The knights are restless and for good reason.

Archive for the category “Justice”

The Knights Are Already Restless, – and Trump’s only been on the job 12 days!

If you get depressed easily, maybe you should’t read this. If you’re not, perhaps a trip to your psychotherapist might be in order.

It’s been only thirteen days since the President Elect became the President Erect. I use that term because it describes the biggest schmeckel  to ever be ushered to power by the very un-democratic Electoral College. Obviously, the Humanities is not a subject taught there.

Sorry, GW Bush, but you’ve been out-putzed, and it didn’t take that long. Just when I, and most of my associates, thought that the Bush-Cheney team couldn’t be out-schmucked, along comes a new leader whose public appearances will be greeted by Heil to the Chief (yes, I spelled that correctly).

Only Trump’s most loyal supporters — and those who have not learned that it is highly unlikely that robotics-caused job losses will return to the U.S. (or anywhere else, for that matter) — will become disenchanted. Notice I didn’t say ‘impossible.’ I already made that mistake when I and most every other political ‘expert’ assured us of a Trump loss, or even a shellacking.

Eisenhower alerted us to the Military Industrial Complex. but Obama should have warned us about the Superiority Complex, something his sucessor demonstrates daily (make that hourly).

A few of my less-evolved buddies say, “Give him a chance. Isn’t it too early to judge?” But I think his nominees for the Cabinet and other vital security positions are giving us a few clues. It’s like saying, “Don’t judge that nuclear blast until you see the results. It could be just another one of those harmless mushroom clouds.”

He’s nominated Neil M. Gorsuch to be the next member of the Supreme Court. Trump tried everything he could do raise Scalia from the dead, but when Antonin learned who the new President actually was, he said, “No thanks, I’d rather stay where I am.” The late justice didn’t indicate just where that was, and the sound of raging fires did obscure much of what he said.

The Democrats in the Senate could fail to join 52 Republicans when the vote for approval takes place. But why should they? After all, did the GOP even consider Obama’s nomination of moderate, Merrick Garland, almost a year ago? You bet they didn’t! This is a little fact that John Dickerson, host of Disgrace the Nation, failed to point out to conservative guest, Hugh Hewitt, author of The Fourth Way: A Conservative Playbook for a Lasting GOP Majority,” when Hewitt appeared on his show on January 29th.

Hewitt (whose mother loved him so much, she nearly named him twice) stated that the Democrats have no reason to attempt to block a SCOTUS nominee. The turtle look-alike, who leads the Republicans in the Senate, also seemed to suffer from amnesia when he insisted that Senate Democrats treat Trump’s nominee with the same respect his troops showed to the former President’s.

Trump’s record low approval ratings for any President’s first thirteen days in office was not statlibcantlooklimited to the millions of illegally-voting Hillary supporters, or any non-members of the American Nazi party. In a rare glimpse of the statue that represents American liberty, the Lady was echoing the sentiments of most people on the Trump-threatened planet.

The President is following the lead of many elected officials from the GOP, in insisting that Climate Change is a hoax. And he’s made the appointments to support that position, untenable as it is.

Now I’m not suggesting that Republican members of congress have been influenced by campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry, but OpenSecrets is. If you think Lady Liberty is shielding her eyes now, wait till she learns that Exxon Mobil Mogul, Rex Tillerson is the new Secretary of State. Let’s hope that this Rex is not a dinosaur when it comes to protecting the environment, as hopeless as that hope seems at the moment.

But to make up for that poor choice, Trump is leveling the playing field by appointing Texas former Governor and oopser, Rick Perry, to run the very department whose name he couldn’t remember during the 2012 presidential campaign. The Energy department is responsible for our nuclear arsenal. Comforting to know that a pro is in charge. But just to be clear, when reminded by fellow challengers for the presidency which agency that was, the EPA was mentioned, not the DOE.

But don’t you worry. Trump’s got that department covered as well. His pick to lead he Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruiit, is a staunch defender of the industry that is speeding the destruction of that very same environment. A rumor is going around that the agency will be renamed the EDA (the word ‘Destruction’ replaces ‘Protection,’) but who really cares? Certainly not the parents and grandparents of the children that will inherit this planet.

Trump promised to drain the swamp, clearly having no understanding of the word ‘drain.’ Most of that swamp, by the way, was polluted by his fellow Republicans, who have ruled both houses since 2010, making appointments extremely challenging for Barack Obama.

Now Roe vs Wade is under attack. Planned Parenthood will be defunded. This will ultimately lead to a return of back-alley abortions, or women having no alternative but to bare a child she cannot afford to clothe, feed, or educate. Seems fair. How else will we recruit troops to fight the next oil war?

Trump has surrounded himself with very talented truth avoiders. Reince Preibus (who I often mispronounce as ‘Raunch Pubis’) is the new Chief of Staff. His Press Secretary, Sean Spicer calls his boss’s support among the people as “tremendous,” quickly taking on the vocabulary of the firer-in-chief (as his dismissal of the former acting Attorney General, Sally Yates would attest). All she said was she could not enforce a ruling that was unconstitutional. The nerve! And the most ingenious truth avoider, Kellyanne Conway, will be sure to set us all straight.

In a nation that is 38th in pre-college education, having Betsy Devos assume the position (a favorite Trump line) as Education Secretary, is sure to put us even lower in that ranking. But it doesn’t matter, because we are making America great again, and that’s what really counts.

He has also ostracized the press, almost in its entirely, as the most dishonest people in the world. Breitbart and Fox News were excluded from that ranking.

But I want to wish the new Commander and Chief well, almost hoping that he won’t follow in the footsteps of William Henry Harrison. The ninth President, differed in his speech making from #45, having stood on an icy inaugural platform for several hours, only to be rewarded with incurable pneumonia that killed him several months later. Trump took no such chances, by delivering one of the shortest inaugural speeches in American history. He had thought about Tweeting it, but then he would have been around fifty characters too short.


From a Restless Knight – Rest in Peace

I’ve spent many a restless night imagining a GOP win in November, and the Supreme Court appointments the next President is destined to make. I don’t know which of the remaining candidates will make it to the top, and frankly, it won’t really matter. I’m sure he is envisioning Scalia think-alikes (I say “he,” because Carly has mercifully made her exit, leaving an all-male field). Her nominees would have been those slightly to the right of Himmler, with regard to women’s reproductive rights.

The jovial Scalia, with his many liberal friends including ladies on the Supreme Court, could actually have competed with old Heinrich on women’s rights and those anti-biblical gay marriage rules.


Antonin Scalia posing with fellow hunter and Justice Elana Kagan

The death of Scalia affords an additional opportunity for a Trump or a Cruz to name one more justice to the high court. To give you an idea what that could mean, the chart below shows the ages of the eight remaining members of the Court:

Justice Born /Age Nominated By
Anthony Kennedy 7/23/1936

Age: 79 yr 6 mo

Ronald Reagan
Clarence Thomas 6/23/1948

Age: 67 yr 7 mo

George H. W. Bush
Ruth Bader Ginsburg 3/15/1933

Age: 82 yr 11 mo

Bill Clinton
Stephen Breyer 8/15/1938

Age: 77 yr 6 mo

Bill Clinton
John G. Roberts 1/27/1955

Age: 61 yr 0 mo

George W. Bush
Samuel A. Alito, Jr. 4/1/1950

Age: 65 yr 10 mo

George W. Bush
Sonia Sotomayor 6/25/1954

Age: 61 yr 7 mo

Barack Obama
Elena Kagan 4/28/1960

Age: 55 yr 9 mo

Barack Obama

It is likely that several of those listed above could be awaiting Angel of Death visits within the next five years. The problem is that most of those are Democratic Presidential appointees, with the exception of Anthony Kennedy, who Reagan thought would be far more conservative than he turns out to be. Scalia, 79 when he died, was Anthony Kennedy’s age.

I just watched an old Charley Rose interview with the recently departed jurist, and can understand why people liked him. This proves the point that you don’t have to hate someone because you disagree with just about everything they stand for. In Scalia’s case, I might make an exception.

One of Scalia’s last acts was to become part of the 5-4 decision striking down Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CCP), one of President’s signature achievements. This had enabled the U.S. to take the lead at the Paris Summit on addressing the very serious issue of Climate Change. With the climate initiative in trouble, there will be little motivation for other COP21 signing countries to stick with their commitments. The remaining Republicans in the Presidential race have all vowed to repeal the CCP, on the day of inauguration. They appear to be champing at the bit to do so.

Scalia was at a hunting lodge when he bit the bullet. Maybe it was that other Supreme Court’s punishment for killing some of His helpless creatures, as if letting the planet sink in a mire of toxicity and rising seas were not criminal enough.

The Senate, which has final approval of the nominated justices has been given a command by their General, Mitch (Make Him a One-Term President) McConnell: Stall, stall, stall, with the hope that it will delay the appointment to the next administration. Many Republican voices are echoing a statement that has no basis in reality (what else is new?). Lame ducks should not make Supreme Court appointments. Maybe Marco Rubio should observe the rule, “You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.” As this Politifact article confirms, conservative superman, Ronald Reagan did nominate Kennedy to the high court during the final year of his administration

Now the Republicans have a real dilemma: There is currently an even number of remaining justices on the Supreme Court. Contests ending with a 4-4 tie will have the effect of allowing lower court rulings to stand. Most of these do not serve the GOP cause. See the USA Today article for more information.

Religion and Another Restless Night

Yet another restless night over religions competing for which one is the cruelest (and dumbest).

At the moment, it’s not much of a standoff. Islam, “the religion of piece”, seems to want to tear the world to pieces. Of course, they did have some great western examples to emulate. President Obama was not far off when he made similar comparisons.

Against his argument, it has been pointed out that the sins of the Inquisition happened hundreds of years ago, and Christians would never commit these acts today. Am I remembering incorrectly men in white robes and hoods stringing up men in black skin – and doing it in the name of Jesus? The sin of child rape, committed by men of the cloth, still happens to this day. And the perpetrators get the slap on the wrist penalty of being sent to another diocese, never seeing the inside of a prison (sort of like banking executives).

While child molestation doesn’t quite compare with video-recorded beheadings (and worse- if you can even imagine anything worse), it’s still inexcusable. If the best Pope EVER is truly to hold that title, he needs to fix the problem yesterday, if not sooner. To his credit, he has removed several controlling members of the Vatican Bank, resulting from money-laundering allegations.

Wait, I’m not quite done citing other abuses committed in the alleged Christian God’s name, such as Srebrenica massacre of 1995, where thousands of men and boys were brutally slaughtered by those charming Eastern Orthodox Serbs (they were only following orders). This story was covered by the late CBS reporter, Bob Simon on a special edition of 60 Minutes. What about the punishment of homosexual behavior with long prison sentences, and in some cases, death? How about forcing a woman to bear a child she doesn’t want, and/or can’t afford? “God hates abortions,” say these guardians of justice, “He told me so Himself.”

Even the peaceful Buddhists have committed violent acts. Yes, hard to believe, but you can check it out

One of the ways we can stop the likes of ISIS or ISIL is to stop invading countries to control their oil supply, while claiming to stop its nuclear threat. AngelSadamSaddam was certainly no angel (and probably still isn’t – we’ve searched all of heaven, and he’s nowhere to be found), but is Iraq better now than when it was under the Hussein domain? And what about Bashar? Again, not a very nice guy, but by weakening him, we strengthen his opposition in Syria, which includes the religious fanatics I referenced in paragraph 2.

All faiths need to reform, and occupy a place in the twenty-first century (CE, not BCE). They can continue to delude themselves, but punishing apostates with death is just unacceptable. Adopting the latest fashion in suicide vests does little to bring world peace. Birth control would limit poor populations, and thus be a plus.

The Two-party System

What is wrong with our two-party system? A better question would be, “What is right with it?” November 4th is just around the corner, after which, according to the experts of punditry, both houses of Congress will be firmly in the hands of Republicans. This prospect makes the Restless Knight still more restless, and has, in fact, driven him back to this blog after a several month absence.

Most of the electorate is either too blind to notice our elected leaders in action (or should I say, inaction), too ignorant or too apathetic. Either excuse for allowing the status quo is, frankly, inexcusable.

For the upcoming election I’ve been practicing the craft of filling in a ballot and holding my nose at the same time. The differences between the party mascotted by an elephant and the one represented by an ass are too few to tally. Because of American election finance laws, unique among democracies, taking money from special interests is the only chance a candidate has of keeping up with the negative campaigning of his or her opponent. In my state of Florida, the airwaves are deluged with a constant barrage of campaign nastiness, although the words, “Governor Scott – too shady for the Sunshine State”, do have resonance.

I wish I could remember the name of the skeptic who said, and I’m paraphrasing, “the only difference between a dictatorship and American democracy is that we get one more ballot choice the than they do.”

Others have asked, “Why vote? It only encourages the bastards.”

A minority of Americans vote in so-called ‘off year elections’; a few more in Presidential contests. One reason for the shameful turnout vs. other democracies is our failure to become involved in the primary process, where the really important decisions are made. This lack of public participation lets the vested interests dictate those narrow choices that will appear on your ballot.


What Congressman Darrel Issa (R. California) would look like on the House floor

You have seen Nascar events where the participants display the logos of their supporters emblazoned on their uniforms. This leaves no doubt in the viewer’s mind which corporation is backing which driver. I know I’ve said this before, but elected officials should be forced to don similar patches on their clothing to indicate the special interests that want to see them succeed. Do you think it’s the spirit of democracy that makes them contribute? Or is it the donation of cash for the specific purpose of having that elected official support that corporation’s (or individual’s) agenda?

Both parties expend much energy narrowing the field of those participating in debates. You won’t see independents on the debate stage. Candidates must toe the line of their party’s ideology, or be excluded from the process. This allows you to hear what the parties want you to, and not what might be in our best interests. The process further damages the democratic process by limiting running choices. Candidates need lots of cash to be viable, and without party backing the odds of being competitive with the chosen ones are Slim and None, and Slim has already left town.

A Proposed Solution

Kickstarter is a funding platform to raise money for a specific cause, such as starting a business. As its name suggests, it ‘kickstarts’ a project by raising cash needed to launch whatever your project happens to be. The projectee “partners” with individuals and all benefit from the results IF the project succeeds. What if you knew of a potential candidate for political office, whose principles you share, but hasn’t the faintest chance of getting on a ballot due to what I mentioned above? Or if your ideals call out to you to run for office yourself, but you see the futility of attempting to be accepted by a major party, couldn’t ‘kickstarting’ be an obvious choice?


Why not kickstart a political campaign? If Growlerwerks can raise enough money to place fresh, cold, carbonated beer on the market, why can’t we launch the Presidential Campaign of a Bernie Saunders (one of the rare honest politicians), who has no chance to get party backing?

My thanks to Dan Carlin and his Common Sense podcast for planting this idea in my head.

If you have a better solution, the Restless Knight would love to hear from you.

Well, Shut Me Down

Maybe my nights shouldn’t be restless, just because our do-zilch Congress has decided to shut down the government.

Some of the esteemed members of that august body are asking their constituents if they have felt the effects of the closure. At least my Congressman, Vernon Buchanan wanted to know in his latest “InstaPoll.” impact

I usually respond to his polls, only so that my lonely voice can be heard amidst the din of his “learned” electorate.

I decided not to answer the question, because he might get the impression that closing the U.S. Government is a perfectly splendid idea, as long as most of his constituency has not yet felt any impact. There is no impact on me, personally, for the maltreatment of women, minorities and gays, but it doesn’t mean that those are also splendid ideas.

The Koch Bros are spending some of the money they “earn” from honest folks and use it to help kill the Affordable Healthcare Act. Because Congress’ 42 failed attempts to kill the bill, approved by an earlier legislative session (whose members had not gone completely berserk), and confirmed in a Supreme Court ruling, the Kochs are doing their patriotic duty.

So, many government agencies, such as non-essential ones like the EPA (We don’t need no stinkin’ environmental protection), certain Veterans Services (What? They need services?), and National Parks are closed, among many *others.

Here are some images taken directly from those closed venues:Rushmore10-2013


liberty10-2013 copy

*The NIH has stopped taking on new patients, while the Centers for Disease and Prevention will halt its seasonal anti-flu program. Non-essential, indeed.

While this situation exists, Homeland Security will not provide employers verification as to the legal status of potential employees.

The Justice Department will have to curtail their policy of arresting bankers and others who were responsible for the financial collapse of 2007-08. Oh, wait. They weren’t doing that, anyway. The DEA will have to stop invading legal cannabis clinics. What will they do for fun?

Labor law violators can have a field day. There will be no agency to crack down on labor abuses. At last: We can now catch up with Bangladesh. OSHA will have no O to SHA.

If you’re looking to apply for a passport, or renew your current one, you may have a problem, such as the building housing the passport office can’t pay their rent.

Say argghh, for the Ag Department, who have cut off support for the Women, Infants and Children Program, whose purpose is to provide healthy food guidelines for pregnant women. And we all know how those pro-life Republicans care about children (at least during the fetal stage).

And Washington DC – not to worry. You will be able to keep police and firefighters working, but don’t expect your trash to be picked up. Maybe we can have some Tea-Party congressmen volunteer as garbage collectors. At least then they would finally be accomplishing something.

Literally thousands of federal employees will be furloughed if the shutdown continues.

Restless nights, anyone?

Reason – R.I.P.

The Death of Reason


Reason is defined in the Catholic Encyclopedia as “The name given to that period of human life at which persons are deemed to begin to be morally responsible.”  Too bad the leaders of that Church didn’t exactly subscribe to that code of morality. Also beginning to behave responsibly is only a small first step. Example: stepping out of your house to protest some evil thing a corporation (like a bank) or your government is doing is the first step. But when you don’t actually go to the protest rally, and choose to have a latte at Starbucks instead, you can’t exactly claim credit for activism.

Legislators are not the only forces stomping on reason. As reported by NPR, Tennessee magistrate, Lu Ann Ballew refused to allow the parent of a child to name it “Messiah.” And her reason was quite sound. “The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ,” she said in an interview. Not only was she not reasonable, but worse: she used a run-on sentence. So, you folks out there named “Jesus” (and there are probably hundreds of thousands of you) or “Mohamed,” prepare to be called Jim or Moe, especially if you live in the Sippin’ Whiskey State.

Webster’s defines Reason quite differently. In one of several variations of the noun form, it‘s “the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways.” What a unique concept: Making decisions actually based on logic. Who’d a thunk it? But based on the actions of some state legislators and all of the U.S. Congress, logic has become a dirty word. This could explain our march back to the 19th century, in which we seem to be goosestepping.

CommonSenseThomas Paine, wrote a two-part book on the subject (The Age of Reason), the first of which was published in 1794. If you would like to examine its contents, you’ll find it here. The book focuses on religion, and Paine’s take on it (you could say it was a painstaking effort). He defined himself as a Deist, translating as: Belief that a creator god does exist, but that after the motions of the universe were set in place he retreated, having no further interaction with the created universe or the beings within it. Who can blame him? When God saw the mess he created he decided to bear no responsibility for it.  Paine was not the sole Deist of his era. In the cadre of Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington were Deists as well. So the notion that we are a Christian Nation, and must be ruled by the word of God is simply the result of using drugs that are illegal in most states.

Let us begin:  Friends, family and former beneficiaries of Reason

We are gathered together to celebrate the life of an idea that had lived for several centuries and has now disappeared. Though it did live, it was never fully accepted by the majority of world populations, who would rather have believed in bullshit then examine it for telltale odor.  For those of you that have come to this hall for the funeral for Journalism, it’s the next room on your left – and many of you will wish to attend both ceremonies.

Reason as defined by candidates and elected officials and political appointees:

Ignore the parts of the Constitution that are contrary to your point of view, and completely change the intention of the Founding Fathers. An example might be that many Americans accept the NRA definition of gun rights, and not the original wording: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” That is what is written in the Second Amendment. I don’t see anything about AK47s and Ar15s, do you? Hey you with that Glock 19. Where’s your militia uniform?

Another is the selectivity in the interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” I know, those 18th century folks were too stupid to include emails, phone conversations and Social Media.  Paraphrasing President Obama (not Bush), in a recent speech. “We have a court that will protect Americans against those kinds of invasions of your private information.” FISA stands for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. See FISA Court. Rubber Stamp. The judges on this “court” are all appointed by Chief Justice Roberts. I hope you can appreciate how much fairness we can expect from that.

Some elected officials ignore reason in favor of biological urges. There are too many to count. But making it into the news recently was the re-emergence of Weiner (so to speak).  After losing his seat in Congress following a “revealing” discovery, he swore off junk texting (Junk Male).  But memory did not serve him in that as a Mayoral Candidate HE DID IT AGAIN? So he loined from past experience, as we Brooklynites would say. And if that is not unreasonable enough, check out the Parliamentarian for Queensland, who texted a picture of his John Thomas, suspended in a glass of red wine. Now anyone with the bad taste to pair his schlong with a red wine doesn’t deserve the trust of the people, even the Aussies. Isn’t it common knowledge that only a Penile Noir should be used on these occasions?

Many elected officials are using reason to try, for the fortieth time, to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act, pejoratively known throughout the moronesphere as Obamacare. Instead of wasting our tax money on legislation that has as much chance to pass as Michelle Bachmann suddenly acquiring a brain or Dick Cheney acquiring a soul, why not work with the President on a jobs-creation bill? Putting people back to work, or moving folks off those temporary, part time, healthcare-free jobs (does not mean free health care) into dignified work would be a win-win.

The Supreme Court, the majority of whom were named by Republican Presidents, contributed to the death of reason by rejecting key portions of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark civil rights achievement by President LBJ dating back to 1965. They seem to prefer 1865, or better yet, to a time pre-dating the Emancipation Proclamation.

This august body has also reasoned that Corporations are people, in the notorious Constitution-defying Citizens United ruling. And why not? Corporations write the laws, thoroughly confusing and lengthy to make their understanding virtually impossible.

GettysburgAddressTo account for this sad reality, let us address Abraham Lincoln’s memorable document: We need to make a word replacement. This quote from the last paragraph of that historical speech, “- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Let’s substitute the word “corporation” for the word “people.” Because, in the words of Walter Cronkite (Funeral next door), “That’s the way it is.”

Phobia Phobia

The only thing we have to fear is the mis- pronunciation of the word "fear"

FDR at his
first inaugural address

FDR coined the phrase, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” This is listed in the Official Psycho-therapists’ Dictionary as phobia-phobia. But according to the current President, following in the footsteps of that great protector of the Constitution, George W. Bush, we have lots of things to fear besides fear (speaking about things that cause restless nights).

But W was not the first President to ignore some of the rights granted by that great document.

Our 2nd President -photo courtesy of the ACLU

Our 2nd President -photo courtesy of the ACLU

John Adams was the first, with the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798. The only thing we had to fear then, were the French, as the law was enacted as a result of an undeclared conflict with France (No, the Freedom Fry was not the first time), known then as the Quasi-war. And all this time, I thought we had been engaged in a struggle with those nasty Quasies. It was the Federalists who pushed that legislation, while the Democratic-Republicans (yes, you heard right) counseled against it. The Federalists were concerned that the revolution in France might encourage the citizens of the new American Republic to follow in France’s footsteps. Adams was not receptive to the possibility of the punishment meted out to Louis and Marie by disgruntled (and restless) citizens.

Our 16th President. Photo courtesy of

Honesty, Abe?

Next it was the Great Emancipator, who, during the Civil War, suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus. There were those who didn’t believe Abe had acted constitutionally. But in a war, Presidents have to worry more about the enemy than they do public relations..

Our current situation is the result of a policy that does not endear us to many members of the Muslim Faith. They seem to object to having their countries attacked, in some cases without provocation.  They get antsy when drone aircraft, directed by experts in the CIA (forgive the oxy-moron), decide on killing anyone who fits the profile. This designation appears to be any male within the so-called terrorist age range. Guilt or innocence seems to play no part in the decision process. So unlike most wars in our past, where the warring factions eventually sign an armistice, there is no one with whom to sit down – no Palace of Versailles, no USS Missouri, and no Appomatox Courthouse. Although the Korean War was never officially ended, we are not at war with any nation. We have, in effect, a war in Perpetuitistan.

So thanks to Herr Cheney, his lackey, Bush and now Mr. Obama, the USA Patriot Act rules the day. You can go to the link to see a summary, but in essence it means that it’s fine to flout the Fourth Amendment. I find it amazing that our brothers are willing to forgo that unambiguous amendment, the intent of which is to protect our rights, but will defend the Second Amendment to the death (literally).

I know there are bad guys out there who are so frustrated they are willing to commit violent acts against innocent people. Their Mullahs promise them a heavenly reward of up to 72 virgins for carrying out the will of Allah. They will not listen to my advice, which is to have sex before considering blowing oneself up, and take a little pleasure while they are still breathing. If they could relieve their natural frustrations here on Earth, as any healthy young male is wont to do, maybe there would be no such thing as an Underwear Bomber. Some “enlightened” Americans do everything they can to seek revenge for that violence, including shooting Sikhs because they wear turbans.

The government is protecting its ass (if not your rights) by garnering about 886 million emails. That’s more than I get in my spam folder in a week. Could you imagine going through close to a billion emails? Christian Mingle alone is accountable for more than half – just kidding; Canadian pharmacies actually hold the record. NSA claims they are only looking at metadata (data about the data) and not the emails themselves. This is also said to be true of phone calls and text messages. Now we are not talking about social media such as Twitter, Facebook and all the others, where folks have voluntarily chosen to give up their rights of privacy.  The FISA Court (established in 1978) is supposed to protect us from intelligence agency snooping, by authorizing only those attempts to spy on citizens that are suspected of crimes against the United States. Do we trust this court to be judicious in its decisions to allow or disallow that kind of privacy invasion? So far, their record is perfect. They’ve never said “no.”

I don’t blame us for wanting protection against things or people that could potentially harm us. This includes candidates for mental institutions who have been excluded from gun competency checks by our dedicated members of the U.S. Senate (despite a majority having voted for those checks). How about parents who do nothing to prevent their children from grabbing an unsecured AR-15?  And what about food supplies unchecked by an FDA that is seriously underfunded? May I mention toxic pollution in violation of the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Acts  (Oh, you want clean water and air – picky, picky)? I would like the “Intelligence” agencies to live up to their names, and actually do something intelligent, like talking to one another BEFORE an act is committed. I think that might be far more effective than having our shoes removed before each flight.

I don’t feel safe, not because the government is or is not spying on me. I don’t feel safe because the food I eat from the Gulf of Mexico is contaminated by chemicals BP used to allegedly clean up their oil spill (see Corexit). I don’t feel safe because Nuclear power plants licenses are renewed years after their assumed life expectancy. I don’t feel safe because we allow China to send us any product regardless of its safety (lead bibs for kids, tainted pet food, toothpaste you could put into you radiator to cool your engine).

So, to keep me from being any more restless, PLEASE protect me from the protectors.

In My Time

I know, Cheney’s book came out in late August, and I’m just getting around to reviewing it. Reason: I thought I’d take the time to read it before issuing what I knew would be my condemnation. But then things came up; such as I didn’t want to throw up, so I put the reading on hold. Another factor holding me back was actually laying down the cash to make the book part of my collection. It would have been like spending money to purchase a bottle of hemlock when simply eating my mother’s cooking would have easily done the trick.

Cheney, has been responsible for more restless nights than just about any other politician. As he said during an interview with NBC’s Jamie Gangel, well before the book was on the shelves, “There are gonna be heads exploding all over Washington.”

It seems, there were not enough of these exploding throughout the Middle East, thanks to his efforts, so he didn’t want Americans to be left out of all the fun.

According to the New York Times, “In My Time”, which was co-written with his straight daughter, Liz, turns out to be mostly a predictable mix of spin, stonewalling, score settling and highly selective reminiscences. By that, he remembers only those ‘facts’ that fit his agenda, conveniently forgetting the majority that did not.

Cheney demonstrated his interest in athletics by defending a sport called Water Boarding. This is where someone suspected of having information vital to the security of the United States is taken from his boring existence in a 4×6 cell, and given a chance to enjoy a refreshing little splash or two. This is, no-doubt, greeted, by the prisoner, as an opportunity to escape the tropical heat of that Cuba based American Hotel by the Bay.

The so-called suspect simply would have had to be accused of ties to the enemies of America by anyone he might have displeased in the past. It has been argued that no useful information can be obtained by using the technique that has been euphemized as enhanced interrogation. A person receiving this, or any other kind of torture would be willing to tell his interrogators just about anything they want to hear, whether or not it bears any truth.


Oh, you didn’t like my book?

He boasted that he would strongly support using it again if it were the only way to get a “high value” detainee to talk. Rumor has it that he would use it on his many critics, if that were the only way to get them to shut up.

Besides having several Interpol (International Criminal Police organization) arrest warrants out for him, he has lost some popularity with several former political allies, such as Colin Powel, who finally gained consciousness after helping sell Cheney’s Iraq plan to bring peace to the Middle East.

It’s interesting that Nigeria, of all nations, had tasked Interpol to issue the warrant for Mr. Cheney, as their own government has not been known for straight-shooting, unless you refer to their excellent firing squad program. And straight shooting is what Dick does best, as his lawyer and a few quail can attest. The Nigerians want a full investigation into a bribery scandal, alleged to have happened in 2004. In that instance, KBR, that infamous subsidiary of Halliburton, is accused of bribing government officials for lucrative gas contracts. This has put Cheney’s plan to vacation on the Niger Delta on hold for the foreseeable future – frustrating for him, because of the Delta’s huge quail and lawyer population.

This was not the first Interpol arrest warrant issued for Cheney. There was one as far back as 2006, when it spelled out that the Vice President at the time be seized as he approached the Nixon Library (Wow, two Dicks in the same room?). Fortunately for the VP, but not for the rest of the world, Interpol has no governmental authority to arrest anyone. They can only recommend that it be done by local authorities.

Similar criminal warrants, by the World Court have been issued for both Bush Presidents, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Blair, Henry Kissinger, Condi Rice and others for war crimes. Officers of the World Court don’t have jurisdiction to enter the USA or Great Britain to apprehend these folks. But the travels in Europe and Southeast Asia, by the accused, are limited because they are subject to immediate detainment and extradition to Belgium. And nobody, with the possible exception of Gerard Depardieu, want to go there. Even Gerard ultimately thought that Russia was a far better choice.

Cheney continues to prove the lyrics of “Only the Good Die Young” by constantly surviving coronary episodes that would kill most in his condition. He’s alleged to have had a heart transplant, but according to most doctors, you must first have a heart in order to qualify for a transplant.

But at least Cheney is not a Republican who clings to the anti-gay sentiments, shared by most of his party. His other daughter, Mary, having come out, had persuaded him that it’s not okay to pick on someone from his family. He was recently joined by several conservative Republican legislators who seem to be “evolving” on this issue, despite the fact that they don’t believe in Evolution.

Jumpsuits For Wall Street

You may need this card if you're someone other than a Wall Street banker

You may need this card if you’re someone other than a Wall Street banker

So, what’s the Restless Knight getting worked up about this time? It’s actually something I’ve been consistently restless with since the beginning of the financial melt-down.

While the banking industry played monopoly with the people’s money, many of them received coveted “Get Out of Jail Free” cards. At least, that’s the way it appears. Too bad, because the people they screwed did not get that compensating “Get Out of Bankruptcy” card, or any other chance but ‘fat’, for that matter.

The Obama administration seems to lack the temerity do anything about this, as no banker has seen the inside of Club Fed. If it was good enough for Martha Stewart, than why not these stalwarts of financial insatiability? When running for President in 2008, Mr. Obama turned down public financing so his campaign wouldn’t be hamstrung by a lack of funds. Unfortunately, some of his main backers were Wall Street firms. In fact, Barry collected twice the money that his opponent did from the finance industry. This was reversed in the 2012 election, with Romney grabbing the lion’s share from these institutions.

Then Mr. Obama appointed deer-in-the-headlights Timothy Geithner as his first Secretary of the Treasury, who saved the banking industry, but told the rest of the world where to stick it. Now the President has nominated Jacob Lew to fill that soon-to-be-vacated post. Lew has been known to ‘hang out’ with Lloyd Blankfein (more about that lovely chap below).

Larry Sommers (who was paid a measly $135,000 for a single appearance before Goldman), and Robert Rubin, had both been Clinton’s Secretaries of Treasury and might possibly have had some influence on the decision to repeal the 1933 Glass-Stegall Act. It had been enacted after the Great Depression in order to prevent banks from over-extending themselves, and to avoid a repetition of that crash. It was meant to keep banks from becoming too big to fail. We know what resulted when that safety net was removed. Gee, what a surprise.

Let’s talk about my favorite bank, Goldman Sachs, which had been lead by Robert Rubin, a twenty-six year veteran of the company, and CEO, prior to his stint in the Clinton cabinet. Lew was a hedge fund manager at Citi, another of God’s worthy institutions.

As you might have read, Goldman’s CEO since 2006, Lloyd Blankfein, has boasted that what his company was doing, with transactions that would precipitate the most horrific financial debacle since the Great Depression, was God’s work. I spoke to God about this, and He denied it, in no uncertain terms, “Not me. Never told him to do it.”

But God also mentioned that all labor is God’s work, including the enterprise of making license plates. In this vocation, Mr. Blankfein could actually produce something not just billionaires could use.

Here is my analogy of the Credit Default Swap fiasco in layperson’s terms
Let’s say I’m a car manufacturer. I construct an automobile with a built-in design flaw. Let’s call this car the Bummer (rhymes with another automotive obscenity). It looks shiny and beautiful, boasts a fine EPA mileage rating and is reasonably priced. I stake my company’s reputation on this car, aggressively campaigning for my clients to get it while it’s hot. But what I conveniently forget to tell these buyers is that I have taken out an insurance policy on this vehicle, knowing that the engine will explode very soon after the Bummer hits the road, BECAUSE I DESIGNED IT THAT WAY. I also encouraged thousands of others to purchase insurance on the Bummer, for which my company received a sizable commission. What helped make the sale of the Bummer so successful was the blessing given it by trusted rating agencies, such as S&P (Yes, the same folks who downgraded U.S. credit in 2011).

So, I sell my Bummers, with high expectations to my friends (analogous to the trust Madoff had with Mets owner, Fred Wilpon). But unlike the banking industry mafia, Bernie M. had exchanged his Get Out of Jail Free card for a shot at owning Board Walk and Park Place. Now I let the financial world in on a hot insurance deal. And unlike typical insurance contracts, where the policyholder is also the owner of the insured property, Mr. Blankfein’s deal allows anyone to buy into this policy. It’s no different from planting an incendiary device in the basement of some unsuspecting jerk, and then getting all the neighbors to take out fire insurance on it.

New Sheriff in Town

New Sheriff in Town

We hear there’s a new sheriff in town. Name’s Mary Jo White. Obama has tapped her to chair the SEC, allegedly the watchdog for the finance industry. If their efforts, just before the ‘08 crash are any evidence, it’s a dog that can easily be bought off for a Liver Snap. Hopefully, Mary Jo will be the missing teeth for the Securities and Exchange Commission. Some have doubted her as the best choice for the job, having defended Wall Streeters in her previous role at Debevoise & Plimpton, a white-shoe law firm. Others believe she can use the knowledge gained protecting these miscreants, sort of like the way the most successful lobbyists come from the hallowed halls of Congress, and certainly know their way about.

Suited and Suited Up for God's Work

Suited and Suited Up for God’s Work

So, to serve justice, these men without honor need to be fitted with the proper attire, and pursue God’s work from the inside.

Social is Not a Dirty Word

“Social” is not a dirty word.  But it makes some people restless (I’m not one of them). And judging from the condemnation it receives from those sages on the right, you might as well be yelling, “Damn” at Santorum rally.

Social Security, Social Safety Net and Socially Responsible are terms you are likely to hear quite often during this election year. Thanks to the largess of the Koch Brothers, and their ilk, the airways are already flooded, with no Arc in sight.  Incidentally, Citizens United could not have happened without the help of the Charles and David Koch, whose father was a co-founder of the John Birch Society (I just thought I’d mention that). That anti-social Citizens United ruling, by the most right-wing Supreme Court in U.S. history, enables a few rich folks to exert political influence never before possible in America.

Supreme Court Right Wing

Why are these men smiling?

We already knew the evils of “socialized medicine”, because Presidents Harry Truman (1945), Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were chastised for attempting to saddle the country with this horrible handicap. The very idea! Strangely enough, Carter’s biggest opposition to Universal Healthcare came from none other than Ted Kennedy. You remember him. He was from the state that now has Obromney Care. Despite her husband’s failed attempt, early in his Presidency, Hillary proposed it during her 2007 election campaign.

Why is that word, “Social”, not condemned by European democracies? They don’t seem to have a problem with the concept that health care is a right, and not a privilege. And listen to this terrible idea: When a German or other European citizen loses his or her job, the loss of healthcare does not accompany it. That’s why they call it their social safety net. It prevents their family from being wiped out, while they train for new jobs. It’s actually easier to fire an employee in Germany, because the state ensures that the citizen and his or her family are protected from disaster. The company can rid itself of employees who do not perform satisfactorily, and keep those more productive. Nor are they responsible for employee healthcare insurance.

The idea of universal healthcare is not new to the twentieth and twenty first centuries. It actually began in central Europe in 1883. Source

Germany can also boast of one of the highest pay scales in Europe. Why is this good? Because a robust middle class is the best guarantee against economic depression.  Paying fair wages, instead of seeing how little you can cajole employees to accept, is the socially responsible thing to do. In certain U.S. states, governors and legislatures lure corporations to re-locate to their state because these companies won’t have to worry about polluting the environment or respect the right to unionize. These elected officials are not creating jobs, they are stealing them from states that are more socially responsible. There’s that dirty word again.

If we had Single Payer universal healthcare in America, we wouldn’t have some members of Congress calling the Affordable Healthcare Act, the “job-killing healthcare bill,” as they try anything they can to repeal it. They may be getting some help, shortly, from those aforementioned men in robes, very soon. That’s too bad, because most folks don’t even know about the good things this bill will bring, should it be allowed to come to full fruition in 2014.

“Obama’s the most socialist president in history,” shout his political opponents, whom, by the way, never let facts get in the way of their stated opinions.  I believe FDR has that title locked, because unlike the Fox ditto heads, I’ve actually read some history.

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