Monday, April 27, 2009

Government Motors?

Dear Mr. President,

There is much talk in the news of late regarding the possibility that the government might take a large equity share in GM. As you were a professor of Constitutional law, could you direct me to that part of the Constitution that authorizes such action?

Please note that I ask out of genuine confusion. I am not merely a right-wing extremist who believes in the enumerated powers doctrine. As a business attorney, I am perplexed.

For example, at the moment I am in my room in Franklin, Tennessee, the home of Nissan Motors, USA. If the proposed deal goes through, will Nissan be competing with General Motors or Government Motors? The conventional wisdom in Tennessee is that Nissan enjoys a cost advantage over GM because Nissan uses non-union labor. What would prevent the government from protecting its investment by requiring unionization of auto plants?

Which leads to another question: Who will regulate the regulators? Would CAFE, EPA and vehicle safety regulations apply to the products of the new Government Motors? Would specific state regulations, such as those in California, be trumped under the Federal Preemption Doctrine?

Or, to whom will management be accountable? You may recall a decade or so ago when the GM Board rather abruptly fired Roger Smith from his position of CEO. The Board was exercising its prerogative - dismissing an executive who had delivered disappointing results. Presumably you, or your successors, could remove an individual CEO who roles out a series of flops, but what of a president who appoints a series of disappointing executives? Board members can be held to answer to shareholders. Indeed, the directors may be PERSONALLY liable in the correct circumstances. Public officials, however, face no such exposure. Who would we, the taxpayer/shareholders name in a derivative suit?

I am also mindful of past experiments with government-owned auto companies. Look what government control did for MG and Jaguar.

Are setting out on a road that dead-ends in East Germany, circa 1968, in which the only car available is the car decreed by the government, no matter how lousy that car may be? I fear you might find the back seat of a Trabant rather cramped.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Later, Jack

Like many pudgy middle aged white guys, I have been a flag waving fan of Jack Bauer and "24." For an hour I can forget the bills and the sinking economy and imagine that I, too, am saving the world.

Until last week, when bit-part player Janeane Garafolo dismissed the Tea Party protesters as ignorant racists. To my knowledge, neither Senator Byrd nor any of his Klan buddies attended any of the protests. The protesters I did see, even on CNN, seemed fair minded, level headed people who happen to disagree with the policies of Mr. Obama, regardless of his pigmentation.

This is, for the moment, a free country and Ms. Garafolo is entitled to espouse her opinions, no matter how hateful or ill informed. At the same time, I have no obligation to help pay her salary. Therefore, I am signing off from "24."

Please note, I am not calling for her be silenced, although I doubt she would show me the same courtesy. I am merely voting with my wallet.

Happily, I think there are "House" reruns on opposite "24." Anyone care to join me?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Borrowing from a classic

Derived from:
By Feodor Dostoevsky
(Translation by H.P. Blavatsky)

In the twilight he arrived, in that quiet time when the tofu-burgers and bean sprouts are not quite digested, the zinfandel is not quite chilled and it is not quite time to light the bonfires about the capitalists, reactionaries, talk radio hosts and assorted other wreckers in a magnificent auto-da-fe ad majorem Barack gloriam, by the order of the all powerful Comrade Community Organizer.

He came silently and unannounced; yet all recognized Him! The population rushed towards Him as if propelled by some irresistible force; it surrounded, thronged, and pressed around, it followed Him. The Love of Freedom burned in His heart, and warm rays of Courage, Wisdom and Integrity beamed forth from His eyes, and poured down their waves upon the swarming multitudes gathered 'round, making their hearts vibrate with returning love.

The crowd wept for joy, and kissed the ground upon which He trod. Children cast flowers along His path. Upon the steps of the Capitol he paused, beholding a man begging favor of a Comrade Member of the People's Congress. “But my children must eat,” lamented the man, whose clothing, now dirty, worn and shapeless, revealed him to be a disgraced wrecker. Perhaps once a banker, or an executive. Certainly a capitalist, but only a lowly one. How else had he escaped the fires? As the Comrade Member turned away, unmoved by the supplicant's meager offering, He stepped forward and raised the man to his feet.

“I will give you work,” said He quietly, yet the words silenced the crowd and echoed abut the vastness of the Mall. “Go,” He said. “Gather your family, and your neighbors, and their neighbors. I have work for you all.”

The crowd is violently excited. A terrible commotion rages among them, the populace shouts and loudly weeps, when suddenly, before the Capitol door, appears the Comrade Community Organizer himself.

He is a tall, elegant man of scarce two-score years, with a kindly, smiling face, and deeply set eyes, from the cavity of which glitter two fiery sparks. He has laid aside the glorious tailored suit in which he had appeared before the
people at the auto da-fe of the enemies of the State, and is now clad in his tastefully torn and stained designer jeans and T-shirt. His obsequious assistants and slaves of the 'Community Cadre' follow at a distance. He pauses before the crowd and observes. He has seen all. Slowly raising his finger, he commands his minions to arrest Him.

Such is his power over the well-disciplined, submissive and now trembling people, that the thick crowds immediately give way, and scattering before the Cadre, amid dead silence and without one breath of protest, allow them to lay their sacrilegious hands upon the stranger and lead Him away. That same populace, like one man, now bows its head to the ground before the Organizer, who smiles upon them indulgently and moves languidly onward. The guards conduct their prisoner to the ancient building of the People's Congress; pushing Him into a narrow, gloomy, vaulted prison-cell, a long forgotten, long unused crypt. They lock Him in and retire.

The day wanes, and night-a dark, hot breathless mid-Atlantic night - creeps on and settles upon the city with His name. The air smells of laurels and cherry blossoms. In the Stygian darkness of the crypt the iron door of the cell is thrown open, and the Community Organizer, holding a dark lantern, slowly stalks into the dungeon. He is alone, and, as the heavy door closes behind him, he pauses at the threshold, and, for a minute or two, silently and gloomily scrutinizes the Face before him. At last approaching with measured steps, he sets his lantern down upon the table and addresses Him in these words:

"It is you! You!” Receiving no reply, he rapidly continues: “Answer not; be silent! And what could you say? I know all too well! You have no right to add one syllable to what you uttered before. Why should you now impede us in our work? I know not; I care not. Tomorrow I will condemn and burn you at the stake, as the most wicked of all wreckers. The same people who today kissed your feet, tomorrow, at one bend of my finger, will rush to add fuel to your funeral pyre.

“Behold them, your 'free' people!” adds the elegant man with sombre irony. “Yes! it has cost us dearly.” continues the Organizer, sternly looking at his victim. “But we have at last accomplished our task, in your name. For two hundred long years we have toiled and suffered owing to that 'freedom.” But now we have prevailed and our work is done, and well and strongly it is done. Dare you doubt that it is so very strong? Know then, that now, and only now, your people feel fully sure and satisfied of their freedom; and that only since they have, of their own free will, delivered that freedom unto our hands by placing it submissively at our feet.

"It was you, in your arrogance, who set us this task,” goes on the Organizer. “In your triumph you rejected the crown your dutiful subjects offered you, and cursed them to the terror whence we, and we alone have rescued them. Do you recall the great honor – nay, the sacred duty – you declined? In the waning days of your rebellion, when all looked to you for guidance and security and entrusted to you their hopes and dreams? Do you recall how they put that trust and love into words and deeds and offered to submit to you, body and soul, as their ruler? And you betrayed them, rejecting their offer. Decide then for yourself,” proceeded the Organizer, “which of you was correct, those who offered, or you who declined?

“Consider then, the curse of this 'freedom' you imposed upon those who placed in you their trust. Did you bless them with this 'freedom'? No, you cursed them. 'Be free,' you declared, and spoke their doom, for you did not know the true meaning of your words: 'Go forth and feed thy selves.' You ignored that, in all history none have succeeded in that task. Did you not know that the day would come when all would understand that freedom and sufficient food cannot be had together, as humanity will never be able to fairly divide the two amongst themselves. And, in the depths of their despair, your 'free' people shouted unto the heavens 'Feed us!' And we fed them; and they worship us.” They regard us as gods, and feel grateful to those who have consented to lead them and bear their burden of freedom by ruling over them.

“'Be free,' you commanded, and sentenced them to the horror of self-reliance, to decide for themselves who to follow, what to believe. Man seeks to bow before that only which is recognized by the greater majority, if not by all his fellow-men, as having a right to be worshipped. For the chief concern of these miserable creatures is not to find and worship the idol of their own choice, but to discover that which all others will believe in, and consent to bow down to in a mass. It is that instinctive need of having a worship in common that is the chief suffering of every man, the chief concern of mankind from the beginning of times. But he alone will prove capable of silencing and quieting their consciences, that one shall succeed in possessing himself of the freedom of men.

“The mystery of human being does not solely rest in the desire to live, but in the problem--for what should one live at all? Have you again forgotten that to man rest and even death are preferable to a free choice between the knowledge of Good and Evil? Nothing seems more seductive in his eyes than freedom of conscience, and nothing proves more painful.

"Meantime, every chance of success was offered you. There are three Powers, three unique Forces upon earth, capable of conquering forever by charming the conscience of these weak rebels-men--for their own good; and these Forces are: Miracle, Mystery and Authority. You rejected all the three, and thus were the first to set them an example. Is human nature calculated to reject miracle, and trust, during the most terrible moments in life, when the most momentous, painful and perplexing problems struggle within man's soul, to the free decisions of his heart for the true solution? You thirsted for free and uninfluenced love, and refused the passionate adoration of the slave before his betters. You judged men too highly here, again, for though rebels they be, they are born to be slaves and nothing more. Behold, and judge of them once more, now that two centuries have elapsed since that moment. Man is weaker and lower than you have ever imagined him to be!

"By valuing him so highly you have acted as if there were no love for him in Thine heart, for you have demanded of him more than he could ever give. Had you esteemed him less, less would you have demanded of him, and that would have been more like love, for his burden would have been made thereby lighter. Man is weak and cowardly. Suffused with idiotic tears, they will confess that you, who set them free, undoubtedly did so only to mock them.

"And thus, after all you has suffered for mankind and its freedom, the present fate of men may be summed up in three words: Unrest, Confusion, Misery! Such is the fruit of this 'freedom' you purchased so dearly with the lives of others, and which you esteem as the greatest of all earthly gifts. Gift? Perhaps, to you and your kind, with your pale skins and fine educations and great wealth, built upon the subservience of others. Perhaps it was a gift to you few, you elect who were equipped to bear such a burden And why should the weakest be held guilty for not being able to endure what only the strongest have endured? Why should a soul incapable of bearing such terrible gifts be punished for its weakness? Did you really serve the "elect" alone? If so, then the mystery will remain forever mysterious to our finite minds. And if a mystery, then were we right to proclaim it as one, and preach it, teaching them that neither their freely given love to you nor freedom of conscience were essential, but only that incomprehensible mystery which they must blindly obey even against the dictates of their conscience. Thus did we. We corrected and improved your teaching and based it upon "Miracle, Mystery, and Authority." And men rejoiced at finding themselves led once more like a herd of cattle, and at finding their hearts at last delivered of the terrible burden laid upon them by you, which caused them so much suffering.

"You could have accepted the crown yourself; why did you reject the offer? By accepting the crown you would have realized every aspiration of man for himself on earth; man would have found a constant object for worship; one to deliver his conscience up to, and one that should unite all together into one common and harmonious ant-hill; for an innate necessity for universal union constitutes the third and final affliction of mankind. Humanity as a whole has ever aspired to unite itself universally. We offer that union, and the people crawl up to us in full submission, and lick the soles of our feet, and sprinkle them with tears of blood and beg to drink from the golden cup of 'hope and change'. Under our rule and sway all will be happy, and will neither rebel nor destroy each other as they did while under your banner of 'freedom'. We will take good care to prove to them that they will become absolutely free only when they have abjured their freedom in our favor and submit to us absolutely. Receiving their bread from us, they will clearly see that we take the bread from them, the bread made by their own hands, but to give it back to them in equal shares. Until that day, they will never be happy. We will give them that quiet, humble happiness, which alone benefits such weak, foolish creatures as they are. Their intellects will weaken, their eyes become as easily accessible to tears as those of children and women; but we will teach them an easy transition from grief and tears to laughter, childish joy and mirthful song.

“We will make them work like slaves, but during their recreation hours they shall have an innocent child-like life, full of play and merry laughter. We will even permit them sin, for, weak and helpless, they will feel the more love for us for permitting them to indulge in it. They will believe us and accept our mediation with rapture, as it will deliver them from their greatest anxiety and torture--that of having to decide freely for themselves. Tomorrow you shall see that obedient flock; at one simple motion of my hand it will rush to add burning coals to the stake at which I will burn you for having dared to come and trouble us in our work. For, if there ever was one who deserved more than any of the others our cleansing fires - it is you! Tomorrow I will burn you."

Having unburdened his heart, the Organizer waits for some time to hear his prisoner speak. His silence weighs upon him. He has seen that his captive has been attentively listening to him all the time, with His eyes fixed penetratingly and softly on the face of His jailer, and evidently bent upon not replying to him. The elegant man longs to hear His voice, to hear Him reply; better words of bitterness and scorn than His silence. And then He rose; slowly and silently approaching the Organizer, He bends towards him and softly whispered in his ears. The Community Organizer shudders. There is a convulsive twitch at the corner of his mouth. He goes to the door, opens it, and addressing Him, “Go,” he says. “Go, and return no more. Do not come again; never, never!” and turns Him out into the dark night.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

To Sean Hannity and John Rich


Regarding Mr. Rich's new song "Shuttin' Detroit Down," I do not think it is an appropriate anthem for the current revolt against socialism.

A few people - a very few - may be "livin' it up on Wall Street," but the biggest parties are going on in DC - on Capitol Hill, and at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

It's not the execs who screwed up their companies that I'm ticked at. I'm ticked at the feckless, corrupt, ignorant, incompetent bunglers in Congress and the White House (past and present) who decided to gleefully give our way our money, and who decided that this "crisis" is an occasion to abolish the Constitution.

Barney Frank and company probably love the song. It distracts from their own misdeeds.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Right Wing Radicals Unite

Dear fellow believers in freedom:

According to news reports, our government now believes we may be a threat.

Repeat after me: "I Love Big Brother!"

Once upon a time we had laws that protected us against government repression for instance:

Title 42, § 1983. Civil action for deprivation of rights

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Raining on the Parade

As with all decent persons, we rejoice at the liberation of Capt. Richard Phillips and regret that it cost the lives of three misguided young men. However, they chose to put themselves in harm's way and life can be unforgiving.

We also regret that the deft work of a trio of Navy snipers is hailed as a profound military victory for President Obama. At best he did what any good executive would do - he left the matter to the professionals. They served him, and us, in an exemplary manner.

But the heroes of this drama were not an Administration, and a President, who made hard calls while the world watched. The heroes are Captain Phillips, who risked his life to protect his crew, and that crew, those men who did the unthinkable: They took their ship back without government aid.

More, they left the pirates virtually impotent - adrift in a small craft, without fuel, without water, and only one hostage. Once the US destroyer arrived, it was the pirates, not Captain Phillips, who were effectively the hostages. After that, the President's wait and see policy was obvious.

It was the courage of Captain Phillips and his crew that saved Mr. Obama from a truly difficult decision - how to deal with a hijacked cargo ship and 20 hostages.

Joe Biden has said Mr. Obama has a spine of steel. The question is still open. Perhaps Providence will smile upon us and Mr. Obama will never be called upon to provide us with a clear demonstration.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Just Like The Good Old Days

Positive proof that at least part of Europe accepts President Obama's thesis that America is bad, very bad. So bad, in fact, that we attempt to destroy a nation even while our leader is on his knees begging forgiveness for past transgressions.


Russian political expert blames Obama for Moldova riots

8 Apr, 01:40 PM

Russian political scientist Aleksander Dugin has said in a newspaper interview that the current political crisis in Moldova was planned and organized by the US president’s administration in order to further destabilize the situation around Russia’s borders.

“According to my own intelligence reports, an orange revolution is currently underway in Moldova,” Dugin told the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily. “This shows us that all hopes for a change in the American political course in post-Soviet republics are nothing but Russian liberals’ illusions. There is a consensus in Washington regarding the US interests in the world. Strangling Russia and surrounding it with a series of pro-American political regimes is one of the top priorities in foreign policy – both for Republicans and for Democrats,” the political analyst said.

Dugin went on to call the current Moldovan events a coup d’etat organized by the US Council on Foreign Relations, which he called the main intellectual headquarters of the US administration. The analyst predicted that the riots in Chisinau would be suppressed, but the West would demonize Moldova’s Communist president Voronin and the opposition in the country would get more funds so that the situation could develop in accordance with the Georgian and Ukrainian scenarios.

“I have told you – do not fall for Obama’s charms. His priorities are the same as those of the previous administration. We see that there is no troop withdrawal from Iraq and the colored revolutions continue in the former Soviet republics,” Dugin said.

After this weekend’s parliamentary elections in Moldova, the nationalist opposition started a rally protesting the alleged rigging of the poll. The rally led to riots and ransacking of the parliament building that left at least 50 people injured.

Tags: Moldova, Dugin, Orange, Protests

Monday, April 6, 2009

When Celebrity Trumps Justice

Widow of Slain Policeman Fights On

April 6th, 2009 in American History by Paul Davis

In February Philadelphia buried a 25-year-old police officer killed in the line of duty. Officer John Pawlowski’s accused killer was apprehended and is now on trial.

Another 25-year-old Philadelphia officer was murdered in 1981, and many continue to seek justice for Daniel Faulkner.

The widow of Danny Faulkner has written a book called Murdered by Mumia: A Life Sentence of Loss, Pain and Injustice (Lyons Press). In her book, which is co-authored by Philadelphia Inquirer columnist and talk radio host Michael A. Smerconish, Maureen Faulkner recounts her long fight to counter what she regards as a worldwide, celebrity-driven campaign to overturn the conviction and death sentence of the man who murdered her husband, Mumia Abu Jamal.

On December 9, 1981 Faulkner was shot and killed after stopping Jamal’s brother. Jamal, a former radio reporter, was driving a cab when he saw his brother and Faulkner. According to witnesses, Jamal and Faulkner traded shots. Jamal survived with a chest wound and was arrested with his revolver lying at his feet.

Jamal was tried and convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1983. Support for Jamal, a former Black Panther and supporter of the radical group MOVE, has risen steadily among death-penalty opponents, celebrities and leftist groups as his legal appeals slide slowly through the justice system.

Jamal wrote a book called Live From Death Row, and he has become the world’s most famous Death Row inmate. His photo on posters lags only slightly behind Che Guevara in popularity.

From her side, Faulkner offers a story of her typical upbringing as an Irish Catholic girl from a blue collar neighborhood, her happy and short marriage to Danny, and her pain and suffering as the Jamal case lingers on.

“A cop is murdered by a man he never knew while patrolling the streets in the ordinary course of his duties. Period. End of story. An unfortunate yet simple tale,” Maureen Faulkner writes in her book.

“Or so it should have been. Instead, this ostensibly uncomplicated scenario has been subjected to more manipulation than any other murder in the United States. Without foundation, it has been transformed into a sensational saga of persecution and injustice that has attracted support from, among others, a large group of Hollywood sympathizers, the City of Paris, and even John Street, now Mayor of Philadelphia.”

Both Jamal and his brother have never given a full account of the night of the murder; Jamal has never denied killing Faulkner; and Jamal was disruptive and abusive during his trial. Yet many still proclaim his innocence and offer uncritical support.

Maureen Faulkner has remained faithful to her husband’s memory, and to justice. She has shown bravery equal to that of the police officers who patrol the mean streets of America’s cities.

She believes, as I do, that cop killers should receive a swift sentence of death for their crime. Maureen Faulkner believes that police officers need and deserve that protection.

Paul Davis also writes an American crime blog for Great History. Visit his Web site. He can be reached at

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dear Mr. President - April 4, 2009

Dear Mr. President, with regard to your recent European concert tour:

Please tell me that you did not actually bow to the Saudi king. The photos I have seen appear to have caught you genuflecting, as Catholics do before the altar in church. The image is troubling, for the Saudi king is neither divine, or my ruler. Why then, would you, as the representative of a free people, of a people who violently rejected monarchy 200-odd years ago, bend your knee to a modern king? Did you truly mean to suggest that ALL Americans now owe obeisance to "royalty"?

How dare you denigrate your employers as "arrogant."

With regard to your calls for international regulation of financial entities and other proposals tending to erode the sovereignty of the United States, do you recall the Declaration of Independence? The part that declares "these Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent...?" I know that you are a Constitutional scholar. Could you point me towards the provisions of the Constitution that authorize you to bargain away that independence without so much as submitting a treaty to the Congress for ratification?

I regret that the First Lady of France recoiled so visibly from your proffered ceremonial kiss. She is, by all accounts, a true "free spirit." Perhaps she recognized you as an enemy of freedom.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dear Mr. President - April 1 2009

Dear Mr. President,

Pardon me for not writing for the last few days. Monday I received notice from my job.

As you might imagine, I'm a bit shaken. Aside from the fact that it was a wonderful place to work, I'm worried.

I have responsibilities. I have a mortgage. I am one of the few persons in the nation to recently invest in a new car. Unhappily, it is not GM, and I acquired it before you guaranteed payments for GM customers who lose their jobs. (By the way, how did you get Congressional authorization for that expenditure?)

More than that, how will I pull my weight? My taxable income just plummeted. From being one of the evil rich supporting your policies, I may now have to rely on them to get by.

I realize I have some 3 million companions involuntarily between jobs, and I am certain we all share my concern. If we can't work hard, earn lots and pay lots of taxes, how will your policies succeed?

I am committed to doing my bit. If you'll pardon me, I'm going back to polishing my resume. If you know of anyone hiring experienced business attorneys, would you drop me a line?