate assets.  Not once has she fought for the victims.  Nor is there any record of Warren ever doing any pro bono work.

Warren is the worst of hypocrites, a two-faced liar who pretends to be on the side of the common people, but who really works for corporate criminals.  Warren promises that if you send her to Washington, she’ll fight for you.  But we already know she’s a mercenary for the plutocrats.

Do not vote for Elizabeth Warren.  She’s a snake.

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h/t Legal Insurrection for its diligent research.


(c) 2012 by True Liberal Nexus.  All rights reserved.


How obama Turned Liberals into Zombies

October 26, 2012

The Neo-Con Democrat
The spectacle of the presidential foreign policy debate, with the republican and democratic candidates stumbling over each other to agree on the use of drones, staying for another decade in Afghanistan, Gitmo and such, was proof once again that barack obama is no liberal.

In fact, obama’s policies of endless war, nation-building, and disregard for international law mark him as a neo-con. With his predilection for assassinations and indiscriminate bombings with mounting ‘collateral damage,’ obama has turned the United States into one of those ‘rogue nations’ our rhetoric execrates.

On the home front, obama has also proven himself no liberal. He readily signed extensions of the Patriot Act and FISA, thus denying us our Fourth Amendment rights and strengthening the surveillance state established by his mentor predecessor, Bush.  obama next took away our right to free assembly by signing the Trespass Law, then negated the Constitutional right of habeas corpus by signing into law the indefinite detention provision of the NDAA.  obama routinely ignores the Constitutional separation of powers, issuing executive orders that contravene the will of Congress, while brazenly ignoring the War Powers Act by starting wars at his fancy.  The obama administration has been the worst in history for punishing whistle-blowers.
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The Corporatist Lapdog
Many on the Right label obama a ‘socialist’, which is slanderous, considering obama’s domestic policy reveals him to be a corporatist lapdog. His greatest achievement, healthcare reform (sic), was in actuality a restructuring of the health insurance market, written by the insurance lobby to benefit the insurance lobby. Forty million Americans are still left without healthcare.

When the big banks were caught in a trillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme, obama railed loudly against the bankers, then slapped them across the wrist with a $12 million token fine. The much-heralded Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, established by obama crony Elizabeth Warren, has yet to indict a single malfeasor.

Candidate obama promised to ban lobbyists from working in his administration.  President obama has more lobbyists in his White House than any previous administration.

Large campaign bundlers found obama amenable to pulling strings to aid their businesses — for example: an FCC waiver allowing LightSquared to encroach on vital military GPS bandwidths; a billion dollar HHS contract to Siga for a useless vaccine.
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The Sham Green Economy
Vaingloriously, obama predicted his inauguration would be remembered as “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”  Yet under obama, the environment has suffered greatly.

Following the disastrous BP oil spill, obama promised to place his “boot on the throat” of that reckless conglomerate, then allowed BP to get away nearly scot free.  Later, obama gave BP the go-ahead to drill in Alaska.

Since 2008, obama has breathlessly told us how he wants to expand “solar, and wind, and bio-diesel”,  and now brags about having doubled the electricity produced by renewables.  That sounds impressive, until you learn that solar and wind still provide a mere 3% our total energy. Four years on, and the US is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

obama’s grand(iose) “Green Energy Economy” turned out to be a boondoggle, a false front to hide kickbacks to obama’s biggest campaign donors. Real renewable solutions do exist to meet a majority of our energy needs, yet obama wasted billions of taxpayer money on Solyndra, Beacon, A123, and a dozen other sham companies that went bankrupt.

At the international climate conferences in Copenhagen and Rio, obama personally intervened to side with China and other major greenhouse gas producers to thwart efforts to curtail global warming, thus ensuring that the oceans will indeed keep rising.

At home, obama refused to implement EPA regulations on air quality.  To his credit, obama was against the XL pipeline before he was for it. To keep up with fellow republican, Mitt Romney, obama is now calling for rapid expansion of offshore drilling, mining of coal, and frakking.
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Letting Down the Common People
On the bread & butter economic positions that for a century defined liberalism in America, obama has let down working families time and time again.

His buyout of GM may have provided temporary relief, but it did nothing to address the endemic flaws in our auto industry. His continuation of TARP was nothing more than a cash bonus to bankers for losing risky bets.

As a candidate, obama promised to end the Bush tax cuts on the rich in his first hundred days. He stalled for two years, then promised to end them in 2011. He now promises to end them sometime in his second term. obama promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. Instead, he added another $5 trillion.

Other than endlessly repeating the words “roads and bridges and schools”, obama has offered no real plan to jump-start a stagnant economy. He amused himself by joking that all those “shovel-ready” projects he was going to fund “weren’t all that shovel-ready, after all.”

Only by heavy manipulation of workforce statistics has obama been able to claim he is finally a “net job creator.”  Two-third of those new jobs are low-wage. Household wealth has sunk 39%. Sixty percent of mortgages are under water.  One in five Americans still can’t find a job they can live on.  While unemployment soared, obama fiddled and diddled. His insipid “jobs bill” was a pastiche of hiring incentives and retraining programs already long proven ineffective. At best, it would have created a million jobs; independent analysts calculated it would have created practically none.

While ordinary Americans suffer, obama has been content to blame his inability to do more on the intransigence of Congress. Yet obama had no trouble working with both Dems and Gops to sign a slew of so-called “free trade” treaties that in truth expedite the off-shoring of hundreds of thousands of American jobs. obama has spent 50% more time on the golf links than in economic briefings.

obama promises to protect Social Security and Medicare.  Yet his “payroll tax cut” robbed S.S. of 16% of its funding. Had his putrid “jobs bill” passed, it would have cut S.S. funding by half, and gut Medicare with half a billion dollars in reckless cuts. To underwrite obamacare, $700 million will be taken from Medicare.
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The Zombie Left
Among the Left, all but the most severe kool-aid addicts admit that obama has been a major disappointment. Still, they plan on voting for him as the ‘lesser of two evils.’  ‘We must protect women’s rights’, they implore.  Are not the right to a speedy trial, to protection from illegal search and seizure, to due process, the rights of women as well?  So long as obama remains president, the Left condone unliberal affronts they would never tolerate from a republican president.

To assume that in a second term obama will suddenly ‘get it’, or miraculously change his nature, is folly. Things would get even worse. True, Romney’s plan to fix the economy will also fail. But obama’s bolloxes have ensured that the country will give the GOP a shot, if not now, then in 2016. Massachusetts survived one term of Romney; America can, too.

The Left, however, cannot survive four more years of obama. In service to obama, the Left now advocate jingoism in foreign policy, and a surveillance state at home. The Left now accept zero progress on jobs or economic fairness, and mutely watch as corporate criminals go unpunished. Thanks to obama, liberals and progressives have abandoned protecting the environment and the fight for universal healthcare. The Left are nothing but mindless zombies, so long as they remain under the sway of obama’s false promises and lies.
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Vote Like a True Liberal
Now is the time for all true liberals to do their duty. To stand up for liberal values by voting for a candidate that also stands up for liberal values. barack obama is not that candidate.

Jill Stein is a true liberal. Her New Green Deal is a comprehensive plan to revitalize the American economy and restore American liberties. Patterned on FDR’s successful programs, Stein’s New Green Deal is a bold yet eminently feasible solution to our pressing problems, a solution that relies on the best liberal principles.

On November 6th, vote as a true liberal. Say ‘enough!’ with the lesser-of-two-evils crap. Vote for Jill Stein.
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(c) 2012 by True Liberal Nexus. All rights reserved.


Elizabeth Warren’s Lies Catching Up With Her

September 28, 2012

Elizabeth Warren, Democrat candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, can’t shake free of unflattering revelations from her past.  First to be exposed was her unverified claim to be a Cherokee, which upset actual Cherokees and raised ethical questions.  Then came accusations from fellow academics that Warren had fudged data for a book, followed by the discovery that the former mortgage fraud czarina had herself made a tidy profit flipping foreclosed homes.  Now comes the shocking news that, not only did Warren represent a string of big businesses in cases against workers, she seems to have been practicing law for over a decade without a license.
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Family Lore vs. Hard Evidence

The first setback to Warren’s maiden election campaign came in April, when it was revealed that she’d publicly listed herself for years as a “Person of Color”, specifically, a Cherokee. (See earlier post for details.)   Despite Warren’s insistence that the Cherokee controversy has been “put to rest” it keeps dogging her, partly because her opponent, Scott Brown, has made it a question of her character, partly because of Warren’s own bizarre compulsion to keep raising the subject.

Brown hit Warren on her false Cherokee claim in the first question of their first debate.  Warren insisted Harvard’s decision to hire her had nothing to do with her claim to minority status, yet refused to comply with Brown’s request for her to release her Harvard paperwork.   Brown and the debate moderator then moved on to other issues, but a few minutes later Warren felt the need to retell the thoroughly-debunked fable of her family’s claims to Cherokee and Delaware ancestry.

Not content to leave it be, Warren released a TV ad insisting yet again that the family lore she heard as child makes it OK for her to call herself a Native American.   This subject is not a winner for Warren, as: 1) exhaustive research by the Cherokee genealogist, Twila Barnes, has proven conclusively that Warren has zero native american ancestry;  2) even had Warren’s claim to 1/32 Cherokee blood been true, under federal law, that was not sufficient for her to claim minority status as a native american.
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Underdog Champion or Hired Gun?

Warren’s claim to fame, which made her the darling of proglodytes, is as a champion of the underdog against avaricious corporations.  In the debate, Brown cast doubt on this image when he questioned Warren’s decision to represent Travelers Insurance in its 2009 attempt to avoid paying compensation to thousands of workers with asbestos poisoning.  Warren insisted that by representing Travelers (“it was an insurance company versus another insurance company” she later explained), she actually helped the poisoned workers by getting Travelers to set up a trust fund, which was better than nothing.  The settlement was later negated by the Supreme Court, leaving the victims with nothing.

Less clear is how Warren was aiding the downtrodden when she represented LTV Steel in 1995, when they attempted to renege on health & pension benefits to thousands of retired coal miners.

Warren has also served, in an advisory or litigating capacity, the following clients in their attempts to use Chapter 11 legalities to avoid liabilities for asbestos poisoning:

  • Kaiser Aluminum
  • Dow Chemical
  • Johns Manville
  • National Gypsum
  • Fuller Austin
  • Fairchild Aviation
  • Piper Aircraft
  • Babcock & Wilcox Company
  • Pittsburgh Coming Corporation
  • Owens Coming Corporation
  • Armstrong World Industries, Inc.
  • W.R. Grace & Company
  • G-1 Holdings, Inc.
  • United States Gypsum Corporation
  • Federal-Mogul Global, Inc.
  • North American Refractories Company

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Unlicensed Practice of the Law

All this scrutiny into Warren’s legal work (conducted primarily by the blog Legal Insurrection) has uncovered a potentially devastating blow to Warren’s Senate aspirations.  It now seems certain that Warren has been practicing law for years in Massachusetts without a license.  That’s a felony.

Warren admits she’s never passed the Mass. bar,  but insists it doesn’t matter as:  1) She’s never really practiced law in Mass, just “dabbled” a bit;  2) She maintains no law office in the state;  3) She’s never appeared in a Mass. court regarding Mass. law;  4) She’s a member of the TX and NJ bars.   All four statements are lies.

Warren has engaged in continuous practice

The long list of clients above, most from 2002 and discovered by chance, belie Warren’s claim of “dabbling.” Warren refuses to release a comprehensive list of clients, but her annual tax returns list six-figure earnings from legal work.

Warren has maintained a permanent law office

Warren insists she has no law office in Massachusetts.  Yet in amicus briefs to the Supreme Court, and in numerous other cases over the past decade where she was listed “of counsel”, Warren gave her Harvard address as the location of her law practice.  On her Texas bar file, she also lists Cambridge, MA, as the location of her practice.

Clearly, Warren’s lawyerly endeavors meets the State’s criteria of someone who “establish[es] an office or other systematic and continuous presence in this jurisdiction for the practice of law,” and who “hold[s] out to the public or otherwise represent that the lawyer is admitted to practice law in this jurisdiction.”

Warren practiced law in Massachusetts

Legal Insurrection has uncovered Cadle Company v. Schlictmann, a 2007 appeal before in the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, involving a state lien law. Both plaintiff and defendant were from Massachusetts. Warren represented the defendant.

Warren held no active state bar memberships

In 2003, Warren affirmed to the Supreme Court that “I am a member of the bar of the States of Texas and New Jersey.”  Warren also listed her Texas and New Jersey bar memberships in a 2008 CV.

Trouble is, Warren’s Texas bar membership lapsed in 1992. Texas lists Warren as “inactive” and not permitted to practice law.   On September 11, 2012, Warren suddenly resigned from the New Jersey bar, effectively blocking searches into when her membership was last active. Warren claimed she was too busy with the campaign to keep up with the continuing education requirements, even though the NJ bar extends magnanimous waivers and extensions.

Surpisingly, in a recent radio interview, Warren laughingly revealed “I’ve been inactive in the New Jersey bar for a very, very long time.”  That’s two “very’s” and a “long”, which probably takes us back before 2002, when Warren represented at least ten clients in court, and submitted an amicus to the Supreme Court. Certainly 2009’s Travelers v. Bailey wasn’t “very, very long ago” at all.

That’s known as Unlicensed Practice of the Law, and the State of Massachusetts take a dim view of it:

“Whoever has been so removed and continues thereafter to practice law or to receive any fee for his services as an attorney at law rendered after such removal, or who holds himself out, or who represents or advertises himself as an attorney or counsellor at law, or whoever, not having been lawfully admitted to practice as an attorney at law, represents himself to be an attorney or counsellor at law, or to be lawfully qualified to practice in the courts of the commonwealth, by means of a sign, business card, letter head or otherwise, … shall be punished for a first offence by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than six months, and for a subsequent offence by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year.”

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Scoundrel

We now have compelling and damning evidence that Elizabeth Warren is an hypocrite, a compulsive liar, a cheat, an impostor, a perjurer, and a felon.  In an earlier age, a person of Warren’s low character would have been labeled a ‘scoundrel.’  Today, she’s called a ‘progressive hero.’

But hey — Warren gave a speech on youtube that thrilled the proglodytes (they do love their demagoguery!)  So the Dem Machine in Chicago tapped her for the Mass. Senate race.  Like obama before her, the Dems didn’t give a hoot about a proper vetting.  And now, like with obama, the Dems reflexively defend their candidate, Warren, for truly indefensible conduct.

Elizabeth Warren is unfit to hold office.  (If justice be served, she’ll soon trade that hideous red blazer for an orange jumpsuit.)  No true liberal in Massachusetts, who values honesty and integrity, can vote for Warren with a clear conscience.  They must cast their ballot for either Socialist Laura Garza, independent Bill Cimbrilo, or, (gasp) Scott Brown.

And vote for Jill Stein for president.

Note: This article is greatly indebted to the findings presented by Legal Insurrection.


(c) 2012 by True Liberal Nexus.  All rights reserved.


Another Jobless Jobs Bill

September 26, 2012

Democrats furious that Republicans refuse to support veterans jobs bill creating zero jobs for veterans

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Last week, Democrats failed to pass S. 3457, the ‘‘Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012’’, falling two votes shy when Republicans forced a point-of-order vote, as the bill exceeded spending limits contained in the Budget Control Act.  Had it passed, the measure would have created zero jobs for unemployed, post-9/11 veterans.

Co-sponsor Patty Murray (D, WA) implied her Republican colleagues were using veterans as “political pawns.”  Just before the vote on S. 3457, Senate Democrats shot down a similar GOP bill that would have also created zero jobs for veterans.  Both sides accused the other of being out of touch.

Across the social media interwebs, angry proglodytes slandered Republicans as heartless bastards for depriving needy veterans of zero jobs.

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Potential Jobs

What exactly would the brainchild of Murray and Bill Nelson (D, FL) have done?

  • Create a pilot program “to assess the feasibility and advisability of providing veterans seeking employment with access to computing facilities” to match vet’s jobs skills with available jobs;
  • Ensure that there are at least one disabled veterans’ outreach program specialist and one local veterans’ employment representative per 5,000 square miles”;
  • Require States to consider military training “when approving or denying a commercial driver’s license” or EMT certificate;
  • Conduct a trial program to provide retraining programs at off-base locations.

These impactful initiatives, costing $1 billion over five years, were to have been funded by making passport applicants pay their back taxes.  Nelson had the gall to call the bill, which was essentially a glorified online resumé bank, “commonsense legislation.”  Tom Coburn (R, OK) described it as “a gimmick” and “crap.”   (Coburn was later caught on a live mic describing the kettle as “black.”)

Check that list again to see if any actual jobs would have been created.  Nope, zero.  But wait — advocates insisted the measure would have “potentially created jobs for up to 20,000 veterans.

That’s $50,000 per potential job.  According to White House figures, 707,000 vets are unemployed.  At this rate, it would cost $35,350,000,000 to provide each of them with a potential job.  We’d need to spend $1,000,000,000,000 to give every unemployed person in America a potential job.

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Redundant

‘Even so,’  you say, ‘surely we ought to do something to help veterans find jobs?’  Of course.  We already do.

In August, the White House bragged that its Joining Forces Initiative had exceeded its goal of 125,000 vets hired by private employers.  The same companies pledged to hire another 250,000 by 2014.  The top participant in the program, Amazon.com, actively seeks out veterans, and did so long before any financial incentives were offered by the government.

The bipartisan Vow to Hire Heroes Act, signed into law last November, established a slew of job assistance programs with catchy names:

  • The Veterans Job Bank, aneasy to use online service that connects unemployed veterans to job openings with companies that want to hire them”, lists over half a million jobs openings “specifically targeted at Veterans”;
  • My Next Move for Veterans, an “easy-to-use online tool … that allows veterans to enter information about their experience and skills in the field, and match it with civilian careers”;
  • A Veteran Gold Card allows post-9/11 veterans to “access six months of personalized case management, assessments and counseling at the roughly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers located across the country.”;
  • Hero 2 Hired (H2H), a “comprehensive employment program … that offers everything a … job seeker needs to find their next opportunity” — job listings, those indispensable “career exploration tools,” training resources, “virtual career fairs,” plus nifty Facebook and mobile apps;
  • The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) for 45,000 qualified applicants each year;
  • A hundred hiring fairs sponsored by the Dept. of Commerce, which also went to the considerable effort of creating “strategic partnerships to deal with specific populations of veterans and their unique challenges”;

There’s also a Military Spouse Employment Partnership, a Wounded Warrior Transition Assistance Program, and yet another “virtual employment resource center”, VetSuccess.gov. 

So you can see how GOP senators are such evil fucks for refusing to spend $1 billion on another online job bulletin board.
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CCC My Ass

S. 3457’s sponsors said the bill was “inspired by”  FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps.  It’s nothing of the sort.

The CCC was operated by the Army and directly employed 250,000 young men at a time, providing them good pay, shelter, food and clothing. They planted 3 billion trees, created 800 new parks, upgraded nearly every state park in the nation, stocked nearly a billion fish, built hundreds of thousands of miles of roads and trails, performed erosion control on 40 million acres of farmland, and spend 6.5 million work-days fighting fires.  The CCC ran for nine years, cost a bargain $3 billion, and gainfully employed a total of 2.5 million.

S. 3567 is a resumé posting service.

We’re 1,345 days into obama’s administration, and that’s the best he and the Democrats can come up with.  In comparison:

March 4, 1933  FDR takes office

March 27           CCC bill introduced to Congress

March 31           Congress passes CCC

April 7                First enrollee

July 1                  1,500 CCC camps running with 317,000 participants

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200,000 Chain Saws

The two parties in power offer conflicting approaches to job creation.  Democrats rely on a recipe of hiring incentives, retraining programs, re-invent Monster.com several times over, more retraining programs.  The GOP places it faith in tax breaks, tax breaks, spam, easing regulations, tax breaks, and spam. Truth is, neither the Gops nor the Dems have any clue whatsoever how to create jobs, for veterans or anyone else.

As noted above, under the Democrats’ brilliant plan, it would take $35 billion to help every unemployed vet check online to see if by chance a job was waiting for them.  I have a plan to use that dough to give 250,000 out-of-work vets — the same number the CCC employed — a job for the next three years.  And I’ll put them to good use, clearing the dangerously overgrown forests of the American West.

Wildfires consumed a record number of acres this season, costing billions in damages and related costs.  Thanks to global warming, wildfires are seven times worse than they were in the 1970’s.  Unless the overgrowth is cleared, things will only get worse.

I’ll ask the US Military to provide some planning and logistical support gratis, and the program is fully funded without need to increase the federal deficit.

I call it the War on Forest Fires Program (WOFF)

Scope

WOFF is a three-year program with a goal of:  a) reducing wildfire volume by 1/3;  b) providing gainful employment and on-the-job training for 250,000 veterans currently without jobs.

WOFF will employ crews of ex-military personnel across the Western United States to clear overgrown brush and trees on Federal, State, and local land.  Private landowners will be able to contract with WOFF to clear their land.

The total cost of the program is $35.7 billion, and is fully funded by savings in the military budget.  WOFF will also generate significant cost savings to the Federal, state, and local governments in the billions of dollars, resulting from reduced losses to wildfire.  Additional benefits will be acrued from indirect stimulus of the economy through purchases.

Personnel & Salary

All 227,000 unemployed veterans of the post-9/11 era will be employed in fuel-reduction activities.  Pay will be based on experience and former rank. They will receive, on average, the median the 2012 Army E5 salary, or c. $34,000.

A further 23,000 veterans of the Gulf war era will be hired for supervisory and administrative roles.  Pay will be based on experience and former rank. They will receive, on average, the high end of the 2012 Army E6 salary, or c. $40,000.

Housing, food, and clothing will be provided for all participants in the program, as will travel expenses for regular familial visits.

During the fire season, the entire compliment of WOFF will be available to augment existing civilian fire-fighting personnel.

Salary

Old vets             $2.8 billion

Young vets       $25.9 billion

Total salary      $28.7 billion

Equipment

Forestry equipment will be purchased from American manufacturers.  While the actual equipment required will be diverse, the following examples can serve as a rough estimate of costs (extensions reflect a 15% volume discount.)

Item                   Qty.            Ext.

pulaski             216,000    $27,000,000

chain saw       216,000    $171,000,000

‘bobcat’              10,000   $204,000,000

forestry dozer     1,000    $102,000,000

Total equipment               $504,000,000

All additional equipment and materials shall be provided on loan, at no charge, from the US Military.

Administrative Costs & Supplies

Assume 25% overhead based on salaries.

$6.5 billion

Total Program Cost

$35.7 billion

Funding

To fund the program, I shall not rely on passport applications.  First thing we need to do is end the war in Afghanistan.  It’s costing us $300 million a day, and I’m earmarking the first 119 days’ of savings for WOFF.

Alternately, 23 of the 4,702 oversees military bases (4.9%) can be shut down for an average savings of $1.5 billion per base.

Program Benefits

Significant financial benefits will be realized from WOFF.

A detailed analysis by The Western Forestry Leadership Coalition estimates the total costs of wildfires exceeds $3,000 per acre.

To date in 2012, 8.7 million acres have burned in the United States, for a total cost of around $30 billion dollars.

If WOFF’s goal of reducing fires by 1/3 is achieved, the program will have paid for itself in just over three years.

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How Hard Can it Be?

It took FDR 36 days to put a quarter of a million men back to work with the CCC — just one of the many programs he implemented in his first 100 days.  The current Dems and Gops in Washington have spent the past twelve years bickering, posturing, and floating asinine schemes while our economy dies and one in five can’t find work.

As my back-of-the-envelope exercise above shows, It shouldn’t be that hard to come up with real solutions to our pressing problems.  Yet, apparently, it is beyond the faculties of our Congress and our President.

Patty Murray and Bill Nelson are incompetent, delusional imbeciles.  Their colleagues in Congress, on both sides of the aisle, are all incompetent, delusional imbeciles.  (Bernie Sanders gets a pass.) So, let’s fire the lot of them and elect instead some ordinary citizens with brains and real common sense.

And vote for Jill Stein.

(c) 2012 by True Liberal Nexus.  All rights reserved.


The Labor Pains of Robert Reich

September 4, 2012

Robert Reich is sorely disappointed in obama’s economic proposals, or lack thereof.  So why does Reich still support obama?

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Robert Reich isn’t happy with either Mitt Romney or barack obama.  Reich, Secretary of Labor under President Clinton and ardent advocate of leftist ideals no longer embraced by the Left, wants to hear how they’d remedy “the worst economy since the Great Depression.”

“Neither candidate,” Reich laments, “wants to take any chances by offering any large, serious proposals. Both are banking instead on negative campaigns that convince voters the other guy would be worse.”  Reich believes this “anti-election” spells disaster for the next president. “The public won’t have endorsed any new ideas or bold plans, which means he won’t have a clear mandate to do anything on the economy.”

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 Desperately Seeking Bold

Reich is especially pained by the lack of “any bold ideas” coming from obama, who Reich endorsed early in the 2008 primaries, and whose stinky jockstrap he’s faithfully carried ever since.  As one of those who still believe obama is just too timid to act on his good intentions, Reich offers a few friendly suggestions to the Democrat’s choice:

  • “Propose a new WPA, modeled after the Depression-era jobs program that hired hundreds of thousands of jobless Americans to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, or a new Civilian Conservation Corps”
  • Permanently exempt the first $25,000 of income from payroll taxes, and eliminate the income ceiling;
  • Reinstate Glass-Steagall;
  • Break up the big banks, “so Wall Street doesn’t cause another financial collapse.”

C’mon barry, we can do it!

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Cognitive Disconnect

It’s frustrating to watch someone as highly intelligent as Reich become so incredibly stupid. Actions speak louder than words, and after 3 1/2 years, it’s obvious that obama has no intention of doing any of those sorts of things. For obama is Wall Street’s bitch.  But that’s obama’s one great gift: he’s a stupid-maker, with the power to turn otherwise sane, rational people into blathering fools.

To date, obama’s economic policy has been very un-Reichian: failed bailouts of failed big banks & failed big auto; a dogged refusal to go after mortgage swindlers or Wall Street brigands; the eager signing of a series of jobs-killing “free trade” treaties; a jobs (sic) bill that contained under-funded, already-failed measures — what union boss Richard Trumka labeled “nibbling around the edge” — sandwiched between gratuitous guttings of Social Security and Medicare.  The economy remains moribund and real unemployment remains stuck at c. 15% — a figure Reich himself cited to justify labeling our current malaise a “depression.”  Most of the ‘new’ jobs created under obama are low wage substitutes for lost high-paying ones.  Half of recent college graduates can’t find employment, while job-seekers over 40 are plain S.O.L. As a result, obama is reduced to speaking about jobs ‘saved’, not created — or promising to be more like a Clinton next term.

Reich, like most Americans, falls for the ‘lesser of two evils’ trap.  When faced with Romney’s promise to bring back the economic policies of the Harding, Coolidge and Hoover administrations, dragging along obama like a petulant child seems the only option.

Were Reich to wrest free from obama the Deceiver’s svengali spell, he’d see that there is indeed someone running for president who proposes just the “big bold ideas” Reich yearns for — Jill Stein.

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Got Bold?

Want bold, Bob?  While Romney promises 12 million jobs — eventually — through laissez-faire policies & expansion of fossil fuel production, and obama hints at another million or so jobs ‘saved’, Jill Stein takes the bull by the horns:

“We will end unemployment in America once and for all by guaranteeing a job at a living wage for every American willing and able to work”, Stein proposes, including 16 millions jobs in sustainable energy, retrofitting, and mass transit.

Want aggressive financial reform?  While the obamney twins are mute on the subject, Stein will:

  • Create a federal bank to take over distressed mortgages and either restructure the mortgages or rent homes to the occupants;
  • Nationalize the Federal Reserve;
  • Break up “too big to fail” banks;
  • End future bailouts for financial institutions, instead using FDIC powers to reopen them as non-profit public banks;
  • Regulate all financial derivatives;
  • Reinstate Glass-Steagall.

Hey Bob, want tax justice?  In contrast to obama, who carefully avoided every opportunity to repeal the Bush tax cuts for the rich, or to Romney, who advocates even more tax cuts for the nobility plutocrats “job-creators”, Stein proposes:

  • A 90% tax on bonuses for the bankers Bush and obama bailed-out;
  • Making corporate tax subsidies transparent in public budgets;
  • A fair, progressive tax system “distributed in proportion to ability to pay.”

Finally, in contrast to the imperial war-monger, obama, or Romney, who wants to increase military spending to unprecedented levels, Stein will cut the military budget in half, a $360 billion savings toward reducing the stifling deficit.
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Wrong Horse, Bob

Clearly, Robert Reich should endorse Jill Stein for president. Why he, like so many liberals, still clings to the vain hope that obama will change at some point, deserves scrutiny.

Perhaps Reich believes that only someone well-integrated into the political machinery can hope to accomplish anything in Washington.  Hardly a plus-point, when that political machine is comprised exclusively of politician-whores who’ll sell their votes (and their souls, if they had any) to the highest bidder.

Likely, Reich falls for the bogus argument that vast amounts of experience is required to hold office.  Ignoring for a moment how this trope perpetuates the Dem/Gop choke-hold, look at the “experience” of the obamney twins.  The one was a mafia lawyer who wormed his way up the party machine hierarchy; the other, a financier, born to the manor, adept at making gobs of money by clever shuffling around of other people’s money.  When the backgrounds of the occupants of the Oval Office are limited to corruption, graft, and plunder, it’s no wonder the state we’re in.

Finally, Reich may think that third parties have no chance in our elections system.  That’s a tautology — they have no chance because no one gives them a chance. Stein’s name will be printed on at least 33 state ballots this November, and write-ins for her will count in a further three.  Her campaign is currently working to get on every state ballot except Oklahoma.  Were every liberal and moderate to vote this November based on their beliefs, and not some vestigial team loyalty, Jill Stein would be our next president.

And, if prominent, influential liberals like Robert Reich began supporting a candidate like Jill Stein, who advocates true liberal ideals and programs, instead of continuing to make lame excuses for a devious, corrupt, corporatist whore like barack obama, we could end this farce and quick.

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(c) 2012 by True Liberal Nexus.  All rights reserved.


That Steaming Manure Pile of Political Polling

July 26, 2012

As I sit down to write, I’ve just returned from shoveling manure at the barn.  Which makes me ideally qualified to comment on the latest NBC/WSJ poll, as it’s a stinking pile of horseshit, too.

Last week’s CBS/NYT poll sent a shudder through the obama-cult chattering class.  Showing a drop in Dear Leader’s approval/disapproval rating from an already anemic 42/46 to a ruinous 36/48, the CBS poll was generally perceived as indicative of the backdraft of obama’s decision to go nasty on Romney.

With the writing seemingly on the wall, obama’s sycophants braced for more bad news.  Would the upcoming NBC/WSJ poll confirm the worst?

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Do You Believe in Miracles?

The progosphere gave a collective sigh of relief when a veritable miracle occurred yesterday.  The PRAVDA  MSNBC poll showed obama with a slim 49/48 approval advantage, and a comfortable 49/43 lead over Romney in the ubiquitous “if the election were held today…” question.

To get these stellar results, all NBC had to do was survey +11 Democrat/Lean over Republican/lean (a D/R/I of 46/35/19). In comparison, the D/R/I in the 2010 mid-terms was 35/35/29.  In 2008, D/R/I was 39/32/29.  Rasmussen currently estimates it at 34/35/31.

Let that sink in for a moment:  +11 Democrats yielded +6 support for obama.

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Working Overtime at the Fudge Factory

With so much riding on this poll, NBC took no chances that it would turn out unfavorably for its employer, obama.  Across the board, segments preferential to obama were over-sampled:

Group                             NBC     USA

Bachelor’s                      24%    18%

Post-grad                       18%     10%

Union household          20%     17%

2008 BO/McCain          +9        +6

NBC’s population also comprised registered voters (RV), who consistently show greater preference for obama than “likely voters” (LV), which is a technical term used by pollsters when referring to those people who are likely to vote in the upcoming election.

As a hint to how likely NBC’s sample will find their way to a polling booth on November 6th, 12% didn’t vote in 2008.  Another 4% can’t remember who they voted for.

Yet everyone accepts NBC’s results with a straight face.  Real Clear Politics robotically plugs it into its influential RCP averages, alongside results from firms that survey “likely voters” (see above for definition), like Rasmussen and Quinnipiac, also the only two pollsters to weight party identity.

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Just An Outlier

Ah, but Rasmussen is a “conservative polling outlet”, we are reminded by the completely neutral The Hill.  Its polls are just outliers that can be safely ignored.  Rasmussen has indeed received criticism in the past for missing the mark, particularly in 2010.  Its methodology for determining party identification has also been questioned.  Is Rasmussen fudging its results, or just applying a more sophisticated approach to gauge the current political waters?

obama lackeys, desperate for good news, struggle to interpret auguries contained in the plethora of conflicting polls. As a rule, they pounce on any poll favoring Dear Leader, while viciously lashing out at any negative results, and not just those from Rasmussen.

  • In May, at the height of its push of the “War Against Women” meme, OFA got all in a tizzy after a CBS poll showed Romney leading among women;
  • Kos refuses to believe that Romney is ahead!
  • This minor blogger’s reaction epitomizes proglodyte, head-in-the-sand approach: “The 36% favorability … just is too small to be believed”, she insists, pointing to contrary numbers from earlier (Dem-skewed) polls;
  • Over at the once regal, now tawdry, The New Republic, Nate Cohn assures the Faithful that the 6-pt. approvals drop in CBS’ poll “just wasn’t as bad as it might seem.”  How so? Because CBS “has consistently found Obama with lower favorability ratings.”  Which, of course, can’t be true of our beloved barry, so “those numbers were fairly meaningless”;
  • Little Ezra, WaPo wag and obama butt-monkey, has a sure-fire approach to sleeping at night:  “ignore individual polls” and trust in the RCP average, which shows obama with “a small but persistent lead of between two and six percentage points….”


In April, Mother Jones columnist, David Corn, attempted to wrap his big, ivy league-educated brain around the perplexities of the wildly fluctuating polls.

“[T]here is a fundamental dynamic to the race to consider: Many voters tend to like Obama but are disappointed [in] the economy. And many voters—perhaps some of the same voters—don’t like Mitt Romney … but they fancy the idea of a business-savvy Mr. Fix-It who can turn around the economy. Consequently, voters in the middle … will be tugged in opposite directions over the next five-and-a-half months, as they sort out conflicting impulses. Consequently, poll results will see-saw.”

Eureka! the genius Corn has solved the riddle of the shifting polls — those dullard voters who are not members of Phi Beta Kappa simply change their tiny minds from one day to the next.  Consequently, it has nothing to do with those wide anomalies in party affiliation from one poll to the next.

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Comparing Apples to Oranges, and Kumquats and Lingonberries.

Such divination is impossible so long as assorted pollsters proffer results like the latest out of Michigan. Rasmussen has obama +6; Mitchell, Romney +1; and PPP, obama by a whopping +14!  In 2008, obama won Michigan 57/41 over McCain (+16).  PPP would have us believe that support for the Hopey-Changey One has remained virtually intact among Wolverines.

What’s behind the disparity?  Mitchell is a local firm about which I admittedly know very little.  Public Policy Polling (PPP) is an openly pro-Democratic shop.  Founded by a prog activist, and frequently working hand-in-hand with Daily Kos and SEIU, PPP readily admits it skews its samples.  It also relies on IVR, generally considered less accurate than live calls.

PPP cleverly varies its methods of distortion from poll to poll.  Usually, its Democrat proportion hovers in the mid-forties. Other times, it will increase union household representation three-fold.  As a favor to Kos, PPP notoriously found Scott Walker and Tom Barrett dead even just before the Wisconsin recall vote.  PPP always makes sure to issue one honest poll just before an election to substantiate its boast of accuracy.

In its recent Michigan survey, PPP had a D/R/I of 32/28/40 — only +4 Dem, in line with that state’s voter registration. But the high indy is odd.  Delve deeper into the crosstabs, and we find 31% of respondents described themselves as “moderate”.  Yet these moderates split 70/20 obama v. Romney.  Has PPP detected a silent groundswell of obama support not reflected in any other poll in the country, or is something fishy going on?

Many other pollsters release skewed results without bothering to weight the samples.  A May national poll by Reuters with a D/R/I of  47/38/15 (D +9) had obama up by +7.

Again:  +9 Dem yielded +7 obama.

On the whole, big media outlets polls consistently skew democratic, including, for reasons unknown, FOX.

Even without all the intentional distortion, it’s foolish to equate polls of RV with LV.  In the past, RV polls have averaged +2 to +4 support for Dems vs. LV.  RCP blends 24 Michigan polls for its latest average, which has obama +4.2:

  • The 15 surveys of 10,768 LV, yielded +1 obama;
  • The 9 surveys of  7,082 RV yielded +10 obama.

Of the nine RV polls, six were by PPP and two by NBC.

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Why Serve Fudge?

Wouldn’t it be in the best interest of polling firms to produce the most accurate results possible?  It would if their only motivation was their reputation.  Hence, the results from the established firms all fall within a narrow range, and show a very close race with low approvals for both candidates.  But as we saw, places like PPP are in the bag, while others hire out to the highest bidder; MSNBC is nothing less than obama’s ministry of propaganda.

Falsely inflating obama’s support helps his campaign in a number of ways.  If approvals for Romney can be shown as weak, it bolsters OFA’s attempt to portray its opponent as unlikable.  And a recent Pew poll shows many voters still forming an impression of Romney.

That same Pew poll, however, revealed that 90% of voters feel they already know enough about obama to make up their mind  — and most find him unpalatable.  From these figures, analysts have extrapolated that “the president’s approval rating among undecided voters is languishing in the 20s.”

Which makes preventing despondency from infecting obama’s own base paramount.  Enthusiasm among Democrats is down 22% from 2008, while GOP enthusiasm is up 16%. (Yet another poll, this one by Gallup.)  Until news outlets like RCP get more discriminating, a smattering of outrageous polls will suffice to mask the crumbling of obama’s support.

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Call It What It Is

We now live in a fact-free society, where everyone feels they have the right to say whatever and believe whatever.  Enough is enough.  Next time you read or hear someone cite one of these ridiculous polls, speak out and call it what it is: ‘a load of horseshit!’


(c) 2012 by True Liberal Nexus.  All Rights Reserved.


Elizabeth Warren’s Struggle With Truth

June 3, 2012

Whatever else can be said about Elizabeth Warren, one thing is certain:  she is no less than 96.875% white.

And yet Warren, the anointed Democratic nominee for the Massachusetts Senate race, has presented herself for decades as a Cherokee Indian to the public, to professional organizations, and to employers.  This despite no hard evidence, only family lore foggily recalled from childhood.

Ever since the story broke on April 27th, Warren’s heritage controversy has blotted out all other aspects of the campaign.  Warren’s detractors see it as indicative of her untrustworthiness, while her supporters insist it is all much ado about nothing.  The media has, with few exceptions, been reluctant to cover the story at all, much less dig deep, and even then, has rarely gotten the details straight.  So, before passing judgement on Warren, a closer look at the facts is in order.

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Is Warren Really a Cherokee?

Given their turbulent, tragic legacy of ethnic cleansing and forced assimilation, the several Native American tribes face a daunting task in the preservation & revival of a fragile, once fading culture.  In defining their community, they must balance inclusiveness with dedication to values.

Every Tribe, Band or Nation has its own admission requirements, all based on some ancestral link.  While many “official” Indians may look white and have white names, each has made a life-long commitment to immerse themselves in, and work to keep vibrant, their respective culture, language, and national identity.

Warren admits she never formally applied for Cherokee citizenship.  A good call, as Warren’s ancestry fails the citizenship test of the three Federally-recognized Cherokee tribes.  The largest, The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, has no “blood quantum” standard, but does require the applicant have at least one ancestor listed on the Dawes Rolls, a 1906 federal census of Cherokees.  It’s important to stress that what’s being defined is not membership in an ethnic group, rather citizenship in a sovereign nation.  The Cherokee Constitution is explicit on this, and the Dawes Rolls enumerated many freedmen who’d joined the tribe, as well as whites who’d intermarried.  Warren’s allegedly Cherokee great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Smith, died in the mid 19th century. Neither of  Warren’s maternal ancestors alive when the Dawes Rolls were compiled, John H. Crawford and Hannie Crawford, appear anywhere on them.

Warren would also be rejected by the United Keetoowah Band, which, in addition to a Dawes Rolls ancestor, requires its citizens possess at least 1/4 quarter Cherokee blood.

The 1/16 blood quantum requirement often mentioned by the media is for the Eastern Band of Cherokee  of North Carolina, which also requires an ancestor listed on the Baker Roll.  Warren, at best of 1/32nd Cherokee descent (or, as she most recently intimated, 1/64th), and lacking a Baker roll ancestor, would not be permitted to join this tribe, either.

As a fall-back, Warren could have paid the $35 fee to submit her genealogy to the Cherokee Heritage Documentation Center in hopes of receiving a Declaration of Cherokee Heritage “suitable for framing” that would allow her “to display and be proud of [her] heritage,” while shielding her “from being labeled a ‘wannabe Indian’ rather than someone seeking their true heritage.”

Even here, Warren may have struck out.  Frantic efforts to unearth documentation confirming Smith’s Cherokee status have come up with nothing, other than evidence that Warren’s great-great-great grandfather may have belonged to a local militia that participated in the notorious “Trail of Tears”, the brutal relocation of the Cherokee to Oklahoma.

Cherokee historian and genealogist, Twila Barnes, offers convincing evidence that the sole scrap of documentation for Warren’s claim, a marriage license listing Hannie Crawford, Warren’s grandmother’s, race as “Indian”, actually lists her residence as “Indian Territory.”  Warren’s “mammaw” was just another white Sooner who stole land from the Cherokee.
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Does Warren Have the Right to Call Herself Cherokee?

None of this matters to Warren, who choses to ‘self-identify’ based on vague family lore. “Being Native American has been part of my story I guess since the day I was born,” gushed Warren.  “I still have a picture on my mantel … of my grandfather. And my Aunt Bea has walked by that picture at least a 1,000 times remarked that he – her father, my Papaw — had high cheek bones like all of the Indians do.”

The exotic notion of being a secret indian princess must have proved irresistible to the plain, bookish daughter of a janitor.   Yet Warren also nurtured this fantasy as an adult, listing herself as “Cherokee” when contributing WASPy recipes like crab dip with mayonnaise to a fundraising cookbook with the kitschy title “Pow Wow Chow.”

Nothing offends actual tribal members more than “Pretendians” who, for cachet, claim Indian ancestry, but have no desire to participate in tribal life.  “If you’re going to claim it, you have to help your people out,” admonishes Rhonda LeValdo, president of the Native American Journalists Association.  “Don’t just use it when you want to use it.”

In direct response to Warren’s claims, Barnes and another prominent figure in the Cherokee community, David Cornsilk, have formed a group  to convey their sense that “false claims like Elizabeth Warren is making are harmful to the Cherokee people.”  No one, they feel, “has the right to try to rewrite it or make up fictitious stories so they can fit in it or take advantage of it.”

What did Warren Claim and When?

One can, of course, acknowledge one’s Native American ancestry without professing to Native American identity.  Warren, who is at best 3.125% Indian (see update below), has the right to embarrass herself at cocktail parties by saying she’s a Cherokee.  Nor is there any law that prevents a person, whose family tree is pure white for four generations, to fancy themselves a member of an Indian tribe.  Definitely odd-ball, but not illegal.

Warren’s assertions would have fallen merely into the realm of tacky or kooky, had she not also listed herself  as a minority in a professional directory frequently referenced by hiring deans.  It has been confirmed that, even while depicting herself as a minority in the law professors’ directory, Warren listed herself as “white” on her U Texas application.  Warren has reluctantly confessed to telling two of her employers, Penn and Harvard, that she was a minority.  Warren insists this played no role in her hiring, something the schools officially verify.  Both Penn and Harvard, though, listed her as a minority on federally-mandated diversity hiring reports.

This is a clear violation of Federal Affirmative Action hiring policy, which stipulates that a Native American is “a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America, and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.”  (My emphasis.)  Accepting a recipe cribbed off of Martha Stewart does not count as “community recognition.”
_

Dances With Lies

Since the story broke, Warren has issued a series of explanations, each one contradicting the previous.  Initially, she denied ever listing herself as a minority.  When that was proven false, she insisted it was in hopes of being “invited to a luncheon, a group or something with people who are like I am,” but abandoned the practice when no one asked her out.   Yet, since she was only listed as a generic “minority” (h/t Legal Insurrection), how did she expect to connect with fellow 31/32nd non-indian law profs to share memories of sticking turkey feathers in their hair as little girls?

Warren next denied she even knew her employers had listed her as a minority.  “I think I read it on the front page of the Herald,” Warren responded, when asked about Harvard’s having promoted her purported minority status.  When this was also proven false, Warren claimed she’d misunderstood the ‘When did you first learn…?’ part of the reporter’s question.

Faced with persistent demands for clarification, Warren re-shuffled the facts, creating a tale in which, while she had listed herself as a minority in a directory, she’d never told her prospective employers she was a Cherokee.  When that was exposed as untrue, Warren insisted she only told Penn (1987), and Harvard (1992) after being hired — each time in passing, to make chit-chat over lunch.

In politics, this is known as “spin”.  In the real world, it’s called getting caught making shit up.  No wonder wags have dubbed Warren “Lie-awatha” and “Dances With Lies.”
_

Is Warren Fit For Public Office?

Warren’s performance under this character test is disconcerting for a number of reasons.

First, her inept handling of the accelerating controversy raises doubt as to whether Warren, a life-long academician and political tyro, has the chops for a Senate campaign.  Her refusal to promptly to tackle the crisis head-on (her literal fleeing from reporters and slamming doors in their faces evoked memories of John Edwards cowering in a toilet stall), was belatedly followed by series of stumbling, unconvincing retractions.

Second, her rapidly-shifting story indicates a comfort with mendacity all too common among today’s office-seekers.  More alarming, Warren’s struggle with truth is not limited to her Cherokee claims, but rather pervades every aspect of her public persona.

Trying to establish her hard-scrabble origins, the wealthy, Ivy-League academic told a story about her grandmother, who “drove a wagon in the land rush to settle territory out west. It was 1889, she was 15 years old…She lived to be 94, to see her youngest grandchild -– that’s me -– graduate from college.…”  Except her Sooner “mammaw”, mentioned above, died nearly a decade before Warren graduated.  It was Warren’s other grandmother who attended her graduation.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve never mixed up my grandmothers.

Warren’s chief selling point is her reputation as a “watchdog” over fraudulent mortgage practices, someone who identifies with and protects struggling home owners “being hammered” by predatory lenders.  Yet now comes the revelation that during the 1990’s, Warren made hefty profits ‘flipping’ foreclosed houses she and her brother bought on the cheap.  And she financed this enterprise with an interest-free loan from Harvard.

A recently dug-up video clip shows Warren declaring, in all earnestness, that she was “the first nursing mother to take the bar,”  perhaps just in the State of New Jersey, perhaps in the History of Western Civilization.  As one of her fellow law students observed, since the NJ Bar most assuredly does not track statistics on breast feeding, how can Warren make this claim?   Of the few plausible explanations, the least-damaging is that someone at the time cracked wise, ‘Gee, Liz, you must be the first …’ and Warren’s fertile imagination later transformed it into a bullet point for her CV.

Scott Brown and Co. have another five months to poke around for more.
_

Donnie Darko for Senate

All this leaves one with the impression of Warren as a fabulist disturbingly out of touch with reality.  Here is an adult professional, an Ivy-league professor & former head of a federal regulatory agency, who for decades has indulged in a self-aggrandizing childhood fantasy.  It leaves one with a queasiness not unlike if, during a stump speech, a candidate gave a shout-out to their long-time supporter and imaginary friend.

When caught lying, your typical candidate at first denies it, then, if that doesn’t work, ‘fesses up and tries to move on.  Yet Warren’s inability to admit she’s not really an Indian princess is seemingly pathological:

“It’s who I am, it’s how I grew up. It’s me, part of me, through and through. I can’t change that.’’

“I won’t deny who I am, I won’t deny my heritage.”

“This was real in my life. I can’t deny my heritage. I can’t and I won’t.”

These soul-baring plaints were uttered by Warren just Friday, when, instead of putting the issue to rest, she felt compelled to fly to Oklahoma and stand in front of her childhood home to spin a new yarn about her parents needing to elope because her mother was part (1/16) Cherokee and Delaware.  (Now it’s Delaware, too?)  It took but a few hours before the breitbarters exposed this as yet another confection of Lizzie’s fertile imagination.  For their nuptials, it seems, Warren’s parents traveled all of 14 miles to the county seat, to be wed by the local minister.
_

A “Liberal Champion?”

Is this is the best the Dems can do?  Is an inexperienced, completely un-vetted, thoroughly nutty professor really their idea of a “Liberal Champion” to lift the Mongol Yoke from Teddy’s seat?  If so, the Democratic Party is hopelessly inept and on its last legs.

In fact, Bay State Dems did have a viable alternative to the hapless, flawed, mendacious Warren.  Someone with a true liberal platform, a confident, feisty, yet endearing charm, a seemingly impeccable background, plus actual experience running for office.  Sounds great?  No, actually, because Dem big-wigs treated this fellow Democrat like the enemy.  Her name is Marisa DeFranco, and this weekend, party leaders took unprecedented steps to ensure that the voters of Massachusetts would have no chance to reject the anointed Warren.

We’ll look next at why Marisa DeFranco so frightened the Dem Machine.

_

UPDATE ( 6/5/12):

*  In response to my inquiries, Twila Barnes confirmed that her research team did a thorough search of the Dawes Rolls and found not a single Warren ancestor on them.  Nor can a Warren ancestor be found on any of the two dozen existing rolls, lists, musters or censuses of Cherokee;

* Barnes has also just completed an exhaustive study of Warren’s entire family tree — something Warren herself never deemed necessary — proving that every single Warren ancestor going back for five generations was listed on records as “white.”   For those of you who are fractionally-challenged, that makes Warren 0/32nds, or ZERO PERCENT, American Indian;

* Warren, insisting that Aunt Bea’s just-so fables trump cold, hard facts, sticks to her jalousie of Cherokee heritage.  In a WBZ interview, Warren declared that if elected, she’d be the first senator from Massachusetts “so far as I know who has Native American heritage”;

* At the blog Cherokees Demand Truth From Elizabeth Warren, Barnes has granted Warren’s long-time wish, an invitation to a luncheon date with a real live Cherokee Indian.  To date, Warren has not accepted.

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(c) 2012 by True Liberal Nexus.  All rights reserved.


Murder Drone

May 8, 2012

The obama administration finally responded to mounting outcry about its campaign of targeted killings with drones — by bragging about it.

Until this week, the White House had deflected criticism and blocked Freedom of Information requests by refusing to either confirm or deny the existence of the drone operations, which opponents say violates both federal and international law.  But with activist groups like Codepink holding anti-drone rallies over the weekend, and following a Sunday editorial in the New York Times by the ACLU, which urged the courts to intervene if the president did not direct the CIA to release relevant documents, the time had come to address their concerns. The response came not by the president himself, rather in a prepared statement recited before the Woodrow Wilson Center by a White House designated liar, John Brennan.  Long-winded and obtuse, it not only confirmed the existence of president Nixon’s obama’s secret bombing of Cambodia drone killings in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, it attempted to defend it under international law and on moral grounds.

Through Brennan, the obama administration made five main claims about it’s murder-by-drone spree is:

  1. Effective
  2.  “Transparent”
  3. Legal under Federal Law
  4. Legal under International Law
  5. Ethical

All five are brazen lies.

_

1. It’s Effective?

With obama having launched five times as many drones strikes as Bush (267 vs. 52), Brennan gave a glowing report on the “great progress” made and the pending demise of al-Qaeda:

  • ” a shadow of its former self”
  • “left with just a handful of capable leaders and operatives”
  • “ranks have dwindled and scattered”
  • “on the road to destruction”
  • “struggles to communicate with subordinates and affiliates”
  • “Morale is low”
  • “struggling to attract new recruits”
  • “In short, al-Qa’ida is losing, badly.”

But check that sigh of relief, children — the al-Qaeda bogeyman under your bed is still very, very scary:

  • “the dangerous threat from al-Qa’ida has not disappeared”
  • “continues to look to its affiliates and adherents to carry on its murderous cause”
  • “worrying to witness al-Qa’ida’s merger with al-Shabaab, whose ranks include foreign fighters, some with U.S. passports”
  • “still have the intent to attack the United States”
  • “a mistake to believe this threat has passed.” 

It would be foolish for us to trust two proven lairs, Bush and obama. Yet, since everything is secret, it’s impossible for the public to assess whether the drone attacks are doing much good. We really have no idea how strong al-Quaeda is, or ever was. Over the course of eleven years, al-Quaeda has launched a grand total of three terrorists attacks against the West. In comparison, from 1967 to 1977, the Baader-Meinhof Gang/RAF, a loose network of urban radicals, pulled off dozens of bombings, assassinations and kidnappings. Groups like RZ, ETA, and the IRA were even more prolific.

One thing we can be sure of — so long as it aids obama’s agenda, obama will always spot the bogeyman under our beds.

_

2. There’s Transparency?

The obama administration’s idea of “transparency” is to send John Brennan to the Wilson Center to issue platitudes. “I’m here today because President Obama has instructed us to be more open with the American people about these efforts.”

After reminding us that obama “had pledged to share as much information as possible with the American people ‘so that they can make informed judgments and hold us accountable’”, Brennan refused to “discuss the sensitive details of any specific operation today.   I will not, nor will I ever, publicly divulge sensitive intelligence sources and methods.”

In a fatherly tone, Brennan noted that counter-terrorism tools,

do not exist in a vacuum.  They are stronger and more sustainable when the American people understand and support them.  They are weaker and less sustainable when the American people do not.  As a result of my remarks today, I hope the American people have a better understanding of this critical tool, why we use it, what we do, how carefully we use it, and why it is absolutely essential to protecting our country and our citizens.”

So, children, trust Dear Leader.  And stop asking annoying questions.

_

3. Legal Under U.S. Law?

“[A]s a matter of domestic law,” Brennan assured us, “the Constitution empowers the President to protect the nation from any imminent threat of attack.”   Hmm. Art. II, Sec. 2 states: “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the Unites States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.” Art. IV Sec. 4 states “The United States shall … protect each [State] against Invasion….”

In Congress is vested power to:

  • Declare war
  • Make rules concerning capture
  • Raise and support Armies, maintain a Navy
  • Make rules for the regulation of the armed Forces
  • Call forth the militia
  • Etc.

The Framers were exceedingly cautious about granting the president war powers. “The constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates,” wrote Madison to Jefferson, “that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war in the Legislature.”

The claim of iron-clad constitutionality is actually thinly based on the standard interpretation of the president’s role as CiC & ‘first responder’ to invasions or imminent threats of attack on the US. Such a scenario envisions the United States at peace but about to be hit with an invasion or attack. Following his handling of this initial attack, the president is still required to get Congress’ approval to continue hostilities, as now codified by the War Powers Act.  If 9/11 counts as the first blow in a war, akin to Pearl Harbor, then we have been “at war” with Al Qaeda for over a decade. Any of the subsequent attacks the enemy is allegedly concocting — and the drone strikes allegedly thwarting — are no more “imminent threats” than was the Japanese fleet’s action at Leyte Gulf.

Our Republic has long struggled to check the propensity of presidents to recklessly engage in war without the consent of the people. On the eve of the Mexican-American War, a young congressman, Abraham Lincoln, wrote words that resonate today:

“Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose — and allow him to make war at pleasure…. how could you stop him? You may say to him, ‘I see no probability of [an invasion]’ but he will say to you ‘be silent; I see it, if you don’t.’

“The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress,” Lincoln believed, was to prevent the oppression of kings, who “had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object.” So the Framers “resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us.” To do otherwise” places our President where kings have always stood.”

While our current flock of sheep Congress has acquiesced in obama’s usurpation of its war powers, that does not make it constitutional.

_

4. Legal Under International Law?

The obama administration’s justification for its drone campaign so twists & perverts what international law actually says, it’s worth debunking it in detail.

_
A State of Armed Conflict
“As a matter of international law, the United States is in an armed conflict al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, and associated forces”

Under the Geneva Convention, only sovereign entities employing regular military forces are granted belligerent status.  The Taliban, as the deposed former government, could be considered a belligerent fighting a war of liberation in afghanistan.  But al-Qaeda is neither a sovereign entity, nor do its personnel operate as regulated soldiers under arms.  International law is explicit on this — al-Qaeda is a terrorist group, its members civilians subject to civilian criminal law. Using a drone to kill a suspected terrorist violates international humanitarian law — for one, the drone is incapable of offering the suspect the required chance to surrender.

Like Bush before him, obama chooses to treat al-Qaeda as a sovereign belligerent to justify using military force against it. While this may be convenient, it creates a conundrum.  International law treats everyone in a combat zone as either a lawful combatant or a civilian. Combatants receive what is known as privilege — they cannot be punished for any (militarily legitimate) violent acts they may commit. Combatants may, however, be proscetuted for war crimes: violent acts not militarily justified.

Civilians in a combat zone may not be the targets of combat actions. Civilians who directly participate in hostilities (“DPH”) lose that immunity (i.e., they may be targeted while engaged in combat) and are considered unlawful combatants subject to trial and punishment. Ironically, this makes the CIA employees piloting the drones war criminals.

If al-Qaeda is a belligerent at war with us, then its acts are legitimate acts of war, its members lawful combatants immune from criminal prosecution.  To circumvent this, obama has adopted the Bush administration’s expediency of fabricating a new class unrecognized by international law, “unlawful enemy combatant”, and denying this class either due process as civilians or fair treatment as PoWs.

_
Right of Self-Defense
“…We may also use force consistent with our inherent right of national self-defense…”

This assumedly refers to Chapter VII, Art. 51 of the UN Charter: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations….”  But again, this is irrelevant when dealing with a terrorist group. The UN has only ever approved non-military sanctions against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and in 2011 de-linked the sanctions to better distinguish between the Taliban’s “insurgency” vs. al-Qaeda’s “terrorism.”

_
No Ban on Drones
“… There is nothing in international law that bans the use of remotely piloted aircraft for this purpose …”

It comes as no surprise that drones are not mentioned by name as one of the weapons banned in either the 1925 or 1980 Geneva Protocols.  The 1977 Additional Protocol I, however, does declare that “the right … to chose methods or means of warfare is not unlimited”, prohibits the employment of “weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering”, and obliges signatories to determine whether the “adoption of a new weapon, means or method of warfare” is subject to these prohibitions.

Regardless, any conventional weapon can be misused in the commission of a war crime.

_
“Active” Battlefield

“.. There is nothing … that prohibits us from using lethal force against our enemies outside of an active battlefield…”

The treaties governing the conduct of war (Geneva Convention IV & 1977 Additional Protocols; Hague Convention V) stipulate distinct rules for conduct permissible inside a “combat zone” vs. outside. In brief, engaging in military actions outside of a combat zone is a grave violation of international law.  The obama administration has concocted the neologism “active-“ or “hot battlefield” to cloak in a fig leaf of propriety its illegal use of military force outside of combat zones.  In effect, obama has declared the entire world to be a battle zone. This reckless and unprecedented act has alarmed the international human rights community and badly tarnished the reputation of the United States.

_
Sovereignty
“…at least when the country involved consents or is unable or unwilling to take action against the threat…”

Outside of Afghanistan,  our co-belligerent whose territory is a combat zone, drone attacks are a clear violation of the sovereignty of neutral nations.  Simply having John Brennan utter the words “The United States of America respects national sovereignty and international law” does not make it so. The same day as Brennan’s speech, Pakistan’s foreign minister declared: “[w]e consider drones as illegal, non-productive and accordingly unacceptable.”

The US could claim that, by failing to meets its Hague IV obligations as a neutral, Pakistan has become a co-belligerent of al-Qaeda … and declare war. As it stands, Pakistan has the right to shoot down our drones, and appeal to the UN.  Under Hague IV, individual nationals of belligerent states enjoy extensive protections, their neutral host in fact is enjoined from interning or handing them over.

_
Targeting of Civilians

“…Targeted strikes conform to the principle of distinction—the idea that only military objectives may be intentionally targeted and that civilians are protected from being intentionally targeted…”

Who we target for murder-by-drone, and how we decide, may well constitute a war crime. The International Red Cross clarifies DPH as including:

  • Capturing, wounding or killing military personnel;
  • Damaging military objects;
  • Disturbing military logistics through sabotage or road blocks;
  • Interfering electronically with military computer networks;
  • Transmitting tactical targeting intelligence for a specific attack;
  • Laying mines or booby-traps.

Distinct is ‘indirect’ participation in hostilities “which contributes to the general war effort of a party, but does not directly cause harm and, therefore, does not lead to a loss of protection against direct attack. (my emphasis). It is hard to shoe-horn into the DPH definition the activities of Anwar Al’Alawki, his 16 year-old son, people administering first-aid and attending funerals, or couples driving down the road on their honeymoon, all who obama has sentenced to death.

Thanks to a leak by a former obama administration official, we now have confirmation of how targets are selected for murder by drone. A name is selected off a “hit list” by an administration official, and permission (sic) is given by one of ten attorneys to have the person killed. This clearly violates Geneva IV, Art. 3 prohibition of “the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”

The obama drone doctrine is hopelessly muddled. It conflates one nation’s right to defend against an imminent attack by the armed forces of another nation, with the right of a law enforcement officer to use deadly force against an individual criminal suspect who poses an imminent danger.  It attempts to justify killing al-Qaeda members by pretending they are military commanders, or soldiers engaged in combat, then admits they are criminal suspects by insisting “[i]t is our preference to capture suspected terrorists whenever feasible” in order to “prosecute them in our federal courts.”

Boiled down, the obama drone doctrine states: ‘If a terrorist suspect is in a “hard-to-reach place” and thus a pain to capture and bring to trial, we reserve the right to call him a ‘soldier’ & assassinate him with a missile.’

_

5. It’s Ethical?

Brennan claims that obama’s drone killing conform to the ethical principles of “the law of war that govern the use of force”:

  • Necessity — “the requirement that the target have a definite military value”
  • Distinction — “the idea that only military objectives may be intentionally targeted and that civilians are protected from being intentionally targeted”
  • Proportionality—“the notion that the anticipated collateral damage of an action cannot be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage”
  • Humanity — “which requires us to use weapons that will not inflict unnecessary suffering.”

Accept, for the sake of argument, the Bush/obama fiction that we are at war with a sovereign entity, and one is still hard-pressed to match drone killings to Brennan’s lofty list of ideals:

  • Necessity — How the center of an entire village is a target of definite military value;
  • Distinction — how firing missiles at funerals, first-aid responders, or children gathering firewood protects civilians from being intentionally targeted;
  • Proportionality — how killing six civilians for every one suspected terrorist is not “excessive”;
  • Humanity — how a “signature attack” on a single suspect using two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, each of which carries a 20 lb. thermobaric warhead “that can suck the air out of a cave, collapse a building, or produce an astoundingly large blast radius out in the open”, or the 500 lb. GBU-12 fragmentation bomb, does not inflict unnecessary suffering.

Indeed, under international law, obama’s use of drones meets every definition of a war crime.

_

American Tyrant

barack obama has expanded the imperialism of the presidency to a level unprecedented even under Nixon and Bush. He has brazenly and repeatedly usurped war powers from a sheepish Congress while bullying the Judiciary.  One by one, he has stripped away the Constitutional civil liberties of the citizenry.

With a chilling aptness for orwellian double-speak, obama declares

secrecy = transparency

indiscriminate killings = effective & ethical

 disregard for international law = respect for that law

 war = peace

Like Orwell’s Big Brother, obama casts himself as the all-wise, benevolent yet also vindictive supreme leader. He smugly lectures us lowly prols, chides us for sloth, sneers when we doubt his infallibility. With FISA and the Patriot Act, obama also has BB’s universal powers of surveillance.

In short, barack obama personifies what our Founding Fathers feared most: an omnipotent tyrant. “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy”, warned Madison. Under Bushama, we have spend eleven years, hundreds of billions of dollars, and caused tens of thousands of deaths, to defeat a chimerical terrorist group that’s struck the US (counting the 1993 WTC garage bomb and the 2000 USS Cole bombing) a grand total of three times in two decades. Were our efforts commensurate to the threat? Or was this just the ruse of all tyrants through the ages — to oppress the people at home with endless wars abroad. Madison again:

Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended … and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people…. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

We’re told we’re waging war against a foe who by definition cannot wage war, on a battlefield that encompasses every point on the globe, where any civilian in any nation can be labeled a combatant and murdered. Under cover of continual, infinite, boundless warfare, obama has already negated much of our Constitutional liberties.  With the “flexibility” of a second term, is there any doubt that obama will complete the conversion of our Republic into a tyrannical police state?

Freedom-loving Americans have one last chance to avert tyranny by defeating obama this November.  Failing that, our options will be few:

The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood.  It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men. — Sam Adams

(c) 2012 by True Liberal Nexus. All rights reserved.