Book Review Sovereign Duty


Sovereign duty is a book on the U.S. Constitution written and published by by KrisAnne Hall, J.D. in 2014 and edited by Steve Andrews. The book can be found on KrisAnne’s website Liberty First. From the Introduction of this book we have …

The gift of Liberty was purchased for us with great sacrifice. The men and women at our founding understood that Liberty is a gift from Goad and that all Gods’ gifts are worth our every effort.  John Adams, in a letter to his wife Abigail in 1777, reminds us of the charge we have to ensure that the gift of Liberty is not squandered.

“Posterity! you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, i shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”

The book is written in three parts; Part One – More Lenient Measure, Part Two – Ultimate Solutions and Part Three – Hope for the Future. In this book KirsAnne relates to us the meaning of freedom and what it means to us and how we, in out present ignorance, do not understand how our freedom is being taken away from us.  A key part of this work which we are not taught today is that the American States are Sovereign and that they created the federal government by compact — in short the States made the to protect them from outside threats and when they did that they put limits on their power. What this means is that the Federal Government that we knows is not or does not hold the Sovereign which means they have no legal authority to make laws outside the limits imposed on them.

Think of it this way if you make a contract with someone to do a task for you — what would you think of that party then started doing things that were not in that contract like removing all you funds from your bank account.  Absurd, of course, but since the Federal Government is nothing more than an an entity created by the States how can it then dictate to those that created it what they can or can not do?

I highly recommend that anyone that is interested in the Constitution and Freedom read the book.

Book Review, IMPEACHABLE OFFENSES a Case for removing Barack Obama from Office


A very reveling and believable book, written in 2013 by Aaron Klein & Brenda J. Elliott Peter who do a very convincing job of presenting in twelve specific areas, each a chapter in the book, on how the actions of Obama in that area give cause for impeachment. In other words there could be twelve specific charges in the articles of impeachment that the House of Representatives could write. According to Klein in his preface, “Barack Obama has done serious and sustained injury to America and to our Constitution, the greatest document of political liberty known to man. He fundamentally abused the powers of his office. Impeaching Obama will not, of itself, end the progressive nightmare in America. But Obama’s impeachment and removal from office will go a long way toward restoring power to congress, and to We, the People.”

Unfortunately, the Senate is controlled by Harry Reid a fellow hard core progressive like Obama and so unless the People give the Republicans the Senate in November it would be pointless to Impeach Obama in the House. However, if I were running the RNC, this book could be used in the campaign by telling the voters in a series of twelve documentaries with follow on TV adds each giving the reason that what he has done in against our founding document and will result in a all powerful tyrant in the White house. Therefore need to give us the Senate so we can get rid of him before he does any more damage, and we can reverse as much as we can of the past 6 years. The following twelve paragraphs match the twelve chapters in this book, each is a subject in itself and so justifies a short discussion.

Chapter one is The Benghazi Scandal which is first since the authors feel that aiding and abetting the sworn enemies of the United States is a very serious offense. In twenty eight pages with 88 foot notes the authors develop the time line and details of what happened there that resulted in the deaths of four American with no response. Worse yet it appears that the reason this cover up occurred was solely to get reelected and it was just too bad that some people died. Or has Hillary later said, “… what difference does it make now … “since the deaths were very preventable and the cover up was a despicable act this is a solid reason for impeachment.

Chapter two is From “Fast and Furious” To Gun Control and how in addition to arming the Jihadists he is also arming the Mexican cartels. The gist of the chapter is how Obama and Eric Holder, his Attorney General, developed a plan to nullify the Second Amendment which was the right of citizens to own guns. Again in twenty eight pages with 141 foot notes the authors develop the time line and details of what happened on the border and how one border agent was killed as a result. The purpose of what these to progressives did was to work as hard as they could to get legislation passed that would lead to the confiscation of all privately owned guns. The reason for the second amendment was to keep the politicians’ in line as they would know that if they became oppressive there would be armed rebellion form the citizens. This was very important to the Citizens since they had just fought and won a war against that kind of oppressive government and they wanted there descendants to have that same option. Since the issue of gun control didn’t come up until the late sixties when the young progressives where just starting to get into politics and one of their main objectives was to turn American into a country run completely by Washington which they would control they knew that the citizens guns would need to be taken from them at some point. Using legislation and executive orders to nullify the second amendment is an impeachable offense.

Chapter three Forget Congress! Backdoor Amnesty Already Here is about how Obama is implementing an open border policy to lure in from Mexico and Central America by use of a loose border control and a snail’s pace immigration process that makes it almost impossible to keep any one out of the country. In twenty nine pages with 137 foot notes the authors develop how Obama and the department of Homeland Security under Janet Napolitano using immigration control and the border agents to effectively allow anyone that walked across the border to stay here whether they were apprehended or not. By doing what was done the laws of the country were not enforced going along with Chapter Two such that the lack of deportation created a magnet of free benefits for anyone that want to come here. The reason the progressive what these aliens here is that they are following the Cloward-Piven strategy of overloading the system to break in down. Since the open border allows Jihadists and others into the country as well this becomes another impeachable offense.

Chapter four Revolving Door For Criminal Illegals is a follow on to the previous chapter where the authors show how in 20 pages with 73 foot notes how even those who have been apprehended and served time and or are deported they come back such that many of these criminals have been through this process more than a few times. The gist of this chapter is it is hard to arrest them, it is hard to convict them and it’s hard to keep them from coming back in. Another impeachable offense created by Obama, by intentionally directing DHS to not follow the law and also for Obama to issue executive orders to circumvent the laws of the land.

Chapter five Empowering Enemies Domestically and Abroad in this chapter the authors show how the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the federal government and is now influencing both domestic and foreign policies. The Muslim Brotherhood is nothing more than the political wind of the Islamic Jihadist movement to convert the entire world to Islam and Sharia law the very fact that they are in the administration is cause for impeachment. In this chapter of 22 pages and 93 foot notes a good synopses of what could be a book in itself is made of the real danger here. How can you fight a war against the Jihadists when there are embedded in you administration. Oil money for the Middle East supports this movement and the politicians need lots of money to get elected, unfortunate they are sell all of us out to the Muslims so a very impeachable offence. Thomas Jefferson is turning over in his grave as he was the first president to fight the Jihadists and wrote how Islam was not compatible with either Christianity or what we now call Western Civilization.

Chapter six Cronyism, Corruption, and Clean Energy is the shortest chapter at 11 pages and 51 footnotes. The focus here is not on the movement itself but on the money flows using government money to finance pet projects in the Green energy field. Most of this money flows to friends and campaign contributors that reap large grants and loans and then go belly up. Despite the documented failures and loss of government money Obama continues to push this program to appease his green backers. Wasting huge sums of money is not the worst Obama has done but any other president would be impeached for what he has done here.

Chapter seven Big Brother Obama’s Surveillance Regime is about the massive surveillance programs being used to collect information on American Citizens which is clearly a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Although Obama did not initiate the programs being used to justify what is going on he has certainly significantly expanded them. Much of this work is being done by “private” contractors e.g. Edward Snowden who brought this problem to a head. Although many call him a trader I don’t the government surveillance programs are clearly a constitutional violation and will lead in the end to a controlled citizens much worse than any people every before. This is a major constitutional violation and clearly another impeachable offense.

Chapter eight The Truth About Fusion Centers which are privately run location where all the information collected it put together, i.e. driver’s license, birth and death records, police records, education, jobs, all the various things that are now on the web. They also collect information from places like the CIA, FBI, NASA and the military so they can develop a completed dossier on every citizen. This is all in the name of antiterrorism but its sweep is way over the top and ripe for abuse; clearly an impeachable offense.

Chapter nine DNS Army — The Emerging Police State here the authors talk about the TSA and the VIPR Teams which are the start of what Obama promised us in 2008 a “Civilian National Security Force” a National Police Force which I hope they don’t come up with brown uniforms. These TSA programs are getting US Military support in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act which prevents the US Armed forces from doing police work in America. TSA has also expanded to all forms of transportation not just air. Little to none of the past six years was envisioned by the Creation of Homeland Security and Obama has pushed these programs forward as quickly as he could as outlined in 30 pages and 131 foot notes, just one more impeachable act.

Chapter ten The Drone Nation is about the DHS and its own law-enforcement air force that uses the same drones the military does and the military trains the operators. These drones with special software and facial recognition will be able to track people even in crowds. The ACLU and Rand Paul are both on the side that with the current laws passed by congress the President has the authority to issue kill orders on American Citizens in the United States. This is a clear violation of the 5th Amendment and since Obama has push for these acts and laws he is creating more impeachable issues.

Chapter eleven Obama Care: Unauthorized Expansion of Power which is about the takeover of the health care industry. Despite Chief Justice John Roberts this act is on face unconstitutional. Then after passing it without a single Republican vote Obama proceeded to make numerous changes and delays of implementation written in the law which is not in his prevue. That is in effect writing law which only congress can do, if Congress gives up that right then there is no constitution and the president is in effect a Tyrant, since a tyrant is by definition a ruler who can make his own laws. The authors spend a fair amount of time here in 19 pages and with 81 foot notes clearly showing that Obama should be impeached for this program.

Chapter twelve “anti-War” President’s Unconstitutional War? Is one of the shorter sections being only 9 pages with 27 footnotes but is in some ways the most troubling. From Libya to Egypt to Syria to Iraq Obama has found ways to use military force to achieve ends not in the best interest of America. The Constitution gives Congress the sole responsibility to declare war, the reason being historically the rulers/leaders in most countries were always dragging their countries in to war that the citizens didn’t necessarily want. There was some leeway since a country could be attacked but none of Obama’s Kinetic Actions involved the country being attacked. Almost all of them appeared to be related to the US arm of the Muslim Brotherhood so using the American military to aid a terrorist organization achieve their ends is definitely and impeachable offense.

This book is a must read if you are interested the abuse of Presidential power. But don’t take my word for it buy the book and find out for yourself.

Book Review, Vietnam Labyrinth


An almost unbelievable story

This is possibly the best book on the Vietnam War that I have ever read. Vietnam Labyrinth Allis, Enemies, & Why the U.S. Lost the War is a story about the personal journey of Tran Ngoc Chau starting in 1943 as a teenager in the National Salvation Youth group resisting Japanese occupation until his escape from Vietnam as a boat person 36 years later eventually making it to America in the fall of 1979. Chau and his brother are intertwined in the war, the politics and the intrigue during the entire saga of the Vietnam War from the end of the French colonial days until the North Vietnamese communists takeover the south in 1975. It’s hard to envision how one person could have been involved in both side of this conflict at such high levels and lived to tell about it.

The book was published in 2012 by Texas Tech University Press and is the work of Tran Ngoc Chau and Ken Fermoyle with a forward by Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers fame. It is well documented and researched and an excellent historical narrative besides being a very interesting story of someone that could have made a big difference to the eventual outcome of the conflict if only others had listened.

The Asian portion of WW II starts with the invasion of China in 1937 by Japan, although they had taken Manchuria in 1931 and by 1940 they were in control of most if not all of the former French Indo China and that is where the story starts.  Ho Chi Min having been previously introduced to communism in France and later China used the Japanese occupation of Vietnam as an excuse to start a resistance movement and help the allies against the Japanese. The OSS helped Ho and as the Japanese were defeated Ho though he could get the allies to keep the French from recouping Vietnam and the rest of Indochina.  Ho using many aliases hides his true intentions very well to gain his objective of a United Communist Vietnam.

By the end of WW II Chau and his brother were both in the Viet Minh, Chau thought he was fighting for the freedom of his people while Ho kept his communist goals secret. Ho was also able to eliminate most of his rivals such that as the French came back in after the German defeat and hired the remaining Japanese to help them reestablish that control the battle for the country had begun.

The first 8 chapters are about Chau’s rise through the ranks of the Viet Minh fighting the French from a foot soldier to a leader in the movement.  In 1949 he is faced with a major decision as his superiors want him to join the Communist party, Chau a very principled man and having seen some of the atrocities that the Communists were doing elected to leave the movement instead and he ending up back home in 1950 where he decided after talking with his farther to side with the other side, the French supported Vietnamese, becoming an officer in the South Vietnamese army. By 1955 the French are gone the country is divided into North and South and the American replace them; and Chau begins another life change that lasts until chapter 16 in 1963 with the coup that brought the military to power.

From Chapter 16 until till the end of Chapter 24 Chau rises in the military developing many powerful friends especially in the CIA. His prior experiences with the Viet Minh gave him a perspective not many had and it’s unfortunate that those above him did not listen to him more for his ideas could have worked and resulted in a very different outcome.  By the end of Chapter 24 Chau is a respected member of the National assembly and the 1968 Tea offensive by Hanoi has been beaten back. All though this period Chau’s brother Tran Ngoc Hien, now high up in the Communist leadership have kept in tough (with the permission of the U.S. CIA) both trying to convince the other to switch sides and passing proposed for ending the war to each other.

In Chapter 25 in mid 1969 Chau is arrested after his brother Hien is Captured and tried.  He spends the next 5 years in prison or confinement but just before the collapse of the South Vietnamese in 1975 he is released. But his trials and tribulations are not finished and shortly after the Communists take over Chau was arrested as an enemy of the state and placed in a re-education camp. Chapter 27 the last is how he resisted the indoctrination and managed to get out of the country with his family in 1978 as one of the boat people. The Chapter ends in October 1979 as he boards a plane for the U.S. after his American friends find him and get him authorization to come to America.

This book is an amazing story of personal courage, integrity and survival.  I recommend this book as a must ready to understand the Vietnam War from the prospective of a Vietnamese who had fought on both sides and been imprisoned by both sides a truly unique set of experiences.

Book Review, Vietnam the Complete Story of the Australian War


A small force but they did their part

Bruce Davies with Gary McKay, (both served in Vietnam) jointly wrote a very comprehensive historical narrative of Vietnam spanning not only the entire Australian active involvement in Vietnam (1962 to 1972) but also containing a historical background of the Vietnamese people going back to before the time of Christ. The book was first published in 2012 by Allen & Unwin in Australia.

The authors did an outstanding job of documentation in putting this 689 page historical narrative together. The scope ranges from declassified documents in both Australia and the US as well as from those now available from the North to personal recollections from those that were there from both sides. After the historical background the book begins in the period just after WW II (the French Indochina war) through the American Indochina war to the collapse of the South Vietnamese Government to the boat people and eventually to the Vietnamese move away from Communism in the 90’s.  Having served in Vietnam myself I’ve had an interest in the history of that conflict and I have read a fair number of books on the subject. This is one of the better books and a must read for any serious student of that conflict.

The quandary of the Australian politicians and their military was twofold; one Australia was a small country with only 12 million people at the time and so they could not field a large force in Vietnam. Also because of the dominating presence of the US Military they were basically dragged along with little effect on policy or strategy; two although much maligned today the domino theory was very, very real to them and they had major concerns over what would happen if the communists got the entire Vietnamese country and possibly Laos and Cambodia. They had a difficult task balancing all these factors as well as the building resistance to the war itself.

The book is written as a description of the various military actions the Australians were involved in from the early 60’s through the withdrawal of their forces in 1972.  The availability of documentation, from all sources that were involved, makes for very interesting reading from the highest levels of the various governments to squad and platoon leaders in firefights. Toward the end of the book they also describe the fall of the Republic of South Vietnam to the communist North in 1975.  They also do a decent job in describing the aftermath of the war and the dispersion of the South Vietnamese, both forced and voluntary, out of the country.

In 1959 as the story of the Australian involvement in Vietnam gets started there are only 49,217 soldiers in entire Australian military. During the period that Australians were in Vietnam they had 521 killed and another 3,129 wounded out of the almost 60,000 that eventually served there. At the peak of the Australian involvement there were about 8,500 in country. Compared to the American involvement of 536,000 in country at the peak with 58,200 Killed and 303,644 wounded it would seem the Australian part was small but they did an outstanding job with what they had in their area of responsibility.

In summary the authors did an outstanding job of melding the after action reports from the Americans the South Vietnamese the North Vietnamese and the Australians military units and in many cases of the same battles.  I will not get into describing the details of the various battles described in this book; but I will say that you should read this work if you were there or if you have an interest in that conflict.

Poem Review, The Gods of the Copybook Headings


Just as meaningful today as when written

“The Gods of the Copybook Headings” is a poem written and published by Rudyard Kipling in 1919. Kipling’s editor, Andrew Rutherford said that the poem contained “age-old, unfashionable wisdom” that Kipling saw as having been forgotten by society and replaced by “habits of wishful thinking.” The central message of the poem is that basic and unvarying aspects of human nature will always re-emerge in every society (The Four Turnings of Strauss and Howe) previously discussed on this blog. This is a very fitting piece of artistic work to be inserted here as we are going though what Kipling wrote about almost one hundred years ago again, we have learned nothing.

The copybook headings to which the title refers were proverbs or maxims printed at the top of 19th century British schoolboys’ notebook pages; these books were called “copybooks.” The students had to write the the heading on each page by hand (not print) repeatedly down that page. There were two reasons for the education system (not yet corrupted by the progressives) doing this.  One was to prefect handwriting, for practice makes perfect. The other was to ingrain in the students things that would benefit them later in life.

One hundred years ago as again today we that thrown out all the things that use to be taught which went a long way to make up the moral fiber of a society for example he have the following:

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link
A day’s work for a day’s pay
A fool and his money are soon parted
A house divided against itself cannot stand
The Gods of the Copybook Headings

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
Which started by loving our neighbor and ended by loving his wife
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Read a previous post listed in my section Civil Society titled “Homeostasis and Civil Society The Destruction of the American Family” for an example of what must be held important along with the dangers of forgetting what works for the sake of personal pleasures as shown is this poem by Kipling.

Book Review, Rules for Radicals


A Must read for anyone interested in Politics

This book was first published in 1971 and was written by Saul D. Alinsky a Chicago resident and a “professional” Community Organizer on what he had learned about promoting his views.  Alinsky like many back then was, at heart, if not in practice a Marxist. Meaning that he did not believe in the principles of Adam Smith and instead supported a government much like what the Russians thought they had with their “Central Committee” that would, in theory, take care of all the people of the state; with Karl Marx’s “… from each according to his ability to each according to his need.” This was, after all, a revolution of the Have Not’s against the Haves. Although Alinsky did not actually support the Russian form of Communism as practiced by Joseph Stalin he probably would have been a huge supporter of a pure Marxist system using Max’s views of the Labor Theory of Value and that the masses were held down by the rich and powerful.

Alinsky’s beliefs were very influential on both Hillary Rodham and soon to be Mrs. Clinton and Barack Husein Obama. Hillary who grew up in Chicago would have been 24 when Rules for Radicals was published and though she was in Yale Law school she could very well have meet Alinsky.  Barack Husain Obama would have only been 10 when Rules for Radicals was published and it’s unlikely that he could ever have met Alinsky, however he was a Community Organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree at Harvard. Based on the known views of both Hillary and Barack it’s clear that that they were both influenced very heavily by Alinsky; which makes this book review very important as it gets to the motives of two of our most prominent politicians.

The first paragraph in the first Chapter titled “The Purpose” Begins with “WHAT FOLLOWS IS for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Not’s on how to take it away.” Alinsky then tells us that the book is not about “ideology” but about how to take power from the existing system, the Haves, by those that have none the Have-Not’s. This is pure Class Warfare and is based on the premise that the Haves did not acquire their Wealth or Status legitimately but that they acquired it by taking it from those that are now the Have-Not’s leaving some for the middle the Have-Little Want-Mores’. The result of Alinsky’s Change is never discussed in the book it is only about how to make the change.

This logic assumes a Zero Sum game where the “pot’ is fixed and we all fight over who has what percent of it. And further, a just as, legitimate argument can be made that the Have-Not’s are Have-Not’s not because the Haves took what they had but because they are not capable of being anything else but Have-Not’s. Like what happened in the 1917 Russian revolution most revolutions do not turn out well for the Have-Not’s. The American Experience being the one exception, up until now! Since Alinsky read Democracy in America written in 1835 by Alexis de Tocqueville it’s surprising that he had such a jaundiced view of America. But then Karl Marx’s works were very seductive to many intellectuals who did not understand the social dynamics of the period between the American Civil War and WW II. The rebellion of the Boomer generation for which Alinsky supported had little to do with the Have-Not’s and a lot to do with the Bombers’ quest for power and they are also known now as the “me generation.”

In the first few chapters Alinsky goes to great effort to justify what he does and to be honest no one can fault someone for trying to improve the conditions that many live in. Alinsky’s greatest fault was in not recognizing that the differences in American were much less than the rest of the world; so rather than trying to make a reasonable system better he and others like him want to tear it all down and rebuild from scratch.  This process is very risky for just like those that wanted an end to the Russian involvement in WW I and to have a better life, in essence a workers protest that brought down the Czar in 1917 the end was quite different. Instead of freedom they got the Bolsheviks and then Joseph Stalin. Two Chapters stand out in this book “Of Means and Ends” and “Tactics” which need to be understood to appreciate Alinsky.

In the Chapter “Of Means and Ends”, Alinsky justifies the morals of his policies, which is very important to him as he was not an evil man. This is a key Chapter which contains the following eleven justifications which he calls rules pertaining to the ethics of means and ends these are his moral justifications:

One, that one’s concern with the ethics of means and ends varies inversely with one’s personal interest in the issue.

Two, is that the judgment of ethics of means and ends is dependent upon the political position of those sitting in judgment.

Three, is that in war the end justifies almost any means.

Four, is that judgment must be made in the context of the times in which the action occurred and not from any other chronological vantage point.

Five, is that concern with ethics increases with the number of means available and vice versa.

Six, is that the less important the end to be desired, the more one can engage in ethical evaluations of means.

Seven, is that generally success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics.

Eight, is that the morality of a means depends upon whether the means is being employed at a time of immediate defeat or imminent victory.

Nine, is that any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.

Ten, is that you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with your moral garments.

Eleven, is that goals must be phrased in general terms like “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” or “Of the Common Welfare,” “Pursuit of Happiness,” or “Bread and Peace.”

Alinsky ends this chapter with the following observation which has never really been answered, “Means and ends are so qualitatively interrelated that true question has never been the proverbial one, “Does the Ends Justify the Means?” but always has been “Does this particular end justify this particular Means?”

Alinsky had more rules and in his Chapter “Tactics” he goes into great detail in explaining the how to achieve the “Ends” which are actually never properly identified other than as a “change,” much like our current president who also promised “Change.” This is a must read chapter if you want to understand Alinsky.

One, power in not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.

Two, never go outside the experience of your people.

Three, whenever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy.

Four, make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.

Five, ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.

Six, a good tactic in one your people enjoy.

Seven, a tactic that drags on too long become a drag.

Eight, keep the pressure on.

Nine, the threat us usually more terrifying than the thing itself.

Ten, the major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure on the opposition.

Eleven, if you push a negative hard and deep it will break through into its counter side.

Twelve, the price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.

Thirteen, pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Rule “Thirteen” is very important and should probably be number one as it has been used very successfully by the Progressive movement. In Rules for Radicals he also wrote, [t]he job of the organizer is to maneuver and bait the establishment so that it will publicly attack him as a ‘dangerous enemy.'” According to Alinsky, “the hysterical instant reaction of the establishment [will] not only validate [the organizer’s] credentials of competency but also ensure automatic popular invitation.”

There is little doubt that Alinsky’s methods have been hugely influential, since they can be used for any cause; but therein lies the Rub as these methods can be used for Good ends and well as Bad ends. In fact one of the main criticisms for him is that he has no clear Philosophy other than “change” though “conflict” used supposedly to better the lot of Have-Not’s.  In practice this has led to the Have-Not’s being used as pawns in a power struggle between different factions of a society neither of which care a hoot about the Have-Not’s.

Social change can be achieved but only by discussion and debate to achieve a consensus that the change is good and needed. No society in all recorded history has yet found a way to achieve this.

Book Review, A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960


A Classic in Economics

Milton Friedman along with Anna Schwartz published an almost 900 page book in 1963 titled A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960 which along with other works of Friedman’s got him a Nobel Prize in Economics in 1976. Friedman and Schwartz showed in Chapter 7 The Great Contraction 1929-33 (pages 299 to 419) how the Great Depression was caused by the actions, or more properly the inaction’s, of the Federal Reserve, first in allowing the credit bubble that lead to the stock market collapse in 1929 (excusable with the knowledge of the times) and then in their collapsing the U.S. banking system (not excusable under any circumstances) by not following the methods that were then known for preventing this very thing from happening. Keep in mind that preventing a monetary contraction and/or a series of banking failures was the stated main purpose for creating the Federal Reserve in 1913. This work of theirs was the first explanation of what actually caused the Great Depression and this solved the issue which had puzzled economists for almost 30 years. This work of Friedman and later works by others, as well, showed how Keynes was wrong about savings and deficit spending. This is a very critical finding as Keynes views on economics and FDR’s policies were accepted as gospel and those policies have now taken us to the very edge of word wide economic collapse.

A side note with relevance here is that when the Federal Reserve (FED) was formed by an act of congress (HR 7837) and signed into law as Pub. L. 63-43 on December 23, 1913 a banker named Benjamin Strong Jr. one of those that developed the concept of the FED was appointed as the Governor of the New York Federal Reserve bank at that time. From its inception and until his untimely death in October 1928 he ran the New York FED which had the lead in monetary policies since most major transactions especially international were conducted in New York City where all the main U.S. banks were located. According to Friedman’s work Strong did everything by the book and discounting minor ups and downs up until his death the economy ran as smoothly as could be expected as a result.

Strong besides being a very knowledgeable man had a dynamic personality and others ended up in his shadow, so after his death the FED was reorganized to prevent one person from having the power that Strong had. His successor George L. Harrison although knowledgeable did not have the personality of Strong and with the FED operating rules being changed in March 1930 he was not able to do what he knew needed to be done, so in 1930, 1931 and 1933 there were three waves of banking failures that swept across the country each worse than the preceding one. The result was the almost total destruction of the United States banking system and the Great Depression.

In Section 6 (Alternative Polices) of Chapter 7 on page 391 Friedman did more than state that as his opinion he showed in detail how the polices of the FED and the tools they had available to them were more than sufficient to accomplish the task of preventing the banking collapses which were the real cause of the Great Depression not the stock market collapse in 1929. Then in Section 7 (Why was Monetary Policy So Inept) of Chapter 7 on page 407 Friedman states that if Strong had lived only a few more years, he died at 55, and if he had done what he had been doing while he was the Governor of the New York Federal Reserve that the Great Depression and all it destroyed would probably never have happened.

But the biggest kicker was that before the FED was established to prevent banking collapses the New York banks had come up with a method to stop these contractions on their own, and that it was used on one occasion in particular a market contraction in 1907,. Although the method wasn’t handled perfectly the logic within it was sound. The creation of the FED stopped banks individually from doing what needed to be done and established the FED as the only agency responsible for preventing banking contractions. The policies that should have been used were well known and had been used before so there was really no excuse for the FED to not allow Governor Harrison to do what he wanted to do. It was only the FED boards’ members not wanting Harrison to follow in Strong’s footsteps that created the Great Depression. Sadly this is what big government always gets you ‘politics’ not what really needs to be done.

There is a lot more in this book which would take another book to describe; unfortunately it is technical and unless one had more than first year economics much of it would probably make no sense. I would however state there should be not one economist in the country that hasn’t read this book from cover to cover.

This book should be mandatory reading and maybe even a mandatory full class for any university giving degrees in economics. Sadly it isn’t so what happens is that economists today have no clue what works and what doesn’t for example.

After the 2008 election in late 2008 and early 2009 when Obama’s transition team was developing what would be the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) more commonly known as the “Stimulus” they were only interested in politics not a recovery. Therefore the ARRA was a strictly partisan bill (almost no republicans voted for it) that was criticized by the democrats as being not enough, republicans by being to political and independents claiming its focus was on the wrong things. On its surface the ARRA did seem to be more a “pork” bill than one to actually help the economy. One interesting comment made by Christina Romer was that it (the ARRA) was designed to duplicate the successful programs of FDR.

Romer, whose expertise includes the Great Depression and the economic recovery that followed, is a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. She is also co-director of the monetary economics program and a member of the business cycle dating committee at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the group that officially determines when U.S. recessions begin and end. Obviously she never read “The Monetary History of the United States, 1867 – 1960” by Friedman and Schwartz. She should have because as of the end of 2013 (5 full years later) the U.S. economy is still short from pre-collapse 1.49 million jobs by the BLS figures and 2.05 million jobs if we consider all jobs including self employed, agriculture & forestry and the military. This is the worst recovery ever since in addition to creating so few jobs the Federal government owes $9.28 trillion more dollars today than it did at the end of 2007. That equates to $1,278,286 borrowed and spent to create each job (there are 7.26 million more than at the bottom); but this is not a very good return on the money and we are still not back to where we were in 2007.

Movie Review, Forbidden Planet


A movie with a real and significant message

This is a Classic movie that was entered into the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 2013, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” This film directed by Fed M. Wilcox from a screen play by Cyril Hume had many firsts and was a precursor to what was to come much later in this kind of film. The film stars Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen and it featured Robby the Robot the first robot actor. Goggle Forbidden Planet and check out the Wikipedia write up. But that’s not why I am writing a review of a 58 year old movie. Back then I was very into science and engineering and I read every science fiction book I could get my hands on.  When I saw this movie I was impressed by both the special affects the plot and the hidden message which bears revisiting today for many reasons. As you may see after reading this review.

Set in the 23rd century, the United Planets Cruiser C57-D travels to the planet Altair IV, 16 light-years from Earth, sent to discover the fate of an expedition sent 20 years earlier. Soon after entering orbit, the cruiser receives a transmission from Dr. Edward Morbius played by Walter Pidgeon, the previous expedition’s master of languages and their meanings. He warns the starship to stay away, saying he cannot guarantee their safety; he also states further assistance is not necessary. The C57-D Commander John J. Adams, played by Leslie Nielsen ignores the warning and after receiving coordinates lands the starship.

After landing they are met by Robby the Robot, played by himself, who takes Adams, Lieutenant Jerry Farman played by Jack Kelly, and Lieutenant “Doc” Ostrow, played by Warren_Stevens to Morbius’s home. There, Morbius explains to them that an unknown “planetary force” killed nearly everyone and then vaporized their starship, Bellerophon, as the survivors desperately tried to lift off the planet. Only Morbius, his wife (who died of natural causes later), and their daughter Altaira, played by Anne Francis were somehow spared. Morbius fears that the C57-D and its crew will meet the same fate and they should immediately leave.

That night after posting sentries, equipment aboard the C57-D is sabotaged. Adams and Ostrow confront Morbius in the morning; where they learn he has been studying an extinct highly advanced native species, the Krell, a race that mysteriously all died about 200,000 years before, just as they were on the verge of achieving their crowning scientific triumph leaving no trace of their existence on the planet’s surface. Admitting to Adams he hadn’t been forthright Morbius shows Adams and Ostrow a secret Krell laboratory that he found, within it he shows them a device he calls a “plastic educator”, a device capable of measuring and enhancing intellectual capacity; he puts it on and uses it to display a three-dimensional, moving thought projection of Altaira.

Morbius tell them that the Bellerophon’s captain tried the machine and was instantly killed. Morbius also tried using this machine and he barely survived; later after recovering he discovered his intellect had been permanently doubled. His increased intelligence enabled him, along with information from a stored Krell library, to build Robby and the other “technological marvels” in his home. Morbius then takes them on a tour of a vast cube-shaped underground Krell machine complex, 20 miles (30 km) square, still functioning and powered by 9,200 super powerful thermonuclear reactors. Adams demands that the knowledge of the Krell be turned over to Earth supervision, but Morbius refuses, citing the significant danger that the Krell technology would pose to mankind if it were to fall into the wrong hands and misused.

While this is going on Altaira never have seen a man, other than her father, is becoming romantically attracted to the captain. Going back to the starship Adams orders a defensive force field fence set up around the starship for protection. Despite the precautions Chief Engineer Quinn is found dead the next morning. The next night, the C57-D’s crew is prepared they quickly discover that the creature is invisible as its roaring Lion like image becomes visible as it stands within the fence’s force field, further enhanced by the crew’s directed high-energy weapons fire. None of these precautions matter as the monoester kills several of the crew, including the ships navigator Jerry Farman. While the battle in the starship is going on back in the Krell lab, Morbius is startled awake by Altaira’s screaming; at that same instant, the large creature suddenly vanishes.

Returning to Morbius’s home Adams confronts him demanding an explanation, while, Ostrow sneaks away to use the Krell educator; where he is fatally injured. Before he dies Ostrow explains to Adams that the Krell Machine was built to materialize anything the Krell could imagine, projecting matter and energy anywhere on the planet. Then with his dying breath, he also tells Adams the Krell forgot one thing: “Monsters from the Id” and before he can say more he dies. Adams now understands what happened and asserts that Morbius’ subconscious mind, enhanced by the “plastic educator”, utilized the Great Krell Machine, recreating the Id monster that killed the original expedition when they tried to leave; Morbius steadfastly refuses to accept this conclusion.

By this time Altaira declares her love for Adams in defiance of her father’s wishes, and Robby detects the Id creature approaching the house. Morbius commands Robby to kill it, but Robby knowing it is a manifestation of his master develops a conflict with Morbius’ command since he his programmed to never harm a human and Robby shuts down. The ID creature power by all the thermonuclear reactors melts the indestructible metal doors of the Krell laboratory where Adams, Altaira, and Morbius have taken refuge. Morbius not accepts the truth: the creature is an extension of his own mind, “his evil self”.

He is fatally injured trying to stop the creature, which then disappears but before he dies Morbius directs Adams to activate a floor switch and warns them that all the Krell thermonuclear furnaces will now overload and destroy the planet; they must be 100 million miles away within 24 hours. Adams and Altaira along with Robby escape the lab and get back to the starship and leave later from deep space, with the C57-D safely on course back to Earth, they witness the destruction of Altair IV on the ship’s viewscreen.

The reason this movie is so significant is the message that to advanced a technology developed without understand of all the ramifications can destroy even the those that mean no harm. Maybe because if was so young at the time I was moved by that message and today as we move into genetic research where we will soon be able to modify are genes we had better make sure that we “really” know what we are doing or like the Krell we could destroy ourselves.

Book Review, Extortion


Congress makes the mafia look tame

A very reveling and believable book, written in 2013 by Peter Schweizer who does a very convincing job of presenting a very “out-of-the-box” analysis on how our elected politicians and their staff extract your money, buy votes and line their own pockets; instead of doing what they were sent to congress to do.  Conventional wisdom had it just the opposite with all the special interests buying the politicians votes on pet legislation with campaign contributions. After reading this book you will see how very wrong that concept was.

The concept that Schweizer presents to us is that it is the politicians themselves that have concocted a legislative system designed not to produce good and beneficial laws but to use the legislative process to extort money from the private sector. The grid lock and what we think of as a dysfunctional system is intentional, it’s the means that the leaders in congress use to generate a cash flow of contribution to their various campaigns and to their personal accounts.

“It’s one of the oldest and most effective forms of extortion: the protection racket,” he writes in one chapter. “Pay me money and I will promise not to make your life miserable. Fail to pay and bad things will happen to you.” This sounds like the syndicated crime “protection” game that has been the “bread and butter” of organized crime for centuries, but that “the Permanent Political Class in Washington now plays the protection racket, too. Failure to pay will not get you killed—but it could kill your business.”

Schweizer describes various maneuvers throughout his book sighting multiple examples to make his case that politicians engage in a form of legal extortion (they make the laws after all) to extract campaign contributions from business or other special interests. He identifies the colorful terms he uncovered that the politicians use for these maneuvers, such as “toll-booth” requirements, “milker bills,” “double-milker bills,” and “juicer bills.”

Each of these methods is designed for one purpose only to extort money from some group or industry.  The methods that the politicians use take many forms but two are easy to explain. The first involves past legislation such as Medicare and Medicaid where doctors are paid a certain amount for a particular service that they provide to their patents. The reimbursement over time becomes too low to provide the service so during budget negotiations the various committees in congress hold “Fund Raisers” for the various lobbyists representing doctors for the purpose of getting contributions so they can fight the opposition to raising the fees. Once they collect what they need they put in a one year fix so they can use the same ploy the next year.

The other method is to introduce a piece of legislation in a committee for some purpose, the purpose is not important but it will be designed to adversely affect some industry.   The members of the committee will then hold “Fund Raisers” where they invite that industries lobbyists and they tell them they need contribution to stop the legislation.  Even if the lobbyist knows they are being played, just like in the mafia protection racket, what choice do they have but to go along.  However, unlike the protection racket this is much worse as it is perfectly legal.

Although at first it’s hard to believe that this process could not be true, and what I just described is only the tip of the iceberg, but it all makes perfect sense when you think about it. The way the process in congress works would make no sense if what is described in this book were not true.

This book is a must read if you are interested in how and why congress actually works and it goes a long way to explaining why some bills are thousands of pages long. But don’t take my word buy the book and find out for yourself.

Book Review, Reckless Endangerment


The Story of Affordable Housing

This book written by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner and published in 2011 is about the housing bubble that caused the financial meltdown in the fall of 2008, how it was started and who was responsible. “The American people realize they’ve been robbed. They’re just not sure by whom,” write Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner in their superbly written book “Reckless Endangerment.”

Those that take the time to read this outstanding and well documented history of the financial crisis will understand when they are finished, exactly who created the meltdown of 2008 and how they did it. Morgenson and Rosner show us in great detail, “…what happens when Washington decides, in its infinite wisdom, that every living, breathing citizen should own a home.”

It’s now been over 5 years since the bubble burst in October 2008 and almost 3 years since this book was published so why write a review now?

The answer is simple we learned nothing from the experience and hence it likely that a similar situation will occur again, and in fact with the new financial regulations and laws made along with the Affordable Health Care act that is now being implemented there is an almost 100% certainty that a new and maybe even worse situation will occur. The reasons that I make this statement are an extrapolation from the concussions in this book and so further discussion is warranted. But the reader should definitely read this book

The story of this situation begins in the Carter administration and ends in the Obama administration a period of over 30 years and six presidents. Along the way there were multiple signs of the developing problem but no one cared neither the politicians, the financiers nor the public; since everyone was getting something out of this in essence Ponzi scheme. However since the situation started with the government the blame must be placed squarely on them for none of this would have happened if the politicians had not interfered in the housing market.

The issue to be fixed was the low home ownership rate of blacks; and it was assumed that this was the result of discrimination.  To a point it was but it wasn’t so much racially motivated as economic.  Back then it was required to have 20% down to buy a home and to be able to support the payments.  Those requirements meant you had to have saved some money or borrowed it from family (like my wife and I did) and have a steady job making enough that the banks could expect that you could make the monthly payments.  This policy did, in fact, discriminate against those that could not make these standards’ and since poor people could not and black were proportionally poorer their participation rate in home ownership was lower.

For some reason the politicians decided it would be easier to force the banks to make bad loans then get the poor people (blacks) jobs and this started the ball rolling.  Like all government programs they take time to be felt economically and the new “federal” rules on giving mortgages were no exception.  By the end of the Clinton administration all the payers were engaged and the end was inevitable.  The problem was that the banks were expected to have a certain percentage of mortgages given to blacks that were equivalent to whites and if they didn’t the federal government put pressure on them. The banks complied by lowering their standards and the government aided them by buying some of the issued mortgages in Freddy and Fanny. This relieved the banks of the potentially bad loans and now more blacks had homes.

Early in the first Bush term the congress continued to make changes to this system to make it easier and easier to get a loan.  By the start of Bush’s second term an entire industry wide system was in place to generate loans to people with no income and no down payment. How anyone in power thought this would ever work is beyond me.  The system that was developed and explained in detail in this book was that the bad loans were being generated to supply the investment banks with packages of mortgages that could be broken in to what they called tranches and sold as investment grade securities. The details can be found in the book. Now everyone was making money on giving loans that could never be paid back and the end happened in October 2008 as the investors and then the banks holding those bad securities began to fail.

All of this is well documented with names dates and places where all the bad decisions were made, no one escapes. Then after the dust settled a congressional review blamed in all on the Investment banks and proposed no stricter laws on them.  No mention was made on how this all started with affordable housing the federal governments interference in the housing market.  So the bottom line was the federal government interfered in the privet market, created a major problem, then blamed the private sector for doing this and then passed new laws that made them stop giving bad loans.

Now with the Affordable Health Care act that was sold on giving health insurance to poor people without jobs we are finding the exact same thing occurring taxes and fees and fines are in place that raise the cost to those that are paying for insurance to allow for those that can’t pay to have insurance.  Unfortunately the laws rules and regulations will do to the health care industry exactly what was done to the home mortgage market; and probably a lot quicker since this was a very comprehensive piece of legislation.

Read “Reckless Endangerment” and see what will happen to health care in a few years as the Affordable Health Care Act is implemented.