October 2009


6:58 A.M. Awakened by the schnauzer; time for her morning constitutional. Downstairs I hear my wife moving around, and I know that our youngest is readying for school.

7:30 A.M. I am already, as is the case every day of the week, waiting on the peculator and checking my overnight e-mails. Noting the slightly out-of-the-ordinary and discarding the customary, I make some quick notes, pour the coffee, and pick up the ringing Blackberry. The morning is developing as any other morning.

7:45 A.M. Our teenager stumbles downstairs and plops face down on the couch; unlike our youngest, he was never a good morning person. I kiss one son goodbye as he runs out the door after Mom, already waiting in the car, and try waking the sleeping giant on the couch; for a moment I recall that not-so-distant past when he could cozy up on a single cushion. The Blackberry rings again ending my reverie.

8:00 A.M. Mom is back from school run #1, and begins the slightly more difficult task of mobilizing he of the size 13.5 sneakers. He is cranky (nothing new), wants garbage for breakfast (nothing new), and insist on watching ESPN (nothing new) as he ponders his Pop Tarts.

8:17 A.M. The first crisis of the day arrives via Blackberry, it’s handled, nothing Earth-shattering then three more, they are handled. I pop up my Outlook to check my schedule for the rest of the day then bang! bang! bang! bang! the Blackberry is at it again…it’s going to be one of those days.

8:42 A.M. I know it’s 8:42 A.M. because I am starting to gauge how much more I can get done at my desk before I have to let things rest long enough for me to shower, dress, get out the door, and make it to my 10:30 on time. Miami Beach is an hour away in good weather and better traffic. I can handle auditing two more contracts (maybe) before drop-dead shower-and-shave, I-have-to-get-on-the-road time.

8:45 A.M. Mom drops checks that need my signature on my desk, she is making a Post Office and bank run. “Keep an aye on the clock; it’s at least an hour to South Beach.” Kiss…

8:57 A.M. Kiss Mr. Middle School, size 13.5 Kobe IV wearing, hair gelled (HAIR GEL?) son before he leaves on Mom’s morning taxi run #2. Mom comes back, rushed: “Did you sign those checks?” I give her the envelope and the prepared deposit slip…kiss. “Bye!”

9:02 A.M. “Have to call you back in a few.” Hang up the Blackberry on the newest issue requiring my attention; it immediately rings again…have to talk while the shower is running. Talked while I shaved. Talked after I shaved.

9:27 A.M. Damn…now I am behind, will not pick up that damned call. Text message my 10:30 meeting to let them know that I am running late. It’s Miami, it’s expected.

9:33 A.M. Damned Blackberry won’t stop ringing.

9:42 A.M. (I know that it is 9:42 A.M. because I am now checking the time on the clock by my razor almost constantly). I hear the door downstairs, and I know Mom’s taxi has run its errands and is back home. If I hurry, I can get out by 10:00 A.M.

9:43 A.M. Rinsing off…is someone crying? “Honey?!”

9:44 A.M. She walks into the bathroom, “I can’t find the checks! Did I leave them here? I checked everywhere!”

I don’t know what time it is. I am trying to console her, trying to dry off, trying to put some clothes oh, trying to figure out what happened between 8:57 A.M. and 9:41 A.M., trying to talk to her while she is busy tearing the house apart, trying not to walk past an open window soaking wet and wearing nothing but an undershirt.

“IwenttothePostOfficeanddoppedoffthemailthenIwenttothebankandhwhenIreachedinmypurseforthechecksTHEYWEREN’TTHERE. THEY WERE ENDORSED AND I LOST THEM!”

9:52 A.M. Regaining composure…I am anyway, she’s not. “You have to call them and have them put a stop payment on those checks! THEY WERE ENDORSED AND I LOST THEM! (I am texting what used to be my 10:30 A.M., trying to make it my 1:30 P.M. because I know that my 11:30 and my 12:15 aren’t flexible. They say OK…they’re running late too. It IS Miami, it IS expected). YOU HAVE TO PUT A STOP PAYMENT ON THOSE CHECKS!”

Losing track of time again, trying to regain composure. This is what I do for a living after all…remain composed during difficult situations.

9:55 A.M. She tells me that she traced back every step she took since leaving the house with Mr. 13.5 Kobe IVs and the deposit, and that maybe they either fell out or were taken out of her purse at the Post Office. She went back, found nothing and nothing had been turned in to the clerks. “YOU HAVE TO PUT A STOP PAYMENT ON THOSE CHECKS, THEY WERE ENDORSED. SOMEONE IS GOING TO CASH THEM!”

9:59 A.M. Type out e-mail to issuing company asking them to put a stop payment on the checks. Please re-issue and deduct any expenses incurred by the stop payment procedure.

10:02 A.M. Sent e-mail (I can tell the exact time from my Outlook). Trying to settle her before (finally) getting dressed (still wearing an undershirt) and out the door. “Hey! It happens to all of us. I’m sure that they will send us new checks…” The house phone is ringing, it’s our bank. She takes the call.

“Yes, this is Mrs. ############.”

“Excuse me?”

“When?”

“Did they give you a name?”

“Mail it…that’s fine. Thank you.”

October 29th, 2009. 10:03 A.M. My faith in mankind is somewhat restored by an indiscriminate act of human decency from a complete stranger. A nameless, faceless human being who upon finding two endorsed checks and a deposit slip in an envelope in a Post Office parking lot, drove to a bank and deposited them in an account belonging to complete strangers, just because it was the right thing to do, has reminded me that there are still honest, decent, caring people in this world.

10:32 A.M. I am on the road to my 11:30. I should be able to make my 12:15 and my rescheduled 10:30 pretty much on time, if traffic holds steady. If not, I may be a few minutes late (it’s Miami, it’s expected). I can’t stop thinking about the incredible turn of events and the individual whose tiny act of selflessness has now indebted me to “pay it forward”.

My Blackberry has been unusually quiet for some time, resting itself for the rush of after-lunch issues needing resolution, so for the moment, maybe a little music. I dig up my favorite oldies CD, and forward the tracks to the tune I want to hear. A day like today merits a little Jackie DeShannon:

Think of your fellow man
Lend him a helping hand
Put a little love in your heart

I have to pay this forward. I have to repay one stranger’s selfless act of basic decency with an anonymous act of decency myself.

And the world will be a better place

Maybe, if we would all simply engage in one indiscriminate act of human decency toward another human being, and if every one of the recipients of those acts would pay them forward, then…

… the world will be a better place
For you and me
You just wait and see

My God…I feel so good! I am going to hug a tree or something!

10:47 A.M. The shrill ring of the Blackberry brings me back from my euphoric daydream…the screen says “Home”, I answer it. “YOU HAVE TO STOP THEM FROM PUTTING A STOP ON THOSE CHECKS!”

10:49 A.M. There are cars whizzing by me at speeds that would knock me into tomorrow if they veer just a couple of inches to the right, as I type my second e-mail of the day: “You are never going to believe this…”

People, now put a little love in your heart
Each and every day
Put a little love in your heart
There’s no other way
Put a little love in your heart
It’s up to you
Put a little love in your heart

10:52 A.M. I pull back into traffic, thinking ahead to the issues to be dealt with during my 11:30. I am going to be a little late, but it IS Miami, and it IS expected.

It’s OK however. Thanks to an indiscriminate act of human decency from a total stranger, I feel like I can tackle the whole world today.

Put a little love in your heart!

Bloomberg:

Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) — San Diego health officials said that the county expected to run out of swine flu vaccine yesterday after receiving only 25 percent of the 411,000 doses anticipated for October, as reports of shortages nationwide mount.

New shipments may arrive “in the next week or two, we hope,” said Jose Alvarez, a spokesman for the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

More than 3,000 parents and children stood in line on a chilly Saturday to receive swine and seasonal flu vaccines at a community-wide clinic in Cobb County.

Many said they were anxious to obtain vaccines, especially for their kids, amid concerns about reports of children’s deaths and vaccine shortages.

Brad and Erika Bunn woke their kids early, with Erika running around the house announcing the kids had to get up and get out. It was, she said, “a frantic morning.”

“We thought it was important to get the kids vaccinated, since we’ve heard of cases of children who have died,” said Brad Bunn, 37, of Smyrna, who arrived with his three children.

By the end of day, 1,860 people had received the swine flu vaccine and 579 people had received seasonal flu shots, said Darlene Foote, a spokeswoman for the Cobb health department.

A line forms as Cobb County held a swine flu-orama Saturday, October 24th at the Cobb Safety Village to get free vaccinations from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Officials said that Cobb & Douglass Public Health volunteers treated 194 people in the first hour. They had about 3,000 swine flu vaccinations and roughly 4,000 seasonal flu shots available.

The Daily Breeze, Los Angeles:

People not deemed at risk for swine flu are being asked to stay away from county-run vaccination clinics until more supplies become available, health officials said Tuesday.

The announcement was the first formal indication that the county is rationing its limited supply of vaccine, which has been in high demand since county clinics opened last week.

“As time has gone on, there has been a more acute shortage,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “The expected distribution of vaccine to us and other parts of the country has been significantly less. Therefore, we have to be more strict in deciding who will get the vaccine.”

The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:

As doctors cope with shortages of swine flu vaccine and large numbers of people suffering influenza-like illness, the state and federal governments have shifted away from mass vaccination clinics toward targeting limited doses at those with greatest risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists those at greatest risk of serious illness from swine flu as: pregnant women; healthcare and emergency medical staff who have direct contact with patients; people who live with or provide care for children under 6 months old; children ages 6 months to 4 years; and children 5 to 18 with chronic medical conditions such as asthma and diseases of the heart and liver.

The recommended shift from mass clinics to targeted vaccinations forced the Milwaukee Health Department to re-evaluate plans for the 1,500 doses of vaccine left over from last week’s large clinics.

“It’s all needing to be reworked,” said Raquel Filmanowicz of the Milwaukee Health Department.

She said the city has received no new shipments of vaccine.

Shortages…

Long waits…

Rationing…

Excuses…

The shape of things to come when socialized medicine settles in.

Oh boy…my inner Roy Neary is at it again.

I thought I had successfully exorcised Roy right out of my system, but I guess I was wrong. Roy is painting Devil’s Tower across my mind with neon-colored markers, and that five-note melody is starting to boom from behind it.

“Castro…Chavez…Zelaya…ACORN…Obama”

It gets louder with the ascendancy of each new czar. It rang with urgent insistence with every rumor of compulsory health insurance, it played with manic intensity with every replay of the “Mao is my favorite philosopher” video, but it was the Obama administration declaring war on FOX News that boomed out the melody like Roy Neary’s mothership upon arrival.

But it wasn’t the spat…that’s just Chicago politics.

It’s the stuff AROUND the spat that has my inner Roy Neary spinning out of control.

Certainly spats between the White House and the media are not unique, but this one is enraging even the venerable Helen Thomas.

Here’s what’s bothering me.

Rahm Emmanuel defines the administration’s stance on FOX News:

The Obama administration dismissal of a major media outlet as “not a news organization” goes beyond an attempt at marginalizing dissenting voices within the media, it is the first step toward taking away a news organization’s right to access, and limit their ability to report the news.

White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, calls FOX News “the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party”, continuing the push toward establishing Executive branch exclusionary rights over the press.

David Axelrod continues the administration’s attacks on FOX:

Note that both Emmanuel and Dunn hold up CNN News as being a true news organization, and that both Axelrod and Emmanuel go so far as to suggest that CNN and other news outlets should not allow themselves to be led by FOX News, questioning their legitimacy as a news organization in the process.

Translation: CNN and others should not pick up and report on news stories broken by FOX News.

That message is so blatant that even MSNBC is catching on:

So, what is the Administration’s end game here?

This is where Roy finally sees the spaceship come over the mountain.

This little blurb from The Hill caught my eye:

The president said he is “happy to look at” bills before Congress that would give struggling news organizations tax breaks if they were to restructure as nonprofit businesses.

“I haven’t seen detailed proposals yet, but I’ll be happy to look at them,” Obama told the editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Toledo Blade in an interview.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced S. 673, the so-called “Newspaper Revitalization Act,” that would give outlets tax deals if they were to restructure as 501(c)(3) corporations. That bill has so far attracted one cosponsor, Cardin’s Maryland colleague Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D).

Newspapers restructuring themselves as 501(c)(3) corporations and receiving money from the Federal government?

Wouldn’t that place those “restructured” newspapers in the same position as those banks that received Federal bailout, and now are supervised by the Fed?

Imagine a newspaper owned “by the people”, beholden to the Federal government, and operating under the strict limitations imposed on them by the newly acquired 501(c)(3) status: limited to spend a minimal percentage of their income on political speech, and strictly regulated when expressing opinions on political issues.

Actually, you don’t need to imagine it, the FCC is scheduled to discuss such newspapers in December.

Is it truly a free press that is limited to publishing what the government allows it to publish?

If you ask Castro, Chavez, and Zelaya, they will tell you that eliminating media opposition after you have seized power is in the best interest of the people, and (as Chavez puts it) journalists expressing opposition to government control of the media can be compared to “drug traffickers opposing anti-drug laws or criminals complaining about crime-fighting”.

Perhaps Barack Obama is not comparing media opposition to drug traffickers and criminals yet, but he is directing his administration to attack the legitimacy of the opposition by trivializing its news credentials.

So what do we have here? What does the future hold for us?

It was an encouraging sign to see the media stand in solidarity against The White House, and in defense of the First Amendment, but is that enough?

We know that Castro took measures to control the media after taking power, that Chavez did the same, and any reasonable person will assume that Zelaya was planning on following the Socialist blueprint to the “t”.

We know that NBC is owned by GE, that GE received a $140 billion bailout, and that it was NBC that was granted unprecedented access during their filming of “Inside the Obama White House” infomercial.

We know that he is discussing the possibility of bailing out newspapers, effectively putting newspapers under government control.

We know that he has the populist movement (Organizing for America) set in place.

We know he’s got the shock troops (ACORN) set in place.

We know that he has been extremely busy demonizing any group who opposes his policies (tea partiers, FOX News, the US Chamber of Commerce, etc), while simultaneously fostering class warfare.

And now we see that he may very well be building himself a State-run media arm.

Who is going to be surprised when the movement to overturn the XXII Amendment to the Constitution begins in earnest?

After all, when speaking of the removal of Manuel Zelaya from office in Honduras, Obama pledged that the US would “stand on the side of democracy”, and called the unanimous actions of the Honduran Congress, the Honduran Supreme Court, and the Honduran military “not legal”.

Obama raises Democracy above Constitutionality…and THAT is what brought Roy Neary to life in my mind.

Now I am puzzled.

Why don’t we all know what Roy Neary knew beyond a shadow of a doubt?

Why can’t we all see the huge spaceship hovering over our heads?

Being Roy Neary can sure be a lonely thing.

Some last quotes…food for thought if you may:

“What we’re facing now is a drive for a real one party press, not through free expression but through open intimidation by the top officials of our government… I cannot help but wonder what the substantive difference is between the administration’s position and that in practice in the Soviet Union.”

Who said that?

Not Rush Limbaugh, not Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly. As a matter of fact, it was no one from FOX News. It wasn’t even Helen Thomas.

You should have figured out that speaking about the Soviet Union in the present tense effectively dated that statement.

That’s a quote from Norman Isaacs who was the president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors during the Nixon administration, commenting on President Nixon’s and Vice President Agnew’s attempts to chill free speech and the press.

Here’s another one:

“Certainly government officials have a right to defend their actions and to challenge those who criticize them… But when the highest officials of the government launch a deliberate and premeditated attack upon the right to comment…this is a serious matter and a cause for alarm.”

That was Senator Hubert Humphrey also discussing the Nixon White Hose.

One last one:

“What the hell do they think we are, puppets?”

Not nearly as eloquent, that is veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas’ reaction to the Obama administrations’ attempts to control the media.

They say that politics make for strange bedfellows, and the combination of FOX News and Helen Thomas could be the strangest one in the Universe.

Just ask Roy Neary about strange bedfellows…if you can figure out where in the Hell he went after he got in that spaceship.

This is too rich…

Big Brother 9 winner, Adam Jasinski, was arrested. Jasinski was arrested on Saturday, October 17. Jasinski flew from Florida to Boston to hand over 2000 oxycodone pills in a sale. Jasinski didn’t know the buyer was an undercover agent. Jasinski was caught in a sting.

Adam Jasinsk allegedly hid the pills in a sock that was attached to his pants. His buyer wore a wire tap to record the transaction.

Jasinski was charged with possession and intention to distribute oxycodone pills, a powerful painkiller. Jasinski put up a struggle when he was arrested.

Jasinski allegedly admitted he invested his prize money from winning Big Brother 9. Jasinski used his half million prize money to invest in buying drugs to resell them.

Jasinski is now in hot soup. He faces up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted of the charges and also may have to pay a $1 million fine.

How ironic is it that Adam, BB9′s self-described “ladies’ man”, stashed the pills in that sock we all knew he stuffed his pants with?

That’s one way of investing his winnings.

In a move sure to be debated for years to come, Tinseltown’s prestigious “Best Actor” Oscar award recipient has been announced months in advance of the traditional broadcast of the awards show.

This year’s winner will be Tyler James Williams, star of the popular television sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris”. Tyler wins the award for his possible portrayal of President Barack Hussein Obama in a movie of the President’s life (expected working title “The One”), speculated to be filmed sometime during the next ten to fifteen years.

When questioned about their controversial choice, members of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) explained that their decision was based on the fact that young Mr. Williams resembles Mr. Obama, and is sure to be picked for the part of the movie that is surely to be made of the popular President’s sure to be extraordinary life and achievements.

“The Academy wishes to take center front in the fight against racism and hatred in America, and this is what we can do to advance the ideals of equality, peaceful coexistence, and brotherhood” – said Academy President Tom Sherak, dressed in a blue pinstriped suit, and sporting a fashionable “Free Polanski” button on his lapel.

Tyler James Williams appears suprised and humbled upon receiving his advance Oscar.

Tyler James Williams appears surprised and humbled upon receiving news of his advance Oscar during the NAACP Image Awards.

Director Spike Jonze is protesting the Academy, claiming that racism played a part in his not getting the Best Director nod for the possibility of directing “The One”.

“I mean, who else would direct it?” said Jonze. “Ima gonna let Tyler get his props but I’m jus sayin, seriously…they gonna let Opie direct this movie?”

Standing near Jonze in support, rapper Kanye West had no comments.

In a related story, the Nobel Foundation has nominated all 6,000+ members of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its peace Prize award, in recognition of the Academy’s extraordinary vision.

From The New York Times:

CHICAGO — A Wisconsin couple were sentenced to jail time on Tuesday for failing to seek medical attention for their ill daughter, renewing a debate in some circles over whether states should allow parents to practice spiritual treatments.

The parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann, were ordered to spend 30 days in jail each year for the next six years and were placed on 10 years’ probation. Mr. Neumann, 47, and Ms. Neumann, 41, who live in Weston, in central Wisconsin, had been convicted of second-degree reckless homicide in August.

Their daughter, Madeline Kara Neumann, 11, died from untreated diabetes on March 23, 2008, the authorities said. When the girl became ill and could no longer walk or talk, her parents prayed for her instead of taking her to a doctor, prosecutors said.

This is not so much a discussion about religion, but rather a discussion about that volatile place where secular law and religion meet, and a little about religion.

I am not a particularly religious individual, and while there is an inherent respect in me for not only the religious beliefs of others, but for the right of some to question religion, my stance on the subject of faith and belief can be best summed up by some lines of dialogue from the movie adaptation of Dan Brown’s “Angels and Demons”.

On meeting the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church in his role as the acting head of State of Vatican city after the sudden death of Pope Pius XVI, Professor Robert Langdon and Camerlengo Patrick McKenna (Carlo Ventresca in the novel) have the following exchange:

McKenna: Do you believe in God, sir?

Langdon: Father, I simply believe that religion…

McKenna: I did not ask if you believe what man says about God, I asked if you believe in God.

Langdon: I’m an academic. My mind tells me I will never understand God.

McKenna: And your heart?

Langdon: Tells me I’m not meant to. Faith is a gift that I have yet to receive.

The first significant thing about this exchange is the deft way that the Camerlengo pushed aside the post-modern attempt at equating “God” with “religion”, or defining Him as a summation of the beliefs and actions of religionists, rather than as a real, existing entity, independent of the manipulations and machinations of men.

God is, independent of religion, God is.

The second thing about that exchange, and the point where it touches me in particular, is the description of faith as a gift yet to be received.

So here I sit, this yet-to-be-gifted man trying to make sense of this type of belief. The type of belief that allows you to stand by, and watch your 11 year-old child die from an undiagnosed, easily treatable disease, believing the entire time, that if God finds you worthy, or that child worthy, He will free her from the disease.

I think that the guilty verdict was correct, and the sentence generous in nature.

I do not for a moment believe that God expects anything less than a zealous stewardship of not only ourselves, but even more so of our children. That this visible, tangible gift of living flesh made from living flesh, is to be safeguarded to the fullest extent of not only our personal abilities, but via the full use of any all all technology available to us. And in that sense, the Neumanns failed to respect the true gift that had been bestowed upon them, the gift of a little girl they named Madeline Kara.

Secular law failed Madeline Kara as well.

“Faith is a gift I have yet to receive.”

This is the point where secular law must meet with religious beliefs, and religious freedoms. Secular law should have secured for Madeline Kara the ability to receive the gift of faith independent of her parents, as an adult sufficiently responsible to fully understand the breadth and scope of the decision to forgo medical treatment in exchange for prayer.

Madeline Kara simply believed whatever her parents told her to believe, as do most 11 year-old children believe whatever their parents tell them to believe. Mostly, she believed that nothing her parents would do could harm her. But harm her they did.

I am not saying that Dale and Leilani Neumann for one minute stop doing anything but loving their daughter. I am saying that in their actions they grievously abused their child, and neglected to be the zealous stewards of the living gift that was Madeline Kara.

I am saying that what they did had very little to do with God, and a lot to do with religion, and that secular law has a duty to interject itself into religion and protect the Madeline Karas of the world by buying them the opportunity to be the independent recipients of the gift of faith, and not the victim of the religious beliefs of their parents.

If we are to believe that The Holy Bible is what Christians believe it to be, and that Jesus of Nazareth is who Christians say that He is, then His words should be what guides every Christian parent in similar situations:

Mark 2

15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

By pointing out that those who are well have no need of a physician, Jesus is clearly saying that those who are sick have need of one, just as they who are sinners, have need of Him.

The Neumanns failed to tend to that which God giveth them, and for that, there is no Court on Earth that can render a proper judgment.

If I fashion the family’s mashed potatoes into the shape of Honduras, I couldn’t possibly act more like the Richard Dreyfus character in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” obsessing about ETs; I am fixated with the Honduran non-coup coup story. It means something.

I scour Honduran government websites with the same manic intensity that Roy drew pictures of a rock, and every conversation, on any subject, can lead me to the topic.

How Roy Neary-ish is that?

The story is quite simple really: the elected President of Honduras was removed from office after a unanimous vote by the Honduran Congress. He was arrested by the Honduran military, acting on a warrant issued by the Honduran Supreme Court, after an urgent request by the Honduran Attorney General, for continued violations of the Honduran Constitution. He was reportedly given the choice between incarceration and deportation, and chose the latter.

The charges stem from the attempts by President Manuel Zelaya to overthrow the Honduran Constitution, with the clear intent of eliminating any restrictions on his abiliy to remain in office. The Honduran Constitution is quite clear on the subject of Presidential term limits, and on how the Constitution may be amended:

  • Title One, Chapter III, Article 42:5, states that anyone who “incites, promotes, or supports” the re-election of the President will forfeit their citizenship.
  • Title Five, Chapter VI, Article 239, states that anyone who has once discharged the duties of President, cannot be elected to the office again, and that anyone who breaks that restriction, or supports the breaking or reforming that proposition will be immediately removed from political office, and restricted for serving in a public office, at any level, for a period of ten years.
  • Title Seven, Chapter I, Article 373, restricts Constitutional reform to acts of Congress, in session, via a two-thirds vote by the totality of membership.
  • Title Seven, Chapter I, Article 374, prohibits the reform of Article 373, any Articles detailing the form of government, Presidential term limits, prohibitions on Presidential re-elections, and the loss of the ability of any citizen who has supported the re-election of a person to the Presidency to run for political office for a period of ten years.
  • Manuel Zelaya, after being advised of the unconstitutionality of his actions, continued to promote his national referendum, going as far as illegally absconding with millions of lempiras from the central bank in order to finance the illegal referendum. He fired the head of the Honduran military for refusing to help him distribute the ballots provided by the Venezuelan government, in spite of the fact that the Honduran Supreme Court had warned Zelaya that the distribution of the ballots was illegal, and assisted a group of his followers in breaking into a military installation where those ballots were being held.

    The Honduran Congress, Supreme Court, and Military executed their Constitutional obligations, and removed him from office.

    We can debate whether Zelaya should have been put through a full impeachment trial instead of simply being booted out of the country, but there is very little doubt in my mind that his removal from office was legal, constitutionally mandated, and justified.

    Straight up, short, neat and precise.

    Right?

    This is where I start throwing the hedges into the living room.

    Within hours of the Honduran military, President Obama was condemning the actions of the Honduran government:

    “I am deeply concerned by reports coming out of Honduras regarding the detention and expulsion of President Mel Zelaya. As the Organization of American States did on Friday, I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference.”

    Excuse me?

    A deep respect for the rule of law is EXACTLY what drove the Honduran Congress, Attorney General, Supreme Court, and military to action. Zelaya was engaged in the abrogation of the rule of law…primarily, the Honduran Constitution.

    Obama later followed his statement with a legal opinion on the removal of Zelaya:

    Obama went on:

    “President Zelaya remains the democratically elected president. For the sake of the Honduran people, democratic and constitutional order must be restored.”

    This demonstrates Obama’s lack of familiarity with the Constitution of two nations: Honduras, and the one he supposedly swore to defend. Being “Democratically elected” does not translate into being given carte blanche to violate the Constitution.

    I know what you’re saying…”Froggy, what’s with the obsession? There’s health care to write about, North Korea has nukes and Afghanistan is gonna have them soon, Michael Moore says something other than capitalism put all that money in his bank account, The Obamas poured it on…they even brought Oprah with them, and they couldn’t bring the Olympics to Chicago. Why are you writing about Honduras?”

    “That’s so three months ago!”

    I’m telling you guys, there’s something here…this means something.

    This is where you take the kids and move to Grandma’s house.

    There is this chant going on in my head…”Castro…Chavez…Zelaya…ACORN”

    It plays all the time, like the image of Devil’s Tower that Roy Neary kept seeing in his mind’s eye.

    “Castro…Chavez…Zelaya…ACORN.”

    Fidel Castro used a populist “Revolución” to overthrow Batista and take control of the nation, he promised equality for all, and used class war as a tool to cement himself into power. Once in power, he suspended the Cuban Constitution, and suspended elections. He nationalized all the country’s industries, as well as the media. On July 26th, 1959, just months after seizing the reigns of power in Cuba, Fidel Castro described his ideal for Cuba as a “true Democracy”. To his remaining supporters in the Island, Fidel is the revolución, and the revolución is Fidel.

    Hugo Chavez used his Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200, later renamed the Fifth Republic Movement to drive home a populist message of class divisions. He then used the same movement to promote a fundamental change of the Venezuelan Constitution via a national referendum, expanding his ability to remain in power. He has nationalized the nation’s major industries, and is systematically shutting down any media critical of his tenure.

    In February of this year, another Chavez-sponsored, Fifth Republic Movement-backed referendum passed, eliminating Presidential term limits altogether.

    Chavez positioned himself, and his Fifth Republic Movement, as the third alternative to a two-party system that most Venezuelans had grown disillusioned with; his is a populist party with socialist, humanist and nationalist roots that promised “change”, “reform”, and wealth redistribution to the poor, and the working class in Venezuela via the nationalization of the nation’s oil industry.

    Speaking in Madrid this September 11th, Chavez addressed the issue of the global economic crisis, and democracy:

    “The global capitalism crisis is a great opportunity. This is the moment, it’s not a tale, it’s not madness, the world is changing.”

    “They call those of us who are fighting for true democracy tyrants and they call many tyrants democrats.”

    Socialism is democracy. ... With capitalism, a true democracy is impossible. - Hugo Chavez 2006

    "Socialism is democracy. ... With capitalism, a true democracy is impossible." - Hugo Chavez 2006

    Zelaya tried to follow the Castro/Chavez blueprint. His populist movement (the Liberal Hope Movement AKA Movimiento Esperanza Liberal) got him elected, and was set to carry out that national referendum on term limits , which would allow him time to carry out his Socialist agenda in Honduras. He had the backing of Hugo Chavez, but he failed.

    He failed because the Congress of Honduras, the Honduran Supreme Court, and the Honduran military defended the Honduran Constitution.

    But as you see above, nearly two months after Manuel Zelaya’s Constitutional removal from office, our President still calls that legal action “illegal”.

    This means something…wait, what about that chant playing in my head?

    “Castro…Chavez…Zelaya…ACORN”

    What’s with ACORN being in there?

    ACORN is there because the populist organization always leads the charismatic populist leader. Castro’s revolución preceded Castro, Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution preceded his Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200, and gave birth to his Fifth Republic Movement, his tools for promoting the national referendums which have solidified his power. Zelaya’s Movimiento Esperanza Liberal got him elected, but failed to keep him in power long enough to carry out the Chavezian plan to fundamentally change the Constitution by using national referendums driven by populist movements.

    Is ACORN that organization?

    Does it have the substructure and the means to push a national agenda?

    Obama rose to power on promises of “hope” (esperanza), change (reform), and wealth redistribution. He has nationalized industries, and is openly waging war against critics such as FOX News, and Rush Limbaugh. He continues to wage class warfare in the form of health care “reform”, and, as evidenced by his words on the removal of Manuel Zelaya, holds the ideals of Democracy above the rule of law as set forth in a nation’s Constitution.

    He sides with Castro and Chavez on Honduras.

    “Castro…Chavez…Zelaya…ACORN.”

    How far fetched is it to imagine ACORN, and its many tentacles, working on a nation-wide scale to pressure Congress into placing a national referendum on a ballot?

    How unimaginable is it for Congress to fold under the weight of a national movement seeking to place a national referendum question on a national ballot?

    What if that national referendum is directed at overturning the Twenty-second Amendment?

    What if our Congress lacks the backbone to recognize what Obama is, and moves to overturn the 22nd Amendment based on a national vote?

    “Castro…Chavez…Zelaya…Obama.”

    They are cut from the same cloth these men. Some suave, some ruthless, but they are the right individual for their particular situation, and they stood shoulder to shoulder on Honduras. They spoke of defending Democracy, calling the defense of a nation’s Constitution “illegal”.

    “Castro…Chavez…Zelaya…Obama.”

    That chant is a loud in my head as the five note melody blasted by the mothership that flew in over Roy Neary’s once imagined, suddenly very real mountain.

    I can’t get it to stop.

    I know, I am sounding every bit as batty as Roy Neary…the problem is that Roy Neary was right.

    The Constitution reflects a fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day. - Barak Obama 2001

    "The Constitution reflects a fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day." - Barak Obama 2001

    The American Cancer Society has a new ad supporting government health care/insurance:

    I am sorry for Dan’s loss, but I have several issues with this ad.

    The details about why Dan either lost his health insurance, or was unable to purchase new insurance are sketchy, and his wife’s death is sad.

    But, and here is where this ad jumps the shark, Dan makes an incredible claim when he says that his wife’s death from cancer could have been prevented if they would have had a “simple thing called insurance.”

    Five hundred and sixty-five thousand Americans died from cancer in 2008. If we believe the most inflated figures being thrown around in this health care debate, 18% of Americans do not have health insurance.

    So 470,000+ of the people who died from cancer in 2008 had insurance, and they died any way?

    The answer here is that of course, health insurance doesn’t cure OR prevent cancer, nor can it stop you from dying.

    The second and most subtle message that a THINKING individual will take away from this message, is that Dan was unable to purchase cancer treatment for his wife because he could not afford it. One day, the government will be in that very same position, then, it will be your government telling you that it can’t afford to treat your wife.

    And since past behavior is the surest way to determine future performance, we KNOW that the government will be bankrupt within years of taking over our health care, and the most significant difference between today and that day in the not-so-far-off future, is that we, even the vast majority of that 82% of us who have insurance today, will be Dans.

    Socialism doesn’t make everyone equal by raising everyone’s standard of living, it does it by lowering everyone.

    The ad is thin on detail, and thinly veils the attempt by supporters of government health care to use fear as a motivator, and play to basic, and unthinking, human kindness.

    But the violins!

    The violins are laid on thick and strong!

    [Euthanasia] is what any State medical service has sooner or later got to face. If you are going to be kept alive in institutions run by and paid for by the State, you must accept the State’s right to economize when necessary …” The Ministry of Fear… by Graham Green (New York: Penguin Books [1943] 2005, p. 165).

    When that day comes, when the overwhelming majority of us are Dans, looking for critical care from a system which lacks the money to pay for it, a system most of us didn’t want anything to do with, send not to know for whom the violins play, they’ll be playing for thee, and for and me.

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